Golden Chain 3517
3517 (Mt 5,17-19)
Gloss. ord.: Having now exhorted His hearers to undergo all things for righteousness' sake, and also not to hide what they should receive, but to learn more for others' sake, that they (p. 166) may teach others, He now goes on to tell them what they should teach, as though He had been asked, 'What is this which you would not have hid, and for which you would have all things endured? Are you about to speak any thing beyond what is written in the Law and the Prophets;' hence it is He says, "Think not that I am come to subvert the Law or the Prophets."
Pseudo-Chrys.: And that for two reasons. First, that by these words He might admonish His disciples, that as He fulfilled the Law, so they should strive to fulfil it. Secondly, because the Jews would falsely accuse them as subverting the Law, therefore he answers the calumny beforehand, but in such a manner as that He should not be thought to come simply to preach the Law as the Prophets had done.
Remig.: He here asserts two things; He denies that He was come to subvert the Law, and affirms that He was come to fulfil it.
Aug., Serm. in Mont., i, 8: In this last sentence again there is a double sense; to fulfil the Law, either by adding something which it had not, or by doing what it commands.
Chrys., Hom. 16: Christ then fulfilled the Prophets by accomplishing what was therein foretold concerning Himself - and the Law, first, by transgressing none of its precepts; secondly, by justifying by faith, which the Law could not do by the letter.
Aug., cont. Faust., 19, 7. et seq.: And lastly, because even for them who were under grace, it was hard in this mortal life to fulfil that of the Law, "Thou shalt not lust," He being made a Priest by the sacrifice of His flesh, obtained for us this indulgence, even in this fulfilling the Law, that where through our infirmity we could not, we should be strengthened through His perfection, of whom as our head we all are members.
For so I think must be taken these words, "to fulfil" the Law, by adding to it, that is, such things as either contribute to the explanation of the old glosses, or to enable to keep them. For the Lord has shewed us that even a wicked motion of the thoughts to the wrong of a brother is to be accounted a kind of murder.
The Lord also teaches us, that it is better to keep near to the truth without swearing, than with a true oath to come near to blasphemy.
But how, ye Manichaeans, do you not receive the Law and the Prophets, seeing Christ here says, that He is come not to subvert but to fulfil them? To this the heretic (p. 167) Faustus replies (ed. note: Faustus was of Milevis in Africa and a Bishop and controversialist of the Manichees. He was a man of considerable abilities. Augustine was first his hearer, and in after years his opponent; and in his work against him he answers him seriatim. In this way the treatise of Faustus is preserved to us.), Whose testimony is there that Christ spoke this? That of Matthew.
How was it then that John does not give this saying, who was with Him in the mount, but only Matthew, who did not follow Jesus till after He had come down from the mount? To this Augustine replies, If none can speak truth concerning Christ, but who saw and heard Him, there is no one at this day who speaks truth concerning Him.
Why then could not Matthew hear from John's mouth the truth as Christ had spoken, as well as we who are born so long after can speak the truth out of John's book? In the same manner also it is, that not Matthew's Gospel, but also these of Luke and Mark are received by us, and on no inferior authority. And, that the Lord Himself might have told Matthew the things He had done before He called him.
But speak out and say that you do not believe the Gospel, for they who believe nothing in the Gospel but what they wish to believe, believe themselves rather than the Gospel. To this Faustus rejoins, We will prove that this was not written by Matthew, but by some other hand, unknown, in his name. For below he says, "Jesus saw a man sitting at the toll-office, Matthew by name." (Mt 9,9) Who writing of himself say, 'saw a man,' and not rather, 'saw me?' Augustine; Matthew does no more than John does, when he says, "Peter turning round saw that other disciple whom Jesus loved;" as it is well known that this is the common manner of Scripture writers, when writing their own actions.
Faustus again, But what say you to this, that the very assurance that He was not come to destroy the Law and the Prophets, was the direct way to rouse their suspicions that He was? For He had yet done nothing that could lead the Jews to think that this was His object. Augustine; This is a very weak objection, for we do not deny that to the Jews who had no understanding, Christ might have appeared as threatening the destruction of the Law and the Prophets.
Faustus; But what if the Law and the Prophets do not accept this fulfilment, according to that in Deuteronomy, "These commandments (p. 168) I give unto thee, thou shalt keep, thou shalt not add any thing to them, nor take away." Augustine; Here Faustus does not understand what it is to fulfil the Law, when he supposes that it must be taken of adding words to it. The fulfilment of the Law is love, which the Lord hath given in sending His Holy Spirit. The Law is fulfilled either when the things there commanded are done, or when the things there prophesied come to pass.
Faustus; But in that we confess that Jesus was author of a New Testament, what else is it than to confess that He has done away with the Old? Augustine; In the Old Testament were figure of things to come, which, when the things themselves were brought in by Christ, ought to have been taken away, that in that very taking away the Law and the Prophets might be fulfilled wherein it was written that God gave a New Testament.
Faustus; Therefore if Christ did say this thing, He either said it with some other meaning, or He spoke falsely, (which God forbid,) or we must take the other alternative, He did not speak it at all. But that Jesus spoke falsely none will aver, therefore He either spoke it with another meaning, or He spake it not at all. For myself I am rescued from the necessity of this alternative by the Manichaean belief, which from the first taught me not to believe all those things which are read in Jesus' name as having been spoken by Him; for that there be many tares which to corrupt the good seed some nightly sower has scattered up and down through nearly the whole of Scripture.
Augustine; Manichaeus taught an impious error, that you should receive only so much of the Gospel as does not conflict with your heresy, and not receive whatever does conflict with it. We have learned of the Apostle that religious caution, "Whoever preaches unto you another Gospel than that we have preached, let him be accursed." (Ga 1,8) The Lord also has explained what the tares signify, not things false mixed with the true Scriptures, as you interpret, but men who are children of the wicked one.
Faustus; Should a Jew then enquire of you why you do not keep the precepts of the Law and the Prophets which Christ here declares He came not to destroy but to fulfil, you will be driven either to accept an empty superstition, or to repudiate (p. 169) this chapter as false, or to deny that you are Christ's disciple.
Augustine; The Catholics are not in any difficulty on account of this chapter as though they did not observe the Law and the Prophets; for they do cherish love to God and their neighbour, "on which hang all the Law and the Prophets." And whatever in the Law and the Prophets was foreshewn, whether in things done, in the celebration of sacramental rites, or in forms of speech, all these they know to be fulfilled in Christ and the Church. Wherefore we neither submit to a false superstition, nor reject the chapter, nor deny ourselves to be Christ's disciples. He then who says, that unless Christ had destroyed the Law and the Prophets, the Mosaic rites would have continued along with the Christian ordinances, may further affirm, that unless Christ had destroyed the Law and the Prophets, He would yet be only promised as to be born, to suffer, to rise again. But inasmuch as He did not destroy, but rather fulfil them, His birth, passion, and resurrection, are now no more promised as things future, which were signified by the Sacraments of the Law; but He is preached as already born, crucified, and risen, which are signified by the Sacraments now celebrated by Christians.
It is clear then how great is the error of those who suppose, that when the signs or sacraments are changed, the things themselves are different, whereas the same things which the Prophetic ordinance had held forth as promises, the Evangelic ordinance points to as completed.
Faustus: Supposing these to be Christ's genuine words, we should enquire what was His motive for speaking thus, whether to soften the blind hostility of the Jews, who when they saw their holy things trodden under foot by Him, would not have so much as given Him a hearing; or whether He really said them to instruct us, who of the Gentiles should believe, to submit to the yoke of the Law. If this last were not His design, then the first must have been; nor was there any deceit or fraud in such purpose.
For of laws there be three sorts. The first that of the Hebrews, called the "law of sin and death," (Rm 8,2) by Paul; the second that of the Gentiles, which he calls the law of nature, saying, "By nature the Gentiles do the deeds of the law;" (Rm 2,14) the third, the law of (p. 170) truth, which he means, "The law of the Spirit of life." Also there are Prophets some of the Jews, such as are well known; others of the Gentiles as Paul speaks, "A prophet of their own hath said;" (Tt 1,12) and others of the truth of whom Jesus speaks, "I send unto you wise men and prophets." (Mt 23,34)
Now had Jesus in the following part of this Sermon brought forward any of the Hebrew observances to shew how he had fulfilled them, no one would have doubted that it was of the Jewish Law and Prophets that He was now speaking; but when He brings forward in this way only those more ancient precepts, "Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not commit adultery," which were promulged of old to Enoch, Seth, and the other righteous men, who does not see that He is here speaking of the Law and Prophets of truth? Wherever He has occasion to speak of any thing merely Jewish, He plucks it up by the very roots, giving precepts directly the contrary; for example, in the case of that precept, "An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth."
Augustine; Which was the Law and which the Prophets, that Christ came "not to subvert but to fulfil," is manifest, to wit, the Law given by Moses. And the distinction which Faustus draw between the precepts of the righteous men before Moses, and the Mosaic Law, affirming that Christ fulfilled that one but annulled the other, is not so. We affirm that the Law of Moses was both well suited to its temporary purpose, and was not now subverted, but fulfilled by Christ, as will be seen in each particular. This was not understood by those who continued in such obstinate error, that they compelled the Gentiles to Judaize - those heretics, I mean, who were called Nazarenes.
Pseudo-Chrys.: But since all things which should befall from the very beginning of the world to the end of it, were in type and figure foreshewn in the Law, that God may not be thought to be ignorant of any of those things that take place, He therefore here declares, that heaven and earth should not pass till all things thus foreshewn in the Law should have their actual accomplishment.
Remig.: "Amen" is a Hebrew word, and my be rendered in Latin, 'vere,' 'fidenter,' or 'fiat;' that is, 'truly,' 'faithfully,' or 'so be it.' (p. 171) The Lord uses it either because of the hardness of heart of those who were slow to believe, or to attract more particularly the attention of those that did believe.
Hilary: From the expression here used, "pass," we may suppose that the constituting elements of heaven and earth shall not be annihilated. (ed. note: The text of Hil. has 'maxima, ut arbitramur, elementa esse solvends.')
Remig.: But shall abide in their essence, but "pass" through renewal.
Aug., Serm. in Mont. i, 8: By the words "one iota or one point shall not pass from the Law," we must understand only a strong metaphor of completeness, drawn from the letters of writing, iota being the least of the letters, made with one stroke of the pen, and a point being a slight dot at the end of the same letter. The words there shew that the Law shall be completed to the very least matter.
Rabanus: He fitly mentions the Greek iota, and not the Hebrew job, because the iota stands in Greek for the number ten, and so there is an allusion to the Decalogue of which the Gospel is the point and perfection.
Pseudo-Chrys.: If even an honourable man blushes to be found in a falsehood, and a wise man lets not fall empty any word he has once spoken, how could it be that the words of heaven should fall to the ground empty? Hence He concludes, "Whoso shall break the least of these commandments, &c." And, I suppose, the Lord goes on to reply Himself to the question, Which are the least commandments? Namely, these which I am now about to speak.
Chrys.: He speaks not this of the old laws, but of those which He was now going to enact, of which he says, "the least," though they were all great. For as He so oft spoke humbly of Himself, so does He now speak humbly of His precepts.
Pseudo-Chrys.: Otherwise; the precepts of Moses are easy to obey; "Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not commit adultery." The very greatness of the crime is a check upon the desire of committing it; therefore the reward of observance is small, the sin of transgression great.
But Christ's precepts, "Thou shalt not be angry, Thou shalt not lust," are hard to obey, and therefore in their reward they are great, in their transgression, 'least.' It is thus He speaks of these precepts of Christ, such as "Thou shalt not be angry, Thou shalt not lust,' as 'the least;' and (p. 172) they who commit these lesser sins, are the least in the kingdom of God; that is, he who has been angry and not sinned grievously is secure from the punishment of eternal damnation; yet he does not attain that glory which they attain who fulfil even these least.
Aug.: Or, the precepts of the Law are called 'the least,' as opposed to Christ's precepts which are great. The least commandments are signified by the iota and the point. "He," therefore, "who breaks them, and teaches men so," that is, to do as he does, "shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven." Hence we may perhaps conclude, that it is not true that there shall none be there except they be great.
Gloss. ord.: By 'break,' is meant, the not doing what one understands rightly, or the not understanding what one has corrupted, or the destroying the perfectness of Christ's additions.
Chrys.: Or, when you hear the words, "least in the kingdom of heaven," imagine nothing less than the punishment of hell. For He oft uses the word 'kingdom,' not only of the joys of heaven, but of the time of the resurrection, and of the terrible coming of Christ.
Greg., Hom. in Ev., 12, 1: Or, by the kingdom of heaven is to be understood the Church, in which that teacher who breaks a commandment is called least, because he whose life is despised, it remains that his preaching be also despised.
Hilary: Or, He calls the passion, and the cross, the least, which if one shall not confess openly, but be ashamed of them, he shall be least, that is, last, and as it were no man; but to him that confesses it He promises the great glory of a heavenly calling.
Jerome: This head is closely connected with the preceding. It is directed against the Pharisees, who, despising the commandments of God, set up traditions of their own, and means that their teaching the people would not avail themselves, if they destroyed the very least commandment in the Law.
We may take it in another sense. The learning of the master if joined with sin however small, loses him the highest place, nor does it avail any to teach righteousness, if he destroys it in his life. Perfect bliss is for him who fulfils in deed what he teaches in word.
Aug.: Otherwise; "he who breaks the least of these commandments," that is, of Moses' Law, "and teaches men so, shall be called the least; but he who shall do (these least), and so teach," shall not indeed (p. 173) be esteemed great, yet not so little as he who breaks them. That he should be great, he ought to do and to teach the things which Christ now teaches.
3520 (Mt 5,20-22)
Hilary: Beautiful entrance He here makes to a teaching beyond the works of the Law, declaring to the Apostles that they should have no admission to the kingdom of heaven without a righteousness beyond that of Pharisees.
Chrys.: By righteousness is here meant universal virtue. But observe the superior power of grace, in that He requires of His disciples who were yet uninstructed to be better than those who were masters unto the Old Testament. Thus He does not call the Scribes and Pharisees unrighteous, but speaks of "their righteousness." And see how ever herein He confirms the Old Testament that He compares it with the New, for the greater and the less are always of the same kind.
Pseudo-Chrys.: The righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees are the commandments of Moses; but the commandments of Christ are the fulfilment of that Law. This then is His meaning; Whosoever in addition to the commandments of the Law shall not fulfil My commandments, shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. For those indeed save from the punishment due to transgressors of the Law, but do not bring into the kingdom; but My commandments both deliver from punishment, (p. 174) and bring into the kingdom.
But seeing that to break the least commandments and not to keep them are one and the same, why does He say above of him that breaks the commandments, that "he shall be the least in the kingdom of heaven," and here of him who keeps them not, that he "shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven?" See how to be the least in the kingdom is the same with not entering into the kingdom. For a man to be in the kingdom is not to reign with Christ, but only to be numbered among Christ's people; what He says then of him that breaks the commandments is, that he shall indeed be reckoned among Christians, yet the least of them. but he who enters into the kingdom, becomes partaker of His kingdom with Christ. Therefore he who does not enter into the kingdom of heaven, shall not indeed have a part of Christ's glory, yet shall he be in the kingdom of heaven, that is, in the number of those over whom Christ reigns as King of heaven.
Aug., City of God, book 20, ch. 9: Otherwise, "unless your righteousness exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees," that is, exceed that of those who break what themselves teach, as it is elsewhere said of them, "They say, and do not;" (Mt 23,3) just as if He had said, Unless your righteousness exceed in this way that ye do what ye teach, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.
We must therefore understand something other than usual by the kingdom of heaven here, in which are to be both he who breaks what he teaches, and he who does it, but the one "least," the other, "great;" this kingdom of heaven is the present Church. In another sense is the kingdom of heaven spoken of that place where none enters but he who does what he teaches, and this is the Church as it shall be hereafter.
Aug., cont. Faust., 19, 31: This expression, the kingdom of heaven, so often used by our Lord, I know not whether any one would find in the books of the Old Testament. It belongs properly to the New Testament revelation, kept for His mouth whom the Old Testament figured as a King that should come to reign over His servants. This end, to which its precepts were to be referred, was hidden in the Old Testament, though even that had its saints who looked forward to the revelation that should be made.
Gloss. non occ.: Or, we may explain by referring to the way in which the Scribes and Pharisees understood the Law, not to (p. 175) the actual contents of the Law.
Aug., cont. Faust., 19, 30: For almost all the precepts which the Lord gave, saying, "But I say unto you," are found in those ancient books. But because they knew not of any murder, besides the destruction of the body, the Lord shews them that every evil thought to the hurt of a brother is to be held for a kind of murder.
Pseudo-Chrys.: Christ willing to shew that He is the same God who spoke of old in the Law, and who now gives commandments in grace, now puts first of all his commandments, (margin note: vid. Mt 19,18) that one which was the first in the Law, first, at least, of all those that forbade injury to our neighbour.
Aug., City of God, book 1, ch. 20: We do not, because we have heard that, "Thou shalt not kill," deem it therefore unlawful to pluck a twig, according to the error of the Manichees, nor consider it to extend to irrational brutes; by the most righteous ordinance of the Creator their life and death is subservient to our needs.
There remains, therefore, only man of whom we can understand it, and that not any other man, nor you only; for he who kills himself does nothing else but kill a man. Yet have not they in any way done contrary to this commandment who have waged wars under God's authority, or they who charged with the administration of civil power have by most just and reasonable orders inflicted death upon criminals. Also Abraham was not charged with cruelty, but even received the praise of piety, for that he was willing to obey God in slaying his son.
Those are to be excepted from this command whom God commands to be put to death, either by a general law given, or by particular admonition at any special time. For he is not the slayer who ministers to the command, like a hilt to one smiting with a sword, nor is Samson otherwise to be acquitted for destroying himself along with his enemies, than because he was so instructed privily of the Holy Spirit, who through him wrought the miracles.
Chrys.: This, "it was said by them of old time," shews that it was long ago that they had received this precept. He says this that He might rouse His sluggish hearers to proceed to more sublime precepts, as a teacher might say to an indolent boy, Know you not how long time you have spent already in merely learning to spell? In that, "I say unto you," mark the authority of the legislator, none of the old Prophets spoke thus; but (p. 176) rather, "Thus saith the Lord." They as servants repeated the commands of their Lord; He as a Son declared the will of His Father, which was also His own. They preached to their fellow servants; He as master ordained a law for his slaves.
Aug., City of God, 4, 4: There are two different opinions among philosophers concerning the passions of the mind: the Stoics do not allow that any passion is incident to the wise man; the Peripatetics affirm that they are incident to the wise man but in a moderate degree and subject to reason; as, for example, when mercy is shewn in such a manner that justice is preserved. But in the Christian rule we do not enquire whether the mind is first affected with anger or with sorrow, but whence.
Pseudo-Chrys.: He who is angry without cause shall be judged; but he who is angry with cause shall not be judged. For if there were no anger, neither teaching would profit, nor judgments hold, nor crimes be controlled. So that he who on just cause is not angry, is in sin; for an unreasonable patience sows vices, breeds carelessness, and invites the good as well as the bad to do evil.
Jerome: Some copies add here the words, without cause; but by the true reading (ed. note: Vid. also in Ep 4,31. Augustine says the same speaking of Greek codd. Retract. i. 19. Cassian rejects it too, Institut. viii. 20. Erasmus, Bengel. follow. vid. Wetstein. in loc. who would keep the word on the ground of a "consensus," of Greek and Latin Fathers and Versions. There is an agreement of existed MSS. also.) the precept is made unconditional, and anger altogether forbidden. For when we are told to pray for them that persecute us, all occasion of anger is taken away. The words "without cause" then must be erased, for "the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God."
Pseudo-Chrys.: Yet that anger which arises from just cause is indeed not anger, but a sentence of judgment. For anger properly means a feeling of passion; but he whose anger arises from just cause does not suffer any passion, and is rightly said to sentence, not to be angry with.
Aug., Retract., i, 19: This also we affirm should be taken into consideration, what is being angry with a brother; for he is not angry with a brother who is angry at his offence. He then it is who is angry without cause, who is angry with his brother, and not with the offence.
Aug., City of God, book 14, ch. 9: But to be angry with a brother to the end that he may be corrected, there is (p. 177) no man of sound mind who forbids. Such sort of motions as come of love of good and of holy charity, are not to be called vices when they follow right reason.
Pseudo-Chrys.: But I think that Christ does not speak of anger of the flesh, but anger of the heart; for the flesh cannot be so disciplined as not to feel the passion. When then a man is angry but refrains from doing what his anger prompts him, his flesh is angry, but his heart is free from anger.
Aug., Serm. in Mont., i, 9: And there is this same distinction between the first case here put by the Saviour and the second: in the first case there is one thing, the passion; in the second two, anger and speech following thereupon, "He who saith to his brother, Raca, is in danger of the council." Some seek the interpretation of this word in the Greek, and think that "Raca" means ragged, from the Greek, a rag. But more probably it is not a word of any meaning, but a mere sound expressing the passion of the mind, which grammarians call an interjection, such as the cry of pain, 'hen.'
Chrys.: Or, Racha is a word signifying contempt, and worthlessness. For where we in speaking to servants or children say, Go thou, or, Tell thou him; in Syriac they would say Racha for 'thou.' For the Lord descends to the smallest trifles even of our behaviour, and bids us treat one another with mutual respect.
Jerome: Or, Racha is a Hebrew word signifying, 'empty,' 'vain;' as we might say in the common phrase of reproach, 'empty-pate.' Observe that He says brother; for who is our brother, but he who has the same Father as ourselves?
Pseudo-Chrys.: And it were an unworthy reproach to him who has in him the Holy Spirit to call him 'empty.'
Aug.: In the third case are three things; anger, the voice expressive of anger, and a word of reproach, "Thou fool." Thus here are three different degrees of sin; in the first when one is angry, but keeps the passion in his heart without giving any sign of it. If again he suffers any sound expressive of the passion to escape him, it is more than had he silently suppressed the rising anger; and if he speaks a word which conveys a direct reproach, it is a yet greater sin.
Pseudo-Chrys.: But as none is empty who has the Holy Spirit, so none is a fool who has the knowledge of Christ; and if Racha signifies 'empty,' it is one and the same thing, as far as the (p. 178) meaning of the word goes, to say Racha, or 'thou fool.'
But there is a difference in the meaning of the speaker; for Racha was a word in common use among the Jews, not expressing wrath or hate, but rather in a light careless way expressing confident familiarity, not anger. But you will perhaps say, if Racha is not an expression of wrath, how is it then a sin? Because it is said for contention, not for edification; and if we ought not to speak even good words but for the sake of edification, how much more not such as are in themselves bad?
Aug.: Here we have three arraignments, the judgement, the council, and hell-fire, being different stages ascending from the lesser to the greater. For in the judgment there is yet opportunity for defence; to the council belongs the respite of the sentence, what time the judges confer among themselves what sentence ought to be inflicted; in the third, hell-fire, condemnation is certain, and the punishment fixed. Hence is seen what a difference is between the righteousness of the Pharisees and Christ; in the first, murder subjects a man to judgment; in the second, anger alone, which is the least of the three degrees of sin.
Rabanus: The Saviour here names the torments of hell, Gehenna, a name thought to be derived from a valley consecrated to idols near Jerusalem, and filled of old with dead bodies, and defiled by Josiah, as we read in the Book of Kings.
Chrys.: This is the first mention of hell, though the kingdom of Heaven had been mentioned some time before, which shews that the gifts of the one come of His love, the condemnation of the other of our sloth.
Many thinking this a punishment too severe for a mere word, say that this was said figuratively. But I fear that if we thus cheat ourselves with words here, we shall suffer punishment in deed there. Think not then this too heavy a punishment, when so many sufferings and sins have their beginning in a word; a little word has often begotten a murder, and overturned whole cities. And yet it is not to be thought a little word that denies a brother reason and understanding by which we are men, and differ from the brutes.
Pseudo-Chrys.: "In danger of the council;" that is, (according to the interpretation given by the Apostles in the Constitutions,) (p. 179) in danger of being one of that Council which condemned Christ. (ed. note, e: This remark is not found in the Apostolical Constitutions as we now have them. The text in question, however, is quoted in ii. 32 and 50. So again the comment on Matt. vi. 3. is not found in the Constitutions, though the text is quoted. vid. Coteler, in Constit. iii. 14. The passage quoted in Matt. xxvi. 18, is found in Constit. viii. 2. vid. also Usser. Dissert. ix. Pearson. Vind. Ign. p. 1. c. 4 fin.)
Hilary: Or, he who reproaches with emptiness one full of the Holy Spirit, will be arraigned in the assembly of the Saints, and by their sentence will be punished for an affront against that Holy Spirit Himself.
Aug.: Should any ask what greater punishment is reserved for murder, if evil-speaking is visited with hell-fire? This obliges us to understand, that there are degrees in hell.
Chrys.: Or, "the judgment," and "the council" denote punishment in this word; "hell-fire" future punishment. He denounces punishment against anger, yet does not mention any special punishment, shewing therein that it is not possible that a man should be altogether free from the passion. The Council here means the Jewish senate, for He would not seem to be always superseding all their established institutions, and introducing foreign. (ed. note, f: In this quotation only the last sentence is found in Chrys.)
Aug.: In all these three sentences there are some words understood. In the first indeed, as many copies read "without cause," there is nothing to be supplied. In the second, "He who saith to his brother, Racha," we must supply the words, "without cause;" and again, in "He who says, Thou fool," two things are understood, "to his brother," and, "without cause." All this forms the defence of the Apostle, when he calls the Galatians fools, though he considers them his brethren; for he did it not without cause.
Golden Chain 3517