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GREG. When He had related the evils that were to come upon the city, He straightway entered the temple, that He might cast out them that bought and sold in it. Showing that the destruction of the people arose chiefly from the guilt of the priests.
AMBROSE; For God wishes not His temple to be a house of traffic, but the dwelling-place of holiness, nor does He fix the priestly service in a salable performance of religion, but in a free and willing obedience
CYRIL; Now there were in the temple a number of sellers who sold animals, by the custom of the law, for the sacrificial victims, but the time was now come for the shadows to pass away, and the truth of Christ to shine forth. Therefore Christ, who together with the Father was worshipped in the temple, commanded the customs of the law to be reformed, but the temple to become a house of prayer; as it is added, My house, &c.
GREG. For they who sat in the temple to receive money would doubtless sometimes make exaction to the injury of those who gave them none.
THEOPHYL. The same thing our Lord did also at the beginning of His preaching, as John relates; and now He did it a second time, because the crime of the Jews was much increased by their not having been chastened by the former warning.
AUG. Now mystically, you must understand by the temple; Christ Himself, as man in His human nature, or with His body united to Him, that is, the Church. Put inasmuch as He is the Head of the Church, it was said, Destroy this temple, and I will raise it up in three days. Inasmuch as the Church is joined to Him, is the temple understood, of which He seems to have spoken in the same place, Take these away from hence; signifying that there would be those in the Church who would rather be pursuing their own interest, or find a shelter therein to conceal their wickedness, than follow after the love of Christ, and by confession of their sills receiving pardon be restored.
GREG. But our Redeemer does not withdraw His word of preaching even from the unworthy and ungrateful. Accordingly after having by the ejection of the corrupt maintained the strictness of discipline, He now pours forth the gifts of grace. For it follows, And he was teaching daily in the temple.
CYRIL; Now from what Christ had said and done it was meet that men should worship Him as God, but far from doing this, they sought to slay Him; as it follows, But the chief priests and scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy him.
BEDE; Either because He daily taught in the temple, or because He had cast the thieves therefrom, or that coming thereto as King and Lord, He was greeted with the honor of a heavenly hymn of praise.
CYRIL; But the people held Christ in far higher estimation than the Scribes and Pharisees, and chiefs of the Jews, who not receiving the faith of Christ themselves, rebuked others. Hence it follows, And they could not find what they might do: for all the people were very attentive to hear him.
BEDE; This may be taken in two ways; either that fearing; a tumult of the people they knew not what they should do with Jesus, whom they had settled to destroy; or they sought to destroy Him because they perceived their own authority set aside, and multitudes flocking to hear Him.
GREG. Mystically, such as the temple of God is in a city, such is the life of the religious in a faithful people. And there are frequently some who take upon themselves the religious habit, and while they are receiving the privilege of Holy Orders, are sinking the sacred office of religion into a bargain of worldly traffic. For the sellers in the temple are those who give at a certain price that which is the rightful possession of others. For to sell justice is to observe it on condition of receiving a reward. But the buyers in the temple are those, who whilst unwilling to discharge what is just to their neighbor, and disdaining to do what they are in duty bound to, by paying a price to their patrons, purchase sin.
ORIGEN; If any then sells, let him be cast out, and especially if he sells doves. For of those things which have been revealed and committed to me by the Holy Spirit, I either sell for money to the people, or do not teach without hire, what else do I but sell a dove, that is, the Holy Spirit?
AMBROSE; Therefore our Lord teaches generally that all worldly bargains should be far removed from the temple of God; but spiritually He drove away the money-changers, who seek gain from the Lord's money, that is, the divine Scripture, lest they should discern good and evil.
GREG. And these make the house of God a den of thieves, because when corrupt men hold religious offices, they slay with the sword of their wickedness their neighbors, whom they ought to raise to life by the intercession of their prayers. The temple also is the soul of the faithful, which if it put forth corrupt thoughts to the injury of a neighbor, then is it become as it were a lurking place of thieves. But when the soul of the faithful is wisely instructed to shun evil, truth teaches daily in the temple.
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AUG. Having related the casting out of those that bought and sold in the temple, Luke omits Christ's going to Bethany; and His return again to the city, and the circumstances of the fig-tree, and the answer which was made to the astonished disciples, concerning the power of faith. And having omitted all these, as he does not, like Mark, pursue the events of each day in order, he commences with these words, And it came to pass, that on one of those days; by which we may understand that day on which Matthew and Mark related that event to have taken place.
EUSEB. But the rulers who should have been struck with wonder at one who taught such heavenly doctrines, and have been convinced by His words and deeds that this was the same Christ whom the Prophets had foretold, came to hinder Him, so helping onward the destruction of the people. For it follows, And spoke to him saying, Tell us, by what authority do you these things? &c. As if he said; By the law of Moses, those only who are sprung from the blood of Levi have authority to teach, and power over the sacred buildings. But you who are of the line of Judah usurp the offices assigned to us. Whereas O Pharisee, if you had known the Scriptures, you would have called to mind that this is the Priest after the order of Melchisedec, who offers to God them that believe on Him by that worship which is above the law. Why then are you troubled. He cast out of the sacred house things which seemed necessary for the sacrifices of the law, because He calls us by, faith to the true righteousness.
BEDE; Or when they say, By what authority do you these things? they doubt concerning the power of God, and wish it to be understood that of the devil He does this. Adding moreover, And who is he that gave you this authority. Most plainly do they deny the Son of God when they think that not by His own power but another's He does miracles.
Now our Lord by a simple answer might have refuted such a calumny; but He wisely asks a question, that by their silence or their words they might condemn themselves. And he answered and said to them. I also will ask, &c.
THEOPHYL. For that He might show that they had always rebelled against the Holy Spirit, and that resides Isaiah, whom they remembered not, they had refused to believe John whom they had lately seen; He now in his turn puts the question to them, proving that if so great a Prophet as John who was accounted greatest among them had been disbelieved when he testified of Him, the would in no wise believe Him, answering by what authority He did this.
EUSEB. His question concerning John the Baptist is not from whence was he sprung, but whence received he his law of baptism. But they feared not to shun the truth. For God sent John as a voice, crying, Prepare you the way of the Lord. But they dreaded to speak the truth, lest it should be said, Why did you not believe? and they scruple to blame the forerunner, not from fear of God, but of the people; as it follows, And they reasoned within themselves, saying, If we shall say, From hearer; he will say, Why then believed you him not.
BEDE; As if He should say, He whom you confess bad his gift of prophecy from heaven, and gave testimony to Me. And you heard from him by what power I should do these things. It follows, But if we shall say, Of men; the whole people will stone us: for they be persuaded that John was a prophet Therefore perceived they in whatever way they should answer they would fall into a trap, fearing the stoning, but much more the confession of the truth.
And then it follows, And they answered, that they could not tell whence it was.
Because they will not confess that which they knew, they were baffled, and the Lord would not tell them what He knew; as it follows, And Jesus said to them, Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things. For there are two reasons especially why we should conceal the truth from those that ask; for example, when the questioner is incapable of understanding what he asks, or when from hatred or contempt he is unworthy to have his questions answered.
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EUSEB. The rulers of the Jewish people being now assembled together in the temple, Christ put forth a parable foretelling by a figure the things they were about to do to Him, and the rejection that was in store for them.
AUG. Matthew has omitted for brevity's sake what Luke has not; namely, that the parable was spoken not to the rulers only who asked concerning His authority, but also to the people.
AMBROSE; Now many derive different meanings from the name vineyard, but Esaias clearly relates the vineyard of the Lord of Sabaoth to be the house of Israel. This vineyard who else but God planted?
BEDE; The man then who plants the vineyard is the same who, according to another parable, hired laborers into his vineyard.
EUSEB. But the parable which Esaias gives denounces the vineyard, whereas our Savior parable is not directed against the vineyard, but the cultivators of it, of whom it is added, And be let it out to husbandmen, that is, to the elders of the people, and the chief priests, and the doctors, and all the nobles.
THEOPHYL. Or each one of the people is the vineyard, each likewise is the husbandman, for every one of us takes care of himself. Having committed then the vineyard to the husbandmen, he went away, that is, he left them to the guidance of their own judgment Hence it follows, And went into a far country for a long time.
AMBROSE; Not that our Lord journeys from place to place, seeing that He is ever present in every place, but that He is more present to those who love Him, while He removes Himself from those who regard Him not. But He was absent for a long time, lest His coming to require His fruit might seem too early. For the more indulgent it is, it renders obstinacy the less excusable.
CYRIL; Or God took Himself away from the vineyard for the course of many years, for since the time that He was seen to descend in the likeness of fire upon Mount Sinai, He no longer vouchsafed to them His visible presence; though no change took place, in which He sent not His prophets and righteous men to give warning thereof; as it follows, And at the time of the vintage he sent a servant to the husbandmen, that they should give him of the fruit of the vineyard.
THEOPHYL. He says of the fruit of the vineyard, because not the whole fruit, but part only, He wished to receive. For what does God gain from us, but His own knowledge, which is also, our profit.
BEDE; But it is rightly written fruit, not increase. For there was no increase in this vineyard. The first servant sent was Moses, who for forty years sought of the husbandmen the fruit of the law which he had given, but he was wroth against them, for they provoked his spirit. Hence it follows, But they beat him, and sent him away empty.
AMBROSE; And it came to pass that He ordained many others, whom the Jews sent back to him disgraced and empty, for they could reap nothing from them; as it follows, And again he sent another servant.
BEDE; By the other servant is meant David, who was sent after the commandment of the law, that he by the music of his psalmody might stir up the husbandmen to the exercise of good works. But they on the contrary declared, What portion have we in David, neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse. Hence it follows, And they beat him also, and entreated him shamefully, and sent him away empty.
But He does not stop here, for it follows, And again he sent a third: whereby we must understand the company of prophets who constantly visited the people with their testimony. But which of the Prophets did they not persecute; as it follows, And they wounded him also, and cast him out. Now these three successions of servants, our Lord elsewhere shows to comprehend under a figure all the teachers under the law, when He says, For all those things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses, and the Prophets, and the Psalms, concerning me.
THEOPHYL. After the prophets then had suffered all these things, the Son is delegated; for it follows, Then said the Lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? That the Lord of the vineyard speaks doubtingly, arises not from ignorance, for what is there that the Lord knows not; but He is said to hesitate, that the free will of man may be preserved.
CYRIL; The Lord of the vineyard also ponders what He should do, not that He is in need of ministers, but that having thoroughly tried every device of human aid, yet His people being in no wise healed, He may add something greater; as He goes on to say, I will send my beloved son: it may be they will reverence him when they see him.
THEOPHYL. Now He said this, not as ignorant that they would treat Him worse than they did the prophets, but because the Son ought to be reverenced by them. But if they should still be rebellious and slay Him, this would crown their iniquity. Lest therefore any should say that the Divine Presence has necessarily been the cause of their disobedience, He uses purposely this doubtful mode of speech.
AMBROSE; When then the only-begotten Son was sent to them, the unbelieving Jews, wishing to be rid of the Heir, put Him to death by crucifying Him, and rejected Him by denying Him. Christ is the Heir and the Testator likewise. The Heir, because He survives His own death; and of the testament which He Himself bequeathed, He reaps as it were the hereditary profits in our advances.
BEDE; But Our Lord most clearly proves that the Jewish rulers crucified the Son of God not from ignorance but for envy. For they knew it was He to whom it was said, I will give you the heathen for your inheritance. And they cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. Because Jesus, that He might sanctify the people by His blood, suffered without the gate.
THEOPHYL. Since we have already assumed the people, not Jerusalem, to be the vineyard, it may perhaps be more properly said that the people indeed slew Him without the vineyard; that is, our Lord suffered without the hands of the people, because in truth the people did not with their own hands inflict death upon Him, but delivered Him up to Pilate and the Gentiles. But some by the vineyard have understood the Scripture, which not believing they slew the Lord. And so without the vineyard, that is, without Scripture, our Lord is said to have suffered.
BEDE; Or was He cast out of the vineyard and slain, because He was first driven out of the hearts of the unbelievers, and then fastened to the cross?
CHRYS. Now it was not accidentally but part of the purpose of the divine dispensation that Christ came after the prophets. For God does not pursue all things at once, but accommodates Himself to mankind through His great mercy; for if they despised His Son coming after His servants, much less would they have heard Him before. For they who listened not to the inferior commands, how would they have heard the greater?
AMBROSE; He rightly puts a question to them, that they may condemn themselves by their own words, as it follows, What then will the Lord of the vineyard do to them?
BASIL; And this happens as it were to men who are condemned, having nothing to answer to the plain evidence of justice. But it is the property of Divine mercy not to inflict punishment in secret, but to foretell it with threatenings, that so it might recall men to repentance; and thus it follows here, He shall come and destroy those husbandmen.
AMBROSE; He says, the Lord of the vineyard will come, because in the Son is present also the Father's majesty; or because in the last times He will be more graciously present by His Spirit in the hearts of men.
CYRIL; The Jewish rulers were shut out then, because they resisted their Lord's will, and made the vineyard barren which was entrusted to them. But the cultivation of the vineyard was given to the Priests of the New Testament, upon which the Scribes and Pharisees, as soon as they perceived the force of the parable, refuse to permit it, saying as follows, God forbid. They did not however escape any whit the more, because of their obstinacy and disobedience to the faith of Christ.
THEOPHYL. Now Matthew seems to relate the parable differently; that when our Savior asked indeed, What will he do then to the husbandmen? the Jews answered, he will miserably destroy them. But there is no difference between the two circumstances. The Jews at first pronounced that opinion, then perceiving the point of the parable said, God forbid, as Luke here relates.
AUG. Or else, in the multitude of which we are speaking there were those who craftily asked our Lord by what authority He acted; there were those also who not craftily, but faithfully, cried aloud, Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. And so there would be some who would say, He will miserably destroy those husbandmen, and let out his vineyard to others. Which are rightly said to have been the words of our Lord Himself, either on account of their truth, or because of the unity of the members with the head; while there would be others also who would say to those who made this answer, God forbid, inasmuch as they understood the parable was spoken against themselves. It follows, And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner?
BEDE; As if He said, How shall the prophecy be fulfilled, except that Christ, being rejected and slain by you, is to be preached to the Gentiles, who will believe on Him, that as the corner stone He may thus from both nations build up one temple to Himself?
EUSEB. Christ is called a stone on account of His earthly body, cut out with hands, as in the vision of Daniel, because of His birth of the Virgin. But the stone is neither of silver nor gold, because He is not any glorious King, but a man lowly and despised, wherefore the builders rejected Him.
THEOPHYL. For the rulers of the people rejected Him, when they said, This man is not of God. But He was so useful and so precious, that He was placed as the head stone of the corner.
CYRIL; But holy Scripture compares to a corner the meeting together of the two nations, the Jew and the Gentile, into one faith. For the Savior has compacted both peoples into one new man, reconciling them in one body to the Father. Of saving help then is that stone to the corner made by it, but to the Jews who resist this spiritual union, it brings destruction.
THEOPHYL. He mentions two condemnations or destructions of them, one indeed of their souls, which they suffered being offended in Christ. And He touches this when He says, Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be shaken to pieces. But the other of their captivity and extermination, which the Stone that was despised by them brought upon them. And He points to this when He says, But upon whomsoever it shall fall, it shall grind him to powder, or winnow him. For so were the Jews winnowed through the whole world, as the stray from the threshing floor. And mark the order of things; for first comes the wickedness committed against Him, then follows the just vengeance of God.
BEDE; Or else, He who is a sinner, yet believes on Christ, falls indeed upon the stone and is shaken, for he is preserved by penitence to salvation. But upon whomsoever it shall fall, that is, upon whom the stone itself has come down because he denied it, it shall grind him to powder, so that not even a broken piece of a vessel shall be left, in which may be drunk a little water. Or, He means by those who fall upon Him, such as only despise Him, and therefore do not yet utterly perish, but are shaken violently so that they cannot walk upright. But upon whom it falls, upon them shall He come in judgment with everlasting punishment, therefore shall it grind them to powder, that they may be as the dust which the wind scatters from, the face of the earth.
AMBROSE; The vineyard is also our type. For the husbandman is the Almighty Father, the vine is Christ, but we are the branches. Rightly are the people of Christ called a vine, either because it carries on its front the sign of the cross, or because its fruits are gathered in the latter time of the year, or because to all men, as to the equal rows of vines, poor as well as rich, servants as well as masters, there is an equal allotment in the Church without distinction of persons. And as the vine is married to the trees, so is the body to the soul. Loving this vineyard, the husbandmen is wont to dig it and prune it, lest it grow too luxuriant in the shade of its foliage, and check by unfruitful boastfulness of words the ripening of its natural character. Here must be the vintage of the whole world, for here is the vineyard of the whole world.
BEDE; Or understanding it morally; to every one of the faithful is let out a vineyard to cultivate, in that the mystery of baptism is entrusted to him to work out. One servant is sent, a second and a third, when the Law, the Psalms, and the Prophets are read. But the servant who is sent is said to be treated despitefully or beaten, when the word heard is despised or blasphemed. The heir who is sent that man kills as far as he can, who by sin tramples under foot the Son of God. The wicked husbandmen being destroyed, the vineyard is given to another, when with the gift of grace, which the proud man spurned, the humble are enriched.
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CYRIL; It became indeed the rulers of the Jews, perceiving that the parable was spoken of them, to depart from evil, having been thus as it were warned concerning the future. But little mindful of this, they rather gather a fresh occasion for their crimes. The commandment of the Law restrained them not, which says, The innocent and righteous men you shall not slay, but the fear of the people checked their wicked purpose. For they set the fear of man before the reverence of God. The reason of this purpose is given, for they perceived that he spoke this parable against them.
BEDE; And so by seeking to slay Him, they proved the truth of what He had said in the parable. For He Himself is the Heir, whose unjust death He said was to be punished They are the wicked husbandmen who sought to kill the Son of God. This also is daily committed in the Church when any one, only in name a brother, is ashamed or afraid, because of the many good men with whom he lives, to break into that unity of the Church's faith and peace which he abhors. And because the chief priests sought to lay hold of our Lord but could not by themselves, they tried to accomplish it by the hands of the governor; as it follows, And they watched him, &c.
CYRIL; For they seemed to be trifling, yet were in earnest, forgetful of God, who says, Who is this that hides his counsel from me? For they come to Christ the Savior of all, as though He were a common man, as it follows, that they might take him in his speech.
THEOPHYL. They laid snares for our Lord, but got their own feet entangled in them. Listen to their cunning, And they asked Him, saying, Master, we know that you say and teach rightly.
BEDE; This smooth and artful question was to entice the answerer to say that he fears God rather than Caesar, for it follows, Neither accept you the person of any, but teach the way of God truly. This they say, to entice Him to tell them that they ought not to pay tribute, in order that the servants of the guard, (who according to the other Evangelists are said to have been present,) might immediately upon bearing it seize Him as the leader of a sedition against the Romans.
And so they proceed to ask, Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not? For there was a great division among the people, some saying that for the sake of security and quiet, seeing that the Romans fought for all, they ought to pay tribute; while the Pharisees, on the contrary, declared, that the people of God who gave tithes and first fruits, ought not to be subject to the law of man.
THEOPHYL. Therefore it was intended, in case He said they ought to give tribute to Caesar, that He should be accused by the people, as placing the nation under the yoke of slavery, but if He forbade them to pay the tax, that they should denounce Him as a stirrer up of divisions to the governor.
But He escapes their snares, as it follows, Perceiving their craftiness, he said to them, Why tempt you me? Show me a penny. Whose image and superscription has it?
AMBROSE; Our Lord here teaches us, how cautious we ought to be in our answers to heretics or Jews; as He has said elsewhere, Be you wise as serpents.
BEDE; Let those who impute the question of our Savior to ignorance, learn from this place that Jesus was well able to know whose image was on the money; but He asks the question, that He might give a fitting answer to their words; for it follows, They answered and said, Caesar's. We must not suppose Augustus is thereby meant, but Tiberius, for all the Roman kings were called Caesar, from the first Caius Caesar. But from their answer our Lord easily solves the question, for it follows, And he said to them, Render to Caesar the things which be Caesar's, and to God the things which be God's.
TITUS; As if He said, With your words you tempt me, obey me in works. You have indeed Caesar's image, you have undertaken his offices, to him therefore give tribute, to God fear. For God requires not money, but faith.
BEDE; Render also to God the things which be God's, that is to say, tithes, first fruits, offerings, and sacrifices.
THEOPHYL. And observe that He said not, give, but return. For it is a debt. Your prince protects you from enemies, renders your life tranquil. Surely then you are bound to pay him tribute. Nay, this very piece of money which you bring you have from him. Return then to the king the king's money. God also has given you understanding and reason, make then a return of these to Him, that you may not be compared to the beasts, but in all things may walk wisely.
AMBROSE; Be unwilling then, if you would not offend Caesar, to possess worldly goods. And you rightly teach, first to render the things which be Caesar's. For no one can be the Lord's unless he has first renounced the world. Oh most galling chain! To promise to God, and pay not. Far greater is the contract of faith than that of money.
ORIGEN; Now this place contains a mystery. For there are two images in man, one which he received from God, as it is written, let us make man in our own image: another from the enemy, which he has contracted through disobedience and sin, allured and won by the enticing baits of the prince of this world. For as the penny has the image of the emperor of the world, so he who does the works of the power of darkness, bears the image of Him whose works he does, He says then, Render to Caesar the things which be Caesar's, that is, cast away the earthly image, that you may be able, by putting on the heavenly image, to render to God the things which be God's, namely, to love God. Which things Moses says God requires of us. But God makes this demand of us, not because He has need that we should give Him any thing, but that, when we have given, He might grant us this very same gift for our salvation.
BEDE; Now they who ought rather to have believed such great wisdom, marveled that in all their cunning they had found no opportunity of catching Him. As it follows, And they could not take hold of his words before the people: and they marveled at his answer, and held their peace.
THEOPHYL. This was their main object, to rebuke Him before the people, which they were unable to do because of the wonderful wisdom of His answer.
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BEDE; There were two heresies among the Jews, one of the Pharisees, who boasted in the righteousness of their traditions, and hence they were called by the people, "separated;" the other of the Sadducees, whose name signified "righteous," claiming to themselves that which they were not. When the former went away, the latter came to tempt Him.
ORIGEN; The heresy of the Sadducees not only denies the resurrection of the dead, but also believes the soul to die with the body. Watching then to entrap our Savior in His words, they proposed a question just at the time when they observed Him teaching His disciples concerning the resurrection;
as it follows, And they asked him, saying, Master, Moses wrote to us, If a brother, etc.
AMBROSE; According to the letter of the law, a woman is compelled to marry, however unwilling, in order that a brother may raise up seed to his brother who is dead. The letter therefore kills, but the Spirit is the master of charity.
THEOPHYL. Now the Sadducees resting upon a weak foundation, did not believe in the doctrine of the resurrection. For imagining the future life in the resurrection to be carnal, they were justly misled, and hence reviling the doctrine of the resurrection as a thing impossible they invent the story, There were seven brothers, etc.
BEDE; They devise this story in order to convict those of folly, who assert the resurrection of the dead. Hence they object a base fable, that they may deny the truth of the resurrection.
AMBROSE; Mystically, this woman is the synagogue, which had seven husbands, as it is said to the Samaritan, You had five husbands, because the Samaritan follows only the five books of Moses, the synagogue for the most part seven. And from none of them has she received the seed of a hereditary offspring, and so can have no part with her husbands in the resurrection, because she perverts the spiritual meaning of the precept into a carnal. For not any carnal brother is pointed at, who should raise seed to his deceased brother, but that brother who from the dead people of the Jews should claim to himself for wife the wisdom of the divine worship, and from it should raise up seed in the Apostles, who being left as it were unformed in the womb of the synagogue, have according to the election of grace been thought worthy to be preserved by the admixture of a new seed.
BEDE; Or these seven brothers answer to the reprobate, who throughout the whole life of the world which revolves in seven days, are fruitless in good works, and these being carried away by death one after another, at length the course of the evil world, as the barren woman, itself also passes away.
THEOPHYL. But our Lord shows that in the resurrection there will be no fleshly conversation, thereby overthrowing their doctrine together with its slender foundation; as it follows, And Jesus said to them, The children of this world marry, etc.
AUG. For marriages are for the sake of children, children for succession, succession because of death. Where then there is no death, there are no marriages; and hence it follows, But they which shall be accounted worthy, etc.
BEDE; Which must not be taken as if only they who are worthy were either to rise again or be without marriage, but all sinners also shall rise again, and abide without marriage in that new world. But our Lord wished to mention only the elect, that He might incite the minds of His hearers to search into the glory of the resurrection.
AUG. As our discourse is made up and completed by departing and succeeding syllables, so also men themselves whose faculty discourse is by departure and succession make up and complete the order of this world, which is built up with the mere temporal beauty of things. But in the future life, seeing that the Word which we shall enjoy is formed by no departure and succession of syllables, but all things which it has it has everlastingly and at once, so those who partake of it, to whom it alone will be life shall neither depart by death, nor succeed by birth, even as it now is with the angels; as it follows, For they are equal to the angels.; For as the multitude of the angels is indeed very great, yet they are not propagated by generation, but have their being from creation, so also to those who rise again, there is no more necessity for marriage; as it follows, And are the children of God.
THEOPHYL. As if He said, Because it is God who works in the resurrection, rightly are they called the sons of God, who are regenerated by the resurrection. For there is nothing carnal seen in the regeneration of them that rise again, there is neither coming together, nor the womb, nor birth.
BEDE; Or they are equal to the angels, and the children of God, because made new by the glory of the resurrection, with no fear of death, with no spot of corruption, with no quality of an earthly condition, they rejoice in the perpetual beholding of God's presence.
ORIGEN; But because the Lord says in Matthew, which is here omitted, You do err, not knowing the Scriptures, ask the question, where is it so written, They shall neither marry, nor be given in marriage? for as I conceive there is no such thing to be found either in the Old or New Testament, but the whole of their error had crept in from the reading of the Scriptures without understanding; for it is said in Esaias, My elect shall not have children for a curse. Whence they suppose that the like will happen in the resurrection. But Paul interpreting all these blessings as spiritual, knowing them not to be carnal, says to the Ephesians, You have blessed us in all spiritual blessings.
THEOPHYL Or to the reason above given the Lord added the testimony of Scripture, Now that the dead are raised, Moses also showed at the bush, as the Lord said, I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. As if he said, If the patriarchs have once returned to nothing so as not to live with God in the hope of a resurrection, He would not have said, I am, but, I was, for we are accustomed to speak of things dead and gone thus, I was the Lord or Master of such a thing; but now that He said, I am, He shows that He is the God and Lord of the living. This is what follows, But he its not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him. For though they have departed from life, yet live they with Him in the hope of a resurrection.
BEDE; Or He says this, that after having proved that the souls abide after death, (which the Sadducees denied,) He might next introduce the resurrection also of the bodies, which together with the souls have done good or evil. But that is a true life which the just live to God, even though they are dead in the body. Now to prove the truth of the resurrection, He might have brought much more obvious examples from the Prophets, but the Sadducees received only the five books of Moses, rejecting the oracles of the Prophets.
CHRYS. As the saints claim as their own the common Lord of the world, not as derogating from His dominion, but testifying their affection after the manner of lovers, who do not brook to love with many, but desire to express a certain peculiar and especial attachment; so likewise does God call Himself especially the God of these, not thereby narrowing but enlarging His dominion; for it is not so much the multitude of His subjects that manifests His power, as the virtue of His servants. Therefore He does not so delight in the name of the God of heaven and earth, as in that of in God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Now among men servants are thus denominated by, their masters; for we say, 'The steward of such a man', but on the contrary God is called the God of Abraham.
THEOPHYL. But when the Sadducees were silenced, the Scribes commend Jesus, for they were opposed to them, saying to Him, Master, you have well said.
BEDE; And since they had been defeated in argument, they ask Him no further questions, but seize Him, and deliver Him up to the Roman power. From which we may learn, that the poison of envy may indeed be subdued, but it is a hard thing to keep it at rest.
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