Golden Chain 5645
5645 (Mt 26,45-46)
Hilary: After His persevering prayer, after His (p. 914) departures and several returns, He takes away their fear, restores their confidence, and exhorts them to "sleep on, and take their rest."
Chrys.: Indeed it behoved them to watch, but He said this to shew that the prospect of coming evils was more than they would bear, that He had no need of their aid, and that it must needs be that He should be delivered up.
Hilary: Or, He bids them "sleep on, and take their rest," because He now confidently awaited His Father's will concerning the disciples, concerning which He had said, "Thy will be done," and in obedience to which He drunk the cup that was to pass from Him to us, diverting upon Himself the weakness of our body, the terrors of dismay, and even the pains of death itself.
Origen: Or, the sleep He now bids His disciples take is of a different sort from that which is related above to have befallen them. Then He found them sleeping, not taking repose, but because their eyes were heavy, but now they are not merely to sleep, but to "take their rest," that this order may be rightly observed, namely, that we first watch with prayer that we enter not into temptation, and afterwards sleep and take our rest, when having "found a place for the Lord, a tabernacle for the God of Jacob," we may "go up into our bed, and give sleep to our eyes." (Ps 132,3)
It may be also that the soul, unable to sustain a continual energy by reason of its union with the flesh, may blamelessly admit some relaxations, which may be the moral interpretation of slumbers, and then again after due time be quickened to new energy.
Hilary: And whereas, when He returned and found them sleeping, He rebukes them the first time, the second time says nothing, the third time bids them take their rest; the interpretation of this is, that at the first after His resurrection, when He finds them dispersed, distrustful, and timorous, He rebukes them; the second time, when their eyes were heavy to look upon the liberty of the Gospel, He visited them, sending them the Spirit, the Paraclete; for, held back by attachment to the Law, they slumbered in respect of faith; but the third time, when He shall come in His glory, He shall restore them to quietness and confidence.
Origen: When He had roused them from sleep, seeing in the Spirit Judas drawing near to betray Him, though the disciples could not yet see him, He (p. 915) says, "Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners."
Chrys.: The words, "the hour is at hand," point out that all that has been done was by Divine interference; and that, "into the hands of sinners," shew that this was the work of their wickedness, not that He was guilty of any crime.
Origen: And even now Jesus "is betrayed into the hands of sinners," when those who seem to believe in Jesus, continue to sin while they have Him in their hands. Also whenever a righteous man, who has Jesus in Him, is put into the power of sinners, Jesus is delivered into the hands of sinners.
Jerome: Having concluded His third prayer, and having obtained that the Apostles' terror should be corrected by subsequent penitence, He goes forth undaunted by the prospect of His own Passion to meet His pursuers, and offers Himself voluntarily to be sacrificed.
"Arise, let us be going;" as much as to say, Let them not find you trembling, let us go forth willingly to death, that they may see us confident and rejoicing in suffering; "Lo, he that shall betray me draweth near."
Origen: He says not, Draws near to thee, for indeed the traitor was not near Him, but had removed himself far off through his sins.
Aug., de Cons. Ev., iii, 4: This speech as Matthew has it seems self-contradictory. For how could He say, "Sleep on, and take your rest," and immediately continue, "Rise, let us be going." This contradiction some have endeavoured to reconcile by supposing the words, "Sleep on, and take your rest," to be an ironical rebuke, and not a permission; it might be rightly so taken if need were. But as Mark records it, when He had said, "Sleep on, and take your rest," He added, "it is enough," and then continued, "The hour is come, behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners;" (Mc 14,41) we clearly understand the Lord to have been silent some time after He had said, "Sleep on," to allow of their doing so, and then after some interval to have roused them with, "Behold, the hour is at hand." And as Mark fills up the sense with, "it is enough," that is, ye have had rest enough.
5647 (Mt 26,47-50)
(p. 916) Gloss., non occ.: Having said above that the Lord offered Himself of His own accord to His pursuers, the Evangelist proceeds to relate how He was seized by them.
Remig.: "One of the twelve," by association of name, not of desert. This shews the monstrous wickedness of the man who from the dignity of the Apostleship became the traitor. To shew that it was out of envy that they seized Him, it is added, "A great multitude sent by the Chief Priests and elders of the people."
Origen: Some may say that a great multitude came, because of the great multitude of those who already believed, who, they feared, might rescue Him out of their hands; but I think there is another reason for this, and that is, that they who thought that He cast out daemons through Beelzebub, supposed that by some magic He might escape the hands of those who sought to hold Him. Even now do many fight against Jesus with spiritual weapons, to wit, with divers and shifting dogmas concerning God.
It deserves enquiry why, when He was known by face to all who dwelt in Judaea, he should have given them a sign, as though they were unacquainted with His person. But a tradition to this effect has come down to us, that not only had He two different forms, one under which He appeared to men, the other into which He was transfigured before His disciples in the mount, but also that He appeared to each man in such degree as the beholder was worthy; in like manner as we read of the manna, that it had a flavour adapted to every variety of use, and as the word of God shews not alike to all. They (p. 917) required therefore a sign by reason of this His transfiguration.
Chrys.: Or, because whenever they had hitherto attempted to seize Him, He had escaped them they knew not how; as also He might then have done had He been so minded.
Raban.: The Lord suffered the traitor's kiss, not to teach us to dissemble, but that He might not seem to shrink from His betrayal.
Origen: If it be asked why Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss, according to some it was because He desired to keep up the reverence due to his Master, and did not dare to make an open assault upon Him; according to others, it was out of fear that if he came as an avowed enemy, be might be the cause of His escape, which he believed Jesus had it in His power to effect.
But I think that all betrayers of truth love to assume the guise of truth, and to use the sign of a kiss. Like Judas also, all heretics call Jesus Rabbi, and receive from Him mild answer.
"And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come?" He says, "Friend," upbraiding his hypocrisy; for in Scripture we never find this term of address used to any of the good, but as above, "Friend, how camest thou in hither?" (Mt 22,12) and, "Friend, I do thee no wrong." (Mt 20,13)
Aug., non occ.: He says, "Wherefore art thou come?" as much as to say, Thy kiss is a snare for Me; I know wherefore thou art come; thou feignest thyself My friend, being indeed My betrayer.
Remig.: Or, after "Friend, for what thou art come," that do, is understood. "Then came they, and laid their hands on Jesus, and held him."
"Then," that is, when He suffered them, for ofttimes they would have done it, but were not able.
Pseudo-Aug., Serm. de Symb. ad Catech. 6: Exult, Christian, you have gained by this bargain of your enemies; what Judas sold, and what the Jews bought, belongs to you.
5651 (Mt 26,51-54)
(p. 918) Chrys., Hom. lxxxiv: So Luke relates, the Lord had said to His disciples at supper, "He that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip; and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one;" (Lc 22,36) and the disciples answered, "Lo, here are two swords."
It was natural that there should be swords there for the paschal lamb which they had been eating. Hearing then that the pursuers were coming to apprehend Christ, when they went out from supper they took these swords, as though to fight in defence of their Master against His pursuers.
Jerome: In another Gospel (marg. note: Jn 18,19), Peter is represented as having done this, and with his usual hastiness; and that the servant's name was Malchus, and that the ear was the right ear. In passing we may say, that Malchus, i.e. one who should have been king of the Jews, was made the slave of the ungodliness and the greediness of the Priests, and lost his right ear so that he might hear only the worthlessness of the letter in his left.
Origen: For though they seem even now to hear the Law, yet is it only with the left ear that they hear the shadow of a tradition concerning the Law, and not the truth. The people of the Gentiles is signified by Peter; for by believing in Christ, they become the cause of cutting off the Jews' right ear.
Raban.: Or, Peter does not take away the sense of understanding from them that hear, but opens to the careless that which by a divine sentence was taken away from them; but this same right ear is restored to its original function in those who out of this nation believed.
Hilary: Otherwise; The ear of the High Priest's servant is cut off by the Apostle, that is, Christ's disciple cuts off the disobedient hearing of a people which were the slaves of the Priesthood, the ear which had refused to hear is cut off so that it is no longer capable of hearing.
Leo, Serm. 22: The Lord of the zealous (p. 919) Apostle will not suffer his pious feeling to proceed further, "Then saith Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place." For it was contrary to the sacrament of our redemption that He, who had come to die for all, should refuse to be apprehended. He gives therefore licence to their fury against Him, lest by putting off the triumph of His glorious Cross, the dominion of the Devil should be made longer, and the captivity of men more enduring.
Raban.: It behoved also that the Author of grace should teach the faithful patience by His own example, and should rather train them to endure adversity with fortitude, than incite them to self-defence.
Chrys.: To move the disciple to this, He adds a threat, saying, "All they that take the sword, shall perish by the sword."
Aug., cont. Faust., xxii, 70: That is, every one who uses the sword. And he uses the sword, who, without the command or sanction of any superior, or legitimate authority, arms himself against man's life. For truly the Lord had given commandment to His disciples to take the sword, but not to smite with the sword. Was it then at all unbeseeming that Peter after this sin should become ruler of the Church, as Moses after smiting the Egyptian was made ruler and chief of the Synagogue? For both transgressed the rule not through hardened ferocity, but through a warmth of spirit capable of good; both through hatred of the injustice of others; both sinned through love, the one for his brother, the other for his Lord, though a carnal love.
Hilary: But all who use the sword do not perish by the sword; of those who have used the sword either judicially, or in self-defence against robbers, fever or accident carries off the greater part. Though if according to this every one who uses the sword shall perish by the sword, justly was the sword now drawn against those who were using the same for the promotion of crime.
Jerome: With what sword then shall he perish, that takes the sword? By that fiery sword which waves before the gate of paradise, and that sword of the Spirit which is described in the armour of God.
Hilary: The Lord then bids him return his sword into its sheath, because He would destroy them by no weapon of man, but by the sword of His mouth.
Remig.: Otherwise; Every one who uses the sword to put man to death perishes first by the sword of his own wickedness. (p. 920)
Chrys.: He not only soothed His disciples, by this declaration of punishment against His enemies, but convinced them that it was voluntarily that He suffered, "Thinkest thou that I cannot pray to my Father, &c." Because He had shewn many qualities of human infirmity, He would have seemed to say what was incredible, if He had said that He had power to destroy them, therefore He says, "Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father?"
Jerome: That is to say, I need not the aid of the Apostles, though all the twelve should fight for me, seeing I could have twelve legions of the Angelic army. The complement of a legion among the ancients was six thousand men; twelve legions then are seventy-two thousand Angels, being as many as the divisions of the human race and language.
(ed. note: It was generally supposed that in the dispersion at Babel, mankind was divided into seventy-two nations, each speaking a different language. For that is the number of the heads of families enumerated in the genealogy, in Gen. xi. See Aug. de Civ. Dei, xvi. 6.)
Origen: This shews that the armies of heaven have divisions into legions like earthly armies, in the warfare of the Angels against the legions of the daemons. This He said not as though He needed the aid of the Angels, but speaking in accordance with the supposition of Peter, who sought to give Him assistance. Truly the Angels have more need of the help of the Only-begotten Son of God, than He of theirs.
Remig.: We might also understand by the Angels the Roman armies, for with Titus and Vespasian all languages had risen against Judaea, and that was fulfilled, "The whole world shall fight for him against those foolish men." (Sg 5,21)
Chrys.: And He quiets their fears not thus only, but by reference to Scripture, "How then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled that thus it must be?"
Jerome: This speech shews a mind willing to suffer; vainly would the Prophets have prophesied truly, unless the Lord asserts their truth by His suffering.
5655 (Mt 26,55-58)
(p. 921) Origen: Having commanded Peter to put up his sword, which was an instance of patience, and having (as another Evangelist writes (marg. note: Lc 22,51)) healed the ear that was cut off, which waS an instance of the greatest mercy, and of Divine power, it now follows, "In that hour said Jesus to the multitudes, (to the end that if they could not remember His past goodness, they might at least confess His present,) Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me?"
Remig.: As much as to say, Robbers assault and study concealment; I have injured no one, but have healed many, and have ever taught in your synagogues.
Jerome: It is folly then to seek with swords and staves Him who offers Himself to your hands, and with a traitor to hunt out, as though lurking under cover of night, one who is daily teaching in the temple.
Chrys.: They did not lay hands on Him in the temple because they feared the multitude, therefore also the Lord went forth that He might give them place and opportunity to take Him. This then teaches them, that if He had not suffered them of His own free choice, they would never have had strength to take Him. Then the Evangelist assigns the reason why the Lord was willing to be taken, adding, "All this was done that the Scriptures of the Prophets might be fulfilled."
Jerome: "They pierced my hands and my feet;" (Ps 22,16) and in another place, "He is led as a sheep to the slaughter;" and, "By the iniquities of my people was He led to death." (Is 53,7-8)
Remig.: For because all the Prophets had foretold Christ's Passion, he does not cite any particular place, but says generally that the prophecies of all the Prophets were being fulfilled.
Chrys.: The disciples who had remained (p. 922) when the Lord was apprehended, fled when He spoke these things to the multitudes, "Then all the disciples forsook him and fled;" for they then understood that He could not escape but rather gave Himself up voluntarily.
Remig.: In this act is shewn the Apostles' frailty; in the first ardour of their faith they had promised to die with Him, but in their fear they forgot their promise and fled. The same we may see in those who undertake to do great things for the love of God, but fail to fulfil what they undertake; they ought not to despair, but to rise again with the Apostles, and recover themselves by penitence.
Raban.: Mystically, As Peter, who by tears washed away the sin of his denial, figures the recovery of those who lapse in time of martyrdom; so the flight of the other disciples suggests the precaution of flight to such as feel themselves unfit to endure torments.
Aug., de Cons. Ev., iii, 6: "They that had laid hold on Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas the High Priest." But He was first taken to Annas, father-in-law to Caiaphas, as John relates. And He was taken bound, there being with that multitude a tribune and cohort, as John also records. (Jn 18,12)
Jerome: But Josephus writes (ed. note: "Josephus (Ant. xviii. 3 and 4,) twice mentions this Caiaphas as the successor of Simon the son of Camithes, but we do not find that he purchased the High Priesthood of Herod." Vallarsi.), that this Caiaphas had purchased the priesthood of a single year, notwithstanding that Moses, at God's command, had directed that High Priests should succeed hereditarily, and that in the Priests likewise succession by birth should be followed up. No wonder then that an unrighteous High Priest should judge unrighteously.
Raban.: And the action suits his name; Caiaphas, i.e. 'contriving,' or, 'politic,' to execute his villainy; or 'vomiting from his mouth,' because of his audacity in uttering a lie, and bringing about the murder. They took Jesus thither, that they might do all advisedly; as it follows, "Where the Scribes and the Elders were assembled."
Origen: Where Caiaphas the High Priest is, there are assembled the Scribes, that is, the men of the letter (marg. note: literati), who preside over the letter that killeth; and Elders, not in truth, but in the obsolete ancientness of the letter.
It follows, "Peter followed Him afar off," He would neither keep close to Him, nor altogether leave Him, but "followed afar off." (p. 923)
Chrys.: Great was the zeal of Peter, who fled not when He saw the others fly, but remained, and entered in. For though John also went in, yet he was known to the Chief Priest. He "followed afar off," because he was about to deny his Lord.
Remig.: For had he kept close to his Lord's side, he could never have denied Him. This also shews that Peter should follow his Lord's Passion, that is, imitate it.
Aug., Quaest. Ev., i, 46: And also that the Church should follow, i.e. imitate, the Lord's Passion, but with great difference. For the Church suffers for itself, but Christ for the Church.
Jerome: He went in, either out of the attachment of a disciple, or natural curiosity, seeking to know what sentence the High Priest would pass, whether death, or scourging.
5659 (Mt 26,59-68)
(p. 924) Chrys.: When the Chief Priests were thus assembled, this conventicle of ruffians sought to give their conspiracy the character of a legal trial. But it was entirely a scene of confusion and uproar, as what follows shews, "Though many false witnesses came, yet found they none."
Origen: False witnesses have place when there is any good colour for their testimony. But no pretext was found which could further their falsehoods against Jesus; notwithstanding there were many desirous to do a favour to the Chief Priests. This then is a great testimony in favour of Jesus, that He had lived and taught so irreproachably, that though they were many, and crafty, and wicked, they could find no semblance of fault in Him.
Jerome: "At last came two false witnesses." How are they false witnesses, when they repeat only what we read that the Lord spoke? A false witness is one who takes what is said in a different sense from that in which it was said. Now this the Lord had spoken of the temple of His Body, and they cavil at His expressions, and by a slight change and addition produce a plausible charge. The Lord's words were, "Destroy this temple;" (Jn 2,19) this they make into, I can destroy the Temple of God. He said, "Destroy," not, I will destroy, because it is unlawful to lay hands on ourselves.
Also they phrased it, "And build it again," making it apply to the temple of the Jews; but the Lord had said, "And I will raise it up again," thus clearly pointing out a living and breathing temple. For to build again, and to raise again, are two different things.
Chrys.: Why did they not bring forward now His breaking the Sabbath? Because He had so often (p. 925) confuted them on this point.
Jerome: Headlong and uncontrolled rage, unable to find even a false accusation, moves the High Priest from his throne, the motion of his body shewing the emotion of his mind.
"And the High Priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing to the things which these witness against Thee?"
Chrys.: He said this with a design to draw from Him some indefensible answer which might be made a snare for Him. But "Jesus held his peace," for defence had availed nothing when none would listen to it. For here was only a mockery of justice, it was in truth nothing more than the anarchy of a den of robbers.
Origen: This place teaches us to contemn the clamours of slanderers and false witnesses, and not to consider those who speak unbeseeming things of us worthy of an answer; but then, above all, when it is greater to be manfully and resolutely silent, than to plead our cause in vain.
Jerome: For as God, He knew that whatever He said would be twisted into an accusation against Him. But at this His silence before false witnesses and ungodly Priests, the High Priest was exasperated, and summons Him to answer, that from any thing He says he may raise a charge against Him.
Origen: Under the Law, we do indeed find many instances of this adjuration; but I judge that a man who would live according to the Gospel should not adjure another; for if we are not permitted to swear, surely not to adjure. (marg. note: Nb 5,19 1R 22,16)
But he that regards Jesus commanding the daemons, and giving His disciples power over them, will say, that to address the daemons by the power given by the Saviour, is not to adjure them. But the High Priest did sin in laying a snare for Jesus; imitating his father, who twice asked the Saviour, "If thou be Christ the Son of God." Hence one might rightly say, that to doubt concerning the Son of God, whether Christ be He, is the work of the Devil. It was not fit that the Lord should answer the High Priest's adjuration as though under compulsion, wherefore He neither denied nor confessed Himself to be the Son of God. For he was not worthy to be the object of Christ's teaching, therefore He does not instruct him, but taking up his own words retorts them upon him. This sitting of the Son of Man seems to me to denote a certain regal security; by the power of God, Who is the only power, is He securely seated to Whom (p. 926) is given by His Father all power in heaven as in earth.
And there will come a time when the enemies shall see this establishment. Indeed this has begun to be fulfilled from the earliest time of the dispensation; for the disciples saw Him rising from the dead, and thereby saw Him seated on the right band of power.
Or, In respect of that eternity of duration which is with God, from the beginning of the world to the end of it is but one day; it is therefore no wonder that the Saviour here says, "Shortly," signifying that there is but short time before the end come. He prophesies moreover, that they should not only see Him "sitting at the right hand of power," but also "coming in the clouds of heaven." These clouds are the Prophets and Apostles, whom He commands to rain when it is required, they are the clouds that pass not away, but "bearing the image of the heavenly," (1Co 15,49) are worthy to be the throne of God, as "heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ." (Rm 8,17)
Jerome: The same fury which drew the High Priest from his seat, impels him now to rend his clothes; for so it was customary with the Jews to do whenever they heard any blasphemy, or any thing against God.
Chrys.: This He did to give weight to the accusation, and to confirm by deeds what He taught in words.
Jerome: And by this rending his garments, he shews that the Jews have lost the priestly glory, and that their High Priest's throne was vacant. For by rending his garment he rent the veil of the Law which covered him.
Chrys.: Then, after rending his garment, he did not give sentence of himself, but asked of others, saying, "What think ye?" As was always done in undeniable cases of sin, and manifest blasphemy, and as by force driving them to a certain opinion, he anticipates the answer, "What need we any further witnesses? Behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy."
What was this blasphemy? For before He had interpreted to them as they were gathered together that text, "The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand," (Mt 22,44) and they had held their peace, and had not contradicted Him. How then do they call what He now says blasphemy? "They answered and said, He is guilty of death," the same persons at once accusers, examiners, and sentencers.
Origen: How great their error! to pronounce the principle of all men's life to be guilty of death, and not to acknowledge by (p. 927) the testimony of the resurrection of so many, the Fount of life, from Whom life flows to all that rise again.
Chrys., Hom. lxxxv: As hunters who have started their game, so they exhibit a wild and drunken exultation.
Jerome: "They spit in his face, and buffeted him," to fulfil the prophecy of Esaias, "I gave my cheek to the smiters, and turned not away my face from shame and spitting." (Is 50,6)
Gloss., ord.: "Prophesy unto us" is said in ridicule of His claim to be held as a Prophet by the people.
Jerome: But it would have been foolish to have answered them that smote Him, and to have declared the smiter, seeing that in their madness they seem to have struck Him openly.
Chrys.: Observe how circumstantially the Evangelist recounts all those particulars even which seem most disgraceful, hiding or extenuating nothing, but thinking it the highest glory that the Lord of the earth should endure such things for us. This let us read continually, let us imprint in our minds, and in these things let us boast.
Aug., Quaest. Ev., i, 44: That, "they did spit in his face," signifies those who reject His proffered grace. They likewise buffet Him who prefer their own honour to Him; and they smite Him on the face, who, blinded with unbelief, affirm that He is not yet come, disowning and rejecting His person.
5669 (Mt 26,69-75)
(p. 928) Aug., de Cons. Ev., iii, 6: Among the other insults offered to our Lord was the threefold denial of Peter, which the several Evangelists relate in different order. Luke puts Peter's trial first, and the ill-usage of the Lord after that; Matthew and Mark reverse the order.
Jerome: "Peter sat without," that he might see the event, and not excite suspicion by any approach to Jesus.
Chrys.: And he, who, when he saw his Master laid hands on, drew his sword and cut off the ear, now when he sees Him enduring such insults becomes a denier, and cannot withstand the taunts of a mean servant girl.
"A damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee."
Raban.: What means this, that a handmaid is the first to tax him, when men would be more likely to recognise him, except that this sex might seem to sin somewhat in the Lord's death, that they might be redeemed by His passion? "He denied before them all," because he was afraid to reveal himself; that he said, "I know not," shews that he was not yet willing to die for the Saviour.
Leo, Serm. 60, 4: For this reason it should seem he was permitted to waver, that the remedy of penitence might be exhibited in the head of the Church, and that none should dare to trust in his own strength, when even the blessed Peter could not escape the danger of frailty.
Chrys.: But not once, but twice and thrice did he deny within a short time.
Aug.: We understand that having gone out after his first denial, the cock crowed the first time as Mark relates.
Chrys.: To shew that the sound did not keep him from denial, nor bring his promise to mind.
Aug.: The second denial was not outside the door, but after he had returned to the fire; for the second maid did not see him after he had gone out, but as he was going out; his getting up to go out drew her attention, and she said to them that were there, that is, to those that were (p. 929) standing round the fire in the hall, "The fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth." He who had gone out, having heard this returned, that he might by denial vindicate himself. Or, as is more likely, he did not hear what was said of him as he went out, but it was after he came back that the maid, and the other man whom Luke mentions, said to him, "And thou also art one of them."
Jerome: "And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man." I know that some out of a feeling of piety towards the Apostle Peter have interpreted this place to signify that Peter denied the Man and not the God, as though he meant, 'I do not know the Man, because I know the God.' But the intelligent reader will see that this is trifling, for if he denied not, the Lord spoke falsely when He said, "Thou shalt deny me thrice."
(ed. note: e.g. S. Ambrose (in ) says, He well denied him as man, for he knew him as God." And S. Hilary, (in loc.) "Almost without sin did he now deny the man, who had been the first to acknowledge him as Son of God; yet seeing through infirmity of the flesh, he had at least doubted, he therefore wept bitterly when he remembered that he had not been able, even after warning, to avoid the sin of that fearfulness.")
Ambrose, in Luc., 22, 57: I had rather that Peter deny, than that the Lord be made out false.
Raban.: In this denial of Peter we affirm that Christ is denied not only by him who denies that He is Christ, but who denies himself to be a Christian.
Aug.: Let us now come to the third denial; "And after a while came they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them," (Luke's words are, "About the space of one hour after, (Lc 22,59)) for thy speech bewrayeth thee."
Jerome: Not that Peter was of a different speech or nation, but a Hebrew as his accusers were; but every province and every district has its peculiarities, and he could not disguise his native pronunciation.
Remig.: Observe how baneful are communications with evil men; they even drove Peter to deny the Lord whom be had before confessed to be the Son of God.
Raban.: Observe, that he said the first time, "I know not what thou sayest;" the second time, "He denied with an oath;" the third time, "He began to curse and to swear that he knew not the man." For to persevere in sinning increases sinfulness, and he who disregards light sins, falls into greater.
Remig.: Spiritually; By Peter's denial before the cock-crow (p. 930), are denoted those who before Christ's resurrection did not believe Him to be God, being perplexed by His death. In his denial after the first cock-crow, are denoted those who are in error concerning both Christ's natures, His human and divine. By the first handmaid is signified desire; by the second, carnal delight; by them that stood by, the daemons; for by them men are led to a denial of Christ.
Origen: Or, By the first handmaid is understood the Synagogue of the Jews, which oft compelled the faithful to deny; by the second, the congregations of the Gentiles, who even persecuted the Christians; they that stood in the hall signify the ministers of divers heresies, who also compel men to deny the truth of Christ.
Aug., Quaest. Ev., i, 45: Also Peter thrice denied, because heretical error concerning Christ is limited to three kinds; they are in error respecting His divinity, His humanity, or both.
Raban.: After the third denial comes the cock-crow; by which we may understand a Doctor of the Church who with chiding rouses the slumbering, saying, "Awake, ye righteous, and sin not." (1Co 15,14) Thus Holy Scripture uses to denote the merit of divers cases (marg. note: meritum causarum) by fixed periods, as Peter sinned at midnight and repented at cock-crow.
Jerome: In another Gospel we read, that after Peter's denial and thee cock-crow, the Saviour "looked upon Peter," (Lc 22,61) and by His look called forth those bitter tears; for it might not be that he on whom the Light of the world had looked should continue in the darkness of denial, wherefore, "he went out, and wept bitterly." For he could not do penitence sitting in Caiaphas' hall, but went forth from the assembly of the wicked, that he might wash away in bitter tears the pollution of his timid denial.
Leo, Serm. 60, 4: Blessed tears, O holy Apostle, which had the virtue of holy Baptism in washing off the sin of thy denial. The right hand of the Lord Jesus Christ was with thee to hold thee up before thou wast quite thrown down, and in the midst of thy perilous fall, thou receivedst strength to stand. The Rock quickly returned to its stability, recovering so great fortitude, that he who in Christ's passion had quailed, should endure his own subsequent suffering with fearlessness and constancy.
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