9595 The word translated “farthing” means literally “a fourth part” and on this original sense Augustin’s second interpretation is based.
9696 Gen. iii. 19.
9797 Universalists have quoted the passage to prove the doctrine that punishment will not be endless, others in favor of purgatory. The main idea is the inexorable rigor of the divine justice against the impenitent. “The whole tone of the passage is that of one who seeks to deepen the sense of danger, not to make light of it; to make men feel that they cannot pay their debt, though God may forgive it freely” (Plumptre).
9898 Ps. cx. 1.
9999 1 Cor. xv. 25.
100100 “The devil” (Clemens Alex.); “conscience” (Euthymius, Zig.); “the man who has done the injury” (Meyer, Tholuck Lange, Trench, etc.)
101101 2 Cor. v. 10. Exhiberi; Vulgate, manifestari.
102102 Luke xv. 7.
103103 Jas. iv. 6.
104104 Ecclus. x. 13, 12.
105105 Rom. v. 10.
106106 Ps. cxxxix. 8–10.
107107 The Greek pro;" to; e`piqumh`sai refers to sin of intent. “The particle proJ indicates the mental aim” (Tholuck, Meyer, etc.). So Augustin, rightly: “Qui hoc fine et hoc animo attenderit.”
109109 The reading “if” has been proposed by some.
110110 Gen. iii.
111111 1 Cor. xi. 3 and Eph. v. 23.
112112 Mark v. 41.
113113 Juvenis; Vulgate, adolescens.
114114 Luke vii. 14.
115115 John xi. 33–44.
116116 Col. iii. 5 and Eph. v. 5.
117117 Rom. vii. 24, 25.
118118 Lugentes; Vulgate, qui lugent.
119119 Eat; Vulgate, mittatur.
120120 Not literally (Fritzsche). Excision of the members would not of itself destroy the lust of the heart.
121121 So Meyer et al. What Robert South says (Sermon on John vii. 17) of the Sermon on the Mount as a whole, can certainly be applied here: “All the particulars of Matt. v.-vii. are wrapt up in the doctrine of self-denial, prescribing to the world the most inward purity of heart, and a constant conflict with all our sensual appetites and worldly interests,” etc. Augustin’s interpretation is correct as far as it goes, but it is too restricted. Christ does not here insist upon the renunciation of sinful lusts, but upon the evasion of occasions of sin. What is harmless and innocent of itself, when through any temperament or condition it becomes an occasion of sinning, is to be relinquished.
122122 Eat. So Vulgate.
123123 Per alias nuptias, quarum potestatem dat divortium (“by another marriage, power of which divorce gives.”—Bengel). So also Meyer, Alford, etc.
124124 Solutam a viro…moechatur; Vulgate, dimissam…adulterat.
125125 Matt. xix. 8.
126126 Rom. vii. 2, 3.
127127 In conjugio…mulierem; Vulgate, matrimonio…uxorem.
128128 In conjugio…mulierem; Vulgate, matrimonio…uxorem.
129129 1 Cor. vii. 10, 11.
130130 1 Cor. vii. 29.
131131 Luke xiv. 26.
132132 Matt xi. 12. Qui vim faciunt diripiunt illud; Vulgate, violenti rapiunt illud.
133133 Gal. iii. 28 and Col. iii. 11.
134134 Uxores ducent; Vulgate, nubentur.
135135 Matt. xxii. 30.
136136 1 Cor. xv. 53, 54.
137137 Luke xiv. 26.
138138 Matt. vi. 25.
139139 John x. 15.
140140 Augustin expresses himself (Retract. I. xix. 6) as having misgivings about his own explanation of this matter here. He advises readers to go to his other writings on the subject of marriage and divorce, or to the works of other writers. He says all sin is not fornication (omne peccatum fornicatio non est); and to determine which sins are fornication, and when a wife may be dismissed, is a most broad (latebrosissima) question. He calls the question a most difficult (difficillimam) one, and says, “But verily I feel that I have not come to the perfect conclusion of this matter (imo non me pervenisse ad hujus rei perfectionem sentio.” Retract. ii. 57). Some of his treatises on the marriage relation: De Bono Conjugali; De Conjugiis Adulterinis; De Nuptiis et Concupiscientia.
141141 John viii. 11. Vide deinceps ne pecces; Vulgate, jam amplius noli peccare.
142142 Ignoscitur, lit. “is pardoned.”
143143 Lit. “’it is pardoned.”
144144 1 Cor. vii. 14. Augustin conforms to the approved reading in the Greek text: in uxore…in fratre. Vulgate, per mulierem,…per virum. (See Revised Version.)
145145 Luke x. 35.
146146 Modern commentators do not spring this question, agreeing that the fornication referred to is of the wife. Paulus, Döllinger (in Christ. u. Kirche, to which Professor Conington replied in Cont. Rev., May, 1869) think the fornication of the woman was committed before her marriage. Plumptre also prefers the reference to ante-nuptial sin.
147147 Rom. ii. 1.
148148 avpolelumevnhn; that is, one divorced unlawfully who has not been guilty of fornication (so Meyer very positively, Stier et. al., Alford hesitatingly). This explanation might seem to limit re-marriage to such an one, inasmuch as the essence of the marriage bond has not been touched (So Alford et. al.).
149149 That is, innocent or guilty, she cannot marry without committing adultery. The Roman-Catholic Church forbids divorces, but permits an indefinite separation a mensa et toro (“from table and bed”).
150150 Abraham taking Hagar with Sarah’s consent.
151151 About the year 343; for Augustin wrote this treatise about the year 393.
152152 The law permitted divorce for “some uncleanness” (Deut xxiv. 1). In the time of Christ divorce was allowed on trivial grounds. While Schammai interpreted the Deuteronomic prescription of moral uncleanness or adultery, Hillel interpreted it to include physical uncleanness or unattractiveness. A wife’s cooking her husband’s food unpalatably he declared to be a legitimate cause for dissolution of the marriage bond. Opposing the loose views current, Christ declared that it was on account of the “hardness of their hearts” that Moses had suffered them to put away their wives, and asserted adultery to be the only allowable reason for divorce. The question whether the innocent party may marry, is beset with great difficulties in view of this passage and Matt. xix. 9. The answer turns somewhat upon the construction of the passage. Augustin here, the Council of Trent (and so the Roman-Catholic Church), Weiss, Mansel, and others hold that all marriage of a divorced person is declared illegal. In another place (De Conj. Adult. i. 9) Augustin says, “Why, I say, did the Lord interject ‘the cause of fornication, 0’ and not say rather, in a general way, ‘Whosoever shall put away his wife and marry another commits adultery 0’?…I think, because the Lord wishes to mention that which is greater. For who will deny that it is a greater adultery to marry another when the divorced wife has not committed fornication than when any one divorces his wife and then marries another? Not because this is not adultery, but because it is a lesser sort.” The Apost. Constitutions (vii. 2) say, “Thou shalt not commit adultery, for thou dividest one flesh into two,” etc. Weiss: “Jesus everywhere takes it for granted that in the sight of God there is no such thing as a dissolution of the marriage bond” (Leben Jesu, i. 529). President Woolsey, on the other hand, unhesitatingly declares, that, by Christ’s precepts, marriage is dissolved by adultery, so that the innocent party may marry again. According to this passage, the woman divorced on other grounds than adultery seems to be declared adulterous if she marry. According to Matt. xix. 9 the man who puts away his wife for adultery, seems to be permitted to marry without becoming adulterous himself. According to Mark x. 12 the woman had the privilege in that day of putting away her husband, but “there is no evidence in the Hebrew Scriptures that the woman could get herself divorced from her husband.” To the able treatment of Augustin, which might seem either exceedingly fearless or mawkish at the present day, according to the stand-point of the critic, the reader would do well to read Alford and Lange on this passage; Stanley on I Cor. vii. 11; and Woolsey, art. “Divorce” in Scaff-Herzog Encycl. Whatever may be the exact meaning of our Lord concerning the marriage of the innocent party, it is evident that He regards the marriage bond as profoundly sacred, and warrants the celebrant in binding the parties to marriage to be faithful one to the other “till death do you part.” He Himself said, “What, therefore, God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Mark x. 9).
160160 Revised Version, Evil One. So Euthymius, Zig. (auctorem habet diabolum), Chrysostom, Theophylact, Fritzsche, Keim, Meyer, Plumptre, etc. The interpretation of Augustin is shared by Luther, Bengel, De Wette, Tholuck, Ewald, etc.
161161 Augustin is somewhat perplexed about the meaning, but decides the injunction to be directed against the abuse of the oath, not to forbid it wholly. The oath was permitted by the law (Lev. xxii. 11), was to be held sacred (Num. xxx. 2), and to be made in God’s name (Deut. vi. 13). It was customary under the Old Testament to swear (Gen. xxiv. 37, Josh. ix. 15; perhaps only a solemn affirmation), and in the name of the Lord (1 Sam. xx. 42; Irenaeus, Clement, Origen, Chrysostom, etc.). The Anabaptists, Mennonites, and Quakers understand the precept to forbid all oaths, even in the civil court. “Christendom, if it were fully conformed to Christ’s will, as it should be, would tolerate no oaths whatever” (Meyer). “The proper state of Christians is to require no oaths” (Alford). If interpreted as a definite prohibition of all swearing, the passage comes into conflict with Christ’s own example (Matt. xxvi. 63), and the apostle’s conduct in the passages quoted by Augustin. The meaning has been restricted to rash and frivolous oaths on the street and in the market (Keim); in daily conversation (Carr, Camb. Bible for Schools). In the ideal Christian community, where truth and honesty prevail, oaths will be superfluous: the simple asseverations, “Yea, nay,” will be sufficient. To this, Christ’s precept ultimately looks. But He, no doubt, had in mind the widespread profanity of His day, and the current opinion that only oaths containing the name of God were binding (Lightfoot cites from the Rabbinical books to this effect). All unnecessary appeals to God, as well as careless and profane swearing, are forbidden, as coming either from bad passions within or a want of reverence. “Prohibition would be repeal of the Mosaic law” (Plumptre). “All strengthening of the simple ‘Yea and nay 0’ is occasioned by the presence of sin and Satan in the world. There is no more striking proof of the existence of evil than the prevalence of the foolish, low, useless habit of swearing. It could never have arisen if men did not believe each other to be liars,” etc. (Schaff). “Men use their protestations because they are distrustful one of another. An oath is physic, which supposes disease” (M. Henry). When the oath is performed for the “sake of ethical interests, as when the civil authority demands it,” as seems to be necessary and safe for society in its present unsanctified condition, the precept does not interfere (Köstlin, art. “Oath,” Schaff-Herzog Encyl., Meyer, Wuttke, Alford, Tholuck, etc.). An interesting imitation of the Rabbinical casuistry above referred to was practised by the crafty and subtle Louis XI. Scott says (Introd. to Quentin Durward), “He admitted to one or two peculiar forms of oath the force of a binding obligation which he denied to all others, strictly preserving the secret; which mode of swearing he really accounted obligatory, as one of the most valuable of State secrets.”
167167 Omni petenti te, da; Vulgate, qui petit a te, etc.
168168 With Augustin, Calvin, Tholuck, Ewald, Lange construe this as neuter, evil; Chrysostom, Theophylact, the devil; De Wette, Meyer, Alford, Plumptre, as also the Revised Version, the man who does evil. Renan says the practice of this doctrine put down slavery: “It was not Spartacus who suppressed slavery, but rather was it Blandina” (“Ce n’est pas Spartacus qui a supprimè l’esclavage, c’est bien plûtô Blandine”).
170170 Toleratis; Vulgate, sustinetis.
171171 2 Cor. xi. 20, 21.
172172 2 Cor. xii. 15.
173173 Acts xxii. 25.
174174 Principi sacerdotum; Vulgate, summum sacerdotem.
175175 Acts xxiii. 3–5.
176176 Interpreted by modern commentators usually of temporary forgetfulness, or, what is much better, failure to recognise through infirmity of vision.
177177 English version, “fixed”—Ps. lvii. 7.
178178 Exprobra de malo; Vulgate, testimonium perhibe de malo.
179179 John xviii. 23.
180180 The coat or tunic was the under-garment. The cloak, or pallium, was the outer-garment, and the more precious.
181181 English version, “coat.”
182182 English version, “’cloak.”
183183 The Greek word ajggareuvw is derived from the Persian, to press one into service, as a courier to bear despatches. (See Thayer, Lexicon.)
184184 Exemplum citatur injuriae privatae, forensis, curialis (Bengel).
186186 Pro eis qui vos persequuntur; Vulgate, pro persequentibus.
196196 “To give everything to every one—the sword to the madman, the alms to the impostor, the criminal request to the temptress—would be to act as the enemy of others and ourselves” (Alford). Paul’s willingness to spend and be spent illustrates a proper conformity to the precept.
197197 2 Cor. ix. 7.
198198 This section, which concerns the law of retaliation, grew out of a rule of every-day life which the Pharisees constructed upon a principle of judicature laid down, Exod. xxi. 24 (Tholuck). The spirit, not the exact letter, of the illustrations is to be observed, and, when the spirit of the precept would demand it, the exact letter. Christians are taught to bear witness by enduring, yielding. and giving. “’Sin is to be conquered by being made to feel the power of goodness.” Christ gave a good example at His trial, without following the letter of His precept here; and Paul followed Him (1 Cor. iv. 12, 13).
199199 Augustin, with the best Greek text, omits et calumniantibus vos (“and despitefully use you”) of the Vulgate.
200200 Jubet; Vulgate, facit (with the Greek).
201201 Dilexeritis; Vulgate, diligitis.
202202 Hoc ipsum; Vulgate, hoc; Greek, to; aujtov.
203203 Qui est in coelis; Vulgate, coelestis (see Revised Version).
204204 The first part of the Lord’s quotation is found in Lev. xix. 18; these words, whatever may be said about the sanction, real or apparent, of revenge and triumph over an enemy’s fall in the Old Testament, are not found there. Bengel well says “pessima glossa” (“wretched gloss”),—a gloss of the Pharisees, “bearing plainly enough the character of post-exilic Judaism in its exclusiveness toward all surrounding nations” ( Weiss). Centuries after Christ spoke these words, Maimonides gives utterance to this narrow feeling of hate: “If a Jew see a Gentile fall into the sea, let him by no means take him out; for it is written, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour’s blood, 0’ but this is not thy neighbour.” The separation of the Jews, demanded by their theocratic position, was the explanation in part—not an excuse—for such feeling towards people of other nationalities. Heathen peoples had the same feeling towards enemies. “It was the celebrated felicity of Sulla; and this was the crown of Xenophon’s panegyric of Cyrus the Younger, that no one had done more good to his friends or more mischief to his enemies.” Plautus said, “Man is a wolf to the stranger” (“homo homini ignoto lupus est”). The term “stranger” in Greek means “enemy.” But common as this philosophy was to the pre-Christian world, the Jew was specially known for his hatred of all not of his own nationality (Juvenal, Sat. xiv. 104, etc.). The “enemy” referred to in the passage is not a national enemy ( Keim) but a personal one (Weiss, Meyer, etc.). Our Lord subsequently defined who was to be understood by the term “neighbour” in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke x. 36).
205205 Ps. lxix. 22.
206206 Ps. cix. 9.
207207 Rom. xii. 14.
208208 Matt xi. 20–24 and Luke x. 13–15.
209209 2 Tim. iv. 14. Augustin here again follows the better text than the Textus Receptus; so also Vulgate, reddet. See Revised Version.
210210 See above chap. xix. 58.
211211 Ps. ii. 1. The English version employs the present tense.