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Catota ^ui:ea(. 


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The following Compilation not being admissible into the 
Library of the Fathers from the date of some few of the 
authors introduced into it, the Editors of the latter work 
have been led to publish it in a separate form, being assured 
that those who have subscribed to their Translations of the 
entire Treatises of the ancient Catholic divines, will not feel 
less interest, or find less benefit, in the use of so very 
judicious and beautiful a selection from them. The Editors 
refer to the Preface for some account of the natural and 
characteristic excellences of the work, which will be found 
as useful in the private study of the Gospels, as it is well 
adapted for family reading, and full of thought for those who 
are engaged in religious instruction. 

Oxford, May 6, 1841, 


The Catena on St. Luke differs from those on the three 
other Gospels, in its more frequent citations from the Greek 
writers. For besides the Commentaries of S. Ambrose and 
Bede, and certain Homihes of S. Augustine and Gregory, 
there seems to have been no other Latin work on St. Luke's 
Gospel which St. Thomas could have used. How far he 
was himself acquainted with Greek, it seems difficult to 
determine; but from the expression feci iransferri, in his 
preface to the three later Gospels, it has been supposed, that 
for this part of his work he employed others to make trans- 
lations for him from the Greek writers, which he afterwards 
inserted in his Catena, not always (as he says himself) giving 
the very words, but frequently only the sense of the passage. 
From the ignorance of the Greek language at that time, it 
was not to be supposed that these translations would be free 
from error; and when we couple with this the carelessness 
of transcribers, we cannot be surprised that in course of time 
the text of the Catena should have become very corrupt, and 
the sense of whole passages, but particularly the names of their 
authors, involved in great doubt and obscurity. The mistakes 
on this latter point Nicolai thinks were chiefly owing to the 
abbreviated form and character in which the names were writ- 
ten, so that one name was often put for another, from its 
similarity; as Theophilus for Theophylact; while others were 
altogether omitted. In Nicolai's edition, however, (which has 


been followed in the present volume,) very great corrections 
were made, for which, as the original works of most of 
the Greek writers quoted by S. Thomas no longer exist, he 
was chiefly indebted to the Greek Catena). By their assist- 
ance not only was the text carefully restored and amended 
from the original Greek, but the references verified afresh, 
and many for the first time supplied. 

It may here then perhaps be useful to give first some account 
of the Catenae used by Nicolai, and others which have been 
referred to in the following translation ; next to mention those 
Fathers whose names are cited in St. Thomas, but their works 
from which his extracts are taken are either not to be found 
at all, or at least only fragments of them, in the published 
editions j and after them a number of inferior writers whom 
St. Thomas had included under the general title of Grascus, 
but whose names have now been furnished from the Greek 

(1.) The Catena of most use to Nicolai was one formerly in 
the Mazarin, now in the Royal Library at Paris, (Montf. MSS. 
p. 1339.) It is said to be of the 13th century, and is com- 
piled from fifty-six Fathers, whose names are clearly marked. 
But it embraces only the twelve first chapters of St. Luke. 
For the twelve latter he employed Corderius ; but it is much 
to be regretted that he had not possessed the remainder of 
the Mazarin MSS. which seems to be existing in the Vatican 
from the description Maii gives of a fragment he discovered 
there ; and Montfaucon says of the former part, that not the 
sixth part of it is contained in Corderius. Besides, Corderius 
is not at all to be trusted as to the names of authors, as 
may be seen from Maii " and Lambecius *". 

Maii has published a considerable part of another Catena, 
in his ninth vol. Vet. Script. Its date is very near the end 

• Maii 6th vol. Scriptores Classic), ^ Com. Bibl. Cetsar. Vindob. vol. iii. 
p. 15—17. p. 163. 


of the 11th century, and it is entitled, cerro t% IxKoyrjg too 
N<x>]Tou Xsppctiv. He ascribes the first Catena to the same author, 
and a similar title is prefixed to a MS, in the Coislin Librarj', 
(Bibl. Coisl. No. 201.) of a later date, and containing a Catena 
on St. Luke of sixty-two Fathers. Tliese three Catenae, 
though differing in date, yet very similar in the names and 
number of the authors cited, must all be traced to the same 
source. Nor does there seem any reason why they should 
not be successive copies, only increased as time went on, of 
the original. MS. of Nicetas, whose name they bear. Nicetas 
flourished about 1077. He was at first Deacon at Constan- 
tinople, then Bishop of Serrae in Macedonia, afterwards Arch- 
bishop of Heraclea in Thrace. He is proved by Wolf (De 
Catenis) to have been the author of a Catena on Job, generally 
assigned to Olympiodorus ; and Lambecius (v, 63. iii. 81.) 
describes a Catena of his on the Psalms. That published 
by Possinus on St. Matthew, from a MS. in the Library of the 
Elector of Bavaria, contains extracts fi-om thirty Fathers, with 
a prologue and several expositions under the name of Nicetas. 
It seems very probable then that Nicetas was the author of a 
new class of Catenae, far exceeding in size and completeness 
those which previously existed. For among a great number 
of MSS. Catenae on the Gospels in the Paris, Venice, and 
Vienna Libraries, which bear date of the 10th or 11th cen- 
turies, there are scarcely any which number more than twelve 
Fathers, none certainly which approach to the extent of those 
above mentioned. 

Of the MSS. Catenae on St. Luke, of this date, some have 
the title prefixed to them, " From Chrysostom and other 
Fathers." Some again bear the names of Cyril and Origen, 
but by far the greater number, particularly in the Paris 
Library, are ascribed to Titus Bostrensis. It is however 
quite plain, that the Titus Bostrensis, who flourished under 
Julian in the fourth century, could not have been the 


author of a Catena containing extracts from the works of 
Cyril, Chrysostoni, and Isidore of Peleusium, who all lived some 
time later. Combefis (Bibl. Concion. Rec. Auct. p. 49.) 
thinks that this Titus wrote Commentaries on the Gospels 
of which only fragments remain, and also the four books 
ascribed to hira against the Manicheans ; but that there 
was a later writer of the same name, perhaps in the 6th 
century, who was the author of this Catena, and of the 
Commentary published under the name of Titus in the 
Bibl. Pat. For he says that there exist, in a MS. Catena on 
St. Matthew, passages assigned to Titus, which are not in 
that on St. Luke, and are very far superior to it. And these he 
conceives to belong to the elder Titus. It seems however most 
probable, that this Catena on St. Luke which Combefis speaks 
of, is an abridgment of a larger one, which was compiled 
from the ancient Titus and other later Fathers ', and by the same 
anonymous hand which also compiled that on Matthew, for 
the latter is always referred to by the former whenever St. Luke 
repeats what has been before related by St. Matthew''. 

There is the same reference also in the Commentary on 
St. Luke above mentioned, which was first published in Greek 
with a liatin Translation by Peltanus, (Bib. Pat. Gr. Lat. 1548.) 
which is plainly nothing but an abridgment of the Catena, 
though in a different form, making no distinction between the 
separate authors. 

Of the extracts given by St. Thomas from Titus, the greater 
number are accordingly to be found in the two Catenae on 
St. Luke and St. Matthew, edited by Dr. Cramer, from Paris 
and Bodl. MSS. It appears also that these Catena; are 
substantially the same as those mentioned by Savile, (vol. 

• Kollarius (Supp. Lamb. p. 19. scrtcd in the margin, but afterwards 

cod. 4.) mentions a very old MS. con- incorporated into the text, 

taining a Catena on St. Luke, from *> Conf. Bodl. Auct. T. ]. 4. Paris. 

Titus and Origen, to whom he thinks Coisl. 23. Montf. 
later Fathers were added, at first in- 


viii. p. 218.) of which the one on Matthew was published 
in a Latin Translation by Chris. Serrarigius at Venice, 1554, 
find is found also in the Lat. Ed. of Chrysostom, 2 vol. 
p. 1151. under the title of Libellus Questionum. Paris, 

(2.) The extracts cited by St. Thomas from Chrysostom are 
chiefly taken from the Homilies on Matthew, but there are 
some which seem to be gathered from different parts of his 
works by some writer who was well acquainted with them. 
Wastell assigns these to John of Jerusalem, whom he thinks 
he has proved to be the author of the Opus Imperfectum, 
generally imputed to Chiysostom, as well as of a Com- 
mentary on St. Luke, frequently quoted therein, and from 
which therefore he concludes these passages have been derived. 
However this may be, they are clearly from their occurrence 
in the oldest Catenae to be attributed to some very early 
imitator or epitomist of Chrysostom. 

The greater part of Ori gen's Homilies on St. Luke are 
contained in St. Thomas, which St. Jerome tells us were 
written by Origen when he was young. Jerome gives a Latin 
translation of them, to which in the Ben. Ed. are aflixed frag- 
ments of the Greek collected by Grabe, but they are published 
more at length both in Greek and Latin by Gallandi, Bibl. Pat. 
vol. 14. Mali has given some extracts in the Greek (6 vol. 
Class. Auct.) not in Gallandi. A passage on Luke viii. 4. quoted 
by St. Thomas, is found in Origen on the Proverbs, published 
in the Bibl. Pat. as above. It may be remarked, that in the 
MSS. in the Library of St. Mark at Venice, from which Gal- 
landi has pubUshed these works, what is ascribed to Titus 
and Origen, is in the Paris MSS. given to Titus alone. 

A Commentary on St. Luke by Cyril is very largely quoted 
throughout this Catena. Nothing of the kind exists in the 
published Editions of his works, but Maii has lately given 
almost the whole of it in his 6th vol. CI. Auct. A remarkable 


passage on the Eucliarist quoted by St. Tliomas, Luke 
xxii. 17. is found there, p. 371. 

Several quotations from Athanasius, which liave not been 
found in his published works, are supposed to be taken from 
a Commentary on St. Luke, of which a few fragments only 
remain, some in tlie Ben. Ed. and a few more in Montfau- 
con's Ed. 1706. 

A Commentary of Eusebius on St. Luke, but imperfect, has 
been published by Maii, (1st vol. Script. Vet.) as well as parts 
of his three books of Evangelical Questions, which seem to 
take in much of what is wanting to complete the Commentary 
on St. Luke. These have been edited from a MS. in the Vati- 
can of the 10th century, and supply several of the quotations 
given by St. Thomas. 

(3.) Of the other Greek writers cited by St. Thomas, and in 
the earlier editions of the Catena Aurea under no other title 
than Grajcus, almost all have been found in the a-vmywy^ 
e^Yiy^ascav published by Maii from the second Catena of Nicetas 
before mentioned. Some of them are but little known, and 
may therefore require a slight notice. 

Alexander, a monk, perhaps a native of Cyprus, who wrote 
a book De Inventione S. Crucis^ edited by Gretser, Gr. Lat. 
in his Tom. de Cruce, supposed also to be the same Alexan- 
der who recited an Oration on the Apostle Barnabas before 
the Abp. of Cyprus. See Leo Allatius de Symeonum. Sc. 
p. 99. 

Amphilochius Bp. of Iconium in Lycaopia, 370. He was a 
Cappadocian by birth, and for some time lived a monastic life 
with S. Basil and Gregory, in 381. Theodosius committed to 
him the care of the Asiatic Diocese. His principal writ- 
ings were a work against the Mas.silian Heretics, which is 
lost, and several Orations on the events of our Saviour's 
Life, published by Combefis, 1644. 

Antipatcr, Bp. of Bostrum in .Arabia, 460. He is .said lo 


have answered the Apology of Eusebius for Origen. There 
are certain Sermons of his extant on~ St. John the Baptist, 
Zacharias, and the Salutation of the B. Virgin, which are 
among the works ascribed to Metaphrastes. See Leo Allat. 
p. 89. 

Apollinaris, Bp. of Laodicea, celebrated for his opposi- 
tion to Heathen books in the Christian schools. Before he 
promulgated his heretical doctrine, 376, he was the friend of 
Basil, Greg. Naz., Athanasius, and others. His heresy was 
condemned at Rome, 378. He wrote Commentaries on most 
of the books of Scripture ; part of his Comm. on Luke is 
given in Maii, 1 vol. Vet. Script, p. 179. 

Asterius, Bp. of Amasea in Pontus, flourished 401, under 
Julian, and wrote Homilies on the Gospels, some of which are 
in Mag. Bib. Pat. t. 4. and in Combefis Auctarium 1661 ; and 
fragments of others in Photius, Bibl. 271. 

Evagiius, a Pontian by birth, studied under Greg. Naz. at 
Constantinople, and afterwards a disciple of S. Macarius in 
Egypt, wrote many monastic works, of which some are pub- 
lished among the writings of John Damascene. 

Eutychius, Patriarch of Constantinople, 553, formerly a 
monk of Amasea. He wrote a book denying a sensible 
resurrection from the dead, concerning which there was a 
dispute held between him and Gregory the Great, then the 
Apocrisiary of Pope Vigilius at Constantinople. It was after- 
wards condemned by Tiberius the Emperor. See Greg. 
Mor. 1. 14. c. 29. where the retractation of this work is 

Isaac, a Syrian by birth, Bp. of Nineve 540, afterwards 
embraced the monastic life. Wrote several ascetic works, 53 
Sermons under the title of De contemptu mundi, published 
Max. Bib. Pat. v. 11. See Lambec. lib. v. p. 73. 

Geometer, Combefis places about the 7th century. 
He is chiefly known for his Hymns, (published Morell 1691,) 


in honour of the B. Virgin, and some Homilies ; see also 
AUatius, p. 62. 

Macarius the elder, flourished 373, a monk of Scetus and 
disciple of Antony in Egypt, lived 60 years in the desert, 
and died 391. Wrote 50 Homilies, De integritate quae 
decet Christianos, which were published at Paris 1659, and 
in the works of Greg. Thaumaturgus 1622. 

Nilus, Prefect of Constantinople 440. He was a disciple 
of Chrysostom, and after living for some time a secular life, 
he entered a monastery at Nitria in Egypt, where he wrote 
several works chiefly ascetic ; these were published by Suares, 

Photius, Patriarch of Constantinople, 858. Deposed in 
Council of Const. 869. For a list of his works, see Fabricius, 
vol. xi. c. 35. Some fragments of a Commentary on St. Luke 
are published by Maii, 1 vol. Script. Vet. but many of the 
extracts from his works in Catenae on the Gospels are to be 
found in the Amphilochian Questions, of which some have 
been edited by Wolf, Schottus, and others ; but several lately 
edited by Maii have never before been published; they are 
taken from a MS. in the Vatican, containing the whole 313. 

Severus, Bp. of Antioch, 513; he was the first of the 
Monophy sites, and was condemned by Justin, 519, for 
opposing the Council of Chalcedon. See Niceph. Hist. 
Ecc. 16. c. 35. His Commentary on Luke, which Mont- 
faucon mentions, (Coisl. 54.) Maii gives, (6th vol. CI. Auct. 
p. 418.) 

Symeon Metaphrastes and Logotheta, bom at Constanti- 
nople, secretary to the Emperor Leo, began to write his 
Lives of the Saints, 913. according to Cave and Allatius. Ou- 
dinus places him in the 12th century. His life of St. Luke 
is quoted by St. Thomas, as also a Commentary on that 
Gospel, which does not however exist except in the Gr. 


Symeon, Prefect of the Monastery of S. Maman in 
Xerocercus at Constantinople, 1050, wrote 33 Orations, De 
Fide et Moribus turn Chrisiianis turn Monasticis^ published 
in Latin, 1603, at Ingolstadt by Pontanus. See Allat. 167. 

Theophanes is generally cited in the Greek Catenae on St. 
Luke, together with Eusebius. Corderius doubts whether he 
was Theophanes Cerameus, Bp. of Tauromenia in Sicily, who 
wrote annals from Dioclesian to the Emperor Michael, and 
Homilies In Dominicas et Festa; or Theophanes, Bp. of 
Nicaea, who wrote against the Jews. Maii thinks the name 
has been mistaken for the Theophania Eusebii. 

Victor, Presbyter of Antioch. See Preface to Catena on 
St. Mark. 

Of the Latin Fathers quoted by St. Thomas, Bede is the only 
one which requires any mention here. His Commentary on 
St. Luke, as we leam from his letter to Acca prefixed to it, 
is chiefly a compilation from the writings of the four Doctors 
of the Latin Church, but particularly St. Ambrose. Some things 
however he has added himself " quae auctor lucis ei aperuit," 
and from these St. Thomas has chiefly taken his extracts. 
The Glosses not to be found in the Glossa ordinaria or inter- 
linearis, are supposed to be St. Thomas's own. 

These introductory remarks have been supplied by the 
friend, who has translated the portion of St. Thomas's 
Commentary to which they relate, and which is contained 
in the following Volume, Thomas Dudley Ryder, M. A. 
of Oriel College. 

J. H. N. 


je 25. line 1. fvr Jerome read Pseudo- Jerome 
27. 5./or Jerome rearf Pseudo-Jerome 

13. /or Aug. rmrf Pseudo-Aug. 
40. 1. after throne insert Greek Ex. 

77. note f. fw 388. read 378. 

for csenalem read canalem 
110. Iine22.ybr painful read weary 
135. 3./or Aug. rearf PsEUDO-Auo. 

144. 39. for on to four more read up to four 
209. 23./or Greg. Naz. read Greg. Nyss. 




Among those mysteries of Christ's Incarnation which the 
Prophet Esaias expressly and plainly foretels, he says, 
/ will clothe the heavens with blackness, atid make sack-^'*-^^''^- 


cloth their covering. The Lord hath given me the tongue 
of the learned, that I should know how bg my word to 
uphold the weary. He wakeneth me at morn. At morn 
He wakeneth my ear to hearken unto Him as my Master. 

From these words we may understand the subject-matter 
of St. Luke's Gospel, the method of his writing, the object 
and condition of the writer. Augustine ; St. Luke seems to Aug. de 
dwell more than the other Evangehsts upon the Priestly E^ang. 
lineage and person of our Lord, and hence he has beeni-2»6. 
represented under the symbol of a calf, because that is the 
principal victim of the Priest. 

Ambrose ; The calf being the Priestly victim, this book ^mbr. 
of the Gospel aptly answers to it, commencmg as it does with Luc. 
the Priests, and ending in the calf, which, taking upon itself 
the sins of men, was sacrificed for the life of the whole world. 
This sacrifice of the calf also St. Luke describes with greater 
fulness than the rest. Gloss. As then St. Luke's intention was 
mainly to set forth the Passion of Christ, the subject of his 
Gospel may be signified by these words ; / will clothe lite 
heavens with blackness, and make sackcloth their covering, 



For literally at Christ's Passion there was darkness, and the 
Hieron. faith of the disciples was clouded. Jeroml;; And Christ was 
Es^, despised and made as one of no account, and His face was 
^' hidden and put to shame, that in the human flesh the Divine 

■up. Power might be concealed. Id. St. Luke's style, as well 
9 ' * in his Gospel as in the Acts of the Apostles, is more 
polished than that of the others, and has a tone of secular 
Ambr. eloquence. Hence it is added, T/te Lord hath given me 
^^' the tongue of the learned. Ambrose ; For although the 
divine Scriptures set aside the exercise of secular wisdom 
as of that which is rather decked out with a show of 
words than based upon true reason, yet will those who seek 
therein find the very examples which they consider most 
worthy of admiration. For St. Luke, while he has pre- 
served a kind of historic order in his narrative, and made 
known to us more of our Lord's wonderful works than 
the other Evangelists, has at the same time contrived to 
unite the excellences of each kind of wisdom in the course 
of his Gospel. What more extraordinary in natural wisdom 
than his revelation that the Holy Spirit was also the Creator 
of our Lord's Incarnation ! In the same book, he teaches 
Luke morals, as, for example, in what manner I ought to love 
32—36. ^y enemy. Again, he appeals to my reason, when I read, 
Luke for he that is faithful in a little will be faithful also in 
^«' ''' much. 

Euseb. EusEBius ; St. Luke, a native of Antioch, by profession a 

^ '**'"'* Physician, has left us concerning that medicine which he had 

received from the Apostles either through his intercourse with 

them or by tradition, two medical books, whereby not our 

bodies but our souls may be healed. And hence it follows, 

TTiat I should know how hy my word to uphold the ueary. 

Hieron. Jerome ; For he says that he has received the word from 

Esai.60 l^he Lord, by which he supports the weary and wanderer, and 

*i restores them to health. Greek Expositor; St. Luke, being 

phrastesby nature of a noble and ardent mind, acquired in his 

Lu^'* youth the learning of the Greeks. He made himself perfectly 

acquainted with Grammar and Poetry, as well as complete 

master of the art of Rhetoric and the power of persuasion. 

Nor was he surpassed by any one in the gifts of Philosophy; 

last of all, he learns Medicine. And now by his natural quick- 


ness having drunk deep enough of human wisdom, he takes 
flight to something higher. He hastens accordingly to Judsea, 
and gains access to the presence and hearing of Christ. Being 
soon convinced of the truth, he becomes a true disciple of 
Christ, and has frequent intercourse with his Master. Hence 
it follows, He wakeneth me at morn, (in my youth, as it were, 
to secular wisdom). At morn He wakeneth my ear (to divine 
wisdom) to hearken unto Him as my Master, i. e. Christ Him- 
self. EusEBius ; It is said that St. Luke wrote his Gospel as it Euseb. 
was declared to him by the mouth of St. Paul, as St. Mark also ^"P* 
wrote those things which were told him by St. Peter. Chry- Chrys. 
sosTOM ; Each of them imitated his master ; the one Paul, ^^^^^ 
flowing more rapidly than the torrent ; the other Peter, study- Hom.iv. 
ing conciseness. Augustine; They wrote at a time 
they both were able to receive the approbation not only of the ^^' 
Church of Christ, but of the Apostles themselves, still abiding iv. 9. 
in the flesh. And thus much may suffice to have been said 
by way of Preface. 






Ver. 1. Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to 
set forth in order a declaration of those things which 
are most surely believed among us, 

2. Even as they delivered them unto us, which 
from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers 
of the word : 

3. It seemed good to me also, having had perfect 
understanding of all things from the very first, to 
write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, 

4. That thou mightest know the certainty of those 
things, wherein thou hast been instructed. 

EusEBius ; St. Luke at the commencement of his Gospel Euseb. 
has told us the reason of his writing, which was, that many ^- J' 
others had rashly taken upon themselves to give accounts of iii. 4. 
those things of which he had a more certain knowledge. 
And this is his meaning when he says. Forasmuch as many 
have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of 
things. Ambrose ; For as many among the Jewish people Ambr. 
prophesied by inspiration of the Spirit of God, but others S^^^' 
were false prophets rather than prophets, so now also have i. i. c i. 
many attempted to write Gospels which the good money- 
f hanger refuses to pass. One gospel is mentioned which the 


twelve Apostles are said to have written ; another Basilides 
presumed to write; and another is said to have been by 
Beda in Bede ; The many who are mentioned, he reckons not 
x!u«e! ^® much by their number, as by the variety of their manifold 
heresies; men who were not endued with the gift of the 
Holy Spirit, but engaging in a vain work, have rather set 
forth in order a relation of events, than woven a true history. 
Ambrose ; Now they who have attempted to set forth these 
things in order have laboured by themselves, and have not 
succeeded in what they attempted. For without the assistance 
of man come the gifts and the grace of God, which, when it 
is infused, is wont so to flow, that the genius of the writer is 
not exhausted, but ever abounding. He well says therefore, 
Of things which have been fully accomplished among us, or 
which abound among us. For that which abounds is lacking to 
none, and no one doubts about that which is fulfilled, since 
the accomplishment builds up our faith, and the end manifests 
Tit. it. Titus Bostrensis; He says, of things, because not 
vTooim ^y shadows, as the heretics say, did Jesus accomplish His 
LucsB. advent in the flesh, but being as He was the Truth, so in 
Orig. very truth He performed His work. Origen; The effect 
in°Luc. upon his own mind, St. Luke explains by the expression, 
of the things which have been fully accomplished among us, 
i. e. have had their full manifestation among us, (as the 
Greek word *sir^»j^o<^o^»jju,e'v£ov signifies, which the Latin can- 
not express; in one word,) for he had been convinced of them 
by sure faith and reason, and wavered not in any thing. 
Chrys. Chrysostom ; The Evangelist was so far from being content 
!n°Act. ^'^*^ ^^^ single testimony, that he refers the whole to the 
Apost. Apostles, seeking from them a confirmation of his words ; 
*"°" ' and therefore he adds, as they handed them down to us, tcho 
were themselves from the beginning eyewitnesses. 
Euseb. EusEBius; Luke is a sure witness, because he obtained his 
^"P' knowledge of the truth either from St. Paul's instructions, 
or the instructions and traditions of the other Apostles, 
who were themselves eyewitnesses from the beginning. 
Chry«. Chrys. He says, were eyewitnesses, because this is our 
'"P- chief ground for believing in a thing, that we derive it 
from those who were actually eyewitnesses. Origen; Jt 

VER. 1 4. ST. LUKE. 7 

is plain that of one kind of knowledge, the end is in the 
knowledge itself, as in geometry ; but of another kind, the 
end is counted to be in the work, as in medicine ; and so it is 
in the word of God, and therefore having signified the 
knowledge by the words ^cere themselves eyewitnesses, he 
points out the work by what follows, and ivere ministers qf 
the word, Ambrose ; This expression is used, not that we 
should suppose the ministry of the word to consist rather in 
seeing than hearing, but that, because by the word was meant 
not a word that can be spoken by the mouth, but one of real 
existence, we may understand that to have been not a com- 
mon, but a Heavenly Word, to which the Apostles ministered. 
Cyril ; In what he says of the Apostles having been eye- Cyril, 
witnesses of the word, he agrees with John, who says. The "°" °^' 
IVord was made Jlesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His 
glory. For the Word by means of the flesh was made visible. 
Ambrose ; Now not only did they see the Lord in the body, 
but also in the Word. For they saw the Word, who with 
Moses and Elias saw the glory of the Word. Others did 
not see it, who could only see the body. Origen; It is 
written in Exodus, The people saw the voice of the iMrd. Exod. 
Now a voice is rather heard than seen. But it was so ' ' 
written, to shew us that men see the voice of the Lord 
with other eyes, which they only have who are worthy 
of them. Again in the Gospel, it is not the voice that 
is perceived, but the Word, which is more excellent than 
the voice. Theophylact; By these words it is plainly Theoph. 
implied, that Luke was not a disciple from the beginning, ^^^- ^" 
but became one in course of time; others were disciples 
from the beginning, as Peter, and the sons of Zebedee. 
Bede ; Nevertheless both Matthew and John were obliged in 
many things that they wrote to consult those who had had 
means of knowing the infancy, childhood, and genealogy of 
our Lord, and of seeing the things which he did. Origen ; 
St. Luke hereby explains to us the source of his writing; 
seeing that what things he wrote, he gained not from 
report, but had himself traced them up from the beginning. 
Hence it follows, Jt seemed good to me also, having carefully 
investigated every thing from the very first, to write to thee 
in order, most excellent Theophilus. Ambrose ; When he 


says, It seemed good to me, he does not deny that it 
seemed good to God: for it is God who predisposes the 
wills of men. Now no one has doubted that this book of the 
Gospel is more full of details than the others ; by these words 
then he claims to himself, not any thing that is false, but 
the truth ; and therefore he says, " It seemed good to me, 
having investigated every thing, to write." Not to write 
Johnsi, every thing, but from a review of every thing; " for if all the 
things which Jesus did were written, I do not think the world 
itself could contain them." But purposely has Luke passed 
by things that were written by others, in order that each 
book of the Gospel might be distinguished by certain 
Theoph. mysteries and miracles pecuhar to itself. Theophylact; 
He writes to Theophilus, a man probably of some distinction, 
and a governor; for the form, 3Iost excellent, was not 
used except to rulers and governors. As for example, Paul 
Acts 26, says to Festus, Most excellent Festus. Bede; Theophilus 
Beda means, " loving God," or " being loved by God." Whoever 
s"P- then loves God, or desires to be loved by Him, let him think 
this Gospel to have been written to him, and preserve it as 
a gift presented to him, a pledge entrusted to his care. 
The promise was not to explain the meaning of certain 
new and strange things to Theophilus, but to set forth the 
truth of those words in which he had been instructed; 
as it is added, That thou mightest know the truth of 
those words in which thou hast been instructed ; that is, 
" that thou mightest be able to know in what order each 
Chrys, thing was said or done by the Lord." Chrysostom ; Or it 
may be, " That thou mightest feel certain and satisfied as 
to the truth of those things which thou hast heard, now that 
thou beholdest the same in writing." Theophylact; For 
frequently, when a thing is asserted by any one, and not ex- 
pressed in writing, we suspect it of falsehood ; but when a 
man has written what he asserts, we are the more inclined to 
believe it, as if, unless he thought it to be true, he would 
Photius, not commit it to writing. Greek Ex. The whole preface of 
ment. in this Evangelist contains two things ; first, the condition of 
^"*'- those who wrote Gospels before him, (Matthew and Mark for 
example;) secondly, the reason why he also himself proposed 
to write one. 

VER. 5 7. ST. LUKE. 9 

Ha\4ng said, " attempted," a word which may be ap- 
plied both to those who presumptuously engage upon a 
subject, and those who reverently handle it, he determines 
the doubtful expression by two additions ; first, by the words. 
Of things which have been fully accomplished among us; and 
secondly, As they handed them down to us, who were eye- 
witnesses from the beginning. The word handed down seems 
to shew, that the eye-witnesses themselves had a com- 
mission to transmit the truth. For as they handed it down, 
so it became others also receiving it in due order, in their 
turn to publish it. But from the not depositing in writing 
what had been delivered, several difliculties through lapse of 
time sprang up. Rightly then did those who had received 
the tradition from the first eye-witnesses of the Word, esta- 
blish it in writing for the whole world ; thereby repelling 
falsehood, destroying forgetfulness, and making up from 
tradition itself a perfect whole. 

5. There was in the days of Herod, the king of 
Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course 
of Abia : and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, 
and her name was Elisabeth. 

6. And they were both righteous before God, 
walking in all the commandments and ordinances of 
the Lord blameless. 

7. And they had no child, because that Elisabeth 
was barren, and they both were now well stricken in 

Chrysostom ; St. Luke commences the history of his Chrys. 
Gospel with Zacharias and the birth of John ; relating one ""^ °^^' 
marvellous event before another, the less before the greater. 
For since a virgin was about to become a mother, it had been 
fore-ordained by grace that the old should previously conceive. 
He fixes the time, when he says, In the days of Herod, and 
in the following words adds his rank, king of Judoia. There in Matt, 
was another Herod, who killed John ; he was tetrarch, whereas *^*^" "' 
this one was king. Bede ; Now the time of Herod, i. e. of Beda,in 
a foreign king, bears witness to our Lord's coming, for itgyang. 


Gen.49, had been foretold, The sceptre shall not depart from Judah^ 
nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come. For 
from the time that our fathers came out of Egypt, they were 
governed by judges of their own nation, until the Prophet 
Samuel ; and then by kings, until the carrying away to Babylon. 
But after the return from Babylon, the chief power was in the 
hands of priests, until the time of Hyrcanus, who was both 
king and high priest. He was slain by Herod, after which the 
government of the kingdom was delivered over by the com- 
mand of Augustus Cffisar to this same Herod, a foreigner, in 
whose thirty-first year, according to the prophecy we have 
mentioned, Shiloh came. 

Ambrose ; Divine Scripture teaches us with respect to 
those whom we commemorate, that not only the characters 
of the men themselves, but of their parents also, ought to be 
praised, that they might be distinguished by an inheritance, 
as it were, handed down to them of unspotted purity. Now 
not only from his parents, but also from hi^ ancestors, 
St. John derives his illustrious descent, a descent not exalted 
by secular power, but venerable from its sanctity. Complete 
then is that praise which comprehends birth, character, office, 
actions, and judgments. 

The office was that of the Priesthood, as it is said, A 
Beda, in certain Priest of the name of Zacharias. Bede; For John 
in viRii. ^'^s allotted a Priestly tribe, that he might with the more 
s. Joh. authority herald forth a change of priesthood. Ambrose ; 
His birth is implied in the mention made of his ancestors. 
Of the course of Ahia, i. e. of high rank among the noblest 
families. Bede ; There were Princes of the Sanctuary or 
High Priests, both of the sons of Eleazar and the sons of 
Thamar, whose courses according to their respective services 
when they entered into the Ifouse of God David divided 
into twenty -four lots, of which the family of Abia (from which 
1 Chron. Zacharias was descended) obtained the eighth lot. But it 
^*' was not without meaning that the first preacher of the new 
covenant was bom with the rights of the eighth lot; because 
as the old Covenant is often expressed by the seventh num- 
ber on account of the Sabbath, so frequently is the new Cove- 
nant by the eighth, because of the sacrament of our Lord's or 
our resurrection. Theophylact; Wishing to shew also that 

VER. 5 — 7. ST. LUKE. 11 

John was legally of Priestly descent, Luke adds, And his 
wife teas of the daughters of Aaron, and her name uas 
Elisabeth, for it was not permitted to the Jews to take a wife 
from any other tribe but their own. Elisabeth by interpret- 
ation signifies " rest," Zacharias " the remembrance of the 
land." Bede ; John was bom of just parents, that so he 
might the more boldly give precepts of justice to the people, 
which he had not learnt as novelties, but had received by 
right of inheritance from his ancestors. Hence it follows. 
And they were both just before God. Ambrose ; Here their 
whole character is comprehended in their justice, but it is 
well said before God, for a man by affecting a popular 
good- will might seem just to me, but not be just before 
God, if that justice instead of springing from simpleness of 
heart, was a mere pretence carried on by flattery. Perfect 
then is the praise, "that a man is just before God;" for he 
only is perfect who is approved by Him who cannot be 
deceived. St. Luke comprehends the action in the command- 
ment, the doing justice in the justification. Hence it follows, 
walking in all the commandments and justijicaiions of the 
Lord. For when we obey the command of heaven we walk 
in the commandments of the Lord, when we observe justice 
we seem to possess the justification of the Lord. But to be 
*' blameless" we must " provide things honest, not only before Prov. 3, 
God, but also before men; there is no blame when both^' 
motive and action are alike good, but a too austere righteous- 
ness often provokes censure. A righteous act may also be 
done unrighteously, as when a man out of ostentation gives 
largely to the poor, which is not without just cause of blame. 
It follows. And they had no son, because Elisabeth was barren. 
Chrysostom; Not only Elisabeth, but the wives of theChrys. 
Patriarchs also, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, were barren, which f^ q""' 
was coimted a disgrace among the ancients. Not that their 49. 
barrenness was the effect of sin, since all were just and vir- 
tuous, but ordained rather for your benefit, that when you saw 
a virgin giving birth to the Lord, you might not be faithless, or 
perplexing your mind with respect to the womb of the barren. 
Theophylact; And that you might learn that the law of 
God seeketh not a bodily increase of sons but a spiritual, 
both were far advanced, not only in the body but in the 


Ps.84,c. Spirit, "making ascents in their heart''," liaving their life as 
1 ^hesB. ^Y^Q (jg^y j^Qi a^ ^jjg night, and walking honestly as in the day. 

8. And it came to pass, that while he executed the 
Priest's office before God in the order of his course, 

9. According to the custom of the Priest's office, 
his lot was to burn incense when he went into the 
temple of the Lord. 

10. And the whole multitude of the people were 
praying without at the time of incense. 

Bede ; The Lord appointed by the hand of Moses one 
High Priest, at whose death another was to succeed in due 
order. This was observed until the time of David, who by the 
command of the Lord increased the number of the Priests ; 
and so at this time Zacharias is said to have been per- 
forming his Priest's office in the order of his course, as it 
follows : But it came to pass, when Zacharias was performing 
the PriesVs office in the order of his course before God, 
according to the custom of the Priesthood, his lot was, Sfc. 
Ambrose ; Zacharias seems here to be designated High Priest, 
because into the second tabernacle went the High Priest alone 
Heb 9, once every year, not without blood, which he offered for 
®* himself and the sins of the people. Bede; It was not by a 
new lot that he was chosen when the incense was to be 
burnt, but by the old lot, whereby according to the order of 
his Priesthood he succeeded in the course of Abia. It 
follows. And all the multitude of the people, 8fc. Incense 
was ordered to be carried into the Holy of Holies by the 
High Priest, the whole people waiting without the temple. 
It was to be on the tenth day of the seventh month, and this 
day was to be called the day of expiation or propitiation, the 
mystery of which day the Apostle explaining to the Hebrews, 

>> Ascensiones in corde ponentes. and rising up from earthly things to 

Vulg. Jerome reads 'semitae,' and other divine; conf. 2 Cor. 4, 16; Phil. 3, 13. 

versions have ' via; strata;,' the literal They refer also to the ' Cantica gra- 

translationofthe Hebrew word niVOD, duum,' or the fifteen Psalms, (119 to 

which our own version has followed, 133,) sung by the priests on going up the 

' whose ways.' The LXX reads i,*- fif^en steps in the temple. See Angus- 

fideut. The Fathers commonly cxpluin t'"*^ '" Ps- ^3. Greg. lib. iii. c. 7. in 

ascensiones by ' gradus virtutum,' Kzech. prmf. in Ps. 6. Ptpn. 
as of one gradually advancing in virtue 

VER. 11 14. ST. LUKE. 13 

points to Jesus as the true High Priest, who in His own 
blood has entered the secret places of heaven that he might 
reconcile the Father unto us, and intercede for the sins of 
those who still wait praying before the doors. Ambrose; 
This then is that High Priest who is still sought by lot, for as 
yet the true High Priest is unknown ; for he who is chosen 
by lot is not obtained by man's judgment. That High Priest 
therefore was sought for, and another typified, the true 
High Priest for ever, who not by the blood of victims, but 
by His own blood, was to reconcile God the Father to 
mankind. Then indeed there were changes in the Priest- 
hood, now it is unchangeable. 

11. And there appeared unto him an angel of the 
the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of 

12. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, 
and fear fell upon him. 

13. But the angel said unto him. Fear not, Zacha- 
rias : for thy prayer is heard ; and thy wife Elisabeth 
shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. 

14. And thou shalt have joy and gladness ; and 
many shall rejoice at his birth. 

Chrysostom ; When Zacharias entered into the temple to Chrys. 
offer up prayers to God for all men, interceding between God ^°{^c, ' 
and man, he saw an angel standing within, as it is said, ^wrfDeiNat. 
there appeared unto him an angel. Ambrose ; It is well said 
that there appeared an angel to Zacharias, who suddenly 
beheld him ; and this is the expression especially used by 
Divine Scripture with respect to angels or God, that 
what cannot be seen beforehand may be said to appear. For 
things which are the objects of our senses are not seen as 
He is seen. Who is seen only as He will, and Whose nature 
is not to be seen. Origen ; And we speak thus not only 
of the present time, but also of the fiiture. When we shall 
have passed fiom the world, God will not appear unto all 
men, nor will the angels, but unto him only who has a clean 
heart. The place will neither hinder nor serve any one. 


Chrys. Chrysostom ; But tlie angel evidently came not in a dream, 
in Matt! because the tidings he brought were too hai*d to be under- 
stood, and needed therefore a more visible and marvellous 
Damas. manifestation. Damascene; Angels, however, are revealed not 
Ortho- *s they really are, but transformed (as men are able to be- 
dox. }ioi(j them) into whatever the Lord commands. Theophylact ; 
It IS said the altar of incense, because the other altar was set 
apart for burnt offerings. Ambrose ; It was not without 
good reason that the angel appeared in the temple, for the 
coming of the tnie High Priest was now announced, and the 
Heavenly Sacrifice was preparing at whicli angels were to 
minister. For one cannot doubt that an angel stands by 
where Christ is sacrificed. But he appeared at the right hand 
of the altar of incense, because he brought down the token of 
P8.i6,8. Divine mercy. Far the Lord is on my right hand, so that I 
Chrys. should not he moved. Chrysostom; The justest of men 
I^iNat. ^^^ "^* without fear behold an angel ; Zacharias therefore, 
not sustaining the sight of the angel's presence, nor able to 
withstand his brightness, is troubled, as it is added, Zacharias 
was troubled. But as it happens, when a charioteer is 
fiightened, and has let loose his reins, the horses mn head- 
long, and the chariot is overturned ; so is it with the soul, 
when it is taken by any surprise or alarm; as it is here added, 
and fear fell upon him. Obigen ; A new face suddenly 
presenting itself to the human eye, troubles and startles the 
mind. The angel knowing this to be the nature of man, first 
dispels the alarm, as it follows, But the angel said unto him, 
Athan. Fear not. Athanasius; Whereby it is not difficult to discern 
Anton, between good and bad spirits, for if joy has succeeded to fear, 
we may know that relief has come fiom God, because the 
peace of the soul is a sign of the Divine Presence ; but if the 
fear remains unshaken, it is an enemy who is seen. Origen ; 
The angel not only soothes his fears, but gladdens him with 
good tidings, adding, For thy prayer is heard, and thy wife 
Elisabeth shall bear a son. 
Aug. de Augustine ; Now here we must first consider that it is 
Evan! "°' likely that Zacharias, when offering sacrifice for the sins 
l.ii.q.l. or for the salvation or redemption of the people, would 
neglect the public petitions, to pray (though himself an old 
man, and his wife also old) that he might receive children ; 

VEH. 11 — 14. ST. LUKK. 15 

and, next, above all that no one prays for what he 
despairs of ever obtaining. And even up to this time, so 
much had he despaired of ever having children, that he 
would not believe, even when an angel promised it to him. 
The words, Tliy prayer is heard, must be understood there- 
fore to refer to the people ; and as salvation, redemption, 
and the putting away of the sins of the people was to be 
through Christ, it is told Zacharias that a son shall be 
bom to him, because that son was ordained to be the 
forerunner of Christ. 

Chrysostom ; Or it means, that this was to be the proof of chrjg 
his prayer having been heard, namely, that a son should be »"P- 
born to him, crying. Behold the Lamh of God ! Theophylact ; 
As if when Zacharias asks. How shall I know this ? the 
angel answers. Because Elisabeth shall bring forth a son, thou 
shall believe that the sins of thy people are forgiven. Ambrose ; 
Or, as follows; Divine mercy is ever full and overflowing, not 
narrowed to a single gift, but pouring in an abundant store 
of blessings ; as in this case, where first the fruit of his 
prayer is promised ; and next, that his ban-en wife shall bear 
a child, whose name is announced as follows ; And thou 
shalt call his name John. 

Bede ; It is meant as a token of particular merit, when a 
man has a name given him or changed by God. Chrysostom ; f^. 
Which must be the meaning here, for those who fromJoann. 
their earliest years were destined to shine forth in virtue, j^^™' 
received their names at the very first fiora a divine source ; 
while those who were to rise up in later years, had a name 
given them afterwards. 

Bede ; John is therefore interpreted, " one in whom i$ 
grace, or the grace of God ;" by which name it is declared, 
first, that grace was given to his parents, to whom in their 
old age a son was to be bom ; next, to John himself, who was 
to become great before the Lord ; lastly, also to the children 
of Israel, whom he was to convert to the Lord. Hence it 
follows. And he shall be a joy unto thee, and a cause of 
rejoicing. Origen; For when a just man is bom into the 
world, the authors of his birth rejoice ; but when one is bom 
who is to be as it were an exile to labour and punishment, 
they are struck with terror and dismay. Ambrose ; But a 


saint is not only the blessing of his parents, but also the 
salvation of many ; as it follows, And tnatiy shall rejoice at 
his birth. Parents are reminded liere to rejoice at the birth 
of saints, and to give thanks. For it is no slight gift of God 
to vouchsafe unto us children, to be the transmitter of our 
race, to be the heirs of succession. 

15. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, 
and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink ; and 
he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his 
mother's womb. 

16. And many of the children of Israel shall he 
turn to the Lord their God. 

17. And he shall go before him in the spirit and 
power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the 
children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the 
just ; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. 

Ambrose; Next to his becoming the rejoicing of many, the 
greatness of his virtue is prophesied ; as it is said, For he shall be 
great in the sight of the Lord. The greatness signified is not of 
the body, but of the soul. Greatness in the sight of the Lord 
is greatness of soul, greatness of virtue. Theophylact ; For 
many are called great before men, but not before God, as the 
hypocrites. And so in like manner was John called great, as the 
parents of John were called just, before the Lord. Am- 
brose ; He extended not the boundaries of an empire, nor 
brought back in triumph the spoils of war, (but, what is far 
greater,) preaching in the desert he overcame by his great 
virtue the delights of the world, and the lusts of the flesh. 
Hence it follows; And he shall drink no wine nor strong 
drink. Bede ; Sicera is interpreted " drunkenness," and by 
the word the Hebrews understand any drink that can in- 
toxicate, (whether made from fruits, com, or any other thing.) 
But it was part of the law of the Nazarites to give up wine 
Numb, and strong drink at the time of their consecration. Hence 
^' *■ .John, and others like him, that they might always remain 
Nazarites, (i. e. holy,) are careful always to abstain from 

VKR. 15 17. ST. LUKE. 17 

these things. For he ought not to be drunk with wine (in 
which is licentiousness) who desires to be filled with the new 
wine of the Holy Spirit; rightly then is he, from whom all 
drunkenness with wine is utterly put away, filled with the 
grace of the Spirit. But it follows, Jtid he shall be filled 
with the Holy Spirit. Ambrose ; On whomsoever the Holy 
Spirit is poured, in him there is fulness of great virtue ; as in 
St. John, who before he was bom, when yet in his mother's 
womb, bore witness to the grace of the Spirit which he had 
received, when leaping in the womb of his parent lie hailed 
the glad tidings of the coming of the Lord, There is one 
spirit of this life, another of gi*ace. The former has its 
beginning at birth, its end at death ; the latter is not tied 
dovra to times and seasons, is not quenched by death, is not 
shut out of the womb. Greek Expositor ; But what John's Meta- 
work is to be, and what he will do through the Holy Spirit, ^Jp^*^"" 
is shewn as follows ; Aiid many of the children of Israel 
shall he turn, S^c. Origen; John indeed turned many, but 
it is the Lord's work to turn all to God their Father, Bede ; 
Now since John (who, bearing witness to Christ, baptized 
the people in His faith) is said to have turned the children 
of Israel to the Lord their God, it is plain that Christ is the 
God of Israel. Let the Arians then cease to deny that 
Christ our Lord is God. Let the Photinians'' blush to ascribe 
Christ's beginning to the Virgin. Let the Manichaeans 
no longer believe that there is one God of the people of 
Israel, another of the Christians. Ambrose ; But we need 
no testimony that St. John turned the hearts of many, for to 
this point we have the express witness of both prophetic and 
and evangelical Scriptures. For the voice of one crying in 
the wilderness. Prepare ye the way of the Lord, and make 
His paths straight : and his baptisms thronged by the 
people, declare the rapid progress of conversion. For the 
forerunner of Christ preached, not himself, but the Lord ; and 
therefore it follows. And he shall go before Him. It was 

' So called from Photinus, Bp. of A.D. 344, and in those of Sardis and 

Sinnio in the middle of the fourth cen- Milan 347, 348. He was finally de- 

tary. He taught that Christ was 'Fiii* posed in the second Council of Sir- 

it^furn, and had His beginning from mio 351, and banished. See Epiphant 

the Virgin Mary. His heresy was Hseres. 71. tit. iii. Tom. 1. 
condemned in the Council of Antioch 



well said, that he shall go before Him, who both in birth 
and in death was His forerunner. Origen ; In the spirit 
and power of Elijah. — He says not, in the mind of Elijah, 
but in the spirit and power. For the spirit which was 
in Elijah came upon John, and in like manner his power. 
Ambrose ; For never is the spirit without power, nor 
power without the spirit. And therefore it is said, in the 
spirit and power; because holy Elijah had great power 
and grace. Power, so that he turned back the false hearts 
of the people to faith ; power of abstinence, and patience, 
and the spirit of prophecy. Elijah was in the wilderness, 
in the wilderness also was John. The one sought not 
the favour of king Ahab ; the other despised that of Herod. 
The one divided Jordan; the other brought men to the 
Saving waters; John, the forerunner of our Lord's first 
coming ; Elijah of His latter. 
Mai. 4, Bede; But what was foretold of Ehas by Malachi, is 
now spoken by the angel of John ; as it follows, That he 
should turn the hearts of the parents to the children; 
pouring into the minds of the people, by his preaching, the 
spiritual knowledge of the ancient saints. And the dis- 
obedient to the wisdom of the just ; i. e. not laying claim to righteousness from the works of the law, but seeking salvation 
*"^' by faith. Greek Ex. Or else ; The Jews were the parents of 
John and the Apostles; but, nevertheless, from pride and 
infidelity raged violently against the Gospel. Therefore, like 
dutiful children, John first, and the Apostles after him, declared 
to them the truth, winning them over to their own righteous- 
ness and wisdom. So also will Elias convert the remnant of 
Hebrews to the truth of the Apostles. 

Bede ; But because he had said that Zacharias' prayer for 

the people was heard, he adds. To make ready a people pre- 

' ps""- pared * for the Lord ; by which he teaches in what manner 

the same people must be healed and prepared ; namely, by 

repenting at the preaching of John and believing on Christ. 

Theophyl. Or, John made ready a people not disbelieving 

but prepared, that is, previously fitted to receive Christ. 

9 sacra- Origen ; This sacrament* of preparation is even now ful- 

men urn ^^^ -^^ ,^^ world, for even now the spirit and power of John 

must come upon the soul, befoi-e it believes in Jesus Christ. 

VER. IS — 22. ST, LUKE. 19 

18. And Zacharias said unto the angel. Whereby 
shall I know this ? for I am an old man, and my wife 
well stricken in years. 

19. And the angel answering said unto him, I am 
Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God ; and am 
sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad 

20. And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able 
to speak, until the day that these things shall be 
performed, because thou believest not my words, 
which shall be fulfilled in their season. 

21. And the people waited for Zacharias, and 
marvelled that he tarried so long in the temple. 

22. And when he came out, he could not speak 
unto them : and they perceived that he had seen 
a vision in the temple : for he beckoned unto them, 
and remained speechless. 

Chrysostom ; Considering his own age, and moreover the Chrys. 
barrenness of his wife, Zacharias doubted ; as it is said, And pg 1^^' 
Zacharias said unto the angel. Whereby shall I ktioiv this ? NatDei 
as if he said, " How sheill this be ?" And he adds the reason 
of his doubting ; Far I am an old man. An unseasonable time 
of life, an ill-suited nature ; the planter infirm, the soil 
barren. But it is thought by some a thing unpardonable, 
in the priest, that he raises a course of objections ; for when- 
ever God declares any thing, it becomes us to receive it in 
faith, and moreover, disputes of this kind are the mark of 
a rebellious spirit. Hence it follows ; And the angel answer- 
ing said unto him, I am Gabriel, who stand before God. 
Bede ; As if he says, " If it were man who promised these 
miracles, one might with impunity demand a sign, but 
when an angel promises, it is then not right to doubt. 
It follows ; And I am sent to speak to thee. Chrys. Chrys. 
That when you hear that I am sent from God, you should ^"^" 
deem none of the things which are said unto thee to be of 
man, for I speak not of myself, but declare the message 
of Him who sends me. And this is the merit and excellence 



of a messenger to relate nothing of his own. Bede ; Here 

we must remark, that the angel testifies, that he both stands 

before God, and is sent to bring good tidings to Zacharias. 

Greg. Greg. For when angels come to iis, they so outwardly 

xxxiv. fulfil their ministry, as at the same time inwardly to be 

•5 never absent from His sight ; since, though the angelic 

spirit is circumscribed, the highest Spirit, which is God, is 

not circumscribed. The angels therefore even when sent 

are before Him, because on whatever mission they go, they 

pass within Him. 

Bede ; But he gives him the sign which he asks for, that 

he who spoke in unbelief, might now by silence learn to 

believe ; as it follows ; and, behold, ihou shall he dumb. 

Chryg. Chrys. That the bonds might be transferred from the 

'^^' powers of generation to the vocal organs. From no regard 

to the priesthood was he spared, but for this reason was the 

more smitten, because in a matter of faith he ought to have 

cap. i. set an example to others. Theophyl. Because the word 

•••?•» jn the Greek may also signify deaf, he well says, Because 

ihou helierest not, thou shall he deaf, and shall not be 

able to si^eak. For most reasonably he suffered these two 

things; as disobedient, he incurs the penalty of deafness; as 

Chrys. an objector, of silence. Chrys. But the Angel says. And, 

""''■ behold ; in other words, " At this instant." But mark the 

mercy of God in what follows: Until the day in which 

these things shall be performed. As if he said, " When by 

the issues of events I shall have proved my words, and thou 

shalt perceive that thou art rightly punished, I will remove 

the punishment from thee." And he points out the cause of 

the punishment, adding. Because thou believest not my words, 

which shall be fulfilled in their season ; not considering His 

power Who sent me, and before Whom I stand. But if he 

who was incredulous about a mortal birth is punished, how 

shall he escape vengeance, who speaks falsely of the heavenly 

and unspeakable birth } 

Antipa. Gbeek Ex. Now while these things were going on within, 

trensii. the delay excited surprise among the multitudes who were 

waiting without, as it follows: And the people waited for 

Zacharias, and marvelled that he tarried. And while various 

uspicions were going about, each man repeating them as it 

VER. 23 25. ST. LUKE. 21 

pleased him, Zacharias coming forth told by his silence what 
he secretly endured. Hence it follows, And when he came 
out, he could not speak. Thf:ophyl. But Zacharias 
beckoned to the people, who perhaps enquired the cause of 
his silence, which, as he was not able to speak, he signified 
to them by nodding. Hence it follows. And he beckoned to 
them, and remained speechless. Ambrose ; But a nod is a 
certain action of the body, without speech endeavouring to 
declaie the will, yet not expressing it. 

23. And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days 
of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to 
his own house. 

24. And after those days his wife Elisabeth con- 
ceived, and hid herself five months, saying, 

25. Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days 
wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach 
among men. 

Bede ; During the time of their course, the priests of the 
temple were so occupied by their office, that they kept 
themselves not only from the society of their wives, but 
even from the very threshold of their houses. Hence it is 
said. And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days were ac- 
complished, 8fc. For as there was then required a priestly 
succession from the root of Aaron, of necessity then a time 
was appointed for keeping up the inheritance. But as now 
not a carnal succession, but spiritual perfection, is looked for, 
the priests are enjoined (in order that they might ever be 
able to serve the altar) the perpetual observance of chastity. 
It follows : But after those days, 8fc. that is, after the days 
of Zacharias's ministration were completed. But these 
things were done in the month of September, the twenty- 
second day of the month, upon which the Jews were bound to 
observe the feast of the Tabernacles, just before the equinox, 
at which the night began to be longer than the day, because 
Christ must increase, but John must decrease. And those 
days of fasting were not without their meaning ; for by the gee John 
mouth of John, repentance and mortification were to be ^' ^' 


preached to men. It follows: And she hid herself. Am- 
brose; What reason then for concealment, except shame? 
For there are certain allowed times in wedlock, when it is 
becoming to attend to the begetting of children ; while the 
years thrive, while there is hope of child-bearing. But when 
in good time old age has come on, and the period of life is 
more fitted for governing children, than begetting them, it is a 
shame to bear about the signs of pregnancy, however lawful. 
It is a shame to be laden with the burden of another age, 
and for the womb to swell with the fruit of not one's own 
time of life. It was a shame then to her on account of her 
age; and hence we may understand the reason why they 
did not at this time come together, for surely she who 
blushed not at their coming together in their old age, would 
not blush at her child-bearing ; and yet she blushes at the 
parental burden, while she yet is unconscious of the religious 
mystery. But she who hid herself because she had con- 
ceived a son, began to glory that she carried in her womb a 

Origen; And therefore he says. Five months, \\\dA. is, until 
Mary should conceive, and her babe leaping with joy should 
prophesy. Ambrose ; And though she might blush at the 
time of her child-bearing, on the other hand she rejoiced 
that she was fi-ee from reproach, saying, Thus hath the Lord 
dealt uith me. 
Chrjs. Chkys. Truly He has loosed her barrenness, a super- 
natural gift He has bestowed upon her, and the unfruitful 
rock has produced the green blade. He has taken away her 
disgrace, in that He has made her to bring forth. Hence it 
follows : In the days uherein he looked on me, to take away 
my reproach among men. Ambrose ; For it is a shame 
among women not to receive that reward of marriage, which 
Chrys. is the only cause of their being married. Chrys. Her 
de*""' .i°y therefore is twofold. The Lord has taken away from her 
Anna, the mark of barrenness, and also given her an illustrious 
offspring. In the case of other births, the coming together 
of the parents only occurs; this birth was the effect of 
heavenly grace. 

Bede ; Now mystically by Zacharias may be signified 
the Jewish Priesthood, by Elisabeth the law itself; which, 

VER. 26, 27. ST. LUKE. 28 

well administered by the teaching of the Priests, ought 
to have bome spiritual children to God, but was not able, Heb. 7, 
because the Law made no one perfect. Both were just, ^ -^j^ 
because the law is good, and the Priesthood for that time 1, 8. 
holy; both were well stricken in years, because at Christ's 
coming both the Law and Priesthood were just bending to old 
age, Zacharias enters the temple, because it is the priest's 
office to enter into the sanctuary of heavenly mysteries. There 
was a multitude without the doors, because the multitude 
cannot penetrate mysteries. When he places frankincense on 
the altar, he discovers that John will be bom ; for while the 
teachers are kindled with the flame of divine reading, they 
find the grace of God flow to them through Jesus : and this Gal. 3, 
is done by an angel, /or the Law was ordained hy angels. 
Ambrose; But in one man the voice of the people was put 
to silence, because in one man the whole people was address- 
ing God. For the word of God has come over to us, and in 
us is not silent. He is dumb who understands not the Law; 
for why should you think the man w^ho knows not a sound, 
to be more dumb than him who knows not a mystery. The 
Jewish people are like to one beckoning, who cannot make 
his actions intelligible. Bede ; And yet Elisabeth conceives 
John, because the more inward parts of the Law abound with 
sacraments of Christ. She conceals her conception five 
months, because Moses in five books set forth the mysteries 
of Chi'ist; or because the dispensation of Christ is repre- 
sented by the words or deeds of the saints, in the five ages of 
the world. 

26. And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was 
sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Naza- 

27. To a virgin espoused to a man whose name 
was Joseph, of the house of David ; and the virgin's 
name was Mary. 

Bede ; Because either the Incarnation of Christ was to be 
in the sixth age of the world, or because it was to serve to the 


fulfilling of the law, rightly in the sixth month of John's 
conception was an angel sent to Mary, to tell her that a 
Saviour should be born. Hence it is said, And in the sixth 
month, Sfc. We must understand the sixth month to be 
March, on the twenty-fifth day of which our Ijord is reported 
to have been conceived, and to have suffered, as also to have 
been born on the twenty-fifth day of December. But if either 
the one day we believe to be the vernal equinox, or the 
other the winter solstice, it happens that with the increase of 
light He was conceived or bom Who lighteneth every man 
that cometh into the world.. But if any one shall prove, that 
before the time of our Lord's nativity or conception, light 
began either to increase, or supersede the darkness, we then 
say, that it was because John, before the appearance of His 
coming, began to preach the kingdom of heaven. 
Basil. in Basil. The heavenly spirits visit iis, not as it seems fit to 
' them, but as the occasion conduces to our advantage, for 
they are ever looking upon the glory and fulness of the 
Divine Wisdom ; hence it follows, 77w atigel Gabriel was 
Greg. sent. Greg. To the virgin Mary was sent, not any one of 
34° in the angels, but the archangel Gabriel ; for upon this 
Evan, service it was meet that the highest angel should come, as 
being the bearer of the highest of all tidings. He is there- 
fore marked by a particular name, to signify what was his 
efl'ectual part in the work. For Gabriel is interpreted, " the 
strength of God." By the strength of God then was He to 
be announced Who was coming as the God of strength, and 
Gloss, mighty in battle, to put down the powers of the air. Gloss. 
' But the place is also added whither he is sent, as it follows, 
To a city, Nazareth. For it was told tliat He would come 
a Nazarite, (i. e. the holy of the holy.) 
Beda in Bede; It was a fit beginning for man's restoration, that an 
de°fest angel should be sent down from God to consecrate a virgin 
Annuntijy a divine birth, for the first cause of man's perdition 
was the Devil sending a serpent to deceive a woman by 
Aug. de the spirit of pride. Aug. To a virgin, for Christ could 
Vh-g. ^^ ^^^"^ ^^^^ virginity alone, seeing He could not have 
fap. XT. an equal in His birth. It was necessary for our Head 
by this mighty miracle to be born according to the flesh 
of a virgin, that He might signifs that his metubers 

VER. 26, 27. ST. LUKE. 25 

were to be born in the spirit of a virgin Church. Jerome ; Hieron. 
And rightly an angel is sent to the virgin, because the 92/ 
virgin state is ever akin to that of angels. Surely in the De As- 
flesh to live beyond the flesh is not a life on earth but in ^ * 

Chrys. The angel announces the birth to the virgin Chrys. 
not after the conception, lest she should be thereby too much jyi^t. 
troubled, but before the conception he addresses her, not in Horn. 4. 
a dream, but standing by her in visible shape. For as great 
indeed were the tidings she receives, she needed before the 
issue of the event an extraordinary visible manifestation. 

Ambrose ; Scripture has rightly mentioned that she was 
espoused^ as well as a virgin, a virgin^ that she might 
appear free from all connexion with man ; espoused, that 
she might not be branded with the disgrace of sullied 
virginity, whose swelling womb seemed to bear evident 
marks of her corruption. But the Lord had rather that 
men should cast a doubt upon His birth than upon His 
mother's purity. He knew how tender is a virgin's mo- 
desty, and how easily assailed the reputation of her chastity, 
nor did He think the credit of His birth was to be built 
up by His mother's wrongs. It follows therefore, that the 
holy Mary's virginity was of as untainted purity as it was 
also of unblemished reputation. Nor ought there, by an 
erroneous opinion, to be left the shadow of an excuse to living 
virgins, that the mother of our Lord even seemed to be evil 
spoken of. But what could be imputed to the Jews, or to 
Herod, if they should seem to have persecuted an adulterous 
offspring } And how could He Himself say, / came not to Matt. 6. 
abolish the law, but to fulfil it, if He should seem to have 
had his beginning from a violation of the law, for the issue of Deut 

• • 23 17 

an unmarried person is condemned by the law ? Not to ' * 
add that also greater credit is given to the words of Mary, 
and the cause of falsehood removed.? For it might seem 
that unmarried becoming pregnant, she had wished to shade 
her guilt by a lie ; but an espoused person has no reason 
for lying, since to women child-birth is the reward of 
wedlock, the grace of the marriage bed. Again, the virginity 
of Mary was meant to baffle the prince of the world, who, 
when ho perceived her espoused to a man, could cast 

26 GOSPEL accohdino to chat. I. 

no suspicion on her offspring. Origen; For if she had 
had no husband, soon would the thought have stolen 
into the Devil's mind, how she who had known no man 
could be pregnant. It was right that the conception 
should be Divine, something more exalted than human nature. 
Ambrose ; But still more has it baffled the princes of the 
world, for the malice of devils soon detects even hidden 
things, while they who are occupied in worldly vanities, can 
not know the things of God. But moreover, a more powerful 
witness of her purity is adduced, her husband, who might 
both have been indignant at the injury, and revenged the 
dishonour, if he also had not acknowledged the mystery ; of 
whom it is added, IVhose name was Joseph, of the house of 
Beda in David. Bede ; Which last applies not only to Joseph, but 
de*An- ^^^ ^^ Mary, for the Law commanded that every one should 
n»nt. take a wife out of his own tribe or family. It follows. And 
the virgin^s name was Mary. Id. Maria, in Hebrew, is the 
star of the sea ; but in Syriac it is interpreted Mistress, and 
well, because Mary was thought worthy to be the mother of 
the Lord of the whole world, and the light of endless ages. 

28. And the angel came in unto her, and said. 
Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with 
thee : blessed art thou among women. 

29. And when she saw him, she was troubled at 
his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of 
salutation this should be. 

Ambrose ; Mark the virgin by her manner of life. Alone 

in an inner chamber, unseen by the eyes of men, discovered 

only by an angel ; as it is said, And the angel came in u?ilo 

her. That she might not be dishonoured by any ignoble 

Diem address, she is saluted by an angel. Greg. Nyss. Far 

Or^at in ^hfFerent then to the news fonnerly addressed to the woman, 

Christi. is the announcement now made to the Virgin. In the former, 

the cause of sin was punished by the pains of childbirth ; 

in the latter, through gladness, sorrow is driven away. 

Hence the angel not unaptly proclaims joy to the Virgin, 

Geome- saying, //a//. Greek Ex. But that she was judged worthy of 

VER. 28, 29. ST. LUKE. 27 

the nuptials is attested by his saying, Full of grace. For it 
is signified as a kind of token or marriage gift of the bride- 
groom, that she was fruitful in graces. For of the things 
which he mentions, the one appertains to the bride, the other 
to the bridegroom. Jerome ; And it is M^ell said. Full o/Jerome 
grace, for to others, grace comes in part; into Mary at 
once the fulness of grace wholly infused itself She truly is 
full of grace through whom has been poured forth upon 
every creature the abundant rain of the Holy Spirit. But 
already He was with the Virgin Who sent the angel to the 
Virgin. The Lord preceded His messenger, for He could 
not be confined by place Who dwells in all places. 
Whence it follows. The Lord is with thee. Aug. More Aug. in 
than with me, for He Himself is in thy heart, He is Annunt, 
(made) in thy womb, He fills thy soul. He fills thyyi-,apP' 

Greek Ex. But this is the sum of the whole message. 5^^°°"^' 
The Word of God, as the Bridegroom, effecting an in- 
comprehensible union, Himself, as it were, the same both 
planting, and being planted, hath moulded the whole nature 
of man into Himself But comes last the most perfect and 
comprehensive salutation ; Blessed art thou among women. 
i. e. Alone, far before all other women ; that women also 
should be blessed in thee, as men are in thy Son ; but rather 
both in both. For as by one man and one woman came at 
once both sin and sorrow, so now also by one woman and one 
man hath both blessing and joy been restored, and poiured 
forth upon all. 

Ambrose ; But mark the Virgin by her bashfiilness, for 
she was afraid, as it follows ; And tvhen she heard, she nas 
troubled. It is the habit of virgins to tremble, and to be 
ever afraid at the presence of man, and to be shy when he 
addresses her. Leani, O virgin, to avoid light talking. Mary 
feared even the salutation of an angel. Greek Ex. But as she sup. 
might be accustomed to these visions, the Evangelist ascribes 
her agitation not to the vision, but to the things told her, 
saying, she was troubled at his words. Now observe both 
the modesty and wisdom of the Virgin ; the soul, and at the 
same time the voice. When she heard the joyful words, she 
pondered them in her mind, and neither openly resisted 


through unbeUef, nor forthwith lightly complied ; avoiding 
equally the inconstancy of Eve, and the insensibility of 
Zacharias. Hence it is said, And she cast in her mind what 
manner of salutation this was, it is not said conception, 
for as yet she kne^ not the vastness of the mystery. But 
the salutation, was there aught of passion in it as from a man 
to a virgin ? or was it not of God, seeing that he makes 
mention of God, saying. The Lord is with thee. Ambrose ; 
She wondered also at the new form of blessing, unheard of 
before, reserved for Mary alone. Origen ; For if Mary had 
known that similar words had been addressed to others, such 
a salutation would never have appeared to her so strange and 

30. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary : 
for thou hast found favour with God. 

31. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, 
and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. 

32. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son 
of the Highest : and the Lord God shall give unto 
him the throne of his father David : 

33. And he shall reign over the house of Jacob 
for ever ; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. 

When the angel saw that she was troubled at this unusual 
salutation, calling her by her name as if she was well known 
to him, he tells her she must not fear, as it follows ; Afid the 
Photiw. angel said, Fear not, Mary. Greek Ex. As if he said, I 
came not to deceive you, nay rather to bring down deliverance 
from deception ; I came not to rob you of your inviolable 
virginity, but to open a dwelling-place for the Author and 
Guardian of thy purity; I am not a servant of the Devil, 
but the ambassador of Him that destroyeth the Devil. I am 
come to form a marriage treaty, not to devise plots. So far 
then was he from allowing her to be harassed by distracting 
thoughts, lest he should be counted a servant unfaithful to 
his trust. Chrvs. But he who earns favour in the sight 
of God has nothing to fear. Hence it follows. For thou hast 

VER. 30—33. ST. LUKE. 29 

found favour before God. But how shall any one find it, 
except through the means of his humility. For God yiveth James 
grace to the humble. Greek Ex. For the Virgin found j'p^^ 
favour with God, in that deciding her own soul in the bright 5, 5. 
robes of chastity, she prepared a dwelling-place pleasing to 
God. Not only did she retain her virginity inviolate, but 
her conscience also she kept from stain. As many had 
found favour before Mary, he goes on to state what was 
peculiar to her. Behold^ thou shall conceive in thy womb. 
Greek Ex. By the word behold, he denotes rapidity and Geome- 
actual presence, implying that with the utterance of the*®"^" 
word the conception is accomplished. Greek Ex. Thou Sev. An- 
shalt conceive in thy womb, that he might shew that our^°g ®" 
Lord from the very Virgin's womb, and of our substance, took 
our flesh upon Him. For the Divine Word came to purify 
man's nature and birth, and the first elements of our generation. 
And so without sin and human seed, passing through every 
stage as we do. He is conceived in the flesh, and carried in 
the womb for the space of nine months. Greek Ex. ButGeome- 
since it happens also that to the spiritual mind is given in an *^'^' 
especial manner to conceive the Divine Spirit, and bring 
forth the Spirit of salvation, as says the Prophet; therefore 
he added, And thou shalt bring forth a Son. Ambrose; But is. 26, 
all are not as Mary, that when they conceive the word of the 
Holy Spirit, they bring forth; for some put forth the word 
prematurely, others have Christ in thewomb,butnot yet formed. 

Greg. Nyss. While the expectation of child-birth stiikes Greg. 
a woman with terror, the sweet mention of her offspring ^f^** ^° 
calms her, as it is added. And thou shalt call his name Nat. 
Jesus. The coming of the Saviour is the banishing of all 
fear. Bede ; Jesus is interpreted Saviour, or Healing. 
Greek Ex. And he says, Thou shalt call, not His father shall Geom. 
call, for He is without a father as regards His lower birth, as*"'*' 
He is without a mother in respect of the higher. Cyril; Butde fide 
this name was given anew to the Word in adaptation to His xheod. 
nativity in the flesh; as that prophecy saith, Thou shall iei8.62,2. 
called by a new name which the mouth of the Lord hath 
named. Greek Ex. But as this name was common to Him with gup. 
the successor of Moses, the angel therefore implying that He 
should not be after Joshua's likeness, adds, He shall be great. Josh. i. 


Ambrosk ; Tt was said also of Jolin, that he s/inl/ be (jreaf, 
but of him indeed as of a great man, of Christ, as oJ' the great 
God. For abundantly is poured forth the power of God ; widely 
the greatness of the heavenly substance extended, neither 
confined by place, nor grasped by thought; neither de- 
termined by calculation, nor altered by age. Origen ; See 
then the greatness of the Saviour, how it is diffused over the 
whole world. Go up to heaven, see there how it has filled 
the heavenly places ; carry thy thoughts down to the deep, 
behold, there too He has descended. If thou seest this, 
then, in like manner, beholdest thou fulfilled in very deed, 
He shall be fjreat. 

Photius. Greek Ex. The assumption of our flesh does not diminish 
ought from the loftiness of the Deity, but rather exalts the 
lowness of man's nature. Hence it follows. And he shall 
be called the Son of the Highest. Not, Thou shalt give 
Him the name, but He Himself shall be called. By 
whom, but His Father of like substance with Himself.? For 

Matt, no one hath known the Son but the Father. But He in 

' ■ Whom exists the infallible knowledge of His Son, is the true 

interpreter as to the name which should be given Him, when 

Matt. He says, This is my beloved Son ; for such indeed from 
' ' everlasting He is, though His name was not revealed 
till now ; therefore he says. He shall be called, not shall 
be made or begotten. For before the worlds He was of like 
substance with the Father. Him therefore thou shalt con- 
ceive ; His mother thou shalt become ; Him shall thy virgin 
shrine enclose. Whom the heavens were not able to contain. 

Chrys. Chrys. But since it seems shocking or unworthy to some 

nonocc.^^^ that God should inhabit a body, is the Sun, I would 
ask, the heat whereof is felt by each body that receives 
its rays, at all sullied as to its natural purity ? Much more 
then does the Sun of Righteousness, in ttiking upon Himself 
a most pure body from the Virgin's womb, escape not only 
defilement, but even shew forth His own mother in greater 

Severus holiness. Greek Ex. And to make the Virgin mindful of the 

chenus. prophets, he adds, And the T.oid God shall give unto him 
the seal of David, that she might know clearly, that He Who 
is to be born of her is that very Christ, Whom the prophets 
promised shoidd be bom of the seed of David. 

VEK. 34, 35. ST. LUKE. 31 

Cyril; Not however from Joseph proceeded the mostCyni. 

, - ,. .contra 

pure descent of Christ. For from one and the same hne oi Julian 

connexion had sprung both Joseph and the Virgin, and from ^''a^^iY"' 
this the only-begotten had taken the form of man. Basil; Epist. 
Our Lord sat not on the earthly throne of David, the Jewish ^mphil. 
kingdom having been transferred to Herod. The seat of David 
is that on which our Lord reestablished His spiritual kingdom 
which should never be destroyed. Hence it follows, And he 
shall reign over the house of Jacob. Chrys. Now HeChrys. 
assigns to the present house of Jacob all those who were of yij. jq 
the number of the Jews that believed on Him. For as Paul ^'**'- 
says, TJiey are not all Israel which are of Israel, hut the Rom. 9, 
children of the promise are counted for the seed. Bede ; ^' ^' 
Or by the house of Jacob he means the whole Church which 
either sprang from a good root, or though formerly a wild 
olive branch, has yet been for a reward of its faith grafted into Rom.ll, 
the good olive tree. Greek Ex. But to reign for ever is ^^q^q^q. 
none save God alone ; and hence though because of the incar- ter. 
nation Christ is said to receive the seat of David, yet as 
being Himself God He is acknowledged to be the eternal 
King. It follows. And. his kingdom shall have no end, not 
in that He is God, but in that He is man also. Now in- 
deed He has the kingdom of many nations, but finally he shall 
reign over all, when all things shall be put under Him. Bede ; i Cor. 
Let Nestorius then cease to say that the Virgin's Son is only '*'' '^^' 
man, and to deny that He is taken up by the Word of God 
into the unity of the Person. For the Angel when he says 
that the very same has David for His father whom he declares 
is called the Son of the Highest, demonstrates the one Person 
of Christ in two natures. The Angel uses the future tense vocabi- 
not because, as the Heretics say, Christ teas not before Mary, ^\l^^' 
but because in the same person, man with God shares the 
same name of Son. 

34. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall 
this be, seeing I know not a man? 

35. And the angel answered and said unto her. 
The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power 
of the Highest shall overshadow thee : therefore also 


that holy thing which shall he bom of thee shall be 
called the Son of Cod. 

Ambrose; It was Mary's part neither to refuse belief in the 
Angel, nor too hastily take unto herself the divine message. 
How subdued her answer is, compared with the words of 
the Priest. Then said Mary to the Angela How shall 
this he? She says. How shall this be? He answers, 
Whereby shall I know this? He refuses to believe that 
which he says he does not know, and seeks as it were 
still further authority for belief. She avows herself willing to 
do that which she doubts not will be done, but how, she is 
Is.7,1 4. anxious to know. Mary had read. Behold, she shall conceive 
and bear a son. She believed therefore that it should be, 
but how it was to take place she had never read, for even to 
so great a prophet this had not been revealed. So great a 
mystery was not to be divulged by the mouth of man, but of 
an Angel. 
Orat. in Greg. Nyss. Hear the chaste words of the Virgin. The 
Nat. Angel tells her she shall bear a son, but she rests upon her 
Christi. virginity, deeming her inviolability a more precious thing 
than the Angel's declaration. Hence she says. Seeing that I 
Basil, know not a man. Basil; Knowledge is spoken of in various 
Amph. ways. The wisdom of our Creator is called knowledge, and 
an acquaintance with His mighty works, the keeping also of 
His commandments, and the constant drawing near to Him ; 
and besides these the marriage union is called knowledge, 
as it is here. 
Greg. Greg. Nyss. These words of Mary are a token of what 
'"P" she was pondering in the secrets of her heart; for if for 
the sake of the marriage union she had wished to be espoused 
to Joseph, why was she seized with astonishment when 
the conception was made known unto her.' seeing in truth 
she might herself be expecting at the time to become a 
mother according to the law of nature. But because it was 
meet that her body being presented to God as an holy offering 
should be kept inviolate, therefore she says, Seeing that I 
know not a man. As if she said. Notwithstanding that thou 
M'ho speakest art an Angel, yet that 1 should know a man is 

VER. 34, 35. ST. LUKE. 33 

plainly an impossible thing. How then can I be a mother, 
having no husband? For Joseph I have acknowledged as 
my betrothed. Greek Ex. But mark, how the Angel Geome- 
solves the Virgin's doubts, and shews to her the unstained 
marriage and the unspeakable birth. Jnd the Angel an- 
swered, and said unto her, The Holy Spirit shall come upon 
thee. Chrys. As if he said. Look not for the order ofChrys. 


nature in things which transcend and overpower nature. 49 j^' 
Dost thou say, How shall this be, seeitig I know not a man?^^^- 
Nay rather, shall it happen to thee for this very reason, that 
thou hast never known a husband. For if thou hadst, thou 
wouldest not have been thought worthy of the mystery, 
not that marriage is unholy, but virginity more excellent. 
It became the common Lord of all both to take part 
with us, and to differ with us in His nativity; for the 
being bom from the womb. He shared in common with 
us, but in that He was born without cohabitation. He was 
exalted far above us. Greg. Nyss. O blessed is that Greg, 
womb which because of the overflowing purity of the Virgin pie^"^ 
Mary has drawn to itself the gift of life! For in others Nat. 
scarcely indeed shall a pure soul obtain the presence of 
the Holy Spirit, but in her the flesh is made the receptacle 
of the Spirit. Id. For the tables of our nature which Greg, 
guilt had broken, the true Lawgiver has formed anew toylta ^ 
Himself from our dust without cohabitation, creating aMoysis. 
body capable of taking His divinity, which the finger of 
God hath carved, that is to say, the Spirit coming upon the 
Virgin. Id. Moreover, the power of the Highest shall Greg, in 
overshadow thee. Christ is the power of the most high King, j^'^tai. 
who by the coming of the Holy Spirit is formed in the Virgin. 
Greg. By the term over sh ado wing, both natures of the Incar- Gree. 
nate God are signified. For shadow is formed by light andj.aic.20. 
matter. But the Lord by His Divine nature is light. Be-sup-^r 
cause then immaterial light was to be embodied in the Virgin's 21. ' 
womb, it is well said unto her. The power of the Highest 
shall overshadow thee, that is, the human body in thee 
shall receive an immaterial light of divinity. For this is 
said to Mary for the heavenly refreshing of her soul. 
Bede ; Thou shalt conceive then not by the seed of man 
whom thou knowest not, but by the operation of the Holy 
VOL. in. D 


Spirit with which thou art filled. There shall be no flame of 

desire in thee when the Holy Spirit shall overshadow thee. 

Greg. Greg. Nyss. Or he says, overshadow tfiee, because as a 

Pje^ shadow takes its shape from the character of those bodies 

Nat. which go before it, so the signs of the Son's Deity will appear 

non occ. from the power of the Father. For as in us a certain life- 

Nyss!^^ giving power is seen in the material substance, by which 

man is formed; so in the Virgin, has the power of the 

Highest in like manner, by tite life-giving Spirit, taken 

from the Virgin's body a fleshly substance inherent in the 

body to form a new man. Hence it follows, Jltere/ore also 

Athan. that holy tiling ivhich shall he hom of thee. Athan. For we 

Epicte- confess that which then was taken up from Mary to be of the 

*"ra- nature of man and a most real body, the very same also 

according to nature with our own body. For Mary is our 

Basil, sister, seeing we have all descended from Adam. Basil; 

Spirit^ Hence also, St. Paul says, God sent forth his Son, born not 

Sanct. (by a Woman) but of a woman. For the words by a woman 

Gal. 4 4. might convey only a mere passing expression of birth, but 

when it is said, of a woman, there is openly declai'ed a 

communion of nature between the son and the parent. 

Greg. Greg. To distinguish His holiness from ours, Jesus is stated 

ral.c.52 ^^ ^'^ cspccial manner to be born holy. For we although 

super indeed made holy, are not bom so, for we are constrained 

19. 'by the very condition of our corruptible nature to cry out 

Ps. 51, with the Prophet, Behold, I was conceived in iniquity. 

^' But He alone is in truth holy, who was not conceived 

by the cementing of a fleshly union, nor as the heretics 

rave, one person in His human nature, another in His 

divine; not conceived and brought forth a mere man, and 

afterwards by his merits, obtained that He should be God, 

but the Angel announcing and the Spirit coming, first the 

Word in the womb, aftei-wards within the womb the Word 

made flesh. Whence it follows. Shall be called the Son 

Victor of God. Greek Ex. But observe, how the Angel has 

Presby- dgdared the whole Trinity to the Virgin, making mention 

of the Holy Spirit, the Power, and the Most High, for the 

Trinity is indivisible '■. 

' This passage, except the word's be found both in 'fit. Bost. and Theo- 
" For the Trinity is indivisible," is to phylact. 

VER. 36 38. ST. LUKE. -S.') 

36. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath 
also conceived a son in her old age : and this is the 
sixth month with her, who was called barren. 

37. For with God nothing shall be impossible. 

38. And Mary said. Behold the handmaid of the 
Lord ; be it unto me according to thy word. And 
the angel departed from her. 

Chrys. Seeing that his previous words had overcome theChns. 
mind of the virgin, the angel drops his discourse to a humbler ^^1^" 
subject, persuading her by reference to sensible things. 
Hence he says, And, behold, Elisabeth thy cousin, 8fc. Mark 
the discretion of Gabriel; he did not remind her of Sarah, 
or Rebecca, or Rachel, because they were examples of 
ancient times, but he brings forward a recent event, that he 
might the more forcibly strike her mind. For this reason also 
he noticed the age, saying, She also hath conceived a son 
in her old age ; and the natural infinnity also. As it follows. 
And this is the si.vth month with her ivho was called barren. 
For not immediately at the beginning of Elisabeth's con- 
ception did he make this announcement, but after the space 
of six months, that the swelling of her womb might confirm 
its truth. Greg. Naz. But some one will ask. How iscarm. 
Christ related to David, since Mary sprang from the blood of I?* ^'^ , 
Aaron, the angel having declared Elisabeth to be her kins- Christi. 
woman ? But this was brought about by the Divine counsel, 
to the end that the royal race might be united to the 
priestly stock ; that Christ, Who is both King and Priest, 
might be descended from both according to the flesh. 
For it is written, that Aaron, the first High Priest according Exod. 
to the law, took fi-om the tribe of Judah for his wife Elisabeth, ^' ^^• 
the daughter of Aminadab. And observe the most holy ad- 
ministiation of the Spirit, in ordering that the wife of Zacharias 
should be called Elisabeth, so bringing us back to that Elisabeth 
whom Aaron married. Bede ; So it was then, lest the virgin 
should despair of being able to bear a son, that she 
received the example of one both old and barren about 
to bring forth, in order that she might learn that all things 
are possible with God, even those which seem to be opposed 



to the order of nature. Whence it follows, For there shall 
Terbum. be HO u'ord impossible with God. Chrys. For the Lord 
of nature can do all things as He will, Who executes and 
disposes all things, holding the reins of life and death. 
Aug. Aug. But whoever says, "If God is omnipotent, let Him 
Faust, cause those things which have been done to have not been 
1. XXV. done," does not perceive that he says, " Let Him cause those 
things which are true, in that veiy respect in which they 
are true to be false." For He may cause a thing not to 
be which was, as when He makes a man who began to be 
by birth, not to be by deatli. But who can say that He 
makes not to be that which no longer is in being.'' For 
whatever is past is no longer in being. But if aught can 
happen to a thing, that thing is still in being to which any 
thing happens, and if it is, how is it past } Therefore that is 
not in being which we have truly said has been, because the 
truth is, in our opinions, not in that thing which no longer is. 
But this opinion God can not make false ; and we do not so 
call God omnipotent as supposing also that He could die. 
He plainly is alone truly called omnipotent, who truly is, 
and by whom alone that is, whatever in any wise exists, 
whether spirit or body. 

Ambrose ; Behold now the humility, the devotion of the 
virgin. For it follows. But Mary said, Behold the handmaid 
of the Lord. She calls herself His handmaid, who is chosen 
to be His mother, so far was she from being exalted by the 
sudden promise. At the same time also by calling herself 
handmaid, she claimed to herself in no other way the prerogative 
of such great grace than that she might do what was com- 
manded her. For about to bring forth One meek and lowly, 
she was bound herself to shew forth lowliness. As it follows. 
Be it unto me according to thy word. You have her sub- 
mission, you see her wish. Behold the handmaid of the 
I^rd, signifies the readiness of duty. Be it unto me according 
Geo- to thy word, the conception of the wish. Greek Ex. Some 
meter. ^^^^ ^^jjj highly cxtol One thing, some another, in these words 
of the virgin. One man, for example, her constancy, another 
her willingness of obedience ; one man her not being 
tempted by the great and glorious promises of the great 
archangel; another, her self-command in not giving an 

VER. 39 — 45. ST. LUKE. 37 

instant assent, equally avoiding both the heedlessness of Eve 
and the disobedience of Zacharias. But to me the depth of 
her humility is an object no less worthy of admiration. 
Greg. Through an ineffable sacrament of a holy conception Greg. 
and a birth inviolable, agreeable to the truth of each na-®"P' 
ture, the same virgin was both the handmaid and mother of 
the Lord. 

Bede ; Having received the consent of the virgin, the 
angel soon returns heavenward, as it follows, And the angel 
departed from her. Euseb. Not only having obtained what vel Geo- 
he wished, but wondering at her virgin beauty, and the ™^ ^^' 
ripeness of her virtue. 

39. And Mary arose in those days, and went into 
the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda ; 

40. And entered into the house of Zacharias, and 
saluted Elisabeth. 

41. And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth 
heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her 
womb ; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost : 

42. And she spake out with a loud voice, and said. 
Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the 
fruit of thy womb. 

43. And whence is this to me, that the mother of 
my Lord should come to me ? 

44. For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation 
sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb 
for joy. 

45. And blessed is she that believed : for there 
shall be a performance of those things which were 
told her from the Lord. 

Ambrose; The Angel, when he announced the hidden 
mysteries to the Virgin, that he might build up her faith by an 
example, related to her the conception of a barren woman. 
When Mary heard it, it was not that she disbelieved the oracle, 
or was uncertain about the messenger, or doubtful of the ex- 
ample, but rejoicing in the fulfilment of her wish, and con- 

38 GOSPEL accokdinu to Ciivr. I. 

scientious in the observance of her duty, she gladly went forth 
Deo ' "^^"^ ^'*^ ^"^^ country. For what could Mary now, filled with 
God, but ascend into the higher parts with haste ! Origen ; 
For Jesus who was in her womb hastened to sanctify John, slill_ 
in the womb of his mother. Whence it follows, with haste. 
Ambrose ; The grace of the Holy Spirit knows not of slow 
workings. Learn, ye virgins, not to loiter in the streets, 
nor mix in public talk. Theophyl. She went into the 
mountains, because Zacharias dwelt there. , As it follows. 
To a city of Juda, and entered into the house of Zacharias. 
Learn, O holy women, the attention which ye ought to shew 
for your kinswomen with child. For Mary, who before dwelt 
alone in the secret of her chamber, neither virgin modesty 
caused to shrink from the public gaze, nor the rugged 
mountains from pursuing her pui-pose, nor the tediousness of 
the journey from performing her duty. Learn also, O virgins, 
the lowliness of Mary. She came a kinswoman to her next 
of kin, the younger to the elder, nor did she merely come to 
her, but was the first to give her salutations; as it follows, 
And she saluted Elisabeth. For the more chaste a virgin is, 
the more humble she should be, and ready to give way to 
her elders. Let her then be the mistress of humility, in whom 
is the profession of chastity. Mary is also a cause of piety, 
in that the higher went to the lower, that the lower might be 
^I'rys; assisted, Mary to Elisabeth, Christ to John. Chrys. Or 
in Matt, else the Virgin kept to herself all those things which have 
been said, not revealing them to any one, for she did not 
believe that any credit would be given to her wonderful story ; 
nay, she rather thought she would suffer reproach if she told 
Cieoine- it, as if wishing to screen her own guilt. Greek Ex. But 
*'''^' to Elisabeth alone she has recourse, as she was wont to do 
from their relationship, and other close bonds of union. 
Ambrose ; But soon the blessed fruits of Mary's coming 
and our Lord's presence are made evident. For it follows, 
And it came to pass, that when Elisabeth heard the saluta- 
tion of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb. Mark the 
distinction and propriety of each word. Elisabeth first 
heard the word, but John first experienced the grace. She 
heard by the order of nature, he leaped by reason of the mystery. 
She perceived the coming of Mary, he the coming of the Lord. 

VEIL 39 — 45. ST. LUKE. 30 

Greek Ex. For the Prophet sees and hears more acutely Geome- 
than his mother, and salutes the chief of Prophets ; but as he ^ ' 
could not do this in words, he leaps in the womb, which was 
the greatest token of his joy. Who ever heard of leaping 
at a time previous to birth } Grace introduced things to which 
nature was a stranger. Shut up in the womb, the soldier 
acknovs'ledged his Lord and King soon to be bom, the 
womb's covering being no obstacle to the mystical sight. 
Origen; He was not filled with the Spirit, until she stood vid. 
near him who bore Christ in her womb. Then indeed he^'|^g^,g^ 
was both filled with the Spirit, and leaping imparted the 
grace to his mother ; as it follows, And Elisabeth teas Jilled 
with the Holy Spirit. But we cannot doubt that she who was 
then filled with the Holy Spirit, was filled because of her son, 
Ambrose ; She who had hid herself because she conceived 
a son, began to glory that she carried in her womb a 
prophet, and she who had before blushed, now gives her 
blessing ; as it follows, And she spake out with a loiul voice, 
Blessed art thou among women. With a loud voice she ex- 
claimed when she perceived the Lord's coming, for she 
believed it to be a holy birth. But she says. Blessed art 
thou among women. For none was ever partaker of such 
grace or could be, since of the one Divine seed, there is one 
only parent. Bede; Mary is blessed by Elisabeth with 
the same words as before by Gabriel, to shew that she was to 
be reverenced both by men and angels. Theophyl. But 
because there have been other holy women who yet have 
bome sons stained with sin, she adds, And blessed is the 
fruit of thy womb. Or another interpretation is, having said, 
Blessed art thou among women, she then, as if some one 
enquired the cause, answers. And blessed is the fruit of thy 
womb: as it is said. Blessed be he that cometh in the name ^^ ug 
qf the Lord. The Lord God, and he hath shewed us light; 26. 27. 
for the Holy Scriptures often use and^ instead of because. 

Tit. Bos. Now she rightly calls the Lord the fruit of the 
virgin's womb, because He proceeded not from man, but from 
Mary alone. For they who are sown by their fathers are the 
fruits of their fathers. Greek Ex. This fruit alone then is Geomc- 
blessed, because it is produced without man, and without sin. ^^'^' 

Bede J This is the fruit which is promised to David, Of the Vs. 132, 



StverusyrwtY (^ thy body vnll I set uptm thy throne. From 
this place we derive the refutation of Eutyches, in that Christ 
is stated to be the fruit of the womb. For all fruit is of the 
same nature with the tree that bears it. It remains then that 
the virgin was also of the same nature with the second Adam, 
who takes away the sins of the world. But let those also who 
invent curious fictions concerning the flesh of Christ, blush 
when they hear of the real child-bearing of the mother of God. 
For the fruit itself proceeds from the very substance of the 
tree. Where too are those who say that Christ passed through 
the virgin as water through an aqueduct? Let these consider 
the words of Elisabeth who was filled with the Spirit, that 
Christ was the fruit of the icomh. It follows, And whence 
is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me"? 
Ambrose ; She says it not ignorantly, for she knew it was 
by the grace and operation of the Holy Spirit that the 
mother of the prophet should be saluted by the mother of 
his Lord, to the advancement and growth of her own pledge; 
but being aware that this was of no human deserving, but a 
gift of Divine grace, she therefore says. Whence is this to me, 
that is, By what right of mine, by what that I have done, for 
non occ. what good deeds ? Origen ; Now in saying this, she coincides 
Theoph ^^^^ ^^^ ^^^' ^°^ John also felt that he was unworthy 
et Tit. of our Lord's coming to him. But she gives the name of 
"the mother of our Lord" to one still a virgin, thus fore- 
stalling the event by the words of prophecy. Divine fore- 
knowledge brought Mary to Elisabeth, that the testimony 
of John might reach the Lord. For from that time Christ 
ordained John to be a prophet. Hence it follows, For, lo, 
Aug. a? soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded, ^c. Aug. 
Epist. J5^i in order to say this, as the Evangelist has premised, 
danum she was filled with the Holy Spirit, by whose revelation 
^^' undoubtedly she knew what that leaping of the child meant; 
namely, that the mother of Him had come unto her, whose 
forerunner and herald that child was to be. Such then 
might be the meaning of so great an event ; to be known 
indeed by grown up persons, but not understood by a little 
child ; for she said not, " The babe leaped in faith in my 
womb," but leaped for joy. Now we see not only children 
leaping for joy, but even the cattle ; not surely from any 

VER. 39 — 45. ST. LUKE. 41 

faith or religious feeling, or any rational knowledge. But this 
joy was strange and unwonted, for it was in the womb ; and at 
the coming of her who was to bring forth the Saviour of the 
world. This joy, therefore, and as it were reciprocal salutation 
to the mother of the Lord, was caused (as miracles are) by 
Divine influences in the child, not in any human way by him. 
For even supposing the exercise of reason and the will had 
been so far advanced in that child, as that he should be able 
in the bowels of his mother to know, believe, and assent; yet 
surely that must be placed among the miracles of Divine power, 
not referred to human examples. 

Theophyl. The mother of our Lord had come to see 
Elisabeth, as also the miraculous conception, from which 
the Angel had told her should result the belief of a far 
greater conception, to happen to herself; and to this belief 
the words of Elisabeth refer, And blessed art thou who 
hast believed, for there shall be a performance of those 
things which were told thee from the Lord. Ambrose ; 
You see that Mary doubted not but believed, and therefore 
the fruit of faith followed. 

Bede ; Nor is it to be wondered at, that our Lord, about 
to redeem the world, commenced His mighty works with 
His mother, that she, through whom the salvation of all men 
was prepared, should herself be the first to reap the fi*uit 
of salvation from her pledge. Ambrose ; But happy are ye 
also who have heard and believed, for whatever soul hath 
believed, both conceives and brings forth the word of God, 
and knows His works. Bede ; But every soul which has 
conceived the word of God in the heart, stredghtway climbs 
the lofty summits of the virtues by the stairs of love, so as 
to be able to enter into the city of Juda, (into the citadel 
of prayer and praise, and abide as it were for three months 
in it,) to the perfection of faith, hope, and charity. Greg. Greg. 
She was touched with the spirit of prophecy at once, ^^l^^ 
both as to the past, present, and future. She knew thatHb. i. 
Mary had believed the promises of the Angel ; she per- j, g. 
ceived when she gave her the name of mother, that Mary 
was carrying in her womb the Redeemer of mankind; and 
when she foretold that all things would be accomplished, she 
saw also what was to follow in the future. 


46. And Mary said. My soul doth magnify the 

Ambrose ; As evil came into the world by a woman, so 

also is good introduced by women ; and so it seems not without 

meaning, that both Elisabeth prophesies before John, and 

Mary before the birth of the Lord. But it follows, that as Mary 

was the greater person, so she uttered the fuller prophecy. 

Basil, in By^siL; For the Virgin, with lofty thoughts and deep pene- 

xxxiii. tration, contemplates the boundless mystery, the further she 

advances, magnifying God ; And Mary said, My sotil doth 

Athana- magnify the Lord. Grkek Ex. As if she said, Marvellous 

sins. if 'f :> ■) 

things hath the Lord declared that He will accomplish in 
my body, but neither shall my soul be unfruitful before 
God. It becomes me to offer Him the fruit also of my 
will, for inasmuch as I am obedient to a mighty miracle, am I 
bound to glorify Him who performs His mighty works in me. 
Origen ; Now if the Lord could neither receive increase 
or decrease, what is this that Mary speaks of, My soul doth 
m&gnifi- ffiagfiiy-y ifie Lord? But if T consider that the Lord our 
Saviour is the image of the invisible God, and that the 
soul is created according to His image, so as to be an image 
of an image, then I shall see plainly, that as after the manner 
of those who are accustomed to paint images, each one 
of us forming his soul after the image of Christ, makes it 
great or little, base or noble, after the likeness of the original ; 
so when I have made my soul great in thought, word, and 
deed, the image of God is made great, and the Lord Himself, 
whose image it is, is magnified in my soul. 

47. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. 

ubi sup, Basil; The first-fruit of the Spirit is peace and joy. Be- 
cause then the holy Virgin had drunk in all the graces of the 

exulta- Spirit, she rightly adds. And my spirit hath leaped for joy. 
She means the same thing, soul and spirit. But the frequent 
mention of leaping for joy in the Scriptures implies a cer- 
tain bright and cheerful state of mind in those who are 
worthy. Hence the Virgin exults in the Lord with an 
mispeakablc springing (and bounding) of the heart for joy, 


VEIL 48. ST. LUKE. 'J:3 

and in the breaking forth into utterance of a noble affection. 
It follows, in God my Saviour. Bede ; Because the spirit of 
the Virgin rejoices in the eternal Godhead of the same Jesus, 
(i. e. the Saviour,) whose flesh is formed in the womb by a tem- 
poral conception. Ambrose; The soul of Mary therefore mag- 
nifies the Lord, and her spirit rejoiced in God, because with 
soul and spirit devoted to the Father and the Son, she wor- 
ships with a pious affection the one God from whom are all 
things. But let every one have the spirit of Mary, so that he 
may rejoice in the Lord. If according to the flesh there is one 
mother of Christ, yet, according to faith, Christ is the fruit of 
all. For every soul receives the word of God if only he be 
unspotted and free from sin, and preserves it with unsullied 
purity. Theophyl. But he magnifies God who wor- 
thily follows Christ, and now that he is called Christian, 
lessens not the glory of Christ by acting unworthily, but does 
great and heavenly things ; and then the Spirit (that is, the 
anointing of the Spirit) shall rejoice, (i. e. make him to prosper,) 
and shall not be withdrawn, so to say, and put to death. Basil; ubi sup. 
But if at any time light shall have crept into his heart, and 
loving God and despising bodily things he shall have gained 
the perfect standing of the just, without any difficulty shall 
he obtain joy in the Lord. Origen; But the soul first 
magnifies the Lord, that it may afterwards rejoice in God ; 
for unless we have first believed, we can not rejoice. 

48. For he hath regarded the low estate of his 
handmaiden : for, behold, from henceforth all genera- 
tions shall call me blessed. 

Greek Ex. She gives the reason why it becomes her to Isidore, 
magnify God and to rejoice in Him, saying. For he hath re- 
garded the lowliness of his handmaiden ; as if she said, " He 
Himself foresaw, therefore I did not look for Him." I was 
content with things lowly, but now am I chosen unto counsels 
unspeakable, and raised up from the earth unto the stars. 
Aug. O true lowliness, which hath borne God to men, hath iVudo- 
given life to mortals, made new heavens and a pure earth, sg"^, de 
opened the gates of Paradise, and set free the souls of men. Assumpt 


The lowliness of Mary was made the heavenly ladder, by which 

God descended upon earth. For what does regarded nieanbut 

" approved?" For many seem in my sight to be lowly, but their 

lowliness is not regarded by the Lord. For if they were truly 

lowly, their spirit would rejoice not in the world, but in God. 

Origen ; But why was she lowly and cast down, who carried 

in her womb the Son of God.?* Consider that lowliness, 

which in the Scriptures is particularly praised as one of the 

virtues, is called by the philosophers " modestia." And we 

also may paraphrase it, that state of mind in which a man 

instead of being puffed up, casts himself down. Bede; But 

she, whose humility is regarded, is rightly called blessed 

by all ; as it follows, For, behold, from henceforth all 

shall call me blessed. Athan. For if as the Prophet 

Isa. 31 , says, Blessed are they who have seed in Sion, and kinsfolk 

LXX*^ m Jerusalem, how great should be the celebration of the 

divine and ever holy Virgin Mary, who was made ac- 

Meta- cording to the flesh, the Mother of the Word ? Greek Ex. 

phras- gjie does not call herself blessed from vain glory, for 
tes. . . D .' ' 

what room is there for pride in her who named herself the 

handmaid of the Lord ? But, touched by the Holy Spirit, she 

foretold those things which were to come. Bede; For it was 

fitting, that as by the pride of our first parent death came 

into the world, so by the lowliness of Mary should be opened 

the entrance into life. Theophyl. And therefore she 

says, all generations, not only Elisabeth, but also every 

nation that believed. 

49. For he that is mighty hath done to me great 
things; and holy is his name. 

Theophyl. The Virgin shews that not for her own virtue is 
she to be pronounced blessed, but she assigns the cause, 
saying, For he that is mighty hath magnified me. 
Aug. Aug. What great things hath He done unto thee } 

*°^* I believe that a creature thou gavest birth to the Creator, a 
servant thou broughtest forth the Lord, that through thee 
God redeemed the world, through thee He restored it to 
life. Titus Bo.s. But where are the great things, if they be 

VER. 50. ST. LUKE. 45 

not that I still a virgin conceive (by the will of God) over- 
coming nature ? I have been accounted worthy, without being 
joined to a husband, to be made a mother, not a mother of 
any one, but of the only-begotten Saviour. 

Bede; But this has reference to the beginning of the 
hymn, where it is said, 3Iy soul doth magnify the Lord. For 
that soul can alone magnify the Lord with due praise, for 
whom he deigns to do mighty things. Titus Bos; But she 
says, that is mighty, that if men should disbelieve the work of 
her conception, namely, that while yet a virgin, she conceived, 
she might throw back the miracles upon the power of 
the Worker. Nor because the only-begotten Son has come 
to a woman is He thereby defiled,/©/* holy is his name. 

Basil. But holy is the name of God called, not because in 
in its letters it contains any significant power, but because 
in whatever way we look at God we distinguish his purity 
and holiness. Bede ; For in the height of His marvellous 
power He is far beyond every creature, and is widely removed 
from all the works of His hands. This is better understood 
in the Greek tongue, in which the very word which means 
holy, signifies as it were to be " apart from the earth." «y<#» 

50. And his mercy is on them that fear him from 
generation to generation. 

Bede; Turning from God's special gifts to His general 
dealings, she describes the condition of the whole human 
race. And his mercy is from generation to generation on 
them that fear him. As if she said, Not only forme hath He 
that is mighty done great things, but in every nation he that 
feareth God is accepted by Him. Origen; For the mercy 
of God is not upon one generation, but extends to eternity 
from generation to generation. Greek Ex. According to Victor 
the mercy which He hath upon generations of generations, '^' 
1 conceive, and He Himself is united to a living body, 
out of mercy alone undertaking our salvation. Nor is His 
mercy shewn indiscriminately, but upon those who are 
constrained by the fear of Him in every nation ; as it 
is said, upon those who fear him, that is, upon those who 
being brought by repentance are turned to faith and renewal 


for the obstinate unbelievers have by their sin shut against 
themselves the gate of mercy. Theophyl. Or by this 
she means that they who fear shall obtain mercy, both in 
that generation, (that is, the present world,) and the generation 
Matt, which is to come, (i. e. the life everlasting.) For now they 
' ■ ■ I'eceive a hundred-fold, but hereafter far more. 

51. He hath shewed strength with his arm, he 
hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their 

Bede ; In describing the state of mankind, she shews what 
the proud deseiTe, and what the humble ; saying, He hath 
shewed strength with his arm, ^c. i. e. with the very Son of 
God. For as your arm is that whereby you work, so the arm 
of God is said to be His word by whom He made the world. 
Origen ; But to those that fear Him, He hath done mighty 
things with His arm ; though thou comest weak to God, 
if thou hast feared Him thou shalt obtain the promised 
strength. Theophyl. For in His arm, that is. His incarnate 
Son, He hath shewed strength, seeing that nature was van- 
quished, a virgin bringing forth, and God becoming man. 

Photius. Greek Ex. Or she says, Hath shewed, for will shew strength^ 
not as long ago by the hand of Moses against the Egyptians, 
nor as by the Angel, (when he slew many thousand of the 
rebel Assyrians,) nor by any other instrument save His own 

intelli- powcr. He openly triumphed, overcoming spiritual enemies. 

^' ' ^^' Hence it follows, he hath scattered, S^c. that is to say, eveiy 
heart that was puffed up and not obedient to His coming He 
hath laid bare, and exposed the wickedness of their proud 
thoughts. Cyril of Jerus. But these words may be more ap- 
propriately taken to refer to the hostile ranks of the evil spirits. 
For they were raging on the earth, when our Lord's coming put 
them to flight, and restored those whom they had bound, to 
His obedience. Theophyl. This might also be understood 
of the Jews whom He scattered into all lands as ihey are now 

52. He hath put down the mighty from their 
seats, and exalted them of low degree. 

\ KR. 53. ST. LUKE. 47 

Bede ; The words, He hath shewed strength with his arm, 
and those which went before, And his mercy is on them, that 
fear him from generation to generation, must be joined to 
this verse by a comma only. For truly through all generations 
of the world, by a merciful and just administration of Divine 
power, the proud do not cease to fall, and the humble to be 
exalted. As it is said, He hath put down the mighty from 
their seat, he hath exalted the humble and meek. Cyril; 
The mighty in knowledge were the evil spirits, the Devil, 
the wise ones of the Gentiles, the Scribes and Pharisees ; yet 
these He hath put down, and raised up those who humbled i Pet. 
themselves under the mighty hand of God ; giving them the ' ' 
power of treading upon serpents and scorpions and every Luke 
power of the enemy. The Jews were also at one time puffed ' 
up with power, but unbelief slew them, and the mean and 
lowly of the Gentiles have through faith climbed up to the 
highest summit. Greek Ex. For our understanding is ac- Maca- 
knowledged to be the judgment-seat of God, but after 5"^.^^^^^^^ 
the transgression, the powers of evil took their seat in the 
heart of the first man as on their own throne. For this 
reason then the Lord came and cast out the evil spirits from 
the seat of our will, and raised up those who were vanquished 
by devils, purging their consciences, and making their hearts 
his own dwelling place. 

53. He hath filled the hungry with good things; 
and the rich he hath sent empty away. 

Gloss. Because human prosperity seems to consist chiefly Gloss. 
in the honours of the mighty and the abundance of their "**" °*^" 
riches, after speaking of the casting down of the mighty, 
and the exalting of the humble, he goes on to tell of the 
impoverishing of the rich and the filling of the poor. He 
hath filled the hungry, ^c. 

Basil; These words regulate our conduct even with ubi sup. 
respect to sensible things, teaching the uncertainty of 
all worldly possessions, which are as shortlived as the 
wave which is dashed about to and fro by the violence 
of the wind. But spiritually all mankind suffered hunger 
except the Jews ; for they possessed the treasures of 


legal tradition and the teachings of the holy prophets. But 
because they did not rest humbly on the Incarnate Word, 
they were sent away empty, carrying nothing with them, 
neither faith nor knowledge, and were bereft of the hope 
of good things, being shut out both of the earthly Jerusalem, 
and the life to come. But those of the Gentiles, who were 
brought low by hunger and thirst, because they clung to 
Gloss, the Lord, were filled with spiritual goods. Gloss. They 
also who desire eternal life with their whole soul, as it 
were hungering after it, shall be filled when Christ shall 
appear in glory ; but they who rejoice in earthly things, shall 
at the end be sent away emptied of all happiness. 

54. He hath holpen his servant. Israel, in re- 
membrance of his mercy ; 

55. As he spake to our fathers, Abraham, and to 
his seed for ever. 

Gloss. Gloss. After a general mention of the Divine mercy and 
holiness, the Virgin changes the subject to the strange and 
man'ellous dispensation of the new incarnation, saying, He 
hath holpen his servant Israel, ^c. as a physician relieves 
the sick, becoming visible among men, that He might make 
Israel (i. e. him who sees God) His servant. Bede ; That is, 
obedient and humble ; for he who disdains to be made 
non occ. humble, cannot be saved„ Bapil; For by Israel she means not 
Israel after the flesh, whom their own title made noble, but 
the spiritual Israel, which retained the name of faith, strain- 
ing their eyes to see God by faith, 
vide Theophyl. It might also be applied to Israel after the flesh, 

xJt*™ seeing that out of that body multitudes believed. But this He 
Best, did remembering His mercy, for He hath fulfilled what He 
Gen. 12, promised to Abraham, saying, For in thy seed shall all the 
^' nations of the earth be blessed. This promise then the mother 
of God called to mind, saying. As he spake to our father 
Gen. 17 1 Abraham; for it was said to Abraham, I will place my 
^^' covenant between me and thee^ and thy seed qfter thee, for 
an eternal covenant, that I shall be thy God, and the Godqf 
thy seed after thee. Bede; But by seed he means not so 
much those who are begotten in the flesh, as those who have 

VER. 56, 57» ST. LUKE. 49 

followed the steps of Abraham's faith, to whom the Saviour's 
coming was promised for evermore. Gloss. For this promise Gloss. 
of heritage shall not be narrowed by any limits, but to the ""^ '"' 
very end of time there shall never lack believers, the glory of 
whose happiness shall be everlasting. 

56. And Mary abode with her about three months, 
and returned to her own house. 

Ambrose ; Mary abode with Elisabeth until she had 
accomplished the time of her bringing forth ; as it is said. 
And 3Iary abode, Sfc. Theophyl. For in the sixth month 
of the conception of the forerunner, the Angel came to Mary, 
and she abode with Elisabeth three months, and so the nine 
months are completed. Ambrose ; Now it was not only 
for the sake of friendship that she abode so long, but for 
the increase also of so great a prophet. For if at her first 
coming the child had so far advanced, that at the salutation 
of Mary he leaped in the womb, and his mother was filled with 
the Holy Spirit, how much must we suppose the presence 
of the Virgin Mary to have added during the experience of so 
long a time ? Rightly then is she represented as having shewn 
kindness to Elisabeth, and preserved the mystical number. 
Bede; For the chaste soul which conceives a desire of the 
spiritual word must of necessity submit to the yoke of heavenly 
discipline, and sojourning for the days as it were of three 
months in the same place, cease not to persevere until it is 
illuminated by the light of faith, hope, and charity. Theophyl, 
But when Elisabeth was going to bring forth, the Virgin 
departed, as it follows. And she returned; or, probably because 
of the multitude, who were about to assemble at the birth. 
But it became not a virgin to be present on such an occasion. 
Greek Ex. For it is the custom for virgins to go away when Meta- 
the pregnant woman brings forth. But when she reached P^"^*"**'* 
her own home, she went to no other place, but abode there 
until she knew the time of her delivery was at hand. And 
Joseph doubting, is instructed by an Angel. 

57. Now Elisabeth's full time came that she should 
be delivered ; and she brought forth a son. 



58. And her neighbours and her cousins heard 
how the Lord had shewed great mercy upon her ; 
and they rejoiced with her. 

Ambrose; II" you carefully observe, you will find that the 
word signifying Julness is no where used except at the birth 
of the righteous. Hence it is said, Now Elisabeth's full 
time came. For the life of the righteous hath fulness, but 
the days of the vricked are empty. Chrys. And for that 
reason the Lord kept back the delivery of Elisabeth, that her 
joy might be increased, and her fame the greater. Hence it 
follows, And her neighbours and cousins heard, ^c. For they 
who had known her barrenness were made the witnesses of 
the Divine grace, and no one seeing the child departed in 
silence, but gave praise to God, Who had vouchsafed him 
beyond their expectation. Ambrose; For the bringing forth 
of saints causes the rejoicing of many; it is a common bless- 
ing; for justice is a public virtue, and therefore at the birth 
of a just man a sign of his future life is sent beforehand, and 
the grace of the virtue which is to follow is represented, being 
foreshadowed by the rejoicing of the neighbours. 

59. And it came to pass, that on the eighth day 
they came to circumcise the child; and they called 
him Zacharias, after the name of his father. 

60. And his mother answered and said. Not so ; 
but he shall be called John. 

6 1 . And they said unto her, There is none of thy 
kindred that is called by this name. 

62. And they made signs to his father, how he 
would have him called. 

63. And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, 
saying. His name is John. And they marvelled 

64. And his mouth was opened immediately, and 
his tongue loosed, and he spake, and praised God. 

VER. 59 64. ST. LUKE. 51 

Chrys. The rite of circumcision was first delivered to chrys. 
Abraham as a sign of distinction, that the race of the Patriarch Hom^" 
might be preserved in unmixed purity, and so might be able 39. 
to obtain the promises. But now that the promise of the 
covenant is fulfilled, the sign attached to it is removed. So 
then through Christ circumcision ceased, and baptism came in 
its place ; but first it was right that John should be circum- 
cised; as it is said. And it came to pass, that on the eighth 
day, Src. For the Lord had said, Let the child of eight days q^^^\'^^ 
be circumcised among you. But this measurement of time ^^' 
I conceive was ordered by Divine mercy for two reasons. 
First, because in its most tender years the child the more 
easily bears the cutting of the flesh. Secondly, that from the 
very operation itself we might be reminded that it was 
done for a sign ; for the young child scarcely distinguishes 
any of the things that are around him. But after the circum- 
cision, the name was conferred, as it follows. And they called 
him. But this was done because we must first receive the 
seal of the Lord, then the name of man. Or, because no man 
except he first cast aside his fleshly lusts, which circumcision 
signifies, is worthy to have his name written in the book of 

Ambrose; The holy Evangelist has especially remarked, 
that many thought the child should be called after his father 
Zacharias, in order that we might understand, not that any 
name of his kinsfolk was displeasing to his mother, but that 
the same word had been communicated to her by the Holy 
Spirit, which had been foretold by the Angel to Zachaiias. 
And in truth, being dumb, Zacharias was unable to mention his 
son's name to his wife, but Elisabeth obtained by prophecy 
what she had not learnt from her husband. Hence it follows, 
And she answered, SfC. Marvel not that the woman pronounced 
the name which she had never heard, seeing the Holy Spirit 
who imparted it to the Angel revealed it to her; nor could 
she be ignorant of the forerunner of the Lord, who had pro- 
phesied of Christ. And it well follows. And they said unto her, 
8fc. that you might consider that the name belongs not to the 
family, but to the Prophet. Zacharias also is questioned, and 
signs made to him, as it follows, And they made signs to the 
father, ^c. But since imbelief had so bereft him of utterance 



and hearing, that he could not use his voice, he spoke by his 
hand-writing, as it follows. And he asked for a writing table, 
and wrote, saying, His name is John; that is, we give no 

Orig. name to him who has received his name from God. Origen ; 

non occ. '/^Q^chaxia.s is by interpretation " remembering God," but John 
signifies "pointing to." Now "memory" relates to some- 
thing absent, " pointing to," to something present. But John 
was not about to set forth the memory of God as absent, but 
with his finger to point him out as present, saying. Behold the 
Lamb of God. Chrys. But the name John is also interpreted 
the grace of God. Because then by the favour of Divine grace, 
not by nature, Elisabeth conceived this son, they engraved the 
memory of the benefit on the name of the child. Theophyl. 
And because with the mother the dumb father also agreed as 
to the name of the child, it follows. And they all marvelled. 
For there was no one of this name among their kinsfolk that 
any one could say that they had both previously determined 

Greg, upon it. Greg. Naz. The birth of John then broke the 

Orat. vi. silence of Zacharias, as it follows. And his inouth was evened. 
For it were unreasonable when the voice of the Word had 
come forth, that his father should remain speechless. Am- 
brose ; Rightly also, from that moment was his tongue loosed, 
for that which unbelief had bound, faith set free. Let us 
then also believe, in order that our tongue, which has been 
bound by the chains of unbelief, may be loosed by the voice 
of reason. Let us write mysteries by the Spirit if we wish to 
speak. Let us write the forerunner of Christ, not on 
tables of stone, but on the fleshly tablets of the heart. For 
he who names John, prophesies Christ. For it follows. And 
he spake, giving thanks. 

Bede; Now in an allegory, the celebration of John's 
birth was the beginning of the grace of the New Covenant. 
His neighbours and kinsfolk had rather give him the name 
of his father than that of John. For the Jews, who by 
the observance of the Law were united to him as it were 
by ties cf kindred, chose rather to follow the righteousness 
which is of the Law, than receive the grace of faith. 
But the name of John, (i. e. the grace of God,) his mother 
in word, his father in writing, suffice to announce, for both 
the Law itself as well as the Psalms and the Prophecies, 

VER. 65 — 68. ST. LUKE. 58 

in the plainest language foretel the grace of Christ ; and that 
ancient priesthood, by the foreshadowing of its ceremonies 
and sacrifices, bears testimony to the same. And well 
doth Zacharias speak on the eighth day of the birth of his 
child, for by the resurrection of the Lord, which took place 
on the eighth day, i. e. the day after the sabbath^ the hidden septi- 
secrets of the legal priesthood were revealed. sabbati. 

Qib. And fear came on all that dwelt round about 
them : and all these sayings were noised abroad 
throughout all the hill country of Judaea. 

66. And all they that heard them laid them up 
in their hearts, saying. What manner of child shall 
this be ! And the hand of the Lord was with him. 

Theophyl. As at the silence of Zacharias the people 
marvelled, so likewise when he spoke. Hence it is said, And 
fear came upon all; that from these two circumstances all 
might believe there was something great in the child that 
was born. But all these things were ordained, to the end 
that he who was to bear witness of Christ might also be 
esteemed trustworthy. Hence it follows, And all they that 
heard them laid them up in their heart, saying. What 
manner of child, 8fC. Bede ; For forerunning signs prepare 
the way for the forerunner of the truth, and the future prophet 
is recommended by auspices sent before him ; hence it follows. 
For the hand of the Lord was with him. Greek Ex. For Meta- 
God worked miracles in John which he did not himself, but P^astes. 
the right hand of God in him. Gloss. But mystically, at the Gloaa. 
time of our Lord's resurrection, by the preaching of the grace °'<*i°- 
of Christ, a wholesome dread shook the hearts not only 
of the Jews, (who were neighbours, either from the place of 
their dwelling, or from the knowledge of the law,) but of the 
foreign nations also. The name of Christ surmounts not 
only the hilly country of Judaea, but all the heights of worldly 
dominion and wisdom. 

67. And his father Zacharias was filled with the 
Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying. 


68. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel ; for he 
hath visited and redeemed his people. 

Ambrose; God in His mercy and readiness to pardon 
our sins, not only restores to iis what He has taken away, 
but grants us favours even beyond our expectations. Let 
no one then distrust Him, let no one from consciousness of 
past sins despair of the Divine blessing. God knoweth how 
to change His sentence, if thou hast known how to correct 
thy sin, seeing he that was long silent prophesies ; as 
it is said. And Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit. 
Chrys. That is, " with the working of the Holy Spirit ;" 
for he had obtained the grace of the Holy Spirit, not in 
any manner, but fully ; and the gift of prophecy shone forth 
in him ; as it follows, And he prophesied. Origen ; Now 
Zacharias being filled with the Holy Spirit utters two pro- 
phecies, the first relating to Christ, the second to John. And 
this is plainly proved by those words in which he speaks of 
the Saviour as present and already going about in the world, 
saying, Blessed be the Lord Qod qf Israel, for he hath 
visited, ^c. Chrys. Zacharias, when he is blessing God, 
says, that He hath visited His people, meaning thereby either 
Matt, tijg Israelites in the flesh, for He came to the lost sheep of 
the house of Israel; or the spiritual Israel, that is, the 
faithful, who were worthy of this visitation, making the 
providence of God of good effect towards them. Bede ; But 
the Lord visited His people who were pining away as it 
were from long sickness, and by the blood of His only 
begotten Son, redeemed them who were sold under sin. 
AVhich thing Zacharias, knowing that it would soon be accom- 
plished, relates in the prophetic manner as if it were already 
passed. But he says. His people, not that when He came 
He found them His own, but that by visiting He made 
them so. 

69. And hath raised up an horn of salvation for 
us in the house of his servant David. 

Theophyl. God seemed to be asleep, disregarding the 
sins of the multitude, but in these last times coming in the 

15, 24. 

VER. 70, 71. ST. LUKE. 55 

flesh, He hath risen up and trodden down the evil spirits 
who hated us. Hence it is said, And he hath raised up 
an horn qf salvation to us in the hou^se qf his servant David. 
Origen ; Because Christ was born of the seed of David, 
according to the flesh, it is said, A horn of salvation to m 
in the house qf his servant David; as it has also elsewhere 
been said, A vineyard hath been planted in a horn, i. e. in is. 5, i. 
Jesus Christ. 

Chrys. Now by a horn he means power, glory, and honour, Chrys. 
deriving it metaphorically from the brute creatures, to whom ^n^^. 
God has given horns for defence and glory. Bede ; The king- 1^- 
dom of our Saviour Christ is called also the horn qf salvation, 
because all our bones are clothed with flesh, but the horn 
alone stretches beyond the flesh ; so the kingdom of Christ 
is called the horn of salvation, as reaching beyond the world 
and the delights of the flesh. According to which figure David 
and Solomon were consecrated by the horn of oil to the 
glory of the kingdom. 

70. As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets 
which have been since the world began. 

Theophyl. That Christ was bom of the house of David, 
Micah relates, saying. And thou, Bethlehem, art not the lea^t jviicah 
in the city of Juda, for out qf thee shall come a governor ^' ^' 
who shall rule my people Israel. But all the prophets 
spoke of the Incarnation, and therefore it is said, As he 
spake by the mouth of his holy prophets. Greek Ex. Victor 
Whereby he means that God spoke through them, and that ^^^^ ^' 
their speech was not of man. Bede ; But he says, Which 
have been since the world began. Because all the Scriptures 
of the Old Testament were a constant prophecy of Christ. 
For both our father Adam himself, and the other fathers, 
by their deeds bore testimony to His dispensation. 

71. That we should be saved from our enemies, 
and from the hand of all that hate us. 

Bede ; Having first briefly said. He hath raised up a horn 
qf salvation to us, he goes on lo explain his words, adding, qf 
salvation from our enemies. As if he said. He hath raised up 


to tts a horn, i, e. He hath raised up to lis salvation/rom our 
enemieSy and from the hand qf all who hate us. Origen ; 
Let us not suppose that this refers to our bodily enemies, but 
Ps. 24, our ghostly. For the Lord Jesus came mighty in battle 
to destroy all our enemies, that He might deliver us from 
their snares and temptation. 

72. To perform the mercy promised to our fore- 
fathers, and to remember his holy covenant ; 

73. The oath which he sware to our father 

74. That he would grant unto us. 

Bkde ; Having announced that the Lord, according to 
the declaration of the Prophet, would be bom of the 
house of David, he now says, that the same Lord to fulfil 
the covenant He made with Abraham will deliver us, because 
chiefly to these patriarchs of Abraham's seed was promised 
the gathering of the Gentiles, or the incarnation of Christ. 
But David is put first, because to Abraham was promised 
the holy assembly of the Church ; whereas to David it was 
told that from him Christ was to be born. And therefore 
after what was said of David, he adds concerning Abraham 
the words, To jwr/orm the mercy promised to oiir fathers, ^c. 
Origen ; I think that at the coming of our Lord and Saviour 
Jesus Christ, both Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, were partakers 
of His mercy. For it is not to be believed, that they who had 
before seen His day, and were glad, should afterwards derive 
Coioss. no advantage from His coming, since it is written, Having 
' ' made peace through the blood of his Cross, whether in earth 
or in heaven. 

Theophyl. The grace of Christ extends even to those who 
are dead, because through Him wc shall again, not only 
we, but they also who have been dead before us. He per- 
formed His mercy also to our forefathers in fulfilling all their 
hopes and desires. Hence it follows, And to remember his 
holy covenant, that covenant, namely, wherein he said, 
Gen. 22, Blessiug, I will bless thee, and multiplying, I will multipdy 
^^' thee. For Abraham was multiplied in all nations, who became 

VER. 74. ST- LUKi:. 57 

his children by adoption, through following the example of 
his faith. But the fathers also, seeing their children enjoy 
these blessings, rejoice together with them, just as if they 
received the mercy in themselves. Hence it follows, The oath 
which he sware to our father Abraham, that he would grant 
unto us. 

Basil; But let no one, hearing that the Lord had sworn Basil, 
to Abraham, be tempted to swear. For as when the pg. 29, 
wrath of God is spoken of, it does not signify passion but^^^°P«- 
punishment; so neither does God swear as man, but op. 
His word is in very truth expressed to us in place of an 
oath, confirming by an unchangeable sentence what He 

74. That we, being delivered out of the hands of 
our enemies, might serve him without fear. 

Chrys. Having said that a horn of salvation had risen 
up to us from the house of David, he shews that through 
it we are partakers of His glory, and escape the assaults of 
the enemy. As he says. That being delivered out of the hands 
of our enemies, we might serve him without fear. The two 
things above mentioned will not easily be found united. 
For many escape danger, but fail of a glorious life, as 
criminals discharged from prison by the king's mercy. 
On the other hand, some reap gloiy, but are compelled for its 
sake to encounter dangers, as soldiers in war embracing a life 
of honour are oftentimes in the greatest peril. But the horn 
brings both safety and glory. Safety indeed as it rescues 
us from the hands of our enemies, not slightly but in a won- 
derful manner, insomuch that we have no more fear, which 
are his very words; tliat being delivered from the hand of otir 
enemies, we might serve him without fear. Origen; Or in 
another way; Frequently are men delivered fi'om the hands of 
the enemy, but not without fear. For when fear and peril 
have gone before, and a man is then plucked from the enemies' 
hand, he is delivered indeed, but not without fear. Therefore 
said he, that the coming of Christ caused us to be snatched 
from the enemies' hands without fear. For we suffered not 


from their evil designs, but He suddenly parting us from them, 
hath led us out to our own allotted resting place. 

76. In holiness and righteousness before him, all 
the days of our life. 

Chrys. Zacharias glorifies the Lord, because He hath made 
us to serve Him with full confidence, not in the flesh as 
Judah did with the blood of victims, but in the spirit with 
good works. And this is what he means by in holiness 
and righteousness. For holiness is, a proper observance of 
our duty towards God, righteousness of our duty towards man ; 
as, for example, when a man devoutly performs the Divine 
commands, and lives honourably among his fellow men. But 
he does not say " before men," as of hypocrites desirous to 
Rom. 2, please men, but " before God," as of those whose praise is not 
^^* of men J but of God ; and this not once or for a time ; but all 
the days of their life, as it is said, all our days. Bede ; For 
whosoever either departs from God's service before he dies, or 
by any uncleanness stains either the strictness or purity of his 
faith, or strives to be holy and righteous before men, and not 
before God, does not yet serve the Lord in perfect freedom 
from the hand of his spiritual enemies, but after the example 
of the old Samaritans endeavours to serve equally the Gods of 
the Gentiles, and his Lord. 

76. And thou, child, shall be called the Prophet of 
the Highest : for thou shalt go before the face of the 
Lord to prepare his ways. 

Ambrose; In prophesying of the Lord he rightly addresses 
the prophet, shewing that prophecy also is a gift of the Lord, 
in order that he might not, while enumerating public benefits, 
seem to be so ungrateful as to be silent of his own. Hence it is 
said, And thou,child,shalt be calledthe Prophet of the Highest. 
Origen ; The reason I suppose that Zacharias hastened to speak 
to his son, was because he knew that John was shortly about 
to be a sojourner in the wilderness, and that he himself should 
see him no more. Ambrose; Now perhaps some may think 
it an absurd extravagance of the mind to address a child of 
eight days old. But if we keep our eyes fixed upon higher 

VER. 77. ST. LUKE. 59 

things, we surely can understand that the son might hear the 
voice of his father, who before he was bom heard the salu- 
tation of Mary. The Prophet knew that there were certain 
organs of heaiing in a Prophet which were unclosed by the 
Spirit of God, not by the growth of the body. He possessed 
the faculty of understanding who was moved by the feeling 
of exultation. Bede; Unless indeed Zacharias be sup- 
posed to have wished as soon as he was able to speak, to 
proclaim for their instruction who were present, the 
future gifts of his son, which he had long before learnt from 
the Angel. Let the Arians however hear that our Lord Christ, 
whom John went before prophesying of Him, Zacharias calls 
" the Most High," as it is said in the Psalms, A man uas barn Ps. 87, 
in her, and the most highest has established her. Chrys. ®* 
But as kings have their companions in arms, who stand nearest 
to them, so John, who was the friend of the Bridegroom, went 
before Him nigh unto His coming. And this is what follows, 
Far thau shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his 
ways. For some prophets have preached the mystery of 
Christ at a distance, but he preached it nearer the time, that 
he might both see Christ, and declare Him to others. Greg. Greg. 
But all they who by preaching cleanse the hearts of their ^J^^. 
hearers from the filth of their sins, prepare a way for the coming «"P- 
of wisdom into the heart. 23. ' 

77. To give knowledge of salvation unto his people 
by the remission of their sins. 

Theophyl. For the manner in which the forerunner pre- 
pared the way of the Lord he explains, adding. To give know- 
ledge of salvation. The Lord Jesus is salvation, but the 
knowledge of salvation, i. e. of Christ, was given in John, who 
bore witness of Christ. Bede ; For as if desiring to explain 
the name of Jesus, i. e. the Saviour, he frequently makes men- 
tion of salvation, but lest men should think it was a temporal 
salvation which was promised, he adds, for the forgiveness of 
sins. Theophyl. For in no other way was He known to be 
God, but as having forgiven the sins of His people. For it is of 
God alone to forgive sins. Bede ; But the Jews prefer not to 
receive Christ, but to wait for Antichrist; for they desire to be 


delivered not from the dominion of sin within, but from the 
yoke of man's bondage witliout. 

78. Through the tender mercy of our God ; where- 
by the dayspring from on high hath visited us. 

Theophyl. Because God hath forgiven our sins not for our 
works' sake, but through His mercy, it is therefore fitly added, 
Chrys. Through the tender mercy of our God. Chrys. Which 
xiv, in mercy we find not indeed by our own seeking, but God from 
'*• on high hath appeared to us, as it follows; Whereby (i. e. 
by His tender mercy) the dayspring from on high (that is, 
Severus. Christ) hath visited us, taking upon Him our flesh. Greek Ex. 
Abiding on high yet present upon the earth, suffering neither 
division nor limitation, which thing neither can our under- 
standing embrace, nor any power of words express. 

79. To give light to them that sit in darkness and 
in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the 
way of peace. 

Bede ; Christ is rightly called the Day-spring, because He 
hath disclosed to us the rising of the true light, as it follows; 
To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow 
Chrys. of death. Chrys. By darkness he means not material dark- 
sup, jjggg^ i^^j^ error and distance from the faith, or ungodliness. 
Basil. Basil ; For in thick darkness were the Gentile people sitting, 
^P*. who were sunk deep in idolatry, until the rising light dis- 
c. ii. persed the darkness, and spread abroad the brightness of 
Greg.iv. truth. Greg. But the shadow of death is taken to mean 
Moral, ^j^g forgetfulness of the mind. For as death causes that 
Job 3, 5. which it kills to be no longer in life, so whatever oblivion 
touches ceases to be in the memory. Hence the Jewish 
people who were forgetful of God are said to sit in the 
shadow of death. The shadow of death is taken also for 
the death of the flesh, because as that is the true death, 
by which the soul is separated from God, so that is the 
shadow of death by which the flesh is separated from the 
Tb. 44, Roul. Hence in the words of the martyrs it is said, the 


VER. 80. ST. LUKE. 61 

shadow of death has come over us. By the shadow of death 
also is represented the following of the devil, who is called 
Death in the Revelations, because as a shadow is formed Rev. 6, 
according to the quality of the body, so the actions of the 
mcked are expressed according to the manner of their 
following him. Chrys. He rightly says sitting, for we Chrys. 
were not walking in darkness, but sitting down as having no"*^"^* 
hope of deliverance. Theophyl. But not only does the 
Lord at His rising give light to those who sit in darkness, 
but he says something further as it follows, to direct our 
feet in the way of peace. The way of peace is the way of 
righteousness, to which He has directed our feet, i. e. the 
affections of our souls. Greg. For we guide our steps Greg. 
in the way of peace, when we walk in that line of conduct 33°^* 
wherein we depart not from the grace of our Maker, ^vang. 
Ambrose; Mark also, in how few words Elisabeth pro- 
phesies, in how many Zacharias, and yet each spoke filled 
with the Holy Spirit; but this discipline is preserved, that 
women may study rather to learn what are the Divine com- 
mands than to teach them. 

80. And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, 
and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing 
unto Israel. 

Bede ; The future preacher of repentance, that he might 
the more boldly reclaim his hearers from the allurements 
of the world, passes the first part of his life in the de- 
serts. Hence it is said, And the child grew. Theophyl. 
i. e. in bodily stature, and waxed strong in spirit, for together 
with his body at the same time his spiritual gift in- 
creased, and the workings of the Spirit were more and 
more manifested in him. Origen; Or he increased in 
spirit, remaining not in the same measure in which he 
had begun, but the Spirit was ever growing in him. His 
will ever tending to better things, was making its own 
advances, and his mind ever contemplating something more 
divine, while his memory was exercising itself, that it might 
lay up more and more things in its treasury, and more 


firmly retain lliem. But he &dds, And he waxed strong. 
Matt. For liuinan nature is weak, as we learn, the flesh is 
^^' ^ ■ weak. It must therefore be made strong by the Spirit, for 
the Spirit is ready. Many wax strong in the flesh, but the 
wrestler of God must be strengthened by the Spirit that he 
may crush the wisdom of the flesh. He retires therefore to 
escape the noise of cities, and the thronging of the people. 
For it follows, And he was in the deserts. Where the air is 
purer, the sky more clear, and God a closer friend, that as 
the time had not yet arrived for his baptism and preaching, 
he might have leisure for praying, and might hold converse 
with the angels, calling upon God and feaiing Him, saying. 
Behold, here am I. Theophyl. Or, he was in the deserts 
that he might be brought up beyond the reach of the malice 
of the multitude, and not be afraid of man. For if he had 
been in the world, perchance he had been corrupted by the 
friendship and conversation of the world. And secondly, 
that he who was to preach Christ might also be esteemed 
trust-worthy. But he was hid in the desert until it pleased 
God to shew him forth to the people of Israel, as it follows, 
Hll the day of his shewing forth to Israel. Ambrose ; And 
rightly is the time noted during which the prophet was in 
the womb, in order that the presence of Mary might not be 
passed over, while they are silent about the time of his child- 
hood, because being strengthened in the womb by the 
presence of the Motlier of the Lord, he knew not the struggles 
of childhood. 


1. And it came to pass in those days, that there 
went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the 
world should be taxed. 

2. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius 
was governor of Syria.) 

3. And all went to be taxed, every one into his 
own city. 

4. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of 
the city of Nazareth, into Judsea, unto the city of 
David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was 
of the house and lineage of David:) 

5. To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being 
great with child. 

Bede ; The Son of God, about to be born in the flesh, as 
by His birth of a virgin He shewed that the grace of virginity 
was most pleasing in His sight, is therefore begotten in the 
most peaceful time of the world, because He taught men to 
seek peace, and condescends to visit those who follow it. But 
there could be no greater sign of peace than for the whole 
world to be brought together under one taxing, while its 
ruler Augustus reigned with so great peace for the twelve 
years, about the time of our Lord's nativity, that war having 
been quelled throughout the whole world, there seemed to 
be a literal fulfilment of the Prophet's prediction, Theyis.%A. 
shall beat their swords into ploughshares, SfC. Greek Ex. Meta- 
Christ is born also at a time when the princes of Judah had et Alcx- 
failed, and the kingdom was transferred to Roman governors, ^^^^ 
to whom the Jews paid tiibute; and then was ftilfilled the chus. 


Gen. 49, prophecy, saying, There shall not fail a leader from Jiulah, 
nor a prince from between his feet, until he shall coine who 
is to he sent. And now when Caesar Augustus was in the 
42d year of his reign, there went forth an edict from him 
that all the world should be taxed for the payment of tribute, 
the management of which he committed to a certain Cyrinus, 
whom he made governor of Judaia and Syria; and so it 
follows, This taxing was first made, ^c. 

Bede ; St. Luke points out, that this taxing was either the 
first of those which comprehended the whole world, for 
before this very many parts of the earth are often mentioned 
as having been taxed ; or first began at that time when 
Cyrinus was sent into Syria. Ambrose ; He has rightly 
added the name of the governor, to mark the course of time. 
For if the names of the Consuls are affixed to the tables of 
prices, how much more ought the time to be noted down, of 
that event which was the redemption of all men } Bede ; Now 
the registration of property was so appointed by Divine guid- 
ance, that every one was ordered to go into his own country, as 
it follows. And they all went to be taxed, every one to his own 
city. Which so came to pass, in order that the Lord, con- 
ceived in one place, bom in another, might the more easily 
escape the fury of the crafty Herod. Hence it follows : Now 
Chrys. Joseph also went up from Galilee. Chrys. It was the Lord 
^^ tef™ ^^^ directed Augustus to give this edict, that he might minister 
Christi. unto the coming of the Only-begotten ; for it was this edict 
that brought Christ's mother into her countrj' as the prophets 
had foretold, namely, to Bethlehem of Judaja, according to 
the word, to a city qf David, which is called Bethlehem. 
Irenseus Greek Ex. Now he added, a city of David, that he might 
g^*" declare that the promise made by God to David, namely, that 
1.3. c.W.from the fruit qfhis loins there should go before him a king for 
2 Sam. ^^^t was already fulfilled. Whence it follows. Because he was 
7, 12. qf the house and lineage qf David. But since Joseph was 
11 ' 'of the family of David, it pleased the Evangelist to make 
known also that the Virgin herself was of the same family, 
because the Divine law enjoined marriages between those 
of the same line ; and therefore it follows. With Mary 
Cyril, his espoused wife. Cyril ; It is said that she was espoused, 
non occ.jQ imply that nothing more than espousals preceded the con- 

VER. 1 — 5. ST. LUKK. 65 

ception; for it was not by man's seed tliat the Holy Virgin 

Greg. But the registering of tlie whole world when Greg, 
our Lord was about to be born was mystical; for Heg*|™* 
appeared in the flesh Who should write down the names of Ev. 
His own elect in eternity. Ambrose ; There is described a 
secular registration, implied a spiritual, to be laid before 
the King not of earth but of Heaven ; a registering of faith : 
a census of souls. For the old census of the Synagogue was 
abolished, a new census of the Church was preparing. And 
to decide that the census was not of Augustus, but of Christ, 
the whole world is ordered to be registered. For who could 
demand the registration of the whole world but He who had 
dominion over it, for the earth is not of Augustus, but the earth Ps. 24, 
is the Lord's? Bede; And He most perfectly fulfilled what^' 
the name Augustus signifies, in that He was both desirous 
and able to increase His own. Theophyl. Because it wasaugere. 
fit also that at Christ's coming the worship of many Gods 
should cease, and one God only be worshipped, one 
king is described as ruling the world. Origen; To those 
who attentively consider it, there seems to be expressed a kind 
of sacrament, in its being necessary that Christ should be put 
down in the registration of the whole world; in order that His 
name being written with all, He might sanctify all, and being 
placed in the census with the whole vvorld. He might impart to 
the world the communion of Himself. Bede ; As at that time 
in the reign of Augustus and under the governorship of Cyrinus, 
every one went to his own city to make returns of his property; 
so now when Christ reigns through His teachers (the governors 
of the Church) ought we to make returns of righteousness. 
Ambrose; This was then the first public enrolment 
of souls to the Lord, to Whom all enrol themselves not at 
the voice of the crier, but of the Prophet, who says, OPs. 47, 
clap your hands, all ye people. But in order that men^' 
might know that the taxing was just, there came up to it 
Joseph and Mary, the just man and the virgin. He who 
kept the word and she who obeyed it. Bede ; Our city and 
country is the resting-place of the blessed, to which we ought 
to be travelling with daily inci'easing virtues. But d-Ay 
by day does Holy Church wait upon hor Teacher, and 

VOL. Ill, F 


going up from tlie course of worldly business (which the name 
of Galilee signifies) to the city of Judah, i. e. tlie city of con- 
fession and praise, make returns of her devotion to the 
Eternal King. She, after the example of the blessed Virgin 
Mary, a Virgin has conceived us of the Spirit. Though 
espoused to another, she is made fruitful by Him; and while 
visibly joined to the Pontiff" who is placed over her, is 
invisibly filled with the graces of the Spirit. And hence Joseph 
is well interpreted increased, declaring by his very name, 
that the earnestness of the master speaking is of no avail, 
except he receive increasing help from above, that he may 
be heard. 

6. And so it was, that, while they were there, the 
days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 

7. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and 
wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in 
a manger ; because there was no room for them in 
the inn. 

Ambrose ; St. Luke has briefly explained the manner, lime, 
and also the place in which Christ was bom in the flesh ; 
the manner, that is, in which the espoused has conceived, a 
Greg, in virgin has bom offspring. Greg. Nyss. Though coming in 
^'^/" the form of man, yet not in every thing is He subject to the 
Christi. laws of man's nature; for while His being born of a woman, 
tells of human nature; virginity becoming capable of childbirth 
betokens something above man. Of Him then His mother's 
burden was light, the birth immaculate, th(! delivery with- 
out pain, the nativity without defilement, neither beginning 
from wanton desire, nor brought to pass with sorrow. 
For as she who by her guilt engrafted death into our 
nature, was condemned to bring forth in trouble, it was 
meet that she who brought life into the world should ac- 
complish her delivery with joy. But through a virgin's 
purity He makes His passage into mortal life at a time 
in which the darkness was beginning to lail, and the vast ex- 
panse of night to fade away before the exceeding brightness 
of the light. For the death of sin had lirought an end of wicked- 
ness which from henceforth tends to nothing by reason of the 

VKR, 6, 7. ST. LIKE. 67 

presence of the true light which has illuminated the whole world 
with the rays of the Gospel. Bede; He condescended to be- 
come incarnate at that time, that after His birth He might be 
enrolled in Caesar's taxing, and in order to bring liberty to us 
might Himself become .subject to slavery. It was well also 
that our Lord was born at Bethlehem, not only as a mark of 
the royal crown, but on account of the sacrament of the 
name. Greg. Bethlehem is by interpretation the house of Greg, 
bread. For it is the Lord Himself who says, I am the bread of^^°-^(^ 
life which came down from heaven. The place therefore Ev. 
where the Lord was born was before called the house of 53. ' 
bread, because it was there that He was to appear in His 
fleshly nature who should refresh the souls of the elect 
with spiritual fulness. Bede; But down to the very end of 
time, the Lord ceases not to be conceived at Nazareth, to be 
bom at Bethlehem, whenever any of His hearers taking of the 
flour of the word makes himself a house of eternal bread. 
Daily in the Virgin's womb, i. e. in the mind of believers, 
Christ is conceived by faith, boni by baptism. It follows, 
and she brought forth her Jirstborn son. Jerome; From Hier. 
this Helvidius^ strives to prove that no one can be called SS"*\, 
firstborn who has not brothers, as he is called only-begotten 
who is the only son of his parents. But we thus detennine 
the matter. Every only-begotten is firstborn, not every first- 
born is only-beijotten. We say not that he is first-begotten 
whom others follow, but before whom there is no one; (other- 
wise, supposing there is no firstborn but who has brothers 
following him, there are then no firstlings due to tlie 
priests as long as there are no others begotten;) lest per- 
chance when no birth follows afterward, there should be 
an only-begotten and not a firstborn. Bede; Ho is also 
only-begotten in the substance of His divinity, firstborn in 
the taking upon Himself humanity, firstborn in grace, only- 
begotten in nature. 

Jerome; Now here was no midwife, no tender anxiety jjier. 
of women; she wrapped the Child up in swaddling^*'' ''"P- 
clothes, herself both mother and midwife. Bede; He who 
clothes the whole world with its varied beauty, is wrapped up 

•' Helvidius wrote a book to prove after our Lord's birth. He flourished 
that the Virp;in Mary had other phildren at Rome A. D. .S80. 

K 2 


in common linen, that we might be able to receive the best 
robe ; He by Whom all things are made, is folded both hands 
and feet, that our hands might be raised up for every good work, 
Meta- and our feet directed in the way of peace. Greek Ex. Oh 
phrastes^jjg wonderful straitening and banishment which He under- 
went, Who holds the whole world in Hi* hands ! From the 
very beginning He seeks for poverty, and ennobles it in His 
Chrys. own person. Chrys. Surely if He had so willed it, He 
lion occ. jjjjgjj^ Jiave come moving the heavens, making the earth to 
shake, and shooting forth His thunderbolts ; but such was not 
the way of His going forth; His desire was not to destroy, but 
to save; and to trample upon human pride from its very 
birth, therefore He is not only man, but a poor man, and 
has chosen a poor mother, who had not even a cradle where 
she might lay her new born Child ; as it follows, and she laid 
him in the manger. Bede; He is confined in the narrow space 
of a rude manger, whose seat is the heavens, that He may give 
us ample room in the joys of His heavenly kingdom. He 
Who is the bread of Angels is laid down in a manger, that He 
might feast us, as it were the sacred animals, with the bread 
of His flesh. Cyril; He finds man in his corrupt affections 
become hke the beasts that perish, and therefore He is laid 
in the manger, in the place of food, that we changing the life of 
beasts, might be brought to the knowledge that befits man, 
partaking not of hay, but of the heavenly bread, the lifegiving 
body. Bede; He who sits at His Father's right hand, finds 
no room in an inn, that He might prepare for us in His 
John Father's house many mansions; He is born not in His Father's 
' * house, but in an inn and by the way side, because through 
the mystery of the incarnation He was made the way by which 
John to bring us to our country, (where we shall enjoy the truth and 
Q ' ■ the life.) Greg. And that He might shew that on account of 
ubi sup. the human fonn which He took upon Him, He was bom as in a 
strange country, not according to His power but according to 
His nature. Ambrose; On thy account then am I weak, in 
thee am I strong. On thy account am I poor, in thee am 1 rich. 
Consider not what thou seest, but acknowledge that thou art 
redeemed. I owe more, O Lord Jesus, to Thy sufferings that 
J am redeemed, than to Thy works that I am created. It 
were no advantage to be bom, had it not advantaged mc to be 
redeemed also. 

VEK. 8 — 12. ST. LUKE. 69 

8. And there were in the same country shepherds 
abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock 
by night. 

9. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, 
and the glory of the Lord shone round about them : 
and they were sore afraid. 

10. And the angel said unto them, Fear not : for, 
behold, 1 bring you good tidings of great joy, which 
shall be to all people. 

1 1 . For unto you is born this day in the city of 
David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 

12. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall 
find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in 
a manger. 

Ambrose ; Observe with what care God builds up our faith. 
An Angel teaches Mary ; an Angel teaches Joseph ; an 
Angel the shepherds also, of whom it is said, And there 
uere in the same country shepherds abiding in the Jield. 
Chrys. To Joseph the Angel appeared in a dream, as to 
one who might be easily brought to believe, but to 
the shepherds in visible shape as to men of a ruder nature. 
But the Angel went not to Jerusalem, sought not for Scribes 
and Pharisees, (for they were corrupt and tormented with 
envy.) But these were simple men living in the ancient prac- 
tices of Moses and the Patriarchs. There is a certain road 
which leads by innocence to Philosophy. Bede; No where Bede 
in the whole course of the Old Testament do we find that the Hom. 

, , inter 

Angels who so constantly appear to the Patriarchs, came in Hyem. 
the day time. This privilege was rightly kept for this timCg . 
when there arose in the darkness a light to them that were v. 
true of heart. Hence it follows, and the glory of Qod ^^' ' 
shone round about them. He is sent forth from the womb, 
but He shines from heaven. He lies in a common inn, but 
He lives in celestial light. 

Greek Ex. They were alarmed at the miracle, as it follows, Geome- 
And they were afraid, ^c. But the Angel dispels their rising *®''' 
fears. He not only soothes their terrors, but pours gladness 


into their hearts; for it follows, For, behold, I bring you good 
tidings of great jiyy, b^c. not to the Jewisli people only, but to 
all. The cause of their joy is declared; the new and wonder- 
ful birth is made manifest by the very names. It follows, For 
unto you is born this day in the city qf David a Saviour, which 
is Christ the Lord. The first of these, i. e. the Saviour, has re- 
ference to the action, the third, i. c. the Lord, to the dignity of 
the person. Cyril; But that which is in the middle, namely, 
Christ, has reference to the adoration, and signifies not the 
nature, but the compound substance of two natures. For on 
Christ our Saviour we confess the anointing to have been per- 
formed, not however figuratively, (as formerly on kings by the 
oil,) and as if by prophetic grace, nor for the accomplishment 
Isa.46. of any work, as it is said in Isaiah, Thus sailh the Lord to his 
anointed, to Cyrus; who although he was an idolater was said 
to be anointed, that he might by the decree of Heaven take 
possession of the whole province of Babylon ; but the Saviour 
as man in the form of a servant, was anointed by the Holy Spirit, 
as God He Himself by His Holy Spirit anoints those that 
Geome- believe on Him. G lUiEK Ex. He marks the time of our Lord's 
nativity, when he says, To-day, and the place when he adds, 
Ln the city of David ; and the signs thereof wlieu it follows. 
And there stiall he a sign, HjC. Now the Angels bring tidings 
to the shepherds of the Chief Shepherd, as of a lamb discovered 
and brought up in a cave. Bede; The infancy of the Saviour 
was impressed upon us, both by frequent heraldings of 
Angels and testimonies of Evangelists, that we might be the 
more deeply penetrated in our hearts by what has been done for 
us. And we may observe, that the sign given us of the new- 
born Saviour was, that He would be found not clothed in 
Tynan purple, but wrapi)ed in poor swaddling clothes, not 
Maxim, laying on gilded couches, but in a manger. Maximus; But 
^T^^^^*"" if perhaps the swaddling clothes are mean in thy eyes, admire 
4. the Angels singing praises together. If thou despisest the 

manger, raise thy eyes a little, and behold the new star in 
heaven proclaiming to the world the Lord's nativity. If thou 
believest the moan things, believe also the mighty. If thou 
disputest about those which betoken His lowliness, look with 
reverence on what is high and heavenly. 
^h\s\xv. ^'*^^<i- it was in a my.stery that the Angel appeared to the 

VER. 13, 14. ST. LUKE. 71 

shepherds while they were watching, and the glory of the Lord 
shone round about them, implying that they are thought worthy 
above the rest to see sublime things who take a watchful 
care of their faithful flocks ; and while they themselves are 
piously watching over them, the Divine grace shines widely 
round about them. Bede ; For in a mystery, those shepherds, Bede 
and their flocks, signify all teachers and guides of faithful ubi™up. 
souls. The night in which they were keeping watch over their 
flocks, indicates the dangerous temptations from which they 
never cease to keep themselves, and those placed under their 
care. Well also at the birth of our Lord do shepherds watch 
over their flocks; for He was born who says, / am the good John 
Shepherd: but the time also was at hand in which the same ^g' 
Shepherd was to recal His scattered sheep to the pastures 
of life. Origen ; But if we would rise to a more liidden 
meaning, I should say, that there were certain shepherd 
angels, who direct the affairs of men, and while each one of 
them was keeping his watch, an angel came at the birth of the 
Lord, and announced to the shepherds that the true Shepherd 
had arisen. For Angels before the coming of the Saviour 
could bring little help to those entrusted to them, for scarcely 
did one single Gentile believe in God. But now whole 
nations come to the faith of Jesus. 

13. And suddenly there was with the angel a 
multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and 

14. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth 
peace, good will toward men. 

Bede ; Lest the authority of a single Angel should appear 
small, as soon as one had revealed the sacrament of the new 
birth, straightway there was present a multitude of the heavenly 
host. Rightly has the attending Chonis of Angels re- 
ceived the name of heavenly host, seeing they both hum- 
bly bring their aid to that Leader mighty in battle. Who 
has appeared to put down the powers of the air, and also 
themselves by their celestial arms bravely vanquish those 


opposing powers lest they should prevail as they wisli in 
tempting men. But because He is both God and man, 
rightly do they sing Peace to men and Glory to God. As it fol- 
lows, Praishiff God and smjing^ Glory to God in the liighest. 
As soon as one Angel, one messenger, had brought the good 
tidings that God was bom in the flesh, the multitude of the 
heavenly host l)roke forth in the })raise of the Creator, in order 
both to fix their devotion on Christ, and to instruct us by 
their example, that as often as any of the brethren shall sound 
forth the word of sacred learning, or we ourselves shall have 
brought these holy things home to our minds, we should with 
our whole heart, our mouths and hands, return praise to 
God. Chrys, Of old, indeed, Angels were sent to punish, 
as, for instance to the Israelites, to David, to the men of 
Bochim. Sodom, to the valley of weejnng. Now on the other hand 
2"if^'' they sing the song of thanksgiving to God: because He hath 
Greg, revealed to them His coming down to men. Greg. At 

28. Mo- ^}jg same time they also give praises because their voices of 

ral. sup. 1 * n • 1 1 

Job gladness accord well with our redem])tion, and while they 

^^' behold our acceptance, they rejoice also that their number is 

completed. Bede; They wish also peace to men, as they add, 

On earth peace to men, because those whom they had 

before despised as weak and abject, now that our Lord 

has come in the flesh they esteem as friends. Cyril; 

2 Cor. This peace has been made through Christ, for He has recon- 

19^ ■ oiled us by Himself to God and our Father, having taken 

Eph. 2, away our guilt, which was the ground of offence also. He has 

Col. 1, united two nations in one man, and has joined the 

^^' heavenly and the earthly in one flock. Bede; For whom 

they ask peace is explained in the words, Qf ijood iHll. 

For them, namely, who receive the new bom Christ. For there 

isa. 57, is no peace to the ungodly, but much peace to them that love 

p* 119 ^^' "'^"^^ ^^ God. OiUGEN; But the attentive reader will 

165. ask, How then does the Saviour say, / conic not to send 

peace on the earth, whereas now the Angels' song of His 

birth is. On earth peace to men? It is answered, that 

peace is said to be to men of goodwill. For the peace 

which the Lord does not give on the earth is not the peace of 

Aup. good will. Aug. For righteousness belongs to good will. 

Trin.*^ Chrys. Bchold the wondfrful working ofGod. He (irst brings 



VER. 15—20. ST. LUKE. 73 

Angels down to men, and then brings men up to heaven. The 
heaven became earth, when it was about to receive earthly 

Origen ; But in a mystery, the Angels saw that they could 
not accomplish the work committed to them without Him 
Who was truly able to save, and that their healing fell short of 
what the care of men required. And so it was as if there 
should come one who had great knowledge in medicine, 
and those who before were unable to heal, acknowledging now 
the hand of a master, grudge not to see the corruptions of 
wounds ceasing, but break forth into the praises of the 
Physician, and of that God who sent to them and to the sick a 
man of such knowledge ; the multitudes of the Angels 
praised God for the coming of Christ. 

15. And it came pass, as the angels were gone 
away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one 
to another. Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and 
see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord 
hath made known unto us. 

16. And they came with haste, and found Mary^ 
and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 

17. And when they had seen it, they made known 
abroad the saying which was told them concerning 
this child. 

18. And all they that heard it wondered at those 
things which were told them by the shepherds. 

19. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered 
them in her heart. 

20. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and 
praising God for all the things that they had heard 
and seen, as it was told unto them. 

Grkiok Ex. The shepherds were filled with astonishment at Geome- 
tho things that they saw and heard, and so they left their sheep- ^"' 
folds, and set out by night to Bethlehem, seeking for the light 
of the Saviour ; and therefore it is said. They spoke one to 


another y Sfc. Bkde ; As men wlio were truly watcliing, they 
said not, Let m see [the child; but) the tcord wliich has come to 
pass, i. e. the Word which was from the beginning, let us see 
how it has been made flesh for us, since this very Word is the 
Lord. For it follows, Which the Lord hath made, and has 
shewn to us; i. e. Let us see how the Lord hath made Himself, 
and hath shewn His flesh to us. Ambrose; How remarkably 
Scripture weighs the import of each word. For when we be- 
hold the flesh of the Lord, we behold the Word, which is the 
Son. Let not lliis seem to you a slight example of faith, be- 
cause of the humble character of the shepherds. For simplicity 
is sought for, not pride. It follows. And they came in haste. 
For no one indolently seeks after Christ. Origen ; But 
because they came in haste, and not with loitering steps, 
it follows, They found Mary, (i. e. her who had brought 
Jesus into the world,) and Joseph, (i.e. the guardian of our 
Lord's birth,) and the babe lyirig in the manger, (i. e. the 
Saviour Himself) Bede ; It seems to succeed in due order, 
that after having rightly celebrated the incarnation of the 
Word, we should at length come to behold the actual glory of 
that Word. Hence it follows : But when they satv it, they 
Photius made known the word which had been spoken to them. Greek 
Ex. Beholding with hidden faith indeed the happy events which 
had been told them, and not content with marvelling at the 
reality of those things which at the very first the}- saw 
and embraced when the Angel told them, they began to 
relate them not only to Mary and Joseph, but to the others also, 
(and what is more they impressed them on their minds,) as it 
follows, And all who heard it marvelled. For how could it 
be otherwise, at the sight of one of the heavenly host upon 
earth, and earth in peace reconciled to heaven ; and that ineffa- 
ble Child binding together in one, by His divinity, heavenly 
things, by His humanity, earthly things, and by this conjunc- 
tion of Himself effecting a wonderful union ! Gloss. Not 
only do they marvel at the mystery of the incarnation, but 
also at so wonderful an attestation of the shepherds, men who 
could not have devised these unheard of things, but were with 
simple eloquence proclaiming the truth. Ambrose; Esteem 
not the words of the shepherds as mean and despicable. 
For from the slu^phcrds Mary increases her faitli, as it follows : 

VER, 15 20. ST. LUKE. 7fV 

Mary kept all these sayings, and pondered them in her 
heart. Let us leam the chastity of the sacred Virgin in all 
things, who no less chaste in her words than in her body, 
gathered up in her heart the materials of faith. Bede; ForBede 
keeping the laws of virgin modesty, she who had known the ubj gup. 
secrets of Christ would divulge them to no one, but comparing 
what she had read in prophecy with what she now acknow- 
ledged to have taken place, she did not utter them with the 
mouth, but preserved them shut up in her heart. Greek Ex. Meta- 
Whatever the Angel had said unto her, whatever she had 
heard from Zacharias, and Elisabeth, and the shepherds, she 
collected them all in her mind, and comparing them together, 
perceived in all one hai-mony. Truly, He was God who was 
bom from her. 

Athanas. But every one rejoiced in the nativity of Christ, Athan. 
not with human feelings, as men are wont to rejoice when a 
son is bom, but at the presence of Christ and the lustre of 
the Divine light. As it follows : And the shepherds returned, 
glorifying and praising God/or every thing they had heard, ^c. 
Bepe ; That is to say, from the Angels, and had seen, i. e. in 
Bethlehem, as it was told them, i. e. they glory in this, 
that when they came they found it even as it was told them, 
or as it was told them they give praise and glory to God. 
For this they were told by the Angels to do, not in very word 
commanding them, but setting before them the form of devo- 
tion when they sung glory to God in the highest. 

Bede ; To speak in a mystery, let the shepherds ofBede 
spiritual flocks, (nay, all the faithful,) after the example ofubisup. 
these shepherds, go in thought even to Bethlehem, and 
celebrate the incarnation of Christ with due honours. Let 
us go indeed casting aside all fleshly lusts, with the whole 
desire of the mind even to the heavenly Bethlehem, (i. e. the 
house of the living bread,) that He whom they saw crying in 
the manger we may deserve to see reigning on the throne of 
His Father. And such bliss as this is not to be sought for 
with sloth and idleness, but with eagerness must we follow 
the footsteps of Christ. When they saw Him they knew 
Him ; and let us haste to embrace in the fulness of our love 
those things which were spoken of our Saviour, that when 
the time shall come that wc shall see with perfect knowledge 


we may be able to coinpreliencl them. Bede ; Again, the 

shepherds of the Lord's flock by contemplating the Hfe of 

the fathers wlio went before them, (which preserved the bread 

of life,) enter as it were the gates of Bethlehem, and find 

therein none other than the virgin beauty of the Church, 

that is, Mary; the manly company of spiritual doctors, that 

is, Joseph ; and the lowly coming of Christ contained in the 

pages of Holy Scripture, that is, the infant child Christ, laid 

in the manger. 

Isa.3,1. Origen; That was the manger which Israel knew not, 

according to those words of Isaiah, The ox knoweth his 

Bede omner, and the ass his mastefs crib. Bede; The shepherds 

SH'sup ^^^ "^^ h\^e in silence what they knew, because to this end 

have the Shepherds of the Church been ordained, that what 

they have learned in the Scriptures they might explain to 

P^!*^ their hearers. Bede ; The masters of the spiritual flocks 

also, while others sleep, at one time by contemplation 

enter into the heavenly places, at another time pass 

around them by seeking the examples of the faithful, at 

another time by teaching return to the public duties of 

Bede the pastoral ofiice. Bede ; Every one of us, even he who is 

ub?"up supposed to live as a private person, exercises the office of 

shepherd, if, keeping together a multitude of good actions 

and pure thoughts, he strive to rule them with due 

moderation, to feed them with the food of the Scriptures, and 

to preserv e them against the snares of the devil. 

21. And when eight days were accomplished for 
the circumcising of the child, his name was called 
JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he 
was conceived in the womb. 

Bede Bedb; Having related our Lord's natinty, the Evangelist 

1 sup. ^^i^ig^ yiwrf after that eight days were ace miplished for the 

circumcision qf the child. Ambrose ; Who is this Child, 

Is. 9, 6. but He of whom it was said. Unto its a child is born, unto us 

E ipti'* « son is given ? For He was made under the law, that He 

lib. 1. might redeem them who were under the law. Epiph. Now 

■ the followers of Ebion and Cerinthus say', " It is enough for a 

' The Kliionito ntui rcrinthians Snviour. They both adhered to the 
agreed in denyinf; the ilivinity of our Jewish ceremonies, particularly cir- 

VER. 21. ST. LUKE. 77 

disciple if he be as his Master. But Christ circumcised 
Himself. Be thou therefore circumcised." But herein do 
they deceive themselves, destroying their own principles; 
for if Ebion should confess that Christ as God descended 
from heaven and was circumcised on the eighth day, it might 
then afford the ground of an argument for circumcision ; but 
since he affirms Him to be mere man, surely as a bo}' he 
cannot be the cause of Himself being circumcised, as neither 
are infants the authors of their own circumcision. But we 
confess that it is God Himself who has descended from 
heaven, and that inclosed in a virgin's womb, He abode 
there the whole time necessary for her delivery, until He 
should perfectly form to Himself of the virgin's womb a 
human body ; and that in this body He was not in appear- 
ance but truly circumcised on the eighth day, in order that 
the figures having come to this spiritual fulfilment, both by 
Himself and His disciples, might now be spread abroad 
no longer the figures but the reality. Origen; As we have 
died with Him at His death, and risen together with Him at 
His resurrection, so with Him have we been circumcised, and 
therefore need not now circumcision in the flesh. Epiphan. j, . ^ 
Christ was circumcised for several reasons. First indeed to ubi sup. 
shew the reality of His flesh, in opposition to Manichaeus "^ 
and those who say that He came forth in appearance only. 
Secondly, that He might prove that His body was not of the 
same substance with the Deity, according to Apollinaris, and 
that it descended not from heaven, as Valentinian said. 
Thirdly, to add a confirmation to circumcision which He had 
of old instituted to wait His coming. Lastly, to leave no 
excuse to the Jews. For had He not been circumcised, 
they might have objected that they could not receive Christ 
uncircumcised. Bede ; He was circumcised also that He might 

cumcision and the sabbath, and con- chseans, see St. Augustin"s Confessions, 

demned St. Paul as an apostate from the note a. ApoUinarius flourished A.D. 

Law. They taught also the Gnostic 370. He was Bishop of Laodicea. 

heresy, that Jesus was the son of Joseph, His heresy was condemned either 373, 

but excelled other men in wisdom and or 377 — 388, at Rome. Greg. Naz. Ep. 

holiness, and that Christ descended upon 101, 102, 202. Valentinus was a 

Him at Baptism in the shape of a dove, Gnostic Heretic and native of Egypt, 

but fled away before the crucifixion, so who believed that Christ's body de- 

that Jesus alone died. Theodoret. Hser. scended from heaven, and passed 

Fab. 1. ii. c. i. iii. through the Virgin Mary aqua per 

■ 'For the heresv of the Mani- cfenalem. SeeTertull, de Prspscr. r. 44. 

78 tiOSHKI. A(.CORDIN(i TO (HAP. H. 

rnjoin ii])()n us by His example the virtue of obedience, ami 
might take compassion on them who being ])lace(l under the 
law, were unable to boar the burdens of the law, to the end 
that lie who came in the likeness of sinful flesh might not re- 
ject the remedy with which sinful flesh was wont to be healed. 
For circumcision brought in the law the same assistance of a 
saving cure to the wound of original sin which Baptism does 
in the time of the grace of revelation, except that as yet the 
circumcised could not enter the gates of the heavenly kingdom, 
but comforted after death with a blessed rest in Abraham's 
bosom, they waited with a joyful hope for their entrance into 
De Sab- <^temal peace. Athan. For circumcision expressed nothing 
*'^*°. else, but the stripping off" of the old birth, seeing that part 
cumci- was circumcised which caused the birth of the body. And 
sione. jjj^jj, -J ^^.j^g done at that time as a sign of the future baptism 
through Christ. Therefore as soon as that of which it was a sign 
came, the figure ceased. For since the whole of the old man 
Adam is taken away by baptism, there remains nothing which 
the cutting of a part j)refigures. Cyeil ; It was the custom on 
the eighth day to perform the circumcision of the flesh. 
For on the eighth day Christ rose from the dead, and con- 
Matt, vejed to us a spiritual circumcision, saying. Go and teach 
^®' ^^* all nations, baptizing them. Bede ; Now in His resurrec- 
tion was prefigured the resurrection of each of us both in the 
flesh and the Spirit, for Christ has taught us by being cir- 
cumcised that our nature must both now initself be purged from 
the stain of vice, and at the last day be restored from the plague 
of death. And as the Lord rose on the eighth day, i. e. the day 
after the seventh, (which is the Sabbath,) so wo also after six 
ages of the world and uCu r (lie seventh, which is the rest of 
souls, and is now carrying on in another life, shall rise 
as on the eighth day. Cyril; But according to the com- 
mand of the law, on the same day He received the imposi- 
tion of a name, as it follows, His name was called Jesus, 
which is interpreted Saviour. For He was brought forth 
for the salvation of the whole world, which by His circum- 
cision He prefigured, as the Apostle says to the Colossians, 
Col. 2 " Ye are circumcised with a circumcision made without 
"• hands, in the stripping ofl* of the body of the flesh, to wit, the 
circumcision of Christ." Bede; That upon the day of His 

VER. 22 — 25. ST. LUKE. 7i> 

circumcision He also received the imposition of the name 
was likewise done in imitation of the old observances. For 
Abraham, who received the first sacrament of circumcision, 
was on the day of his circumcision thought worthy to, 
blessed by the increase of his name. Origen ; But the name 
of Jesus, a glorious name and worthy of all honour, a name 
which is above exexy other, ought not first to be uttered by men, 
nor by them be brought into the world. Therefore significantly 
the Evangelist adds, ivhich nas called of the Angel, 8fc- 
Bede; Of this name the elect also in their spiritual circum- 
cision rejoice to be partakers, that as from Christ they are 
called Christians, so also from the Saviour they may be called 
saved, which title was given them of God not only before 
they were conceived through faith in the womb of the 
Church, but even before the world began. 

22. And when the days of her purification ac- 
cording to the law of Moses were accomplished, they 
brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the 

23. (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every 
male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to 
the Lord ;) 

24 And to offer a sacrifice according to that which 
is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, 
or two young pigeons. 

25. And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, 
whose name was Simeon ; and the same man was 
just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel ; 
and the Holy Ghost was upon him. 

Cyril; Next after the circumcision they wait for the time of 
purification, as it is said, And when the daya of her pnrijication 
according to the law of Moses were come. Bede; If you 
diligently examine the words of the law, you will find indeed 
that the mother of God as she is free from all connexion 
with man, so is she exempt from any obligation of the law. 
For not every woman who brings forth, but she who has re- 


ceived seed and brought forth, is pronounced unclean, and by 
the ordinances of the law is taught that she nuist be cleansed, 
in order to distinguish probably from her who though a virgin 
has conceived and brought forth. But that we might be 
loosed from the bonds of the law, as did Christ, so also Mary 
submitted herself of her own will to the law. Tnus Bost. 
Therefore the Evangelist has well observed, that the days of 
her purification were come according to the law, who since 
she had conceived of the Holy Spirit, was free from all 
uncleanness. It follows, TJiey brought him to Jerusalem to 
present him to the Lord. '^Athan. But when was the Lord 
hid from His Father's eye, that He should not be seen by 
Him, or what place is excepted from His dominion, that by 
remaining there He should be separate from His Father, 
unless brought to Jerusalem and introduced into the temple? 
But for us perhaps these things were written. For as not 
to confer grace on Himself was He made man and ciicum- 
cised in the flesh, but to make us Gods through grace, and 
that we might be circumcised in the Spirit, so for our sakes 
is He presented to the Lord, that we also might leani to present 
ourselves to the Lord. Bede; On the thirty-third day after 
His circumcision He is presented to the Lord, signifying in a 
mystery that no one but he who is circumcised from his sins 
is worthy to come into the Lord's sight, that no one who has 
not severed himself from all human ties can perfectly enter 
into the joys of the heavenly city. It follows, As it is 
written in lite law of the Lord. Origen ; Where are they 
who deny that Christ proclaimed in the Gospel the law to 
be of God, or can it be supposed that the righteous God 
made His own Son under a hostile law which He Him- 
self had not given? It is written in the law of Moses 
Ex.13, as follows. Every male which openelh the uonth shall be 
^- '^' called holy unto the Lord. Bede ; By the words, opening the 
womb, he signifies the first-bom both of man and beast, and 
each one of which was, according to the commandment, to be 
called holy to the Lord, and therefore to become the property 
of the priest, that is, so far that he was to receive a price for 

B This pas8age is not among the nasius, hut is to be found in those pub- 
fragmento of the commentarj- on St lished by Montfauron in his Collectio 
Luke given in the F^en. EH. of Atha- Patrum, 1707. 

VER. 22 24. ST. LUKE. 81 

every first-born of man, and oblige every unclean animal to 

be ransomed. Greg. Nyss. Now this commandment of the law Greg. 

seems to have had its fulfilment in the incarnate God, in a '," ^'*"'' 

. ' de oc- 

very remarkable and peculiar manner. For He alone, cursu 
ineffably conceived and incomprehensibly brought forth, °'"'"^- 
opened the virgin's womb, till then unopened by marriage, 
and after this birth miraculously retaining the seal of chastity. 
Ambrose ; For no union with man disclosed the secrets of 
the virgin's womb, but the Holy Spirit infused the immaculate 
seed into an inviolate vromb. He then who sanctified 
another womb in order that a prophet should be bom. He 
it is who has opened the womb of His own mother, that the 
Immaculate should come forth. By the words opening the 
womb, he speaks of birth after the usual manner, not that the 
sacred abode of the virgin's womb, which our Lord in entering 
sanctified, should now be thought by His proceeding forth 
from it to be deprived of its virginity. Greg. Nyss. But Greg, 
the offspring of this birth is alone seen to be spiritually male," ' ^^^' 
as contracting no guilt from being bom of a woman. Hence 
He is truly called holy, and therefore Gabriel, as if announcing 
that this commandment belonged to Him only, said, That Holy 
thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of 
God. Now of other first-borns the wisdom of the Gospel 
has declared that they are called holy from their being offered 
to God. But the first-bora of every creature. That holy 
thing which is born, 8fc. the Angel pronounces to be in the 
nature of its very being holy. Ambrose ; For among those 
that are bom of a woman, the Lord Jesus alone is in every 
thing holy, who in the newness of His immaculate birth expe- 
rienced not the contagion of earthly defilement, but by His 
Heavenly Majesty dispelled it. For if we follow the letter, how 
can every male be holy, since it is undoubted that many have 
been most wicked ? But He is holy whom in the figure of 
a future mystery the pious ordinances of the divine law 
prefigured, because He alone was to open the hidden womb of 
the holy virgin Church for the begetting of nations. Cyril ; Cyni. 
Oh the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge *^*""' 
of God ! He offers victims, Who in each victim is honoured Rom. 
equally with the Father. The Truth preserves the figures ^^'^*** 
of the law. He who as God is the Maker of the law, as man has 


LcT. 12, kept the law. Hence it follows, And Ihul they should give 
a victim as it teas ordered in the law of the Lord, a pair 
Bede of turtle dovcs or two young pigeons. Bede; Now this was 
p ''111: the victim of the poor. For the Lord commanded in the law 
that they who were able should offer a lamb for a son or 
a daughter as well as a turtle dove or pigeon ; but they who 
were not able to offer a lamb should give two turtle doves 
or two young pigeons. Therefore the Lord, though he was 
rich, deigned to become poor, that by his poverty He might 
make us partakers of His liches. 
Cyril. Cyril; But let us see what these offerings mean. The turtle 
» > sup. ^Q^g jg ^jjg most vocal of birds, and the pigeon the gentlest. 
And such was the Saviour made unto us ; He was endowed 
with perfect meekness, and like the turtle dove entranced the 
world, filling » His garden with His own melodies. There was 
killed then either a turtle dove or a pigeon, that by a figure He 
might be shewn forth unto us as about to sufi'er in the flesh 
Bede for the life of the world. Bede; Or the pigeon denotes 
ubi 8up. simplicity, the turtle dove chastity, for the pigeon is a 
lover of simplicity, and the turtle dove of chastity, so that 
if by chance she Jias lost her mate, she heeds not to find 
another. Rightly then are the pigeon and turtle dove offered 
as victims to the Lord, because the simple and chaste 
conversation of the faithful is a sacrifice of righteousness 
Athan. well pleasing to Him. Athan. He ordered two things 
ubi sup. j^Q |jg offered, because as man consists of both body and 
soul, the Lord requires a double return from us, chastity and 
nteekness, not only of the body, but also of the soul. Other- 
wise, man will be a dissembler and hypocrite, wearing the 
Bede face of innocence to mask his hidden malice. Bede ; But 
ubi sup. yf\^\\Q. each bird, from its habit of wailing, represents the 
present sorrows of the saints, in this they difler, that the turtle 
is solitary, but the pigeon flies about in flocks, and hence 
the one points to the secret tears of confession, the other to the 
public assembling of the Church. Bede ; Or the pigeon 
which flies in flocks sets forth the busy intercourse of active 
life. The turtle, which delights in solitariness, tells of the lofty 

* The word in the original is i^wi- lieve on Him," and referring to Cant. 
X«»«, •' His vineyard," which St. Cyril ii. 12, l.S. The voice of the turtle is 
explains, adding, " that is, us who be- heard in our land, and the vines &c. 

VER. 25 28. ST. LUKE. 83 

heights of the contemplative life. But because each victim 
is equally accepted by the Creator, St. Luke has purposely 
omitted whether the turtles or young pigeons were offered 
for the Lord, that he might not prefer one mode of life 
before another, but teach that both ought to be followed. 

25. And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, 
whose name was Simeon ; and the same man was 
just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel : 
and the Holy Ghost was upon him, 

26. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy 
Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had 
seen the Lord's Christ. 

27. And he came by the Spirit into the temple : 
and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, 
to do for him after the custom of the law, 

28. Then took he him up in his arms. 

Ambrose ; Not only did Angels and Prophets, the shep- 
herds and his parents, bear witness to the birth of the Lord, 
but the old men and the righteous. As it is said, And, behold, 
there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, 
and he was a just man, and one who feared God. For 
scarcely is righteousness presented without fear, I mean 
not that fear which dreads the loss of worldly goods, (which 
perfect love casteth out,) but that holy fear of the Lord which i John 
abideth for ever, by which the righteous man, the more p'^ {q 
ardent his love to God, is so much the more careful not to ^^ 
offend Him. Ambrose ; Well is he called righteous who 
sought not his own good, but the good of his nation, as it 
follows. Waiting for the consolation of Israel. Greg. Nyss. Greg. 
It was not surely worldly happiness that the prudent Simeon " ' ^"P" 
was waiting for as the consolation of Israel, but a real happiness, 
that is, a passing over to the beauty of truth from the shadow 
of the law. For he had learnt from the sacred oracles that 
he would see the Lord's Christ before he should depart out 
of this present life. Hence it follows. And the Holy Spirit 
was in him, (by which indeed he was justified,) and he 
received an answer from the Holy Spirit. Ambrose ; He 
desired indeed to be loosed from the chains of bodily infirmity, 



but he wails to see the protnise, for he knew, Happy are 
^'«K- those eyes which shall see it. Greg. Hereby also we learn 
Job 6. with what desire the holy men of Israel desired to see the 
mystery of His incarnation. Bede ; To see death means 
to undergo it, and happy will he be to see the death of the 
flesh who has first been enabled to see with the eyes of his 
heart the Lord Christ, having his conversation in the heavenly 
Jerusalem, and frequently entering the doors of God's temple, 
that is, following the examples of the saints in whom God dwells 
as in His temple. By the same grace of the Spirit whereby 
he foreknew Christ would come, he now acknowledges Him 
come, as it follows, -4«rf he came hy the Spirit into the temple. 
Origen ; If thou wilt touch Jesus and grasp Him in thy 
hands, strive with all thy strength to have the Spirit for thy 
guide, and come to the temple of God. For it follows, And 
when his parents brought in the child Jesus, (i. e. Mary His 
mother, and Joseph His reputed father,) to do for him after 
the custom of the law, then took he him up in his arms. 
Greg. Greg. Nyss. How blessed was that holy entrance to holy 
" ' ''"^* things through which he hastened on to the end of life, 
blessed those hands which handled the word of life, and the 
arms which were held out to receive Him ! Bede ; Now the 
righteous man, according to the law, received the Child Jesus 
in his arms, that he might signify that the legal righteousness 
of works under the figure of the hands and arms was to be 
changed for the lowly indeed but saving grace of Gospel faith. 
The old man received the infant Christ, to convey thereby 
that this world, now worn out as it were with old age, should 
return to the childlike innocence of the Christian life. 

28. and blessed God, and said, 

29. Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in 
peace, according to thy word : 

30. For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, 

31. Which thou hast prepared before the face of 
all people ; 

32. A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory 
of thy people Israel. 

Origen; If we marvel to hear that a woman was healed 

VER. 28 — 32. ST. LUKE. 83 

by touching the hem of a garment, what must we think of 
Simeon, who received an Infant in his arms, and rejoiced 
seeing that the little one he carried was He who had come 
to let loose the captive! Knowing that no one could release 
him from the chains of the body with the hope of future 
life, but He whom he held in his arms. Therefore it is said. 
And he blessed God, saying, Lord, now lettest thou thy 
servant depart. Theophyl. When he says Lord, he con- 
fesses that He is the very Lord of both life and death, and 
so acknowledges the Child whom he held in his arms to be 
God. Origen; As if he said, " As long as I held not Christ, 
I was in prison, and could not escape from my bonds." 
Basil ; If you examine the words of the righteous, you will Basil. 
find that they all sorrow over this world and its mournful gj^tact^ 
delay. Alas me ! says David, that my habitation is prolonged. Ps. 120, 
Ambrose ; Observe then that this just man, confined as it 
were in the prison house of his earthly frame, is longing to be Phil, i , 
loosed, that ho may again be with Christ. But whoso would ' 
be cleansed, let him come into the temple; — into Jerusalem: 
let him wait for the Lord's Christ, let him receive in his hands 
the word of God, and embrace it as it were with the arms of 
his faith. Then let him depart that he might not see death 
who has seen hfe. Greek Ex. Simeon blessed God also, Photius. 
because the promises made to him had received their true 
fulfilment. For He was reckoned worthy to see with his eyes, 
and to carry in his arms the consolation of Israel. And 
therefore he says. According to thy word, i. e. since I have 
obtained the completion of thy promises. And now that I have 
seen with my eyes what was my desire to see, now lettest 
thou thy servant depart, neither dismayed at the taste of 
death, nor harassed with doubting thoughts: as he adds, 
in peace. Greg. Nyss. For since Christ has destroyed Greg, 
the enemy, which is sin, and has reconciled us to the Father, "^' »"?• 
the removal of saints has been in peace. Origen ; But who 
departs from this world in peace, but he who is persuaded 
thatGod was Christ reconciling the world to Himself, who has 2 Cor.6. 
nothing hostile to God, having derived to himself all peace 
by good works in himself? Greek Ex. But it had been twice ubi sup. 
promised to him that he should not see death before he 
should see the Lord's Christ, and therefore he adds, to 


shew that this piounise was fulfilled, For mine eyes have 

Greg, seen thy salvation. Greg. Nyss. Blessed are the eyes, 

""P- Ijq^Jj (jf j^jjy gQ^j j^j-j^j ^j^y body. For the one visibly 

embrace God, but the others not considering those things 
which are seen, but enlightened by the brightness of the 
Spirit of the Lord, acknowledge the Word made flesh. For 
the salvation which thou hast perceived with thy eyes is 
Cyril. Jesus Himself, by which name salvation is declared. Cyril; 
blip, g^^ Christ was the mystery which has been revealed in the 
last times of the world, having been prepared before the 
foundation of the world. Hence it follows, which thou hast 
Athan. prepared before the face of all men. Athan. That is to 
'say, the salvation wrought by Christ for the whole world. 
How then was it said above that he was watching for the 
consolation of Israel, but because he truly perceived in 
the spirit that consolation would be to Israel at that time 
rbotius. when salvation was prepaied for all people. Greek Ex. 
Mark the wisdom of the good and venerable old man, who 
before that he was thought worthy of the blessed vision, was 
waiting for the consolation of Israel, but when he obtained 
that which he w^as looking for, exclaims that he saw the 
salvation of all people. So enlightened was he by the 
unspeakable radiance of the Child, that he perceived at a glance 
things that were to happen a long time after. Theophyl. 
By these words. Before the face, he signifies that our Lord's 
incarnation would be visible to all men. And this salvation 
he says is to be the light of the Gentiles and the glory of 
Athan. Israel, as it follows, A light to lighten the Gentiles. Athan. 
nonocc. p^^ the Gcntilcs before the coming of Christ were lying in 
the deepest darkness, being without the knowledge of God. 
Cyril. Cyril; But Christ coming was made a light to them that sat 
u isup. ,^ (Jarkness, being sore oppressed by the power of the devil, 
but they were called by God the Father to the knowledge 
Greg, of His Son, Who is the true light. Greg. Nyss. Israel 
" ' ''"P' was enlightened though dimly by the law, so he says not 
that light came to them, but his words are, to he the glory 
of thy people Israel. Calling to mind the ancient history, 
that as of old Moses after speaking with God returned with 
his face glorious, so they also coming to the divine light of 
His human nature, casting away their old veil, might be 

VER. 33 — 35. ST. LUKK. 87 

transformed into the name imat/e from ylory lo glory. For 3 Cor. 3, 
although some of them were disobedient, yet a remnant were 
saved and came through Christ to glory, of whicli the Apostles 
were first-fruits, whose brightness illumines the whole world. 
For Christ was in a peculiar manner the glory of Israel, 
because according to tlie flesh He came forth from Israel, 
although as God He was over all blessed for ever. Greg. Greg, 
Nyss. He said therefore, of thy people, signifying that not" ' *"^'" 
only was He adored by them, but moreover of them was 
He bom according to the flesh. Bede; And well is the 
enlightening of the Gentiles put before the glory of Israel, 
because when the fulness of the Gentiles shall have come in, Rom. 

11, 2(>. 

then shall Israel be safe. 

33. And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those 
things which were spoken of him. 

34. And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary 
his mother. Behold, this child is set for the fall and 
rising again of many in Israel ; and for a sign which 
shall be spoken against; 

35. (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own 
soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be 

Greek Ex. The knowledge of supernatural things, as often as Photius. 
it is brought to the recollection, renews the miracle in the 
mind, and hence it is said, His father and mother marvelled 
at those things which icere said of him. Origen; Both by 
the angel and the multitude of the heavenly host, by the 
shepherds also, and Simeon. Bede; Joseph is called the 
father of the Saviour, not because he was (as the Photinians 
say) His real father, but because from regard to the reputa- 
tion of Mary, all men considered him so. Aug. He Aug. 
however might be called His father in that light in which f^gy^jJJ; 
he is rightly regarded as the husband of Mary, that is, not"- 1- 
from any carnal connection, but by reason of the very 
bond of wedlock, a far closer relationship than that of 
adoption. For that Joseph was not to be called Christ's 
father was not, because he had not begotten Him by coha- 
bitation, since in truth he might be a father to one 


whom he had not begotten from his wife, but had adopted 
from another. Origen; But they who look deeper into the 
matter may say, that since the genealogy is deduced from 
David to Joseph, therefore lest Joseph should seem to be men- 
tioned for no purpose, as not being the father of the Saviour, 
he was called His father, that the genealogy might maintain 

uhi sup. lis place. Greek Ex. Having given praise to God, Simeon 
now turns to bless them that brought the Child, as it follows. 
And Simeon blessed them. He gave to each a blessing, 
but his presage of hidden things he imparts only to the 
mother, in order that in the common blessing He might not 
deprive Joseph of the likeness of a father, but in what he 
says to the mother apart from Joseph he might proclaim her 
to be the true mother. Ambrose; Behold what abundant 
grace is extended to all men by the birth of the Lord, and 
how prophecy is withheld from the unbelievers, not from the 
righteous. Simeon also prophesies tliat Christ Jesus has 
tome for the fall and rising again of many. Origen; They 
who explain this simply, may say that He came for the fall 
of unbelievers, and the rising again of believers. 

Chrys. As the light though it may annoy weak eyes, is 
still light; in like manner the Saviour endures, though many 
fall away, for His office is not to destroy ; but their way is 
madness. Wherefore not only by the salvation of the good, 
but by the scattering of the wicked, is His power shewn. 
For the sun the brighter it shines, is the more trying to 

Greg, the weak sight. Greg. Nyss. Mark the nice distinction here 

non occ. Q^gg^ved. Salvation is said to be prepared before the face of 
all people, but the falling and raising is of many ; for the Divine 
purpose was the salvation and sanctification of every one, 
whereas the falling and lifting up stands in the will of many, 
believers and unbelievers. But that those who were lying in 
unbelief should be raised up again is not unreasonable. 
Origen; The careful interpreter will say, that no one falls 
who was not before standing. Tell me then, who were they 

Oreg. who stood, for fall Christ came? Greg. Nyss. But by 
this he signifies a fall to the very lowest, as if the punishment 
before the mystery of the incarnation, fell far short of that 
after the giving and preaching of the Gospel dispensation. 
And those spoken of are chieHy of Israel, who must of nc- 

non occ. 

VER. 33 — 35. ST. LUKE. 89 

cessity forfeit their ancient privileges, and pay a heavier 
penalty than any other nation, because they were so 
unwilling to receive Him Who had long been prophesied 
among them, had been worshipped, and had come forth from 
them. In a most especisd manner then he threatens them 
with not only a fall from spiritual freedom, but also the 
destruction of their city, and of those who dwelt among them. 
But a resurrection is promised to believers, partly indeed as 
subject to the law, and about to be delivered from its bondage, 
but partly as buried together with Christ, and rising with Him. 
Gkeg. Nyss. Now from these words, you may perceive Greg, 
through the agreement of men's minds on the word of pro- ^°™* ^^ 
phecy, that one and the same God and lawgiver hath spoken Uom. 
both in the Prophets and the New Testament. For the 
language of prophecy declared that there shall be a stone ia.8, a. 
of falling, and a rock of offence, that they who believe on ^°"* ^' 
Him should not be confounded. The fall therefore is to 
them who are offended with the meanness of His coming 
in the flesh ; the rising again to those who acknowledge the 
stedfastness of the Divine purpose. Origen; There is 
also a deeper meaning aimed against those who raise their 
voices against their Creator, saying. Behold the God of the Law 
and the Prophets of what sort He is ! He says, 1 kill, and Deut. 
/ make alive. If God then is a bloody judge and a cruel ' 
master, it is most plain that Jesus is His Son, since the same 
things here are written of Him, namely, that He comes for the 
fall and rising again of many. Ambrose ; That is, to dis- 
tinguish the merits of the just and the unjust, and according 
to the quality of our deeds, as a true and just Judge, to 
decree punishment or rewards. Origen; But we must take 
care lest by chance the Saviour should not come to some 
equally for the fall and rising again ; for when I stood in sin, 
it was first good for me to fall, and die to sin. Lastly, Prophets 
and Saints when they were designing some great thing, used 
to fall on their faces, that by their fall their sins should be 
the more fully blotted out. This it is that the Saviour first 
grants to thee. Thou wert a sinner, let that which is sin 
fall in thee, that thou mayest thence rise again, and say, Iftve 2 Tim. 
be dead with Him, ue shall also live with Him. Chrys. ^'^'' 
The resurrection is a new life and conversation. For 


whon the sensual man becomes chaste, the covetous 

merciful, the cruel man gentle, a resurrection takes ])lace. 

Sin being dead, righteousness rises again. It follows. And/or 

Basil. « sign which shall he spoken against. Basil; The sign 

ad o^? which is spoken against is called in Scripture, the cross. 

Numb. For Moses, it says, made a brazen serpent, and placed it for 

Greff ^ sign. Greg. Nyss. He has joined together honour and 

non occ. dishonour. For to us Christians this sign is a token of 

honour, but it is a sign of contradiction, inasmuch by some 

indeed it is received as absurd and monstrous, by others with 

the greatest veneration. Or perhaps Christ Himself is termed 

a sign, as having a supernatural existence, and as the author 

ubisup. of signs, Basil; For a sign betokens something marvellous 

and mysterious, which is seen indeed by the simple minded. 

Origen; But all the things which history relates of Christ 

are spoken against, not that those who believe on Him speak 

against Him, (for we know that all the things which are 

written of Him are true,) but that every thing which has been 

written of Him is with the unbelievers a sign which is 

Greg, spoken against. Greg. Nyss. Though these things are said 

non occ. Qf ^^ Son, yet they have reference also to His mother, 

who takes each thing to herself, whether it be of danger or 

glory. He announces to her not only her prosperity, but her 

sorrows; for it follows. And a sword shall pierce through thy 

own heart. Bede; No history tells us that Mary departed 

this life by being slain with the sword, therefore since not the 

soul but the body is killed with iron, -we are left to under- 

Pb. 59 stand that sword which is mentioned, And a sword in their 

''' lips, that is, grief because of our Lord's passion passed through 

her soul, who although she saw Christ the very Son of God 

die a voluntary death, and doubted not that He who was 

begotten of her flesh would overcome death, could not without 

grief see Him crucified. Ambrose; Or it shews the wisdom 

of Mary, that she was not ignorant of the heavenly Majesty. 

Heb. 4, For the word of God is living and strong, and sharper than 

Aug. the sharpest sword. Aug. Or by this is signified that 

de Nov. jyjary also, through whom was performed the mystery of 

Test, the incarnation, looked with doubt and astonishment at the 

*'■ ^^" death of her Lord, seeing the Son of God so humbled as 

to come down even to death. And as a sword passing close 

VER. 36 — 40. ST. LUKE. 91 

by a man causes fear, though it does not strike him ; so 
doubtalso causes sorrow, yet does not kill; for it is not fastened 
to the mind, but passes through it as through a shadow. 

Greg. Nyss. But it is not meant that she alone was con- Greg. 
cerned in that passion, for it is added, that the thoughts of^^^' 
many hearts may he revealed. The word </*«< marks thenonocc. 
event; itisnot usedcausatively; for when all these events took 
place, there followed the discovery of many men's intentions. 
For some confessed God on the cross, others even then 
ceased not from their blasphemies and revihngs. Or this 
was said, meaning that at the time of the passion the 
thoughts of men's hearts should be laid open, and be cor- 
rected by the resurrection. For doubts are quickly superseded 
by certainty. Or perhaps by revealing may be meant, the en- 
lightening of the thoughts, as it is often used in Scripture. 
Bede ; But now even down to the close of the ])resent time, 
the sword of the severest tribulation ceases not to go through 
the soul of the Church, when with bitter sorrow she expe- 
riences the evil speaking against the sign of faith, when 
hearing the word of God that many are raised with Christ, 
she finds still more falling from the faith, when at the re- 
vealing of the thoughts of many hearts, in which the good seed 
of the Gospel has been sown, she beholds the tares of vice 
overshooting it, spreading beyond it, or growing alone. 
Origen ; But the evil thoughts of men were revealed, that 
He Who died for us might slay them ; for while they were 
hidden, it was impossible to utterly destroy them. Hence 
also when we have sinned we ought to say. Mine iniquity Ps. 32, 
have I not hid. For if we make known our sins not only to ' 
God, but to whoever can heal our wounds, our sins will be 
blotted out. 

36. And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the 
daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser : she was 
of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven 
years from her virginity ; 

37. And she was a widow of about fourscore and 
four years, which departed not from the temple, but 
served God with fastings and prayers night and day. 


38. And she coming in that instant gave thanks 
likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them 
that looked for redemption in Jerusalem. 

Ambrose ; Simeon had prophesied, a woman united in 
marriage had prophesied, a virgin had prophesied, it was 
meet also that a widow should prophesy, that there might 
lack no sex or condition of life, and therefore it is said, 
And there was one Anna a prophetess. Theophyl. The 
Evangelist dwells some time on the account of Anna, 
mentioning both her father's tribe, and adding, as it were, 
many witnesses who knew her father and her tribe. 
Greg. Greg. Nyss. Or because at that time there were several 
«bi sup. Qtiigj.g wiiQ yfQxe called by the same name, that there 
might be a plain way of distinguishing her, he mentions 
her father, and describes the quality of her parents. 
Ambrose ; Now Anna, both from the duties of her widow- 
hood and her manner of life, is found to be such that 
she is thought worthy to announce the Redeemer of the 
world. As it follows. She was of a great age, and had lived 
tvith her husband, 8fc. Origbn; For the Holy Spirit dwelt 
not by chance in her. For the highest blessing, if any can 
possess it, is the grace of virginity, but if this cannot be, 
and it chance to a woman to lose her husband, let her 
remain a widow, which indeed not only after the death of 
her husband, but even while he is living, she ought to have 
in her mind, that supposing it should not happen, her will 
and determination might be crowned by the Lord, and her 
words should be, " This I vow, and promise, that if a certain 
condition of this life be mine, (which yet I wish not,) I will 
do nothing else but remain inviolate and a widow." Most 
justly then was this holy woman thought worthy to receive 
the gift of prophecy, because by long cha.stity and long 
fastings she had ascended to this height of virtue, as it 
follows, fflio departed not from (he temple with fastings 
and pragers, Sfc. Origen; From which it is plain that 
she possessed a multitude of other virtues ; and mark how 
she resembles Simeon in his goodness, for they were both 
in the temple together, and both counted worthy of prophetic 

VER. 39 — 41. ST. LUKE. 93 

grace, as it follows, And she coming in at this very instant^ 
gave thanks to the Lord. Theophyl. That is, returned thanks 
for seeing in Israel the Saviour of the world, and she con- 
fessed of Jesus that He was the Redeemer and the Saviour. 
Hence it follows, And she spoke of him to all, Sec. Origen ; 
But because Anna's words were nothing remaikable, and of no 
great note respecting Christ, the Gospel does not give the 
particulars of what she said, and perhaps for this reason 
one may suppose that Simeon anticipated her, since 
he indeed bore the character of the law, (for his name 
signifies obedience,) but she the character of grace, (which 
her name is by interpretation,) and Christ came between 
them. Therefore He let Simeon depart dying with the 
law, but Anna he sustains living beyond through grace. 

Bede ; According to the mystical meaning, Anna signifies 
the Church, who at present is indeed a widow by the death 
of her Husband ; the number also of the years of her widow- 
hood marks the time of the Church, at which established in 
the body, she is separated from the Lord. For seven times 
twelve make eighty-four, seven indeed referring to the course 
of this world, which revolves in seven days ; but twelve had 
reference to the perfection of ApostoUc teaching, and there- 
fore the Universal Church, or any faithful soul which strives 
to devote the whole period of its life to the following of Apo- 
stolic practice, is said to serve the Lord for eighty-four years. 
The term also of seven years, during which she lived with 
her husband, coincides. For through the prerogative of our 
Lord's greatness, whereby abiding in the flesh. He taught, 
the simple number of seven years was taken to express 
the sign of perfection. Anna also favours the mysteries 
of the Church, being by interpretation its " grace," and 
being both the daughter of Phanuel, who is called " the face 
of God," and descended from the tribe of Aser, i. e. the 

39. And when they had performed all things 
according to the law of the Lord, they returned into 
Galilee, to their own city Nazareth. 

40. And the child grew, and waxed strong in 


spirit, filled with wisdom : and the grace of God 
was upon him. 

41. Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year 
at the feast of the Passover. 

Bede ; Luke has omitted in this place what he knew to liave 

been sufficiently set forth by Matthew, that the Lord after this, for 

fear that He should be discovered and put to death by Herod, 

was carried by His parents into Egypt, and at Herod's death, 

having at length returned to Galilee, came to dwell in His own 

city Nazareth. For the Evangelists individually are wont 

to omit certain things which they either know to have 

been, or in the Spirit foresee will be, related by others, so 

that in the connected chain of their narrative, they seem as 

it were to have omitted nothing, whereas by examining the 

writings of another Evangelist, the careful reader may discover 

the places where the omissions have been. Thus after omitting 

many things, Luke says. And when they had accomplished all 

things, Sfc. Theophyl. Bethlehem was indeed their city, 

Aug. their paternal city, Nazareth the place of their abode. Aug. 

de Con. Pg^-jjaps it may strike you as strange that Matthew should 

>i- 9. say that His parents went with the young Child into Galileo 

because they were unwilling to go to Judoea for fear of 

Archelaus, when they seem to have gone into Galilee rather 

because their city was Nazareth in Galilee, as Luke in this 

place explains it. But we must consider, that when the Angel 

Matt. 2, said in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, Rise, and take the 

^^* young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel, 

it was at first understood by Joseph as a command to go into 

Judaja, for so at first sight the land of Israel might have 

been taken to mean. But when afterwards he finds that 

Herod's son Archelaus was king, he was unwilling to be 

exposed to that danger, seeing the land of Israel might also 

be understood to include Galilee also as a part of it, for there 

Mcta- also the people of Israel dwelt. Greek Ex. Or again, Luke 

^^^' is here describing the time before the descent to Egypt, for 

before her purification .Tose])h had not taken Mary tliere. 

But before they went down into Egypt, they were not told 

by God to go to Nazareth, but as living more freely in their 

VER. 39 41. ST, LUKE. 96 

own country, thither of their own accord they went; for since 
the going up to Bethlehem was for no other reason but the 
taxing, whgn that was accomplished they go down to Nazareth. 
Theophyl. Now our Lord might have come forth from the 
womb in the stature ofmature age,but this would seem like some- 
thing imaginary ; therefore His gi'owth is gradual, as it follows, 
And the child grew, and waxed strong. Bede; We must 
observe the distinction of words, that the Lord Jesus Christ in 
that He was a child, that is, had put on the condition of human 
weakness, was daily growing and being strengthened. Athan. Athan. 
But if as some say the flesh was changed into a Divine nature, incam. 
how did it derive growth? for to attribute growth to an ^hristi 
uncreated substance is impious. Cyril; Rightly with the Apoilin. 
growth in age, St. Luke has united increase in wisdom, ashe says, 
And he was strengthened, (i. e. in spirit.) For in proportion to 
the measure of bodily growth, the Divine nature developed 
its own wisdom. Theophyl. For if while yet a little child, 
He had displayed His wisdom. He would have seemed a 
miracle, but together with the advance of age He gradually 
shewed Himself, so as to fill the whole world. For not as 
receiving wisdom is He said to be strengthened in spirit. 
For that which is most perfect in the beginning, how can 
that become any more perfect. Hence it follows. Filled with 
wisdom, and the grace of God was in him. Bede; Wisdom 
truly, for in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead Co\. 2, 
bodily, but grace, because it was in great grace given to 
the man Christ Jesus, that fi*om the time He began to be 
man He should be perfect man and perfect God. But much 
rather because He was the word of God, and God needed 
not to be strengthened, nor was in a state of growth. But 
while He was yet a little child He had the grace of God, 
that as in Him all things were wonderful. His child- 
hood also might be wonderful, so as to be filled with the 
wisdom of God. It follows, And his parents went every 
year to Jerusalem, at the feast of the Passover. Chrys. Chrys. 
At the feast of the Hebrews the law commanded men notion*/' 
only to observe the time, but the place, and so the Lord's J"'l«cos. 
parents wished to celebrate the feast of the Passover only 
at Jerusalem. Aug. But it may be asked, how did His Aug. 
parents go up all the years of Christ's childhood to Jerusalem, Ev. ii. ' 



if they were prevented from going there by fear of Archelaus ? 
This que.stion might be easily an.swered, even had some one 
of the Evangelists mentioned how long Archelaus reigned. 
For it were possible that on the day amid so great a 
crowd they might secretly come, and soon return again, at the 
same time that they feared to remain there on other days, so 
as neither to be wanting in religious duties by neglecting the 
feast, nor leave themselves open to detection by a constant 
abode there. But now since all have been silent as to the 
length of Archelaus' reign, it is plain that when Luke says, 
Tfiey were accustomed to go up every year to Jerusalem^ 
we are to understand that to have been when Archelaus was 
no longer feared. 

42. And when he was twelve years old, they went 
up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. 

43. And when they had fulfilled the days, as they 
returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jeru- 
salem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it. 

44. But they, supposing him to have been in the 
company, went a day's journey; and they sought 
him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. 

45. And when they found him not, they turned 
back again to Jerusalem, seeking him. 

46. And it came to pass, that after three days 
they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of 
the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them 

47. And all that heard him were astonished at his 
understanding and answers. 

48. And when they saw him, they were amazed : 
and his mother said unto him. Son, why hast thou 
thus dealt with us ? behold, thy father and I have 
sought thee sorrowing. 

49. And he said unto them. How is it that ye 
sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my 
Father's business ? 

VER. 42—50. ST. LUKR. J)7 

50. And they understood not the saying which he 
spake unto them. 

Cyril; The Evangehst having said before that the Child 
grew and waxed strong, verifies his own words when he 
relates, that Jesus with the holy Virgin went up to Jerusalem ; 
as it is said, Ajid when he was twelve years old, 8fc. Greek Geome- 
Ex. His indication of wisdom did not exceed the measure of *®'' 
His age, but at the time that with us the powers of discern- 
ment are generally perfected, the wisdom of Christ shews 
itself. Ambrose ; Or the twelfth year was the commence- 
ment of our Lord's disputation with the doctors, for this was 
the number of the Evangelists necessary to preach the faith. 
Bede ; We may also say, that as by the seventh number, so 
also by the twelfth, (which consists of the parts of seven mul- 
tiplied alternately by one another,) the universality and perfec- 
tion of either things or times is signified, and therefore rightly 
from the number twelve, the glory of Christ takes its beginning, 
being that by which all places and times are to be filled. 
Bede ; Now that the Lord came up every year to Jerusalem Bede in 
at the Passover, betokens His humility as a man, for it iSp^g™' 
man's duty to meet together to offer sacrifices to God, Epiph. 
and conciliate Him with prayers. Accordingly the Lord 
as man, did among men what God by angels commanded Gal. 3, 
men to do. Hence it is said, According to the custom j^^„^^ 
of the feast day. Let us follow then the journey of6, 20; 
His mortal life, if we delight to behold the gloi-y of His ' 
divine nature. Greek Ex. The feast having been celebrated, Meta- 
while the rest returned, Jesus secretly tarried behind. As it^J^g^g," 
follows, And when they had fulfilled the days, as they^et^r. 
relumed, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem ; and 
his parents knew not of it. It is said, When the days were 
accomplished, because the feast lasted seven days. But the 
reason of His tarrying behind in secret was, that His parents 
might not be a hindrance to His carrying on the discussion 
with the lawyers; or perhaps to avoid appearing to 
despise his parents by not obeying their commands. He 
remains therefore secretly, that he might neither be kept away 
nor be disobedient. Origen ; But we must not wonder that 
they are called His parents, seeing the one from her childbirth, 

VOL. in. H 



the other from his knowledge of it, deserved llie names of fatlier 
and mother. Bedk ; But some one will ask, how was it that 
the Son of God, brought up by His parents with such care, 
could be left behind from forgetfulness .? To which it is answered, 
that the custom of the children of Israel wlaile assembling at 
Jerusalem on the feast days, or returning to their homes, was 
for the women and men to go separately, and the infants or 
children to go with either parent indiscriminately. And so both 
Mary and Joseph each thought in turn that the Child Jesus, 
whom they saw not with them, was returning with the 
other parent. Hence it follows. But thei/, supposing him to 
have been in the company, 8fc. Origen ; But as when the 

Johnio,je^s plotted against Him He escaped from the midst of 
theni; and was not seen ; so now it seems that the Child 
Jesus remained, and His parents knew not where He was. 
As it follows. And not finding him, they returned to Jerusa- 

Gloss. lem, seeking for him. Gloss. They were on their way home, 
one day's journey from Jerusalem ; on the second day they 
seek for Him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance, and 
when they found Him not, they returned on the third day 
to Jei-usalem, and there they found Him. As it follows, 
And it came to pass, after three days they found him. 
Origen ; He is not found as soon as sought for, for 
Jesus was not among His kinsfolk and relations, among 
those who are joined to Him in the flesh, nor in the com- 
pany of the multitude can He be found. Learn where 
those who seek Him find Him, not every where, but in the 
temple. And do thou then seek Jesus in the temple of God. 
Seek Him in the Church, and seek Him among the masters 
who are in the temple. For if thou wilt so seek Him, thou 
shalt find Him. They found Him not among His kinsfolk, 
for human relations could not comprehend the Son of God ; 
not among His acquaintance, for He passes far beyond 
all human knowledge and understanding. ^Vllere then 
do they find Him? In the temple! If at any time thou 
seek the Son of God, seek Him first in the temple, thither go 
up, and verily shalt thou find Christ, the Word, and the 
Wisdom, (i. e. the Son of God.) Ambrose ; After three days 
He is found in the temple, that it might be for a sign, that 
after three days of victorious suffering, He who was believed 

VER. 42 — 50. ST. LUKE. 99 

to be dead should rise again, and manifest Himself to our 
faith, seated in heaven with divine glory. Gloss. Or because Gloss. 
the advent of Christ, which was looked for by the Patriarchs "*" *"P' 
before the Law, was not found, nor again, that which was 
sought for by prophets and just men under the Law, but that 
alone is found which is sought for by Gentiles under grace. 
Origen ; Because moreover He was the Son of God, He is 
found in the midst of the doctors, enhghtening and instructing 
them. But because He was a little child, He is found among 
them not teaching but asking questions, as it is said. Sitting 
in the midst of the doct&rs, hearing them, and asking them 
questions. And this He did as a duty of reverence, that He 
might set us an example of the proper behaviour of children, 
though they be wise and learned, rather to hear their masters than 
teach them, and not to vaunt themselves with empty boasting. 
But He asked not that He might learn, but that asking He might 
instruct. For from the same source of learning is derived both 
the power of asking and answering wisely, as it follows, All who 
heard him were astonished at his wisdom. Bede ; To shew 
that He was a man, He humbly listened to the masters ; but 
to prove that He was God, He divinely answered those who 
spake. Greek Ex. He asks questions with reason. He listens Meta- 
with wisdom, and answers with more wisdom, so as to cause ^^fQ*^ 
astonishment. As it follows. And they who saw it were meter, 
astonished. Chrys. The Lord truly did no miracle in His Chrys. 
childhood, yet this one fact St. Luke mentions, which made Honi.20. 
men look with wonder upon Him. Bede ; For from His 
tongue there went forth divine wisdom, while His age exhi- 
bited man's helplessness, and hence the Jews, amid the high 
things they hear and the lowly things they see, are per^^lexed 
with doubts and astonishment. But we can in no wise won- 
der, knowing the words of the Prophet, that thus unto us a is. 9, 6. 
Child is bom, that He abideth the mighty God. Greek Ex. ubi sup. 
But the ever-wonderful mother of God, moved by a mother's 
feelings, as it weie with weeping makes her mournful 
enquiry, in every thing like a mother, with confidence, humi- 
lity, and affection. As it follows, And his inother said 
unto him. Son, what hast thou done? Origen; The holy 
Virgin knew that He was not the Son of Joseph, and yet calls 
her husband His father according to the belief of the Jews, 



who Uiouglit Unit He was conceivcfl in tlic coininon way. 
Now to spoak generally we may say, that the Holy Spirit 
honoured Joseph by the name of father, because he brought up 
the Child Jesus; but more technically, that it might not seem 
superfluous in St. Luke, bringing down the genealogy 
from David to Joseph. But why sought they Him sorrowing ? 
Was it that he might have perished or been lost ? It could 
not be. For what should cause them to dread the loss of Him 
whom they knew to be the Lord ? But as whenever you 
read the Scriptures you search out their meaning with pains, 
not that you suppose them to have ened or to contain any 
thing incorrect, but that the truth which they have inherent 
in them you are anxious to find out ; so they sought Jesus, lest 
perchance leaving them he should have returned to heaven, 
thither to descend when He would. He then who seeks 
Jesus must go about it not carelessly and idly, as many seek 

Gloss. Him who never find Him, but with labour and sorrow. Gloss. 

ordin. Qj. ^-j^^y feared lest Herod who sought Him in His infancy, 
now that He was advanced to boyhood might find an oppor- 

Meta- tunity of putting Him to death. Grekk Ex. But the Lord 

phrastes . . 

et Geo- Himself sets every thmg at rest, and correctmg as it were 

meter, j^^j. raying concerning him who was His reputed father, 
manifests His true Father, teaching us not to walk on the 
ground, but to raise ourselves on high, as it follows. And he 
says unto them, What is it that you ask of me ? Bede ; He 
blames them not that they seek Him as their son, but compels 
them to raise the eyes of their mind to what was rather due 
to Him whose eternal Son He was. Hence it follows. Knew 
ye not? Sfc. Ambrose; There are two generations in Christ, 
one from His Father, the other from His mother; the Father's 
more divine, the mother's that which has come down for our 
use and advantage. Cyril ; He says this then by way of shew- 
ing that He surpasses all human standards, and hinting that the 
Holy Virgin was made the handmaid of the work in bringing 
His flesh unto the world, but that He Himself was by nature 
and in truth God, and the Son of the Father most high. 
Now from this let the followers of Valentinus, hearing that the 

Epiph. temple was of God, be ashamed to say that the Creator, and 

S?°*- , the God of the law and of the temple, is not also the 
Hser. 1. 

ii.hffir. Father of Christ. Epiph. Let Ebion know that at 


VER. 51, 52. ST. LUKE. 101 

twelve years old, not thirty, Christ is found the astonishment of 
all men, wonderfid and mighty in the words of grace. We can 
not therefore say,that after that the Spiiit came to Him in Baptism 
He was made the Christy that is, anmntedtcith divinity yhxxiir ova 
His very childhood He acknowledged both the temple and His 
Father. Greek Ex. This is the first demonstration of the Geo- 
wisdom and power of the Child Jesus. For as to what are "®*®''' 
called the* acts of His childhood, we can not but suppose them 
to be the work not only of a childish but even of a devilish 
mind and perverse will, attempting to rcAdle those things 
which are contained in the Gospel and the sacred prophecies. 
But should one desire to receive only such things as are 
generally believed, and are not contrary to our other declara- 
tions, but accord also with the words of prophecy, let it suffice 
that Jesus was distinguished in form above the sons of men ; 
obedient to His mother, gentle in disposition ; in appear- 
ance full of grace and dignity; eloquent in words, kind 
and thoughtful of the wants of others, known among all 
for a power and energy, as of one who was filled with all 
wisdom; and as in other things, so also in all human con- 
versation, though above man, Himself the rule and measure. 
But that which most distinguished Him was His meek- 
ness, and that a razor had never come upon His head, 
nor any human hand except His mother's. But from these 
words we may derive a lesson; for when the Lord re- 
proves Mary seeking Him among His relations. He most aptly 
points to the giving up of all fleshly ties, shewing that it is not 
for him to attain the goal of perfection who is still encompassed 
by and walks among the things of the body, and that men fall 
from perfection through love of their relations. Bede; It 
follows, Avd they understood hit7i not, that is, the word which He 
spoke to them of His divinity. Grig. Or they knew not whether 
when He said about my Father's business, He referred to the 
temple, or something higher and more edifying ; for every one of 
us who doeth good, is the seat of God the Father; but whoso is 
the seat of God the Father, has Christ in the midst of him. 

51. And he went down with them, and came to 

* There was a spurious " Gospel of Gnostics at thu beginning of the 2d 
our Saviour's infancy" received by the century. Ircna»u.< adv. Hjer. i. c. 17. 


Nazareth, and was subject unto them : but his mother 
kept all these sayings in her heart. 

52. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, 
and in favour with God and man. 

ui)i Slip. Greek Ex. All that lime of the life of Christ which He 
passed between His manifestation in tlie temple and His bap- 
tism, being devoid of any great public miracles or teaching, tlie 
Evangelist sums up in one word, saying, And he went down 
wnth them. Origen; Jesus frequently went down with His 
disciples, for He is not always dwelling on the mount, for 
they who were troubled with various diseases were not able 
to ascend the mount. For this reason now also He went 
down to them who were below. It follows : And he was 

ubi sup. subject to them, ^c. Greek Ex. Sometimes by His word 
He first institutes laws, and He afterwards confirms them 

Johnio, by His work, as when He says, The good shepherd layeth 

^^' dovM his life for his sheep. For shortly after seeking 
our salvation He poured out His own life. But some- 
times He first sets forth in Himself an example, and after- 
wards, as far as words can go, draws therefrom rules of life, 
I as He does here, shewing forth by His work these three things 
above the rest,lthe love of GodP-honour to parents, but the 
i iprefemng God also to our parents. For when He was 
1 blamed by His parents, He counts all other things of less 
moment than those which belong to God ; again. He gives 
His obedience also to His parents. Bede ; For what is the 
teacher of virtue, unless he fulfil his duty to his parents } 
What else did He do among us, than what He wished should 
be done by us.'' Origen; Let us then also ourselves be 
subject to our parents. But if our fathers are not, let us be 
subject to those who arc our fathers. Jesus the Son of God 
is subject to Joseph and Mary. But I must be subject to 
the Bishop who has been constituted my father. It seems 
that Joseph knew that Jesus was greater than he, and there- 
fore in awe moderated his authority. But let every one 
see, that oftentimes he who is subject is the greater. Which 
if they who are higher in dignity understand, they will not be 
elated with pride, knowing that their superior is subject 

VER. 51, 52. ST. LUKE. 103 

to them. Greg. Nyss. Further, since the young have Greg, 
not yet perfect understanding, and have need to be led j q^'j.^ 
forward by those who have advanced to a more per- ^^> 28. 
feet state ; therefore when He arrived at twelve years, He is 
obedient to His parents, to shew that whatever is made per- 
fect by moving forward, before that it arrives at the end 
profitably embraces obedience, (as leading to good.) 
Basil; But from His very first years being obedient toBasih 
His parents, He endured all bodily labours, humbly and Moq^ 4/ 
reverently. For since His parents were honest and just, yet 
at the same time poor, and ill supplied with the necessaries 
of life, (as the stable which administered to the holy birth bears 
witness,) it is plain that they continually underwent bodily 
fatigue in providing for their daily wants. But Jesus being 
obedient to them, as the Scriptures testify, even in sus- 
taining labours, submitted Himself to a complete subjection. 
Ambrose; And can you wonder if He who is subject to 
His mother, also submits to His Father ? Surely that sub- 
jection is a mark not of weakness but of filial duty. Let 
then the heretic so raise his head as to assert that He who 
is sent has need of other help; yet why should He need 
human help, in obeying His mother's authority? He was 
obedient to a handmaid. He was obedient to His pretended 
father, and do you wonder whether He obeyed God? Or is 
it a mark of duty to obey man, of weakness to obey God? 
Bede; The Virgin, whether she understood or whether she 
could not yet understand, equally laid up all things in her heart 
for reflection and diligent examination. Hence it follows, 
And his mother laid up all these things, Sfc. Mark the 
wisest of mothers, Mary the mother of tine wisdom, becomes 
the scholar or disciple of the Child, For she yielded 
to Him not as to a boy, nor as to a man, but as unto 
God. Further, she pondered upon both His divine words and 
works, so that nothing that was said or done by Him was lost 
upon her, but as the Word itself was before in her womb, so 
now she conceived the ways and words of the same, and in 
a manner nursed them in her heart. And while indeed she 
thought upon one thing at the time, another she wanted to be 
more clearly revealed to her; and this was her constant 
rule and law through her whole life. It follows, And Jesus 


increased in wisdotn. Theophyl. Not that He became wise 
by making progress, but that by degrees He revealed His 
wisdom. As it was when He disputed with the Scribes, asking 
them questions of their law to the astonishment of all who heard 
Him. You see then how He increased in wisdom, m that 
He became known to many, and caused them to wonder, for 
the shewing forth of His wisdom is His increase. But 
mark how the Evangelist, having interpreted what it 
is to increase in wisdom, adds, and in stature, declaring 
thereby that an increase or growth in age is an increase 
^y"'- in wisdom. Cyuil; But the Eunomian Heretics say, " How 
l.x.c. 7. can He be equal to the Father in substance, who is said to 
increase, as if before imperfect." But not because He is the 
Word, but because He is made man, He is said to receive 
increase. For if He really increased after that He was made 
flesh, as having before existed imperfect, why then do we give 
Him thanks as having thence become incarnate for us ? 
But how if He is the true wisdom can He be increased, or 
how can He who gives grace to others be Himself advanced 
in grace. Again, if hearing that the Word humbled Him- 
self, no one is offended (thinking slightingly of the tiaie 
God,) but rather marvels at His compassion, how is it 
not absurd to be offended at hearing that He increases.'' 
For as He was humbled for us, so for us He increased, that 
we who have fallen through sin might increase in Him. For 
whatever concerns us, Christ Himself has truly under- 
taken for us, that He might restore us to a better state. And 
— — mark whatHe says, not that the Word, but Jesus, increases, that 
you should not suppose that the pure Word increases, but the 
Word made flesh ; and as we confess that the Word suffered in 
the flesh, although the flesh only suffered, because of the Word 
the flesh was which suffered, so He is said to increase, because 
the human nature of the Word increased in IJim. But He is 
said to increase in His human nature, not as if that nature 
I which was perfect from the beginning received increase, but 
that by degi'ees it was manifested. For the law of nature brooks 

•• Eunoinius was the disciple of Ac- substance" but " of like substance'' 

tius and flourisbed 360 A.D. He was with the Father. See St. Athana^^ius 

the principal apologist of Arianism in against Arianism. Lib. of the Fathers, 

its pure Anojna»an foim,i. e. He denied Part 1. note p. l.']6, et passim, 
not only that the Son was " of one 

VER. 51, 62. ST. LUKE. 105 

not that man should have higher faculties than the age 
of his body permits. The Word then (made man) was 
perfect, as being the power and wisdom of the Father, but 
because something was to be yielded to the habits of our 
nature, lest He should be counted strange by those who 
saw Him, He manifested Himself as man with a body, Amphi- 
gi-adually advancing in growth, and was daily thought wiser ^°^*""^- 
by those who saw and heard Him. Greek Ex. He 
increased then in aye, His body growing to the stature 
of man; but in wisdom through those who were taught 
divine truths by Him ; in grace, that is, whereby we are 
advanced with joy, trusting at last to obtain the promises; 
and this indeed he/ore God, because having put on the 
flesh, He perfonned His Father's work, but before men by 
their conversion from the worship of idols to the knowledge 
of the Most High Trinity. Thegphyl. He says before God 
and men, because we must first please God, then man. 
Greg. Nyss. The word also increases in different degrees in Hom. 3. 
those who receive it ; and according to the measure of its increase '" *° ' 
a man appears either an infant, grown up, or a perfect man. 


1. Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of 
Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of 
Judaja, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his 
brother Philip tetrarch of Itura^a and of the region 
of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, 

2. Annas and Caiaphas being the High Priests, 
the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias 
in the wilderness. 

Greg. Greg. The time at which the forerunner of the Saviour 

2o!Tn received the word of preaching, is marked by the names of 

Ev. the Roman sovereign and of tlie princes of Jiidaja, as it 

follows : Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius 

C<csar, Pontius Pilate being governor of JudcDa, and Herod 

being tetrarch of Galilee, Sfc. For because John came to 

preach Him who was to redeem some from among the Jews, 

and many among the Gentiles, therefore the time of his 

preaching is marked out by making mention of the king of 

the Gentiles and the rulers of the Jews. But because all 

nations were to be gathered together in one, one man is 

described as ruling over the Roman state, as it is said, The 

Meta- reign of Tiberius Casar. Greek Ex. For the emperor 

P iras es ^,^g,,t.|_yj5 being dead, from whom the Roman sovereigns 

obtained the name of " Augustus," Tiberius being his 

successor in the monarchy, was now in the 15th year of his 

receiving the reins of govenimcnt. Origen ; In the word 

of prophecy, spoken to the Jews alone, the Jewish kingdom 

U. 1, 1. only is mentioned, as. The vision of Esaias,in the dags of 

Vzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Ilezehiah, kings of Judah. Hut 


in the Gospel which was to be proclaimed to the whole 
world, the empire of Tiberius Caesar is mentioned, who 
seemed the lord of the whole world. But if the Gentiles 
only were to be saved, it were sufficient to make mention 
only of Tiberius, but because the Jews also must believe, 
the Jewish kingdom therefore, or Tetrarchies, are also in- 
troduced, as it follows, Pontius Pilate heing governor of 
Judxea, and Herod tetrarch, S^c. Greg. Because the Jews Greg, 
were to be scattered for their crime of treachery, the"*''^"P- 
Jewish kingdom was shut up into parts under several go- 
vernors. According to that saying, Every kingdom divided j^^^eU, 
against itself is brought to desolation. Bede ; Pilate was 17. 
sent in the twelfth year of Tiberius to take the government of 
the Jewish nation, and remained there for ten successive years, 
almost until the death of Tiberius. But Herod, and Philip, 
and Lysanias, were the sons of that Herod in whose reign 
our Lord was bom. Between these and Herod himself 
Archelaus their brother reigned ten years. He was accused 
by the Jews before Augustus, and perished in exile at Vienne. 
But in order to reduce the Jewish kingdom to greater 
weakness, Augustus divided it into Tetrarchies. Greg. Be- Greg, 
cause John preached Him who was to be at the same time "^^ ®"P* 
both King and Priest, Luke the Evangelist has marked the 
time of that preaching by the mention not only of Kings, 
but also of Priests. As it follows, Under the High Priests 
Annas and Caiaphas. Bede ; Both Annas and Caia- 
phas, when John began his preaching, were the High 
Priests, but Annas held tlie office that year, Caiaphas 
the same year in which our Lord suffered on the cross. 
Three others had held the office in the intervening time, but 
these two, as having particular reference to our Lord's Passion, 
are mentioned by the Evangelist. For at that time of violence 
and intrigue, the commands of the Law being no longer in 
force, the honour of the High Priest's office was never given 
to merit or high birth, but the whole affairs of the Priesthood 
were managed by the Roman power. For .losephus relates, 
that Valerius Gratus, when Annas was thrust out of the 
Priesthood, appointed Ismael High Priest, the son of Baphas ; 
but not long after casting him ofi', he put in his place Eleazar 
the sou of the High Priest Ananias. After the space of one 


year, lie expelled him also from the oflice, .and delivered the 
government of the High Priesthood to a certain Simon, son of 
Caiaphas, who holding it not longer than a year, had Joseph, 
\ name also was Caiaphas, for his successor; so that the 
whole time during which our Lord is related to have taught 
is included in the space of four years. 

Ambrose; The Son ofGodbcing about to gather togethcrthc 
Church, commences His work in His servant. And so it is 
well said, The word of the Lord came to John, that the 
Church should begin not from man, but from the Word. But 
Luke, in order to declare that John was a prophet, rightly used 
tliese few words, The word of the Lord came to him. He 
adds nothing else, for they need not their own judgment 
who are filled with the Word of God. By saying this 
one thing, he has therefore declared all. But Matthew 
and Mark desired to shew him to be a ])rophet, by his 
Chry.x. raiment, his girdle, and his food. Ciiuys. The word 
Horn, of God here mentioned was a commandment, for the son 
^^- of Zacharias came not of himself, but God moved him. 
Theophyl. Through the whole of the time until his 
shewing himself he was hid in the wilderness, that no sus- 
picion might arise in men's minds, that from his relation 
to Christ, and from his intercourse with Him from a child, 
John 1, he would testify such things of Him; and hence he said, / 
Q ■ jg Av/t'/f; him not. Greg. Nyss. Who also entered this life 
Virg. at once in the spirit and power of Elias, removed from, 
the society of men, in uninterrupted contemplation of 
invisible things, that he might not, by becoming accus- 
tomed to the false notions forced upon us by our senses, 
fall into mistakes and errors in the discernment of good 
men. And to such a height of divine grace was he 
raised, that more favour was bestowed upon him than 
the Prophets, for from the beginning even to tlie end, 
he ever presented his heart before God pure and 
free from every natural passion. Ambrose ; Again, the 
wilderness is the Church itself, for the barren has more 
children than she who has an husband. The word of the 
Lord came, that the earth which was before barren might 
bring forth fruit unto us. 

VEH. 3 — 0. ST. LUKE. 109 

3. And he came into all the country about Jordan, 
preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission 
of sins ; 

4. As it is written in the book of the words of 
Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying 
in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, 
make his paths straight. 

5. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain 
and hill shall be brought low ; and the crooked shall 
be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made 
smooth ; 

6. And all flesh shall see the salvation of God. 

Ambrose; The Word came, and the voice followed. For the 
Word first works inward, then follows the oflice of the voice, 
as it is said, And he tvent into all the country about Jordan. 
Origen ; Jordan is the same as descending, for there descends 
firom God a river of healing water. But what parts would 
John be traversing but the country lying about Jordan, that 
the penitent sinner might soon arrive at the flowing stream, 
humbling himself to receive the baptism of repentance. For 
it is added, preaching the baptism of repentance for the 
remission of sins. Greg. It is plain to every reader that Greg. 
John not only preached the baptism of repentance, but to "^' ^"P" 
some also he gave it, yet his own baptism he could not give 
for the remission of sins. Chrys. For as the sacrifice had not Chrys. 
yet been offered up, nor had the holy Spirit descended, how "*" ^"P" 
could remission of sins be given } What is it then that St. Luke 
means by the words, /or the remission of sins, seeing the Jews 
were ignorant, and knew not the weight of their shis ? Because 
this was the cause of their evils, in order that they might 
be convinced of their sins and seek a Redeemer, John came 
exhorting them to repentance, that being thereby made better 
and sorrowful for their sins, they might be ready to receive 
pardon. Rightly then after saying, that he came preaching the 
baptism of repentance, he adds,ycw the remi.'ision of sins. As 
if he should say, The reason by which he persuaded them to 
repent was, that thereby they would the more easily obtain 

110 GOSPEL AC(()I{l)IN<i T(t CHAP. III. 

.subsequent pardon, believing on Christ. For if they were not 

led by repentance, in vain could they for grace, other than 

Greg, as a preparation for faith in Chiist. Greg. Or John is said to 

preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, 

because the baptism which was to take away sin, as he could 

not give, he preached; just as the Incarnate Word of the 

Father preceded the word of preaching, so the baptism of 

repentance, which was able to take away sin, preceded Jolin's 

baptism, which could not take away sin. Ambrose ; And 

therefore many say that St. John is a type of the Law, because 

Greg, the Law could denounce sin, but could not pardon it. Greg. 
Orat 39 

■ Naz. To speak now of the difference of baptisms. Moses 

indeed baptized, but in the water, the cloud, and the sea, but 
this was done figuratively. John also baptized, not indeed 
according to the Jewish rite, (for he baptized not only with 
water,) but also for the remission of sins, yet not altogether 
spiritually, (for he adds not, in the Spirit.) Jesus baptizes 
but with the Spirit, and this is perfect baptism. There is also 
a fourth baptism, namely by martyrdom and blood, by which 
also Christ Himself was baptized, and which is so far more 
glorious than the others, as it is not sullied by repeated acts 
of defilement. There is also a fifth, the most painful, ac- 
cording to which David every night washed his bed and his 
couch with tears. It follows. As it is written in the hook of 

la. 40,3. Esaias the Prophet, Tlte voice of one crying in the wilderness. 
Ambrose ; John the forerunner of the Word is rightly called 
the voice, because the voice being inferior precedes, the Word, 

Greg, vvhich is more excellent, follows. Greg. John cries in the 

7 20. 

in Ev. desert because he brings the glad tidings of redemption to 
deserted and forsaken Judaea, but what he cries is explained 
in the words, Prepare ye the itay of the Lord. For they 
who preach true faith and good works, what else do they 
than prepare the way for the Lord's coming into the hearts 
of the hearers, that they might make the paths of God 
straight, forming pure thoughts in the mind by the word of 
good preaching. Origen; Or, a way must be prepared in 
our heart for the Lord, for the heart of man is large and 
•spacious if it has become clean. For imagine not that in the 
size of the body, but in tlic virtue of the understanding, consists 
that greatness which must receive the knowledge of the truth. 

VEU. 3 — 6. ST. LUKE. Ill 

Prepare then in thy heart by good conversation a way for 
the Lord, and by perfect works pursue the path of life, 
that so the word of God may have free course in thee. 
Basil. And because a path is a way trodden down by those Basil, 
that have gone before, and which former men have worn "°° °^^' 
away, the word bids those who depart from the zeal 
of their predecessors repeatedly pursue it. Chrys. But to Chrys. 
cry. Prepare ye the way of the Lord, was not the office of" ' ^"^* 
the king, but of the forerunner. And so they called John 
the voice, because he was the forerunner of the Word. 

Cyril ; But suppose some one should answer, saying, How Cyril. 
shall we prepare the way of the Lord, or how shall we make 4o.iib.3! 
His paths straight ? since so many are the hindrances to those 
who wish to lead an honest life. To this the word of prophecy 
replies. There are some ways and paths by no means easy to 
travel, being in some places hilly and rugged, in others steep 
and precipitous; to remove which it says, Every valley shall he 
filled, every mountain and hill shall he brought low. Some 
roads are most unequally constructed, and while in one part 
rising, in another sloping downwards, are very difficult to pass. 
And here he adds, And the crooked ways shall be made 
straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth. But 
this was in a spiritual manner brought to pass by the power 
of our Saviour. For formerly to pursue an Evangelical course 
of life was a difficult task, for men's minds were so immersed 
in worldly pleasures. But now that God being made Man, 
has condemned sin in the flesh, all things are made plain, 
and the way of going has become easy, and neither 
hill nor valley is an obstacle to those who wish to advance. 
Origen; For when Jesus had come and sent His Spirit, 
every valley was filled with good works, and the fruits of the 
Holy Spirit, which if thou hast, thou wilt not only cease to 
become a valley, but will begin also to be a mountain of God. 
Greg. Nyss. Or by the valleys he means a quiet habitual Greg. 
practice of virtue, as in the Psalms, The valleys shall be filled p^' ggP" 
with corn. Chrys. He denounces the haughty and anogant 13. 
by the name of mountains, whom Christ has brought low. ubi'^sup. 
But by the hills He implies the wreckless, not only because of 
the pride of their hearts, but because of the barrenness of 


despair. For (be liill jmxlurt-s no fruit. Okiukn; Or you 

may understand tlie mountains and liills to be the hostile 

powers, which have been overthrown by the coming of 

Basil. Christ. Basil; But as the hills differ from mountains in 

■ respect of height, in other things arc the same, so also the 

adverse powers agree indeed in purpose, but are distinguished 

Greg, from one another in the enormity of their offences. Greg. 

^0. m Qj.^ j^ijg yalley when filled increases, but the mountains and 

hills when brought low decrease, because the Gentiles by 

faith in Christ receive fulness of grace, but the Jews by 

their sin of treachery have lost that wherein they boasted. 

For the humble receive a gift because the hearts of the proud 

in Matt ^^^®y ^^cp afar off. CriRYS. Or by these words he declares 

Horn, the difficulties of the law to be turned into the easiness of 

faith; as if he said. No more toils and labours await us, but 

grace and remission of sins make an easy way to salvation. 

Greg. Greg. Nyss. Or, He orders the valleys to be filled, the 

I sup. j^QUjji^j^jjjg jjjj(j hills to be cast down, to shew that the rule 

of virtue neither fails from want of good, nor transgresses 

Greg, from excess. Greg. But the crooked places are become 

ubi sup. gtj-ajgiit^ when the hearts of the wicked, perverted by a course 

of injustice, are directed to the rule of justice. But the 

rough ways are changed to smooth, when fierce and 

savage dispositions by the influence of Divine grace return 

Chrys. to gentleness and meekness. Chrys. He then adds the 

" ' ""P" cause of these things, saying, And all jieah shall see, 8fc. 

shewing that the virtue and knowledge of the Gospel shall be 

extended even to the end of the world, turning mankind 

from savage manners and perverse wills to meekness and 

gentleness. Not only Jewish converts but all mankind 

Cyril, shall see the salvation of God. Cyril; That is, of the 

ubi sup. pather, who sent His Son as our Saviour. But the flesh is 

Greg, here taken for the whole man. Greg. Or else, All flesh, 

i. e. F^vcry man can not see the salvation of God in Christ 

in this life. The Prophet therefore stretches his eye beyond to 

the last day of judgment, when all men both the elect and 

the reprobate shall equally sec Him. 

7. Then said lie to the multitude that came forth 

VER. 7 — 9. ST. LUKE. 113 

to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who 
hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come ? 

8. Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repent- 
ance, and begin not to say within yourselves. We 
have Abraham to our father : for I say unto you. 
That God is able of these stones to raise up children 
unto Abraham. 

9. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the 
trees : every tree therefore which bringeth not forth 
good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 

Origen ; No one that remains in his old state, and forsakes 
not his old habits and practices, can rightly come to be 
baptized; whoever then wishes to be baptized, let him go 
forth. Hence are those words significantly spoken, And he 
said unto the multitude that went forth to he baptized of him. 
To the multitudes then who are going forth to the laver 
of baptism, He speaks the following words, for if they 
had already gone forth, He would not have said, O genera- 
tion of vipers. Chrys. The dweller in the wilderness, Chrys. 
when he saw all the people of Palestine standing round Matt, 
him and wondering, bent not beneath the weight of such ^^• 
respect, but rose up against them and reproved them.Hom. in 
The holy Scripture often gives the names of wild beasts to ^°" ' 
men, according to the passions which excite them, calling 
them sometimes dogs because of their impudence, horses on 
account of their lust, asses for their folly, lions and panthers 
for their ravening and wantonness, asps for their guile, 
serpents and vipers for their poison and cunning; and 
so in this place John calls the Jews a generation of vipers. 

Basil; Now it may be observed, that the following words Basil. 

natns and filius are spoken of animals, but genimen may beS|?°*' 

said of the foetus before it is formed in the womb ; the fruit of lib. 2. 

the palm trees is also called genimina, but that word is 

very seldom used with respect to animals, and when it is, 

always in a bad sense. Chrys. Now they say that the Chrys. 

female viper kills the male in copulation, and the foetus as it.^°™- 

. , 11-1 '° Matt, 

mcreases in the womb kills the mother, and so comes 1 1. 

forth into life, bursting open the womb in revenge as it were 



of its father's death ; the viper progeny therefore are parricides. 
Such also were the Jews, who killed their spiritual fathers 
and teachers. But what if he found them not sinning, but 
beginning to be converted ? He ought not surely to rebuke 
them, but to comfort them. We answer, that he gave not 
heed to those things which are outward, for he knew the 
secrets of their hearts, the Lord revealing them to him; 
for they vaunted themselves too much in their forefathers. 
Cutting therefore at this root, he calls them a generation of 
vipers, not indeed that he blamed the Patriarchs, or called them 
Greg, vipers. Greg. Because the Jews hated good men, and 
20 in 'persecuted them, following the steps of their carnal parents, 
^^' they are by birth the poisonous sons, as it were, of poisonous 
or sorcerous parents. But because the preceding verse de- 
claresthat at the last judgment Christ shall be seen by all flesh, 
it is rightly added, Who hath warned you to flee from the 
wrath to come? The wrath to come being the awarding of 
final punishment. Ambrose ; We see these men through the 
compassion of God, inspired with prudence to seek repent- 
ance of their crimes, dreading with wise devotion the terror of 
the judgment to come. Or perhaps, according to the precept, 
Matt. Be ye if:ise as serpents, they are shewn to have a natural 
' * prudence, who perceive what is coming, and earnestly desire 
Cff^g- help, though they still forsake not what is hurtful. Greg. 
But because he cannot then flee from the wrath of God, 
who now has not recourse to the sorrows of repentance, it is 
Chrj's. added, Bring forth there/ore fruits. Chrys. For it is not 
*"^' sufficient for the penitent to leave off" his sins, he must also 
bring forth the fruits of repentance, as it is in the Psalms, depart 
Ps. 34, from evil and do good, just as in order to heal, it will not do to 
pluck out the arrow only, but we must also apply a salve to 
the wound. But he says not fruit, but fruits, signifying 
Greg, abundance. Greg. He warns them that they must bring forth 
" '^"^' not only the fruits of repentance, but fruits worthy of repent- 
ance. For he that has violated no law, to him it is permitted 
to use what is lawful, but if a man has fallen into sin, he ought 
so to cut himself ofl" from what is lawful, as he remembers to 
have committed what is unlawful. For the fmit of good 
works ought not to be equal in the man who has sinned 
less, and the man who has sinned more, nor in him who has 

VER. 7 — 9. ST. LUKE. 115 

fallen into no crimes, and him who has fallen into some. 
In this way it is adapted to the conscience of each man, 
that they should seek for so much the greater blessing on 
good works through repentance, as they have by guilt brought 
on themselves the heavier penalties. Maximus; The fruit of Max. 
repentance is an equanimity of soul, which we do not fully obtain, ^^^g^g^^ 
as long as we are at times affected by our passions, for not as yet 
have we performed the fruits worthy of repentance. Let us then 
repent tnily, that being delivered from our passions we may 
obtain the pardon of their sins. Greg. But the Jews glorying Greg, 
in their noble birth were unwilling to acknowledge themselves "^' ^"P- 
sinners, because they were descended from the stock of 
Abraham. So then it is rightly said, Andhegin not to say within 
yourselves, tte have Abraham for our father. Chrys. Not Chrys. 
meaning thereby that they had not descended in their natural "'* ^"P" 
course from Abraham, but that it avails them nothing to have 
Abraham for their father, unless they observed the relationship 
in respect of virtue. For Scripture is accustomed to entitle 
laws of relationship, such as do not exist by nature, but 
are derived from virtue or vice. To whichsoever of these 
two a man conforms himself, he is called its son or brother. 
Cyril ; For what profits the nobleness we inherit through 
the flesh, unless it be supported by kindred feelings in us ? 
It is folly then to boast of our worthy ancestors, and fall 
away from their virtues. Basil; For neither does the speed Baail. 
of its sire make the horse swift; but as the goodness of "°" °''^" 
other animals is looked for in individuals, so also that is 
reckoned to be man's legitimate praise which is decided by the 
test of his present worth. For it is a disgraceful thing for 
a man to be adorned with the honours of another, vehen he 
has no virtue of his own to commend him. Greg. Nyss. So Greg, 
then having foretold the casting away of the Jews, He °°° °^^' 
goes on to allude to the calling of the Gentiles, whom 
He calls stones. Hence it follows. For I say unto you, 
8fc. Chrys. As if He said. Think not that if you perish Clirys. 
the Patriarch will be deprived of sons, for God even"*^"P' 
from stones can produce men unto him, and prolong 
the line of his descendants. For so has it been from 
the beginning, seeing that for men to be made from stones 
unto Abraham is but equivalent to the coming forth of 



a son from the dead womb of Sarah. Ambrose ; But 
although God can alter and change the most diverse natures, 
yet in my mind a mystery is of more avail than a miracle. 
For what else than stones were they who bowed down to 
stones, like indeed to them who made them. It is pro- 
phesied therefore that faith shall be poured into the stony 
hearts of the Gentiles, and through faith the oracles promise 
that Abraham shall have sons. But that you may know 
who are the men compared to stones, he has also com- 
pared men to trees, adding, For now the axe is laid to 
the root of the tree. This change of figure was made, 
that by means of comparison might be understood to 
have now commenced a more kindly growth of manhood. 
Origen; If the completion of all things had been then 
already begun, and the end of time close at hand, I should 
have no question but that the prophecy was given, because 
at that time it was to be fulfilled. But now that many ages 
have elapsed since the Spirit spoke this, I think it was 
prophesied to the people of Israel, because their cutting off 
was approaching. For to those that went out to him that 
they should be baptized, he gave this warning among others. 
Cyril; By the axe then he declares the deadly wrath of 
God, which fell upon the Jews on account of the impieties 
they practised against Christ; he does not pronounce the axe 
to be yet fixed to the root, but that it was laid (ad radicem), 
i. 6. near the root. For though the branches were cut down, 
the tree itself was not yet entirely destroyed. For a remnant 

Greg, of Israel shall be saved. Greg. Or we may take it in this way ; 

ubi sup. fjijjg | represents the whole human race in this world, 
but the axe is our redeemer, who by the handle and iron, as 
it were, is held indeed in the hand of man, but strikes by the 
power of God. Which axe indeed is now laid at the root of 
the tree; for although it waits patiently, yet it is plain 
what it is about to do. And we must observe that the said 
axe is to be laid not at the branches, but at the root. For 
when the children of the wicked are taken away, what is this 
but the cutting off of the branches of an unfruitful tree. 
But when the whole family together with the parent is 
removed, the unfruitful tree is cut off from the very root. 
But every hardened sinner finds the fire of hell the quicker 

VER. 10 — 14. ST. LUKE. 117 

prepared for him, as he disdains to bring forth the 
fruits of good works. Hence it follows, Every one then. 
Chrys. It is elegantly said, that heareth not fruit, and it 
is added, good. For God created man an animal fond of 
employment, and constant activity is natural to him, but 
idleness is unnatural. For idleness is hurtful to every member 
of the body, but much more to the soul. For the soul being 
by nature in constant motion does not admit of being slothful. 
But as idleness is an evil, so also is an unworthy activity. 
But having before spoken of repentance, he now declares 
that the axe lies near, not indeed actually cutting, but only 
striking terror. Ambrose ; Let him then that is able bring 
forth fruit unto grace, him who ought, unto repentance. The 
Lord is at hand seeking for His fruit, who shall cherish the 
fruitful, but rebuke the baiTen. 

10. And the people asked him, saying. What shall 
we do then ? 

11. He answereth and saith unto them, He that 
hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; • 
and he that hath meat, let him do likewise. 

12. Then came also Publicans to be baptized, and 
said unto him. Master, what shall we do ? 

13. And he said unto them. Exact no more than 
that which is appointed you. 

14 And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, 
saying. And what shall we do ? And he said unto 
them. Do violence to no man, neither accuse any 
falsely ; and be content with your wages. 

Greg. In the preceding words of John, it is plain thatGrreg. 
the hearts of his hearers were troubled, and sought for '^"^' 
advice from him. As it is added. And they asked him, 
saying, ^c. Origen ; Three classes of men are introduced 
as enquiring of John concerning their salvation, one which 
the Scripture calls the multitude, another to which it gives 
the name of Publicans, and a third which is noticed by the 
appellation of soldiers. Theophyl. Now to the Riblicans 


and soldiers he gives a commandment to abstain from evil, 
but the multitudes, as not living in an evil condition, he com- 
mands to perform some good work, as it foUovs^s, He that hath 

Greg, tuo coats, let him give one. Greg. Because a coat is more 
' necessary for our use than a cloak, it belongs to the bringing 
forth of fruits worthy of repentance, that we should divide 
with our neighbours not only our superfluities but those 
which are absolutely necessary to us, as our coal, or the meat 
with which we support our bodies; and hence it follows, 
And he who has meat, let him do likeicise. Basil ; But we 
are hereby taught, that every thing we have over and above 
what is necessary to our daily support, we are bound to give 
to him who hath nothing for God's sake, who hath given us 
liberally whatever we possess. 

Greg. Greg. For because it was written in the law, Thou shall 
^^' love thy neighbour as thyself, he is proved to love his 
neighbour less than himself, who does not share with him 
in his distress, those things which are even necessary to 
himself. Tiierefore that precept is given of dividing with 
one's neighbour the two coats, since if one is divided no one 
- is clothed. But we must remark in this, of how much value 
are works of mercy, since of the works worthy of repentance 
these are enjoined before all others. Ambrose; For other com- 
mands of duty have reference only to individuals, mercy has a 
common application. It is therefore a common commandment 
to all, to contribute to him that has not. Mercy is the fulness 
of virtues, yet in mercy itself a proportion is observed to meet 
the capacities of man's condition, in that each individual is 
not to deprive himself of all, but what he has to share it with 
the poor. 

Origen; But this place admits of a deeper meaning, for as 
we ought not to serve two masters, so neither to have two 
coats, lest one should be the clothing of the old man, the 
other of the new, but we ought to cast off the old man, and 
give to him who is naked. For one man has one coat, 
another has none at all, the strength therefore of the two is 
exactly contrary, and as it has been written that we should 
cast all our crimes to the bottom of the sea, so ought we to 
tlirow from us our vices and errors, and lay them upon him 
who has been the cause of them. Theophyl. But some one 

VER. 10--14. ST. LUKE. 119 

has observed that the two coats are the spirit and letter of 
Scripture, but John advises him that hath these two to 
instruct the ignorant, and give him at least the letter. 

Bede ; What great virtue there was in the discourse of the 
Baptist is manifested by this, that the Publicans, nay even 
the soldiers, he compelled to seek counsel of him concerning 
their salvation, as it follows, But the publicans came. 
Chrys. Great is the force of \ditue that makes the rich seek Chrys. 
the way of salvation from the poor, from him that hath ]yj° "J] 
nothing. Bede; He commands them therefore that they 24. 
exact no more than what was presented to them, as it 
follows. And he said unto them. Do no more than what is 
appointed to you. But they are called publicans who 
collect the public taxes, or who are the farmers of the pub- 
lic revenue or public property ? Those also who pursue 
the gain of this woi-ld by traffic are denoted by the same 
titles, all of whom, each in his own sphere, he equally 
forbids to practise deceit, that so by first keeping them- 
selves from desiring other men's goods, they might at 
length come to share their own with their neighbours. 
It follows. But the soldiers also asked him. In the justest 
manner he advises them not to seek gain by falsely ac- 
cusing those whom they ought to benefit by their pro- 
tection. Hence it follows, And he says unto them, Strike no 
one, (i. e. violently,) nor accuse any falsely, (i. e. by unjustly 
using arms,) and be content irith your wages. Ambrose ; 
Teaching thereby that wages were affixed to military duty, 
lest men seeliing for gain should go about as robbers. 
Greg. Naz. For by wages he refers to the imperial pay, and Greg. 
the rewards assigned to distinguished actions. Aug. For he ^^' ' 
knew that soldiers, when they use their arms, are not homi- co°t- 
cides, but the ministers of the law ; not the avengers of Hb.xxii 
their own injuries, but the defenders of the public safety. °* ^*" 
Otherwise he might have answered, " Put away your arms, 
abandon warfare, strike no one, wound no one, destroy no 
one." For what is it that is blamed in war? Is it that 
men die, who some time or other must die, that the con- 
querors might rule in peace ? To blame this is the 
part of timid not religious men. The desire of injury, 
the cnielty of revenge, a savage and pitiless disposi- 


tion, the fierceness of rebellion, the lust of power, and such 
like things are the evils which are justly blamed in wars, 
which generally for the sake of thereby bringing punish- 
ment upon the violence of those who resist, are undertaken 
and carried on by good men either by command of God or 
some lawful authority, when they find themselves in that 
order of things in which their very condition justly obliges 
them either to command such a thing themselves, or to obey 
Chrys. when others command it. Chrys. But John's desire when he 
Matt " spoke to the Publicans and soldiers, was to bring them over 
11- to a higher wisdom, for which as they were not fitted, he 
reveals to them commoner truths, lest if he put forward the 
higher they should pay no attention thereto, and be deprived 
of the others also. 

15. And as the people were in expectation, and all 
men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were 
the Christ, or not ; 

16. John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed 
baptize you with water ; but one mightier than I 
Cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy 
to unloose : he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost 
and with fire. 

17. Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly 
purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his 
garner ; but the chaff he will burn with fire un- 

Origkn ; It was meet that more deference should be paid 
to John than to other men, for he lived such as no other 
man. Wherefore indeed most rightly did they regard him 
with affection, only they kept not within due bounds; hence 
it is said, Bat while Ihe people were expecting whether 
ha were the Christ. Ambrose ; Now what could be more 
absurd than that he who was fancied to be in another should 
not be believed in his own person ? He whom they thought 
to have come by a woman, is not believed to have come 
by a virgin ; while in fact the sign of the Divine coming was 
placed in the childbearing ofa virgin, notofawoman. Origen; 

VER. 15 — 17. ST. LUKE. 121 

But love is dangerous when it is uncontrolled. For he who 
loves any one ought to consider the nature and causes of loving, 
and not to love more than the object deserves. For if he 
pass the due measure and bounds of love, both he who loves, 
and he who is loved, will be in sin. Greek Ex. And hence Meta- 
John gloried not in the estimation in which all held him, norP^J^*^" 
in any way seemed to desire the deference of others, but em- 
braced the lowest humility. Hence it follows, John answered. 
Bede; But how could he answer them who in secret thought 
that he was Christ, except it was that they not only thought, 
but also (as another Evangelist declares) sending Priests and 
Levites to him asked him whether he was the Christ or not ? 
Ambrose; Or: John saw into the secrets of the heart; 
but let us remember by whose grace, for it is of the gift of God 
to reveal things to man, not of the virtue of man, which is as- 
sisted by the Divine blessing, rather than capable of perceiving 
by any natural power of its own. But quickly answeiing them, 
he proved that he was not the Christ, for his works were 
by visible operations. For as man is compounded of two 
natures, i. e. soul and body, the visible mystery is made 
holy by the visible, the invisible by the invisible ; for by water 
the body is washed, by the Spirit the soul is cleansed of its 
stains. It is permitted to us also iu the very water to have the 
sanctifying influence of the Deity breathed upon us. And 
therefore there was one baptism of repentance, another of grace. 
Tlie latter was by both water and Spirit, the former by one 
only ; the work of man is to bring forth repentance for his sin, 
it is the gift of God to pour in the grace of His mystery. 
Devoid therefore of all envy of Christ's greatness, he declared 
not by word but by work that he was not the Christ. Hence 
it follows, Tliere cometh after me one mightier than I. In 
those words, mightier than I, he makes no comparison, for 
there can be none between the Son of God and man, but 
because there are many mighty, no one is mightier but 
Christ. So far indeed was he from making comparison, that 
he adds, Whose shoes latchet I am not worthy to unloose. 
Aug. Matthew says. Whose shoes I am not worthy to hear. Aug. de 
If therefore it is worth while to understand any difference in g°°^' 
these expressions, we can only suppose that John said one Hb.ii.i2. 
at one time, another at another, or both together, To bear 


his shoes, and to loose the latchet of his shoes,so that though oue 
Evangelist may have related this, the others that, yet all have 
related the truth. But if John intended no more when he 
sj)oke of the shoes of our Lord but His excellence and his 
own humility, whether he said loosing the latchet of the 
shoes, or hearing them, they have still kept the same sense 
who by the mention of shoes have in their own words 
expressed the same signification of humility. Ambrose; By 
the words, Whose shoes I am not uorthy to hear, he shews 
that the grace of preaching the Gospel was conferred upon 
Eph. 6, the Apostles, who were shod for the Gospel. He seems 
however to say it, because John frequently represented the 
Greg. Jewish people. Greg. But John denounces himself as 
_^om. • uj^^yQj-tijy ^Q loose the latchet of Christ's shoes: as if he 
Evan, openly said, I am not able to disclose the footsteps of my 
Redeemer, who do not presume unworthily to take unto myself 
the name of bridegroom, for it was an ancient custom that' 
when a man refused to take to wife her whom he ought, 
whoever should come to her betrothed by riglit of kin, 
was to loose his shoe. Or because shoes are made from 
the skins of dead animals, our Lord being made flesh 
appeared as it were with shoes, as taking upon Himself the 
carcase of our corruption. The latchet of the shoe is the 
connexion of the mystery. John therefore can not loose the 
latchet of the shoe, because neither is he able to fathom the 
mystery of the Incarnation, though he acknowledged it by the 
Spirit of prophecy. 
Chrys. Chrys. And having said that his own baptism was only 
*"P' with water, he next shews the excellence of that baptism 
which was brought by Christ, adding, He shall haptize you 
with the Holy Spirit, and Jire, signifying by the very 
metaphor which he uses the abundance of grace. For he 
says not, " He shall give you the Holy Spirit," but He shall 
baptize you. And again, by the addition of fire, he shews 
the power of grace. And as Christ calls the grace of the 

John 4, Sj)irit, water, meaning by water the purity resulting from it, 

14; 7, 

38. « St. Gregory seems to refer here bride is the bridegroom, but the friend 

to Ruth 4, 8. V ulg. " Dixit proximo &c. see the same allegory in Aug. de 

suo Booz. Tolle calceamentum quod Nat. S. Joann. Hap. Horn. iv. Ambrose 

statim solvit de pede suo." He quotes in loc. Cvprian ii. adv. Jud. 19. 
also John 3, 29. He that hath the 

VER. 15 — 17. ST. LUKE. 123 

aud the abundant consolation which is brought to minds 
which are capable of receiving Him ; so also John, by the 
word Jire, expresses the fervour and uprightness of grace, as 
well as the consuming of sins. 

Bede; The Holy Spirit also may be understood by the 
word fire, for He kindles with love and enlightens with 
wisdom the hearts which He fills. Hence also the Apostles 
received the baptism of the Spirit in the appearance of fire. 
There are some who explain it, that now we are baptized 
with the Spirit, hereafter we shall be with fire, that as 
in truth we are now bom again to the remission of our 
sins by water and the Spirit, so then we shall be cleansed 
from certain lighter sins by the baptism of purifying fire. 
Origen ; And as John was waiting by the river Jordan for 
those who came to his baptism, and some he drove away, 
saying, Generation of vipers, but those who confessed their 
sins he' received, so shall the Lord Jesus stand in the fiery 
stream with the flaming sword, that whoever after the close 
of this life desires to pass over to Paradise and needs purifi- 
cation, He may baptize him with this laver, and pass him over 
to paradise, but whoso has not the seal of the former 
baptisms, him He shall not baptize with the laver of fire. 

Basil ; But because he says, He sliall baptize you with Basil. 
the Holy Spirit, let no one admit that baptism to be valid ''^•. ^^ 
in which the name of His Spirit only has been invoked, forSanct. 
we must ever keep undiminished that tradition which has ''' ^^* 
been sealed to us in quickening grace. To add or take 
away ought thereof excludes from eternal life. Greek Ex. ubi sup. 
By these words then, He shall baptize with the Holy Spirit, 
He signifies the abundance of His grace, the plenteousness 
of His mercy; but lest any should suppose that while to 
bestow abundantly is both in the power and will of the 
Creator, He will have no occasion to punish the disobedient, 
he adds, uhose fan is in his hand, shewing that He is not 
only the rewarder of the righteous, but the avenger of them 
that speak lies. But the fan expresses the promptitude of His 
judgment. For not with the process of passing sentence on 
trial, but in an instantand without any interval he separates those 
that are to be condemned fi'om the company of those that areChrys. 
to be saved. Cyril; By the following words, And he shall\^^ ^^^^' 
thoroughly purge his^fioor, the Baptist signifies that the Church c 4. 


belongs to Christ as her Lord. Bede; For by the floor is 
represented the present Church, in which many are called 
but few are chosen. The purging of which floor is even now 
carried on individually, when every perverse offender is either 
cast out of the Church for his open sins, (by the hands 
of the Priesthood,) or for his secret sins is after death 
condemned by Divine judgment. And at the end of the 
world it will be accomplished universally, when the Son of 
Man shall send His angels, and they shall gather out of His 
kingdom every thing that has offended. Ambrose ; By the 
sign of a fan then the Lord is declared to possess the power 
of discerning merits, since when the corn is winnowed 
in the threshing floor, the ftill ears are separated from the 
empty by the trial of the wind blowing them. Hence it 
follows. And he shall gather the wheat into his ham. By 
this comparison, the Lord shews that on the day of judgment 
He will discern the solid merits and fruits of virtue from the 
unfruitful lightness of empty boasting and vain deeds, 
about to place the men of more perfect righteousness in His 
heavenly mansion. For that is indeed the more perfect 
fruit which was thought worthy to be like to Him who fell 
John 12, as a grain of wheat, that He might bring forth fruit in 
^'*" abundance. 

Cyril ; But the chaff" signifies the trifling and empty, 
blown about and liable, to be carried away by every 
Basil, blast of sin. Basil; But they are mixed up with those who 
non occ. ^^^ worthy of the kingdom of heaven, as the chaff" with the 
wheat. This is not however from consideration of their love 
of God and their neighbour, nor from their spiritual gifts or 
temporal blessings. 

Origen ; Or, because without the wind the wheat and 
chaff" cannot be separated, therefore He has the fan in His 
hand, which shews some to be chaff", some wheat; for when 
you were as the light chaff", (i. e. unbelieving,) temptation 
shewed you to be what you knew not ; but when you shall 
bravely endure temptation, the temptation will not make you 
faithful and enduring, but it will bring to light the virtue 
which was hid in you. 
Greg. Greg. Nyss. But it is well to know, that the treasures, 
non occ. ^hich according to the promises are laid up for those who 
live honestly, arc sucli as the words of man cannot express, 

VER. 18—20. ST. LUKE. 125 

as eye hath not seen, nor the ear heard, nor hath it entered 
into the heart of man to conceive. And the punishments 
which await sinners bear no proportion to any of those 
things which now affect the senses. And although some of 
those punishments are called by our names, yet their differ- 
ence is very great. For when you hear of Jire, you are 
taught to understand something else from the expression 
which follows, that is not quenched, beyond what comes into 
the idea of other fire. Greg. The fire of hell is here wonder- Greg. 
fully expressed, for our earthly fire is kept up by heaping g^p^j^^ 
wood upon it, and cannot live unless supplied with fuel, 20. 
but on the contrary the fire of hell, though a bodily fire, 
and burning bodily the wicked who are put into it, is not 
kept up by wood, but once made remains unquenchable. 

18. And many other things in his exhortation 
preached he unto the people. 

19. But Herod the tetrarch, being reproved by 
him for Herodias his brother Philip's wife, and for 
all the evils which Herod had done, 

20. Added yet this above all, that he shut up John 
in prison. 

Origen ; John having announced the coming of Christ, 
was preaching the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and the other 
things which the Gospel history has handed down to us. 
But besides these he is declared to have announced others 
in the following words. And many other things in his ex- 
hortation preached he unto the people. Theophyl. For his 
exhortation was the telling of good things, and therefore is 
fitly called the Gospel. Origen ; And as in the Gospel ac- 
cording to St. John it is related of Christ that He spoke many 
other things, so also in this place we must understand Luke 
to say the same of John the Baptist, since certain things are 
announced by John too great to be entrusted to writing. 
But we marvel at John, because among them that are 
born of women there was not a greater than he, for by 
his good deeds he had been exalted to so high a fame for 
virtue, that by many he was supposed to be Christ. But 
what is unich more marvellous he feared not Herod, 


nor dreaded death, as it follows, But Herod the letrarch 

Euseb. heing reproved by him. Euseb. He is called the tetrarch, 
non occ. . j ...,,. - 

to distinguish him from the other Herod, m whose reign 

Christ was bom, and who was king, but this Herod was 

tetrarch. Now his wife was the daughter of Aretas, king of 

Arabia, but he had sacrilegiously married his brother Philip's 

wife, though she had offspring by his brother. For those 

only were allowed to do this whose brothers died without 

issue. For this the Baptist had censured Herod. First indeed 

he heard him attentively, for he knew that his words were 

weighty and full of consolation, but the desire of Herodias 

compelled him to despise the words of John, and he then 

thrust him into prison. And so it follows. And he added this 

above all, that he shiit up John in prison. Bede; But John 

was not imprisoned in those days. According to St. John's 

Gospel it was not till after some miracles had been performed 

by our Lord, and after His baptism had been noised abroad; 

but according to Luke he had been seized beforehand by 

the redoubled malice of Herod, who, when he saw so many 

flock to the preaching of John, and the soldiers believing, the 

publicans repenting, and whole multitudes receiving baptism, 

on the contrary not only despised John, but having put 

Gloss, jjjjji jji prison, slew him. Gloss. For before that Luke 

relates any of the acts of Jesus, he says that John was taken 

by Herod, to shew that he alone was in an especial manner 

going to describe those of our Lord's acts, which were 

performed since the year in which John was taken or put to 


2L Now when all the people were baptized, it 
came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and 
praying, the heaven was opened, 

22. And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily 
shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from 
heaven, which said. Thou art my beloved Son ; in 
thee I am well pleased. 

Ambrose ; In a matter which has been related by others, Luke 
has rightly given us only a summary, and has left more to be 
understood than expressed in the fact, that our Lord was bap- 

VER. 18 — 22. ST. LUKE. 127 

tized by John. As it is said, Now when all were baptized, it 
came to pass. Our Lord was baptized not that He might be 
cleansed by the waters but to cleanse them, that being purified 
by the flesh of Christ who knew no sin, they might possess the 
power of baptism. Greg. Naz. Christ comes also to baptism Greg, 
perhaps to sanctify baptism, but doubtless to bury the old 39 
Adam in water. Ambrose; But the cause of our Lord's 
baptism He Himself declares when He says, Thus it becomes 
us to fulfil all righteousness. But what is righteousness, 
except that what you would have another do to you, you should 
first begin yourself, and so by your example encourage others ? 
Let none then avoid the laver of grace, since Christ avoided 
not the laver of repentance. Chrys. Now there was a Jewish 
baptism which removed the pollutions of the flesh, not the 
guilt of the conscience ; but our baptism parts us firom sin, 
washes the soul, and gives us largely the outpouring of the 
Spirit. But John's baptism was more excellent than the 
Jewish ; for it did not bring men to the observance of 
bodily purifications, but taught them to turn from sin to virtue. 
But it was inferior to our baptism, in that it conveyed not the 
Holy Spirit, nor shewed forth the remission which is by grace, 
for there was a certain end as it were of each baptism. But 
neither by the Jewish nor our own baptism was Christ 
baptized, for He needed not the pardon of sins, nor was that 
flesh destitute of the Holy Spirit which from the very begin- 
ning was conceived by the Holy Spirit ; He was baptized 
by the baptism of John, that from the very nature of the 
baptism, you might know that He was not baptized because 
He needed the gift of the Spirit. But he says, being 
baptized and praying, that you might consider how fitting 
to one who has received baptism is constant prayer. Bede ; 
Because though all sins are forgiven in baptism, not as yet 
is the weakness of this fleshly substance made strong. For we 
rejoice at the overwhelming of the Egyptians having now 
crossed the Red sea, but in the wilderness of worldly living 
there meet us other foes, who, the grace of Christ direct- 
ing us, may by our exertions be subdued until we come 
to our own country. Chrys. But he says, The heavens 
opened, as if till then they had been shut. But now the 
higher and the lower sheep-fold being brought into one, and 


there being one Shepherd of the sheep, the licavens opened, 
and man was incorporated a fellow citizen with the Angels. 
Bede; For not then were the heavens opened to Him whose 
eyes scanned the innermost parts of the heaven, but therein 
is shewn the virtue of baptism, that when a man comes forth 
from it the gates of the heavenly kingdom are opened to him, 
and while his flesh is bathed unharmed in the cold waters, 
which formerly dreaded their hurtful touch, the flaming sword 
is extinguished. Chrys. The Holy Spirit descended also 
upon Christ as upon the Founder of our race, that He might 
be in Christ first of all who received Him not for Himself, but 
rather for us. Hence it follows : And the Holy Spirit 
descended. Let not any one imagine that He received Him 
because He had Him not. For He as God sent Him from 
above, and as man received Him below. Therefore from 
Him the Spirit fled down to Him, i. e. from His deity to His 
humanity. Aug. But it is most strange that He should 
receive the Spirit when He was thirty years old. But as 
without sin He came to baptism, so not without the Holy 
Luke 1, Spirit. For if it was written of John, He shall be filled with 
the Spirit from his mother''s womb, what must we believe of 
the man Christ, the very conception of whose flesh was not 
caxnal but spiritual. Therefore He condescended now to 
prefigure His body, i. e. the Church, in which the baptized 
especially receive the Holy Spirit. Chrys. That baptism 
savoured partly of antiquity, partly of novelty. For that 
He should receive baptism from a Prophet shewed an- 
tiquity, but the Spirit's descent denoted something new. 
Ambrose; Now the Spirit rightly shewed Himself in the form 
of a dove, for He is not seen in His divine substance. Let us 
consider the mystery why like a dove ? Because the grace of 
baptism requires innocence, that we should be innocent as 
doves. The grace of baptism requires peace, which under the 
emblem of an olive branch the dove once brought to that ark 
which alone escaped the deluge. Chrys. Or to shew the 
meekness of the Lord, the Spirit now appears in the form of 
a dove, but at Pentecost like fire, to signify punishment. 
For when He was about to pardon offences, gentleness was 
necessary; but having obtained grace, there remaineth for us 
the time of trial and judgment. 

VER. 21, 2-2. ST. LUKK. 129 

Cyprian; Now the dove is a harmless and pleasant Cyprian 
creature, with no bitterness of gall, no fierceness of bite, Ecdgg. ' 
no violence of rending talons; they love the abodes of men, 
consort within one home, when they have young nuituring 
them together, when they fly abroad, hanging side by side 
upon the wing, leading their life in mutual intercourse, 
giving with their bills a sign of their peaceful harmony, and 
fulfilling a law of unanimity in every way. 

Chrys. Christ indeed had already manifested Himself at 
His birth by many oracles, but because men would not con- 
sult them, He who had in the mean time remained secret, 
again more clearly revealed Himself in a second birth. For 
formerly a star in the heavens, now the Father at the waves 
of Jordan declared Him, and as the Spirit descended upon 
Him, pouring forth that voice over the head of Him who was 
baptized, as it follows, And a voice came from heaven^ Thou 
art my beloved Son. Ambrose; We have seen the Spirit, but 
in a bodily shape, and the Father whom we cannot see we 
may hear. He is invisible because He is the Father, the Son 
also is invisible in His divinity, but He wished to manifest 
Himself in the body. And because the Father did not take 
the body. He wished therefore to prove to us that He was 
present in the Son, by saying, Thou art my Son. Athan. Athan, 
The holy Scriptures by the name of Son set forth two^ic ^^ 
meanings ; one similar to that spoken of in the Gospel, He Sy°' 
gave to them power that they should become the sons of God; 
another according to which Isaac is the son of Abraham. 
Christ is not then simply called a Son of God, but the 
article is prefixed, that we should understand that He 
alone is really and by nature the Son ; and hence He is 
said to be the Only begotten. For if according to the mad- 
ness of Arius He is called Son, as they are called who obtain 
the name through grace. He will seem in no way to differ 
from us. It remains therefore that in another respect we 
must confess Christ to be the Son of God, even as Isaac 
is acknowledged to be the son of Abraham. For that 
which is naturally begotten of another, and takes not 
its origin from any thing besides nature, accounts a son. 
But it is said, Was then the birth of the Son with suffering 
as of a man ? By no means. God since He cannot be dinded is 



without suffering the Father of the Son. Hence He is called 
the Word of the Father, because neither is the word of man 
even produced with suffering, and since God is by nature 
one. He is the Father of one only Son, and therefore it is 
added. Beloved. For when a man has only one son, he loves 
him verj' much, but if he becomes father of many, his 
affection is divided by being distributed, Athan. But as 
the prophet had before announced the promise of God, 
saying, / uill send Christ my son, that promise being now as 
it were accomplished at Jordan, He rightly adds, In thee I 
am well pleased. Bede ; As if He said, In Thee have I 
appointed My good pleasure, i. e. to carry on by Thee 
Greg, what seems good to Me. Greg. Or else. Every one who 
Ezech ^y repentance corrects any of his actions, by that very 
Horn. 8. repentance shews that he has displeased himself, seeing 
he amends what he has done. And since the Omni- 
potent Father spoke of sinners after the manner of men. 
Gen. 6, saying. It repents me that I have made man, He (so to speak) 
displeased Himself in the sinners whom He had created. 
But in Christ alone He pleased Himself, for in Him alone He 
found no fault that He should blame Himself, as it were, by 
Aug. Aug. But the words of Matthew, Tliis is my beloved Son, 
£^ ]^\ and those of Luke, Tftou art my beloved Son, convey 
ii. c. I4.the same meaning; for the heavenly voice spoke one of 
these. But Matthew wished to shew that by the words, 
This is my beloved Son, it was meant rather to declare to 
the hearers, that He was the Son of God. For that was 
not revealed to Christ which He knew, but they heard it who 
were present, and for whom the voice came. 

23. And Jesus himself began to be about thirty 
years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of 
Joseph, which was the son of Heli, 

24. Which was the son of Matthat, which was the 
son of Levi, which was the son of Melchi, which was 
the son of Janna, which was the son of Joseph, 

25. Which was the son of Mattathias, which was 

vEi;. -23 — 38. ST. luke. 131 

the son of Amos, which was the son of Naum, which 
was the son of Esli, which was the son of Nagge, 

26. Which was the son of Maath, which was the 
son of Mattathias, which was the son of Semei, 
which was the son of Joseph, which was the son of 

27. Which was the son of Joanna, which was the 
son of Rhesa, which was the son of Zorobabel, 
which was the son of Salathiel, which was the son of 

28. Which was the son of Melchi, which was the 
son of Addi, which was the son of Cosam, which was 
the son of Elmodam, which was the son of Er, 

29. Which was the son of Jose, which was the son 
of Eliezer, which was the son of Jorim, which was the 
son of Matthat, which was the son of Levi, 

30. Which was the son of Simeon, which was the 
son of Juda, which was the son of Joseph, which was 
the son of Jonan, which was the son of Eliakim, 

31. Which was the son of Melea, which was the 
son of Menan, which was the son of Mattatha, which 
was the son of Nathan, which was the son of David, 

32. Which was the son of Jesse, which was the 
son of Obed, which was the son of Booz, which was 
the son of Salmon, which was the son of Naasson, 

33. Which was the son of Aminadab, which was 
the son of Aram, which was the son of Esrom, which 
was the son of Phares, which was the son of Juda, 

34. Which was the son of Jacob, which was the 
son of Isaac, which was the son of Abraham, which 
was the son of Thara, which was the son of Nachor, 

35. Which was the son of Saruch, which was the 
son of Ragau, which was the son of Phalec, which 
was the son of Heber, which was the son of Sala, 

36. Which was the son of Cainan, which was the 



son of Arphaxad, which was the son of Sem, which 
was the son of Noe, which was the son of Lamech, 

37. Which was the son of Mathusala, which was 
the son of Enoch, which was the son of Jared, which 
was the son of Maleleel, which was the son of Cainan, 

38. Which was the son of Enos, which was the 
son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was 
the son of God. 

Origen ; Having related our Lord's baptism, he next enters 
upon the generation of the Lord, not bringing it down from the 
higher to the lower, but beginning with Christ, he caiTies it 
up to God Himself. Hence he says, Jtid Jesus Himself 
began. For when He was baptized, and had Himself 
undergone the mystery of the second birth, then He is said 
to have begun, that thou also mightest destroy this first birth 
Greg, and be born in the second. Greg, Naz. We must therefore 
™ ' 'consider who He was who was baptized, and by whom and 
when: seeing He was pure, baptized by John, and at a time 
when His miracles had begun, that we might thence derive 
the lesson of purifying ourselves beforehand, and of embracing 
humility, and of not beginning to preach until the maturity of 
our spiritual and natural life. The first of these was said for 
their sakes who are receiving baptism; for although the gift of 
baptism brings remission, yet we must fear lest we return again 
to our vomit. The second is pointed at those who exalt 
themselves against the stewards of the mysteries, whom 
they may excel in rank. The third was uttered for those who 
trust in their youth, and imagine that any age is fit for promotion 
and teaching. Jesus is cleansed, and dost thou despise purifi- 
cation ? By John, and dost thou say ought against thy teacher. 
At thirty years old, but dost thou in teaching precede thy 
elders ? But the example of Daniel and the like are ready in 
thy mouth, for every guilty person is ready with an answer. 
But that is not the law of the Church which seldom hap- 
pens, as neither does a single swallow make the spring. 
Chrys. Or, He waited accomplishing the whole law until 
that age which takes in every sin, that none might say that He 
abrogated the law because He was not able to fulfil it. 

VER. 23 — 38. ST. LUKE. 138 

Greek Ex. For this reason also He came at thirty years to Severus. 
be baptized, to shew that spiritual regeneration makes men 
perfect as far as regards their spiritual life. Bede ; The thrice 
ten years also which our Saviour had passed when He was 
baptized might intimate also the mystery of our baptism, 
because of the faith in the Trinity, and the obedience to the 
Decalogue. Greg. Naz. Still must a child be baptized if Greg, 
necessity demands it. For it is better to be insensibly sane- 40. 
tified, than to pass from this life unsealed. But you will say, 
Christ is baptized at thirty years old, and He was God, but 
thou biddest us to hasten our baptism. In that thou saidst 
God, the objection was doneaway: He needed no cleansing, nor 
was any danger hanging over Him while He put ofFHis baptism. 
But with thee it extends to no slight calamity, if thou passest 
fi-om this life born in corruption, but not if thou hast put on 
the robe of incorruption. And truly it is a blessed thing to 
keep unsullied the clean robe of baptism, but it is better 
at times to be slightly stained, than to be altogether devoid 
of grace. Cyril; Although in truth Christ had no father Cyril, 
according to the flesh, yet some fancied he had a father. f'pP'^' 
Hence it follows, As tvas supposed the son of Joseph, lib. 1. 
Ambrose ; Rightly as teas supposed^ since in reality He was 
not, but was supposed to be so, because Mary who was 
espoused to Joseph was His mother. But we might doubt 
why the descent of Joseph is described rather than that of 
Mary, (seeing that Mary brought forth Christ of the Holy Spirit, 
while Joseph seemed tobeoutof the line of our Lord's descent,) 
were we not informed of the custom of the Holy Scripture, 
which always seeks the origin of the husband, and especially 
in this case, since in Joseph's descent we also find that of Mary. 
For Joseph being a just man took a wife really from his 
own tribe and country, and so at the time of the taxing Joseph 
went up from the family and country of David to be taxed with 
Mary his wife. She who gives in the returns from the same family 
and country, shews herself to be of that family and country. 
Hence He goes on in the descent of Joseph, and adds. Who was 
the son of Eli. But let us consider the fact, that St. Matthew 
makes Jacob, who was the father of Joseph, to be son of 
Nathan, but Luke says that Joseph (to whom Mary was 


espoused) was the son of Eli. How then could there be two 
Greg, fathers, (namely, Eli and Jacob,) to one man. Greg. Naz. 
jg ■ But some say that there is one succession from David to 
Joseph, which each Evangelist relates under different names. 
But this is absurd, since at the beginning of this genealogy, 
two brothers come in Nathan and Salomon, from whom the 
lines are carried in different ways. Euseb. Let us then 
more carefully explain the meaning of the words themselves. 
For if when Matthew affirmed Joseph to be the son of Jacob, 
Luke had in like manner affirmed that Joseph was the son of 
Eli, there would be some dispute. But seeing the case 
is that Matthew gives his opinion, Luke repeats the com- 
mon opinion of many, not his own, saying, as was supposed^ 
I do not think that there is any room for doubt. For since 
there were among the Jews different opinions of the genealogy 
of Christ, and yet all traced Him up to David because to 
him the promises were made, while many affirmed that Christ 
would come through Solomon and the other kings, some 
shunned this opinion because of the many crimes related 
of their kings, and because Jeremiah said of Jechonias 
Jer. 22, that " a man should not rise of his seed to sit on the 


throne of David." This last view Luke takes, though 
conscious that Matthew gives the real truth of the genealogy. 
This is the first reason. The next is a deeper one. For 
Matthew when he began to write of the things before the 
conception of Mary and the birth of Jesus in the flesh, 
very fitly as in a history commences with the ancestry in the 
flesh, and descending from thence deduces His generation from 
those who went before. For when the Word of God became 
flesh, He descended. But Luke hastens forward to the 
regeneration which takes place in baptism, and then gives 
another succession of families, and rising up from the 
lowest to the highest, keeps out of sight those sinners of 
whom Matthew makes mention, (because that he who is bom 
again in God is separated from his guilty parents, being made 
the son of God,) and relates those who have led a virtuous 
life in the sight of God. For thus it was said to Abraham, 
G«n.l6, Thou shall sel oul to Ihy fathers, not fathers in the flesh, but 
*'*■ in God, on account of their likeness in virtue. To him there- 

VER. 23 — 38. ST. LUKE. 135 

fore who is bom in God he ascribes parents who are according 
to God on account of this resemblance in character. 

Aug. Or in another way; Matthew descends from David Aug. 
through Salomon to Joseph : but Luke beginning from Eli, who Nov!ac 
was in the line of our Saviour, ascends through the line of ^et. 

. . Test.56. 

Nathan the son of David, and joins the tribes of Eli and Joseph, 
shewing that they are both of the same family, and thereby 
that the Saviour was not only the Son of Joseph, but also 
of Eh. For by the same reason by which the Saviour is 
called the son of Joseph, he is also the son of Eli, and of all 
the rest who are of the same tribe. Hence that which the 
Apostle says. Of whom are the fathers, and from whom Rom. 9, 
Clirist came according to the flesh. Aug. Or there occur three ^ 
jeasons, by one of which the Evangelist was led. For either Qusest. 
one Evangelist has mentioned the father by whom Joseph waSqu.'a.* 
begotten, but the other his maternal grandfather, or some one 
of his ancestors. Or one of the fathers mentioned was the 
natural father of Joseph, the other his father who had adopted 
him. Or after the manner of the Jews, when a man has died 
without children, the next of kin taking his wife ascribes to 
his dead kinsman the son whom he has himself begotten. 
Ambrose; For it is related that Matthas, who was descended 
from Salomon, begat Jacob as his son, and died lea\'ing his wife 
living, whom Melchi took unto him as wife, and from her Eli 
was born. Again, Eli, when his brother Jacob died without 
children, was joined to his brother's wife, and begot a son 
Joseph, who according to law is called the son of Jacob, since 
Eli raised up seed to his deceased brother, according to the Deut 
order of the ancient law. Bede ; Or else, Jacob, taking the wife ^^' ^' 
of his brother Eli who had died without children according to 
the command of the law, begot Joseph, by natural parentage 
his own son, but by the ordinance of the law the son of Eli. Aug. Aug. 
It is most probable that Luke took the origin by adoption, g^^,?^' 
as not being willing to say that Joseph, was begotten by him '»• c 3. 
whose son he related him to be. For more easily is a man said 
to be his son by whom he was adopted, than to be begotten 
by him from whose flesh he was not born. But Matthew- 
saying, " Abraham begatlsaac, and Isaac begat Jacob," and con- 
tinuing in the word " begat," until at last he says, but " Jacob 
begat Joseph," has sufficiently expressed that he has carried 


through the succession of the fathers, to that father by wliom 
Joseph was not adopted, but begotten. Although even sup- 
posing tliat Luke should say that Joseph was begotten by Eli, 
neither ought that word to perplex us. For it is not absurd 
to say that a man has begotten not in the flesh but in love 
the Son whom he has adopted. But rightly has Luke taken the 
origin by adoption, for by adoption are we made the sons of 
God, by belie\dng on the Son of God, but by His birth in the 
flesh, the Son of God has rather for our sakes become the 
Chrys. Son of man. Chrys. But because this part of the Gospel 
31 in consists of a series of names, men think there is nothing 
Ep. ad valuable to be derived therefrom. Lest then we should feel 
this, let us try to examine every step. For from the mere 
name we may extract an abundant treasure, for names are 
indicative of many things. For they savour of the Divine 
mercy and the offerings of thanks by women, who when they 
Gloss, obtained sons gave a name significant of the gift. Gloss. 
r m. g^ interpretation then Eli means, " My God," or " climbing," 
JVho was the son o/Matthat, i. e. " forgiving sins." Who uas 
the son of Levi, i. e. " being added." Ambrose ; Luke rightly 
thought, seeing that he could not embrace more of the sons of 
Jacob, lest he should seem to be wandering from the line of 
descent in a superfluous course, that the ancient names of 
the Patriarchs though occurring in others far later, Joseph, 
Judah, Simeon, and Levi, should not be omitted. For 
we recognise in these four kinds of virtue; in Judah, the 
mystery of our Lord's Passion prophesied by figure; in 
Joseph, an example of chastity going before; in Simeon, 
the punishment of injured modesty ; in Levi, the priestly 
office. Hence it follows. Who was the son of Mekhi, i. e. 
" my King." Who was the son of Janna, i. e. " a right 
hand." Who was the son of Joseph, i. e. " growing up ;" 
but this was a different Joseph. Who was the son of Matta- 
thias, i. c. '* the gift of God," or " sometimes." WJio tvas the 
son of Amos, i. e. " loading, or he loaded." Who was the son 
of Naum, i. e. " help me." Who was the son of Matthat, 
i. e. " desire." Who was the son of Maltathias, as above. Who 
was the son of Simei, i. e. " obedient." }Vho was the son of 
Joseph, i. e. " increase." Who was the son of Judah, i. e. " con- 
fessing." Joanna, " the Lord, his grace," or " the gracious 

\ER. -23 — 38. ST. LUKE. 137 

Lord." Besa, " merciful." Zorobabel, " chief or master of 
Babylon." Salathiel, " God my petition." Neri, " my 
lanthern." Melchi^ " my kingdom." Addi, " strong or 
violent." Cosam, " divining." Her^ " watching, or watch, or 
of skins." Who was the son of Jesus, i.e." Saviour." EliezeVy 
i. e. " God my helper." Joarim, i. e. " God exalting, or, is 
exalting." Matthat, as above. Levi, as above. Simeon, i. e. 
" He has heard the sadness, or the sign." Juda, as above. 
Joseph, as above. Jonah, a dove, or wailing. Eliachim, i. e. 
" the resurrection of God." Me/e/«', i. e. " his king." Menan, 
4. e. " my bowels." Mattathias, i. e. " gift." Nathan, 
i. e. " He gave, or, of giving." Ambrose; But by Nathan 
we perceive expressed the dignity of Prophecy, that as 
Christ Jesus alone fulfilled all things, in each of His ancestors 
different kinds of virtue might precede Him. It follows, Who 
was the son of David. Origen ; The Lord descending into 
the world took upon Him the person of all sinners, and was 
willing to be born of the stock of Solomon, (as Matthew 
relates,) whose sins have been written down, and of the rest, 
many of whom did evil in the sight of God. But when He 
ascended, and is described as being born a second time in 
baptism, (as Luke relates,) He is not born through Salomon, 
but Nathan, who reproves the father for the death of Uriah, 
and the birth of Solomon. Aug. But it must be confessed that Aug. 
a prophet of this same name reproves David, that he mightj, ^ 26. 
be thought to be the same man, whereas he was different. 

Greg. Naz. From David upwards according to each Evan- Greg, 
gelist there is an unbroken line of descent ; as it follows, Who^ * *"^* 
was the son of Jesse. Gloss. David is interpreted, " with Gloss. 
a mighty arm, strong in fight." Ohith, i. e. " slavery." Booz,^^^ *"^* 
i. e. " strong." Salmon, i. e. " capable of feeling, or peace- 
making." Naasson, i. e. " augiuy, or belonging to serpents." 
Aminadab, " the people being willing." Aram, i. e. 
" upright, or lofty." Esrom, i. e. " an arrow." Phares, 
i. e. " division." Judah, i. e. " confessing." Who was the 
son of Jacob, i. e. " supplanted." Isaac, i. e. " laughing 
or joy." Abraham, i. e. " the father of many nations, or 
the people." 

CiiUYS. Matthew, who wrote as for the Jews, had no Chrys. 
further object than to shcvv that Christ proceeded from Matt 1" 


Abraham and David, for this was most grateful to the 

Jews. Luke however, as speaking to all men in common, 

carried his account beyond as far even as Adam. Hence 

Gloss, it follows. Who was the son of Tliara. Gloss. Which 

is interpreted, " finding out," or " wickedness." Nachor, 

i. e. " the light rested." Sarug, i. e. " correction," or 

" holding the reins," or " perfection." Ragan., i. e. " sick," 

or " feeding." Phares, i. e. " dividing," or " divided." 

Heber, i. e. " passing over." Sala, i. e. " taking away." 

CanaaHf i. e. " lamentation," or " their possession." 

Bede; The name and generation of Cainan, according to 

dierum the Hebrew reading, is found neither in Genesis, nor in the 

verbis. Chronicles, but Arphaxad is stated to have begot Sala 

his son, without any one intervening. Know then that 

Luke borrowed this generation from the Septuagint, where it 

is written, that Arphaxad at a hundred and thirty-five years 

old begot Cainan, but he at a hundred and thirty years 

begot Sala. It follows, Who was the son of Arphaxad. 

Gloss. Gloss, i. e. " healing the laying waste." Sent, i. e. " a 

" ' ^"P* name," or being " named." Who was the son of Noe, i. e. 

" rest." 

Ambrose ; The mention of just Noah ought not to be 
omitted among our Lord's generations, that as our Lord 
was bom the builder of His Church, He might seem to have 
sent Noah beforehand, the author of His race, who had before 
founded the Church under the type of an ark. Who was the 
Gloss, son of Lantech. Gloss, i. e. " humility, or striking, or struck, 
"b>«"Por humble." Who was the son of Mathusalem, i. e. " the 
sending forth of death," or " he died," also " he asked." 

Ambrose; His years are numbered beyond the deluge, 
that since Christ is the only one whose life experiences no 
age, in His ancestors also He might seem to have felt not 
the deluge. Who was the son of Enoch. And here is a 
manifest declaration of our Lord's piety and divinity, since 
our Lord neither experienced death, and returned to heaven, 
the founder of whose race was taken up into heaven. Whence 
it is plain that Christ could not die, but was willing that His 
death should profit us. And Enoch indeed was taken, that 
his heart might not change by wickedness, but the Lord, 
whom the wickedness of the world could not change, returned 

VER. 23 — 38. ST. LUKE. 139 

to that place whence He had come by the greatness of His own 
nature. Bede; But rightly rising up from the baptized Son 
of God to God the Father, he places Enoch in the seventy- 
seventh step, who, having put off death, was translated 
unto Paradise, that he might signify that those, who by the 
grace of adoption of sons are bom again of water and the 
Holy Spirit, are in the mean time (after the dissolution of the 
body) to be received into eternal rest, for the number seventy, 
because of the seventh of the sabbath, signifies the rest of those 
who, the grace of God assisting them, have fulfilled the deca- 
logue of the law. Gloss ; Enoch is interpreted " dedication." 
Jared, i. e. descending or " holding together." Malaleleel, 
i. e. " the praised of God," or " praising God." Cainariy as 
above. Enos, i. e. " man," or " despairing," or" violent." Seth, 
i. e. " placing," " settling," " he hath placed." Seth, the last 
son of Adam, is not omitted, that as there were two gene- 
rations of people, it might be signified under a figure that 
Christ was to be reckoned rather in the last than the first. 

It follows, JVho was the son of Adam. Gloss. Which is Gloss. 
" man," or " of the earth," or " needy." Who was the so/j"^*'"P- 
of God. Ambrose ; What could better agree than that 
the holy generation should commence from the Son of 
God, and be carried up even to the Son of God ; and 
that he who was created should precede in a figure, in order 
that he who was bom might follow in substance, so that he 
who was made after the image of God might go before, for 
whose sake the image of God was to descend. For Luke 
thought that the origin of Christ should be referred to God, 
because God is the true progenitor of Christ, or the Father 
according to the true birth, or the Author of the mystical 
gift according to baptism and regeneration, and therefore he 
did not from the first begin to describe His generation, but not 
till after he had unfolded His baptism, that both by nature 
and by grace he might declare Him to be the Son of God. 
But what more evident sign of His divine generation than 
that when about to speak of it St. Luke introduces first the 
Father, saying, Tltou art my beloved Son ? 

Aug. He sufficiently declared by this that he called Aug. 
not Joseph the son of Eli because he was begotten by Ev. lib! 

ii. c. 3. 


him, but rather because he was adopted by him, for he has 
called also Adam himself son, since though made by God, 
yet by grace (which he forfeited by sin) he was placed as a 
son in paradise. Theophyl. For this reason he closes the 
generations in God, that we may learn that those fathers who 
intervene, Christ will raise up to God, and make them sons 
of God, and that it might be believed also that the birth 
of Christ was without seed ; as if he said, If thou believest 
not that the second Adam was made without seed, you must 
come to the first Adam, and you will find that he was made 
Aug. by God without seed. Aug. Matthew indeed wished to 
c. 4.*"^ set forth God descending to our mortality; accordingly at 
the beginning of the Gospel he recounted the generations 
from Abraham to the birth of Christ in a descending scale. 
But Luke, not at the beginning, but after the baptism of 
Christ, relates the generation not descending but ascending, 
as if marking out rather the high priest in the expiation of 
sins, of whom John bore testimony, saying. Behold, who taketh 
away the sins of the world. But by ascending he comes to 
God, to whom we are reconciled, being cleansed and ex- 
piated. Ambrose ; Nor do the Evangelists seem so to differ 
who have followed the old order, nor can you wonder if 
from Abraham down to Christ there are more successions 
according to Luke, fewer according to Matthew, since you 
must admit the line to have been traced through different 
persons. But it might be that some men have passed a very 
long life, but the men of the next generation have died at 
an early age, since we see how many old men live to see 
their grandchildren, while others depart as soon as they 
Aug. have sons bom to them. Aug. But most fitly with regard 
Evrfib. ^ o'l'* baptized Lord does Luke reckon the generations 
ii. qu. 6. through seventy-seven persons. For both the ascent to God 
is expressed, to whom we are reconciled by the abolition of 
sins, and by baptism is brought to man the remission of all 
his sins, which are signified by that number. For eleven 
times seven are seventy-seven. But by the tenth number is 
meant perfect happiness. Hence it is plain that the going 
beyond the tenth marks the sin of one through pride covet- 
ing to have more. But this is said to be seven limes to 

VER. 23 — 38. ST. LUKE. 141 

signify that the transgression was caused by the moving of 
man. For by the third number the immortal part of man is 
represented, but by the fourth the body. But motion is not 
expressed in numbers, as when we say, one, two, three ; but 
when we say, once, twice, thrice. And so by seven times 
eleven, is signified a transgression wrought by man's action. 


1. And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned 
from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the 

2. Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in 
those days he did eat nothing : and when they were 
ended, he afterward hungered. 

3. And the devil said unto him. If thou be the Son 
of God, command this stone that it be made bread. 

4. And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written. 
That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every 
word of God. 

Theophyl. Christ is tempted after His baptism, shewing 
us that after we are baptized, temptations await us. Hence 
it is said, But Jesus being full of the Holy Spirit, Sfc. Cyril. 
Gen. 6, Grod Said in times past, My Spirit shall not always abide 
3.Vulg. j*^ men, for that they are flesh. But now that we have 
been enriched with the gift of regeneration by water and the 
Spirit, we are become partakers of the Divine nature by par- 
ticipation of the Holy Spirit. But the first-bom among 
many brethren first received the Spirit, who Himself also is 
the giver of the Spirit, that we through Him might also 
receive the grace of the Holy Spirit. Origen; When there- 
fore you read that Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit, and 
it is written in the Acts concerning the Apostles, that they 
were filled with the Holy Spirit, you must not suppose that 
the Apostles were equal to the Saviour. For as if you 
should say, These vessels are full of ivine or oil, you would 
not thereby affirm them to be equally full, so Jesus 


and Paul were full of the Holy Spirit, but Paul's vessel 
was far less than that of Jesus, and yet each was filled ac- 
cording to its own measure. Having then received baptism, 
the Saviour, being full of the Holy Spirit, which came upon 
Him from heaven in the form of a dove, was led by the 
Spirit, because, as many as are led hy the Spirit, they areKom. 8, 
the sons of God, but He was above all, especially the Son of 
God- Bede ; That there might be no doubt by what Spirit 
He was led, while the other Evangelists say, into the wilder- 
ness, Luke has purposely added. And he uas led by the 
Spirit into the wilderness for forty days. That no unclean 
spirit should be thought to have prevailed against Him, who 
being full of the Holy Spirit did whatever He wished. 
Greek Ex. But if we order our lives according to our ownSeverus. 
will, how was He led about unwillingly? Those words 
then, He was led by the Spirit, have some meaning of this 
kind : He led of His own accord that kind of life, that He 
might present an opportunity to the tempter. Basil; For 
not by word provoking the enemy, but by His actions rousing 
him, He seeks the wilderness. For the devil delights in 
the wilderness, he is not wont to go into the cities, the 
harmony of the citizens troubles him. 

Ambrose ; He was led therefore into the wilderness, to the 
intent that He might provoke the devil, for if the one had 
not contended, the other it seems had not conquered. In a 
mystery, it was to deliver that Adam from exile who was cast 
out of Paradise into the wilderness. By way of example, it 
was to shew us that the devil envies us, whenever we strive 
after better things; and that then we must use caution, 
lest the weakness of our minds should lose us the grace of 
the mystery. Hence it follows: And he tvas tempted of the 
devil. Cyril; Behold, He is among the wrestlers, who as 
God awards the prizes. He is among the crowned, who 
crowns the heads of the saints. Greg. Our enemy was Greg, 
however unable to shake the purpose of the Mediator between jup, 
God and men. For He condescended to be tempted out-J°*'2. 
wardly, yet so that H is soul inwardly, resting in its divinity, 
remained unshaken. Origen; But Jesus is tempted by the 
devil forty days, and what the temptations were we know not. 
They were perhaps omitted, as being greater than could be 


committed to writing. Basil; Or, the Lord remained for 
forty days untempted, for the devil knew that lie fasted, 
yet hungered not, and dared not therefore approach Him. 
Hence it follows: And he eat nothing in those days. lie 
fasted indeed, to shew that He who would gird Himself for 
struggles against temptation must be temperate and 
sober. Ambrose ; There are three things which united 
together conduce to the salvation of man ; The Sacrament, 
The Wilderness, Fasting. No one who has not rightly con- 
tended receives a crown, but no one is admitted to the 
contest of virtue, except first being washed from the stains of 
all his sins, he is consecrated with the gift of heavenly grace. 
Greg. Greg. Naz. He fasted in truth forty days, eating nothing. 
* (For He was God.) But we regulate our fasting according 
to our strength, although the zeal of some persuades them to 
Basil, fast beyond what they are able. Basil ; But we must not how- 
C^Dst ^^'^^ ^*^ "^^ *^^ flesh, that through want of food our strength 
Mon. should waste away, nor that by excess of mortification our 
understandings wax dull and heavy. Our Lord therefore once 
performed this work, but during this whole succeeding time 
He governed His body with due order, and so in like manner 
Cbry8. did Moses and Elias. Chrys. But very wisely, He exceeded 
13? hi ^^^ their number of days, lest indeed He should be thought 
Matt, to have come in appearance only, and not to have really 
received the flesh, or lest the flesh should seem to be some- 
thing beyond human nature. 

Ambrose ; But mark the mystical number of days. For 
you remember that for forty days the waters of the deep 
were poured forth, and by sanctifying a fast of that 
number of days, He brings before us the returning mercies of 
a calmer sky. By a fast of so many days also, Moses earned 
for himself the understanding of the law. Our fathers being 
for so many days settled in the wilderness, obtained the food 
Aug. of Angels. Aug. Now that number is a sacrament of our time 
Ev^Hb ^^^ labour, in which under Christ's discipline we contend 
ii. c. 4. against the devil, for it signifies our temporal life. For 
the periods of years run in courses of four, but forty con- 
tains four tens. Again, those ten are completed by the 
number one successively advancing on to four more. Tliis 
plainly shews that the fast of forty days, i. e. the humiliation 

VEIL 1 — 4. ST. LUKE. 145 

of the soul, the Law and the Prophets have consecrated 
by Moses and Elias, the Gospel by the fast of our Lord 

Basil; But because not to suffer hunger is above the Basil, 
nature of man, our Lord took upon Himself the feeling of" ' ®"P- 
hunger, and submitted Himself as it pleased Him to human 
nature, both to do and to suffer those things which were His 
own. Hence it follows : And those days being ended, he icas 
a hungered. Not forced to that necessity which overpowers 
nature, but as if provoking the devil to the conflict. For 
the devil, knowing that wherever hunger is there is 
weakness, sets about to tempt Him, and as the deviser 
or inventer of temptations, Christ permitting him tries 
to persuade Him to satisfy His appetite with the stones. 
As it follows; But the devil said unto him, If thou art 
the Son of God, command these stones that they he made 
bread. Ambrose; There are three especial weapons 
which we are taught the devil is wont to arm himself 
with, that he may wound the soul of man. One is of the 
appetite, another of boasting, the third ambition. He began 
with that wherewith he had already conquered, namely, 
Adam. Let us then beware of the appetite, let us beware of 
luxmy, for it is a weapon of the devil. But what mean his 
words, If thou art the Son of God, unless he had known 
that the Son would come, but supposed Him not to have come 
from the weakness of His body. He first endeavours to find 
Him out, then to tempt Him. He professes to trust Him as 
God, then tries to deceive Him as man. Origen; When 
a father is asked by his son for bread, he does not give 
him a stone for bread, but the devil like a crafty and deceitful 
foe gives stones for bread. Basil ; He tried to persuade Basil. 
Christ to satisfy His appetite with stones, i. e. to shift his "^' ^P* 
desire from the natural food to that which was beyond nature 
or unnatural. Origen ; 1 suppose also that even now at this 
very time the devil shews a stone to men that he may tempt 
them to speak, saying to them, Command this stone to be made 
bread. If thou seest the heretics devouring their lying 
doctrines as if they were bread, know that their teaching is 
a stone which the devil shews them. 

Basil; But Christ while He vanquishes temptation, ba- Basil. 

VOL. III. L "^> ""P- 


nishes not hunger from our nature, as though that were the 
cause of evils, (which is rather the preservative of life, but con- 
fining nature within its proper bounds, shews of what kind its 
nourishment is, as follows; A7id Jesus answered him, saying. 
It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone. Theophyl. 
As if He said, Not by bread alone is human nature sustained, 
but the word of God is sufficient to support the whole nature 
of man. Such was the food of the Israelites when they 
f^°f' gathered manna during the space of forty years, and when 
Numb, they delighted in the taking of quails. By the Divine counsel 
IV^^" Elias had the crows to entertain him; Elisha fed his com- 

1 ivings ' 

i7,6. panions on the herbs of the field. Cyril; Or, our earthly 

4 44°^^ body is nourished by earthly food, but the reasonable soul 

is strengthened by the Divine Word, to the right ordering 

Greg, of the spirit. Greg. Naz. For the body nourishes not 

Mor. X. our immaterial nature. Greg. Nyss. Virtue then is not 

^24. sustained by bread, nor by flesh does the soul keep itself in 

Eccles. health and vigour, but by other banquets than these is the 

™" ^' heavenly life fostered, and increased. The nourishment of 

the good man is chastity, his bread, wisdom, his herbs, justice, 

tw^f»*<J»fi his drink, freedom from passion, his delight, to be rightly wise. 

quasi ex AMBROSE; You see then what kind of anns He uses to defend 

man against the assaults of spiritual wickedness, and the 

allurements of the appetite. He does not exert His power 

as God, (for how had that profited me,) but as man He 

summons to Himself a common aid, that while intent upon 

the food of divine reading He may neglect the hunger of 

the body, and gain the nourishment of the word. For he who 

seeks after the word cannot feel the want of earthly bread; 

for divine things doubtless make up for the loss of human. 

At the same time by saying, Man lives not by bread alone. 

He shews that man was tempted, that is, our flesh which He 

assumed, not His own divinity. 

5. And the devil, taking him up into a high moun- 
tain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world 
in a moment of time. 

6. And the devil said unto him. All this power 
will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is 

VEK. 5 — 8. ST. LUKE. 147 

delivered unto me ; and to whomsoever I will I give 

7. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be 

8. And Jesus answered and said unto him. Get 
thee behind me, Satan : for it is written. Thou shalt 
worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou 

Theophyl. The enemy had first assailed Christ by the 
temptation of the appetite, as also he did Adam. He next 
tempts Him with the desire of gain or covetousness, shewing 
Him all the kingdoms of the world. Hence it follows, And 
the devil takmghim up. Greg. What marvel that He permitted Greg. 
Himself to be led by the devil into the mountains, who evenjjj g^' 
endured to be crucified in His own body? Theophyl. But 
how did the devil shew Him all the kingdoms of the world ? 
Some say that he presented them to Him in imagination, 
but I hold that he brought them before Him in visible fonn 
and appearance. Titus Bos. Or, the devil described the 
world in language, and as he thought brought it vividly before 
our Lord's mind as though it were a certain house. Ambrose; 
Truly in a moment of time, the kingdoms of this world are 
described. For here it is not so much the rapid glance of sight 
which is signified as is declared the frailty of mortal power. 
For in a moment all this passes by, and oftentimes the 
glory of this world has vanished before it has arrived. It follows, 
And he said unto him, I will give thee all this power. 
Titus; He lied in two respects. For he neither had to give, Titus, 
nor could he give that which he had not; he gains possession °°° '^''• 
of nothing, but is an enemy reduced to fight. Ambrose ; For Rom. 
it is elsewhere said, that all power is from God. Therefore ^^' ^* 
from God's hands comes the disposal of power, the lust of 
power is from the evil one ; power is not itself evil, but he 
who evilly uses it. WTiat then; is it good to exercise 
power, to desire honour } Good if it is bestowed upon us, 
not if it is seized. We must distinguish however in this 
good itself. There is one good use of the world, another of 



perfect virtue. It is good to seek God; it is a good thing 
that the desire of becoming acquainted with God should be 
hindered by no worldly business. But if he who seeks God, is 
from the weakness of the flesh, and the narrowness of his mind, 
often tempted, how much more is he exposed who seeks the 
world .? We are taught then to despise ambition, because it is 
subject to the power of the devil. But honour abroad is followed 
by danger at home, and in order to rule others a man is first 
their servant, and prostrates himself in obedience that he may 
be rewarded with honours, and the higher he aspires the lower 
he bends with feigned humility; whence he adds, If thou wilt 
fall down and worship me. Cyril; And dost thou, whose lot 
is the unquenchable fire, promise to the Lord of all that 
which is His own? Didst thou think to have Him for thy 
worshipper, from dread of whom the whole creation trembles.? 
Origen ; Or, to view the whole in another light. Two kings 
are earnestly contending for a kingdom; Tlie king of sin who 
reigneth over sinners, that is, the devil ; The king of righte- 
ousness who ruleth the righteous, that is, Christ. The devil, 
knowing that Christ had come to take away his kingdom, shews 
Him all the kingdoms of the world; not the kingdoms of the 
Persians and of the Medes, but his own kingdom whereby 
he reigned in the world, whereby some are under the dominion 
of fornication, others of covetousness. And he shews Him 
them in a moment of time, that is, in the present course 
of time, which is but a moment in comparison of eternity. 
For the Saviour needed not to be shewn for any longer 
time the affairs of this world, but as soon as He turned His 
eyes to look. He beheld sins reigning, and men made 
slaves to vice. The devil therefore says unto Him, Camest 
Thou to contend with me for dominion ? Worship me, and 
behold I give Thee the kingdom 1 hold. Now the Lord 
would indeed reign, but being Righteousness itself, would 
reign without sin ; and would have all nations subject to Him, 
that they might obey the truth, but would not so reign over 
others as that He Himself should be subject to the devil. 
Hence it follows, And Jesus answering said unto him. It is 
written, Thou shall worship the Lord thy Qod. Bede; The 
devil saying to our Saviour, If thou will fall down and wor- 
ship me, receives answer that he himself ought rather to 

VER. 9 — 13. ST. LUKE. 149 

worship Christ as his Lord and God. Cyril; But how comes Cyril. 
it that the Son (if as the heretics say a created being) 32 
is worshipped? What charge can be brought against those 
who served the creature and not the Creator, if the Son (ac- 
cording to them a created being) we are to worship as God? 
Origen; Or else, All these, he says, I would have subject 
to me, that they might worship the Lord God, and serve Him 
alone. But dost thou wish sin to begin from Me, which I came 
hither to destroy? Cyril; This command touched him to 
the quick ; for before Christ's coming he was every where 
worshipped. But the law of God casting him down from his 
usurped dominion, establishes the worship of Him alone who is 
really God. Bede; But some one may ask how this in- 
junction agrees with the word of the Apostle, which 
says, Beloved, serve one another. In the Greek, hvXsla Gal. 5, 
signifies a common service, (i. e. given either to God or '^' 
man,) according to which we are bid to serve one another ; 
but Xargsia. is the service due to the worship of the Deity, 
with which we are bid to serve God alone. 

9. And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him 
on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him. If 
thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from 
hence : 

10. For it is written. He shall give his angels 
charge over thee, to keep thee : 

11. And in their hands they shall bear thee up, 
lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. 

12. And Jesus answering said unto him. It is said. 
Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. 

13. And when the devil had ended all the tempt- 
ation, he departed from him for a season. 

Ambrose; The next weapon he uses is that of boasting, 
which always causes the offender to fall down; for they who 
love to boast of the glory of their virtue descend from the 


stand and vantage ground of their good deeds. Hence it is 
said, And he led him to Jerusalem. 

Origen; He followed evidently as a wrestler, gladly 
setting out to meet the temptation, and saying, as it were, 
Lead me where you will, and you will find me the stronger 
in every thing. Ambrose; It is the fate of boasting, that 
while a man thinks he is climbing higher, he is by his pre- 
tension to lofty deeds brought low. Hence it follows. And 
he said unto him, If thou art the Sou of God, throw thyself 
Athan. down. Athan. The devil entered not into a contest with 
" God, (for he durst not, and therefore said, //" thou art the 
Son of God,) but he contended with man whom once he had 
power to deceive. Ambrose ; That is truly the devil's 
language, which seeks to cast down the soul of man from the 
high ground of its good deeds, while he shews at the same 
time both his weakness and malice, for he can injure no one 
that does not first cast himself down. For he who forsaking 
heavenly things pursues earthly, rushes as it were wilfully 
down the self-sought precipice of a falling life. As soon 
then as the devil perceived his dart blunted, he who had 
subdued all men to his own power, began to think he had 
to deal with more than man. But Satan transforms himself 
into an angel of light, and often from the Holy Scriptures 
weaves his mesh for the faithful : hence it follows. It is 
written, He shall give, ^c. Origen ; Whence knowest 
thou, Satan, that those things are written ? Hast thou read the 
Prophets, or the oracles of God } Thou hast read them 
indeed, but not that thyself mightest be the better for the 
2 Cor. reading, but that from the mere letter thou mightest slay them 
3> 6. who are friends to the letter. Thou knowest that if thou wert 
to speak from His other books, thou wouldest not deceive. 
Ambrose; Let not the heretic entrap thee by bringing ex- 
amples from the Scriptures. The devil makes use of the testi- 
mony of the Scriptures not to teach but to deceive. Origen; 
But mark how wily he is even in this testimony. For he would 
fain throw a slur upon the glory of the Saviour, as though He 
needed the assistance of angels, and would stumble were He not 
supported by their hands. But this was said not of Christ, 
but of the saints generally ; He needs not the aid of angels, 
Who is greater than angels. But let this teach thee, Satan, 

VER. 9 — 13. ST. LUKE. 151 

that the angels would stumble did not God sustain them ; 
and thou stumblest, because thou reftisest to believe in Jesus 
Christ the Son of God. But why art tliou silent as to what 
follows, Tfiou shalt walk upon the asp and the basilisk,P^-^^y 
except that thou art the basilisk, thou art the dragon and 
the lion? Ambrose ; But the Lord, to prevent the thought 
that those things which had been prophesied of Him were 
fulfilled according to the devil's will, and not by the 
authority of His own divine power, again so foils his 
cunning, that he who had alleged the testimony of Scripture, 
should by Scripture himself be overthrown. Hence it follows, 
And Jesus answering said, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt 
the Lord thy God. Chrys. For it is of the devil to cast 
one's self into dangers, and try whether God will rescue us. 
Cyril; God gives not help to those who tempt Him, but to 
those who believe on Him. Christ therefore did not shew 
His miracles to them that tempted Him, but said to them, 
An evil generation seeketh a sign, and no sign shall he given Mat. 12, 
to them. Chrys. But mark how the Lord, instead of being' ' 
troubled, condescends to dispute from the Scriptures with the 
wicked one, that thou, as far as thou art able, mightest be- 
come like Christ. The devil knew the arms of Christ, 
beneath which he sunk. Christ took him captive by meekness. 
He overcame him by humility. Do thou also, when thou seest 
a man who has become a devil coming to meet thee, subdue 
him in like manner. Teach thy soul to conform its words to 
those of Christ. For as a Roman judge, who on the bench 
refuses to hear the reply of one who knows not how to speak 
as he does ; so also Christ, except thou speakest after His 
manner, will neither hear thee nor protect thee. Greg. Nyss. Greg. 
In lawful contests the battle is terminated either when the ^^^' 
adversary surrenders of his own accord to the conqueror, or 
is defeated in three falls, according to the rules of the art of 
fighting. Hence it follows, And all the temjjtation being 
completed, SfC. Ambrose ; He would not have said that all 
the temptation was ended, had there not been in the three 
temptations which have been described the materials for 
every crime ; for the causes of temptations are the causes of 
desire, namely, the delight of the flesh, the pomp of vain-glory, 
greediness of power. Athan. The enemy came to Him as non occ 


man, but not finding in Him the marks of his ancient seed, 
he departed. Ambrose; You see then that the devil is not 
obstinate on the field, is wont to give way to true virtue ; 
and if he ceases not to hate, he yet dreads to advance, for so he 
escapes a more frequent defeat. As soon then as he heard 
the name of God, he retired (it is said) for a season, for after- 
wards he comes not to tempt, but to fight openly. Theophyl. 
Or, having tempted Him in the desert with pleasure, he 
retires from Him until the crucifixion, when he was about 
Max. to tempt Him with sorrow. Maximus; Or the devil had 
piet. ex. prompted Christ in the desert to prefer the things of the 
J 2. world to the love of God. The Lord commanded him 
to leave Him, (which itself was a mark of Divine love.) It 
was afterwards then enough to make Christ appear the false 
advocate of love to His neighbours, and therefore while He 
was teaching the paths of life, the devil stirred up the Gentiles 
and Pharisees to lay traps for Him that He might be brought to 
hate them. But the Lord, from the feeling of love which He 
had towards them, exhorted, reproved, ceased not to bestow 
mercy upon them. Aug. The whole of this narrative Matthew relates in a 
con. Ev. similar manner, but not in the same order. It is uncertain 
c. 6. therefore which took place first, whether the kingdoms of 
the earth were first shewn unto Him, and He w as afterwards 
taken up to the pinnacle of the temple ; or whether this came 
first, and the other afterwards. It matters little however 
which, as long as it is clear that they all took place. 
Max. Maximus; But the reason why one Evangelist places 
ut sup. ^j^jg event first, and another that, is because vain-glory and 
covetousness give birth in turn to one another. Origen ; 
But John, who had commenced his Gospel from God, saying, 
In the beginning was the Word, did not describe the tempt- 
ation of the Lord, because God can not be tempted, of whom 
he wrote. But because in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke 
the human generations are given, and in Mark it is man who 
is tempted, therefore Matthew, Luke, and Mark have de- 
scribed the temptation of the Lord. 

14. And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit 

VER. 14 21. ST. LUKE. 153 

into Galilee : and there went out a fame of him 
through all the region round about. 

15. And he taught in their synagogues, being 
glorified of all. 

16. And he came to Nazareth, where he had been 
brought up : and, as his custom was, he went into 
the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for 
to read. 

17. And there was delivered unto him the book 
of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened 
the book, he found the place where it was written, 

1 8. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he 
hath anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor : 
he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to 
preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering 
of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are 

19. To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. 

20. And he closed the book, and he gave it again 
to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all 
them that were in the synagogue were fastened on 

21. And he began to say unto them. This day is 
this Scripture fulfilled in your ears. 

Origen ; The Lord having overcome the tempter, power 
was added to Him, i. e. as far as regards the manifestation of 
it. Hence it is said, And Jesus returned in the power of 
the Spirit. Bede ; By the power of the Spirit he means 
shewing forth of miracles. Cyril; Now He performed 
miracles not from any external power, and fi*om having as it 
were the acquired grace of the Holy Spirit, as other saints, 
but rather as being by nature the Son of God, and partaking of 
all things which are the Father's, He exercises as by His own 
power and operation that grace which is of the Holy Spirit. 
But it was right that from that time He should become 
known, and that the mystery of His humanity should shine forth 


among those who were of the seed of Israel. It therefore 
follows, And his fame went out. Bede ; And beeause 
wisdom belongs to teaching, but power to works, both are 
joined here, as it follows, And he taught in the synagogue. 

Synagogue, w^hich is a Greek word, is rendered in Latin 
congregatio. By this name then the Jews were accustomed 
to call not only the gathering together of people, but also 
the house where they met together to hear the word of 
God; as we call by the name of Church, both the place and 
the company of the faithful. But there is this difference 
between the synagogue which is called congregation, and the 
Church which is interpreted convocation, that flocks and 
cattle, and any thing else can be gathered together in one, 
but only rational beings can be called together. Accordingly 
the Apostolical doctors thought right to call a people 
which was distinguished by the superior dignity of a 
new grace rather by the name of Church, than Synagogue. 
But rightly also was the fact of His being magnified by 
those present proved, by actual evidence of word and deed, 
as it follows, And he was magnified by all. Origen; But 
you must not think that they only were happy, and that 
you are deprived of Christ's teaching. For now also 
throughout the world He teaches through His instruments, 
and is now more glorified by all men, than at that time 
when those only in one province were gathered together. 

Cyril; He communicates the knowledge of Himself to 
those among whom He was brought up according to the 
flesh. As it follows, And he came to Nazareth. Theophyl. 
That He might teach us to benefit and instruct first our 
brethren, then to extend our kindness to the rest of our friends. 
Bede ; They flocked together on the Sabbath day in the 
synagogues, that, resting from all worldly occupations, they 
might set themselves down with a quiet mind to meditate on 
the precepts of the Law. Hence it follows. And he entered 
aJi was his custom on the Sabbath day into the synagogue. 
Ambrose ; The Lord in every thing so humbled Himself to 
obedience, that He did not despise even the office of a reader, 
as it follows. And he rose up to read, and there was delivered 
unto him the book, 8fc. He received the book indeed, that He 
might shew Himself to be the same who spoke in the Prophets, 

VER. 14 — 21. ST. LUKE. 156 

and that He might stop the blasphemies of the wicked, who 
say that there is one God of the Old Testament, another of 
the New ; or who say that Christ had His beginning from a 
virgin. For how did He begin from a virgin, who spoke 
before that virgin was ? 

Origen ; He opens not the book by chance, and finds 
a chapter containing a prophecy of Himself, but by the 
providence of God. Hence it follows, And when he kadis. 6i, 
opened the book, he found the place, 8fc. Athan. He^^^^^j, 
says this to explain to us the cause of the revelation made Orat. 2. 

"' *^ cont. 

to the world, and of His taking upon Him the human nature. Arian. 
For as the Son, though He is the giver of the Spirit, does 
not reiuse to confess as man that by the Spirit He casts 
out devils, so, inasmuch as He was made man. He does not 
refuse to say. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me. 

Cyril; In like manner we confess Him to have been 
anointed, inasmuch as He took upon Him our flesh, as it 
follows, Because he hath anointed me. For the Divine 
nature is not anointed, but that which is cognate to us. So 
also when He says that He was sent, we must suppose Him 
speaking of His human nature. For it follows. He hath 
sent me to preach the gospel to the poor. Ambrose ; You 
see the Trinity coeternal and perfect. The Scripture speaks 
of Jesus as perfect God and perfect man. It speaks of the 
Father, and the Holy Spirit, who was shewn to be a cooperator, 
when in a bodily form as a dove He descended upon Christ. 
Origen ; By the poor He means the Gentile nations, for they 
were poor, possessing nothing at all, having neither God, 
nor Law, nor Prophets, nor justice, and the other virtues. 
Ambrose ; Or, He is anointed all over with spiritual oil, and 
heavenly virtue, that He might enrich the poverty of man's 
condition with the everlasting treasure of His resurrection. 
Bede ; He is sent also to preach the Gospel to the poor, 
saying, Blessed are the poor, for yours is the kingdom of 
heaven. Cyril; For perhaps to the poor in spirit He declares 
in these words, that among all the gifts which are obtained 
through Christ, upon them was bestowed a free gift. It 
follows. To heal the broken hearted. He calls those broken 
hearted, who are weak, of an infirm mind, and unable to 
resist the assaults of the passions, and to them He promises 


Basil, a healing remedy. Basil; Or, He came to heal the broken 

■ hearted, i. e. to afford a remedy to those that have their 

heart broken by Satan through sin, because beyond all other 

things sin lays prostrate the human heart. Bede ; Or, because 

Ps. 51, it is written, A broken and a contrite heart God will not 

despise. He says therefore, that He is sent to heal the broken 

Ps. 147, hearted, as it is written, Who heals the broken hearted. 

It follows. And to preach deliverance to the captives. 
Chrys. Chrys. The word captivity has many meanings. There is 
126. a good captivity, which St. Paul speaks of when he says, 
2 Cor. Bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of 
Christ. There is a bad captivity also, of which it is said, 
2 Tim. Leading captive silly tcomen laden with sins. There is a 
captivity present to the senses, that is by our bodily enemies. 
But the worst captivity is that of the mind, of which he here 
speaks. For sin exercises the worst of all tyrannies, command- 
ing to do evil, and destroying them that obey it. From this 
prison of the soul Christ lets us free. Theophyl. But these 
things may be understood also of the dead, who being taken 
captive have been loosed from the dominion of hell by the 
resurrection of Christ. It follows. And recovering of sight to 
the blind. Cyril ; For the darkness which the Devil has spread 
over the human heart, Christ the Sun of Righteousness has 
1 Thess. removed, making men, as the Apostle says, children not of 
' * nightanddarkness,butof lightandthe day. For they who one 
time wandered have discovered the path of the righteous. It 
follows. To set at liberty them that are bruised. Origen ; 
For what had been so shattered and dashed about as man, who 
was set at liberty by Jesus and healed.? Bede; Or, to set at 
liberty them that are bruised; i. e. to relieve those who had 
been heavy laden with the intolerable burden of the Law. 

Origen; But all these things were mentioned first, in order 
that after the recovery of sight from blindness, after deliverance 
from captivity, after being healed of divers wounds, we might 
come to the acceptable year of the Lord. As it follows. To 
preach the acceptable year of the I^ord. Some say that, accord- 
ing to the simple meaning of the word, the Saviour preached 
the Gospel throughout Juda3a in one year, and that this is what 
is meant by preaching the acceptable year of the Lord. Or, the 
acceptable year of the Lord is the whole time of the Church, 

VER. 14 — 21. ST. LUKE. 157 

during which while present in the body, it is absent from 
the Lord. Bede ; For not only was that year acceptable 
in which our Lord preached, but that also in which the 
Apostle preaches, saying. Behold, now is the accepted time. 2 Cor. 
After the acceptable year of the Lord, he adds, And the ' 
day of retribution %• that is, the final retribution, when the 
Lord shall give to every one according to his work. Ambrose; 
Or, by the acceptable year of the Lord, he means this 
day extended through endless ages, which knows of no return 
to a world of labour, and grants to men everlasting reward 
and rest. It follows. And he closed the hook, and he gave it 
again. Bede; He read the book to those who were present 
to hear Him, but having read it. He returned it to the minister; 
for while He was in the world He spoke openly, teaching in the 
synagogues and in the temple; but about to return to heaven. 
He committed the office of preaching the Gospel to those who 
from the beginning were eye-witnesses and ministers of the 
word. He read standing, because while explaining those Scrip- 
tures which were written of Him, He condescended to work in 
the flesh ; but having returned the book, He sits down, because 
He restored Himself to the throne of heavenly rest. For standing 
is the part of the workman, but sitting of one who is resting 
or judging. So also let the preacher of the word rise up and 
read and work and preach, and sit down, i. e. wait for the 
reward of rest. But He opens the book and reads, because 
sending the Spirit, He taught His Church all truth ; having 
shut the book, He returned it to the minister, because all 
things were not to be said unto all, but He committed the word 
to the teacher to be dispensed according to the capacity of the 
hearers. It follows. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were 
fastened on him. Origen ; And now also if we will, our eyes 
can look upon the Saviour. For when you direct your whole 
heart to wisdom, truth, and the contemplation of the only -be- 
gotten Son of God, your eyes behold .Tesus. Cyril ; But then 
He turned the eyes of all men upon Him, wondering how He 
knew the writing which He had never learnt. But since it was 
the custom of the Jews to say that the prophecies spoken of 
Christ are completed either in certain of their chiefs, i. e. their 

• These words are quoted from the the N. T. versions. 229**. Arm. Ar. rom. 
LXX, and are to be found in several of Sax. Vulg. Ital. (exc. Cant.) Griesb. 


kings, or in some of their lioly prophets, the Lord made this an- 
nouncement; as it follows, But he began to say unto them that 
this Scripture is fulfilled. Bede ; Because, in fact, as that 
Scripture had foretold, the Lord was both doing great things, 
and preaching greater. 

22. And all bare him witness, and wondered at 
the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. 
And they said. Is not this Joseph's son ? 

23. And he said unto them. Ye will surely say unto 
me this proverb. Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever 
we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in 
thy country. 

24. And he said. Verily I say unto you. No pro- 
phet is accepted in his own country. 

25. But I tell you of a truth, many widows were 
in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was 
shut up three years and six months, when great fa- 
mine was throughout all the land ; 

26. But unto none of them was Elias sent, save 
unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was 
a widow. 

27. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of 
Eliseus the prophet ; and none of them was cleansed, 
saving Naaman the Syrian. 

Chrys. Chrys. When our Lord came to Nazareth, He refrains 

48. in from miracles, lest He should provoke the people to 

Matt, greater malice. But He sets before them His teaching no 

less wonderful than His miracles. For there was a certain 

ineffable grace in our Saviour's words which softened the 

hearts of the hearers. Hence it is said, And they all bare 

him witness. Bede; They bare Him witness that it was 

truly He, as He had said, of whom the prophet had spoken. 

Chrys. Chrys. But foolish men though wondering at the power of 

I sup. pj.g ^rords little esteemed Him because of His reputed father. 

Hence it follows. And they said, Is not this the son of Joseph? 

VER. 22 — 27. ST. LUKE. 189 

Cyril; But what prevents Him from filling men with awe, 
though He were the Son as was supposed of Joseph ? Do 
you not see the divine miracles, Satan already prostrate, men 
released from their sickness ? Chrys. For though after a long Chrys. 
time and when He had begun to shew forth His miracles. He" * *"P' 
came to them; they did not receive Him, but again were 
inflamed with envy. Hence it follows. And he said unto them. 
Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal 
thyself. Cyril; It was a common proverb among the Hebrews, 
invented as a reproach, for men used to cry out against in- 
firm physicians. Physician, heal thyself. Gloss. It was as Gloss, 
if they said, We have heaid that you perforaied many cures in "' 
Caperaaum; cure also thyself, i. e. Do likewise in your own 
city, where you were nourished and brought up. Aug. But Aug. 
since St. Luke mentions that great things had been already done gy {-b'' 
by Him, which he knows he had not yet related, what is more "• 42. 
evident than that he knowingly anticipated the relation of them. 
For he had not proceeded so far beyond our Lord's baptism 
as that he should be supposed to have forgotten that he had 
not yet related any of those things which were done in Caper- 
naum. Ambrose; But the Saviour purposely excuses Him- 
self for not working miracles in His own country, that no one 
might suppose that love of country is a thing to be lightly 
esteemed by us. For it follows. But he says, Verily I say 
unto you, that no prophet is acceptedin hisown country. Cyril; 
As if He says. You wish me to work many miracles among you, in 
whose country I have been brought up,but I am aware of a very 
common failing in the minds of many. To a certain extent it 
always happens, that even the very best things are despised 
when they fall to a man's lot, not scantily, but ever at 
his will. So it happens also with respect to men. For a 
friend who is ever at hand, does not meet with the respect 
due to him. Bede ; Now that Christ is called a Prophet in 
the Scriptures, Moses bears witness, saying, God shall raise Deut. 
up a Prophet unto you from among your brethren. Ambrose ; ^^' ^^' 
But this is given for an example, that in vain can you expect 
the aid of Divine mercy, if you grudge to others the fruits of 
their virtue. The Lord despises the envious, and withdraws 
the miracles of His power from them that are jealous of 
His divine blessings in others. For our Lord's Incarnation 


is an evidence of His divinity, and His invisible tilings arc 
proved to us by those which are visible. See then what evils 
envy produces. For envy a country is deemed unworthy of 
the works of its citizen, which was worthy of the concep- 
tion of the Son of God. 

Origen ; As far as Luke's narrative is concerned, our Lord 
is not yet said to have worked any miracle in Capernaum. 
For before He came to Capernaum, He is said to have lived 
at Nazareth. I cannot but think therefore that in these words, 
" whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum," there lies 
a mystery concealed, and that Nazareth is a type of the Jews, 
Capernaum of the Gentiles. For the time will come when 
the people of Israel shall say, " The things which thou hast 
shewn to the whole world, shew also to us." Preach thy 
word to the people of Israel, that then at least, when the ful- 
ness of the Gentiles has entered, all Israel may be saved. 
Our Saviour seems to me to have well answered. No prophet 
is accepted in his own country, but rather according to the 
type than the letter; though neither was Jeremiah accepted 
in Anathoth his country, nor the rest of the Prophets. But it 
seems rather to be meant that we should say, that the people 
of the circumcision were the countrymen of all the Prophets. 
And the Gentiles indeed accepted the prophecy of Jesus Christ, 
esteeming Moses and the Prophets who preached of Christ, far 
higher than they who would not from these receive Jesus. 

Ambrose; By a very apt comparison the arrogance of 

envious citizens is put to shame, and our Lord's conduct shewn 

to agree with the ancient Scriptures. For it follows, But T 

tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days 

of Elias : not that the days were his, but that he performed 

his works in them. Chrys. He himself, an earthly angel, 

a heavenly man, who had neither house, nor food, nor 

clothing like others, carries the keys of the heavens on 

his tongue. And this is what follows, WJien the heaven 

was shut. But as soon as he had closed the heavens and 

and made the earth banen, hunger reigned and bodies wasted 

^ ., away, as it follow's, when there was a famine through the land. 

Horn. 1, Basil; For when he beheld the great disgrace that Jirose 

leiun from universal plenty, he brought a famine that the people 

Horn. de might fast, by which he checked their sin which was exceed- 

VEK. 22 — 27. ST. LUKK. 161 

ing great. But crows were made the ministers of food to the 
righteous, which are wont to steal the food of others. 

Chrys. But when the stream was dried up by which the Chrys. 
cup of the righteous man was filled, God said. Go to Sarepta, pet. et 
a city of Sidon ; there I will command a widow woman to feed ^''• 
you. As it follows, But to none qf them was Elias sent, save 
unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a ividow. 
And this was brought to pass by a particular appointment of 
God. For God made him go a long journey, as far as Sidon, 
in order that having seen the famine of the country he should 
ask for rain from the Lord. But there were many rich men 
at that time, but none of them did any thing like the widow. 
For in the respect shewn by the woman toward the prophet, 
consisted her riches not of lands, but of good will. Ambrose; 
But he says in a mystery, " In the days of Elias," because 
Elias brought the day to them who saw in his works the 
light of spiritual grace, and so the heaven was opened to them 
that beheld the divine mystery, but was shut when there was 
famine, because there was no fruitfulness in acknowledging 
God. But in that widow to whom Elias was sent was pre- 
figured a type of the Church. Origen; For when a famine 
came upon the people of Israel, i. e. of hearing the word of 
God, a prophet came to a widow, of whom it is said, For the Isa. 54, 
desolate hath many more children than she which hath an q^i ^ 
husband; and when he had come, he multiplies her bread and 27. 
her nourishment. Bede; Sidonia signifies a vain pursuit, 
Sarepta fire, or scarcity of bread. By all which things the 
Gentiles are signified, who, given up to vain pursuits, (follow- 
ing gain and worldly business,) were suffering from the flames 
of fleshly lusts, and the want of spiritual bread, until Elias, 
(i.e. the word of prophecy,) now that the interpretation of the 
Scriptures had ceased because of the faithlessness of the 
Jews, came to the Church, that being received into the 
hearts of believers he might feed and refresh them. 

Basil; Every widowed soul, bereft of virtue and Basil, 
divine knowledge, as soon as she receives the divine ?*""" '" 
word, knowing her own failings, learns to nourish it with 
the bread of virtue, and to water the teaching of virtue 
from the fountain of life. Origen ; He cites also another 
.similar example, adding. And there were many lepers in 



Israel at the time qf Eliseits the Prophet, and none of them 
were cleansed but Naximnn the Syrian, who indeed was not 
of Israel. Ambrose ; Now in a mystery the people pollute the 
Church, that another people might succeed, gathered together 
from foreigners, leprous indeed at first before it is baptized 
in the mystical stream, but which after the sacrament of 
baptism, washed from the stains of body and soul, begins to 
be a virgin without spot or wrinkle. Bede ; For Naaman, 
which means beautiful, represents the Gentile people, who is 
ordered to be washed seven times, because that baptism 
saves which the seven-fold Spirit renews. Plis flesh after 
washing began to appear as a child's, because grace like 
a mother begets all to one childhood, or because he is con- 
Isa.9,6.fornied to Christ, of whom it is said, Unto us a Child is 

28. And all they in the synagogue, when they 
heard these things, were filled with wrath, 

29. And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, 
and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their 
city was built, that they might cast him down head- 

30. But he passing through the midst of them 
went his way. 

Cyril; He convicted them of their evil intentions, and 
therefore they are enraged, and hence what follows, And all 
they in the synagogue when they heard these things were 
filled with wrath. Because He had said. This day is this 
prophecy fulfilled, they thought that He compared Himself 
to the prophets, and are therefore enraged, and expel Him 
out of their city, as it follows, And they rose up, and cast 
him out. 

Ambrose ; It can not be wondered at that they lost their 
salvation who cast the Saviour out of their city. But the 
Lord who taught His Apostles by the example of Himself 
to be all things to all men, neither repels the willing, nor 
chooses the unwilling ; neither struggles against those who 
cast Him out, nor refuses to hear those who supplicate Him. 
But that conduct was the result of no slight enmity, which, 

VEIL 31 — 37. ST. LUKE. 163 

forgetful of the feelings of fellow citizens, converts the causes 
of love into the bitteiest hatred. For when the Lord Himself 
was extending His blessings among the people, they began 
to inflict injuries upon Him, as it follows, A?id they led him 
unto the brow of the hill^ that they might cast him down. 
Bede; Worse are the Jewish disciples than their master the 
Devil. For he says, Cast thyself down; they actually at- 
tempt to cast Him down. But Jesus having suddenly changed 
His mind, or seized with astonishment, went away, since 
He still reserves for them a place of repentance. Hence it 
follows. He passing through the midst of them went his way. 
Chrys. Herein He shews both His human nature and HisChrys. 
divine. To stand in the midst of those who were plotting t^" ^° 
against Him, and not be seized, betokened the loftiness of 
His divinity; but His departure declared the mystery of the 
dispensation, i. e. His incarnation. Ambrose ; At the same 
time we must understand that this bodily endurance was not 
necessary, but voluntary. When He wills. He is taken, when 
He wills. He escapes. For how could He be held by a few 
who was not held by a whole people } But He would have the 
impiety to be the deed of the many, in order that by a few 
indeed He might be afflicted, but might die for the whole 
world. Moreover, He had still rather heal the Jews than 
destroy them, that by the fruitless issue of their rage they 
might be dissuaded from wishing what they could not accom*- 
plish. Bede ; The hour of His Passion had not yet come, 
which was to be on the preparation of the Passover, nor had 
He yet come to the place of His Passion, which not at 
Nazareth, but at Jerusalem, was prefigured by the blood of 
the victims ; nor had He chosen this kind of death, of whom 
it was prophesied that He should be crucified by the world. 

31. And came down to Capernaum, a city of 
Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days. 

32. And they were astonished at his doctrine : for 
his word was with power. 

33. And in the synagogue there was a man, which 
had a spirit of an unclean devil, and cried out with 
a loud voice, 

M 2 


34. Saying, Let us alone ; what have we to do 
with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to 
destroy us? I know thee who thou art; the Holy 
One of God. 

35. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy 
peace, and come out of him. And when the devil 
had thrown him in the midst, he came out of him, 
and hurt him not. 

36. And they were all amazed, and spake among 
themselves, saying, What a word is this ! for with 
authority and power he commandeth the unclean 
spirits, and they come out. 

37. And the fame of him went out into every 
place of the country round about. 

Ambrose; Neither indignation at their treatment, nor 
displeasure at their wickedness, caused our Lord to aban- 
don Judaea, but unmindful of His injuries, and remembering 
mercy, at one time by teaching, at another by healing. He 
softens the hearts of this unbelieving people, as it is said, 
And he went dovm to Capernaum. Cyril; For although 
He knew that they were disobedient and hard of heart, He 
nevertheless visits them, as a good Physician tries to heal 
those who are suffering from a mortal disease. But He 
Isa. 45, taught them boldly in the synagogues, asEsaias saith, I have 
^'^- not spoken in secret^ in a dark pdace of the earth. On the 
sabbath day also He disputed with them, because they were 
at leisure. They wondered therefore at the mightiness of 
His teaching, His virtue, and His power, as it follows, And 
they were astonished at his doctrine, for his word was with 
power. That is, not soothing, but urging and exciting them to 
seek salvation. Now the Jews supposed Christ to be one 
of the saints or prophets. But in order that they might 
esteem Him higher. He passes beyond the prophetic 
limits. For he said not, " Thus saith the Lord," but being 
the Master of the Law, He uttered things which were 
above the Law, changing the letter to the tnith, and the 
figures to the spiritual meaning. Bede; The word of the 

VKR. 31 — 37. ST. LUKE. 166 

teacher is with power, when he performs that which he 
teaches. But he who by his actions belies what he preaches 
is despised. Cyril; But He generally intermingles with 
His teaching the performance of mighty works. For those 
whose reason does not incline to knowledge, are roused 
by the manifestation of miracles. Hence it follows. And 
there was in the synagogue a man which had a devil. 
Ambrose ; The work of divine healing commenced on the 
sabbath, signifying thereby that he began anew where the 
old creation ceased, in order that He might declare at the 
very beginning that the Son of God was not under the Law, 
but above the Law. Rightly also He began on the sabbath, 
that He might shew Himself the Creator, who interweaves 
His works one within another, and follows up that which 
He had before begun; just as a builder determining to 
reconstruct a house, begins to pull down the old one, not 
from the foundation, but from the top, so as to apply his 
hand first to that part, where he had before left off. Holy 
men may through the word of God deliver from evil spirits, 
but to bid the dead rise again, is the work of Divine power 

Cyril; But the Jews spoke falsely of the glory of 
Christ, saying, He casteth out devils by Beelzebub the 
prince of the devils. To remove this charge, when the 
devils came beneath His invincible power, and endured not 
the Divine Presence, they sent forth a savage ciy, as it 
follows: And he cried with a loud voice., saying^ Let us 
alone ; what have we to do with thee, Sfc. Bede ; As if he 
said, Abstain a while from troubling me, thou who hast no 
fellowship with our designs. Ambrose; It ought not to shock 
any one that the devil is mentioned in this book as the first 
to have spoken the name of Jesus of Nazareth. For Christ 
received not from him that name which an Angel brought down 
from heaven to the Virgin. The devil is of such effrontery, that 
he is the first to use a thing among men and bring it as some- 
thing new to them, that he may strike people with terror 
at his power. Hence it follows : For I know thee who thou 
art, the Holy One of God. Athan. He spoke of Him not Athan. 
as a Holy One nf God, as if He were like to the other saints, ^g/'ef " 
but as being in a remarkable manner the Holy One, with the l-'^- 


addition of the article. For He is by nature holy by par- 
taking of whom all others are called holy. Nor again did 
He speak this as if He knew it, but He pretended to know it. 

et Tit. Cyril; For the devils thought by praises of this sort to 
make Him a lover of vainglory, that He might be induced 
to abstain from opposing or destroying them by way of gi'ate- 
ful return. 

CiiRYS. The devil wished also to disturb the order of 
things, and to deprive the Apostles of their dignity, and to 

Athan. incline the many to obey Him. Athan. Although he con- 
^"P' fessed the truth he controlled his tongue, lest with the truth 
he should also publish his own disgrace, which should teach 
us not to care for such, although they speak the truth, for we 
who know the divine Scripture, must not be taught by the 
devil, as it follows: And Jesus rebuked him, saying. Be 
silent, ^c. Bede ; But by the permission of God, the man 
who was to be delivered from the devil is thrown into the 
midst, that the power of the Saviour being manifested might 
bring over many to the way of salvation. As it follows: 
And when he had thrown him in the midst. But this seems 
to be opposed to Mark, who says. And the unclean spirit 
tearing him, and crying with a loud voice, went out of him, 
unless we understand that Mark meant by tearing him the 
same as Luke by these words. And when he had thrown him 
in the midst, so that what follows, and hurt him not, might be 
understood to mean, that that twisting of limbs, and sore 
troubling, did not weaken him, as is often the case when 
devils depart from a man, leaving him with limbs cut and 
torn off. Well then do they wonder at such complete 
restoration of health. For it follows : And fear came upon 
all. Theophyl. As if they said. What is this word by which 
he commands, Go out, and he went out .'' Bede ; Holy 
men were able by the word of God to cast out devils, but 
the Word Himself does mighty works by His own power. 
Ambrope; In a mystery, the man in the synagogue with the 
unclean spirit is the .Jewish people, which being fast bound 
in the wiles of the devil, defiled its vaunted cleanliness of 
body by the pollution of the heart. And truly it had an 
unclean spirit, because it had lost the Holy Spirit. For the 
devil cnteTed whence Christ had gone out. Theophyl. 


VER. 38, 39. ST. LUKE. 167 

We must know also that many now have devils, namely, such as 
fulfil the desires of devils, as the furious have the daemon of 
anger; and so of the rest. But the Lord came into the 
synagogue when the thoughts of the man were collected, and 
then says to the daemon that dwelt there. Hold thy peace, and 
immediately throwing him into the middle he departs out 
of him. For it becomes not a man always to be angry, 
(that is, like the brutes,) nor always to be without anger, (for 
that is want of feeling,) but he must take the middle path, 
and have anger against what is evil; and so the man is 
thrown into the midst when the unclean spirit departs from 

38. And he arose out of the synagogue, and entered 
into Simon's house. And Simon's wife's mother was 
taken with a great fever : and they besought him for 

39. And he stood over her, and rebuked the fever: 
and it left her: and immediately she arose and 
ministered unto them. 

Ambrose ; Luke having first introduced a man delivered 
from an evil spirit, goes on to relate the healing of a 
woman. For our Lord had come to heal each sex, and 
he ought first to be healed who was first created. Hence 
it is said. And he arose out of the synagogue, and entered 
into Simon^s house. Chrys. For He honoured His disciples chrys. 
by dwelling among them, and so making them the more zealous. Hom. 
Cyril; Now see how Christ abides in the house of a poor Matt, 
man, suffering poverty of His own will for our sakes, that we 
might learn to visit the poor, and despise not the destitute and 
needy. It follows : And Simon's u-ife's mother icas taken 
with a great fever: and they besought him for her. Bede ; 
At one time at the request of others, at another of his own 
accord, our Saviour cures the sick, shewing that He is far 
aloof from the passions of sinners, and ever grants the prayer 
of the faithful, and what they in themselves little undetr 
stand He either makes intelligible, or forgives their not under- 
standing it. As, Who understands his errors ? Lord, cleame me Ps. 19, 


ut sup. 


Chrys. froiii my secret fauHa. Chrys. Because Matthew is silent on 

lit sup. .... 

the point ot asking Him, he docs not differ from Luke, or it 
mattei-s not, for one Gospel had brevity in view, the other 
accurate research. It follows : And he stood over her^ ^-c. 
Origen; Here Luke speaks figuratively, as of a command 
given to a sensible being, saying, that the fever was com- 
manded, and neglected not the work of Him who commanded it. 
Hence it follows : And she arose, and ministered unto them. 
Chrys. Chrys. For since the disease was curable, He shewed His 
power by the manner of the cure, doing what art could never 
do. For after the allaying of the fever, the patient needs 
much time ere he be restored to his former health, but at this 
time all took place at once. Ambrose; But if we weigh 
these things with deeper thoughts, we shall consider the 
health of the mind as well as the body ; that the mind which 
was assailed by the wiles of the devil may be released first. 
Eve was not a hungered before the serpent beguiled 
her, and therefore against the author of evil himself ought 
the medicine of salvation first to operate. Perhaps also 
in that woman as in a type our flesh languished under the 
various fevers of crimes, nor should I say that the fever 
of love was less than that of bodily heat. Bede ; For if we 
say that a man released from the devil represents morally 
the mind cleansed from imclean thoughts, consequently a 
woman vexed by fever, but cured at our Lord's command, 
represents the flesh controlled by the rules of continence 
in the fury of its own lust. Cyril ; Let us therefore receive 
Jesus. For when He has visited us, we carry Him in our 
heart and mind; He will then extinguish the flames of our 
unlicensed pleasures, and will make us whole, so that we 
minister unto Him, that is, do things well-pleasing to Him. 

40. Now when the sun was setting, all they that 
had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto 
him ; and he laid his hands on every one of them, 
and healed them. 

41. And devils also came out of many, crying out, 
and saying, Thou art Christ the Son of God. And 

VER. 40, 41. ST. LUKE. 169 

he rebuking them suffered them not to speak : for 
they knew that he was Christ. 

Theophyl. We must observe the zeal of the multitude, 
who after the sun had set bring their sick unto Him, not 
deterred by the lateness of the day ; as it is said. Now when 
the sun was setting^ they brought their sick. Origen; It 
was ordered about sun-set, that is, when the day was gone, 
that they should bring them out, either because during the day 
they were employed about other things, or because they 
thought that it was not lawful to heal on the sabbath. But 
He healed them, as it follows, But he laid his hands upon 
every one of them. Cyril ; But although as God He was able 
to drive away diseases by His word, He nevertheless touches 
them, shewing that His flesh was powerful to apply remedies, 
since it was the flesh of God; for as fire, when applied to a 
brazen vessel, imprints on it the effect of its own heat, so the 
omnipotent Word of God, when He united to Himself in real 
assumption a living virgin temple, endued with understanding, 
implanted in it a participation of His own power. May 
He also touch us, nay rather may we touch Him, that He may 
deliver us from the infirmities of our souls as well as the 
assaults of the evil spirit and pride ! For it follows, And 
devils also came out. Bede ; The devils confess the Son of 
God, and as it is afterwards said, they knew him to he Christ; 
for when the devil saw Him distressed by fasting, he perceived 
Him to be truly man, but when he prevailed not in his trial he 
doubted whether or not He were the Son of God, but now by 
the power of Christ's miracles he either perceived or suspected 
Him to be the Son of God. He did not then persuade the Jews 
to crucify Him because he thought Him not to be Christ 
or the Son of God, but because he did not foresee that by this 
death he himself would be condemned. Of this mystery hid- 
den from the world the Apostle says, that none of the princes of i Cor. 2, 
this world knew, for if they had known they would never have 
crucified the Lord of Glory. Chrys. But in what follows, 
And he rebuking them suffered them not to speak, mark the 
humility of Christ, who would not let the unclean spirits make 
Him manifest. For it was not fit that they should usurp 


the glory of the Apostolical office, nor did it become the mys- 
teries of Christ to be made public by impure tongues. The- 
OPHYL. Because, " praise isnot seemly iu the mouth of asinner." 
Or, because He did not wish to inflame the envy of the Jews 
by being praised of all. Bede; But the Apostles themselves 
are commanded to be silent concerning Him, lest by proclaim- 
ing His divine Majesty, the dispensation of His Passion 
should be delayed. 

42. And when it was day, he departed and went 
into a desert place : and the people sought him, and 
came unto him, and stayed him, that he should not 
depart from them. 

43. And he said unto them, I must preach the 
kingdom of God to other cities also : for therefore 
am I sent. 

44. And he preached in the synagogues of Galilee. 

Chrys. When he had bestowed sufficient favour upon the 

people by miracles, it was necessary for Him to dej^art. For 

miracles are always thought greater when the worker is gone, 

since they themselves are then the more heeded, and have in 

their turn a voice; as it is said. But when it was day, he de- 

Victor parted^ and went. Greek Ex. He went also into the desert, as 

Antio- Mark says, and prayed; not that he needed prayer, but as an 

Chrys. example to us of good works. Chrys. The Pharisees indeed, 

Horn, seeing how that the miracles themselves published His fame, 

Matt, were offended at His power. But the people hearing His 

words, assented and followed; as it is said, And the multi- 

tildes sought him, not indeed any of the chief priests, or 

scribes, but all those who had not been blackened with the 

dark stain of malice, and preserved their consciences unhurt. 

ut sup. Greek Ex. Now when Mark says that the Apostles came to 

him, saying, All seek thee, but Luke, that the people came, 

there is no difference between them, for the people came to 

Him following in the footsteps of the Apostles. But the Lord 

rejoiced in being held back, yet bid them let Him go, that 

others also might partake of His teaching, as the time of His 

VER. 42 — 44. ST. LUKE. 171 

presence would not last long ; as it follows, And he said unto 
them, I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also, 8fc. 
Mark says, Unto this I came, shewing the loftiness of His 
divine nature, and His voluntary emptying Himself of it. But 
Luke says, Unto this am I sent, shewing His incarnation, and 
calling also the decree of the Father, a sending Him forth ; and 
one simply says, To preach, the other added, the kingdom of 
God, which is Christ Himself Chrys. Observe also, that He Chrys. 
might, by abiding in the same place, have drawn all men over to 43. in 
Himself He did not however do so, giving us an example to go ^*"- 
about and seek those who are perishing, as the shepherd his 
lost sheep, and as the physician the sick. For by recover- 
ing one soul, we may be able to blot out a thousand sins. 
Hence also it follows, And he was preaching in the synagogues 
of Galilee. He frequently indeed went to the synagogues, 
to shew them that He was no deceiver. For if He were con- 
stantly to dwell in the desolate places, they would spread 
abroad that He was concealing Himself Bede ; But if the 
sun-setting mystically expresses the death of our Lord, the 
returning day denotes His resurrection, (the light of which 
being made manifest, He is sought for by the multitudes of 
believers, and being found in the desert of the Gentiles He 
is held back by them, lest He should depart;) especially as 
this took place on the first day of the week, on which day the 
Resurrection was celebrated. 


1. And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed 
upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the 
lake of Gennesaret, 

2. And saw two ships standing by the lake : but 
the fishermen were gone out of them, and were wash- 
ing their nets. 

3. And he entered into one of the ships, which was 
Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out 
a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught 
the people out of the ship. 

Ambrose; When the Lord had performed many and 
various kinds of cures, the multitude began to heed neither 
time nor place in their desire to be healed. The evening 
came, they followed; a lake is before them, they still 
press on ; as it is said, And it came to pass, as the people 
Chrys. pressed upon him. Chrys. For they clung to Him with 

Horn. 1 J • . 

25. in love and admiration, and longed to keep Him with them. 

Matt. YoT who would depart while He performed such miracles.-' 
who would not be content to see only His face, and the 
mouth that uttered such things .? Nor as performing miracles 
only was He an object of admiration, but His whole appear- 
ance was overflowing with grace. Therefore when He speaks, 
they listen to Him in silence, interrupting not the chain of 
His discourse ; for it is said, that they might hear the word 
qf Ood, Sfc. It follows, And he stood near the lake qf 
Qennesaret. Bede; The lake of Gennesaret is said to 
be the same as the sea of Galilee or the sea of Tiberias ; but 
it is called the sea of Galilee from the adjacent province, 

VER. 1 S. ST. LUKE. 173 

the sea of Tiberias from a neighbouring city. Gennesaret, 
however, is the name given it from the nature of the lake 
itself, (which is thought from its crossing waves to raise a 
breeze upon itself,) being the Greek expression for " making quasi s 
a breeze to itself" For the water is not steady like that of e"]^^. 
a lake, but constantly agitated by the breezes blowing over it. 
It is sweet to the taste, and wholesome to drink. In the 
Hebrew tongue, any extent of water, whether it be sweet 
or salt, is called a sea. Theophyl. But the Lord seeks to 
avoid glory the more it followed Him, and therefore sepa- 
rating Himself from the multitude, He entered into a ship, 
as it is said. And he saw two ships standing near the lake : 
but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing 
their nets. Chrys. This was a sign of leisure, but according 
to Matthew He finds them mending their nets. For so great 
was their poverty, that they patched up their old nets, not 
being able to buy new ones. But our Lord was very desirous 
to collect the multitudes, that none might remain behind, but 
they might all behold Him face to face; He therefore enters into 
a ship, as it is said, And he entered into a ship, which was 
Simon's, and prayed him. Theophyl. Behold the gentleness 
of Christ ; He asks Peter ; and the willingness of Peter, who 
was obedient in all things. Chrys. After having performed 
many miracles. He again commences His teaching, and 
being on the sea. He fishes for those who were on the shore. 
Hence it follows, And he sat down and taught the people out 
of the ship. Greg. Naz. Condescending to all, in order that He Greg, 
might draw forth a fish from the deep, i. e. man swimming in ^^^^"^' • 
the everchanging scenes and bitter storms of this life. Bede ; 
Now mystically, the two ships represent circumcision and un- 
circumcision. The Lord sees these, because in each people He 
knows who are His, and by seeing, i. e. by a merciful visita- 
tion, He brings them nearer the tranquillity of the life to 
come. The fishermen are the doctors of the Church, because 
by the net of faith they catch us, and bring us as it were 
ashore to the land of the living. But these nets are at one 
time spread out for catching fish, at another washed and 
folded up. For every time is not fitted for teaching, but at 
one time the teacher must speak with the tongue, and at 
another time we must discipline ourselves. The ship of Simon is 


Gal. 2, the primitive Church, of which St. Paul says, He that wrought 

effectually in Peter to the Apostleship of circumcision. The 

Acts 4, ship is well called one, for in the multitude of believers there 


Aug. de^^s one heart and one soul. Aug. From which ship He 
Quast. taught the multitude, for by the authority of the Church He 
c. 2. teaches the Gentiles. But the Lord entering the ship, and 
asking Peter to put off a little from the land, signifies that we 
must be moderate in our words to the multitude, that they 
may be neither taught earthly things, nor from earthly things 
rush into the depths of the sacraments. Or, the Gospel must 
first be preached to the neighbouring countries of the Gen- 
tiles, that (as He afterwards says, Launch out into the deep,) 
He might command it to be preached afterwards to the more 
distant nations. 

4. Now when he had left speaking, he said unto 
Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your 
nets for a draught. 

5. And Simon answering said unto him. Master, 
we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing : 
nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. 

6. And when they had this done, they inclosed a 
great multitude of fishes : and their net brake. 

7. And they beckoned unto their partners, which 
were in the other ship, that they should come and 
help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, 
so that they began to sink. 

Cyril ; Having sufficiently taught the people. He returns 
again to His mighty works, and by the employment of fishing 
fishes for His disciples. Hence it follows, When he had left 
off speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, 
Chrys. and let doum your nets for a draught. Chrvs. For in His 
in Matt, condescension to men, He called the wise men by a star, 
the fishermen by their art of fishing. Theophyl. Peter 
did not refuse to comply, as it follows. And Siinon answering 
said unto him. Master, we have toiled all night and have 
taken nothing. He did not go on to say, " T will not hearken 

VF,U. 4 — 7. ST. LUKE, 175 

to thee, nor expose myself to additional labour," bui rather 
adds, Nevertheless, at thy word I will let down the net. But 
our Lord, since he had taught the people out of the ship, 
left not the master of the ship without reward, but conferred 
on him a double kindness, giving him first a multitude of 
fishes, and next making him His disciple: as it follows, And 
when they had done this, they inclosed a great multitude of 
Jishes. They took so many fishes that they could not pull 
them out, but sought the assistance of their companions ; as 
it follows, But their net brake, and they beckoned to their 
partners who were in the other ship to come, ^c. Peter sum- 
mons them by a sign, being unable to speak from astonishment 
at the draught of fishes. We next hear of their assistance. 
And they came and filled both the ships. Aug. John seems Aug. de 
indeed to speak of a similar miracle, but this is very different 9^^'^^' 
from the one he mentions. That took place after our Lord's 6. 
resurrection at the lake of Tiberias, and not only the time, 
but the miracle itself is very different. For in the latter the 
nets being let down on the right side took one hundred and 
fifty-three fishes, and these of large size, which it was neces- 
sary for the Evangelist to mention, because though so large 
the nets were not broken, and this would seem to have refer- 
ence to the event which Luke relates, when firom the multi- 
tude of the fishes the nets were broken. 

Ambrose ; Now in a mystery, the ship of Peter, according 
to Matthew, is beaten about by the waves, according to Luke, Matt. 8, 
is filled with fishes, in order that you might understand the ^^" 
Church at first wavering, at last abounding. The ship is not 
shaken which holds Peter; that is which holds Judas. In 
each was Peter ; but he who trusts in his own merits is dis- 
quieted by another's. Let us beware then of a traitor, lest 
through one we should many of us be tossed about. Trouble 
is found there where faith is weak, safety here where love is 
- perfect. Lastly, though to others it is commanded. Let down 
your nets, to Peter alone it is said, Launch out into the deep, 
i. e. into deep researches. What is so deep, as the knowledge 
of the Son of God ! But what are the nets of the Apostles which 
are ordered to be let down, but the interweaving of words and 
certain folds, as it were, of speech, and intricacies of argument, 


which never let those escape whom they have once caught. 
And rightly are nets the Apostolical instruments for fishing, 
which kill not the fish that are caught, but keep them safe, and 
bring up those that are tossing about in the waves from the 
depths below to the regions above. But he says, Master, we 
have toiled the whole night and have caught nothing ; for this is 
not the work of human eloquence but the gift of divine 
calling. But they who had before caught nothing, at the 
word of the Lord inclosed a great multitude of fishes. 
Cyril ; Now this was a figure of the future. For they 
will not labour in vain who let down the net of evangelical 
doctrine, but will gather together the shoals of the Gentiles. 
Aug. lit Aug. Now the circumstance of the nets breaking, and the ships 
being filled with the multitude of fishes so that they began 
to sink, signifies that there will be in the Church so great 
a multitude of carnal men, that imity will be broken up, and 
it will be split into heresies and schisms. Bede ; The net 
is broken, but the fish escape not, for the Lord preserves His 
own amid the violence of persecutors. Ambrose ; But the other . 
ship is Judaea, out of which James and John are chosen. 
These then came from the synagogue to the ship of Peter 
in the Church, that they might fill both ships. For at the 
name of Jesus every knee shall bow, whether Jew or Greek. 
Bede; Or the other ship is the Church of the Gentiles, 
which itself also (one ship being not sufficient) is filled with 
chosen fishes. For the Lord knows who are His, and with 
Him the number of His elect is sure. And when He finds 
not in Judaea so many believers as He knows are destined to 
eternal life. He seeks as it were another ship to receive His 
fishes, and fills the hearts of the Gentiles also with the grace 
of faith. And well when the net brake did they call to their 
assistance the ship of their companions, since the traitor 
Judas, Simon Magus, Ananias and Sapphira, and many of 
the disciples, went back. And then Barnabas and Paul were 
separated for the Apostleship of the Gentiles. Ambrose; 
We may understand also by the other ship another Church, 
since from one Church several are derived. Cyril; But 
Peter beckons to his companions to help them. For many 
follow the labours of the Apostles, and first those who 

VER. 8—11. ST. LUKE. 177 

brought out the writings of the Gospels, next to whom are the 
other heads and shepherds of the Gospel, and those skilled 
in the teaching of the truth. Bede ; But the filling of these 
ships goes on until the end of the world. But the fact that the 
ships, when filled, begin to sink,i. e. become weighed low down 
in the water; (for they are not sunk, but are in great danger,) 
the Apostle explains when he says. In the last days perilous 2T\m.3, 
times shall come ; men shall be lovers qf their own selves^ 
^c. For the sinking of the ships is when men, by vicious 
habits, fall back into that world from which they have been 
elected by faith. 

8. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at 
Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a 
sinful man, O Lord. 

9. For he was astonished, and all that were with 
him, at the draught of the fishes which they had 
taken : 

10. And so was also James, and John, the sons 
of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And 
Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not ; from henceforth 
thou shalt catch men. 

1 1 . And when they had brought their ships to 
land, they forsook all, and followed him. 

Bede; Peter was astonished at the divine gift, and the 
more he feared, the less did he now presume ; as it is said, 
When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus'' knees, 
saying. Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, Lord. 
Cyril ; For calling back to his consciousness the crimes 
he had committed, he is alarmed and trembles, and as being 
unclean, he believes it impossible he can receive Him who 
is clean, for he had learnt from the law to distinguish 
between what is defiled and holy. Greg. Nyss. When Christ 
commanded to let down the nets, the multitude of the fishes 
taken was just as great as the Lord of the sea and land 
willed. For the voice of the Word is the voice of power, 
at whose bidding at the beginning of the world light and 



the other creatures came fortli. At tliese things Peter 
wonders,ybr he was astonished, and all that were with him, 
kMg.AeSfC. Aug. He does not mention Andrew by name, who 
Hb.ii.i;.^*'^^^^^ ^® thought to have been in that ship, according to the 
accounts of Matthew and Mark. It follows, A7id Jesus said 
unto Si7non, Fear not. Ambrosk ; Say thou also, Depart 
from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord, that God may 
answer, Fear not. Confess thy sin, and the Lord will pardon 
thee. See how good the Lord is, who gives so much to men, 
that they have the power of making alive. As it follows, 
From henceforth thou shalt catch men. Bede ; This espe- 
cially belongs to Peter himself, for the Lord explains to him 
what this taking of fish means ; that in fact as now he takes 
fishes by the net, so hereafter he will catch men by words. 
And the whole order of this event shews what is daily going 
Chrys. on in the Church, of which Peter is the type. Chrys. But mark 
)4*'Tn their faith and obedience. For though they were eagerly 
Matt, engaged in the employment of fishing, yet when they heard 
the command of Jesus, they delayed not, but forsook all and 
followed Him. Such is the obedience which Christ demands 
of us; we must not forego it, even though some great necessity 
urges us. Hence it follows, And having brought their ships 

Aug. to land. Aug. Matthew and Mark here briefly state the 
ubi sup. , , . , T- - ... 

matter, and how it was done. Luke explains it more at 

large. There seems however to be this difference, that he 
makes our Lord to have said to Peter only, From hence- 
forth thou shall catch men, whereas they related it as 
having been spoken to both the others. But surely it 
might have been said at first to Peter, when he marvelled at 
the immense draught of fishes, as Luke suggests, and after- 
wards to both, as the other two have related it. Or we must 
understand the event to have taken place as Luke relates, and 
that the others were not then called by the Lord, but only it was 
foretold to Peter that he should catch men, not that he should 
no more be employed in fishing; and hence there is room for 
supposing that they returned to their fishing, so that after- 
wards that might happen which Matthew and Mark speak 
Matt. 4, of. For then the ships were not brought to land, as if 
^" , with the intention of returning, but they followed Him as 
18. calling or commanding them to come. But if according to 

VER. 12 16. ST. LUKE. 170 

John, Peter and Andrew followed Him close by Jordan, how 
do the other Evangelists say that He found them fishing in 
Galilee, and called them to the discipleship ? Except we 
understand that they did not see the Lord near Jordan so 
as to join Him inseparably, but knew only who He was, 
and marvelling at Him returned to their own. 

Ambrose ; But mystically, those whom Peter takes by his 
word, he claims not as his own booty or his own gift. 
Depart, he says, from tne, Lord. Fear not then also to 
ascribe what is thy own to the Lord, for what was His He has 
given to us. Aug. Or, Peter speaks in the character of Aug. de 
the Church full of carnal men, Depart from me, for I am a^"*,®.^ 
sinful man, x\s if the Church, crowded with carnal men, ii. c. 2. 
and almost sunk by their vices, throws off from it, as it 
were, the rule in spiritual things, wherein the character of 
Christ chiefly shines forth. For not with the tongue do men 
tell the good servants of God that they should depart from 
them, but with the utterance of their deeds and actions they 
persuade them to go away, that they may not be governed 
by the good. And yet all the more anxiously do they hasten 
to pay honours to them, just as Peter testified his respect by 
falling at the feet of our Lord, but his conduct in saying. 
Depart from me. Bede ; But the Lord allays the fears of 
carnal men, that no one trembling at the consciousness 
of his guilt, or astonished at the innocence of others, might 
be afraid to undertake the journey ofholiness. 

Aug. But the Lord did not depart from them, shewing Aug. 
thereby that good and spiritual men, when they are"^*^"P* 
troubled by the wickedness of the many, ought not to wish 
to abandon their ecclesiastical duties, that they might 
live as it were a more secure and tranquil life. But the 
bringing their ships to land, and forsaking all to follow 
Jesus, may represent the end of time, when those who 
have clung to Christ shall altogether depart from the storms 
of this world. 

12. And it came to pass, when he was in a certain 
city, behold a man full of leprosy : who seeing Jesus 
fell on his face, and besought him, saying. Lord, if 
thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. 

N 2 


13. And he put forth his hand, and touched him, 
saying, I will : be thou clean. And immediately the 
leprosy departed from him. 

1 4. And he charged hira to tell no man : but go, 
and shew thyself to the Priest, and offer for thy 
cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a tes- 
timony unto them. 

15. But so much the more went there a fame 
abroad of him : and great multitudes came together 
to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities. 

16. And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, 
and prayed. 

Ambrose; The fourth miracle after Jesus came to Capernaum 
was the healing of a leprous man. But since He illumined the 
fourth day with the sun, and made it more glorious than the 
rest, we ought to think this work more glorious than those 
that went before ; of which it is said, And it came to pass^ 
when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy. 
Rightly no definite place is mentioned where the leprous 
man was healed, to signify that not one people of any par- 
Athan. ticular city, but all nations were healed. Athan. Now the 
Ad f h l^per worshipped the Lord God in His bodily form, and 
3. thought not the Word of God to be a creature because of His 

flesh, nor because He was the Word did he think lightly of 
the flesh which He put on ; nay rather in a created temple he 
adored the Creator of all things, falling down on his face, as 
it follows. And when he saw Jesus he fell on his face, and 
besought him. Ambrose ; In falling upon his face he marked 
his humility and modesty, for every one should blush at the 
stains of his life, but his reverence kept not back his confes- 
sion, he shews his wound, and asks for a remedy, saying. 
If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. Of the will of the 
Lord he doubted, not from distrust of His mercy, but 
checked by the consciousness of his own un worthiness. But 
the confession is one full of devotion and faith, placing all 
power in the will of the Lord. Cyril; For he knew that 
leprosy yields not to the skill of physicians, but he saw 

VER. 12 — 16. ST. LUKE. 181 

the devils cast out by the Divine authority, and multitudes 
cured of divers diseases, all which he conceived was the work 
of the Divine arm. Titus Bost. Let us learn from the words 
of the leper not to go about seeking the cure of our bodily 
infirmities, but to commit the whole to the will of God, 
Who knows what is best for us, and disposes all things as He 
will. Ambrose ; He heals in the same manner in which He 
had been entreated to heal, as it follows, And Jestis put forth 
his handy and touched hitn, ^c. Tlie law forbids to touch the 
leprous man, but He who is the Lord of the law submits 
not to the law, but makes the law; He did not touch 
because without touching He was unable to make him 
clean, but to shew that he was neither subject to the law, 
nor feared the contagion as man ; for He could not 
be contaminated Who delivered others from the pollu- 
tion. On the other hand, He touched also, that the leprosy 
might be expelled by the touch of the Lord, which was 
wont to contaminate him that touched. Theophyl. For 
His sacred flesh has a healing, and life-giving power, as being 
indeed the flesh of the Word of God. Ambrose; In the 
words which follow, / will, be thou clean, you have the 
will, you have also the result of His mercy. Cyril ; From Cyril. 
majesty alone proceeds the royal command, how then is the]2.cVi4. 
Only-begotten counted among the senants, who by His 
mere will can do all things? We read of God the Father, P^. U5, 
that He hath done all things whatsoever He pleased. Butg' ' 
He who exercises the power of His Father, how can He differ 
from Him in nature.? Besides, whatsoever things are of the 
same power, are wont to be of the same substance. Again ; 
let us then admire in these things Christ working both 
divinely and bodily. For it is of God so to will that all things 
are done accordingly, but of man to stretch forth the hand. 
From two natures therefore is perfected one Christ, for that 
the Word was made flesh. Greg. Nyss. And because the Greg. 
Deity is united with each portion of man, i. e. both soul and j ?*" 
body, in each are evident the signs of a heavenly nature. Resur. 
For the body declared the Deity hidden in it, when by touch- 
ing it afforded a remedy, but the soul, by the mighty power 
of its will, marked the Divine strength. For as the sense of 
touch is the property of the body, so the motion of the will 


of the soul. The soul wills, the body touches. Ambrose ; 
He says then, / will, for Photinus, He couiniands, for 
Alius, He touches, for ManichaDus. But there is nothing 
intervening between God's work and His command, that we 
may see in the inclination of the healer the power of 
the work. Hence it follows. And iimnediately the leprosy 
departed from him. But lest leprosy should become rife 
among us, let each avoid boasting after the example of 
our Lord's humility. For it follows. And he commanded him 
that he should tell it to no one, that in tiiith he might teach 
us that our good deeds are not to be made public, but to be 
rather concealed, that we should abstain not only from gaining 
money,but evenfavour. Or perhaps the cause of His command^ 
ing silence was that He thought those to be prefeired, who 
had rather believed of their own accord than from the hope 
of benefit. Cyril ; Though the leper was silent, the voice 
of the transaction itself was sufficient to publish it to all who 
acknowledged through him the power of the Curer. 
Chrys. Chrys. And sincc frequently men, when they are 
26. in sick, remember God, but when they recover, wax dull, He 
Matt. |jj(jg jjim to always keep God before his eyes, giving glory 
to God. Hence it follows, BiU go and shew thyself to the 
Priest, in order that the leprous man being cleansed might 
submit himself to the inspection of the Priest, and so by his 
sanction be counted as healed. Ambrose ; And that the 
Priest also should know that not by the order of the law, 
but by the grace of God above the law, he was cured. And 
since a sacrifice is commanded by the regulation of Moses, 
the Lord shews that He does not abrogate the law, but fulfil 
it. As it follows. And offer for thy cleansing according 
Aug. as Moses commanded. Aug. He seems here to approve of 
E^v 1 it ^^ sacrifice which had been commanded through Moses, 
•!"• 3. though the Church does not require it. It may therefore 
be understood to have been commanded, because not as yet 
had commenced that most holy sacrifice which is His body. 
For it was not fitting that typical sacrifices should be 
taken away before that which was typified should be con- 
firmed by the witness of the Apostles' preaching, and 
the faith of believers. Ambrose; Or because the law 
is spiritual He seems to have commanded a spiritual 

VER. 12 — 16. ST. LUKE. 183 

sacrifice. Hence he said, As Moses commanded. Lastly, 
he adds, for a testimony unto them. The heretics under- 
stand this erroneously, saying, that it was meant as a reproach 
to the law. But how would he order an offering for 
cleansing, according to Moses' commandments, if he meant 
this against the law? Cyril; He sajs then, for a testimony 
unto them, because this deed makes manifest that Christ in 
His incomparable excellence is far above Moses. For when 
Moses could not rid his sister of the leprosy, he prayed the 
Lord to deliver her. But the Saviour, in His divine power. Numb, 
declared, / will, be thou clean. ^^' ^^* 

Chrys. Or, for a testimony against them, i. e. as a reproof chrys. 
of them, and a testimony that I respect the law. For now ^"P' 
too that I have cured thee, I send thee for the examination 
of the priests, that thou shouldest bear me witness that I 
have not played false to the law. And although the Lord 
in giving out remedies advised telling them to no one, in- 
structing us to avoid pride ; yet His fame flew about every 
where, instilling the miracle into the ears of every one, as 
it follows, But so much the more went there a fame abroad 
of him. Bede ; Now the perfect healing of one brings many 
multitudes to the Lord, as it follows, And great multitudes 
came together that they should be healed. For the leprous 
man that he might shew both his outward and inward cure, 
even though forbid ceases not, as Mark says, to tell of the 
benefit he had received. Greg. Our Redeemer performs Greg. 
His miracles by day, and passes the night in prayer, as it^^x^vHi 
follows, And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and ^-^^^ 
prayed, hinting, as it were, to perfect preachers, that as 
neither they should entirely desert the active life from 
love of contemplation, so neither should they despise the 
joys of contemplation from an excess of activity, but in 
silent thought imbibe that which they might afterwards give 
back in words to their neighbours. Bede; Now that He 
retired to pray, you would not ascribe to that nature w^hich 
says, / will, be thou clean, but to that which putting forth the 
band touched the leprous man, not that according to Nestorius 
there is a double person of the Son, but of the same person, 
as there are two natures, so are there two operations. Greg. Greg. 
Naz. And His works He indeed performed among the people, ^^' 


but He prayed for Uie mostpart in the wilderness, sanctioning the 

liberty of resting a while from labour to hold converse witli God 

with a pure heart. For He needed no change or retirement, 

since there was nothing which could be relaxed in Him, nor 

any place in which He might confine Himself, for He was God, 

but it was that we might clearly know that there is a time for 

action, a time for each higher occupation. Bede ; How 

typically the leprous man represents the whole race of man. 

Bom, 3, languishing with sins full of leprosy,/or all have sinned and 

^^' fall short of the glory of God; that so by the hand put forth, 

i. e. the word of God partaking of human nature, they might 

be cleansed from the vanity of their old errors, and offer for 

cleansing their bodies as a living sacrifice. Ambrose ; But 

if the word is the healing of leprosy, the contempt of the word 

is the leprosy of the mind. Theophyl. But mark, that after 

a man has been cleansed he is then worthy to offer this gift, 

namely, the body and blood of the Lord, which is united 

to the Divine nature. 

17. And it came to pass on a certain day, as he 
was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors 
of the law sitting by, which were come out of every 
town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem : and the 
power of the Lord was present to heal them. 

18. And, behold, men brought in a bed a man 
which was taken with a palsy : and they sought 
means to bring him in, and to lay him before him. 

19. And when they could not find by what way 
they might bring him in because of the multitude, 
they went upon the housetop, and let him down 
through the tiling with his couch into the midst before 

20. And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, 
Man, thy sins are forgiven thee. 

21. And the Scribes and the Pharisees began to 
reason, saying. Who is this which speaketh blas- 
phemies ? Who can forgive sins, but God alone ? 

VER. 17— 2t). ST. LUKE. 185 

22. But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he 
answering said unto them. What reason ye in your 
hearts ? 

23. Whether is easier, to say. Thy sins be forgiven 
thee ; or to say. Rise up and walk ? 

24. But that ye may know that the Son of man 
hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto 
the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee. Arise, and 
take up thy couch, and go unto thine house. 

25. And immediately he rose up before them, 
and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to 
his own house, glorifying God. 

26. And they were all amazed, and they glorified 
God, and were filled with fear, saying. We have seen 
strange things to day. 

Cyril; The Scribes and Pharisees who had become spec- 
tators of Christ's miracles, heard Him also teaching. Hence 
it is said, And it came to pass on a certain day^ as he was 
teaching, that there were Pharisees sitting by, 8fc. And the 
power of the Lord was present to heal them. Not as though 
He borrowed the power of another, but as God and the 
Lord He healed by His own inherent power. Now men often 
become worthy of spiritual gifts, but generally depart 
from the mle which the giver of the gifts knew. It was 
not so \^'ith Christ, for the divine power went on abounding in 
giving remedies. But because it was necessary where so 
great a number of Scribes and Pharisees had come toge- 
ther, that something should be done to attest His power 
before those men who slighted Him, He performed the 
miracle on the man with the palsy, who since medical 
art seemed to fail, was carried by his kinsfolk to a higher 
and heavenly Physician. As it follows, And behold men 
brought him. Chrys. But they are to be admired who 
brought in the paralytic, since on finding that they could not 
enter in at the door, they attempted a new and untried way. 
As it follows, And when they could not find by what way 
they might bring him in, they went upon the housetop, ^c. 


But unroofing the house they let down the couch, and place 
the paralytic in the midst, as it follows, And thny lot him 
doivn through the tilings. Some one may say, lliat llic ])lace 
was let down, from which they lowered the couch of the 
palsied man through the tilings. Bkde; The Lord about 
to cure the man of his palsy, first loosens the chains 
of his sins, that He may shew him, that on account of 
the bonds of his sins, he is pimished with the loosening 
of his joints, and that unless the former are set free, he 
cannot be healed to the recovery of his limbs. Hence it 
follows, And when he saw their faith, ^c. Ambrose; 
Mighty is the Lord who pardons one man for the good deed 
of another, and while he approves of the one, forgives the 
other his sins. Why, O man, with thee does not thy fellowman 
prevail, when with God a servant has both the liberty to inter- 
cede in thy behalf, and the power of obtaining what he asks ? If 
thou despairest of the pardon of heavy sins, bring the prayers of 
others, bring the Church to pray for thee, and at sight of this 
the Lord may pardon what man denies to thee. 
Chrys. Chrys. But there was combined in this the faith also of 


29. in ^^ sufferer himself. For he would not have submitted to 
Matt, "be let down, had he not believed. 

Aug. de Aug, But our Lord's saying, Man, thy sins are forgiven, con- 

rb° i veys the meaningthatthemanhadhis sins forgiven him, because 

C.25. in that he was man, he could not say, "1 have not sinned," but at 

the same time also, that He who forgave sins might be known 

Chrys. to be God. Chrys. Now if we suffer bodily, we are enough 

^ ' *"P' concerned to get rid of the hurtful thing ; but when there 

has harm happened to the soul, we delay, and so are neither 

cured of our bodily ailments. Let us then remove the 

fountain of evil, and the waters of sickness will cease to 

flow. But from fear of the multitude, the Pharisees durst not 

openly expose their designs, but only meditated them in 

their hearts Hence it follows. And they began to reason, 

saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? 

Cyril; By this they hasten the sentence of death, for it 

Lev. 24, was commanded in the law, that whoever blasphemed God 

should be punished with death. Ambrose; From His very 

works therefore the Son of God receives testimony. For it 

is both more powerful evidence when men confess unwillingly, 

VER. 17—26. ST. LUKE. 187 

and a more fatal error when they who deny are left to the 
consequence of their own assertions. Hence it follows, Who 
can forgive sins, but God only ? Great is the madness of an 
unbelieving people, who though they have confessed that it 
is of God alone to forgive sins, believe not God when He 
forgives sins. Bede; For they say true, that no one can 
forgive sins but God, who yet forgives through those to 
whom He gives the power of forgiving. And therefore Christ 
is proved to be truly God, for He is able to forgive sins 
as God. Ambrose; The Lord wishing to save sinners shews 
Himself to be God, by His knowledge of the secret thoughts ; 
as it follows, But that ye may know. Cyril; As if to say, 
O Pharisees, since ye say, Who can forgive sins, but God 
alone? I answer you. Who can search the secrets of the heart, 
but God alone. Who says by His prophet, I am the Lord, Jer. i7, 
that searcheth the hearts, and trieth the reins. Chrys. If ch'rys. 
then you disbelieve the first, (i. e. the forgiveness of sins,) ubi sup. 
behold, I add another, seeing that I lay open your inmost 
thoughts. Again, another that I make whole the body of the 
palsied man. Hence He adds. Whether is it easier? It is 
very plain that it is easier to restore the body to health. 
For as the soul is far nobler than the body, so is the forgive- 
ness of sins more excellent than the healing of the body. 
But since you beheve not the former, because it is hid ; I 
will add that which is inferior, yet more open, in order that 
thereby that which is secret may be made manifest. And 
indeed in addressing the sick man. He said not, I forgive thee 
thy sins, expressing His own power, but, Thy sins are forgiven 
thee. But they compelled Him to declare more plainly His 
own power to them, when He said. But that you may know. 
Theophyl. Observe that on earth He forgives sins. For 
vi^hile we are on earth we can blot out our sins. But after 
that we are taken away from the earth, we shall not be 
able to confess, for the gate is shut. Chrys. He shews Chrys. 
the pardon of sins by the healing of the body. Hence it^ ^^ ^' 
follows. He says unto the sick of the palsy, I say unto 
thee. Rise. But He manifests the healing of the body by 
the carrying of the bed, that so that which took place might 
be accounted no shadow. Hence it follows. Take up thy 
bed. As if He said, " I was willing through thy suffering 


to cure those who think that they are in health, while their 
souls are sick, but since they are unwilling, go and correct 
thy household," Ambrose; Nor is there any delay, health 
is present; there is but one moment both of words, and healing. 
Hence it follows. And immediately he rose. From this fact 
it is evident, that the Son of man has power on earth to 
forgive sins ; He said this both for Himself and us. For He 
as God made man, as the Lord of the law, forgives sins ; we 
also have been chosen to receive from Him the same marvellous 
John 20, grace. For it was said to the disciples, Wliose sins ye remit, 
' they are remitted unto them. But how does lie not Himself 
forgive sins, Who has given to others the power of doing so ? 
But the kings and princes of the earth when they acquit 
homicides, release them from their present punishment, but 
cannot expiate their crimes. 

Ambrose ; They beliold him rising up, still disbelieving, and 
marvel at his departing ; as it follows, And they were all 
Chryy. amazed. Chrys. The Jews creep on by degrees, glorifying 
ubi sup. God, yet thinking Him not God, for His flesh stood in their 
way. But still it was no slight thing to consider Him 
the chief of mortal men, and to have proceeded from God. 
Ambrose; But they had rather fear the miracles of divine 
working, than believe them. As it follows, And they were 
filled with fear. But if they had believed they had not 
surely feared, but loved ; for perfect love casteth out fear. 
But this was no careless or trifling cure of the paralytic, since 
our Lord is said to have prayed first, not for the petition's 
Aug. sake, but for an example. Aug. With respect to the sick of 
•"•qu- . t^g palsy, we may understand that the soul relaxed in itslimbs, 
i. e. its operations, seeks Christ, i. e. the meaning of God's word; 
but is hindered by the crowds, that is to say, unless it dis- 
covers the secrets of the thoughts, i. e. the dark parts of the 
Scriptures, and thereby arrives at the knowledge of Christ. 
Bede; And the house where Jesus was is well described 
as covered with tiles, since beneath the beggarly covering of 
letters is found the spiritual ])ower of grace. Ambrose; Now 
let every sick person have those that will pray for his 
salvation, by whom the loosened joints of our life and 
halting steps may be renewed by the remedy of the lieavenly 
word. Let there be then certain monitors of the soul, 

VER. 27—32. ST. LUKE. 189 

to raise the mind of man, though grown dull through the 
weakness of the external body, to higher things, by the aid 
of which being able again easily to raise and humble itself, 
it may be placed before Jesus worthy to be presented 
in the Lord's sight. For the Lord beholdeth the humble. 
Aug. The men then by whom he is let down may signify the Aug. 
doctors of the Church. But that he is let down with the^^^^^P- 
couch, signifies that Christ ought to be known by man, while 
yet abiding in his flesh. Ambrose; But the Lord, pointing 
out the full hope of resurrection, pardons the sins of the 
soul, sets aside the weakness of the flesh. For this is the 
curing of the whole man. Although then it is a great thing 
to forgive the sins of men, it is yet much more divine to give 
resurrection to the bodies, since indeed God is the resurrec- 
tion. But the bed which is ordered to be taken up is 
nothing else, but the human body. Aug. That the infirm ^ug 
soul may no more rest in carnal joys, as in a bed, but "^i sup. 
rather itself restrain the carnal affections, and tend toward 
its own home, i. e. the resting-place of the secrets of its 
heart Ambrose ; Or it may reseek its own home, i. e. return to 
Paradise, for that is its true home, which first received man, 
and was lost not fairly, but by treachery. » Rightly then is 
the soul restored thither, since He has come Who will undo 
the treacherous knot, and reestablish righteousness. 

27. And after these things he went forth, and saw 
a Publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of 
custom : and he said unto him. Follow me. 

28. And he left all, rose up, and followed him. 

29. And Levi made him a great feast in his own 
house ; and there was a great company of Publicans 
and of others that sat down with them. 

30. But their Scribes and Pharisees murmured 
against his disciples, saying. Why do ye eat and 
drink with Publicans and sinners ? 

31. And Jesus answering said unto them. They 
that are whole need not a physician ; but they that 
are sick. 


32. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners 
to repentance. 

Aug. de Aug. After the healing of the sick of the palsy, St. Luke goes 

l.ii.c.26. °" ^o mention the conversion of a publican, saying, Ajid after 
these things, he went forth, and saw a publican of the name 
of Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom. This is Matthew, 
also called Levi. Bede ; Now Luke and Mark, for the honour 
of the Evangelist, are silent as to his common name, but 
Matthew is the first to accuse himself, and gives the name 
of Matthew and publican, that no one might despair of 
salvation because of the enormity of his sins, when he himself 
was changed from a publican to an Apostle. Cyril ; For 
Levi had been a publican, a rapacious man, of unbridled 
desires after vain things, a lover of other men's goods, for this 
is the character of the publican, but snatched from the very 
worship of malice by Christ's call. Hence it follows, And 
he said unto him, Follow me. He bids him follow Him, 
not with bodily step, but with the soul's affections. Matthew 
therefore, being called by the Word, left his own, who 
was wont to seize the things of others, as it follows, 

Chrys. And hating left all, he rose, and followed him. Chrys. 

inMatt.H6re mark both the power of the caller, and the obedience 
of him that was called. For he neither resisted nor wavered, 
but forthwith obeyed ; and like the fishermen, he did not even 
wish to go into his own house that he might tell it to his 

Basil. Basil; He not only gave up the profits of the customs, 

^act^'s*^^* also despised the dangers which might occur to himself 
and his family from leaving the accounts of the receipts un- 
completed. Theophyl. And so from him that received toll 
from the passers by, Christ received toll, not money, but 

Chrys. entire devotion to His company. Chrys. But the Lord 
sup. jjQ^Qyj.gj Levi, whom He had called, by immediately going 
lo his feast. For this testified the greater confidence in him. 
Hence it follows. And Levi made him a great feast in his own 
house. Nor did He sit down to meat with him alone, but 
with many, as it follows. And there was a great company of 
Publicans and others that sat down with them,. For the 
publicans came to liovi as to their colleague, and a man in 

VER. 27 32. ST. LUKE. 191 

the same line with themselves, and he too glorying in the 
presence of Christ, called them all together. For Christ 
displayed every sort of remedy, and not only by discoursing 
and displaying cures, or even by rebuking the envious, but also 
by eating with them. He corrected the faults of some, thereby 
giving us a lesson, that every time and occasion brings with it its 
own profit. But He shunned not the company of Publicans, 
for the sake of the advantage that might ensue, like a physician, 
who unless he touch the afflicted part cannot cure the disease. 
Ambrose ; For by His eating with sinners, He prevents not us 
also from going to a banquet with the Gentiles. Chrys. But Chrys. 
nevertheless the Lord was blamed by the Pharisees, who^^^"^' 
were envious, and wished to separate Christ and His dis- 
ciples, as it follows, And the Pharisees murmured, sayhig, 
Why do you eat with Publicans, ^c. Ambrose ; This was 
the voice of the Devil. This was the first word the Serpent 
uttered to Eve, Yea hath God said. Ye shall not eat. So Gen. 3, 
they diffuse the poison of their father. Aug. Now St. Luke ^* ^g 
seems to have related this somewhat different from the other con. Ev. 
Evangelists. For he does not say that to our Lord alone it was c.27.' 
objected that He eat and drank with publicans and sinners, 
but to the disciples also, that the charge might be under- 
stood both of Him and them. But the reason that Matthew 
and Mark related the objection as made concerning Christ to 
His disciples, was, that seeing the disciples ate with publicans 
and sinners, it was the rather objected to their Master as Him 
whom they followed and imitated; the meaning therefore is the 
same, yet so much the better conveyed, as while still keeping to 
the truth, it differs in certain words. Chrys. But our Lord Chrys. 
refutes all their charges, shewing, that so far from its being a "^' ®"P* 
fault to mix with sinners, it is but a part of His merciful 
design, as it follows. And Jesus ansivering said unto them, 
Tliey that are whole need not a physician ; in which He 
reminds them of their common infirmities, and shews them 
that they are of the number of the sick, but adds. He is the 
Physician. It follows, 1 came not to call the righteous, but 
sinners to repentance. As if He should say. So far am I 
from hating sinners, that for their sakes only I came, not 
that they should remain sinners, but be converted and 
become righteous. Aug. Hence He adds, to repentance, Aug. 

ubi sup. 


which serves well to explain the passage, that no one should 
suppose that sinners, because they are sinners, are loved by 
Christ, since that similitude of the sick plainly suggests what 
our Lord meant by calling sinners, as a Physician, the sick, 
in order that from iniquity as from sickness they should be 

P'S.ii.r. saved. Ambrose; But how does God love righteousness, 

^* ^^' and David has never seen the righteous man forsaken, if the 
righteous are excluded, the sinner called ; unless you under- 
standthat He meantbythe righteous those who boast qf the law, 
and seek not the grace of the Gospel. Now no one is justi- 
fied by the law, but redeemed by grace. He therefore calls not 
those who call themselves righteous, for the claimers to righ- 
teousness are not called to grace. For if grace is from 
repentance, surely he who despises repentance renounces 
grace. Ambrose ; But He calls those sinners, who con- 
sidering their guilt, and feeling that they cannot be justified 
by the law, submit themselves by repentance to the giace of 
Christ. Chrys. Now He speaks of the righteous ironically, 

Gen. 3, as when He says. Behold Adam is become as one of us. But 
that there was none righteous upon the earth St. Paul shews, 

Eom. 3, saying. All have sinned, and need the grace qf God. Greg. 

^^' Nyss. Or, He means that the sound and righteous need no 
physician, i. e. the angels, but the coiTupt and sinners, i. e. 
ourselves do ; since we catch the disease of sin, which is not in 
heaven. Bede ; Now by the election of Matthew is signified 
the faith of the Gentiles, who formerly gasped after worldly plea- 
sures,but now refresh the body of Christ with zealous devotion. 
Theophyl. Or the publican is he who serves the prince of 
this world, and is debtor to the flesh, to which the glutton 
gives his food, the adulterer his pleasure, and another some- 
thing else. But when the Lord saw him sitting at the 
receipt of custom, and not stining himself to greater wicked- 
ness. He calls him that he might be snatched from the 
evil, and follow J 3sus, and receive the Lord into the house 
of his soul. 

Ambrose ; But he who receives Christ into his inner 
chamber, is fed with the greatest delights of overflowing plea- 
sures. The Lord therefore willingly enters, and reposes in his 
affection ; but again the envy of the treacherous is kindled, 
and the fonn of their future punishment is prefigured ; for 

VER. 33 39. ST. LUKE. 193 

while all the faithful are feasting in the kingdom of heaven, 
the faithless will be cast out hungry. Or, by this is denoted 
the envy of the Jews, who are afflicted at the salvation of 
the Gentiles. Ambrose ; At the same time also is shewn 
the difference between those who are zealous for the law and 
those who are for grace, that they who follow the law shall 
suffer eternal hunger of soul, while they who have received 
the word into the inmost soul, refreshed with abundance of 
heavenly meat and drink, can neither hunger nor thirst. And 
so they who fasted in soul murmured. 

33. And they said unto him. Why do the disciples 
of John fast often, and make prayers, and likewise 
the disciples of the Pharisees ; but thine eat and 
drink ? 

34. And he said unto them. Can ye make the 
children of the bridechamber fast, while the bride- 
groom is with them ? 

35. But the days will come, when the bridegroom 
shall be taken away from them, and then shall they 
fast in those days. 

36. And he spake also a parable unto them ; No 
man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old ; 
if otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, and 
the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not 
with the old. 

37. And no man putteth new wine into old bottles ; 
else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, 
and the bottles shall perish. 

38. But new wine must be put into new bottles ; 
and both are preserved. 

39. No man also having drunk old wine straight- 
way desireth new : for he saith. The old is better. 

Cyril ; As soon as they have received the first answer from 
Christ, they proceed from one thing to another, with the 
intent to shew that the holy disciples, and Jesus Himself 

VOL. III. o 


with them, cared very little for the law. Hence it follows, 

JVhy do the disciples of John fast, hut thine eat, Sfc. As 

if they said, Ye eal with publicans and sinners, whereas the 

Lev. 15, law forbids to have any fellowship with the unclean, but 

^^^i^*jg" compassion comes in as an excuse for your transgression; 

why then do ye not fast, as they are wont to do who 

wish to live according to the law? But hol}"^ men indeed 

fast, that by the mortification of their body they may quell 

its passions. Christ needed not fasting for the perfecting of 

virtue, since as God He was free from every yoke of passion. 

Nor again did His companions need fasting, but being made 

partakers of His grace without fasting they were strengthened 

in all holy and godly living. For when Christ fasted for forty 

days, it was not to mortify His passions, but to manifest to 

Aug. carnal men the rule of abstinence. Aug. Now Luke evidently 

E Mi ^'^lates that this was spoken not by men of themselves, 

c. 27. but by others concerning them. How then does Matthew 

say, Then came unto him the disciples of John, saying. Why 

do we and the Pharisees fast ; unless that they themselves 

also came, and were all eager, as far as they were able, to put 

Aug. the question to Him } Aug. Now there are two fasts, one is 

£y_]"'ji in tribulation, to propitiate God for our sins; another in joy, 

q. 18. vvhen as carnal things delight us less, we feed the more 

on things spiritual. The Lord therefore being asked why 

His disciples did not fast, answered as to each fast. And 

first of the fast of tribulation ; for it follows, And he said unto 

them, Can ye make the children of the bridegroom fast when 

Chrys. fMe bridegroom is with them ? Chrys. As if He should say, 

30. in The present time is one of joy and gladness, sorrow must not 

^**** then be mixed up with it. Cyril; For the shewing forth 

of our Saviour in this world was nothing else but a great 

wtif^yv- festival, spiritually uniting our nature to Him as His bride, 

*" that she who was formerly barren might become fruitful. 

The children of the Bridegroom then are found to be those who 

have been called by Him through a new and evangelical 

discipline, but not the Scribes and Pharisees, who observe 

Aug. only the shadow of the law. Aug. Now this which Luke 

Ev^n" ^lo"^ mentions, Ve cannot ?nake the children of the bride- 

c. 27. groom fast, is understood to refer to those very men who said 

that they would make the children of the Bridegroom mourn 

VER. 33 — 39. ST. LUKE. 195 

and fast, since they were about to kill the Bridegroom. 
Cyril; Having granted to the children of the Bridegroom 
that it was not fitting that they should be troubled, as they were 
keeping a spiritual feast, but that fasting should be abohshed 
among them. He adds as a direction, But the days shall 
come when the Bridegroom shall be taken from them, and 
then shall they fast in those days. Aug. As if He said, Then Aug. de 
shall they be desolate, and in sorrow and lamentation, [['^•^jjg" 
until the joy of consolation shall be restored to them by the 
Holy Spirit. Ambrose; Or, That fast is not given up 
whereby the flesh is mortified, and the desires of the body 
chastened. (For this fast commends us to God.) But we 
cannot fast who have Christ, and banquet on the flesh and 
blood of Christ. Basil; The children of the Bridegroom 
also cannot fast, i. e. refuse nourishment to the soul, but 
live on every word which proceedeth out of the mouth of 
God. Ambrose ; But when are those days, in which Christ 
shall be taken away from us, since He has said, / will he 
ttith you aluayy even unto the end of the tcorld ? But no 
one can take Christ away from you, unless you take yourself 
away from Him. Bede ; For as long as the Bridegioom is 
with us we both rejoice, and can neither fast nor mourn. But 
when He has gone away through our sins, then a fast must 
be declared and mourning be enjoined. Ambrose ; Lastly, 
it is spoken of the fast of the soul, as the context shews, for 
it follows, But he said, No man putteth a piece of a new 
garment upon an old. He calleth fasting an old garment, 
which the Apostle thought should be taken off", saying, Put Col. 3, 
off the old man with his deeds. In the same manner we 
have a series of precepts not to mix up the actions of the 
old and new man. Aug. Or else. The gift of the Holy Aug. 
Spirit being received, there is a kind of fast, which is of joy,"^* *"P* 
which they who are already renewed to a spiritual life most 
seasonably celebrate. Before they receive this gift, He says 
they are as old garments, to which a new piece of cloth is 
most unsuitably sewed on, i. e. any part of the doctrine which 
relates to the soberness of the new life ; for if this takes place, 
the very doctrine itself also is in a measure divided, for it 
teaches a general fast not from pleasant food only, but from all 
delight in temporal pleasures, the part of which that apper- 

o 2 


tains to food He said ouglit not to be given to men still 

devoted to their old habits, for therein seems to be a 

rent, and it agreeth not with the old. He says also, that 

they are like to old skins, as it follows. And no one puiteth 

wine into old skins. Ambrose ; The weakness of man's 

condition is exposed when our bodies are compared to the 

^"8- skins of dead animals. Aug. But the Apostles are com- 
ubi sup, 11- • 

pared to old skins, who arc more easily burst with new 

wine, i. e. with spiritual precepts, than contain them. Hence 
it follows, Else the new wine will burst the skins, and 
the uine will be spilled. But they were new skins at that 
time, when after the ascension of the Lord they received the 
Holy Spirit, when from desire of His consolation they were 
renewed by prayer and hope. Hence it follows. But the 
new wine must be put into new bottles, and both are pre- 
served. Bede ; Inasmuch as wine refreshes us within, but 
garments cover us without, the garments are the good 
works which we do abroad, by which we shine before men ; 
wine, the fervour of faith, hope, and charity. Or, The 
old skins are the Scribes and Pharisees, the new piece 

Greg, and the new wine the precepts of the Gospel. Greg. 

Deu! Nyss. For wine newly drawn forth, evaporates on account 

rilii et of the natural heat in the liquor, throwing off from itself 
the scum by natural action. Such wine is the new covenant, 
which the old skins because of their unbelief contain not, 
and are therefore burst by the excellence of the doctrine, and 

Sap. 1, cause the grace of the Spirit to flow in vain; because into 
an evil soul wisdom will not enter. Bede ; But to every soul 
which is not yet renewed, but goes on still in the old way of 
wickedness, the sacraments of new mysteries ought not to 
be given. They also who wish to mix the precepts of 
the Law with the Gospel, as the Galatians did, put new 
wine into old bottles. It follows. No man also having drank 
old wine straightway desireth new, for he sailh, the old 
is better. For the Jews, imbued with the taste of their 
old life, despised the precepts of the new grace, and being 
defiled with the traditions of their ancestors, were not able to 
perceive the sweetness of spiritual words. 


1 . And it came to pass on the second sabbath after 
the first, that he went through the corn fields ; and 
his disciples plucked the ears of corn, and did eat, 
rubbing them in their hands. 

2. And certain of the Pharisees said unto them. 
Why do ye that which is not lawful to do on the 
sabbath days ? 

3. And Jesus answering them said. Have ye not 
read so much as this, what David did, when himself 
was an hungred, and they which were with him ; 

4. How he went into the house of God, and did 
take and eat the shewbread, and gave also to them 
that were with him ; which it is not lawful to eat but 
for the Priests alone ? 

5. And he said unto them. That the Son of man 
is Lord also of the sabbath. 

Ambrose ; Not only in the form of expression, but in His 
very practice and mode of action, did the Lord begin to ab- 
solve man from the observance of the old law. Hence it is 
said, And it came to pass that he went through the cornfields, 
^c. Bede; For His disciples having no opportunity for 
eating because the multitudes thronged so, were naturally 
hungry, but by plucking the ears of com they relieved their 
hunger, which is a mark of a strict habit of life, not seeking 
for prepared meats, but mere simple food. Theophyl. 
Now He says, on the second sabbath after the first, be- 


cause the Jews called every feast a sabbatli. For sabbath 

means rest. Frequently therefore was there feasting at 

the preparation, and they called the preparation a sabbath 

because of the feast, and hence they gave to the principal 

sabbath the name of the second-first, as being the 

second in consequence of the festival of the day preceding. 

Chrj-s. Chrys. For there was a double feast; one on the principal 

39. in sabbath, another on the next solemn day succeeding, which was 

Matt, also called a sabbath. Isidore; He says, On the second-first, 

Isidore. . -, ^ n ■, ^ 

1. i. Ep. because it was the second day of the Passover, but the first 
^^^' of unleavened bread. Having killed the passover, on the 
very next day they kept the feast of unleavened bread. And 
it is plain that this was so from the fact, that the Apostles 
plucked ears of corn and ate them, for at that time the ears 
Epiph. are weighed down by the fruit. Epipii. On the sabbath day 
S?°** J then they were seen passing through the com fields, and eat- 
i. Haer. ing the corn, shewing that the bonds of the sabbath were 
"loosened, when the great Sabbath was come in Christ, Who 
made us to rest from the w^orking of our iniquities. Cyril ; 
But the Pharisees and Scribes not knowing the Holy Scrip- 
tures agreed together to find fault with Christ's disciples, as 
it follows. And certain of the Pharisees said unto them. Why 
do ye, SfC. Tell me now, when a table is set before you on 
the sabbath day; do you not break bread.'' Why then do 
you blame others ? Bede; But some say that these things 
were objected to our Lord Himself; they might indeed have 
been objected by different persons, both to our Lord Himself 
and His disciples, but to whomsoever the objection is made, 
it chiefly refers to Him. 

Ambrose; But the Lord proves the defenders of the law to 

be ignorant of what belongs to the law, bringing the example 

of David ; as it follows. And Jesus answering said to theni. 

Have ye not read so much as this, ^c. Cyril; As if He said, 

Deut 1 Whereas the law of Moses expressly says. Give a righteous 

le. 17- judgment, and ye shall not respect persons in judgment, how 

now do ye blame My disciples, who even to this day extol 

David as a saint and prophet, though he kept not the com- 

Chryfl. mandment of Moses? Chrys. And mark, that whenever the 

°* '"P- Lord speaks for His servants, (i. e. His disciples,) He brings 

forward servants, as for example David and the Priests; but 

VER. 1 — 5. ST. LUKE. " 199 

when for Himself, He introduces His Father ; as in that John 5, 
place, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. 

Theophyl. But he reproves them in another way, as it is 
added, And he said unto them, that the Son of man is Lord 
also of the sabbath. As if he said, I am the Loi*d of the sab- 
bath, as being He who ordained it, and as the Legislator I 
have power to loose the sabbath ; for Christ was called the 
Son of man, who being the Son of God yet condescended in a 
miraculous manner to be made and called for man's sake the 
Son of man. Chrys. But Mark declares that He uttered this Chrys. 
of our common nature, for He said. The sabbath was made for 
man, not man for the sabbath. It is therefore more fitting 
that the sabbath should be subject to man, than that man 
should bow his neck to the sabbath. 

Ambrose ; But herein is a great mystery. For the field 
is the whole world, the corn is the abundant harvest of the 
saints in the seed of the human race, the ears of corn are the 
fruits of the Church, which the Apostles shaking off by their 
works fed upon, nourishing themselves with our increase, and 
by their mighty miracles, as it were out of the bodily husks, 
plucking forth the fruits of the mind to the light of faith. 

Bede; For they bruise the ears in their hands,because, when 
they wish to bring othei's over into the body of Christ, they 
mortify their old man with its acts drawing them away from 
worldly thoughts. Ambrose; Now the Jews thought this un- 
lawful on the Sabbath, but Christ by the gift of new grace 
represented hereby the rest of the law, the work of grace. 
Wonderfully has He called it the second-first sabbath, not the 
first-second, because that was loosed from the law which was 
first, and this is made first which was ordained second. It is 
therefore called the second sabbath according to number, the 
first according to the grace of the work. For that sabbath 
is better where there is no penalty, than that where there is a 
penalty prescribed. Or this perhaps was first in the foreknow- 
ledge of wisdom, and second in the sanction of the ordinance. 
Now in David escaping with his companions, there was 
a foreshadowing of Christ in the law, who with His Apostles 
escaped the prince of the world. But how was it that the 
Observer and Defender of the law Himself both eat the bread, 
and gave it to those that were with Him, which no one was 

200 'gospel according to chap. VI 

allowed to eat but the priests, except that lie might shew by 
that figure that the priests' bread was to come over to the use 
of the people, or that wc ought to imitate the priests' life, or 
that all the children of the Church are priests, for we arc 
1 Pet. 2, anointed into a holy priesthood, offering ourselves a spiritual 
saci'ifice to God. But if the sabbath was made for men, and 
the benefit of men required that a man when hungry (having 
been long without the fruits of the earth) should forsake the 
abstinence of the old fast, the law is surely not broken but 

6. And it came to pass also on another sabbath, 
that he entered into the synagogue and taught : and 
there was a man whose right hand was withered. 

7. And the Scribes and Pharisees watched him, 
whether he would heal on the sabbath day ; that they 
might find an accusation against him. 

8. But he knew their thoughts, and said to the man 
which had the withered hand. Rise up, and stand 
forth in the midst. And he arose and stood forth. 

9. Then said Jesus imto them, I will ask you one 
thing ; Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, 
or to do evil ? to save life, or to destroy it ? 

10. And looking round about upon them all, he 
said unto the man. Stretch forth thy hand. And he 
did so : and his hand was restored whole as the 

11. And they were filled with madness; and com- 
muned one with another what they might do to Jesus. 

Ambrose ; The Lord now proceeds to another work. For 
He who had determined to make the whole man safe, was 
able to cure each member. Hence it is said, And it came to 
pass also on another sabbath, that he entered into the syna- 
gofjue and taught. Bedk; He chiefly heals and teaches on 
the sabbaths, not only to convey the meaning of a spiritual 
sabbath, but because of the more numerous assembly of 
the people. Cyril ; But He taught things far beyond 

VER. 6 — 11. ST. LUKE. 201 

their comprehension, and opened to his hearers the way to 
future salvation by Him; and then after having first taught 
them, He suddenly shewed His divine power, as it follows, 
and there was a man there whose right hand was withered. 

Bede; But since the Master had excused by an undenia- 
ble example the breach of the sabbath, with which they 
charged His disciples, their object is now by watching to 
bring a false accusation against the Master Himself. As it 
follows. And the Scribes and Pharisees watched him, if he 
would heal on the sabbath, that if He did not, they might 
accuse Him of cruelty or impotence; if He did, of violation 
of thesabbath. Hence it follows, that they might find an accusa- 
tion against him. Cyril; For this is the way of the envious 
man, he feeds in himself his pang of grief with the praises of 
others. But the Lord knew all things, and searches the hearts ; 
as it follows, But he knew their thoughts, and said to the man 
who had the withered hand. Rise up, and stand. And he 
arose, and stood forth, that perchance he might stir up 
the cruel Pharisees to pity, and allay the flames of their 

Bede; But the Lord anticipating the false charge which 
they were preparing against Him, reproves those who by 
wrongly interpreting the law thought that they must rest on 
the sabbath-day even from good works; whereas the law com- 
mands us to abstain from servile works, i. e. from evil, on the 
sabbath. Hence it follows, Then said Jesus unto them, I 
ask you, Is it lauful to do good on the sabbath, ^c. Cyril; 
This isa very useful question, for if itis lawful to do good on the 
sabbath, and there is no reason why those who work should 
not obtain mercy from God, cease to gather up accusation 
against Christ. But if it be not lawful to do good on the 
sabbath, and the law prohibits the safety of life, thou art be- 
come the accuser of the law. For if we examine the very 
institution of the sabbath, we shall find it was introduced 
for an object of mercy, for God commanded to keep holy the 
sabbath, that may rest thy man servant and thy maid Exo6. 
servant, and all thy cattle. But he who has mercy on his^^' ^^' 
ox, and the rest of his cattle, how much rather will he not 
have mercy on man troubled with a severe disease ? Ambrose ; 
But the law by things present prefigured the form of things 


future, among wliich surely the clays of rest to eouie are to 

be not from good works but from evil. For although secular 

works may be given up, yet it is no idle act of a good work to 

/.ug. de ^^.gt ij^ the praise of God. Aug. But though our Lord was heal- 

Qu. Lv. , ' .... 

1. iii.qu. ing the body, He asked this question, " is it lawful to save the 
'' soul or to lose it.?" either because He performed His miracles 

on account of faith in which is the salvation of the soul; or, 
because the cure of the right hand signified the salvation of the 
soul, which ceasing to do good works, seemed in some measure 
to have a withered right hand, i. e. He placed the soul for the 
man, as men are wont to say, " So many souls were there." 
Aug- Aug. But it may be questioned how Matthew came to say, 

Ev. 1. ii. that they asked the Lord, uhether it ivas lawful to heal on 
*^- ^^* the sabbath, when Luke in this place states that they rather 
were asked of the Lord. We must therefore believe ihatthey 
first asked the Lord, and that then He understanding b}^ their 
thoughts that they sought an opportunity to accuse Him, placed 
the man in the midst whom He was going to heal, and asked the 
question which Mark and Luke relate Him to have asked. It 
follows. And looking round about upon them all. Tit us Bos. 
When the eyes of all were, as it were, riveted together, and 
their minds also fixed upon the consideration of the matter, 
he said to the man, Stretch forth thy hand; I command thee, 
Who created man. But he who had the withered hand hears, 
and is made whole, as it follows. And he stretched it, and it was 
restored. But they who should have been astonished at the 
miracle, increased in malice; as it follows. But they were 
filled with madness; and communed one with another whut 
Chrys. they shoidd do to Jesus. Chrys. And as Matthew relates, 
in*Matt. ^^^V 9^ ^^^^ ^^ ^^^^ counsel, that they shoidd kill him. Cyril; 
40. Thou perceivest, O Pharisee, a divine Worker, and Him Who 
delivers the sick by His heavenly power, and out of 
envy thou breathest forth death. Bede; The man repre- 
sents the human race, withered by the unfruitfulness of 
good works, because of the hand in our first ])arent stretched 
forth to take the apple, which was healed by the innocent 
hand stretched forth on the cross. And rightly was the wi- 
thered hand in the synagogue,because where there is the greater 
gift of knowledge, there the transgressor lies under the greater 
blame. Ambrose ; You have heard then the words of Him 

VER. 12—16. ST. LUKE. 203 

who says, Stretch forth thy hand. That is a frequent and 
common cure, and thou that thinkest thy hand is whole, be- 
ware lest it be contracted by avarice or sacrilege. Stretch it 
forth oftener to help thy neighbour, to protect the widow, to 
save from injury him whom you see the victim of unjust attack; 
stretch it forth to the poor man who beseeches thee ; stretch 
it forth to the Lord, to ask pardon of thy sins ; as the hand is i Kings 
stretched forth so is it healed. ^^^ ^' ^' 

12 And it came to pass in those days, that he went 
out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night 
in prayer to God. 

13. And when it was day, he called unto him his 
disciples : and of them he chose twelve, whom also he 
named apostles ; 

14. Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and 
Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and 

15. Matthew and Thomas, James the son of 
Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes, 

16. And Judas the brother of James, and Judas 
Iscariot, which also was the traitor. 

Gloss. When adversaries rose up against the miracles Gloss, 
and teaching of Christ, He chose Apostles as defendei-s and°°°°'^^' 
witnesses of the truth, and pi'efaces their election with prayer; 
as it is said. And it came to pass, S^e. Ambkose ; Let not thy 
ears be open to deceit, that thou shouldest think that the Son 
of God prays from want of strength, that He may obtain 
what He could not perform ; for being Himself the Author of 
power, the Master of obedience. He leads us by His own ex- 
ample to the precepts of virtue. 

Cyril ; Let us examine then in the actions which Jesus 
did, how He teaches us to be instant in prayer to God, 
going apart by ourselves, and in secret, no one seeing us; put- 
ting aside also our worldly cares, that the mind may be raised 
up to the height of divine contemplation ; and this we have 
marked in the fact, that Jesus went into a mountain apart to pray. 


Ambrose; Every where also He prays alone, for human wishes 
comprehend not the wisdom of" God ; and no one can be 
a partaker of the secrets of Christ. But not every one who 
prays ascends a mountain, he only who prays advancing 
from earthly things to higher, who is not anxious for 
the riches or honours of the world. All whose minds are 
raised above the world ascend the mountain. In the Gospel 
therefore you will find, that the disciples alone ascend the 
mountain with the Lord. But thou, O Christian, hast now 
the character given, the form prescribed which thou shouldest 
imitate; as it follows, Atid he contiiiued all night in 
jnayer to God. For what oughtest thou to do for thy 
salvation, when Christ continues all night in prayer for thee ? 
Chrys. Chrys. Rise then thou also at night time. The soul is then 
ad Pop. purer, the very darkness and great silence are in themselves 
Ant. 42. enough to lead us to sorrow for our sins. But if thou lookest! upon the heaven itself studded with stars as with unnumbered 
^^*- eyes, if thou thinkest that they who wanton and do unjustly 
in day time arc then nothing different from the dead, thou wilt 
loathe all human undertakings. All these things serve to 
raise the mind. Vain-glory then disquiets not, no tumult 
of passion has the mastery; fire does not so destroy the 
rust of iron as nightly prayer the blight of sin. He whom the 
heat of the sun has fevered by day is refreshed by the dew; 
nightly tears are better than any dew, and are proof against desire 
and fear. But ifa man is not cherished by the dew we speak of, 
he withers in the day. Wherefore although thou prayest not 
much at night, pray once with watching, and it is enough ; shew 
that the night belongs not only to the body, but to the soul. 

Ambrose ; But what does it become thee to do when thou 
wouldest commence any work of piety, when Christ, about 
to send out His disciples, first prayed } for it follows. And 
tvhen it was day, he called his disciples, Sfc. whom truly 
He destined to be the means of spreading the salvation of 
man through the world. Turn thy eyes also to the heavenly 
council. Not the wise men, not the rich, not the noble, but 
He chose to send out fishermen and })ublicans, that they might 
not seem to turn men to their grace by riches or by 
the influence of power and rank, and that the force of truth, 
C^J"'- not the graces of oratory, might prevail. Cyuil; But 

VER. 12 — 16. ST. LUKE. 205 

mark the gi-eat carefulness of the Evangelist. He not only says 
that the holy Apostles were chosen, but he enumerates them 
by name, that no one should dare to insert any others in the 
catalogue ; Simon, whom he also called Peter, and Andrew 
his brother. Bede; HenotonlysurnamedPeter first, but lon^ 
before this, when he was brought by Andrew, it is said, Thou John i, 
shall he called Cephas, which is hy interpretation, a stone. 
But Luke, wishing to mention the names of the disciples, 
since it was necessary to call him Peter, wished shortly to 
imply that this was not his name before, but the Lord had 
given it to him. Euseb. The two next are James and 
John, as it follows, James and John, both indeed sons of 
Zebedee, who were also fishermen. After them he mentions 
Philip and Bartholomew. John says Philip was of Bethsaida, 
of the city of Andrew and Peter. Bartholomew was a 
simple man, devoid of all worldly knowledge and guile. But 
Matthew was called from those who used to collect taxes; 
concerning whom he adds Matthew and Thomas. Bede ; 
Matthew places himself after his fellow-disciple Thomas, from 
humility, whereas by the other Evangelists he is put before 
him. It follows, James the son qf Alphceus, and Simon who 
is called Zelotes. Gloss. Because in truth he was of Cana in 
Galilee, which is interpreted zeal ; and this is added to distin- 
guish him from Simon Peter. It follows, Judas the brother of 
James, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him. 

Aug. With respect to the name of Judas the brother of Aug. 
James, Luke seems to differ fi-om Matthew, who calls him e^. 
Thaddajus. But what prevented a man from being called '*^•"• 
by two or three names ? Judas the traitor is chosen, not 
unwittingly but knowingly, for Christ had indeed taken to 
Himself the weakness of man, and therefore refused not even 
this share of human infirmity. He was willing to be betrayed 
by His own Apostle, that thou when betrayed by thy friend 
mayest bear calmly thy mistaken judgment, thy kindness 
thrown away. 

Bede ; But in a mystical sense the mountain on which our Lord 
chose His disciples represents the loftiness of justice in which 
they were to be instructed, and which they were to preach to 
others ; so also the law was given on a mountain. Cyril; But if 
we may learn the interpreUition of the Apostles' names, know 


that Peter means, " loosening or knowing;" Andrew, " glorious 
power," or "answering;" but James," ai)ostle of grief';" John, 
"the grace of the Lord;" Matthew, "given;" Philip, "large 
mouth," or the " orifice of a torch;" Bartholomew, " the son of 
him who lets down water ;" Thomas, " deep or twin ;" James 
the son of Alphaeus, " supplanter of the step of life;" Judas, 
"confession;" Simon," obedience." 

17. And he came down with them, and stood in 
the plain, and the company of his disciples, and a 
great multitude of people out of all Judaea, and 
Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, 
which came to hear him, and to be healed of their 
diseases ; 

18. And they that were vexed with unclean spirits : 
and they were healed. 

19. And the whole multitude sought to touch him : 
for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all. 

Cyril ; When the ordination of the Apostles was accom- 
plished, and gi'eat numbers were collected together from the 
country of Judaea, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, 
(who were idolaters,) he gave the Apostles their commission 
to be the teachers of the whole world, that they might recal 
the Jews from the bondage of the law, but the worshippers of 
devils from their Gentile errors to the knowledge of the truth. 
Hence it is said, And fie came down witli them, and stood in 
the plain, and a great multitude from Jud<ea, and the sea 
coast, S^c. Bede ; By the sea coast he does not refer to the 
neighbouring sea of Galilee, because this would not be 
accounted wonderful, but it is so called from the great sea, and 
therein also Tyre and Sidon may be comprehended, of which it 
follows, Both of Tyre and Sidon. And these states being 
Gentile, are purposely named here, to indicate how great was 
the fame and power of the Saviour which had brought even 
the citizens of the coast to receive His healing and teaching. 
Hence it follows, Which came to hear him. Theophyl. 
That is, for the cure of their souls ; and that they might be 
healed of their diseases, that is, for the cure of their bodies. 

VER. 20 — 23. »T. LUKE. 207 

Cyril ; But after that the High Priest had made pubHcly known 
His choice of Apostles, He did many and great miracles, that 
the Jews and Gentiles who had assembled might know that 
these were invested by Christ with the dignity of the Apostle- 
ship, and that He Himself was not as another man, but rather 
was God, as being the Incarnate Word. Hence it follows. 
And the whole multitude sought to touch him, for there went 
virtue out of him. For Christ did not receive virtue from 
others, but since He was by nature God, sending out His own 
Anrtue upon the sick, He healed them all. 

Ambrose ; But observe all things carefully, how He both 
ascends with His Apostles and descends to the multitude ; for 
how could the multitude see Christ but in a lowly place. It 
follows him not to the lofty places, it ascends not the heights. 
Lastly, when He descends, He finds the sick, for in the high 
places there can be no sick. Bede ; You will scarcely find 
any where that the multitudes follow our Lord to the higher 
places, or that a sick person is healed on a mountain ; but 
having quenched the fever of lust and lit the torch of know- 
ledge, each man approaches by degrees to the height of the 
virtues. But the multitudes which were able to touch the 
Lord are healed by the virtue of that touch, as formerly the 
leper is cleansed when our Lord touched him. The touch 
of the Saviour then is the work of salvation, whom to touch 
is to believe on Him, to be touched is to be healed by His 
precious gifts. 

20. And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and 
said. Blessed be ye poor : for yours is the kingdom 
of God. 

21. Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall 
be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now : for ye 
shall laugh. 

22. Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and 
when they shall separate you from their company, 
and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as 
evil, for the Son of man's sake. 

23. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy : for. 


behold, your reward is great in heaven : for in the 
like manner did their fathers unto the prophets. 

Cyril; After the ordination of tlie Apostles, the Saviour 
directed His disciples to the newness of the evangelical life. 
Ambrose ; But being about to utter His divine oracles, 
He begins to rise higher ; although He stood in a low 
place, yet as it is said, He lifted tip his eyes. What is 
lifting up the eyes, but to disclose a more hidden hght ? 
Bede; And although He speaks in a general way to all, 
yet more especially He lifts up His eyes on His disciples ; 
for it follows, on his disciples, that to those who receive 
the word listening attentively with the heart, He might 
reveal more fully the light of its deep meaning. Ambrose ; 
Now Luke mentions only four blessings, but Matthew eight ; 
but in those eight are contained these four, and in these four 
those eight. For the one has embraced as it were the four 
cardinal virtues, ihe other has revealed in those eight the 
' For the mystical number. For as the eighth ' is the accomplishment of 
'^' ber '^^^ hope, so is the eighth also the completion of the virtues. 
see But each Evangelist has placed the blessings of poverty first, 
p. 78?' f^^ ^* i® ^^ ^'^^t i^ order, and the purest, as it were, of the 
virtues; for he who has despised the world shall reap an 
eternal reward. Now can any one obtain the reward of the 
heavenly kingdom who, overcome by the desires of the world, 
has no power of escape from them.? Hence it follows, He 
said, Blessed are the poor. 

Cyril; In the Gospel according to St. Matthew it is said. 

Blessed are the poor in spirit, that we should understand the 

* poor in spirit to be one of a modest and somewhat depressed 

mind. Hence our Saviour says, Learn from me, for I am 

meek and lowly of heart. But liuke says. Blessed are the 

poor, without the addition of spirit, calling those poor who 

despise riches. For it became those who were to preach the 

doctrines of the saving Gospel to have no covetousness, but 

their affections set upon higher things. 

Basil, in Basil ; But not every one oppressed with poverty is blessed, 

P.x. 33. but he who has preferred the commandment of Christ to 

worldly riches. For many are poor in their possessions, yet 

most covetous in their disposition ; these poveity does not save. 

VER. 20 — 23. ST. LUKE. 209 

but their affections condemn. For nothing involuntary 
deserves a blessing, because all virtue is characterized by the 
freedom of the will. Blessed then is the poor man as being 
the disciple of Christ, Who endured poverty for us. For the 
Lord Himself has fulfilled every work which leads to happiness, 
leaving Himself an example for us to follow. Euseb. But 
when the celestial kingdom is considered in the many 
gradations of its blessings, the first step in the scale belongs 
to those who by divine instinct embrace poverty. Such did 
He make those who first became His disciples ; therefore 
He says in their person, For yours is the kingdom of heaven^ 
as pointedly addressing Himself to those present, upon whom 
also He lifted up His eyes. 

Cyril; After having commanded them to embrace poverty, 
He then crowns with honour those things which follow from 
poverty. It is the lot of those who embrace poverty to be in 
want of the necessaries of life, and scarcely to be able to get 
food. He does not then permit His disciples to be faint- 
hearted on this account, but says, Blessed are ye toho hunger 
now. Bede ; That is, blessed are ye who chasten your body 
and subject it to bondage, who in hunger and thirst give heed 
to the word, for then shall ye receive the fulness of heavenly 
joys. Greg. Naz. But in a deeper sense, as they who Greg, 
partake of bodily food vaiy their appetites according to the ^^^^^f' 
nature of the things to be eaten ; so also in the food of the 
soul, by some indeed that is desired which depends upon the 
opinion of men, by others, that which is essentially and of its 
own nature good. Hence, according to Matthew, men are 
blessed who account righteousness in the place of food and 
drink; by righteousness I mean not a particular but an universal 
virtue, which he who hungers after is said to be blessed. Bede ; 
Plainly instructing us, that we ought never to account our- 
selves sufficiently righteous, but always desire a daily increase 
in righteousness, to the perfect fulness of which the Psalmist 
shews us that we can not arrive in this world, but in the 
world to come. / shall be satisjied when thy glory shall be Ps. 17, 
made manifest. Hence it follows. For ye shall be filled. ^^' 

Greg. Nyss. For to those who hunger and thirst after Greg.v 
righteousness He promises abundance of the things they"^**"P* 
desire. For none of the pleasures which are sought in this 

VOL. III. p 


life can satisfy those who pursue them. But the pursuit of 
virtue alone is followed by that reward, which implants a joy 
in the soul that never failcth. Cyril; But poverty is 
followed not only by a want of those things which bring 
delight, but also by a dejected look, because of sorrow. 
Hence it follows, Blessed are ye that weep. He blesses 
those who weep, not those who merely drop tears from their 
eyes, (for this is common to the believing and unbelieving, 
when sorrow befals them,) but rather He calls those blessed, 
who shun a careless life, mixed up with sin, and devoted to 
carnal pleasures, and refuse enjoyments almost weeping from 
their hatred of all worldly things. 
Chrys. Chrys. But godly sorrow is a great thing, and it worketh 
18. ad repentance to salvation. Hence St. Paul when he had no 
P"P' failings of his own to weep for, mourned for those of others. 
Such grief is the source of gladness, as it follows, For ye 
shall laugh. For if we do no good to those for whom we 
weep, we do good to ourselves. For he who thus weeps for 
the sins of others, will not let his own go unwept for ; but 
the rather he will not easily fall into sin. Let us not be 
ever relaxing ourselves in this short life, lest we sigh in 
that which is eternal. Let us not seek delights from which 
flow lamentation, and much sorrow, but let us be saddened 
with sorrow which brings forth pardon. We often find 
Basil, the Lord sorrowing, never laughing. Basil; But He pro- 
Grat. mises laughing to those who weep ; not indeed the noise of 
*"*• laughter from the mouth, but a gladness pure and unmixed 
with aught of sorrow. Bede ; He then who on account of 
the riches of the inheritance of Christ, for the bread of eternal 
Ufe, for the hope of heavenly joys, desires to suffer weeping, 
hunger, and poverty, is blessed. But much more blessed is he 
who does not shrink to maintain these virtues in adversity. 
Hence it follows, Blessed are ye tvhen men shall hate you. 
For although men hate, with their wicked hearts they can not 
injure the heart that is beloved by Christ, It follows. And 
when they shall separate you. Let them sei)arate and expel 
you from the synagogue. Christ finds you out, and strengthens 
you. It follows; And shall reproach you. Let them reproach 
the name of the Crucified, He Himself raises together with 
Him those that have died with Him, and makes them sit in 

VER. 20 23. ST. LUKE. 2] I 

heavenly places. It follows, And cast out your name as evil. 
Here he means the name of Christian, which by Jews and 
Gentiles as far as they were able was frequently erased from 
the memory, and cast out by men, when there was no 
cause for hatred, but the Son of man; for in truth they 
who believed on the name of Christ, wished to be called 
after His name. Therefore He teaches that they are to be 
persecuted by men, but are to be blessed beyond men. As 
it follows. Rejoice ye in that day, and ueep for joy, for 
behold your reward is great in heaven. Chrys. Great and 
little are measured by the dignity of the speaker. Let us enquire 
then who promised the great reward. If indeed a prophet 
or an apostle, little had been in his estimation great; but now 
it is the Loi'd in whose hands are eternal treasures and riches 
surpassing man's conception, who has promised great reward. 
Basil ; Again, great has sometimes a positive signification, Basil, 
as the heaven is great, and the earth is great; but sometimes?^*®' 
it has relation to something else, as a great ox or great horse, 
on comparing two things of like nature. I think then that 
great reward will be laid up for those who suffer reproach for 
Christ's sake, not as in comparison with those things in our 
power, but as being in itself great because given by God. 
Damasc. Those things which may be measured or numbered Damas. 
are used definitely, but that which from a certain excellence Logic c 
surpasses all measure and number we call great and much 49. 
indefinitely; as when we say that gi-eat is the longsuffering 
of God. 

EusEB. He then fortifies His disciples against the attacks 
of their adversaries, which they were about to suffer as they 
preached through the whole world ; adding. For in like manner 
did their fathers to the prophets. Ambrose ; For the Jews 
persecuted the prophets even to death. Bede ; They 
who speak the truth commonly suffer persecution, yet the 
ancient prophets did not therefore from fear of persecution 
turn away from preaching the tiaith. 

Ambrose ; In that He says, Blessed are the poor, thou 
hast temperance; which abstains from sin, tramples upon 
the world, seeks not vain delights. In Blessed are they that 
hunger, thou hast righteousness; for he who hungers suffers 
together with the hungry, and by suffering together with him 

p 2 


gives to him, by giving becomes righteous, and his rigliieous- 
Ps. ii2,ness abideth for ever. In Blessed are they that weep vow, 
thouhast prudence ; which is to weep for the things of time, and 
to seek those which are eternal- In Blessed are ye vjhen nien 
hale you, thou hast fortitude ; not that which deserves hatred 
for crime, but which suffers persecution for faith. For so thou 
wilt attaiji to the crown of suffering, if thou slightest the favour 
of men, and seekest that which is from God. 

Temperance therefore brings with it a pure heart; righ- 
teousness, mercy; prudence, peace; fortitude, meekness. The 
virtues are so joined and linked to one another, that he who 
has one seems to have many ; and the Saints have each one 
especial virtue, but the more abundant virtue has the richer 
reward. What hospitality in Abraham, what humility, 
but because he excelled in faith, he gained the pre- 
eminence above all others. To every one there are many 
rewards because many incentives to virtue, but that which 
is most abundant in a good action, has the most exceeding 

24. But woe unto you that are rich I for ye have 
received your consolation. 

25. Woe unto you that are full ! for ye shall 
hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now ! for ye 
shall mourn and weep. 

26. Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well 
of you ! for so did their fathers to the false prophets. 

Cyril; Having said before that poverty for God's sake is 
the cause of every good thing, and that hunger and weeping 
will not be without the reward of the saints, he goes on to 
denounce the opposite to these as the source of condemnation 
and punishment. But woe unto you rich, for ye have your 
consolation. Chrys. For this expression, woe, is always 
said in the Scriptures to those who cannot escape from 
future punishment. Ambrose ; But although in the abun- 
dance of wealth many are the allurements to crime, yet many 
also are the incitements to virtue. Although virtue requires 
no support, and the offering of the poor man is more com- 
mendable than the liberality of the rich, still it is not those 

VER. 24 — 26. ST. LUKE. 213 

who possess riches, but those who know not how to use 
them, that are condemned by the authority of the heavenly 
sentence. For as that poor man is more praiseworthy who 
gives without grudging, so is the rich man more guilty, 
who ought to return thanks for what he has received, 
and not to hide without using it the sum which was 
given him for the common good. It is not therefore the 
money, but the heart of the possessor which is in fault. 
And though there be no heavier punishment than to be pre- 
serving with anxious fear what is to serve for the advantage 
of successors, yet since the covetous desires are fed by a 
certain pleasure of amassing, they who have had their 
consolation in the present life, have lost an eternal reward. 
We may here however understand by the rich man the 
Jewish people, or the heretics, or at least the Pharisees, who, 
rejoicing in an abundance of words, and a kind of hereditary 
pride of eloquence, have overstepped the simplicity of true 
faith, and gained to themselves useless treasures. 

Bede ; JVoe to you that are full, for ye shall be hungry. 
That rich man clothed in purple was full, feasting sumptu- 
ously everj"^ day, but endured in hunger that dreadful '* woe," 
when from the finger of Lazarus, whom he had despised, he 
begged a drop of water. Basil ; Now it is plain that the rule Basil. 
of abstinence is necessary, because the Apostle mentions it^^g-*^*"' 
among the fruits of the Spirit. For the subjection of the body 16_19, 
is by nothing so obtained as by abstinence, whereby, as it were 2z ' ' 
a bridle, it becomes us to keep in check the fervour of youth. 
Abstinence then is the putting to death of sin, the extirpation 
of passions, the beginning of the spiritual life, blunting in 
itself the sting of temptations. But lest there should be any 
agreement with the enemies of God, we must accept every 
thing as the occasion requires, to shew, that to the pure all Tit. i, 
things are pure, by coming indeed to the necessaries of life, ^' 
but abstaining altogether from those which conduce to 
pleasure. But since it is not possible that all should keep 
the same hours, or the same manner, or the same proportion, 
still let there be one purpose, never to wait to be filled, 
for fulness of stomach makes the body itself also unfit foi" 
its proper functions, sleepy, and inclined to what is hurtful. 
Bede; In another way. If those are happy who always hunger 


after the works of righteousness, they on the other liand are 
counted to be unhappy, who, pleasing themselves in their 
own desires, suffer no hunger after the true good. It follows, 

Basil. JVoe to you who laugh, 8fc. Basil; Whereas the Lord 
^' reproves those who laugh now, it is plain that there will 
never be a house of laughter to the faithful, especially since 
there is so great a multitude of those who die in sin for whom 
we must mourn. Excessive laughter is a sign of want 
of moderation, and the motion of an unrestrained spirit ; but 
ever to express the feelings of our heart with a pleasant- 

Chrys. ness of countenance is not unseemly. Chrys. But tell me, 

in Matt! why art thou distracting and wasting thyself away with 
pleasures, who must stand before the awful judgment, and 
give account of all things done here ? Bede ; But because 
flattery being the very nurse of sin, like oil to the flames, 
is wont to minister fuel to those who are on fire with 
sin, he adds, JVoe unto you when all men shall speak 
well of you. Chrys. What is said here is not opposed 

Matt. 5, to what our Lord says elsewhere. Let your light shine before 
men ; that is, that we should be eager to do good for the 
glory of God, not our own. For vain-glory is a baneful 
thing, and from hence springs iniquity, and despair, and 
avarice, the mother of evil. But if thou seekest to turn 
away from this, ever raise thy eyes to God, and be content 
with that glory which is from Him. For if in all things we 
must choose the more learned forjudges, how dost thou trust 
to the many the decision of virtue, and not rather to Him, 
who before all others knoweth it, and can give and reward it, 
whose glory therefore if thou desirest, avoid the praise of 
men. For no one more excites our admiration than he who 
rejects glory. And if we do this, much more does the God 
of all. Be mindful then, that the glory of men quickly 
faileth, seeing in the course of time it is into oblivion. 
It follows, For so did their fathers to the false prophets. 
Bede ; By the false prophets are meant those, who to 
gain the favour of the multitude attempt to predict future 
events. The Lord on the mountain pronounces only the 
blessings of the good, but on the plain he describes also 
the " woe" of the wicked, because the yet uninstmcted 
hearers must first be brought by terrors to good works, but 

VER. 27 — 31. ST. LUKE. 215 

the perfect need but be invited by rewards. Ambrose ; And 
mark, that Matthew by rewards called the people to virtue 
and faith, but Luke also frightened them from their sins and 
iniquities by the denunciation of future punishment. 

27. But I say unto you which hear. Love your 
enemies, do good to them which hate you, 

28. Bless them that curse you, and pray for them 
which despitefully use you. 

29. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one 
cheek offer also the other ; and him that taketh away 
thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. 

30. Give to every man that asketh of thee ; and of 
him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. 

31. And as ye would that men should do to you, 
do ye also to them likewise. 

Bede ; Having spoken above of what they might suffer 
from their enemies, He now points out how they ought to 
conduct themselves towards their enemies, saying, But I say 
to you who hear. Ambrose ; Having proceeded in the enu- 
meration of many heavenly actions, He not unwisely comes to 
this place last, that He might teach the people confirmed by 
the divine miracles to march onward in the footsteps of 
virtue beyond the path of the law. Lastly, among the three 
greatest, (hope, faith, and charity,) the greatest is charity, 
which is commanded in these words, Love your enemies. 
Basil; It is indeed the part of an enemy to injure and be Basil, 
treacherous. Every one then who does harm in any way tOb).J^5 
any one is called his enemy. Cyril ; But this way of life was ^^^• 
well adapted to the holy teachers who were about to preach 
throughout the earth the word of salvation, and if it had been 
their will to take vengeance upon their persecutors, had 
failed to call them to the knowledge of salvation. Chrys. Chrys. 
But He says not, Do not hate, but love ; nor did He merely Jg"^ 
command to love, but also to do good, as it follows, Do Matt. 
good to them which hate you. Basil ; But because man Basil, 
consists of body and soul, to the soul indeed we shall do "^' "°P' 


this good, by reproving and admonishing such men, and 
leading them by the hand to conversion; but to tlie body, 
by profiting them in the necessaries of life. 

It follows, Bless them that curse you. Chrys. For they who 
pierce their own souls deserve tears and weeping, not curses. 
For nothing is more hateful than a cursing heart, or more foul 
than a tongue which utters curses. O man, spit not forth 
the poison of asps, nor be turned into a beast. Thy mouth 
was given thee not to bite with, but to heal the wounds of 
others. But he commands us to count our enemies in the 
rank of our friends, not only in a general way, but as our 
particular friends for whom we are accustomed to pray ; as it 
follows, Pray for them which persecute you. But many on 
the contrary falling down, and striking their faces upon the 
ground, and stretching forth their hands, pray God not for 
their sins, but against their enemies, which is nothing else but 
piercing their own selves. When thou prayest to Him that 
He would hear thee cursing thy enemies, who has forbidden 
thee to pray against thy enemies, how is it possible for thee 
to be heard, since thou art calling Him to hear thee by striking 
an enemy in the king's presence, not with the hand indeed, but 
with thy words. What art thou doing, O man ? thou staudest 
to obtain pardon of your sins, and thou fillest thy mouth with 
bitterness. It is a time of forgiveness, prayer, and mourning, 
not of rage. Bede ; But the question is fairly raised, how 
it is that in the prophets are to be found many cunses against 
their enemies. Upon which we must observe, that the pro- 
phets in the imprecations they uttered foretold the future, and 
that not with the feelings of one who wishes, but in the 
spirit of one who foresees. Cyril ; Now the old law com- 
manded us not to injure one another; or if we are first 
injured, not to extend our wrath beyond the measure of the 
injurer, but the fulfilling of the law is in Christ and in His 
commands. Hence it follows. And unto him that smiteth 
thee on the one cheek, offer also the other. 
Chrys. Chrys. For physicians also, when they are attacked by mad- 
18° Tn men, have then most compassion on them, and exert themselves 
Matt, to restore them. Have thou also a like consideration towards 
thy persecutors; for it is they who arc under tlic greatest 
infirmity. And let us not cease until they have exhausted 

VER. 27 — 81. ST. LUKE. 217 

all their bitterness, they will then overpower thee with thanks, 
and God Himself will give thee a crown, because thou hast 
delivered thy brother from the worst disease. Basil ; But we Basil, 
almost all of us offend against this command, and especially j" 23^'* 
the powerful and rulers, not only if they have suffered insult, in App. 
but if respect is not paid them, accounting all those their 
enemies who treat them with less consideration than they 
think they deserve. But it is a great dishonour in a prince 
to be ready to take revenge. For how shall he teach another, 
to return to no man evil for evil, if he is eager to retaliate on Rom. 
him who injures him. 12, 17. 

Cyril ; But the Lord would moreover have us to be de- 
spisers of property. As it follows, Andhim that taketh away thy 
cloak, forbid not to take thy coat also. For this is the soul's 
virtue, which is altogether alien from feeling the pleasure of 
wealth. For it becomes him who is merciful even to forget his 
misfortunes, that we may confer the same benefits upon our 
persecutors, whereby we assist our dear friends. Chrys. Chrys. 
Now He said not. Bear humbly the rule of thy persecutor, " ^ ^"^' 
but, Go on wisely, and prepare thyself to suffer what he desires 
thee to do ; overcoming his insolence by thy great prudence, 
that he may depart with shame at thy excellent endurance. 

But some one will say. How can this be? When thou hast 

seen God made man, and suffering so many things for thee, 

dost thou still ask and doubt how it is possible to pardon 

the iniquities of thy fellow servants ? Who has suffered what 

thy God has, when He was bound, scourged, enduring to be 

spat upon, suffering death ? Here it follows. But to every 

one who seeks, give. Aug. He says not. To him that seeketh Aug. 

give all things, but give what you justly and honestly can,Doi^™' 

that is, what as far as man can know or believe, neither li^- 1- 

c 20 
hurts you, nor another : and if thou hast justly refused any 

one, the justice must be declared to him, (so as not to send 

him away empty,) sometimes thou wilt confer even a greater 

boon when thou hast corrected him who seeks what he ought 

not. Chrys. Herein however we do not lightly en-, when not 

only we give not to those who seek, but also blame them ? Why 

(you say) does he not work, why is the idle man fed ? Tell 

me, dost thou then possess by labour.? but still if thou workest, 

dost thou work for this, that thou shouldest blame another ? For 


a single loaf and coat dost thou call a man covetous ? Thou 
givestnothing, make then no reproaches. Why dost thou neither 
take pity thyself, and dissuadest those who would ? If we spend 
upon all indifferently, we shall always have compassion : for be- 
cause Abraham entertains all, he also entertains angels. For if 
a man is a homicide and a robber, does he not, thinkest thou, 
deserve to have bread ? Let us not then be severe censors of 
others, lest we too be strictly judged. 

It follows. And of him that taketh away thy goods, ask 

Chrys. them not again. Chrys. Every thing we have we receive 

10. in from God. But when we speak of " mine and thine," they 

1 Cor. arg only bare words. For if you assert a house to be yours, 

you have uttered an expression which wants the substance of 

reality. For both the air, the soil, and the moisture, are the 

Creator's. Thou again art he who has built the house ; but 

although the use is thine, it is doubtful, not only because of 

death, but also on account of the issues of things. Thy soul 

is not thy own possession, and will be reckoned to thee in like 

manner as all thy goods. God wishes those things to be 

thine which are entrusted to thee for thy brethren, and they 

will be thine if thou hast dispensed them for others. But if 

thou hast spent richly upon thyself what things are thine, 

they are now become another's. But through a wicked 

desire of wealth men strive together in a state contrary to 

Christ's words. And of him that taketh away thy goods, 

Aug. ask them not again. Aug. He says this of garments, 

Dom "^ houses, farms, beasts of burdens, and generally of all property. 

lib. 1. But a Christian ought not to possess a slave as he does a 

' ' ' horse or money. If a slave is more honourably governed 

by thee than by him who desires to take him from thee, I 

know not whether any one would dare to say, that he ought 

ut vesti-to be despised, as a gamient. 

mentum. (juRyg, j^ow we have a natural law implanted in us, by 
Honi. which we distinguish between what is virtue, and what is 
^- ^ vice. Hence it follows. And as ye uould that men should 
Ant. do unto you, do ye also to them. He does not say, What- 
ever ye would not that men should do unto you, do not ye. 
For since there are two ways which lead to virtue, namely, 
abstaining from evil, and doing good, he names one, signifying 
by it the other also. And if indeed He had said, That ye may 

VER. 32—36. ST. LUKE. 219 

be men, love the beasts, the command would be a difficult 
one. But if they are commanded to love men, which is a 
natural admonition, wherein lies the difficulty, since even 
the wolves and lions observe it, whom a natural relation 
compels to love one another. It is manifest then that 
Christ has ordained nothing sui-passing our nature, but what 
He had long before implanted in our conscience, so that thy 
own will is the law to thee. And if thou wilt have good 
done unto thee, thou must do good to others ; if thou wilt that 
another should shew mercy to thee, thou must shew mercy to 
thy neighbour. 

32. For if ye love them which love you, what 
thank have ye ? for sinners also love those that love 

33. And if ye do good to them which do good to 
you, what thank have ye ? for sinners also do even 
the same. 

34. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to 
receive, what thank have ye ? for sinners also lend to 
sinners, to receive as much again. 

35. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and 
lend, hoping for nothing again ; and your reward shall 
be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest : 
for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. 

36. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also 
is merciful. 

Chrys. The Lord had said that we must love our enemies, Chrys. 
but that you might not think this an exaggerated expression, j^"^','" 
regarding it solely as spoken to alarm them, he adds the reason, 
saying. For if you love them which love you^ what thank 
have ye ? There are indeed several causes which produce 
love ; but spiritual love exceeds them all. For nothing 
earthly engenders it, neither gain, nor kindness, nor nature, 
nor time, but it descends from heaven. But why wonder 
that it needs not kindness to excite it, when it is not even 
overcome of malice } A father indeed suffering wrong 


bursts the bands of love. A wife after a quarrel leaves her 

husband. A son, if he sees his father come to a great age, 

Acts 14, is troubled. But Paul went to those who stoned him to do 

IT' , them good. Moses is stoned by the Jews, and prays for them. 

17, 40. Let us then reverence spiritual love, for it is indissoluble. 

Reproving therefore those who were inclined to wax cold, 

he adds, For sinners even love those tchich love them. As 

if he said. Because I wish you to possess more than these, 

I do not advise you only to love your friends, but also 

your enemies. It is common to all to do good to those who 

do good to them. But he shews that he seeks something 

more than is the custom of sinners, who do good to their 

friends. Hence it follows, And if you do good to those who 

do good to yon, nhat thank have ye? 

Bede ; But he not only condemns as unprofitable the love 

and kindness of sinners, but also the lending. As it follows, And 

if ye lend to those from whom ye hope to receive, what thank 

have ye ? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much 

again. Ambrose; Now philosophy seems to divide justice 

into three parts ; one towards God, which is called piety ; 

another towards our parents, or the rest of mankind ; a third 

to the dead, that the proper rites may be performed. But 

the Lord Jesus passing beyond the oracle of the law, and the 

heights of prophecy, extended the duties of piety to those 

also who have injured us, adding. But love your enemies. 

Chrys. Chrys. Whereby thou wilt confer more upon thyself than 

Horn. }jip^ por he is beloved by a fellow servant, but thou art made 

Gen. like unto God. But it is a mark of the greatest virtue when 

we embrace witli kindness those who wish to do us harm. 

Hence it follows, Afid do good. For as water, when cast upon 

a lighted furnace, extinguishes it, so also reason joined with 

gentleness. But what water is to fire, such is lowliness and 

meekness to wrath ; and as fire is not extinguished by fire, 

so neither is anger soothed by anger. 

Greg. GuEG. Nyss. But man ought to shun that baneful anxiety 

Oral, vvith which he seeks from the poor man increase of his money 

cont. . ^ 

usurar. and gold, exacting a profit of barren metals. Hence he adds. 

And lend, hoping for nothing again, Sf-c. If a man should 

call the harsh calculation of interest, theft, or homicide, he 

will not err. For what is the diflerence, whether a man bv 

VER. 32 — 36. ST. LUKE. -221 

digging under a wall become possessed of property, or 

possess it unlawfully by the compulsory rate of interest? 

Basil ; Now this mode of avarice is rightly called in the Basil. 

Greek Wxoj, from producing, because of the fruitfulness ofp°™* '" 

the evil. Animals in course of time grow up and produce, 

but interest as soon as it is born begins to bring forth. 

Animals which bring forth most rapidly cease soonest from 

breeding, but the money of the avaricious goes on increasing 

with time. Animals when they transfer their bringing forth 

to their own young, themselves cease to breed, but the 

money of the covetous both produces an increase, and renews 

the capital. Touch not then the destructive monster. For 

what advantage that the poverty of to-day is escaped, if it 

falls upon us repeatedly, and is increased ? Reflect then how 

canst thou restore thj^self ? Whence shall thy money be so 

multiplied as that it will partly relieve thy want, partly refi'esh 

thy capital, and besides bring forth interest? But thou sayest, 

How shall I get ray living ? I answer, work, serve, last of all, 

beg; any thing is more tolerable than borrowing upon interest. 

But thou sayest, what is that lending to which the hope of 

repayment is not attached? Consider the excellence of the 

words, and thou wilt admire the mercifulness of the author. 

When thou art about to give to a poor man from regai-d to 

divine charity, it is both a lending and a gift ; a gift indeed, 

because no return is hoped for; lending, because of the 

beneficence of God, who restores it in its turn. Hence 

it follows. And great shall be your reward. Dost thou not 

wish the Almighty to be bound to restore to thee ? Or, should 

He make some rich citizen thy security, dost thou accept 

him, but reject God standing as security for the poor ? 

Chrys. Observe the wonderful nature of lending, one receives Chrys. 

and another binds himself for his debts, giving a himdred P**,?* ^' 

' " '-' in den. 

fold at the present time, and in the future eternal life. 
Ambrose ; How great the reward of mercy which is received 
into the privilege of divine adoption ! For it follows. And Ps. 82, 
ye shall be the sons of the Highest. Follow then mercy, that 
ye may obtain grace. Widely spread is the mercy of God; 
He pours His rain upon the unthankful, the fruitful earth 
refuses not its increase to the evil. Hence it follows, For 
he is kind to the unthankful, and to the evil. Bede; Either 


by giving them temporal gifts, or by inspiring His heavenly 
gifts with a wonderful grace. 

Cyril; Great then is the praise of mercy. For this virtue 

makes us like unto God, and imprints upon our souls certain 

signs as it were of a heavenly nature. Hence it follows, Be 

ye then merciful^ (is your heavenly Father also is merciful. 

Athan. Athan. That isto say, that we beholding His mercies, whatgood 

jjQ^j ' ' things we do should do them not with regard to men, but to 

Arian. Him, that we may obtain our rewards from God, not from men. 

37. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: con- 
demn not, and ye shall not be condemned : forgive, 
and ye shall be forgiven : 

38. Give, and it shall be given unto you : good 
measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and 
running over, shall men give into your bosom. For 
with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall 
be measured to you again. 

. Ambrose ; The liord added, that we must not readily judge 
others, lest when conscious of guilt thyself, thou shouldestbe 
compelled to pass sentence upon another. Chrys. Judge 
not thy superior, that is, thou a disciple must not judge thy 
master, nor a sinner the innocent. Thou must not blame 
them, but advise and correct with love ; neither must we pass 
judgment in doubtful and indifferent matters, which bear no 
resemblance to sin, or which are not serious or forbidden. 
Cyril ; He here expresses that worst inclination of our 
thoughts or hearts, which is the first beginning and origin 
of a jHoud disdain. For although it becomes men to look 
into themselves and walk after God, this they do not, but 
look into the things of others, and while they forget their 
own passions, behold the infirmities of some, and make 
them a subject of reproach. Chrvs. You will not easily 
find any one, whether a father of a family or an inhabitant of 
the cloister, free from this error. But these are the wiles of 
the tempter. For he who severely sifts the fault of others, 
will never obtain acquittal for his own. Hence it follows, 
And ye shall not he judged. For as the merciful and meek 

VER. 37, 38. ST. LUKE. 223 

man dispels the rage of sinners, so the harsh and cruel adds 
to his own crimes. Greg. Nyss. Be not then rash to judge 
harshly of your servants, lest ye suffer the like. For passing 
judgment calls down a heavier condemnation ; as it follows, 
Condemn not, and ye shall not he condemned. For he does 
not forbid judgment with pardon. Bede; Now in a short 
sentence he concisely sums up all that he had enjoined with 
respect to our conduct towards our enemies, saying. Forgive^ 
and ])e shall he forgiven, wherein he bids us forgive injuries, 
and shew kindness, and our sins shall be forgiven us, and we 
shall receive eternal life. Cyril ; But that we shall receive 
more abundant recompense fiom God, who gives bountifully 
to those who love him, he explains as follows. Good measure, 
pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall 
they give into your hosom. Theophyl. As if he says. As 
when you wish to measure meal without sparing, you press it 
down, shake it together, and let it pour over abundantly ; so 
the Lord will give a large and overflowing measure into your 
bosom. Aug. But he says, shall they give, because 
the merits of those to whom they have given even a cup of cold i. ii* q. g*. 
water in the name of a disciple, shall they be thought worthy ^^*' ^^' 
to receive a heavenly reward. It follows. For with the same 
measure that ye mete withal it shall he measured to you 
again. Basil; For according to the same measure with Basil, 
which each one of you metes, that is, in doing good works orpg_ gi. 
sinning, will he receive reward or punishment. Theophyl. 
But some one will put the subtle question, " If the return is 
made overabundantly, how is it the same measure?" to which 
we answer, that He said not, " In just as great a measure shall 
it be measured to you again, but in the same measure." For 
he who has shewn mercy, shall have mercy shewn unto him, 
and this is measuring again with the same measure ; but our 
Lord spoke of the measure running over, because to such 
a one He will shew mercy a thousand times. So also in 
judging ; for he that judges and afterwards is judged receives 
the same measure. But as far as he was judged the more 
severely that he judged one like unto himself, was the measure 
running over. Cyril; But the Apostle explains this when 
he says, He who sows sparingly, (that is, scantily, and with 2 Cor. 
a niggardly hand,) shall also reap sparingly, (that is, not ' * 


abundantly,) and he who sows blessings, shall reap also 
blessings, that is, bountifully. But if a man has not, and 
performs not, he is not guilty. P'or a man is accepted in 
that which he has, not in that which he has not. 

39. .And he spake a parable unto them, Can the 
blind lead the blind ? shall they not both fall into the 
ditch ? 

40. The disciple is not above his master : but every 
one that is perfect shall be as his master. 

41. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in 
thy brother's eye, but perceivest not the beam that is 
in thine own eye ? 

42. Either how canst thou say to thy brother. 
Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, 
when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in 
thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the 
beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou 
see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy 
brother's eye. 

Cyril ; The Lord added to what had gone before a very 
necessary parable, as it is said. And he spake a parable to 
them, for His disciples were the future teachers of the world, 
and it therefore became them to know the way of a virtuous 
life, having their minds illuminated as it were by a divine 
brightness, that they should not be blind leaders of the blind. 
And then he adds. Can the blind lead the blind? But if any 
should chance to attain unto an equal degree of virtue with 
their teachers, let them stand in the measure of their 
teachers, and follow their footsteps. Hence it follows, 
The disciple is not above fits master. Hence also Paul says, 
1 Cor. 1, Be ye also followers of me, as J am of Christ. Since Christ 
^^' therefore judged not, why judgest thou? for He came not 
to judge the world, but to shew mercy. Theophyl. Or else, 
If thou judgest another, and in the very same way sinnest 
thyself, art not thou like to the blind leading the blind? For 
how canst thou lead him to good when thou also thyself com- 
mittest sin? For the disciple is not above his master. If 

VER. 39 — 42. ST. LUKE. 225 

therefore thou sinnest, who thinkest thyself a master and guide, 
where will he be who is taught and led by thee? For he 
will be the perfect disciple who is as his master. Bede ; 
Or the sense of this sentence depends upon the former, in 
which we are enjoined to give alms, and forgive injuries. 
If, says He, anger has blinded thee against the violent, and 
avarice against the grasping, how canst thou with thy corrupt 
heart cure his corruption? If even thy Master Christ, 
who as God might revenge His injimes, chose rather by 
patience to render His persecutors more merciful, it is 
surely binding on His disciples, who are but men, to follow 
the same rule of perfection. Aug. Or, He has added the Aug. de 
words, Can the blind, lead the blind, in order that theyp"'^^* 

. . -^ 1.11. q. 9. 

might not expect to receive from the Levites that measure of 
which He says, T7iey shall give into thy bosom, because 
they gave tithes to them. And these He calls blind, because 
they received not the Gospel, that the people might the 
rather now begin to hope for that reward through the dis- 
ciples of the Lord, whom wishing to point out as His imi- 
tators, He added. The disciple is not above his master. 

Theophyl. But the Lord introduces another parable taken 
from the same figure, as follows, But why seest thou the 
mote (that is, the slight fault) which is in thy brother\s eye, 
but the beam which is in thine own eye (that is, thy 
great sin) thou regardest nut ? Bede ; Now this has refer- 
ence to the previous parable, in which He forewarned 
them that the blind cannot be led by the blind, that 
is, the sinner corrected by the sinner. Hence it is said. Or, 
how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother let m,e cast out 
the mote that is in thine eye, if thou seest not the beam that is 
in thine own eye? Cyril; As if He said. How can he who 
is guilty of grievous sins, (which He calls the beam,) condemn 
him who has sinned only slightly, or even in some cases not 
at all? For this the mote signifies. Theophyl. But these words 
are applicable to all, and especially to teachers, who while 
they punish the least sins of those who are put under them, 
leave their own unpunished. Wherefore the Lord calls them 
hypocrites, because to this end judge they the sins of others, 
that they themselves might seem just. Hence it follows, 
T7iou hypocrite, Jirst cast the beam out of thine own eye, ^c. 



Cyril; That is to say, first shew thyself clean from great 

sins, and then aftci-wards shalt thou give counsel to thy 

Basil, neighbour, who is guilty only of slight sins. Basil ; In truth, 

in Hex-^^^ knowledge seems the most important of all. For not 

ameron. only the eye, looking at orutward things, fails to exercise 

its sight upon itself, but our understanding also, though 

very quick in apprehending the sin of another, is slow to 

perceive its own defects. 

43. For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt 
fruit ; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good 

44. For every tree is known by his own fruit. For 
of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble 
bush gather they grapes. 

45. A good man out of the good treasure of his 
heart bringeth forth that which is good ; and an evil 
man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth 
that which is evil : for of the abundance of the heart 
his mouth speaketh. 

Bede ; Our Lord continues the words which He had begun 
against the hypocrites, saying, For a good tree bringeth not 
forth corrupt fruit ; i. e. as if He says. If thou wouldest have 
a true and unfeigned righteousness, what thou settest forth in 
words make up also in works, for the hypocrite though he pre- 
tends to be good is not good, who doeth evil works ; and 
the innocent though he be blamed, is not therefore evil, who 
doeth good works. TiTDS Bos. But take not these words to 
thyself as an encouragement to idleness, for the tree is moved 
conformably to its nature, but thou hast the exercise of free 
will ; and every barren tree has been ordained for some good, 
but thou wert created unto the good work of virtue. Isidore 
Is. Pel. Peleus; He does not then exclude repentance, but a con- 
eV 81. tinuance in evil, which as long as it is evil cannot bring forth 
good fruit, but being converted to virtue, will yield abun- 
dance. But what nature is to the tree, our affections are to 
us. If then a corrupt tree cannot bring forth good fruit, 
how shall a corrupt heart ? 

VER. 43 — 45. ST. LUKE. 227 

Chrys. But although the fruit is caused by the tree, yet Chrys. 
it brings to us the knowledge of the tree, because the dis- 42. in 
tinctive nature of the tree is made evident by the fruit, as it ^^^"• 
follows, For every tree is known by its fruit. Cyril ; 
Each man's life also will be a criterion of his character. For 
not by extrinsic ornaments and pretended humility is the 
beauty of true happiness discovered, but by those things 
which a man does ; of which he gives an illustration, adding. 
For of thorns men do not gather figs. 

Ambrose ; On the thorns of this world the fig cannot be 
found, which as being better in its second fruit, is well fitted 
to be a similitude of the resurrection. Either because, as 
you read. The fig trees have put fmth their green figs, Cant. 2, 
that is, the unripe and worthless fruit came first in the^'^* 
Synagogue. Or because our life is imperfect in the flesh, 
perfect in the resurrection, and therefore we ought to cast far 
fi*om us worldly cares, which eat into the mind and scorch up 
the soul, that by diligent culture we may obtain the perfect 
fruits. This therefore has reference to the world and the 
resun-ection, the next to the soul and the body, as it follows. 
Nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes. Either because 
no one living in sin obtains fruit to his soul, which like the 
grape nearest the ground is rotten, on the higher branches 
becomes ripe. Or because no one can escape the con- 
demnations of the flesh, but he whom Christ has redeemed, 
Who as a grape hung on the tree. 

Bede ; Or, 1 think the thorns and bramble are the cai-es 
of the world and the prickings of sin, but the figs and the 
grapes are the sweetness of a new life and the warmth of 
love, but the fig is not gathered from the thorns nor the grape 
firom the bramble, because the mind still debased by the 
habits of the old man may pretend to, but cannot bring forth 
the fruits of the new man. But we must know, that as the 
fruitful palm tree is inclosed and supported by a hedge, and 
the thorn bearing fruit not its own, preserves it for the use 
of man, so the words and acts of the wicked wherein they 
serve the good are not done by the wicked themselves, but by 
the wisdom of God working upon them. 

Cyril ; But having shewn that the good and the bad man 
may be discerned by their works as a tree by its fruits, he 



now sets forth the same thing by another figure, saying, A 
good man out of the good treasure of his heart hringeth forth 
that which is good, and the evil man out of the evil treasure 
hringeth forth that uhich is evil, Bede ; The treasure of the 
heart is the same as the root of the tree. He therefore who 
has in his heart the treasure of patience and perfect love, 
brings forth the best fruits, loving his enemy, and doing the 
other things which have been taught above. But he who 
keeps a bad treasure in his heart does the contrary to this. 
Basil ; The quality of the words shews the heart from which 
they proceed, plainly manifesting the inclination of our 
thoughts. Hence it follows. For out of the abundance of 
Chrys. the heart the mouth speaketh. Chrys. For it is a natural 

TT * 

42. in consequence when wickedness abounds within, that wicked 
Matt, words are breathed as far as the mouth ; and therefore when 
you hear of a man uttering abominable things, do not sup- 
pose that there lies only so much wickedness in him as is ex- 
pressed in his words, but believe the fountain to be more 
copious than the stream. Bede ; By the speaking of the 
mouth the Lord signifies all things, which by word, or deed, 
or thought, we bring forth from the heart. For it is the manner 
of the Scripture to put words for deeds. 

46. And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not 
the things which I say? 

47. Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my 
sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom 
he is like : 

48. He is like a man which built an house, and 
digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock : and 
when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently 
upon that house, and could not shake it : for it was 
founded upon a rock. 

49. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a 
man that without a foundation built an house upon 
the earth : against which the stream did beat vehe- 
mently, and immediately it fell ; and the ruin of that 
house was great. 

VER. 46 — 49. ST. LUKE. 229 

Bede ; Lest any one should vainly flatter himself with the 
words, Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh, 
as if words only and not rather works were required of a 
Christian, our Lord adds the following, But why call ye 
me Lord, Lord, and do not the things uhich L say ? As if 
He said, Why do ye boast of sending forth the leaves of a 
right confession, and shew forth no fruit of good works. Cyril ; 
But Lordship both in name and reahty belongs only to 
the Highest Nature. Athan. This is not then the word of Athan. 
man, but the Word of God, manifesting His own birlh froracgutga^l 
the Father, for He is the Lord Who is bom of the Lord^^ll. 
alone. But fear not the duality of Persons, for they are not 
separate in nature. 

Cyril ; But the advantage which arises from the keeping of 
the commandments, or the loss from disobedience, he shews 
as follows ; Whosoever conieth to me, and hearelh my sayings, 
he is like to a man who built his house upon a rock, S^c. 
Bede ; The rock is Christ. He digs deep ; by the precepts 
of humility He plucks out all earthly things from the hearts 
of the faithful, lest they should serve God from regard to 
their temporal good. Basil; But lay your foundations upon Basil, 
a rock, that is, lean upon the faith of Christ, so as to per- Pro" °°' 
severe immoveable in adversity, whether it come from man 
or God. Bede ; Or the foundation of the house is the 
resolution to live a good life, which the perfect hearer firmly 
lays in fulfilling the commandments of God. Ambrose ; Or, 
He teaches that the obedience to heavenly precepts is the 
foundation of all virtue, by means of which this our house 
can be moved neither by the torrent of pleasures, nor by the 
violence of spiritual wickedness, neither by the storms of this 
world, nor by the cloudy disputations of heretics ; hence it fol- 
lows. But the flood came, ifc. Bede ; A flood comes in three 
ways, either by unclean spirits, or wicked men, or the veiy 
restlessness of mind or body ; and as far as men trust in their 
own strength they fall away, but as long as they cling to the 
immoveable rock they cannot even be shaken. 

Chrys. The Lord also shews us that faith profiteth a man Chrys. 
nothing, if his manner of life be coiTupt. Hence it follows, ^°™* 
But he that heareth and doeth not, is like a man, that tcith- Matt. 
out a foundation, built an house upon the earth, Sgc, Bede ; 


1 John The house of the devil is the world which lieth in wickedness, 
which he builds upon the earth, because those who obey him 
he drags down from heaven to earth ; he builds without 
foundation, for sin has no foundation, standing not by its 
own nature, for evil is without substance, which yet whatever it 
is, grows up in the nature of good. But because the found- 
ation is called so from fundus, we may not unfitly understand 
that fundament um is placed here for fundus. As then he who 
is fallen into a well is kept at the bottom of the well, so the 
soul falling away remains stationary, as it were, at the very 
bottom, as long as it continues in any measure of sin. But 
not content with the sin into which it is fallen, while daily 
sinking into worse, it can find no bottom, as it were, in the 
well to which it may fix itself. But every kind of tempt- 
ation increasing, both the really bad and the feignedly good 
become worse, until at last they come to everlasting punish- 
ment. Hence it follows, Against which the stream did beat 
vehemently. By the force of the stream may be understood 
the trial of the last judgment, when both houses being finished, 

Mat.26, //te wicked shall go into everlasting punishment, but the 
righteous into life eternal. Cyril; Or they build upon the 
earth without foundation, who upon the quicksand of doubt, 
which relates to opinion, lay the foundation of their spiritual 
building, which a few drops of temptation wash away. 

Aug. de Aug. Now this long discourse of our Lord, Luke begins 

ii, j9, 'in the same way as Matthew; for each says. Blessed are the 
poor. Then many things which follow in the narration of 
each are like, and finally the conclusion of the discourse is 
found to be altogether the same, I mean with respect to the 
men who build upon the rock and the sand. It might 
then easily be supposed that Luke has inserted the same 
discourse of our Lord, and yet has left out some sentences 
which Matthew has kept, and likewise put in others which 
Matthew has not; were it not that Matthew says the dis- 
course was spoken by our Lord on the mountain, but Luke 
on the plain by our Lord standing. It is not however thought 
likely fiom this that these two discourses are separated by a 
long course of time, because both before and after both have 
related some things like, or the same. It may however have 
happened that our Lord was at first on a higher part of the 

VER. 46 49. ST. LUKE. 231 

mountain with His disciples alone, and that then he descended 
with them from the mount, that is, from the summit of the 
mountain to the flat place, that is, to some level ground, which 
was on the side of the mountain, and was able to hold large 
multitudes, and that there He stood until the crowds were 
gathered together to Him, and afterwards when He sat down 
His disciples came nearer, and to them, and the rest of the 
multitude who were present, He held the same discourse. 


1 . Now when he had ended all his sayings in the 
audience of the people, he entered into Capernaum. 

2. And a certain centurion's servant, who was dear 
unto him, was sick, and ready to die. 

3. And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto him 
the elders of the Jews, beseeching him that he would 
come and heal his servant. 

4. And when they came to Jesus, they besought 
him instantly, saying. That he was worthy for whom 
he should do this : 

5. For he loveth our nation, and he hath built us 
a synagogue. 

6. Then Jesus went with them. And when he 
was now not far from the house, the centurion sent 
friends to him, saying unto him. Lord, trouble not 
thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest 
come under my roof: 

7. Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to 
come unto thee : but say in a word, and my servant 
shall be healed. 

8. For I also am a man set under authority, 
having under me soldiers, and I say unto one. Go, 
and he goeth ; and to another, Come, and he cometh; 
and to my servant. Do this, and he doeth it. 

9. When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled 
at him, and turned him about, and said unto the 

VER. 1 — 10. ST. LUKE. 233 

people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not 
found so great faith, no, not in Israel. 

10. And they that were sent, returning to the house, 
found the servant whole that had been sick. 

TiTDS BosT. When He had strengthened His disciples by 
more perfect teaching, He goes to Capernaum to work 
miracles there; as it is said. When he had ended all his 
sayings, he entered into Capernaum. Aug. Here we must Aug. de 
imderstand that He did not enter before He had ended these j j°°' 20' 
sayings, but it is not mentioned what space of time intervened 
between the termination of His discourse, and His entering 
into Capernaum. For in that interval the leper was cleansed 
whom Matthew introduced in his proper place. Ambrose ; 
But having finished His teaching, He rightly instructs them 
to follow the example of His precepts. For straightway the 
servant of a Gentile centurion is presented to the Lord to be 
healed. Now the Evangelist, when he said that the servant 
was about to die, did not err, because he would have died 
had he not been healed by Christ. Euseb. Although that 
centurion was strong in battle, and the prefect of the Roman 
soldiers, yet because his particular attendant lay sick at his 
house, considering what wonderful things the Saviour had 
done in healing the sick, and judging that these miracles 
were performed by no human power, he sends to Him, as unto 
God, not looking to the visible instmment by which He 
had intercourse with men; as it follows. And when he heard 
of Jesus, he sent unto him, %■€. Aug. How then will that Aug. 
be true which Matthew relates, A certain centurion came to^ ^^^' 
him, seeing that he himself did not come ? unless upon 
careful consideration we suppose that Matthew made use of 
a general mode of expression. For if the actual arrival is 
frequently said to be through the means of others, much 
more may the coming be by others. Not then without reason, 
(the centurion having gained access to our Lord through 
others,) did Matthew, wishing to speak briefly, say that 
this man himself came to Christ, rather than those by whom 
he sent his message, for the more he believed the nearer he 
came. Chrvs. How again does Matthew tell us that the ^t^''^''- 

. ^ T Horn. 

centurion said, / am not worthy that thou shonldest enter 26. in 



under my roof, while Luke says here, that he beseeches Him 
that He would come. Now it seems to me that Luke sets 
before us the flatteries of the Jews. For we may believe 
that when the centurion wished to depart, the Jews drew 
him back, enticing him, saying, We will go and bring him. 
Hence also their prayers are full of flattery, for it follows, 
But when they came to Jesus, they besought him instantly, 
saying that he was worthy. Although it became them to have 
said, He himself was willing to come and supplicate Thee, but 
we detained him, seeing the afiliction, and the body which 
was lying in the house, and so to have drawn out the greatness 
of his faith ; but they would not for envy reveal the faith of 
the man, lest He should seem some great one to whom the 
prayers were addressed. But wherein Matthew represents 
the centurion to be not an Israelite, while Luke says, he has 
built us a synagogue, there is no contradiction, for he might 
not have been a Jew, and yet built a synagogue. Bedk ; 
But herein they shew, that as by a church, so also by a 
synagogue, they were wont to mean not only the assembly 
of the faithful, but also the place where they assembled. 

EusEB. And the elders of the Jews indeed demand favours 
for a small sum spent in the service of the synagogue, but 
the Lord not for this, but a higher reason, manifested Him- 
self, wishing in truth to beget a belief in all men by His own 
power, as it follows, Then Jesus went with them. Ambrose; 
Which certainly He did not do, because He was unable to 
heal when absent, but that He might set them an example of 
imitating His humility. He would not go to the son of the 
nobleman, lest He should seem thereby to have respected 
his riches ; He went immediately here, that He might not 
seem to have despised the low estate of a centurion's 
servant. But the centurion laying aside his military pride 
puts on humility, being both willing to believe and eager 
to honour; as it follows. And when he was not far offy 
he sent unto him, saying, Trouble not thyself: for I am 
not worthy, SfC. For by the power not of man, but of God, 
he supposed that health was given to man. The Jews indeed 
alleged his worthiness ; but he confessed himself unworthy 
not only of the benefit, but even of receiving the Lord under 
his roof, For I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter 

VEU. 1 — 10. ST. LUKE. 235 

under my roof. Chrys. For as soon as he was freed from Chrys. 
the annoyance of the Jews, he then sends, saying, Think " ' ^"^* 
not that it was from negligence I came not unto Thee, but 
I counted myself unworthy to receive Thee in my house. 
Ambrose ; But Luke well says, that friends were sent by the 
centurion to meet our Lord, lest by his own coming he 
might seem both to embarrass our Lord, and to have called 
for a requital of good offices. Hence it follows, Wherefore 
neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee, but say 
in a word, and my servant shall he healed. 

Chrys. Here observe that the centurion held a right opi- Chrj?. 
nion concerning the Lord; he said not, pray, but, command;^ ^"^' 
and in doubt lest He should from humility refuse him, he adds, 
For T also am a man set under authority, 8fc. Bede; He says 
that he though a man subject to the power of the tribune or 
governor, yet has command over his inferiors, that it might 
be implied that much more is He who is God, able not only 
by the presence of His body, but by the services of His 
angels, to fulfil whatever He wishes. For the weakness of the 
flesh or the hostile powers were to be subdued both by the 
word of the Lord and the ministry of the angels. And to my 
servant, Do this, Sfc. Chrys. We must here remark, that this Chrys. 
word, Fac, signifies a command given to a servant. So God Anom. 
when He wished to create man, said not to the Only-begotten, Hom. 
" Make man," but, Let us make man, that by the form of 
unity in the words he might make manifest the equality of the 
agents. Because then the centurion considered in Christ the 
greatness of His dominion, therefore saith He, say in a word. 
For I also say to my servant. But Christ blames him not, 
but confirmed his wishes, as it follows, When Jesus heard 
these things, he marvelled. Bede ; But who had wrought 
this very faith in him, save He who marvelled ? But sup- 
posing another had done it, why should He marvel who 
foreknew it? Because then the Lord marvels, it signifies 
that we must marvel. For all such feelings when they are 
spoken of God, are the tokens not of a wonder-struck mind, 
but of a teaching master. 

Chrvs. But that you might see plainly that the Lord said Chrys. 
this for the instruction of others, the Evangelist wisely ^"'j",' 
explains it, adding, Verily I say unto you, I have not Matt. 
found so great faith, no, not in Israel. Ambrose; And 


indeed if you read it thus, " In none in Israel liave I found 
so great faith," the meaning is simple and easy. But if 
according to the Greek, " Not even in Israel have I found 
so great faith," faith of this kind is preferred even to that of 
the more elect, and those that see God. Bede ; But he 
speaks not of Patriarchs and Prophets in times far back, 
but of the men of the present age to whom the faith of 
the centurion is preferred, because they were instructed in the 
precepts of the Law and the Prophets, but he with no one 
to teach him of his own accord believed. Ambrose ; The 
faith of the master is proved, and the health of the ser- 
vant establishedj as it follows. And they that were sent 
returning to the house, found the servant whole that had 
been sick. It is possible then that the good deed of a 
master may advantage his servants, not only through the 
merit of faith, but the practice of discipline. Bede ; Mat- 
thew explains these things more fully, saying, that when 
our Lord said to the centurion, Go thy way, and as thou 
hast believed, so be it done unto thee, the servant was 
healed in the self-same hour. But it is the manner of the 
blessed Luke, to abridge or even purposely to jiass by 
whatever he sees plainly set forth by the other Evangelists, 
but what he knows to be omitted by them, or briefly touched 
upon, to more carefully explain. 

Ambrose ; Mystically, by the centurion's servant is sig- 
nified that the Gentile people who were enthralled by the 
chain of heavenly bondage, and diseased with deadly passions, 
are to be healed by the mercy of the Lord. Bede; But 
the centurion, whose faith is preferred to Israel, represents 
the elect from the Gentiles, who as it were attended by their 
hundred soldiers, are exalted by their perfection of s])iritual 
virtues. For the number hundred, which is transferred from 
the left to the right", is frequently put to signify the celestial 
life. These then must pray to the Lord for those who are still 
oppressed with fear, in the spirit of bondage. But we of 
the Gentiles who believe can not ourselves come to the 
Lord, whom we are unable to see in the flesh, but ought 
to approach by faith ; we must send the elders of the 
Jews, that is, we must by our suppliant entreaties gain as 

• The ancients used to count up to to the right. Bede de Indigit. Jeroio. 
J 00 on the left hand and then to change cont. Jovin. lih. I. 

VER. 11 — 17. ST. LUKE. 237 

patrons the greatest men of the Church, who have gone before 
us to the Lord, who bearing us witness that we have a care 
to build up the Church, may intercede for our sins. It 
is well said that Jesus was not far from the house, for his 
salvation is nigh unto them that fear him, and he who 
rightly uses the law of nature, in that he does the things 
which he knows to be good, approaches nigh unto Him 
who is good. Ambrose; But the centurion washed not to 
trouble Jesus, for Whom the Jewish people crucified, the 
Gentiles desire to keep inviolate from injuiy, and (as 
touching a mystery) he saw that Christ was not yet able 
to pierce the hearts of the Gentiles. Bede ; The soldiers 
and servants who obey the centm-ion, are the natural virtues 
which many who come to the Lord will bring with them 
in great numbers. 

Theophyl ; Or in another way. The centurion must be 
understood as one who stood foremost among many in wicked- 
ness, as long as he possesses many things in this life, i. e. 
is occupied with many affairs or concerns. But he has .a 
servant, the irrational part of the soul, that is, the irascible 
and concupiscent part. And he speaks to Jesus, the Jews 
acting as mediators, that is, the thoughts and words of con- 
fession, and immediately he received his servant whole. 

11. And it came to pass the day after, that he 
went into a city called Nain ; and many of his 
disciples went with him, and much people. 

12. Now when he came nigh to the gate of the 
city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the 
only son of his mother, and she was a widow : and 
much people of the city was with her. 

13. And when the Lord saw her, he had com- 
passion on her, and said unto her. Weep not. 

14. And he came and touched the bier: and they 
that bare him stood still. And he said. Young man, 
I say unto thee, Arise. 

15. And he that was dead sat up, and began to 
speak. And he delivered him to his mother. 


16. And there came a fear on all : and they 
glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up 
among us ; and. That God hath visited his people. 

17. And this rumour of him went forth throughout 
all Judaea, and throughout all the region round 

Cyril; The Lord joins one miracle upon another. Tn the 
former instance He came indeed when called for, but in this 
He came self-invited ; as it is said, And it cafne to pass the 
day after that he went into a city called Nain. Bede ; 
Nain is a city of Galilee, within two miles of mount Tabor. 
But by the divine coimsel there were large multitudes ac- 
companying the Lord, that there might be many witnesses 
of so great a miracle. Hence it follows. And his disciples 
Greg, went with him, and much people. Greg. Nyss. Now the 
dJ Ani- proof of the resurrection we learn not so much from the 
ma et words as from the works of our Saviour, who, beginning 
tned. His miracles with the less wonderful, reconciled our faith to 
far greater. First indeed in the grievous sickness of the 
centurion's servant, He verged upon the power of resurrec- 
tion ; afterwards with a higher power he led men to the 
belief in a resurrection, when He raised the widow's son, 
who was carried out to be buried; as it is said, Now when he 
came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead 
man carried out, the only son of his mother. Titus Bost. 
But some one will say of the centurion's senant, that he was 
not going to die. That such an one might restrain his rash 
tongue, the Evangelist explains that the young man whom 
Christ came upon was already dead, the only son of a widow. 
For it follows. And she was a widow, and much people of 
Greg, the city was with her. Greg. Nyss. He has told us the 
Q ^?™* sum of misery in a few words. The mother was a widow, 
26. and had no further hope of having children, she had no one 
upon whom she might look in the place of him that was 
dead. To him alone she had given suck, he alone made 
her home cheerful. All that is sweet and precious to a 
mother, was he alone to her. Cyril ; These were sufferings 
to excite compassion, and which might well affect to mourning 
and tears, as it follows. And when the Lord saw her, he had 

VER. 11 — 17. ST. LUKE. 239 

compassion on her, saying, Weep not. Bede ; As if He 
said, Cease to weep for one as dead, whom you shall soon see 
rise again alive. Chrys. But when He bids us cease from Tit. 
weeping Who consoles the sorrowful, He tells us to receive °^^' 
consolation from those who are now dead, hoping for their 
resurrection. But life meeting death stops the bier, as it |^' 
follows, And he came. Cyril; He performs the miracle 
not only in word, but also touches the bier, to the end that 
you might know that the sacred body of Christ is powerful 
to the saving of man. For it is the body of Life and the flesh 
of the Omnipotent Word, whose power it possesses. For as 
iron applied to fire does the work of fire, so the flesh, when it is 
united to the Word, which quickens all things, becomes 
itself also quickening, and the banisher of death. Titus Bost. non occ. 
But the Saviour is not like to Elias mourning over the son 
of the widow of Sarepta, nor as Elisha who laid his own i Kings 
body upon the body of the dead, nor as Peter who prayed for 2 Kings 
Tabitha, but is none other than He who calls those things 4. 

Acts 9 

which be not, as though they were, who can speak to the dead 40. ' 
as to the living, as it follows, And he said, Young man.^;°^-'^^ 
Greg. Nyss. When He said. Young man. He signified that Greg. 
he was in the flower of his age, just ripening into manhood,"^' ™P" 
who but a little while before was the sight of his mother's 
eyes, just entering upon the time of marriage, the scion of 
her race, the branch of succession, the staff" of her old age. 

Titus Bost. But straightway he arose to whom the com- 
mand was made. For the Divine power is inesistible ; there 
is no delay, no urgency of prayer, as it follows. And he 
that was dead sat up, and began to speak, and he gave him to 
his mother. These are the signs of a true resurrection, for 
the lifeless body cannot speak, nor would the mother have 
carried back to her house her dead and lifeless son. Bede ; 
But well does the Evangelist testify that the Lord is first 
moved with compassion for the mother, and then raises her 
son, that in the one case He might set before us for our 
imitation an example of piety, in the other He might build 
up our belief in His wonderful power. Hence it follows. 
And there came a fear upon all, and they glorijied God, 8fc. 
Cyril ; This was a great thing in an insensible and ungrate- 
ful people. For in a short time afterward they would neither 
esteem Him as a prophet, nor allow that He did aught for the 


public good. But none of those that dwelt in Judaea were 
ignorant of this miracle, as it follows, And tins rumour of 
him went forth throughout all Judaa. 
non occ. Maxim. But it is worthy of remark, that seven resurrections 
are related before our Lord's, of which the first was that of 

1 Kings i\^Q gQjj of the widow of Sarcpta, the second of the Shunam- 
17. . 

2 Kings ite's son, the third which was caused by the remains of 

2'^. Elisha, the fourth which took place at Nain, as is here 

13. related, the fifth of the ruler of the Synagogue's daughter, 

John 11. the sixth of Lazarus, the seventh at Christ's passion, for many 

Mat.27. bodies of the saints arose. The eighth is that of Christ, who 

being free from death remained beyond for a sign that the 

general resurrection which is to come in the eighth age shall 

not be dissolved by death, but shall abide nev^er to 

pass away. 

Bede ; But the dead man who was carried without the 
gate of the city in the sight of many, signifies a man rendered 
senseless by the deadening power of mortal sin, and no 
longer concealing his soul's death within the folds of his 
heart, but proclaiming it to the knowledge of the world, 
through the evidence of words or deeds as through the 
gate of the city. For the gate of the city, I suppose, is some 
one of the bodily senses. And he is well said to be the only 
son of his mother, for there is one mother composed of many 
individuals, the Church, but every soul that remembers that 
it is redeemed by the death of the Lord, knows the Church 
to be a widow. Ambrose; For this widow surrounded by 
a great multitude of people seems to be more than the woman 
who was thought worthy by her tears to obtain the resurrection 
of her only son, because the Church recalls the younger people 
from the funeral procession to life by the contemplation of her 
tears, who is forbid to weep for him to whom resurrection 
was promised. Bede ; Or the dogma of Novatus is crushed*', 
who endeavouring to do away with the purifying of the 
penitent, denies that the mother Church, weeping for the 
spiritual extinction of her sons, ought to be consoled by the 
hope of their restoration to life. 

Ambrose ; This dead man was borne on the bier by the 
four material elements to the grave, but there was a hope 

•» For the heresy of Novatus, see Catena on S. Mark, p. G6, note m. 

VER. 18 — 23. ST. LUKE. 241 

of his rising again because he was borne on wood, which 
though before it did not benefit us, yet after Christ had 
touched it, began to profit unto life, that it might be a sign 
that salvation was to be extended to the people by the wood 
of the cross. For we lie lifeless on the bier when either the 
fire of immoderate desire bursts forth, or the cold moisture 
breaks out, and through the sluggish state of our earthly 
body the vigour of our minds waxes dull. Bede ; Or the 
coffin on which the dead is carried is the ill at ease con- 
science of a desperate sinner. But they who carrj-^ him to 
be buried are either unclean desires, or the allurements of 
companions, who stood when our Lord touched the bier, 
because the conscience, when touched by dread of the judg- 
ment fi-om on high, often checking its carnal lusts, and 
those who unjustly praise, returns to itself, and answers its 
Saviour's call to fife. Ambrose ; If then thy sin is so heavy 
that by thy penitential tears thou canst not thyself wash it 
out, let the mother Church weep for thee, the multitude 
standing by; soon shalt thou rise from the dead and begin 
to speak the words of life ; they all shall fear, (for by the 
example of one all are corrected;) they shall also praise 
God who has given us such great remedies for escaping 
death. Bede; But God has visited His people not only by the 
one incarnation of His Word, but by ever sending It into our 
hearts. Theophyl. By the widow also you may understand 
a soul that has lost her husband in the divine word. Her 
son is the understanding, which is carried out beyond the 
city of the living. Its coffin is the body, which some indeed 
have called the tomb. But the Lord touching him raises 
him up, causing him to become young, and rising from sin 
he begins to speak and teach others. For before he would 
not have been believed. 

18. And the disciples of John shewed him of all 
these things. 

19. And John calling unto him two of his disciples 
sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should 
come ? or look we for another ? 

20. When the men were come unto him, they said, 



John Baptist hath sent us unto thee, saying. Art thou 
he that should come ? or look we for another ? 

21. And in the same hour he cured many of their 
infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits ; and unto 
many that were blind he gave sight. 

22. Then Jesus answering said unto them. Go your 
way, and tell John what things ye have seen and 
heard ; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the 
lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, 
to the poor the Gospel is preached. 

23. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be 
offended in me. 

Cyril ; Certain of His disciples relate to the holy Baptist 
the miracle which was known to all the inhabitants of 
Judaea and Galilee, as it follows, Atrd they told John, ^c. 
Bede ; Not, as it seems to me, in simpleness of heart, but 
provoked by envy. For in another place also they complain, 

^ohas, Jidbbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, behold the 
same baptizeth, and all men come unto him. Chrys. But 
we are then most raised up to Him when we are fallen into 
straits. John therefore, being cast into prison, takes the 
opportunity, when his disciples were most in need of Jesus, to 
send them to Christ. For it follows, And John calling two 
of his disciples sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that 
should come, SfC. Bede ; He says not, Art thou He that 
hast come, but. Art thou he that should come. The sense is, 
Tell me who am to be slain by Herod, and about to 

ad infer- (Je.scend into hell, whether 1 should announce Thee to the souls 
below as I have announced Thee to those above ? or is this not 
befitting the Son of God, and Thou art going to send another 
for these sacraments.'' Cyril; But we must altogether dis- 
allow such an opinion. For no where do we find the Holy 
Scriptures stating that John the Baptist foretold to those 
souls in hell the coming of our Saviour. It is also true to 
say, that the Baptist was not ignorant of the wonderful mys- 
tery of the incarnation of the Only -Begotten, and so also along 
with the other things had known this, that our Lord was about 

VEU. ]8 — 23. ST. i.UKE. 243 

to preach the Gospel to those who were in hell, after He had 
tasted death for all living as well as dead. But since the 
word of holy Scripture indeed declared that Christ would 
come as the Lord and Chief, but the others were sent as ser- 
vants before Him, therefore was the Lord and Saviour of all 
called by the prophets, He who cometh, or Who is to come; 
according to that, Blessed is he who cometh in the name of the Ps. 118, 
Lord; and, A little while, and he who is to come shall come, Hab. 2, 
and will not tarry. The blessed Baptist therefore, receiving 3- 
as it were this name from Holy Scripture, sent certain of 
his disciples to seek whether it was indeed He who cometh, 
or, Who is to come. 

Ambrose; But how could it come to pass, that Him of 
whom he said, Behold him who taketh away the sins of the 
world, he should still not believe to be the Son of God ? For 
either it is presumption to attribute to Christ a divine action 
ignorantly, or it is unbelief to have doubted concerning the 
Son of God. But some suppose of John himself that he was 
indeed so great a prophet as to acknowledge Christ, but still 
as not a doubting, but pious, prophet disbelieved that He 
would die, whom he believed was about to come. Not 
therefore in his faith but in his piety, he doubted ; as 
Peter also, when he said. Be it far from thee, Lord ; M&tt. 
this shall not be unto thee. Cyril; Or he asks thec'ii. 
question by economy. For as the forerunner he knew the fhes. 
mystery of Christ's passion, but that his disciples might c. 4. 
be convinced how great was the excellence of the Saviour, 
he sent the more understanding of them, instructing them to 
enquire and learn from the very words of the Saviour, whether 
it was He who was expected; as it is added, But when ike 
men were come unto him, they said, John the Baptist hath 
sent us unto thee, saying. Art thou He, SfC. But He know- 
ing as God with what intention John had sent them, and 
the cause of their coming, was at the time performing many 
miracles, as it follows. And in the same hour he healed 
many of their infirmities, Sj-c. He said not positively to them 
/ am he, but rather leads them to the certainty of the fact, 
in order that receiving their faith in Him, with their reason 
agreeing thereto, they might return to him who sent them. 
Hence He made not answer to the words, but to the intention of 



him who sent them ; as it follows, And Jesus answering said 
unto them, Go your way, and tell John what ihhujs you 
have seen and heard: as if He said, Go and tell John 
the things which ye have heard indeed through the Prophets, 
but have seen accomplished by Me. For He was then per- 
forming those things which the Prophets prophesied 
He would do ; that is of which it is added, For the blind 
see, the lame walk. Ambrose ; An ample testimony surely 
that the Prophets acknowledged the Lord. For of the 

P«. 146, Lord Himself it was prophesied, that the Lord givethfood 

* to the hungry, raise th up them that are bowed down, looseth 

the prisoners, openeth the eyes of the blind, and tlmt he who 

doeth these things shall reign for ever. Such then are not 

the tokens of human, but divine power. But these are found 

Tob. 11. seldom or not at all before the Gospel. Tobias alone received 

1 Kings sight, and this was the cure of an Angel, not of a man. Elias 
^^' raised the dead, but he prayed and wept, and then com- 

2 Kings manded. Elisha caused the cleansing of a leper : yet then 
^' the cause was not so much in the authority of the command 

as in the figure of the mystery. Theophyl. These are also the 
Isa. 36, words of Elias, saying, Tlie I^rd himself shall come and 
save us. Then the eyes of the blind shall he opened, and the 
ears of the deaf shall he unstopped. Tlien shall the lame 
man leap as an hart. 

Bede ; And what is not less than these, the poor have the 
Gospel preached to them, that is, the poor are enlightened by 
the Spirit, or hidden treasures, that there might be no differ- 
ence between the rich and the poor. These things prove the 
faith of the Master, when all who can be saved by Him are 
equal. Ambrose ; But still these are but slight examples 
of the testimony to the Lord. The full assurance of faith is 
the cross of the Lord, His death and burial. Hence He adds, 
And blessed is he who shall not be offended in me. For the 
cross may cause offence, even to the elect. But there is no 
greater testimony than this of a divine person. For there is 
nothing which seems to be more surpassing the nature of 
man than that one should offer Himself for the whole world. 
Cyril; Or else, He wished by this to show that whatever 
was passing in their hearts, could not be hid from His sight. 
For they were those who were offended at Him. Ambrose ; 


VER. 24 — 28. ST. LUKE. 24o 

But we have before said, that mystically John was the type 
of the Law, which was the forerunner of Christ. John then 
sends his disciples to Chiist, that they might obtain the filling 
up of their knowledge, for Christ is the fulfilling of the Law, 
And perhaps those disciples are the two nations, of whom the 
one of the Jews believed, the other of the Gentiles believed 
because they heard. They wished then to see, because blessed 
are the eyes that see. But when they shall have come to the 
Gospel, and found that the blind receive their sight, the 
lame walk, then shall they say, " We have seen with our 
eyes," for we seem to ourselves to see Him whom we read of. 
Or perhaps through the instrumentality of a certain part of our opera- 
Body ' we all seem to have traced out the course of our Lord's 
passion ; for faith comes through the few to the many. The Law 
then announces that Christ will come, the writings of the 
Gospel prove that He has come. 

24. And when the messengers of John were de- 
parted, he began to speak unto the people con- 
cerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness 
for to see ? A reed shaken with the wind ? 

25. But what went ye out for to see ? A man 
clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they which are 
gorgeously apparelled, and live delicately, are in kings' 

26. But what went ye out for to see ? A prophet ? 
Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet. 

27. This is he, of whom it is written. Behold, I 
send my messenger before thy face, which shall pre- 
pare thy way before thee. 

28. For I say unto you. Among those that are 
born of women there is not a greater prophet than 
John the Baptist : but he that is least in the king- 
dom of God is greater than he. 

Cyril; The Lord, knowing the secrets of men, foresaw Cyril. 
that some would say. If until now John is ignorant of Jesus, "^' *'"l'* 
how did he shew Him to us, saying, Behold the Lamb of 

* St. Ambroiic seems from the context by " our Body" to signify the Church. 


Ood, which taketh away the sins of the world? To quench 
therefore this feehng which had taken possession of them, 
He prevented the injury which might arise from the offence, 
as it follows, And when the messengers qf John were departed^ 
he began to speak unto the people concerning John, what 
went ye out for to see? A reed shaken in the wind? As if He 
said, Ye marvelled at John the Baptist, and oftentimes came 
to see him, passing over long journeys in the desert; surely 
in vain, if you think him so fickle as to be like a reed bending 
down whichever way the wind moves it. For such he appears 
to be, who lightly avows his ignorance of the things which he 
non occ. knows. TiT. BosT. But you went not out into the desert, (where 
there is no pleasantness,) leaving your cities, except as caring 
Simeon for this man. Gkeek Ex. Now these things were spoken by 
our Lord after the departure of John's disciples, for He would 
not utter the praises of the Baptist while they were present, 
lest His words should be counted as those of a flatterer. 
Ambrose ; Not luimeaningly then is the character of John 
praised there, who prefen*ed the way of righteousness to the 
love of life, and swerved not through fear of death. For this 
world seems to be compared to a desert, into which, as yet 
barren and uncultivated, the Lord says we must not so 
enter as to regard men puffed up with a fleshly mind, 
and devoid of inward virtue, and vaunting themselves in the 
heights of frail worldly glory, as a kind of example and model 
for our imitation. And such being exposed to the storms of 
this world, and tossed to and fro by a restless life, are rightly 
compared to a reed, 
ubi 8up. Greek Ex. We have also an infallible testimony to John's 
way of life in his manner of clothing, and his imprisonment, 
into which he never would have been cast had he known how 
to court princes ; as it follows, But what went ye out for to 
see ? A man clothed with sqft raiment ? Behold they who 
are gorgeously apparelled, and live delicately, are in kings* 
houses. By being clothed with soft raiment, he signifies men 
Chrys. ^}io live luxuriously. Chrys. But a soft garment relaxes 
29. in the austerity of the soul ; and if worn by a hard and rigorous body, soon, by such effeminacy, makes it frail 
and delicate. But when the body becomes softer, the 
0^ i.y soul must also share the injury ; for generally its workings 
ubi sup. correspond with the conditions of the body. Cyril; How 

VER. 24 28. ST. LUKE. 247 

then could a religious strictness, so great that it subdued to 
itself all fleshly lusts, sink down to such ignorance, except 
from a friv olity of mind, which is not fostered by austerities, 
but by worldly delights. If then ye imitate John, as one 
who cared not for pleasure, award him also the strength of 
mind, which befits his continence. But if strictness no 
more tends to this than a life of luxury, why do you, not 
respecting those who live delicately, admire the inhabitant of 
the desert, and his wretched garment of camel's hair. Chrys. Chrys. 
By each of these sayings He shews John to be neither natu-37. j^ 
rally nor easily shaken or diverted from any purpose. Am- ^^**- 
BROSE ; And although very many become effeminate by the 
use of softer garments, yet here other garments seem to be 
meant, namely, our mortal bodies, by which our souls are 
clothed. Again, luxurious acts and habits aae soft garments, 
but those whose languid limbs are wasted away in luxuries 
are shut out of the kingdom of heaven, whom the rulers of 
this world and of darkness have taken captive. For these 
are the kings who exercise tyranny over those who are their 
fellows in their own works. 

Cyril; But perhaps it does not concern us to excuse Cyril. 
John upon this ground, for you confess that he is worthy of" ' ^^^' 
imitation, hence He adds. But what went ye out for to see? 
A prophet ? Verily I say unto you, more than a prophet. 
For the prophets foretold that Christ would come, but John 
not only foretold that He would come, but also declared 
Him to be present, saying. Behold the Lamb of God. Am- 
brose ; Indeed, greater than a prophet (or more than a 
prophet) was he in whom the prophets terminate ; for 
many desired to see Him whom he saw, whom he baptized. 
Cyril ; Having then described his character by the place CyriL 
where he dwelt, by his clothing, and from the crowds who ' *"^' 
went to see him. He introduces the testimony of the prophet, 
saying. This is he of whom it is written. Behold, I send my MaL 3, 
angel. Titus Bost. He calls a man an angel, not because " 
he was by nature an angel, for he was by nature a man, but 
because he exercised the office of an angel, in heralding the 
advent of Christ. Greek Ex. But by the words which fol- ubi sup. 
low. Before thy face, he signifies nearness of time, for John 
appeared to men close to the coming of Christ. Wherefore 


must he indeed be considered more than a prophet, for those 
also who in battle fight close to the sides of kings, are their 
most distinguished and greatest friends. 

Ambrose ; But he prepared the way of the Lord not only in 
the order of birth according to the flesh, and as the messenger 
of faith, but also as the forerunner of His glorious passion. 
Hence it follows. Who shall prepare thy way he/ore thee. 
Ambrose; But if Christ also is a prophet, how is this man 
greater than all. But it is said, among those bom of woman, 
not of a virgin. For He was greater than those, whose equal 
he might be in way of birth, as it follows. For I say unto you, 
of those that are horn of icoman^ there is not a greater 

Chrys. propket than John the Baptist. Chrys. The voice of the 
sup. ji^jjj.^ -g ijj(3gg(j sufficient to bear testimony to John's pre- 
eminence among men. But any one will find the real 
facts of the case confirming the same, by considering his 
food, his manner of life, the loftiness of his mind. For 
he dwelt on earth as one who had come down from heaven, 
casting no care upon his body, his mind raised up to heaven, 
and united to God alone, taking no thought for worldly 
things ; his conversation giave and gentle, for with the 
Jewish people he dealt honestly and zealously, with the 
king boldly, with his own disciples mildly. He did nothing 

Iwd. lib. idle or trifling, but all things becomingly. Isid. Peleus; John 

^ 'was also greatest among those that are bom of women, 

because he prophesied from the very womb of his mother, 

and though in darkness, was not ignorant of the light which 

had already come, 

Ambrose ; Lastly, so impossible is it that there should be 
any comparison between John and the Son of God, that he 
is counted even below the angels; as it follows, But he that 
is least in the kingdom of God, is greater than he. Bede ; 
These words may be understood in two ways. For either 
he called that the kingdom of God, which we have not yet 
received, (in which are the Angels,) and the very least among 
them is gieater than any righteous man, who bears about a 
body, which weighs down the soul. Or if by the kingdom 
of God be meant to be understood the Church of this time, 
the Lord referred to Himself, who in the time of His birth 
came after John, but was greater in divine authority, and the 

VEIL 29 35. ST. LUKE. 249 

power of the Lord. Moreover, according to the first explana- 
tion, the distinction is as follows. But he who is least in the 
kingdom qf God^ and then it is added, is greater than he. 
According to the latter. But he who is lea^t, and then added, 
is greater in the kingdom of God than he. Chrys. For He Chrys. 
adds this, that the abundant praise of John might not give ^' 
the Jews a pretext to prefer John to Christ. But do not 
suppose that he spoke comparatively of His being greater 
than John. Ambrose ; For He is of another nature, which 
bears not comparison with human kind. For there can be 
no comparing of God with men. Cyril ; But in a mystery, 
when shewing the superiority of John among those that are 
bom of women, he places in opposition something greater, 
namely. Himself who was born by the holy Spirit the Son of 
God. For the kingdom of the Lord is the Spirit of God. 
Although then as respects works and holiness, we may be 
inferior to those who attained unto the mystery of the law, 
whom John represents, yet through Christ we have greater 
things, being made partakers of the Divine nature. 

29. And all the people that heard him, and the 
Publicans, justified God, being baptized with the 
baptism of John. 

30. But the Pharisees and Lawyers rejected the 
counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized 
of him. 

31. And the Lord said, Whereunto then shall 
I liken the men of this generation ? and to what are 
they like ? 

32. They are like unto children sitting in the 
marketplace, and calling one to another, and saying. 
We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced ; 
we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept. 

33. For John the Baptist came neither eating 
bread nor drinking wine ; and ye say. He hath a 

34. The Son of man is come eating and drinking ; 


and ye say. Behold a gluttonous man, and a wine- 
bibber, a friend of Publicans and sinners ! 

35. But wisdom is justified of all her children. 

Chrys. Chrvs. Having declared the praises of John, he next 

37°™^ exposes the great fault of the Pharisees and lawyers, who 

Matt, would not after the publicans receive the baptism of John. 

Hence it is said, And all the people that heard him, and the 

Publicans, justified God. Ambrose ; God is justified by 

baptism, wherein men justify themselves confessing their 

sins. For he that sins and confesses his sin unto God, 

justifies God, submitting himself to Him who overcometh, 

and hoping for grace from Him ; God therefore is justified 

by baptism, in which there is confession and pardon of sin. 

EusEB. Because also they believed, they justified God, for 

He appeared just to them in all that He did. But the 

disobedient conduct of the Pharisees in not receiving 

Pp. 51, John, accorded not with the words of the prophet, That 

"*• thou mightest be jmtifi£d when thou speakest. Hence it 

follows, But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel 

qf God, ^c. Bede; These words were spoken either in 

the person of the Evangelist, or, as some think, of the 

Saviour; but when he says, against theinselves, he means 

that he who rejects the grace of God, does it against himself 

Or, they are blamed as foolish and ungrateiul for being 

unwilling to receive the counsel of God, sent to themselves. 

The counsel then is of God, because He ordained salvation 

by the passion and death of Christ, which the Pharisees and 

lawyers despised. Ambrose ; Let us not then despise (as 

the Pharisees did) the counsel of God, which is in the 

Ih. 9, 6. baptism of John, that is, the counsel which the Angel of great 

counsel searches out. No one despises the counsel of man. 

Who then shall reject the counsel of God ? 

Cyril ; There was a certain play among the Jewish children 
of this kind. A company of boys were collected together, who, 
mocking the sudden changes in the affairs of this life, some of 
them sang, some mourned, but the mourners did not rejoice 
with those that rejoiced, nor did those who rejoiced fall in 
with those that wept. They then rebuked each other in turn 

VER. 29 — 35. ST. LDKE. 251 

with the charge of want of sympathy. That such were the 
feehngs of the Jewish people and their rulers, Christ 
implied in the following words, spoken in the person of 
Christ ; Whereunto then shall I liken the men qf this 
generation^ and to what are they like ? They are like to 
children sitting i?i the mar ket-jJ lace. Bede; The Jewish 
generation is compared to children, because formerly they 
had prophets for their teachers, of whom it is said, Out qf 
the mouths of babes and sucklings hast thou perfected praise. 
Ambrose ; But the prophets sung, repeating in spiritual 
strains their oracles of the common salvation; they wept, 
soothing with mournful dirges the hard hearts of the Jews. 
The songs were not sung in the market-place, nor in the 
streets, but in Jerusalem. For that is the Lord's fomm, in 
which the laws of His heavenly precepts are framed. Greg. Grreg. 
Nyss. But singing and lamentation are nothing else but ;„ eJcI* 
the breaking forth, the one indeed of joy, the other of sorrow. 
Now at the sound of a tune played upon a musical instru- 
ment, man by the concordant beating of his feet, and motion 
of his body, pourtrays his inward feelings. Hence he says. 
We have sung, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to 
you, and ye have not wept. Aug. Now these words have Aug. de 


reference to John and Christ. For when he says, We A«veEv. l.ii. 
mourned, and ye have not wept, it is in allusion to John, i- * ^• 
whose abstinence from meat and drink signified penitential 
sorrow; and hence he adds in explanation, For John came 
neither eating bread, nor drinking wine, and ye say he hath a 
devil. Cyril ; They take upon themselves to slander a man 
worthy of all admiration. They say that he who mortifies the 
law of sin which is in his members hath a devil, Aug. But Aug. 
his words, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced, ^ ' ^"^* 
refer to the Lord Himself, who by using meats and drinks as 
others did, represented the joy of His kingdom. Hence it 
follows, The Son of man came eating and drinking, ^c. 
Tit. Bost. For Christ would not abstain from this food, lest 
He should give a handle to heretics, who say that the creatures 
of God are bad, and blame flesh and wine. Cyril; But 
where could they point out the Lord as gluttonous ? For Christ 
is found every where repressing excess, and leading men to 
temperance. But He associated with publicans and sinners. 


Hence they said against Him, He is a friend qf Publicans 
and sinners^ though He could in no wise fall into sin, 
but on the contrary was to them the cause of salvation. 
For the sun is not polluted though sending its rays over all 
the earth, and frequently falling upon uuclean bodies. Neither 
will the Sun of righteousness be hurt by associating with the 
bad. But let no one attempt to place his own condition on a 
level with Christ's greatness, but let each considering his 
own infirmity avoid having dealing with such men, for " evil 
communications corrupt good manners," It follows. And 
wisdom is justified qf all her children. Ambrose; The Son 
of God is wisdom, by nature, not by growth, which is justified 
by baptism, when it is not rejected through obstinacy, but 
through righteousness is acknowledged the gift of God. 
Herein then is the justification of God, if he seems to 
transfer His gifts not to the unworthy and guilty, but to those 
Chrys. who are through baptism holy and just. Chrys. But by 
Ps. 108. the children of wisdom. He means the wise. For Scripture 
is accustomed to indicate the bad rather by their sin than 
their name, but to call the good the children of the virtue 
which characterizes them. Ambrose; He well says, q/* a//, 
for justice is reserved for all, that the faithful may be taken 
Aug. up, the unbelievers cast out. Aug. Or, when he says, wisdom 
is Justified of all her children, he shews that the children 
of wisdom understand that righteousness consists neither in 
abstaining from nor eating food, but in patiently enduring 
want. For not the use of such things, but the coveting after 
them, must be blamed; only let a man adapt himself to the 
kind of food of those with whom he Uves. 

36. And one of the Pharisees desired him tliat he 
would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee's 
house, and sat down to meat. 

37. And, behold, a woman in the city, which was 
a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in 
the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of 

38. And stood at his feet behind him weeping. 

ubi sup. 

VER. 36 — 50, ST. LUKE. 253 

and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe 
them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, 
and anointed them with the ointment. 

39. Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him 
saw it, he spake within himself, saying. This man, if 
he were a prophet, would have known who and what 
manner of woman this is that toucheth him : for she 
is a sinner. 

40. And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, 
I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, 
Master, say on. 

41. There was a certain creditor which had two 
debtors : the one owed five hundred pence, and the 
other fifty. 

42. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly 
forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them 
will love him most ? 

43. Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, 
to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him. 
Thou hast rightly judged. 

44. And he turned to the woman, and said unto 
Simon, Seest thou this woman ? I entered into thine 
house, thou gavest me no water for my feet : but she 
hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with 
the hairs of her head. 

45. Thou gavest me no kiss : but this woman 
since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss 
my feet. 

46. My head with oil thou didst not anoint : but 
this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. 

47. Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which 
are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to 
whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. 

48. And he said unto her. Thy sins are forgiven. 

49. And they that sat at meat with him began to 


say within themselves. Who is tliis that forgiveth 
sins also? 

50. And he said to the woman. Thy faith hath 
saved thee : go in peace. 

Bede ; Having said just before, And the people that heard 
him justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John, 
the same Evangelist builds up in deed what he had proposed 
in word, namely, wisdom justified by the righteous and the 
penitent, saying, Atid one of the Pharisees desired him, ^c, 
Greg. Greg. Nyss. This account is full of precious instruction, 
de Mul. For there are very many who justify themselves, being puffed 
Peccat. yp ^itii the dreamings of an idle fancy, who before the time of 
judgment comes, separate themselves as lambs from the 
herds, not willing even to join in eating with the many, and 
hardly with those who go not to extremes, but keep the middle 
path in life. St. Luke, the physician of souls rather than of 
bodies, represents therefore our Lord and Saviour most 
mercifully visiting others, as it follows, And he ivent into the 
Pharisees'' house, and sat down to meat. Not that He should 
share any of his faults, but might impart somewhat of His own 

Cyril ; A woman of corrupt life, but testifying her faithful 

affection, comes to Christ, as having power to release her from 

every fault, and to grant her pardon for the crimes she had 

committed. For it follows, And behold a woman in the city 

which was a sinner, brought an alabaster box of ointment. 

Bede ; Alabaster is a kind of white marble tinged with 

various colours, which is generally used for vessels holding 

ointment, because it is said to be the best sort for preserving 

Greg, the ointment sweet. Greg. For this woman, beholding the 

33. in spots of her shame, ran to wash them at the fountain of 

^^- mercy, and blushed not at seeing the guests, for since she 

was courageously ashamed of herself within, she thought there 

was nothing which could shame her from without. Observe 

with what sorrow she is wrung who is not ashamed to weep 

Greg- even in the midst of a feast! Greg. Nyss. But to mark her 

own unworthiness, she stands behind with downcast eyes, 

and with her hair thrown about embraces His feet, and 

VER. 36 — 50. ST. LUKE. 255 

washing them with her tears, betokened a mind distressed at 
her state, and imploring pardon. For it follows, And standing 
behind, she began to wash his feet with her tears. Greg. Greg. 
For her eyes which once coveted after earthly things, she 33 j^"* 
was now wearing out with penitential weeping. She onceE^ang. 
displayed her hair for the setting off of her face, she now 
wiped her tears with her hair. As it follows, And she wiped 
them icith the hairs of her head. She once uttered proud 
things with her mouth, but kissing the feet of the Lord, she 
impressed her lips on the footsteps of her Redeemer. She 
once used ointment for the perfume of her body; what she 
had unworthily applied to herself, she now laudably offered 
to God. As it follows, And she anointed with ointment. 
As many enjoyments as she had in herself, so many offerings 
did she devise out of herself She converts the number of her 
faults into the same number of virtues, that as much of her 
might wholly serve God in her penitence, as had despised 
God in her sin. Chrys. Thus the harlot became then more Chrys. 
honourable than the virgins. For no sooner was she inflamed ?°j^"^* 
with penitence, than she burst forth in love for Christ. And 
these things indeed which have been spoken of were done out- 
wardly, but those which her mind pondered within itself, were 
much more fervent. God alone beheld them. 

Greg. But the Pharisee beholding these things despises Greg. 
them, and finds fault, not only with the woman who was "^ ' ^"^' 
a sinner, but with the Lord who received her, as it follows. 
Now when the Pharisee who had bidden him saw it, he spake 
within hhnself, saying. This man, if he were a prophet, 
would have known who and what manner of woman this is 
which toucheth him. We see the Pharisee really proud 
in himself, and hypocritically righteous, blaming the sick 
woman for her sickness, the physician for his aid. The 
woman surely if she had come to the feet of the Pharisee 
would have departed with the heel lifted up against her. 
For he would have thought that he was polluted by another's 
sin, not having sufficient of his own real righteousness 
to fill him. So also some gifled with the priests' office, if 
perchance they have done any just thing outwardly or 
slightly, forthwith despise those who are put under them, 
and look with disdain on sinners who are of the people. 


But when we behold sinners, we must first bewail ourselves 
for their calamity, since we perhaps have had and are certainly 
liable to a similar fall. But it is necessary that we should 
carefully distinguish, for we are bound to make distinction 
in vices, but to have compassion on nature. For if we must 
punish the sinner, we must cherish a brother. But when by 
penance he has himself punished his own deed, our brother 
is no more a sinner, for he punished in himself what Divine 
justice condemned. The Physician was between two sick 
persons, but the one preserved her faculties in the fever, the 
other lost his mental perception. For she wept at what she 
had done ; but the Pharisee, elated with a false sense of 
righteousness, overrated the vigour of his own health. 

Tit. Bost. But the Lord not hearing his words, but per- 
ceiving his thoughts, shewed Himself to be the Lord of 
Prophets, as it follows, And Jesus answering said unto him, 
Gloss. Simon, I have something to say unto thee. Gloss. And this 
v^Lyra i'^^^^^l He spake in answer to his thoughts; and the Pharisee 
in loc. was made more attentive by these words of our Lord, as it is 
Greg, said. And he saith, Master, say on. Greg. A parable 
concerning two debtors is opposed to him, of whom the one 
owed more, the other less ; as it follows. There was a certain 
creditor which had two debtors, S^c. Tit. Bost. As if He said, 
Nor art thou without debts. What then I If thou art involved 
in fewer debts, boast not thyself, for thou art still in need of 
pardon. Then He goes on to speak of pardon. And when 
Gloss, ifiey had nothing to pay, he freely forgave them both. Gloss. 
' For no one can of himself escape the debt of sin, but only 
Greg, by obtaining pardon through the grace of God. Greg. But 
" ^^"^' both debtors being forgiven, the Pharisee is asked which 
most loved the forgiver of the debts. For it follows, Who 
then will love him most ? To which he at once answers, / 
suppose, that he to whom he forgave most. And here we 
must remark, that while the Pharisee is convicted upon his own 
grounds, the madman carries the rope by which he will be 
bound; as it follows. But he said unto him. Thou hast rightly 
judged. The good deeds of the sinful woman are enumerated 
to him, and the evils of the pretended righteous; as it follows, 
And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest 
thou this woman? I entered into thy house, thougavest me no 

VER. 36 — 50. ST. LUKE. 257 

water for my feet, but she hath washed my feet with her 
tears. Tit. Bost. As if He said, To provide water is easy, 
to pour forth tears is not easy. Thou hast not provided 
even what was at hand, she hath poured forth what was not 
at hand; for washing my feet with her tears, she washed 
away her own stains. She wiped them with her hair, that 
so she might draw to herself the sacred moisture, and by 
that by which she once enticed youth to sin, might now attract 
to herself holiness. 

Chrys. But as after the breaking of a violent storm there chrys, 
comes a calm, so when tears have burst forth, there is peace, j^^^\^' 
and gloomy thoughts vanish ; and as by water and the Spirit, 
so by tears and confession we are again made clean. Hence 
it follows, Wherefore I say unto you, Her sins which are 
many are forgiven, for she loveth much. For those who 
have violently plunged into evil, will in time also eagerly 
follow after good, being conscious to what debts they have 
made themselves responsible. Greg. The more then the Greg. 
heart of the sinner is burnt up by the great fire of charity, so33°'J{j' 
much the more is the rust of sin consumed. Tit. Bost. But Evan. 
it more frequently happens that he who has sinned much is 
purified by confession, but he who has sinned little, refuses 
from pride to come to be healed thereby. Hence it follows. 
But to whom little is forgiven^ the same loveth little. Chrys, Chrys. 
We have need then of a fervent spirit, for nothing hinders S°"* 
a man from becoming great. Let then no sinner despair. Matt, 
no virtuous man fall asleep; neither let the one be self-confi- 
dent, for often the harlot shall go before him, nor the other 
distrustful, for he may even surpass the foremost. Hence it is 
also here added. But he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven 

Greg. Behold she who had come sick to the Physician Greg. 
was healed, but because of her safety others are still sick ; "*" **"?• 
for it follows. And they that sat at meat began to say within 
themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also. But the 
heavenly Physician regards not those sick, whom He sees to 
be made still worse by His remedy, but her whom He had 
healed He encourages by making mention of her own piety; as 
it follows. But he said unto the woman, Thy faith hath made 
thee whole; for in truth she doubted not that she would 

VOL. III. s 


receive what she sought lor. Thkopiiyl. But after liaving 
forgiven her sins, lie st()])s not at the forgiveness of sins, hnt 
adds good works, as it follows. Go in pcact\ i. e. in righ- 
teousness, for righteousness is the reconciliation of man to 
God, as sin is the enmity between God and man ; as if n(^ 
said, Do all things which lead you to the peace of God. 
Ambrose ; Now in this place many seem to be perplexed 
with the question, whether the Evangelists do not appear to 
Severus have diflfered concerning the faith. Greek Ex. For since 
rtiraus. ^^ ^o"^" Evangelists relate that Christ was anointed with 
ointment by a woman, I think that tliere were three 
women, differing according to the quality of each, their 
mode of action, and the difference of times. John, for ex- 
ample, relates that Mary, the sister of Lazarus, six days 
before the Passover, anointed the feet of Jesus in her own 
house J but Matthew, after that the Lord had said. You know 
that after two days will be the Passover, adds, that in Bethany, 
at the house of Simon the leper, a woman poured ointment 
upon the head of our Lord, but did not anoint His feet as 
Mary. Mark also says the same as Matthew; but Luke gives 
the account not near the time of the Passover, but in the 
middle of the Gospel. Chrysostom explains it that there 
were two different women, one indeed who is described in 
John, another who is mentioned by the three. 

Ambrose ; Matthew has introduced this woman as pour- 
ing ointment upon the head of Christ, and was therefore 
unwilling to call her a sinner, for the sinner, according 
to Luke, poured ointment upon the feet of Christ. She 
cannot then be the same, lest the Evangelists should seem to 
be at vai'iance with one another. The difficulty may be also 
solved by the difference of merit and of time, so that the 
former woman may have been yet a sinner, the latter now more 
Aug. perfect. Aug. For 1 think we must understand tliat tlie same 
Ev!^iib! Mary did this twice, once indeed as Luke has related, when 
ii. c. 79. at first coming with humility and weeping, she was thought 
worthy to receive forgiveness of sins. Hence John, when 
he began to speak of the resurrection of Lazarus, before he 
John came to Bethany, says. But it was Mary who anointed our 
' ■ Lord with ointment, arid wiped his feet with her hair, whase 
brother Lazarus was sick. Mary therefore had already done 

VER. 36—50. ST. LUKE. 259 

this ; but what she again did in Bethany is another occuiTence, 
which belongs not to the relation of Luke, but is equally told 
by the other three. 

Greg. Now in a mystical sense the Pharisee, presuming Greg, 
upon his pretended righteousness, is the Jewish people ; 33, ,„ 
the woman who was a sinner, but who came and wept at our Evang. 
Lord's feet, represents the conversion of the Gentiles. 
Ambrose ; Or, the leper, is the prince of this world ; 
the house of Simon the leper, is the earth. The Lord there- 
fore descended from the higher parts to this eaith ; for this 
woman could not have been healed, who bears the figure of a 
soul or the Church, had not Christ come upon earth. But 
rightly does she receive the figure of a sinner, for Christ also 
took the form of a sinner. If then thou makest thy soul 
approach in faith to God, it not with foul and shameful sins, 
but piously obeying the word of God, and in the confidence 
of unspotted purity, ascends to the very head of Christ. 
But the head of Christ is God. But let him who holds not l Cor. 
the head of Christ, hold the feet, the sinner at the feet, the just ' 
at the head; nevertheless she also who sinned, has ointment. 
Greg. What else is expressed by the ointment, but the Greg. 
sweet savour of a good report? If then we do good works" ^ ^"^' 
by which we may sprinkle the Church with the sweet odour 
of a good report, what else do we but pour ointment upon 
the body of our Lord? But the woman stood by His feet, 
for we stood over against the feet of the Lord, when yet in 
our sins we resisted His ways. But if we are converted from 
our sins to true repentance, we now again stand by His feet, 
for we follow His footsteps whom we before opposed, Am- 
brose ; Bring thou also repentance after sin. Wherever 
thou hearest the name of Christ, speed thither; into whatever 
house thou knowest that Jesus has entered, thither hasten ; 
when thou findest wisdom, when thou findest justice sit- 
ting in any inner chamber, run to its feet, that is, seek 
even the lowest part of wisdom ; confess thy sins with tears. 
Perhaps Christ washed not His own feet, that we might wash 
them with our tears. Blessed tears, which can not only wash 
away our own sin, but also water the footsteps of the heavenly 
Word, that His goings may abound in us. Blessed tears, 
in which there is not only the redemption of sinners, but the 

s 2 


Greg, refreshing of the righteous. Greg. For we water the feet 

33. in of oui* Lord with tears if we are moved with compassion to 

Evan, any QYen the lowest members of our Lord. We wipe our Lord's 

feet with our hair, when we shew ])ity to His saints (with 

whom we suffer in love) by the sacrifice of those things with 

which we abound. Ambrose ; Tluow about thy hair, scatter 

before Him all the graces of thy body. The hair is not to 

^J.^^- be despised which can wash the feet of Christ. Gbeg. The 

ubi sup. 

woman kisses the feet which she has wiped. TJjis also we 

fully do when we ardently love those whom we maintain by 
our bounty. By the feet also may be understood the mystery 
itself of the Incarnation. We then kiss the feet of the Re- 
deemer when we love with our whole heart the mystery of the 
Incarnation. We anoint the feet with ointment, when we 
proclaim the power of His humanity with the good tidings 
of holy eloquence. But this also the Pharisee sees and 
grudges, for when the Jewish people perceives that the 
Gentiles preach God, it consumes away by its own malice. 
But the Pharisee is thus repulsed, that as it were through 
Him that false people might be made manifest, for in 
truth that unbelieving people never offered to the Lord 
even those things which were without them ; but the Gentiles 
being converted, poured fortli not only their substance but 
their blood. Hence He says to the Pharisee, T/tou gavest 
me no water for my feet, but she hath washed my feet tcith 
her tears ; for water is without us, the moisture of tears is 
within us. That unfaithful people also gave no kiss to the 
Lord, for it was unwilling to embrace Him from love whom 
it obeyed from fear, (for the kiss is the sign of love,) but the 
Gentiles being called cease not to kiss the feet of their 
Redeemer, for they ever breathe in His love. Ambrose; 
But she is of no slight merit of whom it is said. From the 
time that she entered has not ceased to kiss my feet, so that 
she knew not to speak aught but wisdom, to love aught but 
justice, to touch aught but chastit}', to kiss aught but 
Greg, modesty. Greg. But it is said to ihe Pharisee, 3Iy head 
" ' ^"^* with oil thou didst not anoint, for the very power even of 
Divinity on which the Jewish people professed to believe, 
he neglects to celebrate with due praise. But she hath 
anointed my feet with ointment. For while the Gentile 

VER. 36 50. ST. LUKE. 261 

people believed the mystery of His incaniation, it proclaimed 
also His lowest powers with the highest praise. 

Ambrose ; Blessed is he even who can anoint with oil the 
feet of Christ, but more blessed is he who anoints with oint- 
ment, for the essence of many flowers blended into one, 
scatters the sweets of various odours. And perhaps no other 
than the Church alone can bring that ointment which has 
innumerable flowers of different perfumes, and therefore 
no one cau,love so much as she who loves in many individuals. 
But in the Pharisee's house, that is, in the house of the Law 
and the Prophets, not the Pharisee, but the Church is justi- 
fied. For the Pharisee believed not, the Church believed. The 
Law has no mystery by which secret faults are cleansed, and 
therefore that which is wanting in the Law is made up in the 
Gospel. But the two debtors are the two nations who are 
responsible for payment to the usurer of the heavenly trea- 
sury. But we do not owe to this usurer material money, but 
the balance of our good deeds, the coin of our virtues, the 
merits of which are estimated by the weight of sorrow, 
the stamp of righteousness, the sound of confession. But 
that denarius is of no slight value on which the image of the 
king is found. Woe to me if 1 shall not have what I received. 
Or because there is hardly any one who can pay the whole 
debt to the usurer, woe to me if I shall not seek the debt to 
be forgiven me. But what nation is it that owes most, 
if not we to whom most is lent? To them were en- 
trusted the oracles of God, to us is entrusted the Virgin's 
offspring, Immanuel, i. e. God with us, the cross of our Lord, 
His death, His resurrection. It cannot then be doubted that 
he owes most who receives most. Among men he perhaps 
offends most who is most in debt. By the mercy of the Lord 
the case is reversed, so that he loves most who owes most, 
if so be that he obtains grace. And therefore since there 
is nothing which we can worthily return to the Lord, woe be 
to me also if I shall not have loved. Let us then offer our 
love for the debt, for he loves most to whom most is given. 


1. And it came to pass afterward, that he went 
throughout every city and village, preaching and 
shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God : 
and the twelve were with him, 

2. And certain women, which had been healed of 
evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, 
out of whom went seven devils, 

3. And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod's steward, 
and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto 
him of their substance. 

Theophyl. He who descended from heaven, for our 

example and imitation, gives us a lesson not to be slothful in 

teaching. Hence it is said. And it came to pass afterward 

Greg, that he went, Sfc. Greg. Naz. For He passes from place to 

xxxvii place, that He may not only gain many, but may consecrate 

2. many places. He sleeps and labours, that He may sanctify 

sleep and labour. He weeps, that He may give a value to 

tears. He preaches heavenly things, that He may exalt His 

hearers. Tit. Bost. For He who descends from heaven to 

earth, brings tidings to them that dwell on earth of a heavenly 

kingdom. But who ought to preach the kingdom of heaven ? 

Many prophets came, yet preached not the kingdom of 

heaven, for how could they pretend to speak of things which 

Isid. they pierceived not? IsiD. Peleus. Now this kingdom of 

c'' 206 ^'"^ some think to be higher and better than the heavenly 

kingdom, but some think it to be one and the same in reality, 

but called by different names; at one time the kingdom of 

God from Him who reigneth, but at another the kingdom 

of heaven from the Angels and Saints, His subjects, who are 

said to be of heaven. 

VER. 1 — 3. ST. LUKE. 263 

Bede ; But like the eagle, enticing its young ones to fly, 
our Lord, step by step, raises up His disciples to heavenly 
things. He first of all teaches in the synagogues, and per- 
forms miracles. He next chooses twelve whom He names 
Apostles ; He afterwards takes them alone with Him, as He 
preached throughout the cities and villages, as it follows, 
And the twelve ivere with him. Theophyl. Not teaching or 
preaching, but to be instructed by Him. But lest it should 
seem that the women were hindered from following Christ, 
it is added, And certain women which had been healed of 
evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of 
whom went seven devils. Bede; Mary Magdalene is the 
same of whose repentance, without mention of her name, we 
have just read. For the Evangelist, when he relates her going 
with our Lord, rightly distinguishes her by her known name, 
but when describing the sinner but penitent, He speaks of 
her generally as a woman ; lest the mark of her former guilt 
should blacken a name of so great report. Out of whom seven 
devils are reported to have gone, that it might be shewn that 
she was full of all vices. Greg. For what is understood by Greg. 
the seven devils, but all vices.? For since all time is compre-33^ ia 
hended by seven days, rightly by the number seven is univer- ^v. 
sality represented: Mary therefore had seven devils,for she was 
full of every kind of vice. It follows. And Joanna the wife 
qf Chuza Herod's steward, and Szisamia, and many others 
who ministered to him of their substance. Jerome; It wasHier. in 
a Jewish custom, nor was it thought blameable, according to 27^55. 
the ancient manners of that nation, that women should afibrd 
of their substance food and clothing to their teachers. This 
custom, as it might cause offence to the Gentiles, St. Paul 
relates he had cast off. But these ministered uijto the Lord i Cor. 
of their substance, that He might reap their carnal things ' ' 
from whom they had reaped spiritual things. Not that the 
Lord needed the food of His creatures, but that He might 
set an example to masters, that they ought to be content with 
food and clothing from their disciples. Bede ; But Mary is 
by interpretation, " bitter sea," because of the loud wailing 
of her penitence ; Magdalene, " a tower, or rather belonging 
to a tower," from the tower of which it is said. Thou artv^.Gi, 
become my hojje, my strong tower from the face qf my enemy. ^ 


Joanna is by interpretation " the Lord her grace," or " the 
merciful Lord," for from Him coraeth every thing that we 
live upon. But if Mary, cleansed from the conuption of her 
sins, points to the Church of the Gentiles, why does not 
Joanna represent the same Church formerly subject to the 
worship of idols? 

For every evil spiint whilst he acts for the devil's kingdom, 
is as it were Herod's steward. Susanna is interpreted, " a 
lily," or its grace, because of the fragrance and whiteness 
of the heavenly life, and the golden heat of inward love. 

4. And when much people were gathered togetlier, 
and were come to him out of every city, he spake by 
a parable : 

5. A sower went out to sow his seed : and as 
he sowed, some fell by the way side ; and it was 
trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. 

6. And some fell upon a rock ; and as soon as it 
was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked 

7. And some fell among thorns ; and the thorns 
sprang up with it, and choked it. 

8. And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, 
and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had 
said these things, he cried. He that hath ears to hear, 
let him hear. 

9. And his disciples asked him, saying, What 
might this parable be ? 

10. And he said, Unto you it is given to know the 
mysteries of the kingdom of God : but to others in 
parables ; that seeing they might not see, and hearing 
they might not understand. 

1 1 . Now the parable is this : The seed is the word 
of God. 

12. Those by the way side are they that hear; 
then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word 

VER. 4 — 15. ST. LUKE. 265 

out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be 

13. They on the rock are they, which, when they 
hear, receive the word with joy ; and these have no 
root, which for a while believe, and in time of tempt- 
ation fall away. 

14. And that which fell among thorns are they, 
which, when they have heard, go forth, and are 
choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this 
life, and bring no fruit to perfection. 

15. But that on the good ground are they, which 
in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, 
keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience. 

Theophyl. That which David had foretold in the person 
of Christ, / will open my mouth in parables, the Lord here Ps.78,2, 
fulfils; as it is said. And when much jjeople were gathered 
together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake 
by a parable. But the Lord speaks by a parable, first indeed 
that He may make His hearers more attentive. For men 
were accustomed to exercise their minds on dark sayings, 
and to despise what was plain; and next, that the unworthy 
might not receive what was spoken mystically. 

Origen ; And therefore it is significantly said, When much 
people were gathered together, and were come to him out of 
every city. For not many but few there are who walk the 
strait I'oad, and find the way which leadeth to life. Hence 
Matthew says, that He taught without the house by parables. Matt. 
but within the house explained the parable to His disciples. ^^' ^^' 

EusEBius; Now Christ most fitly puts forth His first 
parable to the multitude not only of those who then stood 
by, but of those also who were to come after them, inducing 
them to listen to His words, saying, A sower went out to 
sow his seed. 

Bede; The sower we can conceive to be none other but johnig 
the Son of God, Who going forth from His Father's bosom 37. 
whither no creature had attained, came into the world that He Hom! 
might bear witness to the tmth. Chrys. Now His going, ^- '" 


Who is every where, was not local, but through the vail of 
tlie Uesh He approached us. But Christ fitly denominates 
His advent, His going forth. For we were aliens from God, 
and cast out as criminals, and rebels to the king, but he who 
wishes to reconcile man, going out to them, speaks to them 
without, until having become meet for the royal presence. He 
brings them within ; so also did Christ. Theophyl. But He 
went out now, not to destroy the husbandmen, or to burn up 
the earth, but He went out to sow. For oftimes the husband- 
man who sows, goes out for some other cause, not only to 
sow. EusEBius; Some went out from the heavenly country 
and descended among men, not however to sow, for they 

Heb. 1, were not sowers, but ministering spirits sent forth to minister. 

*^' Moses also and the prophets after him did not plant in men 
the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but by keeping back 
the foolish from the error of iniquity, and the worship of 
idols, they tilled as it were the souls of men, and brought 
them into cultivation. But the only Sower of all, the Word 
of God, went out to sow the new seed of the Gospel, that is, 
the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. Theophyl. But 
the Son of God never ceases to sow in our hearts, for not 
only when teaching, but creating, He sows good seed in our 
hearts. Tit. Bost. But He went out to sow His seed. He 
receives not the word as borrowed, for He is by nature the 
Word of the living God. I'he seed is not then of Paul, or 
of John, but they have it because they have received it. 
Christ has His own seed, drawing forth His teaching from 

John 7, His own nature. Hence also the Jews said. How knovoeth 

*^' this man letters, /laving never learned? 

EusEBius; He teaches therefore that there are two classes 
of those who received the seed ; the first, of those who have 
been made worthy of the heavenly calling, but fall from 
grace through carelessness and sloth ; but the second, of those 
who multiply the seed bearing good fruit. But according to 
Matthew he makes three divisions in each class. For those 
who corrupt the seed have not all the same manner of de- 
struction, and those who bear fruit from it do not receive 
an equal abundance. He wisely sets forth the cases of those 
who lose the seed. For some though they have not sinned, 
have lost the good seed implanted in their hearts, through its 

VER. 4 — 15. ST. LUKE. 267 

having been withdrawn from their thoughts and memory by 
evil spirits, and devils who fly through the air: or deceitful 
and cunning men, whom He calls the birds of the air. Hence 
it follows. And as he sowed, some fell by the way side. 
Theophyl. He said not that the sower threw some on the 
way side, but that it fell by the way side. For he who sows 
teaches the right word, but the word falls in different ways 
upon the hearers, so that some of them are called the way 
side: and it was trodden down, and the birds of the air 
devoured it. Cyril; For every vvay side is in some measure 
dry and uncultivated, because it is trodden down by all 
men, and no seed gains moisture on it. So the divine 
warning reaches not the unteachable heart, that it should 
bring forth the praise of virtue. These then are the ways 
frequented by unclean spirits. There are again some who 
bear faith about them, as if it consisted in the nakedness 
of words; their faith is without root, of whom it is added, 
And some fell upon a rock, and as soon as it sprung up^ 
it withered away, because it lacked moisture. Bede; The 
rock, he says, is the hard and unsubdued heart. Now the 
moisture at the root of the seed is the same as what is called 
in another parable, the oil to trim the lamps of the virgins, Matt. 
that is, love and stedfastness in virtue. Eusebius; There ' 
are also some who through covetousness, the desire of 
pleasure and worldly cares, which indeed Christ calls thorns, 
suffer the seed which has been sown in them to be choked. 
Chrys. For as the thorns do not let the seed grow up, Chrys. 
but when it has been sown choke it by thickening round it,^°'"' 
so the cares of this present life permit not the seed to bear Matt. 
fruit. But in things of sense the husbandman must be 
reproved who would sow amid thorns on a rock and the way 
side, for it is impossible that the rocks should become earth, 
the way not be a way, the thorns not be thorns. But in 
rational things it is othenvise. For it is possible that the 
rock should be converted into a fruitful soil, the May not 
be trodden down, the thorns dispersed. Cyril; Now the 
rich and fruitful ground is the honest and good hearts which 
receive deeply the seeds of the word, and retain them and 
cherish them. And whatever is added to this. And some 
fell upon (jood (jround, and springiuff icp, brought forth 


fniit an hundredfold. For when tlic divine word is poured 
into a soul free from all anxieties, then it strikes root deep, and 
sends forth as it were the ear, and in its due season comes to 
perfection. Bede ; For by fruit a hundredfold, he means 
perfect fruit. For the number ten is always taken to imply 
perfection, because in ten precepts is contained the keeping, 
or the observance of the law. But the number ten multiplied 
by itself amounts to a hundred; hence by a hundred very 
great perfection is signified. Cvril ; But what the meaning of 
the parable is, let us hear from him who made it, as it follows. 
And nhen he had said these thinr/s, he cried. He that hath 
Basil, ears to hear, let him hear. Basil ; Hearing has reference to 
Pj°^*'°thc understanding. By this then our Lord stirs us up to 
Prov. listen attentively to the meaning of those things which are 
spoken. Bede ; For as often as the admonition occurs 
either in the Gospel or the Revelation of St. John, it signifies 
that there is a mystical meaning in what is said, and we 
must inquire more closely into it. Hence the disciples who 
were ignorant ask our Saviour, for it follows. And his dis- 
ciples asked him, <^'C. But let no one suppose that as soon 
as the parable was finished His discii)les asked Him, but 
Mark 4, as Mark says, When he was alone they asked him. Origen; 
Orifieii. Now a parable is a narration of an action as done, yet not 
inProv. ^^j^g according to the letter, though it might have been, 
representing certain things by means of others which arc given 
in the parable. An enigma is a continued story of things 
which are spoken of as done, and yet have not been done, 
nor are possible to be done, but contains a concealed 
meaning, as that which is mentioned in the Book of Judges, 
Judges that the trees went forth to anoint a king over them. But it 
' * was not literally a fact as is said, A sower went out to 
sow, like those facts related in history, yet it might have 
been so. 

Eusebius; But our Lord told them the reason why He 
spake to the multitudes in parables, as follows. And he 
said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of God. 
Greg. Greg. Naz. When you hear this you must not entertain 
sup. ^j^^ notion of different natures, as certain heretics do, who 
think that some men iiideed are of a perishing nature, others 
of a saving nature, but that «omc are so constituted that their 

VER. 4 — 15. ST. LUKE. 269 

will leads them to better or worse. But add to the words, 
To you it is given., if willing and truly worthy. Theophyl. 
But to those who are unworthy of such mysteries, they are 
obscurely spoken. Hence it follows, But to the rest in 
jmrables, that seeing they might not see^ and hearing they 
might not understand. For they think they see, but see not, 
and hear indeed, but do not understand. For this reason 
Christ hides this from them, lest they should beget a greater 
prejudice against them, if after they had known the mysteries 
of Christ, they despised them. For he who understands and 
afterwards despises, shall be more severely punished. Bej>e; 
Rightly then do they hear in parables, who having closed 
the senses of their heart, care not to know the truth, forgetful 
of what the Lord told them. He that hath ears to hear, let 
him hear. Greg. But our Lord condescended to explain Gre^. 
what He said, that we might know how to seek for explana- j° j^^^* 
tion in those things which He is unwilling to explain through 
Himself. For it follows, Nou: the parable is this: The seed 
is the uord of God. Euseb. Now He says, that there are 
three reasons why men destroy the seed implanted in their 
hearts. For some destroy the seed that is hid in them by 
lightly giving heed to those that wish to deceive, of whom 
He adds, Tltose by the way side are they that hear: then 
Cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their 
hearts. Bede; Who in truth deign to receive the word 
which they hear with no faith, with no understanding, at least 
with no attempt to test the value of it. Euseb. But 
some there are who having not received the word in any 
depth of heart, are soon overcome when adversity assails 
them, of whom it is added, TJiey on the rock are they which 
tihen they hear, receive the word with joy ; and these have 
no root, which for a while believe > and in time of temptation 
fall away. Cyril ; For when they enter the Church they 
gladly wait on the divine mysteries, but with infirmity of 
purpose. But when they leave the Church they forget the 
sacred discipline, and as long as Christians are undisturbed, 
their faith is lasting; but when persecution harasses, their heart 
fails them, for their faith was without root. Greg. Many Greg, 
men propose to begin a good work, but as soon as they have ^^^ ^"P* 
become annoyed by adversity or temptation, they abandon 


what they had begun. The rocky ground then had no moisture 
to carry on to constancy fruit which it liad j)ut forth, Euseb. 
But some choke the seed which has been deposited in them 
with riches and vain deUghts, as if with choking tliorns, of 
whom it is added, Afid that which yell amoiuj thorns are 
they^ which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked 
Greg, with cares and riches of this life, ^c. Greg. It is wonderful 
that the Lord has represented riches as thorns, for these 
prick, while those delight, and yet they are thorns, for they 
lacerate the mind by the prickings of their thoughts, and 
whenever they entice to see they draw blood, as if inflicting 
a wound. But there are two things which He joins to riches, 
cares and pleasures, for they oppress the mind by anxiety 
and unnerve it by luxuries, but they choke the seed, for they 
strangle the throat of the heait with vexatious thoughts, and 
while they let not a good desire enter the heart, they close 
up as it were the passage of the vital breath, 

Euseb. Now these things were foretold by our Saviour 
according to His foreknowledge, and that their case is so, 
experience testifies. For in no wise do men fall away from 
the truth of divine worship, but according to some of the 
Chrys. causes before mentioned by Him. Chrys, And to sum up 
44_ in many things in a few words. Some indeed as careless hearers. 
Malt, some as weak, but others as the very slaves of pleasure and 
worldly things, hold aloof from what is good. The order of 
the way side, the rock, and the thorns is well, for we have 
first need of recollection and caution, next of fortitude, and 
then of contempt of things present. He therefore places the 
good ground in opposition to the way, the rock, and the thorns. 
But that on the good ground are they, which in ati honest 
and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, Sfc. For 
they who are on the way side keep not the word, but the 
devil takes away their seed. But they who are on the rock 
sustain not patiently the assaults of temptation through weak- 
ness. But they who are among thorns bear no fruit, but are 
Greg, choked. Greg. The good ground then bears fruit through 
" ' ^"P" patience, for nothing we do is good unless we endure patiently 
our closest evils. They therefore bear fruit through patience, 
who when they bear strifes humbly, arc after the scourge 
received with joy to a heavenly rest. 

VER. 16 — 18. ST. LUKE. 271 

16. No man, when he hath lighted a candle, 
covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed ; 
but setteth it on a candlestick, that they which enter 
in may see the light. 

17. For nothing is secret, that shall not be made 
manifest ; neither any thing hid, that shall not be 
known and come abroad. 

18. Take heed therefore how ye hear : for whoso- 
ever hath, to him shall be given ; and whosoever hath 
not, from him shall be taken even that which he 
seemeth to have. 

Bede ; Having before said to His Apostles, Unto you it is 
given to knoio the mysteries of the kingdom of Ood, but to 
others in parables ; He now shews that by them at length 
must the same mystery be revealed also to others, saying, 
No man when he hath lighted a candle covereth it with a 
vessel, or putteth it under a bed. Euseb. As if He said, As 
a lantern is lighted that it should give light, not that it should 
be covered under a bushel or a bed, so also the secrets of 
the kingdom of heaven when uttered in parables, although 
hid from those who are strangers to the faith, will not however 
to all men appear obscure. Hence he adds, For nothing is 
secret that shall not be made manifest, neither any thing 
hid that shall not be known, and come abroad. As if He 
said, Though many things are spoken in pai-ables, that seeing 
they might not see, and hearing they might not understand, 
because of their unbelief, yet the whole matter shall be 

Aug. Or else in these words He typically sets forth the Aug. de 
boldness of preaching, that no one should, through fear of ^"""j*^' 
fleshly ills, conceal the light of knowledge. For under the ii- q- 12. 
names of vessel and bed, he represents the flesh, but of that 
of lantern, the word, which whosoever keeps hid through 
fear of the troubles of the flesh, sets the flesh itself before the 
manifestation of the truth, and by it he as it were covers the 
word, who fears to preach it. But he places a candle upon 
a candlestick who so submits his body to the service of God, 


that the preaching of the truth stands highest in his esti- 
mation, the service of the body lowest. 

Origen ; But he who would adapt his lantern to the more 
perfect disciples of Christ, must persuade us by those things 
John 5, which were spoken of John, for he was a burning and a 
shining light. It becomes not him then who lights the light 
of reason in his soul to hide it under a bed where men sleep, 
nor under any vessel, for he who does this provides not for 
those who enter the house for whom the candle is prcpai-ed, 
but they must set it upon a candlestick, that is, the whole 
Chrys. Chrys. By these words he leads them to diligence of life, 
i5?Tn teaching them to be strong as exposed to the view of all men, 
Matt, and fighting in the world as on a stage. As if he said, 
Think not that we dwell in a small part of the world, for 
ye will be known of all men, since it cannot be that so great 
Max. virtue should lie hid. Maxim. Or perhaps the Lord calls 
inScript. Himself a light shining to all who inhabit the house, that is, 
63. the world, since He is by nature God, but by the dispensation 
made flesh. And so like the light of the lamp He abides in 
the vessel of the flesh by means of the soul as the light in the 
vessel of the lamp by means of the flame. But by the 
candlestick he describes the Church over which the divine 
word shines, illuminating the house as it were by the rays 
of truth. But under the similitude of a vessel or bed he 
referred to the observance of the law, under which the word 
will not be contained. Bede ; But the Lord ceases not to 
teach us to hearken to His word, that we may be able both to 
constantly meditate on it in our own minds, and to bring it 
forth for thxj instruction of others. Hence it follows, Take 
heed therefore how ye hear; for whosoever hath^ to him shall 
be given. As if he says. Give heed with all your mind to the 
word which ye hear, for to him who has a love of the word, 
shall be given also the sense of understanding what he loves ; 
but whoso hath no love of hearing the word, though he deems 
himself skilful either from natural genius, or the exercise of 
learning, will have no delight in the sweetness of wisdom ; for 
oftentimes the slothful man is gifted with caj)acities, that if 
he neglect them he may be the more justly punished for his 
negligence, since that which he can obtain without labour 

VKR. 19—21. ST. LUKE. 273 

he disdains to know, and sometimes the studious man is 
oppressed with slowness of apprehension, in order that the 
more he labours in his inquiries, the greater may be the re- 
compense of his reward. 

19. Then came to him his mother and his brethren, 
and could not come at him for the press. 

20. And it was told him by certain which said, 
Thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring 
to see thee. 

21. And he answered and said unto them, My 
mother and my brethren are these which hear the 
word of God, and do it. 

Tit. Bost. Our Lord had left His kinsfolk according to 
the flesh, and was occupied in His Father's teaching. But 
when they began to feel His absence, they came imto Him, 
as it is said. Then came unto him his mother and his brethren. 
When you hear of our Lord's brethren you must include also 
the notions of piety and grace. For no one in regard of His 
divine nature is the brother of the Saviour, (for He is the 
Only-begotten,) but He has, by the gi-ace of piety, made us 
partakers in His flesh and His blood, and He who is by 
nature God has become our brother. 

Bede ; But those who are said to be our Lord's brethren 
according to the flesh, you must not imagine to be the chil- 
dren of the blessed Mary, the mother of God, as Helvidius 
thinks, nor the children of Joseph by another wife, as some 
say, but rather believe to be their kinsfolk. Tit. Bost. 
His brethren thought that when He heard of their presence 
He would send away the people, from respect to His mother's 
name, and from His affection towards her, as it follows, 
And it was told him. Thy mother and thy brethren staml 
without. Chrys. Think what it was, when the whole people Chrys. 
stood by, and were hanging upon His mouth, (for His teach- ^°™- 
ing had already begun,) to withdraw Him away from them. Matt. 
Our Lord accordingly answers as it were rebuking them, 
as it follows. And he answered and said unto them, My 



mother and my brethren are they which hear the word qf 
Qod, and do it, ^c. Ambrose ; The moral teacher who gives 
himself an example to others, when about to enjoin upon 
others, that he who has not left father and mother, is not 
worthy of the Son of God, first submits Himself to this pre- 
cept, not that He denies the claims of filial piety, (for it is 
His own sentence. He that knoweth not his father and mother 
shall die the death,) but because He knows that He is more 
bound to obey His Father's mysteries than the feelings of 
His mother. Nor however are His parents harshly rejected, 
but the bonds of the mind are shewn to be more sacred than 
t those of the body. Therefore in this place He does not 
disown His mother, (as some heretics say, eagerly catching 
at His speech,) since she is also acknowledged from the 
i cross ; but the law of heavenly ordinances is preferred to 
earthly aflFection. Bede ; They then who hear the word of 
God and do it, are called the mother of our Lord, because 
they daily in their actions or words biing Him forth as it 
I were in their inmost hearts ; they also are His brethren where 
they do the will of His Father, Who is in heaven. 
Chrys. Chrys. Now He does not say this by way of reproof to 
41. in His mother, but to greatly assist her, for if He was anxious 
Matt. fo^. others to beget in them a just opinion of Himself, 
much more was He for His mother. And He had not 
raised her to such a height if she were always to expect 
to be honoured by Him as a son, and never to consider Him 
as her Lord. Theophvl. But some take this to mean that 
certain men, hating Christ's teaching, and mocking at Him 
for His doctrine, said, Thi^ mother and thy brethren stand 
icithoiit wishing to see thee; as if thereby to shew His 
meanness of birth. And He therefore knowing their hearts 
gave them this answer, that meanness of birth harms not, but 
if a man, though of low birth, hear the word of God, He 
reckons him as His kinsman. Because however hearing 
only saves no one, but rather condemns. He adds, and doeth 
it ; for it becomes us both to heai* and to do. But by the 
word of God He means His own teaching, for all the words 
which He Himself spake were from His Father. 

Ambrose ; In a mystical sense he ought not to stand with- 
out, who was seeking Christ. Hence also that saying, 

VER. 22 — 25. ST. LUKE. 275 

Come unto him, and be enlightened. For if they stand with- Ps. 34, 
out, not even parents themselves are acknowledged; and^ '^' 
perhaps for our example they are not. How are we acknow- 
ledged by Him if we stand without ? That meaning also is 
not unreasonable, because by the figure of parents He points 
to the Jews of whom Christ was bom, and thought the Rom. 9, 
Church to be preferred to the .synagogue. Bede ; For they ^" 
cannot enter within when He is teaching whose words they 
refuse to understand spiritually. But the multitude went 
before and entered into the house, because when the Jews 
rejected Christ the Gentiles flocked to Him. But those who 
stand without, wishing to see Christ, are they, who not seeking 
a spiritual sense in the law, have placed themselves without 
to guard the letter of it, and as it were rather compel Christ 
to go out, to teach them earthly things, than consent to enter 
in themselves to learn spiritual things. 

22. Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he 
went into a ship with his disciples : and he said unto 
them. Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. 
And they launched forth. 

23. But as they sailed he fell asleep : and there 
came down a storm of wind on the lake ; and they 
were filled with water, and were in jeopardy. 

24. And they came to him, and awoke him, saying. 
Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and 
rebuked the wind and the raging of the water : and 
they ceased, and there was a calm. 

25. And he said unto them. Where is your faith ? 
And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another. 
What manner of man is this ! for he commandeth 
even the winds and water, and they obey him. 

Cyril ; When the disciples saw that all men received help 
from Christ, it seemed fitting that they themselves also should 
in turn rejoice in the benefits of Christ. For no one regards 
that which happens in the person of another equally with 
that to himself. The Lord therefore exposed the disciples 

T 2 


to the sea and the winds, as it follows, Now it came to 
pass on a certain day that he went into a ship with his 
disciples ; and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the 

Chrys. other side of the lake: and they launched forth. Chrys. 

27, in Luke indeed avoids the question which might be put to him 

Matt, with regard to the order of time, saying, that He went into a 
ship on a certain day. Now if the storm had aiisen when 
our Lord was awake, the disciples either had not feared, or 
not believed that IJe could do such a thing. For this cause 
He sleeps, giving them an occasion for fear ; for it follows, 
But as they sailed he fell asleep ; and there came down a 
storm, of wind on the lake. Ambrose ; We are told above, 
moreover, that He passed the night in prayer. How then 
does He here fall asleep in a storm ? The security of power 
is expressed, that while all were afraid, He alone lay fearless ; 
but He lay asleep in the body, while in the mind he was in 
the mystery of divinity. For nothing happens without the 

Cyril. Word. Cyril; But it seems to have been especially and 
™P- wonderfully ordained that they should not seek His assistance 
when first the storm began to affect the boat, but after the 
danger had increased, in order that the power of the Divine 
Majesty might be made more manifest. Hence it is said. 
And they uere filled with water, and were in jeopardy. 
This indeed our Lord allowed for the sake of trial, that having 
confessed their danger they should acknowledge the great- 
ness ot the miracle. Hence when their great danger had 
driven them into intolerable fear, having no other hope of 
safety but the Lord of power Himself, they awoke Him. It 
follows. And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, 

Aiiisr. Master, we perish. Aug. Matthew says, blaster, save us, 

Ev^r2. "^^ perish. Mark, Master, caresl thou not that we perish ? 

c. 24. There is the same expression in all of men awakening 
our Lord, and anxious for their safety. Nor is it worth 
while to enquire which of these was most likely to have been 
said to Christ. For whether they said one of these three, 
or some other words which no Evangelist has mentioned, 
but of the same import, what matter is it ? Though at the 
same time this may ha\e been the case, that by the many 
who awoke Him, all these things were said, one by one, and 
another by another. 

VER. 22 — 25. ST. LUKE. 277 

Cyril ; But it could not be that they should perish while 
the Almighty was with them. Christ then arose, Who has 
power over all things, and immediately quells the storm and 
the violence of the wind, and the tempest ceased, and there 
was a calm. Herein He shews Himself to be God, to Whom 
it is said, Tkou rulesl the raging of the sea : when the waves Ps. 89, 
thereof arise^ thou stillest them. So then as He sailed, our^ * 
Lord manifested both natures in one and the same person, 
seeing that He who as man slept in the ship, as God by 
His word stilled the raging of the sea. Cyril; But together 
with the raging of the waters, He quiets also the tumult 
of their souls, as it follows. And he said unto them. Where is 
your faith ? By which word He shewed, that it is not so much 
the assault of temptation which causes fear, as faint-hearted- 
ness. For as gold is proved in the fire, so is faith in temptation. 
Aug. Now this is related by the other Evangelists in different Aug. 
words. For Matthew says, that Jesus said, Why are ye ^^ °°* 
fearful, O ye of little faith ? but Mark as follows, fVhy are sup- 
ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith ? i. e. that perfect Mark 4! 
faith like the grain of mustard seed. Mark then also says, 
O ye of little faith ; but Luke, Where is your faith? And 
indeed all these may have been said, Why are ye fearful ^ 
Where is your faith ? O ye of little faith. Hence one 
Evangelist relates one, another another. 

Cyril; When the tempest was quelled at the command of 
Christ, the disciples in astonishment whispered one to the 
other, as it follows, And they being afraid wondered, ^c. 
Now the disciples said not this as ignorant of Him, for they 
knew that He was God, and Jesus the Son of God. But 
they marvel at the exceeding vastness of His natural power, 
and the glory of His divinity, although He was like to us, 
and visible in the flesh. Hence they say. Who is this/ 
that is, of what manner of man .'' how great, and with what 
great power and majesty .? for it is a mighty work, a lordly 
command, no abject petition. Bede ; Or, it was not His 
disciples, but the sailors and others in the ship who 

But allegorically, the sea or lake is the dark and bitter tide 
of the world, the ship is the wood of the cross, by help of 
which the faithful, having passed the waves of this world, 


reach the shore of a heavenly country. Ambrose ; Our 
Lord therefore, who knew tliat He came upon earth for a 
divine mystery, having left His kinsfolk, went up into the 
ship. Bede ; His disciples also, when summoned, enter 

Mat.16, in with Him. Hence He says, If any one will come after 
me, let him deny hi?nself, and take up his cross, and folloto 
me. While His disciples are sailing, that is, the faithful 
passing through this world, and meditating in their minds 
the rest of the world to come, and by the breath of the Holy 
Spirit, or also their own exertions, eagerly leaving behind them 
the unbelieving pride of the world, suddenly our Lord fell 
asleep, that is, the time of our Lord's passion was come, and 
the stoim descended. For when our Lord entered the sleep 
of death upon the cross, the waves of persecution rose, stirred 
up by the breath of the devil, but while the patience of the 
Lord is not disturbed by the waves, the faint hearts of the 
disciples are shaken and tremble. They awoke our Lord 
lest they should perish while He slept, because having seen 
His death they wish for His resurrection, for if that were 
delayed they would perish for ever. He rises therefore and 
rebukes the wind, since by His sudden ii.sing again He put 

Heb. 2, down the pride of the devil who had the power of death. 

^^' But He makes the tempest of nature to cease, since by His 
resurrection He baffled the rage of the Jews, who plotted His 

Ambrose ; You must remember that no one can pass from 
the course of this life without temptations, for temptation 
is the trial of faith. We are therefore subject to the storms 
of spiritual wickedness, but as watchful sailors we must awake 
the Pilot, who does not obey but commands the winds, who 
although He now no longer sleeps in the sleep of His own 
body, yet let us beware, lest through the sleep of our bodies 
He is to us asleep and at rest. But they are rightly reproved 
who feared, when Christ was present; since he surely who 
clings to Him can in no wise perish. 

Bede ; In like manner, when He appeared after His death 

Mark to His discii)les, He upbraided them with their unbelief, and 
' ■ thus having calmed the swelling waves, He made i)lain to 
all the power of His divinity. 

VEIL -26—39. ST. LUKi:. 279 

26. And they arrived at the country of the Gada- 
renes, which is over against Galilee. 

27. And when he went forth to land, there met 
him out of the city a certain man, which had devils 
long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any 
house, but in the tombs. 

28. When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell 
down before him, and with a loud voice said. 
What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of 
God most high ? I beseech thee, torment me not. 

29. (For he had commanded the unclean spirit to 
come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught 
him : and he was kept bound with chains and in 
fetters ; and he brake the bands, and was driven of 
the devil into the wilderness.) 

30. And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy 
name ? And he said. Legion : because many devils 
were entered into him. 

31. And they besought him that he would not 
command them to go out into the deep. 

32. And there was there an herd of many swine 
feeding on the mountain : and they besought him 
that he would suffer them to enter into them. And 
he suffered them. 

33. Then went the devils out of the man, and 
entered into the swine : and the herd ran violently 
down a steep place into the lake, and were choked. 

34. When they that fed them saw what was done, 
they fled, and went and told it in the city and in the 

35. Then they went out to see what was done ; 
and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom 
the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, 
clothed, and in his right mind : and they were 


36. They also which saw it told them by what 
means he that was possessed of the devils was healed. 

37. Then the whole multitude of the country of 
the Gadarenes round about besought him to depart 
from them ; for they were taken with great fear : and 
he went up into the ship, and returned back again. 

38. Now the man out of whom the devils were 
departed besought him that he might be with him : 
but Jesus sent him away, saying, 

39. Return to thine own house, and shew how great 
things God hath done unto thee. And he went his 
way, and published throughout the whole city how 
great things Jesus had done unto him. 

Cyril; The Saviour, as He sailed with His disciples, 

came to a port, as it is said, Attd they arrived at Ihe country 

of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee. Titus 

BosT. Many accurate copies have neither " Gerazenes" nor 

" Gadarenes," but " Gergezenes." For Gadara is a city in 

Judsea, but neither lake nor sea is found at it ; and Geraza is 

a city of Arabia, having neither lake nor sea near. But 

Gergeza, from which the Gergezenes are called, is an ancient 

city near the lake of Tiberias, above which is a rock hanging 

over the lake, into which they say the swine were dashed down 

by the devils. But since Gadara and Geraza border upon the 

land of the Gergezenes, it is probable that the swine were 

led from thence to their parts. Bede'; For Geraza is a famous 

city of Arabia, on the other side of the Jordan, close to the 

mountain of Galaad, which was possessed by the tribe of 

Manasseh, and not far from the lake of Tiberias, into which 

the swine were cast headlong. 

Chrys. Chrys. But as soon as our Lord had departed from the sea, 

28. in He meets with another more awful wonder. For the demoniac, 

^^"* like an evil slave, when he sees Him confirtas his bondage, as it 

follows. And uhen he uent forth to land, there met him out 

Aug. Aeof the city a certain man, Sfc. Aug. Whereas Matthew says, 

Ev. ut that there were two possessed, but Mark and Luke mention only 

8"P- one; you must understand one of them to be a more distinguished 

VER. 26—39. ST. LUKE. 281 

and famous person, for whom that neighbourhood was chiefly 
distressed, and in whose restoration they were greatly inte- 
rested. Wishing to signify this, the two Evangelists thought 
riglit to mention him alone, concerning whom the report of 
this miracle had been most extensively noised abroad. 
Chrys. Or, Luke selected from the two the one who wasChrys. 
most savage. Hence he gives the most melancholy account of 28. in 
his calamity, adding, And he wore no clothes, neither abode ^*'^"- 
in any house, hut in the tombs. But the evil spirits visit the 
tombs of the dead, to instil into men that dangerous notion, 
that the souls of the dead become evil spirits. Cyril; Now 
his going naked among the tombs of the dead was a mark 
of demoniacal wildness. But God permits some in His 
providence to become subject to evil spirits, that we may 
ascertain through them of what kind the evil spirits are 
towards us, in order that we may refuse to be made subject 
unto them, and so by the suffering of one many may be 

Chrys. But because the people acknowledged Him to be Chrys. 
man, the devils came publishing His divinity, which even" ^ ^"^' 
the sea had proclaimed by its calmness. Hence it follows, 
When he saw Jesus he fell down be/ore him, and with a 
loud voice said, c^c. Cyril; Mark here the combination 
of fear with boldness and great desperation, for it is a sign of 
devilish despair to speak out boldly, What have I to do 
with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high ? but of fear 
when they pray, / beseech thee not to cast me out. But 
if thou knowest Him to be the Son of God most high, thou 
confessest Him to be the God of heaven and earth, and of all 
things that are contained in them. How then dost thou make 
use not of thy own but His words, saying, What have I to 
do with thee? But what earthly prince will altogether en- 
dure to have his subjects tormented by barbarians ? Hence 
it follows, For he had commanded the unclean spirit 
to come out of him. And He shews the necessity of the 
command, adding. For oftentimes it had caught him, §-c. 
Chrys. Therefore since no one could hold the possessed, chrys. 
Christ goes to him and addresses him. It follows, And Jesus^^^ ""P* 
asked him, saying, What is thy name? Bkde; He enquires 
not his name as ignorant of it, but that when the demoniac 


had confessed the plague which he endured, the power ol" 
the Healer might shine forth more welcome to him. But the 
priests also of our time, who through the grace of exorcism 
are able to cast out devils, are wont to say that the sufferers 
can no otherwise be cured than by openly telling in confes- 
sion every thing which either waking or sleeping they have 
endured from the unclean spirits, and above all when they 
imagine that the devils seek and obtain the possession of the 
human body. So also here the confession is added, And 
he saidy Legion^ because many devils were entered into 
^reg. Greg. Nyss. Certain evil spirits imitating the heavenly 
14. in hosts and the legions of Angels say that they are legions. 
I "iih ^^ ^^^ their prince says that he will exalt his throne above 
14, 13. the stars that he may be like to the Most High. Chrys. 
ubi'^sup.B^* when the Lord had overcome the evil spirits which dis- 
turbed His creatures, they thought that because of the 
enormity of those things which had been done, He would not 
' waitthe time of their punishment, and therefore since they could 
not deny their guilt, they entreat that they may not quickly un- 
dergo the penalty. As it follows. And they besought him that he 
would not command them toga out into the deep. Theophyl. 
Which indeed the devils demand, wishing yet longer to mix 
with mankind. Cyril ; And hence it is plain that the rebel hosts 
against the Divine Majesty were thrust down to hell by the un- 
Max. speakable power of the Saviour. Maxim. Now the Lord ordains 
Georgi- for each class of sinners an appropriate punishment. The 
urn. f^T^Q Qf Hell unquenchable for fleshly burnings, gnashing 
of teeth for wanton mirth, intolerable thirst for pleasure 
and revelry, the worm that dieth not for a crooked and 
malignant heart, everlasting darkness for ignorance and 
deceit, the bottomless pit for pride. Hence the deej) is 
assigned to the devils as unto the proud, it follows. And there 
Auk. was there an herd of swine, Spc. Aug. The words of Mark, 
Ev. L"ii that there was a herd of swine nigh unto the mountains, and 
24. of Luke, on the mountains, do not differ from one another. 
For the herd of swine was so large, that they might be part 
on the mountain, part near it. For there were two thousand 
.Mark 5, swinc, as Mark has stated. Ambrose ; But the devils could 
'■* not endure the clearness of the light of heaven, as those who 

VER. 26 39. ST. LUKE. 283 

hav e weak eyes can not bear the sun's rays. Cyril ; The 
multitude of unclean spirits seek therefore to be sent into 
the herd of unclean swine, Uke to themselves, for it follows, 
And they besought him that he would suffer them to enter into 
them. Ath AN. But if they have no power over swine, the evil ^^^^^ 
spirits have much less against men who are made after the image Anton, 
of God. We ought then to fear God alone, but despise them. 
Cyril ; But the Lord granted them permission, that this 
might be among other things to us an occasion of benefit, 
and the confidence of our safety. It follows. And he suffered 
them. We must therefore consider that the evil spirits are 
hostile to those which are subject to them, and this will be 
evident from their sending down the swine violently into the 
waters and choking them ; as it follows, Then went the devils 
out of the man and entered into the swine, and the herd ran 
violently down a steep place into the lake, and were choked. 
And this Christ permitted to them which sought it, that it 
might appear from the event how cniel they are. It was also 
necessaiy to shew that the Son of God has no less power 
to foresee than the Father, that equal glory might be mani- 
fested in each. 

Tit. Bost. But the shepherds take flight, lest they should Vide 

-m-r Victor. 

perish with the swine. Hence it follows. When they that Ant. in 
fed them saw what was done they Jled, and went and told ^^^^^ ^' 
it in the city and in the country, and excited the like 
alarai among the citizens. But the severity of their loss led 
them to the Saviour ; for it follows. Then they went out to see 
what was done, and came to Jesus; and here remark, that 
while God punishes men in their substance. He confers a 
blessing upon their souls. But when they had set out, they 
see him in his right mind who had been long vexed. It 
follows. And they found the man out qf whom the devils had 
departed sitting at the feet of Jesus clothed, (whereas before 
he was naked,) and in his right mind. For he departed not 
from those feet, where he obtained safety ; and so acknow- 
ledging the miracle, they were astonished at the cure of the 
malady, and marvelled at the event ; for it follows. And they 
were afraid. But this thing they discover partly by sight, 
partly hearing it in words. It follows. They also which saw 
it told them by what means he that was possessed of the 


devils uas healed. But they ought to have besought tlie 
Lord not to depart from them, but to be the guardian of their 
country, that no evil spiiits might come near them ; but 
through fear they lost their own salvation, asking the Saviour 
to depart. It follows, Then the whole muUitndc of the 
country of the Gadarenes round about besought him to depart 
from them, for they were taken with great fear. Theophyl. 
They feared lest they should again suffer some loss, as they 

Chrys. had suffered in the drowning of the swine. Chrys. But 
sup. Q|jggj.yg ^i^g humility of Christ ; for when after confening so 
great benefits upon them they sent Him away, He offers no 
obstacle, but departs, leaving those who had proclaimed 
themselves unworthy of His teaching. It follows, And he 
went up into the ship, and returned back again. Tit. Bost. 
But as He was departing, the man who had been afflicted will 
not part from his Saviour, for it follows. Now the man out of 
uhorn the devils were departed besought him that he might 
be with him. Theophyl. For as one who had been tried by 
experience, he feared, lest perhaps when far from Jesus he 
should again become the prey of evil spirits. But the Lord 
shews him, that though He is not present with him, He can 
protect by His grace, for it follows, But Jesus sent him away, 
saying, Return to thine own house, and shew how great 
things God hath done for thee. But he said not, " how great 
things I have done for thee," giving us an example of humility, 
that we should attribute all our righteousness to God. Tit. 
Bost. He does not however turn aside from the law of truth, 
for whatever the Son doth the Father doth. But why does 
He, who every where chai'ged those who were delivered to 
tell no one, say to this man who was delivered from the 
legion. Shew how great things God hath done for thee? 
Because in truth that whole country knew not God, and was 
in bondage to the worship of devils. Or more truly, now 
that He refers the miracle to His Father, He says, Shew how 
great, ^c. but when He speaks of Himself He charges to 
tell no one. But he who was healed of the evil spirits knew 
Jesus to be God, and therefore published what great things 
God had done for him. For it follows. And he went through 

Chrys. the whole city, SfC. Chrys. And so abandoning those who 
' *"^' had proclaimed themselves unworthy of His teaching, Ho 

VER. 26—39. ST. LUKE. 285 

aj)points as their teacher the man who had been released 
from the evil spirits. 

Bede; Now mystically; Gerasa signifies the Gentile 
nations, whom after His passion and resurrection Christ 
visited in His preachers. Hence Gerasa or Gergesa, as 
some say, is by interpretation " casting out an inhabitant," 
that is, the devil by whom it was before possessed, or, " a 
stranger approaching," who before was afar off. Ambrose ; 
Now although the number of those healed by Christ is 
different in Luke and Matthew, yet the mystery is one and 
the same. For as he who had a devil is the figure of the 
Gentile people, the two also in like manner take the figure 
of the Gentiles. For whereas Noah begat three sons, Shem, 
Ham, and Japhet ; the family of Shem only was called to 
the possession of God, and firom the other two the people 
of different nations were descended. He (as Luke says) 
had devils long time, inasmuch as the Gentile people was 
vexed from the deluge down to our Lord's coming. But he 
was naked, because the Gentiles lost the garment of their 
natui-e and virtue. Aug, He abode in no house, that is, Aug. de 
he had no rest in his conscience ; he dwelt among the tombs, ^l^^f'' 
because he delighted in dead works in his sins. Ambrose ; ii. q. 13. 
Or what are the bodies of the unbelieving but kinds of tombs 
in which the word of God abides not ? 

Aug. Now that he was bound by brazen fetters and Aug. 
chains, signifies the harsh and severe laws of the Gentiles, " ' ^"P* 
by which also in their states offences are restrained. But, 
that having burst these chains he was driven by the evil 
spirit into the wilderness, means that having broken through 
these laws, he was also led by lust to those crimes which 
exceeded the ordinary life of men. By the expression that 
there was in him a legion of devils, the nations are signified 
who served many devils. But the fact that the devils were 
permitted to go into the swine, which fed on the mountains, 
signifies also the unclean and proud men over whom the 
evil spirits have dominion, because of their worship of idols. 
For the swine are they who, after the manner of unclean 
animals without speech and reason, have defiled the grace of 
their natural virtues by the filthy actions of their life. Aug. Aug. 
But by their being sent down violently into the lake, it is" "'"P' 


meant that tlie Church has boon purified, and now that the 
Gentiles are delivered from the dominion of evil spirits, those 
who refuse to believe in Christ, cany on their unholy lites in 
hidden places with dark and secret watchings. Ambrose ; They 
are carried violently down, for they are reclaimed not by the 
contemplation of any good deed, but thrust as from a higher 
place to a lower, along the downward path of iniquity, they 
perish amidst the waves of this world, shut out from the 
approach of air. For they who are carried to and fro by the 
rapid tide of pleasure cannot receive the communication of 
the Spirit ; we see then that man himself is the author of his 
own misery. For unless a man lived like the swine, the devil 
would never have received power over him, or received it, 
not to destroy but to prove him. And perhaps the devil, 
who after the coming of our Lord can no longer steal away 
the good, seeks not the destniction of all men, but only the 
wanton, as the robber lies in wait not for armed men, but 
the unarmed. When those who kept the herd saw this they 
Jied. For neither the teachers of philoso])h3' nor the chief 
of the synagogue can bring a cure to perishing mankind. 
It is Christ alone who takes away the sins of the people. 
Aug. Aug. Or, by the herdsmen of the swine flying and telling 
Evan. 1. these things. He represents certain rulers of the wicked, who 
ii. q. 13. though they evade the law of Christianity, yet proclaim it 
among the nations by their astonishment and wonder. But 
by the Gerasenes, when they knew what was done, asking 
Jesus to depart from them, for they were struck with great 
fear, he represents the multitude delighting in their old 
pleasures, honouring indeed, but unwilling to endure the 
Christian law, saying that they cannot fulfil it, while they 
still marvel at the faithful released from their fonner abandoned 
mode of life. Ambrose ; Or there seems to have been a 
kind of synagogue in the city of the Gerasenes who besought 
our Lord to depart, because they were seized with great fear. 
For the weak mind receives not the word of God, nor can 
it endure the burden of wisdom. And therefore He no longer 
troubled them, but ascends from the lower parts to the higher, 
from the Synagogue to the Church, and returned across the 
lake. For no one passes from the Church to the Synagogue 
without endangering his salvation. But whoever desires to 

VRK. 40 — 48. ST. LUKE. 287 

pass from the Synagogue to the Church, let him take up his 
cross, that he may avoid the danger. Aug. But that he, now Aug. 
that he is healed, desires to be with Christ, and it is said to " ' *"^^' 
him. Return to thy house, and tell what great things God has 
done for thee, implies that each should understand, that 
after the remission of his sins he should return to a good con- 
science as to his home, and obey the Gospel for the salvation 
of others, in order that there he may rest with Christ, lest 
by too early wishing to be with Christ he neglect the ministry 
of preaching necessary for this redemption of his brethren. 

40. And it came to pass, that, when Jesus was re- 
turned, the people gladly received him: for they were 
all waiting for him. 

41. And, behold, there came a man named Jairus, 
and he was a ruler of the synagogue: and he fell 
down at Jesus' feet, and besought him that he would 
come into his house : 

42. For he had one only daughter, about twelve 
years of age, and she lay a dying. But as he went 
the people thronged him. 

43. And a woman having an issue of blood twelve 
years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, 
neither could be healed of any, 

44. Came behind him, and touched the border 
of his garment : and immediately her issue of blood 

45. And Jesus said. Who touched me ? When all 
denied, Peter and they that were with him said. 
Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, 
and sayest thou. Who touched me? 

46. And Jesus said. Somebody hath touched me : 
for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me. 

47. And when the woman saw that she was not 
hid, she came trembling, and falling down before 
him, she declared unto him before all the people for 


what cause she had touched him, and how she was 
healed immediately. 

48. And he said unto her. Daughter, be of good 
comfort : thy faith hath made thee whole : go in 

Aug. de Aug. After relating the miracle of the Gadarenes, Luke 

Con.Ev. gQgg Q^ ^Q relate that of the ruler of the synagogue's daughter; 

28. saying, And it came to pass, that, when Jesus was returned, 

the people gladly received him: for they were all waiting 

for him. Theophyl. At once both because of His teach- 

Aug. ing, and His miracles. Aug. But the event which He 

ubisup. j^(j^g^ And, behold, there came a m,an named Jairus, must 

not be supposed to have taken place immediately, but first 

Matt. 9, that of the feast of the publicans which Matthew mentions, 

to which he so joins on this that it cannot consequently be un- 

Vide derstood to have happened otherwise. Tit. Bost. The name 

Ant. in is inserted for the sake of the Jews, who at that time well knew 

Mark 6. the event, that the name might be a demonstrative proof of 

the miracle. And there came not one of the lowest, but a 

ruler of the synagogue, that the mouths of the Jews might be 

the more closed. As it follows, And he was a ruler of the 

synagogue. Now he came to Christ because of his need ; 

for giief sometimes urges us to do those things which are right, 

Ps- 32, according to the Psalm, Hold their mouths with bit and 

bridle, who come not nigh unto thee. Theophyl. Through 

urgent need then he fell at His feet, as it follows, And he fell 

at Jesus' feet; but it were right for him without a pressing 

necessity to fall at Christ's feet and acknowledge Him to be God. 

Chrys. Chrys. But mark his dulness of heart, for it follows, andbe- 

Hom. I I . 7 J 

31. in sought him that he would come into his house; bemg ignorant 

^*"- in truth that He was able to heal when absent. For if he 
had known, he would have said as the centurion did, Speak the 

Aste- word, and my daughter shall be healed. Greek Ex. But 
the cause of his coming is told by adding, For he had only 
one daughter, the prop of his house, the succession of his 
race, about twelve years old, in the very flower of licr age ; 
and she lay dying, about to be carried to the grave instead 

ubi'sup. ^^ ^^^^ nuptial bed. Chrys. But the Lord had come not to 

VER. 40 48. ST. LUKE. 289 

judge the world, but to save it. Whereupon He does not weigh 
the rank of the petitioner, but calmly undertakes the work, 
knowing that what was to happen would be greater than what 
was asked. For He was called to heal the sick, but He knew 
that He would raise up one that was by this time dead, and 
implant on the earth a firm hope of the resurrection. 

Ambrose ; But when about to raise the dead, in order to 
bring faith to the ruler of the synagogue. He first cured the 
issue of blood. So also a temporal resurrection is celebrated 
at the Passion of our Lord, that the other might be believed 
to be eternal. But as he went, the people thronged him. 
Cyril; This was the greatest sign that He had really put on v.Chrya. 
our flesh, and trampled under foot all pride. For they followed ]viatt. 
Him not afar off, but thronged Him. 

Greek Ex. Now a certain woman afilicted with a severe ubi sup. 
disease, whose infirmity had consumed her body,but physicians 
all her substance, finds her only hope in such great humbleness 
that she falls down before oiu" Lord; of whom it follows, Jnd 
a woman having an issue of hlood twelve years, 8fc. Tit. non coc. 
BosT. Of how great praise then is this woman worthy, who 
with her bodily powers exhausted by the continual issue of 
blood, and with so great a crowd thronging around Him, in 
the strength of her afiection and faith entered the crowd, and 
coming behind, secretly touched the hem of His garment. 
Cyril; For it was not lawful for the unclean either to touch 
any of the holy saints, or come near a holy man. Chrys. For Chrj-s. 
by the custom of the Law a malady of this kind was accounted 3j°™jJ 
a great uncleanness. Independently of this also, she had not Matt. 
yet a right estimation of Him, else she would not have thought to {9^25 ' 
remain concealed, but nevertheless she came trusting to be 
healed. Theophyl. But as when a man turns his eye to a 
shining light, or puts fuel to the fire, immediately they have 
their effects ; so indeed he who brings faith to Him who is 
able to cure, immediately obtains his cure ; as it is said, and 
immediately her issue qf blood stanched. Chrys. But not 
the garments alone saved her, (for the soldiers also allotted 
them among themselves,) but the earnestness of her faith. 
Theophyl. For she believed, and was saved, and as was 
fitting first touched Christ with her mind, then with her body. 
Greek Ex. But the Lord heard the woman's silent thoughts, Asterius. 

vol. III. u 


and silently released her silent, permitting willingly the seizing 
of her cure. But afterwards He malics known the miracle, as 
it follows: And Jesus said, Who touched me? Cyril; For 
the miracle which was performed escaped not the Lord, but 

Victor. He who knew all things asks as if He were ignorant. Greek 
Ex. Now His disciples who knew not what was asked, but 
supposed He spoke merely of one touching Him, answer 
our Lord's question, as follows. When all denied, Peter and 
they that were with him said, Master, the multitude press 
thee and throng thee, and sayest thou. Who touched me ? 
Our Lord therefore distinguishes the touching by His answer, 
as it follows. And Jesus said, Somebody has touched me : 
as He said also. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear, 
although all had bodily hearing of this kind; but it is not 
truly hearing if a man hear carelessly, nor truly touching if 
he touch unfaithfully. He now therefore publishes what was 
done, as it is added, For I perceive that virtue is gone out of 
me. He answers rather materially, in consideration of the 
minds of His hearers. He is here, however, manifested to 
us to be the true God, both by His miraculous deed, 
and by His word. For it is beyond us, and perhaps 
beyond angels also, to be able to communicate virtue as from 
our own nature. This belongs to the Supreme Nature alone. 
For nothing created possesses the power of healing, or even 
of doing any other like miracles, except it be divinely given. 
But it was not from desire of glory that He suffered not to 
remain concealed the exhibition of His divine power, Who had 
so often charged silence about His miracles, but because He 
looked to their advantage who are called through faith to 

Chry.«. grace. Chrys. For first He removes the woman's fear, lest 
' she should suffer the pangs of conscience, for as it were 
stealing the gi-ace. Next He reproves her for thinking to 
lie concealed. Thirdly, He makes known her faults publicly 
for the sake of others, and betrays no less a miracle than 
the stanching of blood, l)y shewing that all things are open 
to His sight. Cyril; Moreover, He persuaded the ruler of 
the synagogue to believe undoubtingly that He would 

Chrys. rcscuc his daughter from ihe hands of death. Chrys. Now 
our Lord did not immediately discover her, for this reason, 
that by shewing that all things are known to Him, He might 

VEB. 40 — 48. ST. LUKE. 291 

make the woman publish what was done, that the miracle 
might be free from all suspicion. Hence it follows, And 
when the uoman saw that she teas not hid, she came 
trembling. Origen; But the same cure which the woman 
obtained by touching Him, our Saviour confirmed by His 
word ; as it follows, And he said unto her, Thy faith hath 
made thee tchole; go in peace, that is, Be released from thy 
scourge. And indeed He first heals her soul by faith, then 
truly her body. Tit. Bost. He calls her daughter, as already con occ. 
healed because of her faith, for faith claims the grace of 

EusEB. Now they say that the woman set up in PaneasEuseb. 
(Cajsarea Philippi, whence she came) a noble triumphal jj^sJ^" 
monument of the mercy vouchsafed to her by the Saviour. '• ^i'' 
For there stood upon a lofty pedested near the entrance to 
her house a brasen statue of a woman on bended knees, 
and with her hands joined as if in prayer; opposite to which 
was erected another statue like to a man, made of the 
same material, clothed in a stole, and holding forth hisS'TX«fj. 
hand to the woman. At his feet upon the base itself a 
strange kind of plant was growing, which reaching to the 
hem of the brasen stole, was said to be the cure of all 
diseases. And they said that this statue represents Christ. 
It was destroyed by Maximinus. 

Ambrose ; Now mystically Christ had left the synagogue 
in Gerasa, and Him whom His own received not we strangers 
receive. Bede; Or at the end of the world the Lord is 
about to return to the Jews, and to be gladly received by 
them through confession of the faith. Ambrose ; But whom 
do we suppose the chief of the synagogue to be, but the Law, 
from consideration of which our Lord had not entirely 
abandoned the synagogue. Bede ; Or, by the ruler of the 
synagogue is understood Moses. Hence he is rightly called 
Jairus, that is, " enlightening" or " enhghtened," as he who 
receives the words of life to give to us, thereby both enlightens 
others, and is himself also enlightened by the Holy Spirit. But 
the ruler of the synagogue fell at the /eet of Jesus, because 
the lawgiver with the whole race of the patriarchs knew that 

" ttTXtU seems to mean here the <fri>\n Priests, but especially the High Priest. 
U^artKh, used by the Jewish Kings and see Joseph. Orat. vi. 14. 

U 2 


Christ, appearii)g in the flesh, would be far preferred to them. 
1 Cor. For if the head of Christ is God, His feet must agreeably to this 
■ ■ be taken for the Incarnation, by which He touched tlie earth 
of our mortality. The ruler asked Him to enter into his house, 
because he was desirous to beliold His coming. His only 
daughter is the Synagogue, which alone was framed with a 
legal institution ; which at twelve years of age, that is, when 
the time of puberty was approaching, lay dying ; for having 
been brought up nobly by the prophets, as soon as it came 
to years of discretion, when it ought to bring forth spiritual 
fruits to God, being suddenly subdued through its weak- 
ness and error, it forgot to enter the way of spiritual life, 
and unless Christ had come to its help, would have fallen 
away into destruction. But the Lord going to heal the girl is 
thronged by the crowd, because giving wholesome warnings 
to the Jewish nation. He was borne down by the customs of 
a carnal people. Ambrose; But while the Word of God 
hastens to this daughter of the ruler that He might save the 
children of Israel, the holy Church collected from among 
the Gentiles which was perishing by its falling away into 
gross crimes, seized first by faith the health prepared for others. 
Bede ; Now the issue of blood may be taken in two ways, 
that is, both for the prostitution of idolatry, and for those 
things which are done for the delights of the flesh and blood. 
Ambrose ; But what means it that this daughter of the ruler 
was dying at twelve years, and the woman was afflicted with 
the issue of blood for twelve years, but that it might be 
understood that as long as the Synagogue flourished the 
Church was weak. For almost in the same age of the world, 
the Synagogue began to grow up among the patriarchs, and 
idolatiy to pollute the Gentile nation. 

Ambrose; But as she had spent all her substance upon 
physicians, so the Gentile nations had lost all the gifts of 
nature. Bede ; Now by physicians understand either false 
doctors, or philosophers and teachers of secular laws, 
who disputing much concerning virtue and vice, promised 
that they would give to mortals useful instructions for life ; 
or suppose that by the physicians are signified the unclean 
spirits themselves, who by giving as it were advice to men, 
procure themselves to be worshipped as God, on listening to 

VER. 40 48. ST. LUKE. 293 

whom the Gentiles the more they consumed the strength of 
their natural industry, so much the less were they able to be 
cured from the pollution of their iniquity. Ambrose ; Now- 
hearing that the people of the Jews were sick, she begins to 
hope for the remedy of their salvation ; she knew that the 
time was arrived when a Physician should come from heaven, 
she rose to meet Him, more ready from faith, more backward 
from modesty. For this is the part of modesty and faith to 
acknowledge weakness, not to despair of pardon. From 
modesty then she touched the hem of His garment ; in faith 
she came, in piety believed, in wisdom knew herself to be 
healed ; so the holy people of the Gentiles which believed 
God, blushed at its sins so as to desert them, offered its faith 
in believing, shewed its devotion in asking, put on wisdom in 
itself feeling its own cure, assumed boldness to confess that 
it had forestalled what was not its own. Now Christ is 
touched behind, as it is written, Thou shall walk after theT)eut. 
Lord thy God. Bede; And He Himself says. If any man JqYi^\s 
serve me, let him follow me. Or, because not seeing Christ 26- 
present in the flesh, now that the sacraments of the temporary 
dispensation were completed, the Church began to follow His 
footsteps through faith. 

Greg. But while the crowd thronged Him, one woman Greg. 
touched our Redeemer, because all carnal men in the Church ^ jj' ' 
oppress Him from whom they are afar off, and they alone Job 2. 
touch Him who are joined to Him in humility. The crowd 
therefore press Him and touch Him not, because it is both 
importunate in presence, and absent in life. Bede ; Or one 
believing woman touches the Lord, since Christ who is afflicted 
beyond measure by the diverse heresies multiplying around 
Him, is faithfully sought by the heart alone of the Catholic 
Church. Ambrose ; For they believe not who throng Him ; 
they believe who touch. By faith Christ is touched, by faith He 
is seen. Lastly, to express the faith of her who touched Him, 
He says, / know that virtue is gone out of me, which is a more 
palpable sign, that the Divine Nature is not confined within the 
possibility of man's condition, and the compass of the human 
body, but eternal virtue overflows beyond the bounds of our 
mediocrity. For the Gentile people is not released by man's 
aid, but the gathering of nations is the gift of God, which 


even by its little faith turns to itself the everlasting mercy. 
For if we think what our faith is, and understand how great 
the Son of God is, we see that in comparison of Him we 
touch only the hem, we cannot reach the upper parts of the 
garment. If then we also wish to be cured, let us touch by 
faith the hem of Christ. But he who has touched Him is 
not hidden. Happy the man who has touched the extreme 
part of the Word. For who can comprehend the whole ? 

49. While he yet spake, there cometh one from 
the ruler of the synagogue's house, saying to hira. 
Thy daughter is dead ; trouble not the Master. 

50. But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, 
saying. Fear not : believe only, and she shall be made 

51. And when he came into the house, he suffered 
no man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John, 
and the father and the mother of the maiden. 

52. And all wept, and bewailed her : but he said. 
Weep not ; she is not dead, but sleepeth. 

.53. And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that 
she was dead. 

54. And he put them all out, and took her by the 
hand, and called, saying. Maid, arise. 

55. And her spirit came again, and she arose 
straightway : and he commanded to give her meat. 

56. And her parents were astonished : but he 
charged them that they should tell no man what was 

Chrj's. Chrys. Our Lord conveniently waited until the death of 
?i°Tn the girl, that the miracle of her resuiTection might be made 
Matt, public. For which reason also He goes slower, and speaks 
longer with the woman, that the daughter of the ruler of the 
synagogue may expire, and messengers come to tell Him. 
As it is said. While he yet spake, there cometh one from the 
ruler of the symujogue^s house, saying unto him, Thy 

VER. 49 — 56. ST. LUKE. 295 

daughter is dead. Aug. But since Matthew states the ruler Aug. de 
of the synagogue to have told our Lord that his daughter] j°°J 28 
was not on the point of death but quite dead, and Luke and 
Mark say, that she was not yet dead, nay, even go so far as to 
say that there came some afterwards, who told her death; 
we must examine, lest they should seem to be at variance. 
And we must understand that for the sake of brevity, Matthew 
chose rather to say, that our Lord was asked to do what it is 
obvious He did, namely, to raise the dead. For our Lord 
needs not the words of the father concerning his daughter, 
but what is more important, his wishes. Certainly, if the 
other two or any one of them had mentioned that the father 
had said what those who came from the house said, that 
Jesus need not be troubled because the maid was dead, His 
words which Matthew has related would seem to be at 
variance with his thoughts. But now to those who brought 
that message, and said that the Master need not come, it is 
not said that the father assented. The Lord therefore did not 
blame him as distrustful, but the more strongly confirms his 
behef. As it follows. But when Jesus heard it^ he answered 
the father of the girl, Believe only, S^c. Athan. Our Lord Athan. 
requires faith from those who invoke Him, not because He pass' et 
needs the assistance of others, (for He is both the Lord Crueem. 
and Giver of faith,) but not to seem to bestow His gifts 
according to His acceptance of persons. He shews that He 
favours those who believe, lest they should receive benefits 
without faith, and lose them by unbelief For when He 
bestows a favour. He wishes it to last, and when He heals, 
the cure to remain undisturbed. Theophyl. When He 
was about to raise the dead He put all out, as teaching us 
to be free from vain-gloiy, and to do nothing for show, for 
when any one ought to perform miracles, he must not be in 
the midst of a great many, but alone and apart from the 
other. As it follows. And when he came into the house, he 
suffered no man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John. 
Now these only He permitted to enter as the Heads of His 
disciples, and able to conceal the miracle. For He did not 
wish to be revealed to many before His time, perhaps on 
account of the envy of the Jews. So also when any one 
envies us, we ought not to make known to him our righte- 


Chrjs. ousness, lest we give him an occasion of greater envy. Chrys. 
But He took not with Him His other disciples, so provoking 
them to a strange desire, because also they were not yet fully 
prepared, but He took Peter, and with him the sons of 
Zebedee, that the others also might imitate them. He 
took also the parents as witnesses, lest any should say the 
evidence of the resurrection was false. Luke adds to this 
also, that He shut out from the house those that were weep- 
ing, and shewed that they were unworthy of a sight of this 
kind. For it follows, Atid they all wept, and bewailed her. 
But if He then shut them out, much more now. For then it 
had not yet been revealed that death was turned into sleep. 
Let no one then hereafter despise himself, bringing an insult 
to the victoiy of Christ, whereby He has overcome death, and 
turned it into sleep. In proof of which it is added, But he 
said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth, SfC. shewing 
that all things were at His command, and that He would 
bring her to life as if He were awakening her from sleep. 
They yet nevertheless laughed Him to scorn. For it follows. 
And they laughed him to scorn. He did not reprove them 
nor put an end to their laughter, that laughter also might be 
a sign of death. For since generally, after a miracle has 
been performed men continue unfaithful. He takes them by 
their own words. But that He might by sight dispose to 
the belief of the resurrection, He takes the hand of the maid. 
As it follows. But he took her by the hand, and called, say- 
ing, Maid, arise. And when He had taken her by the hand, 
He awoke her. As it follows. And her spirit returned, and 
she arose straightway. For He poured not into her another 
soul, but restored the same which she had breathed forth. 
Nor does he only awake the maid, but orders her to take 
food. For it follows, And he commanded to give her meat. 
That it might not seem like a vision what was done. Nor 
did He Himself give to her, but He commanded others to 

J(ibnii,clo it. As also He said in the case of Lazarus, Loose him,. 
And afterwards He made him partake of meat with Him. 

Severua. Greek Ex. He next charges the parents, astonished at the 
miracle, and almost crying out, not to publish abroad what 
was done. As it follows. And her parents uere astonished; 
but he charged them iJiat they should fell no man ulial nas 

VER. 49 — 56. ST. LUKE. 297 

done ; shewing that He is the Giver of good things, but not 
covetous of glory, and that He gives the whole, receivingnothing. 
But he who seeks after the glory of his works has indeed shewn 
forth something, but receives something. Bede ; But mys- 
tically, when the woman was cured of the issue of blood, word is 
brought that the daughter of the ruler of the synagogue is dead; 
because while the Church was cleansed from the stain of its sins, 
the Synagogue was forthwith destroyed by unbelief and envy ; 
by unbelief indeed, in that it refused to believe in Christ; by 
envy, in that it was grieved that the Church had believed. 
Ambrose ; But still also were the servants of the ruler incre- 
dulous with regard to the resurrection, which Jesus had fore- 
told in the Law, fulfilled in the Gospel ; therefore say they, Do Ps. 16. 
not trouble him ; as if it were impossible for Him to raise the 
dead. Bede ; Or this is even to this day said by those who see 
the state of the synagogue so destitute that they do not believe 
it can be restored, and therefore think nothing of praying for 
its resurrection. But those things which are impossible with 
men are possible with God. Therefore said the Lord to 
him. Fear not, only believe, and she shall be made whole. Lukei8, 
The father of the girl is taken for the assembly of the '" 
doctors of the Law, which if it were willing to believe, 
the Synagogue also which is subject to it will be safe. 
Ambrose ; Therefore having entered into the house, He 
called a few to be judges of the coming resurrection : for the 
resurrection was not soon believed by the many. What then 
was the cause of this great difference ? In a former case the 
widow's son is raised up before all, here a few only are set 
apart to judge. But I think that herein the mercy of the 
Lord is shewn, since the widowed mother of an only son 
suffered no delay. There is also the token of wisdom, 
that in the widow's son we should see the Church quick in 
believing ; in the ruler of the synagogue's daughter, the Jews 
about indeed to believe, but out of a great many only a few. 
Lastly, when our Lord says. She is not dead, but sleepeth, 
they laughed Him to scorn. For whoever believes not, laughs. 
Let them therefore mourn their dead who think they are 
dead. Where there is a belief of the resurrection, the notion is 
not of death but of rest. Bede ; The Synagogue also, because 
it has lost the joy of the Bridegroom, whereby alone it can live. 


lying dead as it were among those that mourn, understands 
not even the reason why it weeps. 

Ambrose ; Now the Lord taking hold of the hand of the 
maid, cured her. Blessed is he whom wisdom takes by the 
hand, that she may bring him into her secret places, and 
command to be given him to eat. For the bread of heaven 
is the word of God. Hence comes also that wisdom which 
has filled its altars with the food of the body and blood of 
Prov. 9, God. Come, she says, eat my bread, and drink the wine 
tchich I have mixed for you. Cede ; Now the maid arose 
straightway, because when Christ strengthens the hand, man 
revives from the death of the soul; For there are some, who 
only by the secret thought of sin are conscious of bringing 
death to themselves. The Lord signifying that such He 
brings to life again, raised the daughter of the ruler of the 
synagogue. But others, by committing the very evil in 
which they delight, carry their dead as it were without the 
gates, and to shew that He raises these, He raised the 
widow's son without the gates. But some also, by habits 
of sin, bury themselves, as it were, and become corrupt ; and 
to raise these also the grace of the Saviour is not wanting ; to 
intimate which He raised from the dead Lazarus, who had 
been four days in the grave. But the deeper the death of 
the soul, so much the more intense should be the fervour of 
penitence. Hence He raises with a gentle voice the maid 
who lay dead in the room, the youth who was carried out He 
strengthens with many words, but to raise him who had been 
dead four days, He groaned in His spirit, He poured forth 
tears, and cried with a loud voice. But here also we must 
observe, that a public calamity needs a public remedy. Slight 
offences seek to be blotted out by secret penitence. The 
maid lying in the house rises again with few witnesses; the 
youth without the house is raised in the presence of a great 
crowd who accompanied him. Lazaiiis summoned from the 
tomb was known to many nations. 

.yA^rW >VVW#vxi>.v a(WVl 


1. Then he called his twelve disciples together, 
and gave them power and authority over all devils, 
and to cure diseases. 

2. And he sent them to preach the kingdom of 
God, and to heal the sick. 

3. And he said unto them. Take nothing for your 
journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, 
neither money ; neither have two coats apiece. 

4. And whatsoever house ye enter into, there abide, 
and thence depart. 

5. And whosoever will not receive you, when ye 
go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your 
feet for a testimony against them. 

6. And they departed, and went through the 
towns, preaching the Gospel, and healing every 

Cyril ; It was fitting that those who were appointed the 
ministers of holy teaching should be able to work miracles, 
and by these very acts themselves be believed to be the 
ministers of God. Hence it is said, Then called he his twelve 
disciples together, and gave them power and authority over 
all devils. Herein He brings down the haughty pride of the 
devil, who once said. There is none who shall open his mouth Isai. lo, 
against me. Euseb. And that through them the whole race lxx. 
of mankind may be sought out. He not only gives them power 
to drive away evil spirits, but to cure all kind of diseases at 


Cyril, His command; as it follows, And to cure diseases. Cyril; 
saur. 1. Mark here the divine power of the Son, which belongs not to 
12.C.14. a fleshly natiu-e. For it was in the power of the saints to 
perform miracles not by nature, but by participation of the 
Holy Spirit; but it was altogether out of their power 
to grant this authority to others. For how could created 
natures possess dominion over the gifts of the Spirit ? 
But our Lord Jesus Chiist, as by nature God, imparts graces 
of this kind to whomsoever He will, not invoking upon them 
a power which is not His own, but infusing it into them from 
Chrys. Himself. Chrys. But after that they had been sufficiently 
22. in strengthened by His guidance, and had received competent 
Matt, proofs of His power, He sends them out, as it follows. And 
he sent them to preach the kingdom of God. And here we 
must remaikj that they are not commissioned to speak of 
sensible things as Moses and the Prophets; for they promised 
a land and earthly goods, but these a kingdom, and whatso- 
Greg. ever is contained in it. Greg. Naz. Now in sending His 
69. disciples to preach, our Lord enjoined many things on them, 
the chief of which are, that they should be so virtuous, so 
constant, so temperate, and, to speak briefly, so heavenly, that 
no less through their manner of living than their words, the 
teaching of the Gospel might be spread abroad. And there- 
fore were they sent with lack of money, and staves, aud a 
single garment ; He accordingly adds. And he said to thetn, 
Chrys. Take nothing in the way, neither staves. Chrys. Many 
8up. ^jjjjjgg indeed He ordained hereby ; first indeed it rendered 
the disciples unsuspected ; secondly, it held them aloof from 
all care, so that they might give their whole study to the 
word; thirdly, it taught them their own proper virtue. But 
perhaps some one will say that the other things indeed are 
reasonable, but for what reason did He command them to 
have no scrip on their way, nor two coats, nor staff? In 
truth, because He wished to rouse them to all diligence, 
taking them away from all the cares of this life, that they 
might be occupied by the one single care of teaching. 
EusEB. Wishing then that they should be free from the 
desire of wealth and the anxieties of life. He gave this 
injunction. He took it as a proof of their faith and courage, 
that when it was commanded them to lead a life of extreme 

VRR. 1 — G. ST. LUKE. 301 

poverty, they would not escape from what was ordered. For it 
was fitting that they should make a kind of bargain, receiving 
these saving virtues to recompense them for obedience to 
commands. And when He was making them soldiers of 
God, He girds them for battle against their enemies, by telling 
them to embrace poverty. For no soldier of God entangles 
himself in the affairs of a secular life. Ambrose ; Of what kind 2 Tim. 
then he ought to be who preaches the Gospel of the kingdom^' * 
of God is marked out by these Gospel precepts ; that is, he 
must not require the supports of secular aid; and clinging 
wholly to faith, he must believe that the less he requires those 
things, the more they will be supplied to him. Theophyl. 
For He sends them out as very beggars, so that He would 
have them neither carry bread, nor any thing else of which 
men are generally in want. Aug. Or, the Lord did not Aug. de 
wish the disciples to possess and carry with them these things, ^^^o ' ' 
not that they were not necessary to the support of this life, 
but because He sent them thus to shew that these things were 
due to them from those believers to whom they announced the 
Gospel, that so they might neither possess security, nor carry 
about with them the necessaries of this life, either great or 
little. He has therefore, according to Mark, excluded all 
except a staff, shewing that the faithful owe every thing to 
their ministers who require no superfluities. But this per- 
mission of the staff He has mentioned by name, when He 
says. They should take nothing in the way^ hut a staff only. 
Ambrose ; To those also who wish it, this place admits of 
being explained, so as to seem only to represent a spiritual 
temper of mind, which appears to have cast off as it were a certain 
covering of the body; not only rejecting power and despising 
wealth, but renouncing also the delights of the flesh itself. 
Theophyl. Some also understand by the Apostles not carry- 
ing scrip, nor staff, nor two coats, that they must not lay up 
treasures, (which a scrip implies, collecting many things,) 
nor be angry and of a quarrelsome spirit, (which the staff 
signifies,) nor be false and of a double heart, (which is meant 
by the two coats.) Cyril ; But it may be said. How then shall Cyril. 
necessary things be prepared for them. He therefore adds. And "* *"P* 
into whatsoever house ye enter, there abide, and thence depart. 
As if He said. Let the food of disciples suffice you, who 


receiving from you spiritual lhings,will minister unto you tempo- 
ral. But He ordered them to abide in one house, so as neither 
to incommode the host, (that is, so as to send him away,) nor 
themselves to incur the suspicion of gluttony and wantonness. 
Ambrose ; He pronounces it to be foreign to the character 
of a preacher of the heavenly kingdom to run from house to 
house and change the rights of inviolable hospitality ; but 
as the grace of hospitality is supposed to be offered, so also 
if they are not received the dust must be shaken off, and they 
are commanded to depart fx'om the city ; as it follows, And 
whosoever will not receive you when ye go out of that city, 
shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony, Sfc. 
Bede ; The dust is shaken off from the Apostles' feet as a 
testimony of their labours, that they entered into a city, and 
the apostolical preaching had reached to the inhabitants 
thereof. Or the dust is shaken off when they receive nothing 
(not even of the necessaries of life) from those who despised the 
Cyril. Gospel. Cyril; For it is very improbable that those who de- 
' ^^^' spise the saving Word, and the Master of the household,will shew 
themselves kind to His servants, and seek further blessings. 
Ambrose ; Or it is a great return of hospitality which is here 
taught, i. e. that we should not only wish peace to our hosts, 
but also if any faults of earthly infiimity obscure them, they 
should be removed by receiving the footsteps of apostolical 
preaching. Bede ; But if any by treacherous negligence, 
or even from zeal, despise the word of God, their communion 
must bo shunned, the dust of the feet must be shaken off, 
lest by their vain deeds which are to be compared to the 
dust, the footstep of a chaste mind be defiled. Euseb. But 
when the Lord had girded His disciples as soldiers of God 
with di\'ine virtue and wise admonitions, sending them to the 
Jews as teachers and physicians, they afterwards went forth, 
as it follows, And they departed, and went through the towns 
preaching the gospel, and healing every where. 

7. Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was 
done by him : and he was perplexed, because that 
it was said of some, that John was risen from the dead ; 

8. And of some, that Elias had appeared ; and of 
others, that one of the old prophets was risen again. 

VER. 7—9, ST. LUKE. 803 

9. And Herod said, John have I beheaded : but 
who is this, of whom I hear such things ? And he 
desired to see him. 

Chrys. It was not till a long time had passed that Herod Chrys. 
took notice of the things that were done by Jesus, (to shew [^"^^tt 
you the pride of a tyrant,) for he did not acknowledge them 
at first, as it is said. Now Herod heard, ^c. Theophyl. 
Herod was the son of Herod the Great who slew the children, 
who was king, but this Herod was tetrarch. He inquired 
about Christ, who He was. Hence it follows, And he was 
perplexed. Chrys. For sinners fear both when they know, 
and when they are ignorant ; they are afraid of shadows, 
are suspicious about every thing, and are alarmed at the 
slightest noise. Such in truth is sin; when no one blames or 
finds fault, it betrays a man, when no one accuses it con- 
demns, and makes the offender timid and backward. But the 
cause of fear is stated afterwards, in the words, Because that 
it was said of some. Theophyl. For the Jews expected a 
resurrection of the dead to a fleshly life, eating and drinking, 
but those that rise again will not be concerned with the 
deeds of the flesh. Chrys. When Herod then heard of theChiys. 
miracles which Jesus was performing, he says, John have I^ ^ ^"^* 
beheaded, which was not an expression of boasting, but by 
way of allaying his fears, and bringing his distracted sold 
to recollect that he had killed. And because he had be- 
headed John, he adds, hut who is this. Theophyl. If 
John is alive and has risen from the dead, I shall know him 
when I see him ; as it follows. And he sought to see him. 
Aug. Now Luke, though he keeps the same order in his narra- Aug. de 
live with Mark, does not oblige us to believe that the course fs^c^s' 
of events was the same. In these words too, Mark testifies 
only to the fact that others (not Herod) said that John had 
risen from the dead, but since Luke has mentioned Herod's 
perplexity, we must suppose either that after that perplexity, 
he confirmed in his own mind what was said by others, since 
he says to his servants, (as Matthew relates,) This is John the 
Baptist, he is risen from the dead, or these words of Matthew 
must have been altered so as to signify that he was still 


10. And the apostles, when they were returned, 
told him all that they had done. And he took them, 
and went aside privately into a desert place belong- 
ing to the city called Bethsaida. 

1 1 . And the people, when they knew it, followed 
him: and he received them, and spake unto them 
of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had 
need of healing. 

12. And when the day began to wear away, then 
came the twelve, and said unto him. Send the 
multitude away, that they may go into the towns 
and country round about, and lodge, and get victuals: 
for we are here in a desert place. 

13. But he said unto them. Give ye them to 
eat. And they said. We have no more but five 
loaves and two fishes; except we should go and buy 
meat for all this people. 

14. For they were about five thousand men. And 
he said to his disciples. Make them sit down by fifties 
in a company. 

15. And they did so, and made them all sit 

16. Then he took the five loaves and the two 
fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed them, 
and brake, and gave to the disciples to set before the 

17. And they did eat, and were all filled: and 
there was taken up of fragments that remained to 
them twelve baskets. 

Aug. de Aug. Matthew and Mark, taking occasion from what had 
l'2°c 45 occurred above, relate here how John was slain by Herod. 
But Luke, who had long before given an account of John's 
sufferings, after mentioning that perj^lexity of Herod's, as to 
who our Lord was, immediately adds, And the aponiles when 
they were returned told him all that they had done. Bedk; 

VER. 10 — 17. ST. LUKE. 306 

But they not only tell Him what they had done and taught, 
but also, as Matthew implies, the things which John suffered Matt. 
while they were occupied in teaching, are now repealed to Him ^'^' ^^• 
either by His own, or, according to Matthew, by John's 

Isidore ; Our Lord because He hates the men of blood, isid.Pe- 
and those that dwell with them, as long as they depart not from ep,^233* 
their crimes, after the murder of the Baptist left the mur- 
derers and departed; as it follows. And he took them, and went 
aside privately into a desert place belonging to the city called 
Bethsaida. Bede; Now Bethsaida is in Galilee, the city of 
the Apostles Andrew, Peter, and Philip, near the lake of 
Gennesaret. Our Lord did not this from fear of death, (as 
some think,) but to spare His enemies, lest they should commit 
two murders, waiting also for the proper time for His 
own sufferings. Chrys. Now He did not depart before, Chrys. 
but after it was told Him what had happened, manifesting 49. in 
in each particular the reality of His incarnation. The- ^^**** 
OPHYL, But our Lord went into a desert place because He 
was about to perform the miracle of the loaves of bread, that 
no one should say that the bread was brought from the 
neighbouring cities. Chrys. Or He went into a desert place Chryn. 
that no one might follow Him. But the people did not retire, '^'^^ ®"P' 
but accompanied Him, as it follows, And the people when 
they knew it, followed him. Cyril; Some indeed asking to 
be delivered from evil spirits, but others desiring of Him the 
removal of their diseases ; those also who were delighted with 
His teaching attended Him diligently. 

Bede ; But He as the powerful and merciful Saviour by 
receiving the weary, by teaching the ignorant, curing the sick, 
filling the hungry, implies how He was pleased with their devo- 
tion ; as it follows. And he reeeived them, and spake unto them 
of the kingdom 0/ God, 8fc. Theophyl. That you may learn 
that the wisdom which is in us is distributed into word and 
work, and that it becomes us to speak of what has been done, 
and to do what we speak of. But when the day was wearing 
away, the disciples now beginning to have a care of others 
take compassion on the multitude. Cyril ; For, as has been 
said, they sought to be healed of different diseases, and because 
the disciples saw that what they sought might be accomplished 



by His simple assent, they say, Send them away, that they be 
no more distressed. But mark the overflowing kindness of 
Him who is asked. He not only grants those things which 
the disciples seek, but to those who follow Him, He supplies 
the bounty of a munificent hand, commanding food to be 
set before them; as it follows. But he said unio them. Give ye 
them to eat. Theophyl. Now He said not this as ignorant 
of their answer, but wishing to induce them to tell Him how 
much bread they had, that so a gi-eat miracle might be mani- 
fested through their confession, when the quantity of bread 
was made known. 

Cyril ; But this was a command which the disciples were 
unable to comply with, since they had with them but five 
loaves and two fishes. As it follows. And they said. We have 
no more hut Jive loaves and two Jishes ; except we go and 
Aug, debuy meat for all this people. Aug. In these words indeed 
] j°'^^'Luke has strung together in one sentence the answer of 
46. Philip, saying. Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not 
sufficient for them, but that every one may have a little, 
John 6, and the answer of Andrew, Tliere is a lad here who has Jive 
^' loaves and two small Jishes, as John relates. For when Luke 

says, We have no more but Jive loaves and two Jishes, he 
refers to the answer of Andrew. But that which he added. Ex- 
cept we go and buy food for all the people, seems to belong to 
Philip's answer, save that he is silent about the two hu7idred 
pennyworth, although this may be implied also in the 
expression of Andrew himself. For when he had said, There 
is a lad here who has Jive loaves and two Jishes, he added, 
But what are these among so many? that is to say, tinless 
we go and buy meat for all this people. From which diversity 
of words, but harmony of things and opinions, it is sufficiently 
evident that we have this wholesome lesson given us, that 
we must seek for nothing in words but the meaning of the 
speaker ; and to explain this clearly, ought to be the care of 
all truthtelling authors whenever they relate any thing con- 
cerning man, or angel, or God. Cyril; But that the 
diflBculty of the miracle may be still more enhanced, the 
number of men is stated to have been by no means small. 
Mat. 14, As it follows, And there were about Jive thousand men, besides 
women and children, as another Evangelist relates. 

VEK, 10 — 17. ST. LUKE. 307 

Theophyl. Our Lord teaches us, that when we entertain any 
one, we ought to make him sit down at meat, and partake of 
every comfort. Hence it follows, And he said to his disciples, 
8fc. Aug. That Luke says here, that the men were ordered to Aug- 
sit down by fifties, but Mark, by fifties and hundreds, does 
not matter, seeing that one spoke of a part, the other of the 
whole. But if one had mentioned only the fifties, and the 
other only the hundreds, they would seem to be greatly 
opposed to one another ; nor would it be sufficiently distinct 
which of the two was said. But who will not admit, that one 
was mentioned by one Evangelist, the other by another, and 
that if more attentively considered it must be found so. 
But I have said thus much, because often certain things 
of this kind exist, which to those who take little heed and 
judge hastily appear contrary to one another, and yet are not 
so. Chrys. And to make men believe that He came from Chrys. 
the Father, Christ when He was about to work the miracle 49. in 
looked up to heaven. As it follows, T7ien he took ihe^^^^^- 
jive loaves, S^c. Cykil ; This also He did purposely for our 
sakes, that we may learn that at the commencement of a 
feast when we are going to break bread, we ought to offer 
thanks for it to God, and to draw forth the heavenly blessing 
upon it. As it follows, And he blessed, and brake. Chrys. Chrys. 
He distributes to them by the hands of His disciples, so " ' ^^^' 
honouring them that they might not forget it when the miracle 
was past. Now He did not create food for the multitude 
out of what did not exist, that He might stop the mouth of the 
Manichaeans, who say that the creatures are independent of «^^«'^e'- 
Him ; shewmg that He Himself is both the Giver of food, and «„'«».* 
the same who said. Let the earth bring forth, Sfc. He makes 
also the fishes to increase, to signify that He has dominion 
over the seas, as well as the dry land. But well did He per- 
form a special miracle for the weak, at the same time that 
He gives also a general blessing in feeding all the strong as 
well as the weak. And they did all eat, and were Jill ed. 
Greg. Nyss. For whom neither the heaven rained manna, nor Greg. 
the earth brought forth com according to its nature, but from citech. 
the unspeakable garner of divine power the blessing was Mag. c. 
poured forth. The bread is supplied in the hands of those who ^^' 
serve, it is even increased through the fulness of those who 



eat. The sea supplied not their wants with the food of 
fishes, but He who placed in tlie sea the race of fishes. Am- 
brose ; It is clear that the multitude were filled not by a scanty 
meal, but by a constant and increasing supply of food. You 
might see in an incomprehensible manner amid the hands of 
those who distributed, the particles multiplying which they 
broke not; the fragments too, untouched by the fingers of the 
breakers, spontaneously mounting up. Cyril ; Nor was this 
all that the miracle came to; but it follows. And there was 
taken vp of the fragments that remained, tuelve baskets, that 
this might be a manifest proof that a work of love to our neigh- 
bour will claim a rich reward from God. Theophyl. And 
that we might learn the value of hospitality, and how much 
our own store is increased when we help those that need. 
Chrys. Chrys. But He caused not loaves to remain over, but frag- 
ubi sup. jnents, that He might shew them to be the remnants of the 
loaves, and these were made to be of that number, that there 
might be as many baskets as disciples. 

Ambrose ; After that she who received the type of the 
Church was cured of the issue of blood, and that the Apostles 
were appointed to preach the Gospel of the kingdom of God, 
the nourishment of heavenly grace is imparted. But mark 
to whom it is impEirted. Not to the indolent, not to those 
in a city, of rank in the synagogue, or in high secular 
oflSce, but to those who seek Christ in the desert. Bede ; 
Who Himself having left Judaea, which by unbelief had 
bereft herself of the source of prophecy, in the desert of the 
Church which had no husband, dispenses the food of the word. 
But many companies of the faithful leaving the city of their 
former manner of life, and their various opinions, follow Christ 
into the deserts of the Gentiles. Ambrose ; But they who are 
not proud are themselves received by Christ, and the Word 
of God speaks with them, not about worldly things, but of 
the kingdom of God. And if any have ulcers of bodily 
passions, to these He willingly affords His cure. But every 
] where the order of the mystery is preserved, that first through 

! the remission of sins the wounds should be healed, but after- 

( wards the nourishment of the heavenly table should plen- 

tifully abound. Bede ; Now when the day was going down, 
he refreshes the multitudes, that is, as the end of the 

VER. 10 — 17. ST. LUKE. 309 

world approaches, or when the Sun of righteousness sets for 
us. Ambrose ; Although the multitude is not as yet fed 
with stronger food. For first, as milk, there are five loaves; 
secondly, seven ; thirdly, the Body of Christ is the stronger 
food. But if any one fears to seek food, let him leave every 
thing that belongs to him, and listen to the word of God. 
But whoever begins to hear the word of God begins to eat, 
the Apostles begin to see him eating. And if they who eat, 
as yet know not what they eat, Christ knows; He knows 
that they eat not this world's food, but the food of Christ. 
For they did not as yet know that the food of a believing 
people was not to be bought and sold. Christ knew that we 
are rather to be bought with a ransom, but His banquet to 
be without price. Bede; The Apostles had only got but 
the five loaves of the Mosaic law, and the two fishes of each 
covenant, which were covered in the secret place of obscure 
mysteries, as in the waters of the deep. But because men 
have five external senses, the five thousand men who followed 
the Lord signify those who still live in worldly ways, knowing 
well how to use the external things they possess. For they 
who entirely renounce the world are raised aloft in the 
enjoyment of His Gospel feast. But the different divisions 
of the guests, indicate the different congregations of Churches 
throughout the world, which together compose the one 
Catholic. Ambrose; But here the bread which Jesus brake 
is mystically indeed the word of God, and discourse con- 
cerning Christ, which when it is divided is increased. For 
from these few words, He ministered abundant nourishment 
to the people. He gave us words like loaves, which while 
they are tasted by our mouth are doubled. Bede ; Now our 
Saviour does not create new food for the hungry multitudes, 
but He took those things which the disciples had and blessed 
them, since coming in the flesh He preaches nothing else 
than what had been foretold, but demonstrates the words of 
prophecy to be pregnant with the mysteries of grace; He looks 
towards heaven, that thither He may teach us to direct the 
eye of the mind, there to seek the light of knowledge ; He 
breaks and distributes to the disciples to be placed before the 
multitude, because He revealed to them the Sacraments of 
the Law and the Prophets that they might preach them to the 


Amrrose ; Not without meaning are the fragments wliich 
remained over and above what the multitudes had eaten, 
collected by the disciples, since those things which are 
divine you may more easily find among the elect than 
among the people. Blessed is he who can collect those 
which remain over and above even to the learned. But for what 
reason did Chiist fill twelve baskets, except that He might 
P8.8l,6. solve that word concerning the Jewish people, His hands 
served in the basket? that is, the people who before collected 
mud for the pots, now through the cross of Christ gather 
up the nourishment of the heavenly life. Nor is this 
the office of few, but all. For by the twelve baskets, as 
if of each of the tribes, the foundation of the faith is 
spread abroad. Bede; Or by the twelve baskets the twelve 
Apostles aie figured, and all succeeding teachers, despised 
indeed by men without, but within loaded with the frag- 
ments of saving food. 

18. And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, 
his disciples were with him : and he asked them, 
saying. Whom say the people that I am ? 

19. They answering said, John the Baptist; but 
some say, Elias ; and others say, that one of the old 
prophets is risen again. 

20. He said unto them. But whom say ye that I 
am ? Peter answering said, The Christ of God. 

21. And he straitly charged them, and commanded 
them to tell no man that thing ; 

22. Saying, The Son of man must suffer many 
things, and be rejected of the elders and Chief Priests 
and Scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third 

Cyril ; Our Lord having retired from the multitude, and 
being in a place apart, was engaged in prayer. As it is said, 
And it came to pass, as he was alone praying. For He 
ordained Himself as an example of this, instructing His 
disciples by an easy method of teaching. For I suppose the 
rulers of the people ought to be superior also in good deeds, 

VEK. 18 — 22. ST. LUKE. 311 

to those that are under them, ever holding converse with 
them in all necessary things, and treating of those things in 
which God delights. Bede; Now the disciples were with 
the Lord, but He alone prayed to the Father, since the saints 
may be joined to the Lord in the bond of faith and love, but 
the Son alone is able to penetrate the incomprehensible 
secrets of the Father's will. Every where then He prays alone, 
for human wishes comprehend not the counsel of God, nor 
can any one be a partaker with Christ of the deep things of 
God. Cyril ; Now His engaging in prayer might perplex 
His disciples. For they saw Him praying like a man. Whom 
before they had seen performing miracles with divine power. 
In order then to banish all peq^lexity of this kind, He asks 
them this question, not because He did not know the reports 
which they had gathered from withovit, but that He might 
rid them of the opinion of the many, and instil into them the 
true faith. Hence it follows, And he asked them, saying. 
Whom say the people that I am? Bede; Rightly does our 
Lord, when about to enquire into the faith of the disciples, 
first inquire into the opinion of the multitudes, lest their con- 
fession should appear not to be determined by their knowledge, 
but to be formed by the opinion of the generality, and they 
should be considered not to believe from experience, but 
like Herod to be perplexed by different reports which they 
heard. Aug. Now it may raise a question, that Luke says Aug. de 
that our Lord asked His disciples, Whom do men say that I ij^^J^s,' 
am, at the same time that He was alone praying, and they 
also were with Him ; whereas Mark says, that they were 
asked this question by our Lord on the way; but this is 
difficult only to him who never prayed on the way. 

Ambrose ; But it is no trifling opinion of the multitude 
which the disciples mention, when it is added. But they 
answering said, John the Baptist, (whom they knew to be 
beheaded;) but some say, Elias, (whom they thought 
would come,) but others say that one of the old Prophets is 
risen again. But to make this enquiry belongs to a different 
kind of wisdom from ours, for if it were enough for the Apostle 
Paul to know nothing but Christ Jesus, and Him crucified, i Cor. 2, 
what more can I desire to know than Christ ? Cyril ; But mark 
the subtle skill of the question. For he directs them first 


to the praises of strangers, tliat having overthrown these, 
He might beget in thera the right opinion. So when the 
disciples had given the opinion of the people, He asks 
them their own opinion; as it is added, And He said unto 
them, Whom say ye that I am '^ How marked is ye/ He ex- 
cludes them from the other, that they may avoid their opinions; 
as if He said, Ye who by my decree are called to the Apo- 
stleship, the witnesses of my miracles, whom do ye say that 1 
am .'' But Peter anticipated the rest, and becomes the mouth- 
piece of the whole company, and launching forth into the 
eloquence of divine love, utters the confession of faith, 
as it is added, Feter answering said. The Christ of God. He 
says nol merely that He was Christ of God, but now He uses 
the article. Hence it is in the Greek, tov XpKrrov. For many 
divinely accounted persons are in diverse ways called Christs, 
for some were anointed kings, some prophets. But we 
through Christ have been anointed by the holy Spirit, have 
obtained the name of Christ. But there is only one who is 
the Christ of God and the Father, He alone as it were having 
His own Father who is in heaven. And so Luke agrees in- 
deed in the same opinion as Matthew, who relates Peter to have 
said, 77/oM art Christ, (he Son of the living God, but speak- 
ing briefly Luke says that Peter answered, the Christ of God. 
Ambrose ; In this one name there is the expression both of 
His divinity and incarnation, and the belief of His passion. 
He has therefore comprehended every thing, having ex- 

summa pressed both the nature and the name wherein is all virtue. 

torn"" Cyril ; But we must observe, that Peter most wisely con- 
fessed Christ to be one, against those who presumed to 
divide Immanuel into two Christs. For Christ did not enquire 
of them, saying, Whom do men say the divine Word is ? but the 
Son of man, whom Peler confessed to be the Son of God. 
Herein then is Peter to be admired, and thought worthy of 
such chief honour, seeing that Him whom he marvelled at in 
our form, he believed to be the Christ of the Father, that is 
to say, that the Word which proceeded of the Father's Sub- 
stance was become man. 

Ambrose ; But our Lord Jesus Christ was at first unwilling 
to be preached, lest an uproar should arise; as it follows. And 
he straitly charged them, and commanded them to tell no 

VER. 23 — 27. ST. LUKE. 313 

man any thing. For many reasons He commands His dis- 
ciples to be silent ; to deceive the prince of this world, to re- 
ject boasting, to teach humility. Christ then would not boast, 
and dost thou boast who art of ignoble birth ? Likewise He 
did it to prevent mde and as yet imperfect disciples from being 
oppressed with the wonder of this awful announcement. They 
are ttien forbid t ' preach Him as the Son of God, that they 
might afterwards preach Him crucified. Chrys.- Timely Chrys. 
also was our Lord's command that no one should tell that He54, jn 
was Christ, in order that when offences should be taken away '^'***' 
and the sufferings of the cross completed, a proper opinion of 
Him might be firmly rooted in the minds of the hearers. For 
that which has once taken root and afterwards been torn up, 
when fresh planted will scarcely ever be preserved. But that 
which when once planted continues undisturbed, grows up 
securely. For if Peter was offended merely by what he heard, 
what would be the feelings of those many who, after they had 
heard that He was the Son of God, savv Him crucified, and 
spit upon.^ Cyril; It was the duty then of the disciples to 
preach Him throughout the world. For this was the work 
of those who were chosen by Him to the office of the Apostle- 
ship. But as holy Scripture bears witness. There is a time "Ecclea. 
for every thing. For it was fitting that the cross and resurrec- ' 
tion should be accomplished, and then should follow the preach- 
ing of the Apostles; as it is spoken, saying. The Son of man 
must needs suffer many things. Ambrose; Perhaps because 
the Lord knew that the disciples would believe even the 
difficult mysteiT of the Passion and Resun-ection, He wished 
to be Himself the proclaimer of His own Passion and Resur^ 

23. And he said to them all, If any man will come 
after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross 
daily, and follow me. 

24. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: 
but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same 
shall save it. 

25. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain 
the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? 

314 (UJSPF.I, ACC()!;i)l\<i TO ('II \I'. l.\. 

26. For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of 
my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, 
when he shall come in his own glory, and in his 
Father's, and of the holy angels. 

27. But I tell you of a truth, there be some stand- 
ing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see 
the kingdom of God. 

Cyril, Cyril; Great and noble leaders provoke the mighty in 

non occ. j^j.^g j^ (Jeeds of valour, not only by promising them the 

honours of victory, but by declaring that suffering is in itself 

glorious. Such we see is the teaching of the Lord Jesus 

Christ. For He had foretold to His disciples, that He must 

needs suffer the accusations of the Jews, be slain, and rise 

again on the third day. Lest then they should think that 

Christ indeed was to suffer persecution for the life of the 

world, but that they might lead a soft life, He shews them 

that they must needs pass through similar struggles, if they 

desired to obtain His glory. Hence it is said. And lie said 

unto all. Bede; He rightly addressed Himself to all, since 

He treats of the higher things (which relate to the belief in 

Chry?. His birth and passion) apart with His disciples. Chrys. Now 

J1°'P* the Saviour of His great mercy and lovingkindness will lia\ e 

Matt, no one serve Him unwillingly and from constraint, but those 

only who come of their own accord, and are grateful for being 

allowed to serve Him, And so not by compelling men and 

putting a yoke upon them, but by persuasion and kindness, 

He draws unto Him every where those who are willing, saying, 

If any man will, SfC. 

Basil. Basil; But He has left His own life for an example of 

M^°"^' blameless conversation to those who are willing to obey Him; 

cap. 4. as He says, Come after m£, meaning thereby not a following of 

His body, for that would be impossible to all, since our Tiord 

is in heaven, but a due imitation of His life according to their 

capacities. Bede ; Now unless a man renounces himself, he 

?'''^''' comes not near to Hiin, who is above him; it is said tlxre- 

in rec', 

lus. Int. fore, Let him deny himself. Basil ; A denial of one's sell' is 
}')Vip. indeed a total forgetfulness of things past, and a forsakin^^ of 
ill MMtt.j^is own will and affection. Okickn; A man also denies 

toin. 12. 

VER. 23 — 27. ST. LUKE. .315 

himself when by a sufficient alteration of manners or a good 
conversation he changes a life of habitual wickedness. He who 
has long lived in lasciviousness, abandons his lustful self 
when he becomes chaste, and in like manner a forsaking of 
any crimes is a denial of one's self. 

Basil; Now a desire of suffering death for Christ and a Basil, 
mortification of one's members which are upon the earth, and*^ * ^"^* 
a manful resolution to undergo any danger for Christ, and 
an indifference towards the present life, this it is to take up 
one's cross. Hence it is added, And let him take up his cross 
daily. Theophyl. By the cross, He speaks of an ignomi- 
nious death, meaning, that if any one will follow Christ, he 
must not for his own sake flee from even an ignominious 
death. Greg. In two ways also is the cross taken up, either (^^eg. 
when the body is afflicted through abstinence, or the mind32.inEv. 
touched by sympathy. Greek Ex. He rightly joins these two, Isaac. 
Let him deny himself, and let him take tip his cross, for as 
he who is prepared to ascend the cross conceives in his 
mind the intention of death, and so goes on thinking to have 
no more part in this life, so he who is willing to follow our 
Lord, ought first to deny himself, and so take up his cross, 
that his will may be ready to endure every calamity. 

Basil ; Herein then stands a man's perfection, that he Basil, 
should have his affections hardened, even towards life itself, jq^ ^3^' 
and have ever about him the answer of death % that he should by 2 Cor. l, 
no means trust in himself. But perfection takes its beginning ^V»*j/- 
from the relinquishment of things foreign to it; suppose these""- 
to be possessions or vain-glory, or affection for things that 
profit not. 

Beue; We are bid then to take up the cross of which we 
have above spoken, and having taken it, to follow our Lord 
who bore His own cross. Hence it follows. And let him follow 
me. Origen; He assigns the cause of this when He adds, For Origen. 
whosoever will save his life shall lose it ; that is, whosoever will "* ^P* 
according to the present life keep his own soul fixed on 
things of sense, the same shall lose it, never reaching to the 
bounds of happiness. But on the other hand He adds, but 
whosoever shall lose his life for my sake, shall save it. That 

• Responsum mortis Vulg. S. Thomas in 2 Cor. I. Lect. iii. explains it by 
certitudinem mortis. 


is, whosoever forsakes the things of sense looking upon 
truth, and exposes himself to death, as it were losing his 
life for Christ, shall the rather save it. If then it is a blessed 
thing to save our life, (with regard to that safety which is in 
God,) there must be also a certain good surrender of life 
which is made by looking upon Christ. It seems also to me 
from resemblance to that denying of one's self which has been 
before spoken of, that it becomes us to lose a certain sinful 
life of ours, to take up that which is saved by virtue. 
Cyril. Cyril; But that incomparable exercise of the passion of 
'Christ, which surpasses the delights and precious things of 
the world, is alluded to when he adds. What is a man advan- 
taged, if he gain the whole world and lose himself, or he a cast 
away ? As if he says, When a man, through his looking after 
the present delights, gains pleasure, and refuses indeed to 
suffer, but chooses to live splendidly in his riches, what ad- 
vantage will he get then, when he has lost his soul } For the 
1 Cor. 7, fashion of this world passeth away, and pleasant things depart 
Sap. 6 ^^ ^ shadow. For the treasures of ungodliness shall not 
9. profit, but righteousness snatches a man from death. Greg. 

JO 2. Since then the holy Church has one time of persecution, another 
Greg, time of peace, our Lord has noticed both times in His com- 

Hom. ' . 

32. in mand to us. lor at the time of persecution we must lay 
^^' down our soul, that is our life, which He signified, saying, 
Whosoever shall lose his life. But in time of peace, those 
things which have the greatest power to subdue us, our 
earthly desires, must be vanquished ; which He si guified, saying, 
What does it projit a man, S;c. Now we commonly despise 
all fleeting things, but still we are so checked by that feeling 
of shame so common to man, that we are yet unable to ex- 
press in words the uprightness which we preserve in our 
hearts. But to this wound the Lord indeed subjoins a suit- 
able application, saying, For whoever shall he ashamed of 
me and my words, of him shall the Son ot'man he ashamed. 
Theophyl. He is ashamed of Christ who says, Am I to 
believe on Him that is crucified ? He also is ashamed of 
His words who despises the simplicity of the Gospel. But 
of him shall the Lord be ashamed in His kingdom, in the 
same manner as if a master of a househol 1 s^^hould have a bad 
servant, and be ashamed to have him. Cyril ; Now he strikes 

VER. 23 — 27. ST. LUKE. 317 

fear into their hearts, when He says that He will descend from 
heaven, not in His fonner humility and condition proportioned 
to our capacities for receiving Him, but in the glory of the 
Father, with the Angels ministering unto Him. For it follows, 
JV/tefi he shall come in his own glory, and his Father\s, and 
of the holy angels. Awful then and fatal will it be, to be 
branded as an enemy, and slothful in business, when so great 
a Judge shall descend with the armies of Angels standing 
round Him. But from this you may perceive, that though 
He has taken to Himself our flesh and blood, the Son is no 
less God, seeing that He promises to come in the glory 
of God the Father, and that Angels shall minister to Him 
as the Judge of all, Who was made man like unto us. 
Ambrose ; Now our Lord while He ever raises us to look 
to the future reward of virtue, and teaches us how good it 
is to despise worldly things, so also He supports the w'eak- 
ness of the human mind by a present recompense. For it is 
a hard thing to take up the cross, and expose your life to 
danger and your body to death ; to give up what you are, 
when you wish to be what you are not ; and even the loftiest 
virtue seldom exchanges things present for future. The good 
Master then, lest any man should be broken down by despair 
or weariness, straightway promises that He will be seen by 
the faithful, in these words, But I say unto you, T/ieie are 
some standing here who shall not taste of death till they see 
the kingdom of God, Thegphyl. That is, the glory in which •, 
the righteous shall be. Now He said this of His transfi- 
guration, which was the type of the glory to come ; as if He 
said, There are some standing here, Peter, James, and John, 
who shall not reach death before they have seen at the time 
of My transfiguration what will be the glory of those who con- 
fess Me. Greg. Or, by the kingdom of God in this place, is Greg, 
meant the present Church ; and some of His disciples were ^2 In 
to live in the body up to that time, when they should behold Ev. 
the Church of God built and raised up against the glory of 
the world. Ambrose ; If then we also wish not to fear death, 
let us stand where Christ is. For they only cannot taste 
death who are able to stand with Christ, wherein we may 
consider from the nature of the very word, that they will 
not experience even the slightest perception of death, who 


are thouglit worthy to obtain uuion with Christ. At least 
let us suppose that the death of the body is tasted by touchy 
the life of the soul preserved by possession ; for here not the 
death of the body, but of the soul, is denied. 

28. And it came to pass about an eight days after 
these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, 
and went up into a mountain to pray. 

29. And as he prayed, the fashion of his counte- 
nance was altered, and his raiment was white and 

30. And, behold, there talked with him two men, 
which were Moses and Elias : 

31. Who appeared in glory, and spake of his de- 
cease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem. 

EusEBius; Our Lord, when He made known to His 

disciples the great mystery of His second coming, that it 

might not seem that they were to believe in His words only, 

proceeds to works, manifesting to them, through the eyes of 

their faith, the image of His kingdom ; as it follows. And 

it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he 

took Peter and John and James, and went up into a moun- 

Damas. tain to pray. Damascene ; Matthew and Mark indeed say 

Trans- that the transfiguration took place on the sixth day after the 

fig- $-8. promise made to the disciples, but Luke on the eighth. 

But there is no disagreement in these testimonies, but they 

who make the number six, taking off a day at each end, that 

is, the first and the last, the day on which He makes the 

promise, and that on which He fulfilled it, have reckoned 

only the intervening ones, but He who makes the number 

eight, has counted in each of the two days above mentioned. 

But why were not all called, but only some, lo behold the 

sight ? There was only one indeed who was unworthy to see 

the divinity, namely Judas, according to the word of Isaiah, 

l8&\.26,£et the wicked be taken away, that he should not behold the 

LXX. 9l(>^y "f God. If then he alone had been sent away, he 

might have, as it were Irom envy, been provoked to greater 

VER. 28—31. ST. LUKE. 319 

wickedness. Henceforward He takes away from the traitor 
every pretext for his treachery, seeing that He left below the 
rest of the company of the Apostles. But He took with 
Him three, that in the mouths of two or three witnesses every 
word should be established. He took Peter, indeed, because 
He wished to shew him that the witness he had borne to Him 
was confirmed by the witness of the Father, and that he 
was as it were to preside over the whole Church. He took 
with Him James, who was to be the first of all the disciples 
to die for Christ ; but He took John as the clearest singer 
of the sacred doctrine, that having seen the glory of the 
Son, which submits not to time, he might sound forth, 
In the beginning was the Word. Ambrose; Or, Peter went John i, 
up, who received the keys of the kingdom of heaven ; John, ' 
to whom was committed our Lord's mother; James, who Acts 12, 
first suffered martyrdom. Theophyl. Or, He takes these ' 
with Him as men who were able to conceal this thing, and 
reveal it to no one else. But going up into a mountain to 
pray. He teaches us to pray solitary, and going up, into 
stooping to earthly things. 

Damascene; Servants however pray in one way; ouroamas. 
Lord prayed in another. For the prayer of the servant iSj*^"P* 
offered up by the lifting up of the mind to God, but the 
holy mind of Christ, (who was hypostatically united to God,) i^ia 
prayed, that He might lead us by the hand to the ascent,' 
whereby we mount up in prayer to God, and teach us that He is 
not opposed to God, but reverences the Father as His begin- ^. . », 
ning; nay, even tempting the tyrant, who sought from Him •»'"■" 
whether He were God, (which the power of His miracles 
declared,) He concealed as it were under the bait a hook ; that 
he who had deceived man with the hope of divinity might fitly 
himself be caught with the clothing of humanity. Prayer is 
the revelation of Divine glory ; as it follows, And as he prayed^ 
the fashion of his countenance was altered. Cyril; Not 
as though His body changed its human form, but a certain 
glistening glory overspread it. Damascene ; Now the devil, Damas, 
seeing His face shining in prayer, recollected Moses, whose "* ^"P- 
face was glorified. But Moses indeed was arrayed with ]^^Qi 
a glory, which came from without; our Lord, with that which 34, 29. 
proceeded from the inherent brightness of Divine glory. For 



since in the hypostatical union there is one and the same 
glory of the Word and the flesh, He is transfigured not as 
receiving what He was not, l)ut manifesting to His disciples 
Mat.i7, what He was. Hence, according to Matthew, it is said, that 
He was transfigured before them, and that His face shone 
as the sun ; for what the sun is in things of sense, God 
is in spiritual things. And as the sun, which is the fountain 
of light, cannot be easily seen, but its light is perceived from 
that which reaches the earth; so the countenance of Christ 
shines more intensely, like the sun, but His raiment is 
white as snow; as it follows, And his raiment nas ivhile and 
glistering; that is, lighted up by its participation of the divine 
light. And a little afterwards. But while these things were so, 
that it might be shewn there was but one Lord of the new and 
old covenant, and the mouths of heretics mightbe shut, and men 
might believe on the resurrection, and He also, who was trans- 
figured, be believed to be the Lord of the living and the dead, 
Moses and Elias, as servants, stand by their Lord in His glory ; 
hence it follows. And behold there talked with him two men. 
For it became men, seeing the glory and confidence of their 
fellow servants, to admire indeed the merciful condescension 
of the Lord, but to emulate those who had laboured before 
them, and looking to the pleasantness of future blessings, 
to be the more strengthened for conflicts. For he who has 
known the reward of his labours, will the more easily endure 
Chryp. them. Chrys. Or else this took place because the multitude 

Horn. gj^i(j jje ^j^g Elias or Jeremias, to shew the distinction 

OD. in 

Matt, between our Lord and His servants. And to make it plain 

that He was not an enemy of God, and transgressor of the 
law, He shewed these two standing by Him; (for else, 
Moses the lawgiver, and Elias who was zealous for the glory 
of God, had not stood by Him,) but also to give testimony to 
the virtues of the men. For each had ofttimes exposed Him- 
self to death in keeping the divine commands. He wishes 
also His disciples to imitate them in the government of the 
people, that they might be indeed meek like Moses, and 
zealous like Elias. He introduces them also to set forth the 
glory of His cross, to console Peter and the others who feared 
His Passion. Hence it follows. And spake of his decease, 
which he should accomplish at Jerusalem. Cyril; The 

VER. 28— 31. ST. LUKE. 321 

mystery, namely, of His Incarnation, also the life-giving 
Passion accomplished on the sacred cross. Ambrose ; Now 
in a mystical manner, after the words above said, is ex- 
hibited the transfiguration of Christ, since he who hears 
the words of Christ, and believes, shall see the glory of His 
resurrection. For, on the eighth day the resurrection took 
place. Hence also several Psalms are written, * for the eighth,' P'"° °c- 
or perhaps it was that He might make manifest what He had 
said, that he who for the word qf God shall lose his own life^ 
shall save it, seeing that He will make good His promises at 
the resurrection. Bede ; For as He rose fiom the dead after 
the seventh day of the Sabbath, during which He lay in the 
tomb, we also after the six ages of this world, and the seventh 
of the rest of souls, which meanwhile is passed in another 
life, shall rise again as it were in the eighth age. Ambrose ; 
But Matthew and Mark have related that He took them with 
Him after six days, of which we may say after 6000 years, 
(for a thousand years in the Lord's sight are as one day ;) but 
more than 6000 years are reckoned. We had rather then 
take the six days symbolically, that in six days the works 
of the world were completed, that by the time we may under- 
stand the works, by the works the world. And so the times 
of the world being finished, the resurrection to come is de- 
clared ; or because. He who has ascended above the world, and 
has passed beyond the moments of this life, is waiting, seated 
as it were on a high place, for the everlasting fi-uit of the re- 
surrection. Bede; Hence He ascends the mountain to pray and 
be transfigured, to shew that those who expect the fruit of the 
resurrection, and desire to see the King in His glory, ought to 
have the dwelling place of their hearts on high, and be ever 
on their knees in prayer. Ambrose ; I should think that in the 
three who are taken up into the mountain, was contained in a 
mystery the human race, because from the three sons of Noah 
sprung the whole race of man ; I did not perceive that they 
were chosen out. Three then are chosen to ascend the moun- 
tain, because none can see the glory of the resurrection, 
but they who have preserved the mystery of the Trinity with 
inviolable purity of faith. 

Bede; Now the transfigured Saviour shews the glory of 
His own coming, or our resurrection; who as He then ap- 



peared to His Apostles shall in like manner appear to all 
the elect. But the raiment of the Lord is taken for the 
band of His Saints, which in truth when our Lord was 
upon earth seemed to be despised, but when He sought the 
iJohn3, mount, shines with a new whiteness; for now are we the sons 
of Qod; and it does not yet appear what we shall be. But 
we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him. 

Ambrose; Or else, according to your capacity is the word 
either lessened or increased to you, and unless you ascend the 
summit of a higher wisdom, you behold not what glory there 
is in the word of God. Now the garments of the Word, are 
the discourses of the Scriptures, and certain clothings of the 
Divine mind; and as His raiment shone white, so in the eyes 
of your understanding, the sense of the divine words becomes 
clear. Hence after Moses, Elias; that is, the Law and the 
Prophets in the Word. For neither can the Law exist without 
the Word, nor the Prophet, unless he prophesied of the Son 
of God. 

32. But Peter and they that were with him were 
heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they 
saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him. 

33. And it came to pass, as they departed from 
him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us 
to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one 
for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not 
knowing what he said. 

34. While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and 
overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered 
into the cloud. 

35. And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, 
This is my beloved Son : hear him. 

36. And when the voice was past, Jesus was 
found alone. And they kept it close, and told no 
man in those days any of those things which they had 

Theophyl. While Christ is engaged in prayer, Peter is 
heavy with sleep, for he was weak, and did what was natural 

VER. 32 — 36. ST. LUKE. 328 

to man; as it is said, But Peter and they that were with Mm 
were heavy with sleep. But when they awake, they behold 
His glory, and the two men with Him; as it follows, And 
when they were awake^ they saw his glory , and the two men 
that stood with him. Chrys. Or, by the word sleep, he chrya. 
means that strange maze that fell upon them by reason ^"l™- 
of the vision. For it was not night time, but the exceeding Matt. 
brightness of the light weighed down their weak eyes. 
Ambrose ; For the incomprehensible brightness of the 
Divine nature oppresses our bodily senses. For if the 
sight of the body is unable to contain the sun's ray when 
opposite to the eyes which behold it, how can the corrup- 
tion of our fleshly members endure the glory of God ? And « 
perhaps they were oppressed with sleep, that after their I 
rest they might behold the sight of the resurrection. There- l 
fore when they were awake they saw His glory. For no one, 
except he is watching, sees the glory of Christ. Peter was 
delighted, and as the allurements of this world enticed him 
not, was carried away by the glory of the resurrection. Hence 
it follows. And it came to pass as they departed, <§rc. Cyril ; 
For perhaps holy Peter imagined that the kingdom of heaven 
was at hand, and therefore it seemed good to him to abide on 
the mount. Damas. It were not good for thee, Peter, thatDamas. 
Christ should abide there, for if He had remained, the pro- Xrans^* 
mise made to thee would never receive its accomplishment, fig- 
For neither wouldest thou have obtained the keys of the 
kingdom, nor the tyranny of death been abolished. Seek 
not bliss before its time, as Adam did to be made a God. 
The time shall come when thou shalt enjoy the sight without 
ceasing, and dwell together with Him who is light and life. 

Ambrose; But Peter distinguished not only by earnest 
feeling, but also by devout deeds, wishing like a zealous work- 
man to build three tabernacles, offers the service of their united 
labour; for it follows, Let us make three tabernacles, one/or 
thee, 8fc. Damas. But the Lord ordained thee not the builder Damas. 
of tabernacles, but of the universal Church. Thy words have*^ ' *"P* 
been brought to pass by thy disciples, by thy sheep, in build- 
ing a tabernacle, not only for Christ, but also for His ser- 
vants. But Peter said not this deliberately, but through 
the inspiration of the Spirit revealing things to come, asf it 



follows, not knowing what he said. Cyril ; He knew not 

what he said, for neither was the time come for the end of 

the world, or for the Saints' enjoyment of their promised hope. 

And when the dispensation was now commencing, how was 

it fitting that Christ should abandon His love of the world, 

Damas. Who was willing to suffer for it? Da mas. It behoved Him 

' ^' also not to confine the fruit of His incarnation to the service 

of those only who were on the mount, but to extend it to all 

believers, which was to be accomplished by His cross and 

non occ. passion. Tit. Bost. Peter also was ignorant what he said, 

seeing that it was not proper to make three tabernacles for 

the three. For the servants are not received with their 

Lord, the creature is not placed beside the Creator. Ambrose ; 

Nor does the condition of man in this corruptible body allow 

of making a tabernacle to God, whether in the soul or in the 

body, or in any other place; and although he knew not what 

he said, yet a service was offered which not by any deliberate 

forwardness, but its premature devotion, receives in abundance 

the fruits of piety. For his ignorance was part of his condi- 

Chrys. tion, his offer of devotion. Chrys. Or else Peter heard that 

ubi sup. it was necessary Christ must die, and on the third day rise again, 

but he saw around him a very remote and solitary place; he 

supposed therefore that the place had some great protection. 

Exod. For this reason he said, It is good for us to be here. Moses 

2^^1^'gtoo was present, who entered into the cloud. Elias, who on 

1, 12. the mount brought down fire from heaven. The Evangelist 

then, to indicate the confusion of mind in which he utters 

Aug. de this, added, IVot knowing what he said. Aug. Now in what 

1. u!cU}6. Luke here says of Moses and Elias, And it came to pass as they 

departed from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good 

for us to he here, he must not be thought contrary to Matthew 

and Mark, who have so connected Peter's suggestion of this, as if 

Moses and Elias were still speaking with our Lord. For 

they did not expressly state that Peter said it then, but rather 

were silent about what Luke added, that as they departed, 

Peter suggested this to our Lord. 

Theophyl. But while Peter spake, our Lord builds a 
tabernacle not made with hands, and enters into it with the 
Prophets. Hence it is added, Wliile he thus spake there came 
a cloud and overshadowed them, to shew that He was not 

VER. 32 36. ST. LUKE. 325 

inferior to the Father. For as in the Old Testament it was 
said, the Lord dwelt in the cloud, so now also a cloud re- 
ceived our Lord, not a dark cloud, but bright and shining. 

Basil; For the obscurity of the Law had passed away; Basil, 
for as smoke is caused by the fire, so the cloud by light ; <,. 4, 5]* 
but because a cloud is the sign of calmness, the rest of the 
future state is signified by the covering of a cloud. Ambrose ; 
For it is the overshadowing of the divine Spirit which does 
not darken, but reveals secret things to the hearts of men. 
Origen; Now His disciples being unable to bear this, fell Orig.ia 
down, humbled under the mighty hand of God, greatly tom. 12. 
afraid since they knew what was said to Moses, No man shall 
see my face, and live. Hence it follows. And they feared as 
they entered into the cloud. Ambrose; Now observe, that 
the cloud was not black from the darkness of condensed air, 
and such as to overcast the sky with a horrible gloom, but 
a shining cloud, from which we were not moistened with 
rain, but as the voice of Almighty God came forth the dew of 
faith was shed upon the hearts of men. For it follows. 
And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my 
beloved Son : hear ye him. Elias was not His Son. Moses 
was not. But this is the Son whom you see alone. Cyril ; Cyril. 
How then should men suppose Him who is really the Son },^ ^2^' 
to be made or created, when God the Father thundered c. 14. 
from above, This is my beloved Son ! as if He said. Not one 
of My sons, but He who is truly and by nature My Son, 
according to whose example the others are adopted. He 
ordered them then to obey Him, when He added. Hear ye 
him. And to obey Him more than Moses and Elias, for Christ 
is the end of the Law and the Prophets. Hence the Evangelist 
adds significantly. And when the voice was past, Jesus was 
found alone. Theophyl. Lest in truth any one should suppose 
that these words, This is my beloved Son, were uttered about 
Moses or Elias. Ambrose ; They then departed, when our 
Lord's manifestation had begun. There are three seen at 
the beginning, one at the end; for faith being made perfect, 
they are one. Therefore are they also received into the body 
of Christ, because we also shall be one in Christ Jesus; or 
perhaps, because the Law and the Prophets came out from the 
Word. Theophyl. Now those things which began from the 


Word, end in the Word. For by this he implies that up to 
a certain time the Law and the Prophets appear, as here 
Moses and Elias ; but afterwards, at their departure, Jesus 
is alone. For now abideth the Gospel, legal things having 
passed away. Bede ; And mark, that as when our Lord 
was baptized in Jordan, so also when He was glorified on 
the Mount, the mystery of the whole Trinity is declared; for 
His glory which we confess at baptism, we shall see at the 
resurrection. Nor in vain does the Holy Spirit appear here 
in the cloud, there in the form of a dove, seeing that he who 
now preserves with a simple heart the faith which he receives, 
shall then in the light of open vision look upon those things 
which he believed. 
^"S- Origen ; Now Jesus wishes not those things which relate 

UDl sup. T- 1 

to His glory to be spoken of before His passion. Hence 
it follows, And they kept it close. For men would have 
been offended, especially the multitude, if they saw Him 
Damas. crucified Who had been so glorified. Damas. This also our 
""'''Lord commands, since He knew His disciples to be imper- 
fect, seeing that they had not yet received the full measure 
of the Spirit, lest the hearts of others who had not seen 
should be prostrated by sorrow, and lest the traitor should be 
stirred up to a frantic hatred. 

37. And it came to pass, that on the next day, when 
they were come down from the hill, much people met 

38. And, behold, a man of the company cried out, 
saying. Master, I beseech thee, look upon my son : 
for he is mine only child. 

39. And, lo, a spirit taketh him, and he suddenly 
crieth out ; and it teareth him that he foameth 
again, and bruising him hardly departeth from him. 

40. And I besought thy disciples to cast him out ; 
and they could not. 

41. And Jesus answering said, O faithless and 
perverse generation, how long shall I be with you, 
and suffer you ? Bring thy son hither. 

VER. 87 43. ST. LUKE. 327 

42. And as he was yet a coming, the devil threw 
him down, and tare him. And Jesus rebuked the 
unclean spirit, and healed the child, and delivered 
him again to his father. 

43. And they were all amazed at the mighty power 
of God. 

Bede; Certain places accord with certain events. On 
the Mount our Lord prays, is transfigured, reveals the secrets 
of His glory to His disciples ; as He descends to the lower 
parts, He is received by a large concourse. As it is said, 
And it came to pass, that on the next day, tchen he was 
come down from the hill, much people met him. Above He 
makes known the voice of the Father, below He expels the 
evil spirits. Hence it follows, And, behold, a m^an of the 
company cried out, saying, Master, I beseech thee look upon 
my son. Tit. Bost. It seems indeed to me that this was anonocc. 
wise man. For he said not to the Saviour, " Do this or 
that," but. Look on my son, for this suffices for His salvation ; 
as the prophet said. Look on me, and have m,ercy on me ; 
and he says, on my son, to shew that his was a reasonable 
forwardness in crying out aloud among the multitude. He 
adds, /or he is mine only child. As if to say. There is none 
other I can expect to be the consolation of my old age. He 
next enters into the sufferings, that he may move his Hearer 
to compassion, saying, A?id, lo, the spirit taketh him. He 
then seems to accuse the disciples, but his answer is rather 
a justification of his casting aside his fear, saying, And I 
besought thy disciples to cast him out : and they could not. 
As if he said, Think not that I have come lightly unto Thee. 
Marvellous is Thy greatness! I did not intrude upon Thy 
presence at once, but went first to Thy disciples. Because 
they failed to work the cure, I am now compelled to ap- 
proach Thee. Our Lord therefore does not blame him, but 
the faithless generation ; for it follows. And Jesus answering 
said, O faithless and perverse generation. 

Chrys. But that this man was much weakened in faith, Hom. 
the writings of the Gospel shew us in several places. I^m tT 
that place where he says, Help thou my unbelief; and, J f thou Mark 9, 



canst. And in that where Christ said, All things are possible 
Chryo. to him that helieveth. Sec. Chrys. Hence it seems to me 

ubi sup. 1 /• 1 

more correct to account the latlier of tlie demoiuac unbe- 
lieving, because he also casts reproach upon the holy Apostles, 
saying that they could not subdue the evil spirits. But it were 
better to have sought favour from God by honouring Him, for 
He has respect to them that fear Him. But he who says that 
those are weak with respect to their power over evil spirits, who 
have obtained that power from Christ, calumniates rather the 
grace than those who are adorned with that grace in whom 
Christ works. Christ is therefore offended with tlie accusa- 
tion of the saints, to whom was entrusted the word of holy 
preaching. Wherefore the Lord rebukes him and those like- 
minded with him, saying, O faithless and perverse generation. 
As if He said, Because of your unbelief the grace has not 
received its accomplishment. 
Chrys. Chrys. Now He docs not direct His words to him alone, 
57? hi ^^^^ *^ ^^' ^^^ Jews, lest He should cause him to doubt. For 
Matt, it must have been that many were offended, Theophyl. 
By the word perverse, He shews that this wickedness in 
them was not originally or by nature, for by nature indeed 
they were upright, being the seed of Abraham, but became 
perverted through malice. Cyril ; As if not knowing how 
to continue in the right beginnings. Now Christ disdains 
to dwell with those who are thus disposed. Hence He says. 
How long shall I be with you, and suffer you? Feeling 
troubled with their company, because of their evil deeds. 
Chrys. Chrys. Hereby also He shews that His departure was 
sup. fjggjj.g(j ijy Him, not because the suffering of the cross was 
grievous, but rather their convei'sation. Bede; Not that 
weariness has overcome His patience, but after the manner of 
a physician, when he sees a sick man acting contrary to his 
commands, he says, ' How long shall I come to thy house, 
when I order one thing, you do another. But to prove that 
He was not angry with the man, but with the sin, He imme- 
diately added. Bring thy son hither. 

Tit. Bost. He might indeed have healed him by His 
simple command, but He makes his sufferings public, bring- 
ing the weak in faith to the sight of things present. Then 
the devil, when he perceived our Lord, rends and dashes the 

VER. 37 — 43. ST. LUKE. 329 

child down ; as it follows, And as he was yet a coming, the 
devil threw htm down, and tare him; that so first the 
sufferings should be made manifest, then the remedy be 
applied. Chrys. The Lord however does this not for display, Chrys. 

. , 1 •! T 'IDl sup. 

but for the father's sake, that upon seemg the devil dis- 
turbed at the mere summons, he might thus at least be led 
to the belief of the future miracles ; of which it follows, And 
Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the child, and 
delivered him again unto his father. Cyril; Now before 
not his father but the devil possessed him, but now the 
Evangelist adds that the people were astonished at the great- 
ness of God, saying. And all were amazed at the mighty 
power of God, which he says, because of the gift of Christ, 
who conferred on the holy Apostles also the power of work- 
ing divine miracles, and having the mastery over evil spirits. 
Bede ; Now in a mystical manner in proportion to their 
deserts does our Lord daily ascend to some men, seeing that 
the perfect and those whose conversation is in heaven. He 
glorifies by exalting higher, instructing them in things eternal, 
and teaching them things which can not be heard by the 
multitude, but to others he descends, in that He strengthens 
the earthly and foolish men, teaching and chastening them. 
Now this demoniac Matthew calls a lunatic ; Mark, deaf Matt, 
and dumb. Matthew signifies those who change as the moon, j^^rk 
increasing and decreasing through different vices, Mark those 9, 25. 
who are dumb in not confessing the faith, deaf in not hear- 
ing the very word of faith. While the boy is coming to our 
Lord, he is dashed to the ground; because men when turned 
to the Lord are often grievously afilicted by the devil, that 
he may instil a hatred of virtue, or revenge the injury of his 
expulsion. As in the beginning of the Church he waged 
as many fierce conflicts as he had to bewail losses suddenly 
brought upon His kingdom. But our Lord rebukes not the 
boy who suffered violence, but the evil spirit who inflicted 
it; for he who desires to correct the sinner, ought by reproof 
and abhorrence to drive away the vice, but to revive the man 
by gentleness, until he can restore him to the spiritual father 
of the Church. 


43. But while they wondered every one at all 

things which Jesus did, he said unto his disciples, 

44. Let these sayings sink down into your ears : 
for the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands 
of men. 

45. But they understood not this saying, and it 
was hid from them, that they perceived it not : and 
they feared to ask him of that saying. 

Cyril. Cyril; Every thing that Jesus did claimed admiration from 
non occ. gjj ^^^ f^^ g^ peculiar and divine light reflected upon each 
P8.2i,5. of His works, according to the Psalms, honour and majesty 
wilt thou lay upon him. Although all indeed marvelled at 
those things which He did, He however addresses what 
follows, not to all, but to His disciples; as it is said, But 
while they wondered every one, ^c. He had shewn His 
glory on the mount to His disciples, and after this delivered 
a man from an evil spirit, but it was necessary for Him to 
undergo His passion for our salvation. Now His disciples 
might have been perplexed, saying, " Have we then been 
deceived in that we thought him to be God ?" That they 
might know then what was to happen to Him, He bids them 
lay up in their minds as a certain deposit the mystery of His 
passion, saying, Let these sayings sink down in your hearts. 
By the word your. He distinguishes them from others. For 
the multitude were not to know that He was about to suffer, 
but were rather to be assured that the dead would rise again, 
destroying death, lest they should be offended. Tit. Bost. 
While all thus were wondering at the miracles, He foretels 
His passion. For miracles do not save, but the cross con- 
veys the benefit. Hence he adds, For the Son of man shall 
Origen. he delivered into the hands of men. Origen; But it is not 
t° ^13 clearly expressed by whom He is to be delivered, for one 
says, that He is to be delivered up by Judas, another by the 
Rom. 8, devil ; but Paul says, that God the Father delivered Him up 
for us all; but Judas, as he delivered Him up for money, did 
it traitorously, the Father for His mercies' sake. Theophyl. 
Now our Lord in condescension to their infirmities and 
governing them with a kind of economy, did not permit 

VER. 46 50. ST. LUKE. 331 

them to understand what was said of the cross; as it follows, 
But they understood not. Bede; This ignorance of the 
disciples proceeds not so much from slowness of understanding 
as from affection, for since they were yet carnal and ignorant of 
the mystery of the cross, they could not believe that He whom 
they thought to be really God would suffer death. And 
because they were often accustomed to hear Him speak by 
figure, they thought that He meant figuratively something 
else, by what He said of His betrayal. Cyril ; Now some one 
perhaps will say, How were the disciples ignorant of the 
mystery of the cross, seeing that it was touched upon in 
several places by the shadows of the Law ? But as Paul relates. 
Even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon 2 Cor. 
their hearts. It becomes then those who approach Christ, ' 
to say. Open thou my eyes, that I may behold the wonderful Vs. 119, 
things out of thy law. Theophyl. Mark also the reverence * 
of the disciples in what follows. And they feared to ask him 
of that saying. For fear is the first step to reverence. 

46. Then there arose a reasoning among them, 
which of them should be greatest. 

47. And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their 
heart, took a child, and set him by him, 

48. And said unto them. Whosoever shall receive 
this child in my name receiveth me : and whosoever 
shall receive me receiveth him that sent me : for he 
that is least among you all, the same shall be great. 

49. And John answered and said. Master, we saw 
one casting out devils in thy name ; and we forbad 
him, because he folio weth not with us. 

50. And Jesus said unto him. Forbid him not : for 
he that is not against us is for us. 

Cyril ; The devil lays plots of various kinds for them that Cyril, 
love the best way of life. And if indeed by carnal allure- °°° °*^°' 
ments he can gain possession of a man's heart. He sharpens 
his love of pleasure ; but if a man has escaped these snares, 
he excites in him a desire of glory, and this passion for vain- 


glory had seized some one of His apostles. Hence it is said, 
Then there arose a reasoning among them, which of them 
should be the greatest. For to have such thoughts, belongs 
to him who desires to be superior to the rest ; but I think 
it improbable that all the disciples gave way to this weakness; 
and therefore suppose that the Evangelist, not to seem to lay 
the charge to any individual, expresses himself indefinitely, 
sa} ing, that there arose a reasoning among them. Theophyl. 
Now it seems that this feeling was excited by the circumstance 
of their not being able to cure the demoniac. And while 
they were disputing thereupon, one said. It was not owing 
to my weakness, but another's, that he could not be cured ; 
and so thereby was kindled a strife among them, which was the 
greatest. Bede ; Or, because they saw Peter, James, and John, 
taken apart to the mount, and the keys of the kingdom of heaven 
promised to Peter, they were angry that these three, or 
Peter, should have precedence over allj or because in the 
payment of the tribute they saw Peter made equal to the 
Lord, they supposed he was to be placed before the rest. 
But the attentive reader will find that the question was raised 
among them before the payment of the penny. For in truth 
Mat. 18, Matthew relates that this took place at Capernaum; but 
Mark 9 Mark says. And he came to Capernaum, and being in the 
33. house, he asked them. What was it that ye disputed among 
yourselves in the way? But they held their peace; for by the 
way they had disputed among themselves who should be the 
greatest. Cyril; But our Lord, Who knew how to save, 
seeing in the hearts of the disciples the thought that had 
risen up thereupon as it were a certain root of bitterness, plucks 
it up by the roots before it received growth. For when 
passions first begin in us, they are easily subdued ; but having 
gained strength, they are with difficulty eradicated. Hence 
it follows, And Jesus perceiving the thought of their heart, 
Sfc. Let him who thinks Jesus to be mere man, know that 
he has erred ; for the Word, although made flesh, remained 
God. For it is God alone Who is able to search into the 
heart and reins. But in taking a child, and placing it beside 
Him, He did it for the Apostles' sake and ours. For 
the disease of vain-glory feeds generally on those who 
have the preeminence among other men. But a child 

VER. 46 — 50. ST. LUKE. 333 

has a pure mind and unspotted heart, and abides in simplicity 
of thought ; he courts not honours, nor knows the limits of 
each one's power, nor shuns seeming to be inferior to others, 
bearing no moroseness in his mind or heart. Such the Lord 
embraces and loves, and thinks them worthy to be near 
Him, as those who had chosen to taste of the things which 
are His; for He says, Learn ofme^for I am meek and lowly 
of Jteart. Hence it follows. And he says unto them, Who- 
soever shall receive a child in my name, receiveth me. As 
if He were to say. Seeing that there is one and the same 
reward to those that honour the saints, whether perchance such 
an one be the least, or one distinguished for honours and 
glory, for in him is Christ received, how vain is it to seek 
to have the preeminence? Bede ; Now herein He either 
teaches, that the poor of Christ are to be received by those 
who wish to be greater simply for His honour, or He persuades 
men that they are children in malice. Hence when He said, 
Whoever shall receive that child, he adds, in my name; 
that in truth they may pursue with diligence and reason for 
Christ's name that form of virtue which the child observes, 
with only nature for its guide. But because He also teaches 
that He is received in the child, and He Himself was bom 
unto us a child ; lest it should be thought that this was all 
which was seen. He subjoined. And whoever shall receive 
me, receiveth him that sent me ; wishing verily to be believed, 
that as was the Father, such and so great was He. Ambrose ; 
For he who receives the followers of Christ, receives Christ ; 
and he who receives the image of God, receives God ; but 
because we cannot see the image of God, it has been made 
present to us by the incarnation of the Word, that the divine 
nature which is above us, may be reconciled to us. 

Cyril; Now He still more plainly conveys the meaning of the 
preceding words, saying. For he that is least among you all, the 
same shall he great ; in which He speaks of the modest man 
who from honesty thinks nothing high of himself. Theophyl. 
Because then our Lord had said. He who is least among you 
all, the same shall he great, John feared, lest perhaps they 
had done wrong in hindering a certain man by their own 
power. For a prohibition does not shew the probitor to be 
inferior, but to be one who thinks himself somewhat superior. 


Hence it is added, And John answered and said, Master , 
we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and we forbad 
him. Not indeed from envy, but to distinguish the working 
of miracles, for he had not received the power of working 
miracles with them, nor had the Lord sent him as lie did 
them ; nor did he follow Jesus in all things. Hence he adds, 
because he followeth not with us. 

Ambrose; For John loving much, and therefore much be- 
loved, thinks that they should be excluded from the privilege 
who did not practise obedience. Cyril; But we ought to 
consider not so much the worker of the miracles, as the grace 
which was in him, who, by the power of Christ, performed 
miracles. But what if there should be both those whichbe num- 
bered together with the Apostles, and those who aie crowned 
with the grace of Christ; there are many diversities in Christ's 

Matt gifts. But because the Saviour had given the Apostles power 

' * to cast out evil spirits, they thought no one else but 

themselves alone was permitted to have this privilege granted 

to him, and therefore they come to enquire if it were lawful 

for others also to do this. 

Ambrose; Now John is not blamed, because he did this 
from love, but he is taught to know the difference between 
the strong and the weak. And therefore our Lord though 
He rewards the stronger, yet does not exclude the weak; as . 
it follows. And Jesus said unto him. Forbid him not, for 
he that is not against you is for you. True, O Lord. For 
both Joseph and Nicodemus, through fear Thy secret disci- 
ples, when the time came, did not refuse their offices. 

Lukell.But still since Thou saidst elsewhere, He that is not with me 


w against me, and he that gathereth not with me scattereth, 

explain unto us lest the two seem contrary to one another. 

And it seems to me, if any one considers the Searcher of 

hearts, he cannot doubt that every man's action is distinguished 

Chrys. by the motive of his heart. Chrys. For in the other 

41. in place when He said. He that is not with me is against me, 

Matt. Ue shews the Devil and the Jews to be opposed to Him ; 

but here He shews that he who in Christ's name cast 

out devils, is partly on their side. Cyril; As if He said. On 

the side of you who love Christ, are all they who wish to 

follow those things which conduce to His glory, being crowned 

with His grace. 

VER. 51 — 56. ST. LUKE. ^ 3S6 

Theophyl. Marvel then at the power of Christ, how His 
grace works by means of the unworthy and those who are 
not His disciples: as also men are sanctified through the 
priests, although the priests be not holy. Ambrose; Now 
why does He in this place say that they are not to be hindered, 
who by the imposition of hands can subdue the unclean 
spirits, when according to Matthew, He says to these, /Matt. 7, 
never knew you? But we ought to perceive that there is no 
difference of opinion, but that the decision is this, that not 
only the official works but works of virtue are required in a 
priest, and that the name of Christ is so great, that even to 
the unholy it serves to give defence, but not grace. Let 
no one then claim to himself the grace of cleansing a man, 
because in him the power of the eternal Name has worked. 
For not by thy merits, but by his own hatred, the devil is 
conquered. Bede; Therefore in heretics and false catholics, 
it becomes us to abhor, and forbid not the common sacraments 
in which they are with us, and not against us, but the divisions 
contrary to peace and truth, wherein they are against us as 
following not the Lord. 

5L And it came to pass, when the time was come 
that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his 
face to go to Jerusalem, 

52. And sent messengers before his face: and they 
went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to 
make ready for him. 

53. And they did not receive him, because his face 
was as though he would go to Jerusalem. 

54. And when his disciples James and John saw 
this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire 
to come down from heaven, and consume them, even 
as Elias did? 

55. But he turned, and rebuked them, and said. 
Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. 

56. For the Son of man is not come to destroy 
men's lives, but to save them. And they went to 
another village. 


Cyril ; ^Vhen the time was near at hand in which it behoved 
our Lord to accomplish His life-giving Passion, and ascend 
up to heaven, He determines to go up to Jerusalem, as it is 
said. And it catne to pass, ^c. Tit. Bost. Because it was 
necessary that the true Lamb should there be offered, where 
the typical lamb was sacrificed; but it is said, he stedfastly 
set his face, that is, He went not here and there traversing 
the villages and towns, but kept on His way straight towards 
Jerusalem. Bede; Let then the Heathen cease to mock the 
Crucified, as if He were a man, who it is plain, as God, both 
foresaw the time of His crucifixion, and going voluntarily to 
be crucified, sought with stedfast face, that is, with resolute 
and undaunted mind, tbe spot where He was to be crucified. 
Cyril; And He sends messengers to make a place for Him 
and His companions, who when they came to the country of 
the Samaritans were not admitted, as it follows, And sent 
messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into 
a village qf the Samaritans, to make ready for him. And 
they did not receive him. Ambrose; Mark that He was un- 
willing to be received by those who He knew had not 
turned to Him with a simple heart. For if He had wished. 
He might have made them devout, who were undevout. But 
God calls those whom He thinks worthy, and whom He wills 
He makes religious. But why they did not receive Him the 
Evangelist mentions, saying, Because his face was as if he 
would go to Jerusalem. Theophyl. But if one understands 
that they did not receive Him for this reason, because He 
had determined to go to Jerusalem, an excuse is found for 
them, who did not receive Him. But we must say, that in 
the words of the Evangelist, And they did not receive him, is 
implied that He did not go into Samaria, but afterwards as if 
some one had asked Him, He explained in these words, why 
they did not receive Him. And He went not to them, i. e. not 
that He was unable, but that He did not wish to go there, 
but rather to Jerusalem. Bede ; Or the Samaritans see that 
our Lord is going to Jerusalem, and do not receive Him. 

John 4 ^^^ ^^ Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans, as John 

^- shews. 

Cyril ; But our Lord, Who knew all things before they came 
to pass, knowing that His messengers would not be received by 

VER. 51 — 56. ST. LUKE. 337 

the Samaritans, nevertheless commanded them lo go before 
Him, because it was His practice lo make all things conduce 
to the good of His disciples. Now He went up to Jemsalem 
as tlie time of His suffering drew near. In order then that they 
might not be offended, when they saw Him suffer, bearing 
in mind that they must also endure patiently when men per- 
secute them. He ordained beforehand as a kind of prelude 
this refusal of the Samaritans. It was good for them also in 
another way. For they were to be the teachers of the world, 
going through towns and villages, to preach the doctrine 
of the Gospel, meeting sometimes with men who would not 
receive the sacred doctrine, allowing not that Jesus sojourned 
on earth with them. He therefore taught them, that in an- 
nouncing the divine doctrine, they ought to be filled with 
patience and meekness, without bitterness, and wrath, and 
fierce enmity against those who had done any wrong to them. 
But as yet they were not so, nay, being stirred up with fervid 
zeal, they wished to bring down fire from heaven upon them. 
It follows. And when his disciples James and John saw ihis, 
they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down 
from heaven, S^c. Ambrose ; For they knew both that when 
Phineas had slain the idolaters it was counted to him for Numb. 

25 8 

righteousness; and that at the prayer of Elijah fire came down pg' 107 
from heaven, that the injuries of the prophet might be avenged. ^^- . 
Bede; For holy men who well knew that that death which 1,10.12. 
detaches the soul from the body was not to be feared, still 
because of their feelings who feared it, punished some sins 
with death, that both the living might be struck with a whole- 
some dread, and those who were punished with death might 
receive harai not from death itself but from sin, which would 
be increased were they to live. 

Ambrose ; But let him be avenged who fears. He who 
fears not, seeks not vengeance. At the same time the merits 
of the Prophets are likewise shewn to have been in the 
Apostles, seeing that they claim to themselves the right of 
obtaining the same power of which the Prophet was thought 
worthy ; and fitly do they claim that at their command fire 
should come down from heaven, for they were the sons of 
thunder. ^ Theo- 

Tit. Bost. They thought it much juster that the Samari- phyi. in 


838 (ioSl'LI, ACCORDIN(i TO CHAP. IX. 

tans should perish for not admitting our Lord, tlian ihe 
lifty soldiers who tried to thrust down Elijah. Ambkose ; 
But the liord is not moved against them, that He might shew 
that perfect virtue has no feeling of revenge, nor is there any 
anger where there is fulness of love. For weakness must not 
be thrust out, but assisted. Let indignation be far from the 
religious, let the high-souled have no desire of vengeance. 
Hence it follows, But he turned and rebuked tJunn, and 
said, Ye knoiv not what manner of spirit ye are of. Bede ; 
The Lord blames them, not for following the example of the 
holy Prophet, but for their ignorance in taking vengeance 
while they were yet inexperienced, perceiving that they did 
not desire correction from love, but vengeance from hatred. 
After that He had taught them what it was to love their 
neighbour as themselves, and the Holy Ghost also had been 
infused into them, there were not lacking these punishments, 
though far less frequent than in the Old Testament, because 
the Son of man came not to destroy men^s lives, but to 
save them. As if He said, And do you therefore who are 
sealed with His Spirit, imitate also His actions, now deter- 
mining charitably, hereafter judging justly. Ambrose ; 
For we must not always punish the offender, since mercy 
sometimes does more good, leading thee to patience, the sinner 
to repentance. Lastly, those Samaritans believed the sooner, 
who were in this place saved from fire. 

57. And it came to pass, that, as they went in the 
way, a certain man said unto him. Lord, I will 
follow thee whithersoever thou goest. 

58. And Jesus said unto him. Foxes have holes, 
and birds of the air have nests ; but the Son of man 
hath not where to lay his head. 

59. And he said unto another. Follow me. But 
he said. Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my 

60. Jesus said unto him. Let the dead bury their 
dead; but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. 

61. And another also said. Lord, I will follow thee ; 

VEB. 57 — 62. ST, LUKE. 339 

but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at 
home at my house. 

62. And Jesus said unto him. No man, having put 
his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for 
the kingdom of God. 

Cyril; Although the Almighty Lord is bountiful, He doescyril. 
not grant to every one absolutely and indiscriminately """ °'^'^- 
heavenly and divine gifts, but to those only who are 
worthy to receive them, who free themselves and their 
souls from the stains of wickedness. And this we are taught 
by the force of the angelic words, And it came to pass, 
that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him. 
Lord, I will follow thee. First indeed there is much tardi- 
ness implied in the manner of his coming. Tt is next shewn 
that he is filled with too great presumption. For he sought 
not to follow Christ simply as several others of the people, 
but rather caught at the honour of the Apostleship. Whereas 
Paul says, No one taketh the honour to himself but he that Heb. 5, 
is called of God. AtHxVN. He dared also to match himself ^^j^^^^ 
with the incomprehensible power of the Saviour, saying, non occ. 
/ will follow thee whithersoever thou goest; for to follow the 
Saviour simply to hear His teaching is possible to human 
nature, as it directs itself towards men, but it is not 
possible to go with Him wherever He is ; for He is incompre- 
hensible, and is not confined by place. Cyril ; In another 
respect also our Lord deservedly gives him a refusal, for He 
taught that to follow the Lord, a man must take up his cross, 
and renounce the affection of this present life. And our Lord 
finding this lacking in him does not blame him, but corrects 

It follows, A7id Jesus says to him^ The foxes have holes, ^-c. 
Theophyl. For having seen our Lord drawing much people 
to Him, he thought that he received reward from them, and 
that if he followed our Lord, he might obtain money. Bede; 
Therefore it is said to him, Why do you seek to follow Me 
for the riches and gain of this world, when so gieat is My 
poverty that I have not even a place of rest, and take shelter 
under another man's roof Chrys. See how our Lord sets 

z 2 


forth by his works the poverty which he taught. For him 
was no table spread, no hghts, no house, nor any sucli 

Cyril ; Now under a mystical signification He applies the 
name of foxes and birds of the air to the wicked and crafty 
powers of evil spirits. As if He said, Since foxes and birds 
of the air have their abode in thee, how shall Christ rest in 

2 Cor. thee? What fellowship has light with darkness? Athan. 

' * Or herein our Lord teaches the greatness of His gift, as if He 
said, All created things may be confined by place, but the 
Word of God has incomprehensible power. Say not then, 
I will follow thee whithersoever thou goesl. But if thou 

> 4x«y«. wouldest be a disciple, cast off ^ foolish things, for it is 
impossible for him who remains in foolishness to become a 
disciple of the Word. Ambrose ; Or, He compares foxes 
to heretics, because they are indeed a wily animal, and, ever 
intent upon fraud, commit their robberies by stealth. They 
let nothing be safe, nothing be at rest, nothing secure, for 
they hunt their prey into the very abodes of men. The 
fox again, an animal full of craft, makes no hole for itself, 
yet likes to lie always concealed in a hole. So the heretics, 
who know not how to construct a house for themselves, 
circumscribe and deceive others. This animal is never 

rpjj 3 tamed, nor is it of use to man. Hence the Apostle, A heretic 

10. of ter the first and second admonition reject. But the birds 
of the air, which are frequently brought in to represent 
spiritual wickedness, build as it were their nests in the 
breasts of the wicked, and as long as deceit reigns over 
the affections, the divine principle has no opportunity to 
take possession. But when a man has proved his heart to 
be innocent, upon him Christ leans in some measure the weight 
of His greatness, for by a more abundant shedding of grace 
He is planted in the breasts of good men. So then it does 
not seem reasonable that we should think him faithful 
and simple, who is rejected by the judgment of the Lord, 
notwithstanding that he promised the service of unwearied 
attendance ; but our Lord cares not for this kind of service, 
but only purity of affection, nor is his attendance accepted 
whose sense of duty is not proved. For the hospitality of 
faith should be given with circumspection, lest while 

VER. 57—62. . ST. LUKE. 341 

opening the interior of our house to the unbelieving, through 
our imprudent creduUty we fall a snare to the treachery of others. 
Therefore that you may be aware that God despises not 
attendance upon him but deceit, He who rejected the deceit- 
ful man chose the innocent. For it follows. And he said unto 
another, Follow me. But He says this to him, whose father 
He knew to be dead. Hence it follows. But he said, Lord, 
suffer me Jirst to go and burp my father. Bede; He did 
not refuse the discipleship, but his wish was, having fulfilled 
the filial duty of burying his father, to follow Christ more 

Ambrose ; But the Lord calls those upon whom He has 
compassion. Hence it follows. And Jesus said. Let the 
dead bury their dead. Since we have received as a religious 
duty the burial of the human body, how is it thus that the 
burial even of a father's dead body is forbidden, unless you are 
to understand that human things are to be postponed to 
divine ? It is a good employment, but the hindrance is 
greater, for he who divides his pursuits, draws down his 
affections; he who divides his care, delays his advances. 
We must first set about the things which are most important. 
For the Apostles also, that they might not be occupied in the 
office of distributing alms, ordained ministers for the poor. 
Chrys. But what more necessary than the burial of his Chrys. 
father, what more easy, seeing that there would not be much 27. in 
time given to it ? We are then hereby taught that it becomes ^^"• 
us not to spend even the slightest portion of our time in vain, 
although we have a thousand things to compel us, nay 
to prefer spiritual things to even our greatest necessities. 
For the devil watchfully presses close upon us, wishing to 
find any opening, and if he causes a slight negligence, he 
ends in producing a great weakness. Ambrose ; The per- 
formance of a father's burial is not then prohibited, but 
the observance of religious duty is preferred to the ties 
of relationship. The one is left to those in like condition, 
the other is commanded to those who are left. But how can 
the dead bury the dead .'' unless you here understand a two- 
fold death, one a natural death, the other the death of sin. Rom. 9, 
There is also a third death, by which we die unto sin, live * 
unto God. 


Chrys. Chkys. By thus saying, their dead, he shews that this 
' ""P- man's father was not his dead, for 1 suppose that the 
deceased was of the number of the unbelieving. Ambuose ; 
Or because the throat of the ungodly is an open sepulchre, 
their memory is ordered to be forgotten whose services die 
together with their bodies. Nor is the son recalled from his 
duty to his father, but the faithful is separated from the 
communion of the unbelieving ; thei'e is no prohibition of 
duty, but a mystery of religion, that is, that we should have 
no fellowship with the dead Gentiles. Cyril; Or else, his 
father was borne down with years, and he thought he was 
doing an honourable act in proposing to pay the kind offices 
Exod. which were due to him, according to Exodus, Honour thy 
20, 12. j-fffj^gj. gjid ijfy mother. Hence when calling him to the ministry 
of the Gospel, our Lord said. Follow me, he sought for a time 
of respite, which should suffice for the support of his decrepit 
father, saying, Permit me first to go and bury my father ^ 
not that he asked to bury his deceased father, for Christ 
would not have hindered the wish to do this, but he said, 
Bury, that is, support in old age even till death. But the 
Lord said to him, Let the dead bury their dead. For there 
were other attendants also bound by the same tie of relation- 
ship, but as I consider dead, because they had not yet 
believed Christ. Learn from this, that our duty to God is to 
be preferred to our love for our parents, to whom we shew 
reverence, because through them have we been born. But the 
God of all, when as yet we were not, brought us into being, 
our parents were made the ministers of our introduction. 
Aug. de Aug. Our Lord spoke this to the man to whom He had said, 
\\]^c^3 Follow me. But another disciple put himself forward, to 
whom no one had spoken any thing, saying, / will follow 
thee, O Lord; but let me first go and bid them farewell who 
are at home, lest perchance they look for me as they arc wont. 
Cyril; Now this promise is worthy of our admiration and 
full of all praise, but to bid farewell to those who are at 
home, to get leave from them, shews that he was still some- 
how divided from the Lord, in that he had not yet resolved 
to make this venture with his whole heart. For to wish to 
consult relations who would not agree to his proposal be- 
tokens one somewhat wavering. Wherefore our Lord con- 

VER. 57 — 62. ST. LUKE. 343 

demns this, saying, No man, having put his hand to the 
plough, and looking back, is Jit for the kingdom qf God. 
He puts his hand to the plough who is ambitious to follow, 
yet looks back again who seeks an excuse for delay in 
returning home, and consulting with his friends. Aug. As if Aug. 
he said to him, The East calls thee, and thou turnest to the ^qq ' 
West. Bede : To put one's hand to the plough, is also, (as 
it were by a certain shai-p instrument,) by the wood and iron 
of our Lord's passion, to wear away the hardness of our 
heart, and to open it to bring forth the fruits of good works. 
But if any one, having begun to exercise this, delights to look 
back with Lot's wife to the things which he had left, he is 
deprived of the gift of the kingdom to come. Greek Ex. Nilus 
For the frequent looking upon the things which we have °^*'' 
forsaken, through the force of habit draws us back to our 
past way of life. For practice has gi'eat power to retain to 
itself. Is not habit generated of use, and nature of habit ? 
But to get rid of or change nature is difficult; for although 
when compelled it for a while turns aside, it very rapidly 
returns to itself. 

Bede; But if the disciple about to follow our Lord is 
reproved for wishing even to bid farewell at home, what will 
be done to such as for no advantage-sake frequently visit the 
houses of those whom they have left in the world ? 


1. After these things the Lord appointed other 
seventy also, and sent them two and two before his 
face into every city and phice, whither he himself 
would come. 

2. Therefore said he unto them. The harvest truly 
is great, hut the labourers are few: pray ye therefore 
the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth 
labourers into his harvest. 

Cyril; God had made known by the Prophets that the 
preaching of the Gospel of salvation was to embrace not only 
Israel, but also the Gentile nations; and therefore after the 
^"^g- twelve Apostles, there were other seventy-two also appointed 
ginta by Christ, as it is said, After these things the Lord ap- 
duos. pointed other seventy-tito also. Bede ; Rightly are seventy- 
two sent, for to so many nations of the world was the Gospel 
to be preached, that as at first twelve were appointed because 
of the twelve tribes of Israel, so, these also were ordained 
as teachers for the instruction of the foreign nations. 
Aug. de Aug. As also in twenty-four hours the whole world moves 
Ev. l.ii. round and receives light, so the mystery of enlightening the 
q. 14. w^orld by the Gospel of the Trinity, is hinted at in the seventy- 
two disciples. For three times twenty-four makes seventy- 
two. Now as no one doubts that the twelve Apostles fore- 
shadowed the order of Bishops, so also we must know that 
these seventy-two represented the presbytery, (that is, the 
second order of priests.) Nevertheless, in the earliest times 
of the Church, as the Apostolical writings bear witness, both 
were called presbyters, both also called bishops, the former 


of these sigiiit'ying " ripeness of wisdom," the latter, "dili- 
gence in the pastoral care." Cyril; An outline of this ordi- 
nance also was set forth in the words of Moses, who at the 
command of God chose out seventy, upon whom God poured 
out His Spirit. In the book of Numbers also it was written Numb. 

... 33 9 

of the children of Israel, that they came to Elim, which is ' 
by interpretation " ascent," and there were there twelve 
fountains of water, and seventy palm trees. For when we 
fly to spiritual refreshment, we shall find twelve fountains, 
namely, the holy Apostles, from whom we imbibe the know- 
ledge of salvation as from the well-springs of the Saviour; and 
seventy palms, that is, those who were now appointed by }^^^' ^2, 
Christ. For the palm is a tree of sound core, striking deep 
root and fruitful, always growing by the water side, yet at the 
same time putting forth its leaves upvvards. 

It follows, And he sent them two and two. Greg. He ^""^e^- 

, Hoir. 

sends the disciples to preach two and two, because there are 7. n 
two command? of charity, the love of God, and love of our*'^* 
neighbour; (and charity cannot exist without at least two;) 
thereby silently suggesting to us, that he who has not love to 
another, ought not to undertake the office of preaching. 
Origen ; Likewise also the twelve were reckoned by two and 
two, as Matthew shews in his enumeration of them. For that Matt. 
two should be joined in sendee, seems from the word of God to ^l^^\^^ 
be an ancient custom. For God led Israel out of Egypt by j3) ^4. 
the hands of Moses and Aaron. Joshua and Caleb also, united Prov.i8, 
together, appeased the people who had been provoked by the ^• 
twelve spies. Hence it is said, A brother assisted by a 
brother is as a fortified city. 

Basil; At the same time it is implied by this, that if any 
are equal in spiritual gifts, they should not suffer a fondness 
for their own opinion to get the better of them. Greg, It is Greg, 
rightly added, before his face into every city and place ^^ "'"^' 
whither he himself would come. For the Lord follows His 
preachers, since the preaching comes first, and then the 
Lord enters into the tabernacle of our heart; seeing that 
through the words of exhortation going before, truth is re- 
ceived into the mind. Hence Esaias says to the preachers, 
Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight a highway for isa. 40, 
our God. Theophyl. The Lord had appointed the disciples^* 


for the sake of the multitude, who were in want of teachers. 
For as our corn fields require many reapers, so the innume- 
rable company of those who are to believe need many teachers, 
as it follows. The harvest truly is great. Chrys. But how 
does He give the name of harvest to a work only just now at 
its beginning? the plough not yet put down, nor the furrows 
turned, He yet speaks of han'ests, for His disciples might waver 
and say, How can we so small a number convert the whole world, 
how can foolish men reform the wise, naked men those that are 
armed, subjects their rulers? Lest they should be disturbed 
then by such thoughts, He calls the Gospel a harvest; as if He 
says, All things are ready, I send you to a gathering of fruits 
already prepared. Ye can sow and reap the same day. 
As then the husbandman goes out to harvest rejoicing, much 
more also and with greater cheerfulness must you go out 
into the world. For this is the true han^est, which 
^'reg. shews the fields all prepared for you. Greg. But not 
without deep sorrow can we add, hut the labourers are 
few. For although there are who would hear good things, 
they are wanting who should spread them. Behold the 
world is full of priests, but seldom is there found a labourer 
in God's harvest, because we undertake indeed the priestly 
office, but we perform not its works. Bede ; Now as the 
great harvest is this whole multitude of believers, so the few 
labourers are the Apostles, and their followers who are sent 
to this harvest. 
Cyril. Cyril ; As the large fields require many reapers, so also 
°°jj^°'do the multitude of believers in Christ. Hence He adds, 
Bost. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would 
send forth labourers into his harvest. Now mark that when 
He said. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that 
he would send forth labourers into the harvest, He after- 
wards Himself performed it. He then is the Lord of the 
harvest, and by Him, and together with Him, God the Father 
Chrys. rulcs over all. Chrys. But he afterwards increased them 
sa^Tn greatly, not by adding to their number, but awarding to them 
Matt, power. He implies that it is a great gift to send la- 
bourers into the divine harvest, by His saying that the Lord of 
Greg, the harvest must be prayed to upon this accoimt. Greg. 
iibi sup. Hereby also the people must be induced to pray for 

VEK. 3, 4. ST. LUKE. 347 

their pastors, that tliey may be able to work what is good for 
them, and that their tongue grow not lifeless in exhortation. 
For often for their own wickedness their tongue is tied. But 
often for the fault of the people it comes to pass that the 
word of preaching is withdrawn from their rulers. 

3. Go your ways : behold, I send you forth as 
lambs among wolves. 

4. Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes : and 
salute no man by the way. 

Cyril; Luke next relates, that the seventy disciples ob- 
tained for themselves from Christ apostolical learning, lowli- 
ness, innocency, justice, and to prefer no worldly things to 
holy preachings, but to aspire to such fortitude of mind as to 
be afraid of no terrors, not even death itself He adds 
therefore, Go. Chrys. For their comfort amid every dan- Chrys. 
ger was the power of Him who sent them. And therefore ^°™jj 
saith He, Behold, I send you ; as if he said, This will xMatt. 
suffice for your consolation, this will be enough to make you 
hope, instead of fearing the coming evils which He signifies, 
adding, as lambs among wolves. 

Isidore: Denoting the simplicity and innocence in Hislsid. 
disciples. For those who wore riotous, and by their enor- 1. i. ep.' 
mities did despite to their nature, He calls not lambs, but*^^' 

Ambrose; Now these animals are at variance among them- 
selves, so that the one is devoured by the other, the lambs 
by the wolves; but the good Shepherd has no fear of wolves 
for His flock. And therefore the disciples are appointed not 
to make prey, but to impart grace. For the watchfulness 
of the good Shepherd causes the wolves to attempt nothing 
against the lambs ; He sends them as lambs amid wolves 
that that prophecy might be fulfilled, The wolf and the^^^^^ 
lamb shall feed together. Chrys. For this was a clear ChVys. 
announcement of glorious triumph, that the disciples of.jf°|"' 
Christ, when suiTounded by their enemies as lambs among Matt, 
wolves, should still convert them. Bede ; Or He especially 
gives the name of wolves to the Scribes and Pharisees, who 


are the Jewish clergy. Ambrose ; Or the heretics are com- 
pared to wolves. For wolves are beasts who lay in wait near 
the sheep folds, and prowl about the shepherds' cottages. 
They dare not enter the abodes of men, they pry out sleeping 
dogs, absent or slothful shepherds ; they seize the sheep by 
the throat, that they may quickly strangle them ; ravenous 
beasts, with bodies so stiff that they cannot easily turn themselves, 
but are carried along by their own impetus, and so are often 
deceived. If they are the first to see a man, it is said, they by 
a certain natural impulse, tear out his voice; but if a man first 
sees them, they quake with feai". In like manner the heretics 
lurk about Christ's sheep folds, howl near the cottages at night 
time. For night is the time for the ti'eacherous who obscure 
the light of Christ with the mists of false interpretation. 
The inns of Christ, however, they dare not enter, and therefore 
are not healed, as he was in an inn who fell among thieves. 
They look out for the shepherds' absence, for they can 
not attack the sheep when the shepherds are by. Owing also 
to the inflexibility of a hard and obstinate mind, they seldom 
if ever turn from their error, while Christ the true interpreter 
of Scripture mocks them, so that they vent forth their violence 
in vain, and are not able to hurt ; and if they overtake any one 
by the subtle trickery oftheir disputations, they make him dumb. 
For he is dumb who confesses not the word of God with the glory 
which belongs to it. Beware then lest the heretic deprive you 
of your voice, and lest you detect him not first. For he is creep- 
ing on while his treachery is disguised. But if you have 
discovered his unholy desires, you can not fear the loss of 
a holy voice. They attack the throat, they wound the vitals 
while they seek the soul. If also you hear any one called a 
priest, and you know his robberies, outwardly he is a 
sheep, inwardly a wolf, who is longing to gratify his rage with 
the insatiable cruelty of human murder. 
Greg. Greg. For many when they receive the right of rule, are 
]7°^£y vehement in persecuting their subjects, and manifesting the 
terrors of their power. And since they have no bowels of 
mercy, their desire is to seem to be masters, forgetting alto- 
gether that they are fathers, changing an occasion for humi- 
lity, into an exaltation of power. We must on the other hand 
consider, that as lambs are sent among wolves because they 

VER. 3, 4. ST. LUKE. 349 

preserve the feeling of innocence, so we slionUl make no malici- 
ous attacks. For he who undertakes the office of preacher 
ought not to bring evils upon others, but to endure them ; 
who although at times an upright zeal demands that he 
should deal harshly with his subjects, should still inwardly in 
his heart love with a fatherly feeling those whom outwardly 
he visits with censure. And that ruler gives a good example 
of this, who never submits the neck of his soul to the yoke 
of earthly desire. Hence it is added, Carry neither purse nor 
scrip. Greg. Naz. The sum of which is, that men ought to ^''^g- 

Urat. 2. 
be SO virtuous that the Gospel should make no less progress 

through their way of life than their preaching. Greg. For the g^^eg. 
preacher (of the Gospel) ought to have such trust in God,i7.inET. 
that although he has provided not for the expenses of this pre- 
sent life, he should still be most certainly convinced that these 
will not fail him ; lest while his mind is engaged in His tem- 
poral things, he should be less careful for the spiritual things 
of others. 

Cyril; Thus He had already commanded them to have 
no care for these persons, when He said, 1 send you as lambs 
among wolves. And He also forbade all care about what is 
external to the body, by saying. Take neither purse nor scrip. 
Nor did He allow men to take with them any of those things 
which were not attached to the body. Hence He adds. Nor 
shoes. He not only forbade them to take purse and scrip, 
but He did not allow them to receive any distraction in their 
work, such as interruption by greetings on their way. Hence 
He adds, Salute no one by the way. Which had long ago 
been said by Elisha. As if He sedd, Proceed straight on to 2 Kings 
your work without exchanging blessings with others. For ' 
it is a loss to waste the time which is fitter for preaching, in 
unnecessary things. Ambrose ; Our Lord did not then forbid 
these things because the exercise of benevolence was dis- 
pleasing to Him, but because the motive of following after 
devotedness was more pleasing. Greg. Naz. The Lord Greg, 
gave them these commands also for the glory of the word," ^^^' 
lest it should seem that enticements could more prevail over 
them. He wished them also not to be anxious to speak to 

Greg. If any one would have these words taken also Greg. 

ubi sup. 


allegorically, the money shut up in a purse is the hidden 
wisdom. He then who has the word of wisdom, and neglects 
to employ it for his neighbour, is like one who keeps his 
money tied up in his purse. But by the scrip is meant the 
troubles of the world, by the shoes (made of the skins of 
dead animals) are signified the examples of dead works. 
He then who undertakes the office of preacher ought not to 
bear the burden of business, lest while this presses down 
his neck he should not rise to the preaching of heavenly things; 
nor ought he to behold the example of foolish Avorks, lest he 
think to shield his own works as by dead skins, that is, lest 
because he observes that others have done these things, he 
imagine that he also is at liberty to do the same. Ambrose; 
Om* Lord also would have nothing human in us. For Moses 
is bid to loose off the human and earthly shoe when he was 
Exod.3, sent to deliver the people. But if any one is perplexed 
Exod ^^y ^^ Egypt we are ordered to eat the lamb with shoes 
12, 11. on, but the Apostles are appointed to preach the Gospel 
without shoes : he must consider, that one in Egypt ought 
still to beware of the serpent's bite, for there were many 
poisonous creatures in Egypt. And he who celebrates the 
Passover in figure may be exposed to the wound, but the 
minister of truth fears no poison. 
Greg. Greg. Now every one who salutes on the way does so 
" ^ '^"P'from the accident of the journey, not for the sake of wishing 
health. He then who not from love of a heavenly country, 
but from seeking reward, preaches salvation to his hearers, 
does as it were salute on the journey, since accidentally, 
not from any fixed intention, he desires the salvation of his 

5. And into whatever house ye enter, first say. 
Peace be to this house. 

6. And if the son of peace be there, your peace 
shall rest upon it : if not, it shall turn to you again. 

7. And in the same house remain, eating and 
drinking such things as they give ; for the labourer 
is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house. 

VEH. 5 — 12. ST. LUKE. 351 

8. And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they 
receive you, eat such things as are set before you : 

9. And heal the sick that are therein, and say 
unto them. The kingdom of God is come nigh unto 

10. But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they 
receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of 
the same, and say, 

11. Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth 
on us, we do wipe off against you : notwithstanding 
be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come 
nigh unto you. 

12. But I say unto you, that it shall be more 
tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city. 

Chrys. Peace is the mother of all good things, without it Chrys. 
all other things are vain. Our Lord therefore commanded His g- j^' 
disciples on entering a house first to pronounce peace as a Matt, 
sign of good things, saying, Into whatever house ye enter, 
first say. Peace he to this house. Ambrose ; That in truth 
we should convey the message of peace, and that our very 
first entrance be attended with the blessing of peace. Chrys, Chrys. 
And hence he who presides in the Church gives it, saying, 32. jq 
Peace unto all. Now holy men ask for peace, not only that^'^'*- 
which dweUs among men in mutual intercourse, but that which cont. 
belongs to ourselves. For oftentimes we wage war in our ^' 
hearts, and are disturbed even when no one troubles us; bad 
desires also frequently rise up against us. Tit. Bos. But it is 
said, Peace he to this house, that is, to them that dwell in the 
house. As if he says, I speak unto all, both the greater and 
the less, yet should not your salutation be addressed to them 
that are unworthy of it. Hence it is added, And if the son 
of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it. As if lie 
says. You indeed shall utter the word, but the blessing of 
peace shall be applied wherever I shall deem men worthy of it. 
But if any one is not worthy, ye are not mocked, the grace 


of your word has not perisliod, but is returned unto you. 
And this is what is added, But if nol, it shall reitirn unto 
Greg, y^'^ again. Greg. For the peace which is offered by the 
Horn, mouth of the preacher shall either rest on the house, if there 
Ev. be any one in it predestined to life, who follows the 
heavenly word which he hears ; or if no one be willing 
indeed to hear, the preacher himself shall not be without 
fruit, for the peace returns to him, while the Lord gives him 
the recompense of reward for the labour of his work. But if 
our peace is received, it is meet that we should obtain earthly 
supplies from those to whom we offer the rewards of a 
heavenly country. Hence it follows : And in the same house 
remain, eating and drinking such things as they give. 
Mark, that He who forbade them to carry purse and scrip, 
allows them to be an expense to others, and to receive suste- 
Chrys. nance from preaching. Chrys. But lest any one should say, 
ubi sup. J ^j^ spending my own property in preparing a table for 
strangers, He first makes them offer the gift of peace, to which 
nothing is equal, that you may know that you receive greater 
things than you give. Tit. Bost. Or else ; Since you are 
not appointed judges as to who are worthy and who are 
unworthy, eat and drink what things they offer to you. 
But leave to me the trial of those who receive you, unless 
you happen also to know that the son of peace is not there, 
for perhaps in that case you ought to depart. 

Theophyl. See then how He taught His disciples to beg, 
and wished them to receive their nourishment as a reward. 
For it is added. For the labourer is worthy of his hire. 
^"■.■"g- Greg. For now the very food which supports him is part of 
the wages of the labourer, as in this life the hire commences 
with the labour of preaching, which in the next is com- 
pleted with the sight of truth. And here we must con- 
sider that two rewards are due to one work of ours, one on the 
journey, which supports us in labour, the other in our coimtry, 
which recompenses us at the resurrection. Therefore the 
reward which we receive now ought so to work in us, that we 
the more vigorously strive to gain the succeeding reward. 
Every tnie preacher then ought not so to preach, that he may 
receive a reward at the present time, but so to receive a reward 

VER. 5 — 12. ST. LUKK. 353 

that he may have strength to preach. For whoever so 
preaches that here he may receive the reward of praise, or 
riches, deprives himself of an eternal reward. 

Ambrose; Another virtue is added, that we should not go 
about easily, changing from house to house. For it follows, 
Go not from house to house; that is, that we should pre- 
serve a consistency in our love towards our hosts, nor lightly 
loose any bond of friendship. 

Bedk; Now having described the reception from different 
houses, he teaches them what they ought to do in the cities ; 
namely, to have intercourse with the good in all, but to keep 
from the society of the wicked in every thing; as it follows, 
But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat 
such things as are set before you. Theophyl. Although 
they be few and poor, ask for nothing more; He also tells 
them to work miracles, and their word shall draw men to their 
preaching. Hence he adds. And heal the sick that are 
therein, and say to them, The kingdom of God is come nigh 
unto you. For if you first heal and then teach, the word 
will prosper, and men believe that the kingdom of God 
is come nigh. For they would not be cured unless by 
the working of some divine power. But also when they 
are healed in their soul, the kingdom of God comes nigh 
unto them, for it is far off from him over whom sin has the 
dominion. Chrys. Now mark the excellence of the Apostles, chrys. 
They are bid to utter nothing relating to sensible things, such |1°™* 
as Moses and the Prophets spoke of, namely, earthly goods. Matt. 
but certain new and marvellous things, namely, the kingdom 
of God. Max. Which it is said is come nigh, not to shew the ^*'^- 
shortness of time, for the kingdom of God cometh not with Theol. 
observation, but to mark the disposition of men towards the ^^^* 
kingdom of God, which is indeed potentially in all believers, 
but actually in those who reject the life of the body, and 
choose only the spiritual life ; who are able to say, Now I live. Gal. 2, 
yet not I, but Christ lireth in me. ^^• 

Ambrose; He next teaches them to shake off the dust 
from their feet when the men of a city have refused to en- 
tertain them, saying. Into whatsoever city ye enter, and 
they receive you not, shake off the dtist. Bede; Either as a 
testimony to the earthly toil which they had in vain under- 

VOL. III. 2 A 


gone for them, or to shew that so far fi'om seeking any thing 
earthly from them, they suffer not even the dust from their 
land to cleave to them. Or by the feet is meant the very 
labour and walking to and fro of preaching; but the dust with 
which they are sprinkled is the lightness of worldly thoughts, 
from which even the greatest teachers cannot be free. Those 
then who have despised the teaching, turn the labours and 
dangers of the teachers into a testimony of their condemn- 
ation. Origen; By wiping off the dust of their feet against 
them, they in some sort say. The dust of your sins shall de- 
servedly come upon you. And mark that the cities which 
receive not the Apostles and sound doctrine have streets, 

Matt. 7, according to Matthew, Broad is the way which leadeih 
to destruction. Theophyl. And as they who receive the 
Apostles are said to have the kingdom of God come nigh unto 
them as a blessing, so those who do not receive them are 
said to have it nigh unto them as a curse. Hence He adds, 
Notwithstanding y he ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God 
is come nigh unto you, as the coming of a king is to some for 
punishment, but to some for honour. Hence it is added re- 
specting their punishment. But I say unto you, It shall be 
more tolerable for Sodom, ^c. Euseb. For in the city of 

Gen. 19. Sodom Angels were not without entertainment, but Lot was 
found worthy to receive them into his house. If then at the 
coming of the disciples into a city there shall not be found 
one to receive them, will not that city be worse than Sodom? 
These words persuaded them to attempt boldly the rule 
of poverty. For there could not be a city or village without 
some inhabitants acceptable to God. For Sodom could not 
exist without a Lot found in it, at whose departure the whole 
was suddenly destroyed. Bede; The men of Sodom, 
although they were hospitable in the midst of all their wicked- 
ness of soul and body, yet were there no such guests found 
among them as the Apostles. Lot indeed was righteous 
both in seeing and hearing, yet he is not said to have taught 
or worked miracles. 

13. Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, 
Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done 
in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you. 

VER. 13 — 16. ST. LUKE. 355 

they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sack- 
cloth and ashes. 

14. But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and 
Sidon at the judgment, than for you. 

15. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to 
heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell. 

16. He that heareth you heareth me; and he that 
despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth 
me despiseth him that sent me. 

Ambrose ; Our Lord warns us that they will meet with a 
heavier punishment who have refused to follow the Gospel 
than those who have chosen to break the law; saying, JVoe 
unto thee,Chorazin! woe unto thee,Bel]tsaida! Bede; Chora- 
zin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum, Tiberias also which John 
mentions, are cities of Galilee situated on the shore of the 
lake of Gennesaret, which is called by the Evangelists the sea 
of Galilee or Tiberias. Our Lord thus mourns over these 
cities which after such great miracles and wonders repented 
not, and are worse than the Gentiles who break through the 
law of nature only^ seeing that after despising the written 
law, they feared not to despise also the Son of God and His 
glory. Hence it follows. For if the mighty works had been 
done in Tyre and Sidon which have been done in you^ they 
had a great while ago repented sitting in sackcloth and ashes, 
SfC. By sackcloth, which is woven together from the hairs of 
goats, he signifies a sharp remembrance of previous sin. But 
by ashes, he hints at the consideration of death, by which we 
are reduced to dust. Again, by the sitting down, he implies 
the lowliness of our conscience. Now we have seen in this 
day the word of the Saviour fulfilled, since Chorazin and 
Bethsaida, though our Lord was present among them, believed 
not, and Tyre and Sidon were friendly both to David and i King^^ 
Solomon, and aftei-wards believed in the disciples of Christ who ^' 
preached the Gospel there. 

Chrys. Oiu: Lord mourns over these cities for our example, Chrya. 
because shedding tears and bitter lamentations over those I^"™* 
who are insensible to grief, is no slight antidote, lending Matt. 

2 A 2 


both to the correction of the insensible, and to tlie remedy 
and consolation of those who mourn over them. Again, He 
draws them over to what is good, not only by lament- 
ing over them, but also by alarming them. Hence it follows. 
But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon, ^c. This 
we ought also to listen to. For not upon them alone, but 
upon us also, He hath passed sentence, if we receive not the 
guests who come to us, since He commanded them to shake 
off the very dust from their feet. And in another place : Now 
when our Lord had done many mighty works in Capernaum, 
and had Himself dwelt there, it seemed to be exalted above 
the other cities, but through unbelief fell to destruction. 
Hence it follows. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to 
heaven, shall be thrust down to hell; that, in fact, the 
judgment might be in proportion to the honour. Bede; 
This sentence admits of two meanings : Either for this reason 
shalt thou be thrust down into hell, because thou proudly 
resisted My preaching; that in truth she might be un- 
derstood to have raised herself up to heaven by her pride. Or, 
because thou art exalted to heaven by My dwelling in thee, 
and by My miracles, shalt thou be beaten with more stripes, 
since even these thou refusedst to believe. And that no one 
should suppose that this interpretation applied only either to 
the cities or the persons who, seeing our Lord in the flesh 
despised Him, and not to all also who now despise the words 
of the Gospel, He proceeds to add these words, He that 
heareth you, heareth me. Cyril; Whereby He teaches, 
that whatever is said by the holy Apostles must be received, 
since he who heareth them heareth Christ, and an inevitable 
punishment therefore hangs over heretics who neglect the 
words of the Apostles ; for it follows, and he who de- 
spises you despises me. Bede; That is, that every one in- 
deed on hearing or despising the preaching of the Gospel 
might learn that he is not despising or hearing the mere 
individual preacher, but our Lord and Saviour, nay the 
Father Himself; for it follows, And he that despiselh me, 
despiseih him that sent me. For the Master is heard in His 
•Aag- disciple, the Father honoured in His Son. Aug. But if the 
102. word of God reaches to us also, and appoints us in the 
Apostles place, beware of despising us, lest that reach unto 

VER. 17 — 20. ST. LUKE. 357 

Him which you have done uDto us. Bede; It may also be 
understood as follows, He who despiseth you, deapiseth me, 
that is, he who shews not mercy to one of the least of My 
brethren, neither shews it to Me. But he who despiseth w?e,Matt. 
(refusing to believe on the Son of God,) despiseth him that ' 
sent me. For I and mil Father are one. Tit. Bost. But Johnio, 

... 30 

at the same time He herein consoles His disciples, as if 
He said, Say not why are we about to suffer reproach. Let 
your speech be with moderation. I give you grace, upon Me 
your reproaches fall. 

17. And the seventy returned again with joy, say- 
ing. Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through 
thy name. 

18. And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as 
lightning fall from heaven. 

19. Behold, I give unto you power to tread on ser- 
pents and scorpions, and over all the power of the 
enemy : and nothing shall by any means hurt you. 

20. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the 
spirits are subject unto you ; but rather rejoice, 
because your names are written in heaven. 

Cyril; It was said above that our Lord sent forth His dis- 
ciples sealed with the grace of the Holy Spirit, and that being 
made ministers of preaching, they received power over the 
unclean spirits. But now when they returned, they confess 
the power of Him who honoured them, as it is said, And the 
seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils 
are subject unto us, Sfc. They seemed indeed to rejoice rather 
that they were made workers of miracles, than that they had 
become ministers of preaching. But they had better have 
rejoiced in those whom they had taken, as St. Paul says to 
them that were called by him, My joy and my croicn. Phii, 4, 

Greg. Now our Lord, in a i-emarkable manner, in order to I* 
put down high thoughts in the hearts of His disciples, 23. Mor. 
Himself related the account of the fall which the teacher of*'' ' 
pride suffered ; that they might learn by the example of the 


author of pride, what they would have to dread from the sin 

of pride. Hence it follows, / beheld Satan as lightning 

Basil, fall from heaven. Basil ; He is called Satan, because he is an 

Quod enemy to God, (for this the Hebrew word signifies,) but he 

Deus Is called the Devil, because he assists us in doing evil, and is 
»<»a est . . , . , . ' . 

anctor an accuser. His nature is incor^joreal, his abode m the air. 

"'*''• ; He says not, ' I see now,' but referring to past time, 

/ sair, when he fell. But by the words as lightning, He 
signifies either a fall headlong from the high places to the 

2 Cor. lowest, or that now cast down, he transforms himself into an 

' ' angel of light. Tit. Bost. Now He says that He saw it, as 

being Judge, for He knew the sufferings of the spirits. 

Or He says, as lightning, because by nature Satan shone as 

lightning, but became darkness through his affections, since 

Basil, what God made good he changed in himself to evil. Basil ; 

Emiom. ^^^ ^^ heavenly Powers are not naturally holy, but accord- 

1. 3. ing to the analogy of divine love they receive their measure 
of sanctification. And as iron placed in the fire does not 
cease to be iron, though by the violent application of the flame, 
both in effect and appearance, it passes into fire ; so also the 
Powers on high, from their participation in that which is natu- 
rally holy, have a holiness implanted in them. For Satan had 
not fallen, if by nature he had been unsusceptible of evil. 

Cyril; Or else, / saw Satan as lightning fall from heaveuy 
that is, from the highest power to the lowest impotence. 
For before the coming of our Saviour, he had subdued the 
world to him, and was worshipped by all men. But when 
the only -begotten Word of God came down from heaven, he 
fell as lightning, seeing that he is trodden underfoot by those 
who worship Christ. As it follows. And, behold, I give unto 
you power to tread upon serpents, Sfc. 

Tit. Bost. Serpents indeed at one time under a figure 
were made to bite the Jews, and kill them because of 
their unbelief But there came One who should destroy those 

Numb, serj^enls ; even the Brazen Serpent, the Crucified, so that if 

^^' ^' any one should look on Him believing, he might be healed from 
his wounds and saved. Chrys. Then lest we should suppose 
this was spoken of beasts. He added. And over all the power qf 
the enemy. Bede ; That is, I give you the power of casting out 
every kind of unclean spirit, from the bodies possessed. And as 

VER. 17 — 20. ST. LUKB. 359 

far as regards themselves, He adds, And nothing shall hurt you. 
Although it might also be taken literally. For Paul when -A^cto 28, 
attacked by a viper suffered no injury. John having drunk 
poison is not harmed by it*. But I think there is this 
difference between serpents who bite with the teeth, and 
scorpions who sting with the tail, that the serpents signify men 
'^r spirits raging openly, scorpions signify them plotting in 
secret. Or serpents are those which cast the poison of evil 
persuasion upon virtues just beginning, scorpions which go 
about to corrupt at last virtues which have been brought 
to perfection. Theophyl. Or serpents are those which 
visibly hurt, as the evil spirit of adultery and murder. But 
those are called scorpions which invisibly injure, as in the 
sins of the spirit. Greg. Nyss. For pleasure is called in Greg. 
Scripture a serpent, which by nature is such that if its head c^nt! 
has reached a wall so as to press upon it, it drags its whole 
body after it. So nature has given man the habitation which was 
necessary for him. But by means of this necessity, pleasure as- 
saults the heart, and perverts it to the indulgence of immoderate 
ornament; in addition to this it brings in its train covetousness, 
which is followed by lust, that is, the last member or 
tail of the beast. But as it is not possible to draw back the 
serpent by its tail, so to remove pleasure we must not begin 
with the last, unless one has closed the first entrance to evil. 

Athan. But now through the power of Christ boys Athan. 

Orst" in. 

make a mock at pleasure, which formerly led away the aged, Pagg". gt 
and virgins stedfastly trample upon the desires of serpentine £^"°! . 
pleasure. Some also tread upon the very sting of the scor- 
pion, that is, of the devil, namely death, and fearing not de- 
struction, become witnesses of the word. But many giving up 
earthly things walk with a free step in heaven, dreading not 
the prince of the air. 

Tit. Bost. But because the joy with which He saw 
them rejoice savoured of vain-glory, for they rejoiced that 
they were as it were exalted, and were a terror to men 
and evil spirits, our Lord therefore adds, Notvnthstanding 
in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you, ^c. 
Bede; They are forbidden to rejoice in the subjection of 
the spiiits to God, since they were flesh; for to cast 

» See Isidore de Vit. et Morte Sanct. §. 73. 


out spirits and to exercise other powers is sometimes 

not on account of liis merit who works, but is wrought through 

the invocation of Christ's name to the condenmation of those 

who mock it, or to the advantage of those who see and hear. 

Cyril; Why, O Lord, dost not Thou permit men to rejoice in 

Ps. 89, the honours which are conferred by Thee, since it is written, In 

^^' thy name shall they rejoice all the dny? But the Lord raises 

them up by greater joys. Hence He adds, Bui rejoice that 

your names are written in heaven. Bede ; As if he said, It 

becomes you to rejoice not in the putting down of the evil 

spirits, but in your own exaltation. But it would be well for 

us to understand, that whether a man has done heavenly or 

earthly works, he is thereby, as if marked down by letter, for 

ever fixed in the memory of God. Theophyl. For the names 

of the saints are written in the book of life not in ink, but in 

the memory and grace of God. And the devil indeed fell from 

above; but men being below have their names inscribed 

BasiL in above in heaven. Basil ; There are some who are written 

ilT V" i"f^66fl "ot in life, but according to Jeremiah in the earth, that 

IS. in this way there might be a kind of double enrolment, of 

the one indeed to life, but of the other to destruction. 

Pa. 69, But since it is said. Let them be blotted out of the book qf 

^^' the living, this is spoken of those who were thought worthy to 

be written in the book of God. And in this way a name is 

said to be put down in writing or blotted out, when we turn 

aside from virtue to sin, or the contrary. 

21. In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, 
I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, 
that thou hast hid these things from the wise and 
prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes : even 
so. Father ; for so it seemed good in thy sight. 

22. All things are delivered to me of my Father : 
and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father ; 
and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom 
the Son will reveal him. 

Theophyl. As a loving father rejoices to see his sons do 
right, so Christ also rejoices that His Apostles were made 

VER. 21, 22. ST. LUKE. 361 

worthy of such good things. Hence it follows, In that 
Jiour, Sfc. Cyril; He saw in truth that through the 
operation of the Holy Spirit, which He gave to the holy 
Apostles, the acquisition of many would be made, (or that 
many would be brought to the faith.) He is said therefore to 
have rejoiced in the Holy Spirit, that is, in the results which 
came forth through the Holy Spirit. For as one who loved 
mankind He considered the conversion of sinners to be a 
subject for rejoicing, for which He gives thanks. As it 
follows, I give thanks ttnto thee, O Father. Bede; Con- confiteor 
fessing does not always signify penitence, but also thanks- p^jg 
giving, as is frequently found in the Psalms. 49 ; 30, 

12 • 62 

Cyril; Now here, say they whose hearts are perverted, 9. ' ' 
the Son gives thanks to the Father as being inferior. But 
what should prevent the Son of the same substance with the 
Father from praising His own Father, who saves the world 
by Him ? But if you think that because of His giving thanks 
He shews Himself to be inferior, observe, that He calls Him 
His Father, and the Lord of heaven and earth. Tit. Bost. non occ. 
For all other things have been produced by Christ from 
nothing, but He alone was incomprehensibly begotten of 
His Father; Who therefore of the Only -begotten alone, as a 
true Son, is by nature the Father. Hence He alone says to His 
Father, I give thanks to thee, O Father, Lord, ^c. that is, I 
glorify thee. Marvel not that the Son glorifies the Father. 
For the whole substance of the Only-begotten is the glory 
of the Father. For both those things which were created, 
and the Angels, are the glory of the Creator. But since these 
are placed too low in respect of His dignity, the Son alone, 
since He is perfect God like His Father, perfectly glorifies 
His Father. Athan. We know also that the Saviour often Athan. 
speaks as man. For His divine nature has human nature ^°°' 
joined to it, yet you would not, because of His clothing Himself Sabeil. 
with a body, be ignorant that He was God. But what do they ^' *'°°- 
answer to this, who wish to make out a substance of evil, tes 6. 
but form to themselves another God, other than the true 
Father of Christ? And they say that he is unbegotten, the 
creator of evil and pi'ince of iniquity, as well as the maker of Gen. 1, 
the world's fabric. Now our Lord, affirming the word of^* 
Moses, says, I give thanks unto thee, Father, Lord qf heaven 


Eplph. and earth. Epiph. But a Gospel composed by Marcion 

H» 42 ^^^' " ^ ^^^ thanks to Thee, O Lord," being silent as to the 

words of heaven and earth, and the word Father, lest it 

should be supposed that He calls the Father the Creator of 

the heaven and the earth. 

Ambrose ; Lastly, he unveils the heavenly mystery by 
which it pleased God to reveal His grace, rather to the little 
ones than the wise of the world. Hence it follows. That 
thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent. 
Theophyl. The distinction may be, that it is said, the wise, 
meaning, the Pharisees and Scribes who interpret the law, 
a?id the prudent, meaning those who were taught by the 
Scribes, for the wise man is he who teaches, but the prudent 
man he who is taught ; but the Lord calls His disciples 
babes, whom He chose not from the teachers of the law, but 
out of the multitude, and by calling, fishermen ; babes, that 
is, as devoid of malice. Ambrose; Or by a babe we should 
here understand one who knew nothing of exalting himself, 
and of boasting in proud words of the excellence of his 
wisdom, as the Pharisees often do. Bede ; He therefore gives 
thanks that He had revealed to the Apostles as unto babes 
the sacraments of His coming, of which the Scribes and 
Pharisees were ignorant, who think themselves wise, and are 
pmdent in their own sight. Theophyl. The mysteries then 
were hid from those who think themselves wise, and are not ; 
for if they had been, these would have been revealed to them. 
Bede ; To the wise and prudent then He opposed not the 
dull and foolish, but babes; that is, the humble, to shew that 
He condemned pride, not quickness of mind. Origen; For 
a feeling of deficiency is the preparation for coming perfec- 
tion. For whoever by the presence of the apparent good 
perceives not that he is destitute of the true good, is deprived 
of the true good. 
Chrys. Chrys, Now He does not rejoice and give thanks because 
H**"' the mysteries of God were hid from the Scribes and Pharisees, 
Matt, (for this were not a subject of rejoicing, but of lament,) but 
for this cause gives He thanks, that what the wise knew not, 
babes knew. But moreover He gives thanks to the Father, 
together with whom He Himself does this, to shew the great 
love wherewith He loves us. He explains in the next place, 

VER. 21, 22. ST. LUKE. 363 

that the cause of this thing was first His own will and the 
Father's, who of His own will did this. As it follows. Even 
so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight. Greg. We Greg, 
receive these words as an example of humility, that we jyforai. 
should not rashly presume to scan the heavenly counsel, c- 14. 
concerning the calling of some, and the rejection of others; 
for that cannot be unjust which seemed good to the Just One. 
In all things therefore, externally disposed, the cause of the 
visible system is the justice of the hidden will. 

Chrys. But after He had said, / thank thee that thou hast chrys. 
revealed them to babes, lest you should suppose that Christ J|°'?' 
was destitute of the power to do this. He adds, All things are Matt. 
delivered to me of my Father. Athan. The followers of ^th 


Arius, not rightly understanding this, rave against our Lord, T-*"^** 
saying, If all things were given to him, that is, the dominion u, 22. 
of the creatures, there was a time when He had them not, and 
so was not of the substance of the Father. For if He had 
been, there would be no need for Him to receive. But hereby 
is their madness the rather detected. For if before He had 
received them, the creature was independent of the Word, 
how will that verse stand, In him all things consist ? But if Col. 4, 
as soon as the creatures were made, they were all given to Him, 
where was the need to give, for by him were all things 7Jiade? Johnis. 
The dominion of the creation is not then, as they think, 
here meant, but the words signify the dispensation made in 
the flesh. For after that man sinned, all things were con- 
founded; the Word then was made flesh, that He might re- 
Store all things. All things therefore were given Him, not 
because He was wanting in power, but that as Saviour He 
should repair all things ; that as by the Word all things at the 
beginning were brought into being, so when the Word was 
made flesh. He should restore all things in Himself. Bede ; Or 
by the words, All things are delivered to me, He means not the 
elements of the world, but those babes to whom by the Spi- 
rit the Father made known the Sacraments of His Son ; and 
in whose salvation when He here spoke He was rejoicing. 
Ambrose ; Or, when you read all things, you acknowledge the 
Almighty, not the Son lower than the Father; when you read 
delivered, you confess the Son, to whom by the nature of one 
substance all things rightly belong, not conferred as a gift by 


grace. Cyril ; Now having said that all things wore given 
Him bj His Father, He rises to His own glory and excellence, 
shewing that in nothing He is surpassed by His Father. 
Hence He adds, Jnd no one knoiceth uho the Son is hut ihe 
Father, Sfc. For the mind of the creatures is not able to com- 
prehend the manner of the Divine substance, which passes 
all understanding, and His glory transcends our highest con- 
templations. By Itself only is known what the Divine nature is. 
Therefore the Father, by that which He is, knoweth the Son ; 
the Sou, by that which He is, knoweth the Father, no differ- 
ence intervening as regards the Divine nature. And in an- 
other place. For that God is, we believe, but what He is by 
nature, is incomprehensible. But if the Son was created, how 
could He alone know the Father, or how could He be known 
only by the Father. For to know the Divine nature is 
impossible to any creature, but to know each created thing 
what it is, does not surpass every understanding, though 
Athan. it is far beyond our senses. Athan. But though our 
cont. ' Lord says this, it is plain that the Arians object to Him, saying, 
Arian. tJ^^t the Father is not seen by the Son. But their folly is 
manifest, as if the Word did not know Itself which reveals to 
all men the knowledge of the Father and Itself; for it follows. 
And to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. Tit. Bost. Now 
a revelation is the communication of knowledge in proportion 
to each man's nature and capacity ; and when indeed the nature 
is congenial, there is knowledge without teaching ; but here 
Orig. the instruction is by revelation. Origen ; He wishes to 
non occ. j-Qveal as the Word, not without the exercise of reason ; and as 
Justice, who knoweth rightly both the times for revealing, 
and the measures of revelation ; but He reveals by removing 
3 16^ ^^^ opposing veil from the heart, and the darkness which He 
Ps. 18, has made His secret place. But since upon this men who 
are of another o])inion think to build up their impious doc- 
trine, that in truth the Father of Jesus was sent down to the 
ancient saints, we must tell them that the words. To uhom- 
soever ihe Son will reveal him, not only refer to the future 
time, after our Saviour uttered this, but also to the past time. 
But if they will not take this word reveal for what is past, ihey 
must be told, that it is not the same thing to know and 
1 Cor. jq believe. To one is given by the Spirit the uord of Inotc- 

12,8.9. ./ J I 

vi:k. 23, 24. sT. luke 365 

ledge ; to another faith by the same Spirit. There were 
then those who believed, but did not know. Ambrose; 
But that you may know that as the Son revealed the Father 
to whom He will, the Father also reveals the Son to whom He 
will, hear our Lord's words. Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona, 
for flesh and blood have not revealed it to thee, but my 
Father which is in heaven. 

23. And he turned him unto his disciples, and 
said privately, Blessed are the eyes which see the 
things that ye see: 

24. For I tell you, that many prophets and kings 
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. 

Theophyl. Having said above, No one knoueth icho the 
Father is but the Son, and to whomsoever the Son tcill reveal 
him; He pronounces a blessing upon His disciples, to whom 
the Father was revealed through Him. Hence it is said, And 
he turned him untohis disciples, and said. Blessed are the eyes, 
8fc. Cyril; He turns to them indeed, since He rejected the 
Jews, who were deaf, with their understandings blinded, and 
not wishing to see, and gives Himself wholly to those who 
love Him ; and He pronounces those eyes blessed which see 
the things no others had seen before. We must however 
know this, that seeing does not signify the action of the eyes, 
but the pleasure which the mind receives from benefits con- 
ferred. For instance, if any one should say. He hath seen 
good limes, that is, he has rejoiced in good times, accord- 
ing to the Psalm, Thou shall see the good of Jerusalem. For ps. 128 
many Jews have seen Christ performing divine works, that is ®* 
to say, with their bodily sight, yet all were not fitted to re- 
ceive the blessing, for they believed not; but these saw not 
His glory with their mental sight. Blessed then are our eyes, 
since we see by faith the Word who is made man for us, shed- 
ding upon us the glory of His Godhead, that He may make us 
like unto Him by sanctification and righteousness. Theophyl. 


Now He blesses them, and all truly who look with faith, be- 
cause the ancient prophets and kings desired to see and hear 
Matt. God in the flesh, as it follows; For I say unto yon, titat 
' many prophets and kings have desired, Sfc. Bede; Matthew 
more clearly calls them prophets, and righteous men. For 
those are great kings, who have known how, not by yielding 
to escape from the assaults of temptations, but by mas- 

Chrys. tering to gain the rule ovw them. Chrys. Now from this 
in Joan. . . . , , , . , , 

Horn. 8. saymg many imagme that the prophets were without the 

knowledge of Christ. But if they desired to see what the 

Apostles saw, they knew that He would come to men, and 

dispense those things which He did. For no one desires 

what he has no conception of; they therefore knew the Son 

of God. Hence He does not merely say, They desired to 

see me, but those things which ye see, nor to hear me, but 

those things which ye hear. For they saw Him, but not yet 

Incarnate, nor thus conversing with men, nor speaking with 

such authority to them. Bede; For those looking afar off 

saw Him in a glass and darkly, but the Apostles having our 

Lord present with them, whatever things they wished to 

leam had no need to be taught by angels or any other 

Origen. liind of vision. Origen; But why does he say that many 

in Cant. , i • i n ii r -i-. . • • -t 

1. 2. prophets desired, and not all r Because it is said of Abra- 
John 8, ham. That he saw the day of Christ and was glad, which 
sight not many, but few attained to; but there were other 
prophets and just men not so great as to reach to Abra- 
ham's vision, and the experience of the Apostles, who, He 
says, saw not, but desired to see. 

25. And, behold, a certain Lawyer stood up, and 
tempted him, saying. Master, what shall I do to inherit 
eternal life? 

26. He said unto him. What is written in the law? 
how readest thou? 

27. And he answering said. Thou shalt love the 
Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all tliy soul, 
and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind ; and 
thy neighbour as thyself. 


vi:u. 25—28. st. lukk. 367 

28. And he said unto him. Thou hast answered 
right: this do, and thou shalt live. 

Bede; Our Lord had told His disciples above that their 
names were written in Heaven; from this it seems to me the 
lawyer took occasion of tempting our Lord, as it is said, 
And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him. 
Cyril ; For there were in fact certain men who then went 
about the whole country of the Jews bringing charges against 
Christ, and saying that He spoke of the commands of Moses 
as useless, and Himself introduced certain strange doctrines. 
A lawyer then, wishing to entrap Christ into saying some- 
thing against Moses, comes and tempts Him, calling Him 
Master, though not bearing to be His disciple. And because 
our Lord was wont to speak to those who came to Him concern- 
ing eternal life, the lawyer adopts this kind of language. And 
since he tempted Him subtly, he receives no other answer than 
the command given by Moses ; for it follows, He said unto him. 
What is written in the law ? how readest thou ? Ambrose ; 
For he was one of those who think themselves skilled in the law, 
and who keep the letter of the law, while they know nothing 
of its spirit. From a part of the law itself our Lord proves 
them to be ignorant of the law, shewing that at the very first 
the law preached the Father and the Son, and announced the 
sacraments of the Lord's Incarnation; for it follows. And he 
answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God tiith all 
thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, 
and with all thy mind. Basil; By saying, xmtfi all ^/^yEasil. in 
Tnind, he does not admit of any division of love to other things, ^^' *^* 
for whatever love you cast on lower things necessarily 
takes away from the whole. For as a vessel full of liquid, 
whatever flows therefrom must so much diminish its fulness ; 
so also the soul, whatever love it has wasted upon things un- 
lawful, has so much lessened its love to God. 

Greg. Nyss. Now the soul is divided into thi-ee faculties; 
one merely of growth and vegetation, such as is found inopjfcs 
plants; another which relates to the senses, which is pre- 
sened in the nature of irrational animals; but the perfect 
faculty of the soul is that of reason, which is seen in human 


nature. By saying then the heart, Ho signified the bodily 
substance, that is, the vegetative; by the soul the middle, or 
the sensitive; but by saying the mind, the higher nature, that 
is, the intellectual or reflective faculty. Theophyl. We must 
hereby understand that it becomes us to submit every ]io\ver 
of the soul to the divine love, and that resolutely, not slackly. 
Hence it is added, And with all thy strength. Maxim. To 
this end then the law commanded a threefold love to God, that 
it might pluck us away from the threefold fashion of the 
world, as touching possessions, glory, and pleasure, wherein 
also Christ was tempted. 
Basil. Basil ; But if any one ask how the love of God is to be 
ad^t?! obtained, we are sure that the love of God cannot be taught. 
For neither did we learn to rejoice in the presence of light, 
or to embrace life, or to love our parents and children ; 
much less were we taught the love of God, but a certain 
seminal principle was implanted in us, which has within it- 
self the cause, that man clings to God ; which principle the 
teaching of the divine commands is wont to cultivate 
diligently, to foster watchfully, and to carry on to the perfec- 
tion of divine grace. For naturally we love good; we love 
also what is our own, and akin to us; we likewise of our own 
accord pour forth all our affections on our benefactors. If then 
God is good, but all things desire that good, which is wrought 
voluntarily, He is by nature inherent in us, and although from 
His goodness we are far from knowing Him, yet from the very 
fact that we proceeded forth from Him, we are bound to 
love Him with exceeding love, as in truth akin to us; He is 
likewise also a greater benefactor than all whom by nature we 
adint.3.1ove here. And again. The love of God then is the first 
and chief command, but the second, as filling up the fii'st 
and filled up by it, bids us to love our neighbour. Hence 
it follows. And thy neighbour as thyself. But we have an 
instinct given us by God to perform this command, as who 
does not know that man is a kind and social animal? For 
nothing belongs so much to our nature as to communicate 
with one another, and mutually to need and love our re- 
Chrys. lations. Of those things then of which in the first place He 
Horn, gave us the seed, He afterwards requires the fmits. 
1 Cor. Chrys. Yet observe how, almost to the same extent of 

VER. 29 — 37. ST. LUKE. 369 

obedience he requires the performance of each command. 
For of God he says, with all thy heart. Of our neighbour, 
as thyself. Which if it were diligently kept, there would be 
neither slave nor free man, neither conqueror nor conquered, 
(or rather, neither prince nor subject,) rich nor poor, nor 
would the devil be even known, for the chaff would rather 
stand the touch of fire than the devil the fervour of love ; so 
surpassing all things is the constancy of love. Greg. But Greg, 
since it is said, TJwu shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,^^^^^^^ 
how is he merciful in taking compassion upon another, who c 14. 
still, by unrighteous living, is unmerciful to himself? 

Cyril ; When the lawyer had answered the things con- 
tained in the lavr, Christ, to whom all things were known, 
cuts to pieces his crafty nets. For it follows, And he said to 
him, Tliou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt 
live. Origen ; From these words it is undoubtingly gathered, 
that the life which is preached according to God the Creator 
of the world, and the Scriptures given by Him, is life ever- 
lasting. For the Lord Himself bears testimony to the 
passage from Deuteronomy, Tftou shalt love the Lord thy Deut. e 
God; and from Leviticus, Thou shalt love thy neighbour^' 
as thyself. But these things were spoken against the fol- ■^^^' ' 
lowers of Valentinus, Basil, and Marcion. For what else 
did he wish us to do in seeking eternal life, but what is con- . 
tained in the Law and the Prophets ? 

29. But he, willing to justify himself, said unto 
Jesus, And who is my neighbour ? 

30. And Jesus answering said, A certain man went 
down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among 
thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and 
wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 

3L And by chance there came down a certain 
Priest that way : and when he saw him, he passed by 
on the other side. 

32. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the 
place, came and looked on him, and passed by on 
the other side. 

VOL. III. 2 B 


33. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came 
where he was ; and when he saw him, he had com- 
passion on him, 

34. And went to him, and bound up his wounds, 
pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, 
and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 

35. And on the morrow when he departed, he 
took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and 
said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever 
thou spendest more, when I come again, 1 will repay 

36. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was 
neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves ? 

37. Aud he said. He that shewed mercy on him. 
Then said Jesus unto him. Go, and do thou likewise. 

Cyril; The lawyer, when praised by our Saviour for having 
answered right, breaks forth into pride, thinking that he had 
no neighbour, as though there was no one to be compared to 
him in righteousness. Hence it is said, But he willivy to 
justify himself said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour 7 
For somehow first one sin and then another takes him 
captive. From the cunning with which he sought to tempt 
Christ, he falls into pride. But here when asking, who is my 
neighbour, he proves himself to be devoid of love for his 
neighbour, since he did not consider any one to be his 
1 John neighbour, and consequently of the love of God ; for he 
^' 20. ^^o iQ^gs not his brother whom he sees, cannot love God 
whom he does not see. Ambrose; He answered that he 
knew not his neighbour, because he believed not on Christ, 
and he who knows not Christ knows not the law, for being 
ignorant of the truth, how can he know the law which makes 
known the truth ? 

Theophyl. Now our Saviour defines a neighbour not in 
respect of actions or honour, but of nature ; as if He says, 
Think not that because thou art righteous thou hast no 
neighbour, for all who partake of the same nature are thy 

VER. 29 — 37. ST. LUKE. 371 

neighbours. Be thou also their neighbour, not in place, but 
in affection and solicitude for them. And in addition to this, 
he brings forward the Samaritan as an example. As it 
follows, And Jesus answering him said, A certain man 
ivent down, ^c. Greek Ex. He has well used the general Sevems. 
term. For He says not, " a certain one went down," but, a 
certain man, for his discourse was of the whole human race. 
Aug. For that man is taken for Adam himself, representing Aug. de 
the race of man; Jerusalem, the city of peace, that heavenly ^jg "' 
country, from the bliss of which he fell. Jericho is inter- 
preted to be the moon, and signifies our mortality, because 
it rises, increases, wanes, and sets. 

PsEUDO-AuG. Or by Jerusalem, which is by interpretation Hypog- 
" the sight of peace," we mean Paradise, for before man sinned 3. 
he was in sight of peace, that is, in paradise ; whatever he saw 
was peace, and going thence he descended (as if brought 
low and made wretched by sin) into Jericho, that is, the 
world, in which all things that are born die as the moon. 
Theophyl. Now he says not " descended," but " was 
descending." For human nature was ever tending down- 
wards, and not for a time only, but throughout busied about 
a life liable to suffering. Basil ; This interpretation corre- 
sponds to the places, if any one will examine them. For Jericho 
lies in the low parts of Palestine, Jerusalem is seated on an 
eminence, occupying the crest of a mountain. The man 
then came from the high parts to the low, to fall into the 
hands of the robbers who infested the desert. As it follows, 
And he fell among thieves. 

Chrys. First, we must needs pity the ill fortune of the Cl>rys. 
man who fell unarmed and helpless among robbers, and who loc. Ed. 
was so rash and unwise as to choose the road in which he ^'^^• 
could not escape the attack of robbers. For the unarmed 
can never escape the armed, the heedless the villain, the 
unwary the malicious. Since malice is ever armed with 
guile, fenced round with cruelty, fortified with deceit, and 
ready for fierce attack. Ambrose; But who are those 
robbers but the Angels of night and darkness, among whom 
he had not fallen, unless by de\'iating from the divine com- 
mand he had placed himself in their way. Chrys. At the chrys. 
beginning of the world then the devil accomplished his"'''^"P- 

2 B 2 


treacherous attack upon man, against whom he practised the 
poison of deceit, and directed all the deadhness of his malice. 
Aug. Aug. He fell then among robbers, that is, the devil and his 

ubi sup. angels, who through the disobedience of the first man, stripped 
the race of mankind of the ornaments of virtue, and wounded 
him, that is, by ruining the gift of the power of free will. Hence 
it follows, wfio stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, 
and departed, for to that man sinning he gave a wound, but 
to us many wounds, since to one sin which we contract we 
Aug. de add many. Aug. Or they stripped man of his immor- 
n. (Ji9. tality, and wounding him (by persuading to sin) left him 
half dead ; for wherein he is able to understand and know 
God, man is alive, but wherein he is corrupted and pressed 
down by sins, he is dead. And this is what is added, leaving him 
ubi sup. iMlfdead. Pseudo-Aug. For the half dead has his vital func- 
tion (that is, free will) wounded, in that he is not able to return 
to the eternal life which he has lost. And therefore he lay, 
because he had not strength of his own sufficient to rise and 
seek a physician, that is, God, to heal him. Theophyl. Or 
man after sin is said to be half dead, because his soul is im- 
mortal, but his body mortal, so that the half of man is under 
death. Or, because his human nature hoped to obtain sal- 
vation in Christ, so as not altogether to lie under death. But 
Rom. 6, in that Adam had sinned death entered in the world, in 
the righteousness of Christ death was to be destroyed. 
Ambrose ; Or they stripped us of the garments which we have 
received of spiritual grace, and so are wont to inflict wounds. 
For if we keep the unspotted garments we have put on, we 
can not feel the wounds of robbers. Basil ; Or it may be 
understood that they stripped us after first inflicting wounds; 
or wounds precede nakedness, as sin precedes the absence of 
grace. Bede ; But sins are called wounds, because the per- 
fectness of human nature is violated by them. And they 
departed, not by ceasing to lie in wait, but by hiding the 
craft of their devices. 
Chrys. Chrys. Here then was man (that is, Adam) lying destitute 
ubi sup. of the aid of salvation, pierced with the wounds of his sins, 
whom neither Aaron the high piiest passing by could ad- 
vantage by his sacrifice ; for it follows, And by chance there 
came down a certain priest that way, and when he saw him. 

VER. 29 — 37. ST. LUKE. 373 

he passed by on the other side. Nor again could his brother 
Moses the Levite assist him by the Law, as it follows, And 
likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked 
on him, and passed by on the other side. Aug . Or by the Priest Aug. 
and the Levite, two times are represented, namely, otthe jLaw 
and the Prophets. By the Priest the Law is signified, by 
which the priesthood and sacrifices were appointed; by the 
Levites the prophecies of the Prophets, in whose times the 
law of mankind could not heal, because by the Law came 
the knowledge not the doing away of sin. Theophyl. But 
He says, passed hy, because the Law came and stood till Rom. 3, 
its time foreordained, then, not being able to cure, departed. ' ' 
Mark also that the Law was not given with this previous inten- 
tion that it should cure man, for man could not from the 
beginning receive the mystery of Christ. And therefore it is 
said. And by chance there came a certain priest, which ex- 
pression we use with respect to those things which happen 
without forethought. Aug. Or it is said, passed by, because Aug. 
the man who came down from Jerusalem to Jericho is be-t^i. * 
lieved to have been an Israelite, and the priest who came down, 
certainly his neighbom' by birth, passed him by lying 
on the ground. And a Levite also came by, likewise his 
neighbour by birth; and he also despised him as he lay. 
Theophyl. They pitied him, I say, when they thought about 
him, but afterwards, overcome by selfishness, they went away 
again. For this is signified by the word, passed him by. 
Aug. a Samaiitan coming by, far removed by bnth, very Aug. 
neir in compassion, acted as follows, But a certain Samari- ^°P* 
tun as he journeyed came where he was, S^c. In whom our 
Lord Jesus Christ would have Himself typified. For Sama- 
ritan is interpreted to be keeper, and it is said of him, Heps. i28, 
shall not slumber nor sleep who keeps Israel ; since being ^ 
raised from the dead he dieth no more. Lastly, when it was 9. 
said to him, Thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil, He said 43 ° ' 
He had not a devil, for He knew Himself to be the caster out of 
devils, He did not deny that He was the keeper of the weak. 
Greek Ex. Now Christ here fully calls Himself a Samaritan. Sevems. 
For in addressing the lawyer who was glorying in the Law, He 
wished to express that neither Priest nor Levite, nor all they 
who were conversant witli the Law, fulfilled the requirements 


of the Law, but He came to accomplish the ordinances of the 

Law. Ambrose ; Now this Samaiitan was also coming down. 

13, ' ^^^' '^'^"^ ** ^'^ ihal ascended upon into heaven, hut he who 

came down from heaven, even the Son of Man who is in heaven. 

TiiEOPiiYL. But He sdysjourneyinff, as though He purposely 

determined this in order to cure us. Aug. He came in the 

» secus likeness of sinful flesh, therefore 'near to him, as it were, in 

eum. V.iM 

Horn. 8, ^'Kcness. 

3. Greek Ex. Or He came by the way. For He was a true 

^" traveller, not a wanderer ; and came down to the earth for 
our sakes. Ambrose; Now when He came He was made 
very near to us by His taking upon Himself our infirmities. 
He became a neighbour by bestowing compassion. Hence it 
follows, And when he saw him he was moved with compassion. 
ubisiip. PsEUDO-AuG. Seeing him lying down Weak and motionless. And 
therefore was He moved with compassion, because He saw in 
Rom. 8, him nothing to merit a cure, but He Himself for sin condemned 
sin in the flesh. Hence it follows. And went to him, and 
Aug. hound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine. Aug. For 
i;i, ' what so distant, what so far removed, as God from man, the 
immortal from the mortal, the just from sinners, not in dis- 
tance of place, but of likeness. Since then He had in Him 
two good things, righteousness and immortality, and we two 
evils, that is unrighteousness, and mortality, if He had taken 
upon Him both our evils He would have been our equal, and 
with us have had need of a deliverer. That He might be then 
not what we are, but near us. He was made not a sinner, as 
thou art, but mortal like unto thee. By taking upon Him- 
self punishment, not taking upon Himself guilt. He destroyed 
Aug. de both the punishment and the guilt. Aug. The binding up 
Ev. H. of wounds is the checking of sins ; oil is the consolation of 
^'^' a good hope, by the pardon given for the reconciliation 
of man ; wine is the incitement to work fervently in spirit. 
Ambrose; Or, He binds up our wounds by a stricter com- 
mandment, as by oil he soothes by the remission of sin, as by 
wine he pricks to the heart by the denunciation of judgment. 
Greg. Greg. Or in the wine he applies the sharpness of constraint, 
.Moral ^^ *'^^ °^^ *^^^ softness of mercy. By wine let the corrupt 
c- 8. parts be washed, by oil let the healing parts be assuaged; we 
must then mix gentleness with severity, and we must so com- 

VER. 29 — 37. ST. LUKE, 375 

bine the two, that those who are put under us be neither ex- 
asperated by our excessive harshness, nor be relaxed by too 
much kindness. Theophyl. Or else, intercourse with man 
is the oil, and intercourse with God is the wine which signi- 
fies divinity, which no one can endure unmixed unless oil be 
added, that is, human intercourse. Hence he worked some 
things humanly, some divinely. He poured then in oil and 
wine, as having saved us both by His human and His divine 
nature. Chrys. Or, he poured in wine, that is, the blood of (^}jj.yg. 
His passion, and oil, that is, the anointing of the chrism, Hom. 
that pardon might be granted by His blood, sanctification be 
conferred by the chrism. The wounded parts are bound up 
by the heavenly Physician, and containing a salve within 
themselves, are by the working of the remedy restored to their 
former soundness. Having poured in wine and oil, he placed 
him upon His beast, as it follows, and placing him upon his 
beast, 8fc. 

Aug. His beast is our flesh, in which He has condescended Aug. de 
to come to us. To be placed on the beast is to believe in ^^l^' 
the incarnation of Christ. Ambrose ; Or, He places us on q- 1^- 
His beast in that He bears our sins, and is afflicted for us, igai.53 
for man hath been made like to the beasts, therefore He^-Lxx. 

Ps. 49 
placed us on His beast, that we might not be as horse and 12. ' 

mule, in order that by taking upon Him our body, He might Ps.32,9. 
abolish the weakness of our flesh. Theophyl. Or He placed 
us on His beast, that is, on His body. For He hath made us 
His members, and partakers of His body. The Law indeed 
did not take in all the Moabites, and the Ammonites shall j)^^^^ 
not enter into the Church of God ; but now in every ^j 3. 
nation he that feareth the Lord is accepted by Him, who is 
willing to believe and to become part of the Church. Where- 
fore He says, that he brought him to an inn. Chrys. For chrys. 
the Inn is the Church, which receives travellers, who are tired "* ^"^P- 
with their journey through the world, and oppressed with the 
load of their sins; where the wearied traveller casting down 
the burden of his sins is relieved, and after being refreshed is 
restored with wholesome food. And this is what is here said, 
and took care of him. For without is every thing that is con- 
flicting, hurtful and evil, while within the Inn is contained all rest 
and health. Bede ; And rightly He brought him placed on His 


beast, since no one, except he be united to Christ's body by 
Baptism, shall enter the Church. 

Ambrose; But as the Samaritan had not time to stay 

longer on the earth, he must needs return to the place whence 

he descended, as it follows. And on the morroio he took out 

two pence, SfC. What is that morrow, but perchance the day 

Ps. ll8,of our Lord's resurrection? of which it was said, This is 


the day the Lord hath made. But the two pence are the 
two covenants, which bear stamped on them the image of the 
eternal King, by the price of which our wounds are healed. 
Aug. Aug. Or the two pence are the two commandments of love, 
"•"sup- which the Apostles received from the Holy Spirit to preach 
to others; or the promise of the present life, and that which is 
to come. Origen; Or the two pence seem to me to be the 
knowledge of the sacrament, in what manner the Father is in 
the Son, and the San in the Father, which is given as a 
reward by the Angel to the Church that she may take more 
diligent care of the man entrusted to her whom in the short- 
ness of the time He Himself had also cured. And it is 
promised that whatever she should spend on the cure of the 
half dead man, should be restored to her again, And what- 
soever thou spendest more, when I come again I will 
repay thee. 
Aug. Aug. The inn-keeper was the Apostle, who spent more 
I'cor.^Z either in giving counsel, as he says, Now concerning virgins, 
15. I have no commandment of the Lord, yet I give my judgment; 
or, in working even with his own hands, that be might not 
2 Thess. trouble any of the weak in the newness of the Gospel, though 
i'cor.9 it was lawful for him to be fed from the Gospel. Much more 
14- ' also did the Apostles spend, but those teachers also in their 
time have spent more who have interpreted both the Old and 
New -Testament, for which they shall receive their reward. 
Ambrose; Blessed then is that inn-keeper who is able to cure 
the wounds of another ; blessed is he to whom Jesus says. 
Whatsoever t/iou hast spent more, when I come again I will 
repay thee. But when wilt thou return, O Lord, save on the 
Judgment day ? For though Thou art ever every where, and 
though standing in the midst of us, art not perceived by us, 
yet the time will be in which all flesh shall behold Thee 
comin*' acrain. Thou wilt then restore what Thou owest 

VER. 38 — 42. ST. LUKE. 377 

to the blessed, whose debtor Thou art. Would that we were 
confident debtors, that we could pay what we had received! 
Cyril ; After what has gone before, our Lord fitly ques- 
tions the lawyer; Which of these three thinkest thou 
was neighbour to him who fell among thieves? But he 
said, He that shewed mercy on him. For neither Priest 
nor Levite became neighbour to the sufferer, but he only 
who had compassion on him. For vain is the dignity of 
the Priesthood, and the knowledge of the Law, unless they 
are confirmed by good works. Hence it follows, And Jesus 
saith unto him, Go and do thou likeimse. Chrys. As if 116(3}^,.^^ 
said. If thou seest any one oppressed, say not, Surely he is '" Heb. 
wicked ; but be he Gentile or Jew and need help, dispute lo. 
not, he has a claim to thy assistance, into whatever evil he has 
fallen. Aug. Hereby we understand that he is our neigh- ^, 
hour, to whomsoever we must shew the duty of compassion, Boc 
if he need it, or would have shewn if he had needed it. From^jb j * 
which it follows, that even he who must in his turn shew us c- 30. 
this duty, is our neighbour. For the name of neighbour has 
relation to something else, nor can any one be a neighbour, 
save to a neighbour ; but that no one is excluded to whom 
the office of mercy is to be denied, is plain to all ; as our Lord 
says. Do good to them that hate you. Hence it is clear, that jyj^. 
in this command by which we are bid to love our neighbour, 5, 44. 
the holy angels are included, by whom such great offices of 
mercy are bestowed upon us. Therefore our Lord Himself 
wished also to be called our neighbour, representing Himself 
to have assisted the half dead man who lay in the way. Am- 
brose; For relationship does not make a neighbour, but 
compassion, for compassion is according to nature. For 
nothing is so natural as to assist one who shares our 

38. Now it came to pass, as they went, that he 
entered into a certain village : and a certain woman 
named Martha received him into her house. 

39. And she had a sister called Mary, which also 
sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. 


40. But Martha was cumbered about much serv- 
ing, and came to him, and said. Lord, dost thou not 
care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid 
her therefore that she help me. 

41. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, 
Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many 
things : 

42. But one thing is needful : and Mary hath 
chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away 
from her. 

Bede ; The love of God and our neighbour, which was 

contained above in words and parables, is here set forth in 

very deed and reality ; for it is said, Now it came to pass, as 

they went, that he entered into a certain village. Origen ; 

Johuii.The name of which village Luke indeed here omits, but John 

Aug. mentions, calhng it Bethany. Aug. But the Lord, who came 

Ser. 103. ^Q j^ig oivn, and his own received him not, was received as a 

John 1, ' ' 

12. guest, for it follows, And a certain woman named Martha 
received him into her house, Sfc. as strangers are accustomed 
to be received. But still a servant received her Lord, the 
sick her Saviour, the creature her Creator. But if any should 
say, " O blessed are they who have been thought worthy to 
receive Christ into their houses," grieve not thou, for He 
Matt. sa.js. For inasmuch as ye have done it to the least of my 
^ ' brethren, ye have done it unto me. But taking the form of a 
servant, He wished therein to be fed by servants, by reason of 
His condescension, not His condition. He had a body in which 
He was hungry anil thirsty, but when He was hungry in the 
Matt. 4, desert. Angels ministered to Him. In wishing therefore to be 
^'* fed. He came Himself to the feeder. Martha then, setting 
about and preparing to feed our Lord, was occupied in serv- 
ing ; but Mary her sister chose rather to be fed by the Lord, 
for it follows, A?id she had a sister called Mary, which also 
sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. 

Chrys. It is not said of Mary simply that she sat near 
Jesus, but at His feet, to shew her diligence, stcdfastness, 
and zeal, in hearing, and the great reverence which she 

VER. 38— 4Q. ST. LUKE. 379 

had for our Lord. Aug. Now as was her humility in sitting Aug. 
at His feet, so much the more did she receive from Him. ^"P' 
For the waters pour down to the lowest part of the valley, 
but flow away from the rising of the hill. 

Basil; Now every work and word of our Saviour is a rule Basil, 
of piety and virtue. For to this end did He put on our body, Moh ^. 
that as much as we can we might imitate His conversation. ^• 
Cyril ; By His own example then He teaches His disciples 
how they ought to behave in the houses of those who receive 
them, namely, when they come to a house, they should not 
remain idle, but rather fill the minds of those who receive 
them with sacred and divine teaching. But let those who 
make ready the house, go to meet their guests gladly and 
earnestly, for two reasons. First, indeed, they will be edified 
by the teaching of those whom they receive; next also they 
will receive the reward of charity. And hence it follows here. 
But Martha was cumbered about much serving, Sfc. Aug. Aug. 
Martha was well engaged in ministering to the bodily wants ' ^"^' 
or wishes of our Lord, as of one who was mortal, but He who 
was clothed in mortal flesh; in the beginning was the Word. 
Behold then what Mary heard. The Word was madejlesh. 
Behold then Him to whom Martha ministered. The one was 
labouring, the other at rest. But yet Martha, when much 
troubled in her occupation and business of serving, inter- 
rupted our Lord, and complained of her sister. For it follows. 
And said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left 
me to serve alone? For Mary was absorbed in the sweetness 
of our Lord's words; Martha was preparing a feast for our 
Lord, in whose feast Mary was now rejoicing. While then 
she was listening with delight to those sweet words, and was 
feeding on them with the deepest affection, our Lord was 
interrupted by her sister. What must we suppose was her 
alarm, lest the Lord should say to her, " Rise, and help thy 
sister?" Our Lord therefore, who was not at a loss, for He 
had shewn He was the Lord, answered as follows. And 
Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha. The 
repetition of the name is a mark of love, or perhaps of 
drawing the attention, that she should listen more earnestly. 
When twice called, she hears. Thou art troubled about many 
things, that is, thou art busied about many things. For man 


wishes to meet with something when he is serving, and can 
not; and thus between seeking what is wanting and preparing 
what is at hand, tlie mind is distracted. For if Martha had 
been sufficient of herself, she would not have required the 
aid of her sister. There are many, there are diverse things, 
which are carnal, temporal, but one is preferred to 
many. For one is not from many, but many from one. 
Hence it follows, But one thing is needful. Mary wished 
Ps. 73 *o ^6 occupied about one, accordinj^ to that, It is good for 
28- me to cling close unto the Lord. The Father, the Son, the 
Holy Spirit, are one. To this one he does not bring us. 
Acts 4, unless we being many have one heart. Cyril ; Or else, 
^2* wlien certain brethren have received God, they will not be 
anxious about much service, nor ask for those things which 
are not in their hands, and are beyond their needs. For every 
where and in every thing that which is superfluous is burden- 
some. For it begets weariness in those who are wishing to 
bestow it, while the guests feel that they are the cause of 
Basil, ti'ouble. Basil; It is foolish also to take food for the 
in reg. support of the body, and thereby in return to hurt the body, 
int. 19. and to hinder it in the performance of the divine command. 
If then a poor man come, let him receive a model and 
example of moderation in food, and let us not prepare our 
own tables for their sakes, who wish to live luxuriously. For 
the life of the Christian is uniform, ever tending to one 
object, namely, the glory of God. But the life of ihose who 
are without is manifold and vacillating, changed about at 
will. And how in truth canst thou, when thou scttest thy 
table before thy brother with profusion of meats, and for the 
pleasure of feasting sake, accuse him of luxury, and revile 
him as a glutton, censuring his indulgence in that which thou 
thyself affordest him ? Our Lord did not commend Martha 
when busied about much serving. 
Aug. Aug. What then t Must we think that blame was cast 

108™ "pon the service of Martha, who was engaged in tlie cares of 
hospitality, and rejoiced in having so great a guest? If this be 
true, let men give up ministering to the needy: in a word, let 
them be at leisure, intent only upon getting wholesome know- 
ledge, taking no care what stranger is in the village in want 
of bread ; let works of mercy be unheeded, knowledge only 

VER. 38 — 42. ST. LUKE. 381 

be cultivated. Theophyl. Our Lord does not then forbid 
hospitality, but the troubling about many things, that is to 
say, hurry and anxiety. And mark the wisdom of our Lord, 
in that at first He said nothing to Martha, but when she 
sought to tear away her sister from hearing, then the Lord 
took occasion to reprove her. For hospitality is ever 
honoured as long as it keeps us to necessary things. But 
when it begins to hinder us from attending to what is of 
more importance, then it is plain that the hearing of the 
divine word is the more honourable. 

Aug. Our Lord then does not blame the actions, but dis- Aug. 
tinguishes between the duties. For it follows, Mary ^«^/ietSerm. 
chosen that good part, S^c. Not thine a bad one, but hers a i^^- 
better. Why a better ? because it shall not be taken away from 
her. From thee the necessary burden of business shall one 
time be taken away. For when thou comest into that country, 
thou wilt find no stranger to receive with hospitality. But 
for thy good it shall be taken away, that what is better may 
be given thee. Trouble shall be taken away, that rest may 
be given. Thou art yet at sea; she is in port. For the 
sweetness of truth is eternal, yet in this life it is increased, 
and in the next it will be made perfect, never to be taken . 
away. Ambrose ; May you then like Mary be influenced 
by the desire of wisdom. For this is the greater, this the 
more perfect work. Nor let the care of ministering to 
others turn thy mind from the knowledge of the heavenly 
word, nor reprove or think indolent those whom thou seest 
seeking after wisdom. Aug. Now mystically, by Martha's Aug. 
receiving our Lord into her house is represented the Church g^.^"* 
which now receives the Lord into her heart. Mary /V\ 
sister, who sat at Jesus' feet and heard His word, signifies the 
sanae Church, but in a future life, where ceasing from labour, 
and the ministering to her wants, she shall dehght in Wisdom 
alone. But by her complaining that her sister did not help 
her, occasion is given for that sentence of our Lord, in which 
he shews that Church to be anxious and troubled about 
much service, when there is but one thing needful, which is 
yet attained through the merits of her service; but He says 
that Mary hath chosen the good part, for through the one the q 
other is reached, which shall not be taken away. Greg. 6- Mor. 

'' c. 18. 


Or by Mary who sat and heard our Lord's words, is signified 
the contemplative Hfe ; by Martha engaged in more outward 
services, the active hfe. Now Martha's care is not blaniod, 
but Mary is praised, for great are the rewards of an active 
life, but those of a contemplative are far better. Hence 
Mary's part it is said will never be taken away from her, for 
the works of an active life pass away with the body, but the 
joys of the contemplative life the rather begin to increase 
from the end.