Golden Chain 4331
4331 (Mt 13,31-32)
Chrys.: Seeing the Lord had said above that three parts of the seed perish, and one only is preserved, and of that one part there is much loss by reason of the tares that are sown upon it; that none might say, Who then and how many shall they be that believe; He removes this cause of fear by the parable of the mustard seed.
Therefore it is said, "Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like unto a grain of mustard seed."
Jerome: The kingdom of heaven is the preaching of the Gospel, and the knowledge of the Scriptures which leads to life, concerning which it is said to the Jews, "The kingdom of God shall be taken from you." (Mt 21,43) It is the kingdom of heaven thus understood which is likened to a grain of mustard seed.
Aug., Quaest in Ev., i, 11: A grain of mustard seed may allude to the warmth of faith, (p. 503) or to its property as antidote to poison.
It follows; "Which a man took and sowed in his field."
Jerome: The man who sows is by most understood to be the Saviour, who sows the seed in the minds of believers; by others the man himself who sows in his field, that is, in his own heart. Who indeed is he that soweth, but our own mind and understanding, which receiving the grain of preaching, and nurturing it by the dew of faith, makes it to spring up in the field of our own breast?
"Which is the least of all seeds." The Gospel preaching is the least of all the systems of the schools; at first view it has not even the appearance of truth, announcing a man as God, God put to death, and proclaiming the offence of the cross. Compare this teaching with the dogmas of the Philosophers, with their books, the splendour of their eloquence, the polish of their style, and you will see how the seed of the Gospel is the least of all seeds.
Chrys.: Or; The seed of the Gospel is the least of seeds, because the disciples were weaker than the whole of mankind; yet forasmuch as there was great might in them, their preaching spread throughout the whole world.
And therefore it follows, "But when it is grown it is the greatest among herbs," that is among dogmas.
Aug.: Dogmas are the decisions of sects (margin note: placita sectarum), the points, that is, that they have determined.
Jerome: For the dogmas of Philosophers when they have grown up, shew nothing of life or strength, but watery and insipid they grow into grasses and other greens, which quickly dry up and wither away. But the Gospel preaching, though it seem small in its beginning, when sown in the mind of the hearer, or upon the world, comes up not a garden herb, but a tree, so that the birds of the air (which we must suppose to be either the souls of believers or the Powers of God set free from slavery) come and abide in its branches. The branches of the Gospel tree which have grown of the grain of mustard seed, I suppose to signify the various dogmas in which each of the birds (as explained above) takes his rest. (margin note: Ps 55,6)
Let us then take the wings of the dove, that flying aloft we may dwell in the branches of this tree, and may make ourselves nests of doctrines, and soaring above earthly things may hasten towards heavenly.
Hilary: Or; The Lord compares Himself to a grain of mustard seed, (p. 504) sharp to the taste, and the least of all seeds, whose strength is extracted by bruising.
Greg., Mor., xix, 1: Christ Himself is the grain of mustard seed, who, planted in the garden of the sepulchre, grew up a great tree; He was a grain of seed when He died, and a tree when He rose again; a grain of seed in the humiliation of the flesh, a tree in the power of His majesty.
Hilary: This grain then when sown in the field, that is, when seized by the people and delivered to death, and as it were buried in the ground by a sowing of the body, grew up beyond the size of all herbs, and exceeded all the glory of the Prophets. For the preaching of the Prophets was allowed as it were herbs to a sick man; but now the birds of the air lodge in the branches of the tree. By which we understand the Apostles, who put forth of Christ's might, and overshadowing the world with their boughs, are a tree to which the Gentiles flee in hope of life, and having been long tossed by the winds, that is by the spirits of the Devil, may have rest in its branches.
Greg.: "The birds lodge in its branches," when holy souls that raise themselves aloft from thoughts of earth on the wings of the virtues, breathe again from the troubles of this life in their words and comfortings.
4333 (Mt 13,33)
Chrys.: The same thing the Lord sets forth in this parable of the leaven; as much as to say to His disciples, As leaven changes into its own kind much wheat-flour, so shall ye change the whole world. Note here the wisdom of the Saviour; He first brings instances from nature, proving that as the one is possible so is the other. And He says not simply 'put,' but "hid;" as much as to say, So ye, when ye shall be cast down by your enemies, then ye shall overcome them. And so leaven is kneaded in, without being destroyed, but gradually changes all things into its own nature; so shall it come to pass with your preaching. Fear ye not then because I said that many tribulations shall come upon you, for so shall ye shine forth, and shall overcome (p. 505) them all.
He says, "three measures," to signify a great abundance; that definite number standing for an indefinite quantity.
Jerome: The 'saturn' is a kind of measure in use in Palestine containing one modius and a half.
Aug. Quaest. Ev., i, 12: Or, The leaven signifies love, because it causes activity and fermentation; by the woman He means wisdom. By the three measures He intends either those three things in man, with the whole heart, with the whole soul, with the whole mind; or the three degrees of fruitfulness, the hundred-fold, the sixty-fold, the thirty-fold; or those three kinds of men, Noe, Daniel, and Job.
Raban.: He says, "Until the whole was leavened," because that love implanted in our mind ought to grow until it changes the whole soul into its own perfection; which is begun here, but is completed hereafter.
Jerome: Or otherwise; The woman who takes the leaven and hides it, seems to me to be the Apostolic preaching, or the Church gathered out of divers nations. She takes the leaven, that is, the understanding of the Scriptures, and hides it in three measures of meal, that the three, spirit, soul, and body, may be brought into one, and may not differ among themselves.
Or otherwise; We read in Plato (margin note: R. P., iv. 439.,,) that there are three parts in the soul, reason, anger, and desire; so we also if we have received the evangelic leaven of Holy Scripture, may possess in our reason prudence, in our anger hatred against vice, in our desire love of the virtues, and this will all come to pass by the Evangelic teaching which our mother Church has held out to us.
I will further mention an interpretation of some; that the woman is the Church, who has mingled the faith of man in three measures of meal, namely, belief in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; which when it has fermented into one lump, brings us not to a threefold God, but to the knowledge of one Divinity. This is a pious interpretation; but parables and doubtful solutions of dark things, can never bestow authority on dogmas.
Hilary: Or otherwise; The Lord compares Himself to leaven; for leaven is produced from meal, and communicates the power that it has received to a heap of its own kind. The woman, that is the Synagogue, taking this leaven hides it, that is by the sentence of death; but it working in the three measures (p. 506) of meal, that is equally in the Law, the Prophets, and the Gospels, makes all one; so that what the Law ordains, that the Prophets announce, that is fulfilled in the developments of the Gospels.
But many, as I remember, have thought that the three measures refer to the calling of the three nations, out of Shem, Ham, and Japhet. But 1 hardly think that the reason of the thing will allow this interpretation; for though these three nations have indeed been called, yet in them Christ is shewn and not hidden, and in so great a multitude of unbelievers the whole cannot be said to be leavened.
4334 (Mt 13,34-35)
Chrys., Hom., xlvii: After the foregoing parables, that none might think that Christ was bringing forward any thing new, the Evangelist quotes the Prophet, foretelling even this His manner of preaching: Mark's words are, "And with many such parables spake he the word unto them, as they were able to hear it." (Mc 4,33)
So marvel not that, in speaking of the kingdom, He uses the similitudes of a seed, and of leaven; for He was discoursing to common men, and who needed to be led forward by such aids.
Remig.: The Greek word 'Parable,' is rendered in Latin 'Similitude,' by which truth is explained; and an image or representation of the reality is set forth.
Jerome: Yet He spoke not in parables to the disciples, but to the multitude; and even to this day the multitude hears in parables; and therefore it is said, "And without a parable spake he not unto them."
Chrys.: For though He had spoken many things not in parables, when not speaking before the multitudes, yet at this time spake He nothing without a parable.
Aug., Quaest. in Matt., q. 15: Or, this is said, not in Matt that He uttered nothing in plain words but that He (p. 507) concluded no one discourse without introducing a parable in the course of it, though the chief part of the discourse might consist of matter not figurative. And we may indeed find discourses of His parabolical throughout, but none direct throughout. And by a complete discourse, I mean, the whole of what He says on any topic that may be brought before Him by circumstances, before He leaves it, and passes to a new subject.
For sometimes one Evangelist connects what another gives as spoken at different times; the writer having in such a case followed not the order of events, but the order of connexion in his own memory. The reason why He spake in parables the Evangelist subjoins, saying, "That it might be fulfilled that was spoken by the Prophet, saying, I will open my mouth. in parables, I will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world." (Ps 78,2)
Jerome: This passage is taken from the seventy-seventh Psalm. I have seen copies which read, 'by Esaias the Prophet,' instead of what we have adopted, and what the common text has by the Prophet.
Remig.: From which reading Porphyry took an objection to the believers; Such was your Evangelist's ignorance, that he imputed to Isaiah what is indeed found in the Psalms.
Jerome: But because the text was not found in Isaiah, his name was, I suppose, therefore erased by such as had observed that. But it seems to me that it was first written thus, 'As was written by Asaph the Prophet, saying,' for the seventy-seventh Psalm out of which this text is taken is ascribed to Asaph the Prophet; and that the copyist not understanding Asaph, and imputing it to error in the transcription, substituted the better known name Isaiah.
For it should be known that not David only, but those others also whose names are set before the Psalms, and hymns, and songs of God, are to be considered prophets, namely, Asaph, Idithum, and Heman the Esraite, and the rest who are named in Scripture. And so that which is spoken in the Lord's person, "I will open my mouth in parables," if considered attentively, will be found to be a description of the departure of Israel out of Egypt, and a relation of all the wonders contained in the history of Exodus.
By which we learn, that all that is there written may be taken in a (p. 508) figurative way, and contains hidden sacraments; for this is what the Saviour is there made to preface by the words, "I will open my mouth in parables."
Gloss., ap Anselm: As though He had said, I who spoke before by the Prophets, now in My own person will open My mouth in parables, and will bring forth out of My secret store mysteries which have been hidden ever since the foundation of the world.
Chrys.: The Lord had spoken to the multitude in parables, that He might induce them to ask Him of their meaning; yet, though He had spoken so many things in parables, no man had yet asked Him aught, and therefore He sends them away; "Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house." None of the Scribes followed Him here, from (p. 509) is which it is clear that they followed Him for no other purpose than that they might catch Him in His discourse.
Jerome: The Lord sends away the multitude, and enters the house that His disciples might come to Him and ask Him privately of those things which the people neither deserved to hear, nor were able.
Raban.: Figuratively; Having sent away the multitude of unquiet Jews, He enters the Church of the Gentiles, and there expounds to believers heavenly sacraments, whence it follows, "And his disciples came to him, saying, Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field."
Chrys.: Before, though desirous to learn, they had feared to ask; but now they ask freely and confidently because they had heard, "To you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of heaven;" and therefore they ask when alone, not envying the multitude to whom it was not so given. They pass over the parables of the leaven and the mustard-seed as plain; and ask concerning the parable of the tares, which has some agreement with the foregoing parable concerning the seed, and shews somewhat more than that.
And accordingly the Lord expounds it to them, as it follows, "He answered and said unto them, He that sows the good seed is the Son of man."
Remig.: The Lord styles Himself the Son of Man, that in that title He might set an example of humility; or perhaps because it was to come to pass that certain heretics would deny Him to be really man; or that through belief in His Humanity we might ascend to knowledge of His Divinity.
Chrys.: "The field is the world." Seeing it is He that sows His own field, it is plain that this present world is His. It follows, "The good seed are the children of the kingdom."
Remig.: That is, the saints, and elect men, who are counted as sons.
Aug., Cont. Faust., xviii, 7: The tares the Lord expounds to mean, not as Manichaeus interprets, certain spurious parts inserted among the true Scriptures, but all the children of the Evil one, that is, the imitators of the fraud of the Devil.
As it follows, "The tares are the children of the evil one," by whom He would have us understand all the wicked and impious.
Aug., Quaest. Ev., i, 10: For all weeds among corn are called tares.
Aug.: It follows, "The enemy who sowed this is the Devil."
Chrys.: For this is part of the wiles of the Devil, to be ever mixing (p. 510) up truth with error.
"The harvest is the end of the world."
In another place He says, speaking of the Samaritans, "Lift up your eyes, and consider the fields that they are already white for the harvest;" (Jn 4,35) and again, "The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few," (Lc 10,2) in which words He speaks of the harvest as being already present.
How then does He here speak of it as something yet to come? Because He has used the figure of the harvest in two significations;, as He says there that it is one that soweth, and another that reapeth; but here it is the same who both sows and reaps; indeed there He brings forward the Prophets, not to distinguish them from Himself, but from the Apostles, for Christ Himself by His Prophets sowed among the Jews and Samaritans.
The figure of harvest is thus applied to two different things. Speaking of first conviction and turning to the faith, He calls that the harvest, as that in which the whole is accomplished; but when He enquires into the fruits ensuing upon the hearing the word of God, then He calls the end of the world the harvest, as here.
Remig.: By the harvest is denoted the day of judgment, in which the good are to be separated from the evil; which will be done by the ministry of Angels, as it is said below, that the Son of Man shall come to judgment with His Angels.
"As then the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his Angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all offences, and them which do iniquity."
Aug., City of God, book xx, ch. 9: Out of that kingdom in which are no offences? The kingdom then is His kingdom which is here, namely, the Church.
Aug., Quaest. Ev., i, 10: That the tares are first separated, signifies that by tribulation the wicked shall be separated from the righteous; and this is understood to be performed by good Angels, because the good can discharge duties of punishment with a good spirit, as a judge, or as the Law, but the wicked cannot fulfil offices of mercy.
Chrys.: Or we may understand it of the kingdom of the heavenly Church; and then there will be held out here a two-fold punishment; first that they fall from glory as that is said, "And they shall gather out of his kingdom all offences," to the end, that no offences should be seen in His kingdom; and then that they (p. 511) are burned.
"And they shall cast them into a furnace of fire."
Jerome: The offences are to be referred to the tares.
Gloss., non occ.: "The offences", and, "them that do iniquity," are to be distinguished as heretics and schismatics; the "offences" referring to heretics; while by "them that do iniquity" are to be understood schismatics.
Otherwise; By "offences" may be understood those that give their neighbour an occasion of falling, by "those that do iniquity" all other sinners.
Raban.: Observe, He says, "Those that do iniquity," not, those who have done; because not they who have turned to penitence, but they only that abide in their sins are to be delivered to eternal torments.
Chrys.: Behold the unspeakable love of God towards men! He is ready to shew mercy, slow to punish; when He sows, He sows Himself; when He punishes, He punishes by others, sending His Angels to that.
It follows, "There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
Remig.: In these words is shewn the reality of the resurrection of the body; and further, the twofold pains of hell, extreme heat, and extreme cold. And as the offences are referred to the tares, so the righteous are reckoned among the children of the kingdom; concerning whom it follows, "Then the righteous shall shine as the sun in the kingdom of their Father." For in the present world the light of the saints shines before men, but after the consummation of all things, the righteous themselves shall shine as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.
Chrys.: Not that they shall not shine with higher brightness, but because we know no degree of brightness that surpasses that of the sun, therefore He uses an example adapted to our understanding.
Remig.: That He says, "Then shall they shine," implies that they now shine for an example to others, but they shall then shine as the sun to the praise of God. "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear."
Raban.: That is, Let him understand who has understanding, because all these things are to be understood mystically, and not literally.
4344 (Mt 13,44)
(p. 512) Chrys.: The foregoing parables of the leaven, and the grain of mustard-seed, are referred to the power of the Gospel preaching, which has subdued the whole world; in order to shew its value and splendour, He now puts forth parables concerning a pearl and a treasure, saying, "The kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field."
For the Gospel preaching is hidden in this world; and if, you do not sell your all you will not purchase it; and this you ought to do with joy.
Wherefore it follows, "which when a man hath found, he hideth it."
Hilary: This treasure is indeed found without cost; for the Gospel preaching is open to all, but to use and possess the treasure with its field we may not without price, for heavenly riches are not obtained without the loss of this world.
Jerome: That he hides it, does not proceed of envy towards others, but as one that treasures up what he would not lose, he hides in his heart that which he prizes above his former possessions.
Greg., Hom. in Ev., xi, 1: Otherwise; The treasure hidden in the field is the desire of heaven; the field in which the treasure is hidden is the discipline of heavenly learning; this, when a man finds, he hides, in order that he may preserve it; for zeal and affections heavenward it is not enough that we protect from evil spirits, if we do not protect from, human praises. For in this present life we are in the way which leads to our country, and evil spirits as robbers beset us in our journey.
Those therefore who carry their treasure openly, they seek to plunder in the way. When I say this, I do not mean that our neighbours should not see our works, but that in what we do, we should not seek praise from without. The kingdom of heaven is therefore compared to things of earth, that the mind may rise from things familiar to things unknown, and may learn to love the unknown by that which it knows is loved when known.
It follows, "And for joy thereof he goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field." He it is that selleth all he hath and buyeth the field, who, renouncing fleshly delights, tramples upon all his worldly desires in his anxiety for the heavenly discipline. (margin note: Col 2,3)
Jerome: Or, That treasure "in which are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge," is either God the Word, who seems hid in Christ's flesh, or the Holy (p. 513) Scriptures, in which are laid up the knowledge of the Saviour.
Aug., Quaest. in Ev., i, 13: Or, He speaks of the two testaments in The Church, which, when any hath attained to a partial understanding of, he perceives how great things lie hid there, and "goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that;" that is, by despising temporal things he purchases to himself peace, that he may be rich in the knowledge of God.
4345 (Mt 13,45-46)
Chrys.: The Gospel preaching not only offers manifold gain as a treasure, but is precious as a pearl; wherefore after the parable concerning the treasure, He gives that concerning the pearl. And in preaching, two things are required, namely, to be detached from the business of this life, and to be watchful, which are denoted by this merchant- man.
Truth moreover is one, and not manifold, and for this reason it is one pearl that is said to be found. And as one who is possessed of a pearl, himself indeed knows of his wealth, but is not known to others, ofttimes concealing it in his hand because of its small bulk, so it is in the preaching of the Gospel; they who possess it know that they are rich, the unbelievers, not knowing of this treasure, know not of our wealth.
Jerome: By the goodly pearls may be understood the Law and the Prophets. Hear then Marcion and Manichaeus; the good pearls are the Law and the Prophets. One pearl, the most precious of all, is the knowledge of the Saviour and the sacrament of His passion and resurrection, which when the merchantman has found, like Paul the Apostle, he straightway despises all the mysteries of the Law and the Prophets and the old observances in which he had lived blameless, counting them as dung that he may win Christ. (margin note: Ph 3,8) Not that the finding of a new pearl is the condemnation of the old pearls, but that in comparison of that, all other pearls are worthless.
Gregory, Hom. in Ev., xi, 2: Or by (p. 514) the pearl of price is to be understood the sweetness of the heavenly kingdom, which, he that hath found it, selleth all and buyeth. For he that, as far as is permitted, has had perfect knowledge of the sweetness of the heavenly life, readily leaves all things that he has loved on earth; all that once pleased him among earthly possessions now appears to have lost its beauty, for the splendour of that precious pearl is alone seen in his mind.
Aug., Quaest. in Matt., q. 13: Or, A man seeking goodly pearls has found one pearl of great price; that is, he who is seeking good men with whom he may live profitably, finds one alone, Christ Jesus, without sin; or, seeking precepts of life, by aid of which he may dwell righteously among men, finds love of his neighbour, in which one rule, the Apostle says (margin note: Rm 13,9), are comprehended all things; or, seeking good thoughts, he finds that Word in which all things are contained, "In the beginning was the Word," (Jn 1,1) which is lustrous with the light of truth, stedfast with the strength of eternity, and throughout like to itself with the beauty of divinity, and when we have penetrated the shell of the flesh, will be confessed as God.
But whichever of these three it may be, or if there be any thing else that can occur to us, that can be signified under the figure of the one precious pearl, its preciousness is the possession of ourselves, who are not free to possess it unless we despise all things that can be possessed in this world. For having sold our possessions, we receive no other return greater than ourselves, (for while we were involved in such things we were not our own,) that we may again give ourselves for that pearl, not because we are of equal value to that, but because we cannot give any thing more.
4347 (Mt 13,47-50)
(p. 551) Chrys.: In the foregoing parables He has commended the Gospel preaching; now, that we may not trust in preaching only, nor think that faith alone is sufficient for our salvation, He adds another fearful parable, saying, "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net cast into the sea."
Jerome: In fulfilment of that prophecy of Hieremias, who said, "I will send unto you many fishers," (Jr 16,16) when Peter and Andrew, James and John, heard the words, "Follow me, I will make you fishers of men," they put together a net for themselves formed of the Old and New Testaments, and cast it into the sea of this world, and that remains spread until this day, taking up out of the salt and bitter and whirlpools whatever falls into it, that is good men and bad; and this is that He adds, "And gathered of every kind."
Gregory, Hom. in Ev., xi. 4: Or otherwise; The Holy Church is likened to a net, because it is given into the hands of fishers, and by it each man is drawn into the heavenly kingdom out of the waves of this present world, that he should not be drowned in the depth of eternal death. This net gathers of every kind of fishes, because the wise and the foolish, the free and the slave, the rich and the poor, the strong and the weak, are called to forgiveness of sin; it is then fully filled when in the end of all things the sum of the human race is completed.
As it follows, "which, when it was filled, they drew out, and sitting down on the shore gathered the good into vessels, but the bad they cast away."
For as the sea signifies the world, so the sea shore signifies the end of the world; and as the good are gathered into vessels, but the bad cast away, so each man is received into eternal abodes, while the reprobate having lost the light of the inward kingdom are cast forth into outer darkness. But now the net of faith holds good and bad mingled together in one; but the shore shall discover what the net of the Church has brought to land.
Jerome: For when the net shall be (p. 516) drawn to the shore, then shall be shewn the true test for separating the fishes.
Chrys.: Wherein does this parable differ from the parable of the tares? There, as here, some perish and some are saved; but there, because of their heresy of evil dogmas; in the first parable of the sower, because of their not attending to what was spoken; here, because of their evil life, because of which, though drawn by the net, that is, enjoying the knowledge of God, they cannot be saved.
And when you hear that the wicked are cast away, that you may not suppose that this punishment may be risked, He adds an exposition shewing its severity, saying, "These shall it be in the end of the world; the angels shall come forth and sever the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire, there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."
Though He elsewhere declares, that He shall separate them as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; He here declares, that the Angels shall do it, as also in the parable of the tares.
Gregory: To fear becomes us here, rather than to expound; for the torments of sinners are pronounced in plain terms, that none might plead his ignorance, should eternal punishment be threatened in obscure sayings.
Jerome: For when the end of the world shall be come, then shall be shewn the true test of separating the fishes, and as in a sheltered harbour the good shall be sent into the vessels of heavenly abodes, but the flame of hell shall seize the wicked to be dried up and withered.
4351 (Mt 13,51-52)
Gloss., non occ.: When the multitude had departed, the Lord spoke to His disciples in parables, by which they were instructed only so far as they understood them; wherefore (p. 517) He asks them, "Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea, Lord."
Jerome: For this is spoken especially to the Apostles, whom He would have not to hear only as the multitude, but to understand as having to teach others.
Chrys.: Then He praises them because they had understood; He saith unto them; "Therefore every Scribe instructed in the kingdom of heaven is like unto an householder who bringeth out of his treasure things new and old."
Aug., City of God, book xx, ch. 4: He said not 'old and new,' as He surely would have said had He not preferred to preserve the order of value rather than of time. But the Manichaeans while they think they should keep only the new promises of God, remain in the old man of the flesh, and put on newness of error.
Aug., Quaest. in Matt., q. 16: By this conclusion, whether did He desire to shew Aug. whom He intended by the treasure hid in the field -- in which case we might understand the Holy Scriptures to be here meant, the two Testaments by the things new and old -- or did He intend that he should be held learned in the Church who understood that the Old Scriptures were expounded in parables, taking rules from these new Scriptures, seeing that in them also the Lord proclaimed many things in parables.
If He then, in whom all those old Scriptures have their fulfilment and manifestation, yet speaks in parables until His passion shall rend the vail, when there is nothing hid that shall not be revealed; much more those things which were written of Him so long time before we see to have been clothed in parables; which the Jews took literally, being unwilling to be learned in the kingdom of heaven.
Gregory: But if by things "new and old" in this passage we understand the two Testaments, we deny Abraham to have been learned, who although he knew indeed some deeds of the Old Testament, yet had not read the words. Neither Moses may we compare to a learned householder, for although he composed the Old Testament, yet had he not the words of the New. But what is here said may be understood as meant not of those who had been, but of such as might hereafter be in the Church, who then "bring forth things new and old" when they speak the preachings of both Testaments, in their words and in their lives.
Hilary: Speaking to His disciples, He calls them Scribes (p. 518) on account of their knowledge, because they understood the things that He brought forward, both new and old, that is from the Law and from the Gospels; both being of the same householder, and both treasures of the same owner. He compares them to Himself under the figure of a householder, because they had received doctrine of things both new and old out of His treasury of the Holy Spirit.
Jerome: Or the Apostles are called Scribes instructed, as being the Saviour's notaries who wrote His words and precepts on fleshly tables of the heart with the sacraments of the heavenly kingdom, and abounded in the wealth of a householder, bringing forth out of the stores of their doctrine things new and old; whatsoever they preached in the Gospels, that they proved by the words of the Law and the Prophets. Whence the Bride speaks in the Song of Songs (Ct 7,13); "I have kept for thee my beloved the new with the old."
Gregory: Otherwise; The things old are, that the human race for its sin should suffer in eternal punishment; the things new, that they should be converted and live in the kingdom, First, He brought forward a comparison of the kingdom to a treasure found and a pearl of price; and after that, narrated the punishment of hell in the burning of the wicked, and then concluded with "Therefore every Scribe, &c." as if He had said, He is a learned preacher in the Church who knows to bring forth things new concerning the sweetness of the kingdom, and to speak things old concerning the tenor of punishment; that at least punishment may deter those whom rewards do not excite.
Golden Chain 4331