Golden Chain 9303

vv. 3-6

9303 Lc 3,3-6

AMBROSE; The Word came, and the voice followed. For the Word first works inward, then follows the office of the voice, as it is said, And he went into all the country about Jordan.

ORIGEN; Jordan is the same as descending, for there descends from God a river of healing water. But what parts would John be traversing but the country lying about Jordan, that the penitent sinner might soon arrive at the flowing stream, humbling himself to receive the baptism of repentance. For it is added, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.

GREG. It is plain to every reader that John not only preached the baptism of repentance, but to some also he gave it, yet his own baptism he could not give for the remission of sins.

CHRYS. For as the sacrifice had not yet been offered up, nor had the holy Spirit descended, how could remission of sins be given? What is it then that St. Luke means by the words, for the remission of sins, seeing the Jews were ignorant, and knew not the weight of their sins? Because this was the cause of their evils, in order that they might be convinced of their sins and seek a Redeemer, John came exhorting them to repentance, that being thereby made better and sorrowful for their sins, they might be ready to receive pardon. Rightly then after saying, that he came preaching the baptism of repentance, he adds, for the remission of sins. As if he should say, The reason by which he persuaded them to repent was, as, that thereby they would the more easily obtain despair. For the hill produces no fruit.

ORIGEN; Or you may understand the mountains and hills to be the hostile powers, which have been overthrown by the coming of Christ.

BASIL; But as the hills differ from mountains in respect of height, in other things are the same, so also the adverse powers agree indeed in purpose, but are distinguished from one another in the enormity of their offenses.

GREG. Or, the valley when filled increases, but the mountains and hills when brought low decrease, because the Gentiles by faith in Christ receive fullness of grace, but the Jews by their sin of treachery have lost that wherein they boasted. For the humble receive a gift because the hearts of the proud they keep afar off.

CHRYS. Or by these words he declares the difficulties of the law to be turned into the easiness of faith; as if he said, No more toils and labors await us, but grace and remission of sins make an easy way to salvation.

GREG. NYSS. Or, He orders the valleys to be filled, the mountains and hills to be cast down, to show that the rule of virtue neither fails from want of good, nor transgresses from excess.

GREG. But the crooked places are become straight, when the hearts of the wicked, perverted by a course of injustice, are directed to the rule of justice. But the rough ways are changed to smooth, when fierce and savage dispositions by the influence of Divine grace return to gentleness and meekness.

CHRYS. He then adds the cause of these things, saying, And all flesh shall see, &c. showing that the virtue and knowledge of the Gospel shall be extended even to the end of the world, turning mankind from savage manners and perverse wills to meekness and gentleness. Not only Jewish converts but all mankind shall see the salvation of God.

CYRIL; That is, of the Father, who sent His Son as our Savior. But the flesh is here taken for the whole man.

GREG. Or else, All flesh, i.e. Every man can not see the salvation of God in Christ in this life. The Prophet therefore stretches his eye beyond to the last day of judgment, when all men both the elect and the reprobate shall equally see Him.

vv. 7-9

9307 Lc 3,7-9

ORIGEN; No one that remains in his old state, and forsakes not his old habits and practices, can rightly come to be baptized; whoever then wishes to be baptized, let him go forth. Hence are those words significantly spoken, And he said to the multitude that went forth to be baptized of him. To the multitudes then who are going forth to the laver of baptism, He speaks the following words, for if they had already gone forth, He would not have said, O generation of vipers.

CHRYS. The dweller in the wilderness, when he saw all the people of Palestine standing round him and wondering, bent not beneath the weight of such respect, but rose up against them and reproved them. The holy Scripture often gives the names of wild beasts to men, according to the passions which excite them, calling them sometimes dogs because of their impudence, horses on account of their lust, asses for their folly, lions and panthers for their ravening and wantonness, asps for their guile, serpents and vipers for their poison and cunning; and so in this place John calls the Jews a generation of vipers.

BASIL; Now it may be observed, that the following words natus and filius are spoken of animals, but genimen may be said of the fetus before it is formed in the womb; the fruit of the palm trees is also called genimina, but that word is very seldom used with respect to animals, and when it is, always in a bad sense.

CHRYS. Now they say that the female viper kills the male in copulation, and the fetus as it increases in the womb kills the mother, and so comes forth into life, bursting open the womb in revenge as it were of its father's death; the viper progeny therefore are parricides. Such also were the Jews, who killed their spiritual fathers and teachers. But what if he found them not sinning, but beginning to be converted? He ought not surely to rebuke them, but to comfort them. We answer, that he gave not heed to those things which are outward, for he knew the secrets of their hearts, the Lord revealing them to him; for they vaunted themselves too much in their forefathers. Cutting therefore at this root, he calls them a generation of vipers, not indeed that he blamed the Patriarchs, or called them vipers.

GREG. Because the Jews hated good men, and persecuted them, following the steps of their carnal parents, they are by birth the poisonous sons, as it were, of poisonous or sorcerous parents. But because the preceding verse declares that at the last judgment Christ shall be seen by all flesh, it is rightly added, Who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come? The wrath to come being the awarding of final punishment.

AMBROSE; We see these men through the compassion of God, inspired with prudence to seek repentance of their crimes, dreading with wise devotion the terror of the judgment to come. Or perhaps, according to the precept, Be you wise as serpents, they are shown to have a natural prudence, who perceive what is coming, and earnestly desire help, though they still forsake not what is hurtful.

GREG. But because he cannot then flee from the wrath of God, who now has not recourse to the sorrows of repentance, it is added, Bring forth therefore fruits

CHRYS. For it is not sufficient for the penitent to leave off his sins, he must also bring forth the fruits of repentance, as it is in the Psalms, depart from evil and do good, just as in order to heal, it will not do to pluck out the arrow only, but we must also apply a salve to the wound. But he says not fruit, but fruits, signifying abundance.

GREG. He warns them that they must bring forth not only the fruits of repentance, but fruits worthy of repentance. For he that has violated no law, to him it is permitted to use what is lawful, but if a man has fallen into sin, he ought so to cut himself off from what is lawful, as he remembers to have committed what is unlawful. For the fruit of good works ought not to be equal in the man who has sinned less, anti the man who has sinned more, nor in him who has fallen into no crimes, and him who has fallen into some. In this way it is adapted to the conscience of each man, that they should seek for so much the greater blessing on good works through repentance, as they have by guilt brought on themselves the heavier penalties.

MAXIMUS; The fruit of repentance is an equanimity of soul, which we do not fully obtain, as long as we are at times affected by our passions, for not as yet have we performed the fruits worthy of repentance. Let us then repent truly, that being delivered from our passions we may obtain the pardon of their sins.

GREG. But the Jews glorying in their noble birth were unwilling to acknowledge themselves sinners, because they were descended from the stock of Abraham. So then it is lightly said, And begin not to say within yourselves, we have Abraham for our father.

CHRYS. Not meaning thereby that they had not descended in their natural course from Abraham, but that it avails them nothing to have Abraham for their father, unless they observed the relationship in respect of virtue. For Scripture is accustomed to entitle laws of relationship, such as do not exist by nature, but are derived from virtue or vice. To whichever of these two a man conforms himself, he is called its son or brother.

CYRIL; For what profits the nobleness we inherit through the flesh, unless it be supported by kindred feelings in us? It is folly then to boast of our worthy ancestors, and fall away from their virtues.

BASIL; For neither does the speed of its sire make the horse swift; but as the goodness of other animals is looked for in individuals, so also that is reckoned to be man's legitimate praise which is decided by the test of his present worth. For it is a disgraceful thing for a man to be adorned with the honors of another, when he has no virtue of his own to commend him.

GREG. NYSS. So then having foretold the casting away of the Jews, He goes on to allude to the calling of the Gentiles, whom He calls stones. Hence it follows, For I say to you, &c.

CHRYS. As if He said, Think not that if you perish the Patriarch will be deprived of sons, for God even from stones can produce men unto him, and prolong the line of his descendants. For so has it been from the beginning, seeing that for men to be made from stones to Abraham is but equivalent to the coming forth of a son from the dead womb of Sarah.

AMBROSE; But although God can alter and change the most diverse natures, yet in my mind a mystery is of more avail than a miracle. For what else than stones were they who bowed down to stones, like indeed to them who made them. It is prophesied therefore that faith shall be poured into the stony hearts of the Gentiles, and through faith the oracles promise that Abraham shall have sons. But that you may know who are the men compared to stones, he has also compared men to trees, adding, For now the ax is laid to the root of the tree. This change of figure was made, that by means of comparison might be understood to have now commenced a more kindly growth of manhood.

ORIGEN; If the completion of all things had been then already begun, and the end of time close at hand, I should have no question but that the prophecy was given, because at that time it was to be fulfilled. But now that many ages have elapsed since the Spirit spoke this, I think it was prophesied to the people of Israel, because their cutting off was approaching. For to those that went out to him that they should be baptized, he gave this warning among others.

CYRIL; By the ax then he declares the deadly wrath of God, which fell upon the Jews on account of the impieties they practiced against Christ; he does not pronounce the ax to be yet fixed to the root, but that it was laid (ad radicem) i.e. near the root. For though the branches were cut down, the tree itself was not yet entirely destroyed. For a remnant of Israel shall be saved.

GREG. Or we may take it in this way; The tree represents the whole human race in this world, but the ax is our redeemer, who by the handle and iron, as it were, is held indeed in the hand of man, but strikes by the power of God. Which ax indeed is now laid at the root of the tree; for although it waits patiently, yet it is plain what it is about to do. And we must observe that the said ax is to be laid not at the branches, but at the root. For when the children of the wicked are taken away, what is this but the cutting off of the branches of an unfruitful tree But when the whole family together with the parent is removed, the unfruitful tree is cut off from the very root. But every hardened sinner finds the fire of hell the quicker prepared for him, as he disdains to bring forth the fruits of good works. Hence it follows, Every one then.

CHRYS. It is elegantly said, that bears not fruit, and it is added, good. For God created man an animal fond of employment, and constant activity is natural to him, but idleness is unnatural. For idleness is hurtful to every member of the body, but much more to the soul. For the soul being by nature in constant motion does not admit of being slothful. But as idleness is an evil, so also is an unworthy activity. But having before spoken of repentance, he now declares that the ax lies near, not indeed actually cutting, but only striking terror.

AMBROSE; Let him then that is able bring forth fruit unto grace, him who ought, unto repentance. The Lord is at hand seeking for His fruit, who shall cherish the fruitful, but rebuke the barren.

vv. 10-14

9310 Lc 3,10-14

GREG. In the preceding words of John, it is plain that the hearts of his hearers were troubled, and sought for advice from him. As it is added, And they asked him, saying, &c.

ORIGEN; Three classes of men are introduced as inquiring of John concerning their salvation, one which the Scripture calls the multitude, another to which it gives the name of Publicans, and a third which is noticed by the appellation of soldiers.

THEOPHYL. Now to the Publicans and soldiers he gives a commandment to abstain from evil, but the multitudes, as not living in an evil condition, he commands to perform some good work, as it follows, He that has two coats, let him give one.

GREG. Because a coat is more necessary for our use than a cloak, it belongs to the bringing forth of fruits worthy of repentance, that we should divide with our neighbors not only our superfluities but those which are absolutely necessary to us, as our coat, or the meat with which we support our bodies; and hence it follows, And he who has meat, let him do likewise.

BASIL; But we are hereby taught, that every thing we have over and above what is necessary to our daily support, we are bound to give to him who has nothing for God's sake, who has given us liberally whatever we possess.

GREG. For because it was written in the law, You shall love your neighbor as yourself, he is proved to love his neighbor less than himself, who does not share with him in his distress, those things which are even necessary to himself. Therefore that precept is given of dividing with one's neighbor the two coats, since if one is divided no one is clothed. But we must remark in this, of how much value are works of mercy, since of the works worthy of repentance these are enjoined before all others.

AMBROSE; For other commands of duty have reference only to individuals, mercy has a common application. It is therefore a common commandment to all, to contribute to him that has not. Mercy is the fullness of virtues, yet in mercy itself a proportion is observed to meet the capacities of man's condition, in that each individual is not to deprive himself of all, but what he has to share it with the poor.

ORIGEN; But this place admits of a deeper meaning, for as we ought not to serve two masters, so neither to have two coats, lest one should be the clothing of the old man, the other of the new, but we ought to cast off the old man, and give to him who is naked. For one man has one coat, another has none at all, the strength therefore of the two is exactly contrary, and as it has been written that we should cast all our crimes to the bottom of the sea, so ought we to throw from us our vices and errors, and lay them upon him who has been the cause of them.

THEOPHYL. But some one has observed that the two coats are the spirit and letter of Scripture, but John advises him that has these two to instruct the ignorant, and give him at least the letter.

THEOPHYL; What great virtue there was in the discourse of the Baptist is manifested by this, that the Publicans, nay even the soldiers, he compelled to seek counsel of him concerning their salvation, as it follows, But the publicans came.

CHRYS. Great is the force of virtue that makes the rich seek the way of salvation from the poor, from him that has nothing.

THEOPHYL; He commands them therefore that they exact no more than what was presented to them, as it follows, And he said to them, Do no more than what is appointed to you. But they are called publicans who collect the public taxes, or who are the farmers of the public revenue or public property? Those also who pursue the gain of this world by traffic are denoted by the same titles, all of whom, each in his own sphere, he equally forbids to practice deceit, that so by first keeping themselves from desiring other men's goods, they might at length come to share their own with their neighbors.

It follows, But the soldiers also asked him. In the justest manner he advises them not to seek gain by falsely accusing those whom they ought to benefit by their protection. Hence it follows, And he says to them, Strike no one, (i.e. violently,) nor accuse any falsely, (i.e. by unjustly using arms,) and be content with your wages.

AMBROSE; Teaching thereby that wages were affixed to military duty, lest men seeking for gain should go about as robbers

GREG. NAZ. For by wages he refers to the imperial pay, and the rewards assigned to distinguished actions.

AUG. For he knew that soldiers, when they use their arms, are not homicides, but the ministers of the law; not the avengers of their own injuries, but the defenders of the public safety. Otherwise he might have answered, "Put away your arms, abandon warfare, strike no one, wound no one, destroy no one." For what is it that is blamed in war? Is it that men die, who some time or other must die, that the conquerors might rule in peace? To blame this is the part of timid not religious men. The desire of injury, the cruelty of revenge, a savage and pitiless disposition, the fierceness of rebellion, the lust of power, and such like things are the evils which are justly blamed in wars, which generally for the sake of thereby bringing punishment upon the violence of those who resist, are undertaken and carried on by good men either by command of God or some lawful authority, when they find themselves in that order of things in which their very condition justly obliges them either to command such a thing themselves, or to obey when others command it.

CHRYS. But John's desire when he spoke to the Publicans and soldiers, was to bring them over to a higher wisdom, for which as they were not fitted, he reveals to them commoner truths, lest if he put forward the higher they should pay no attention thereto, and be deprived of the others also.

vv. 15-17

9315 Lc 3,15-17

ORIGEN; It was meet that more deference should be paid to John than to other men, for he lived such as no other man. Wherefore indeed most rightly did they regard him with affection, only they kept not within due bounds; hence it is said, But while the people were expecting whether he were the Christ.

AMBROSE; Now what could be more absurd than that he who was fancied to be in another should not be believed in his own person? He whom they thought to have come by a woman, is not believed to have come by a virgin; while in fact the sign of the Divine coming was placed in tile childbearing of a virgin, not of a woman

ORIGEN; But love is dangerous when it is uncontrolled. For he who loves any one ought to consider the nature and causes of loving, and not to love more than the object deserves. For if he pass the due measure and bounds of love, both he who loves, and he who is loved, will be in sin.

GREEK EX. And hence, John gloried not in the estimation in which all held him, nor in any way seemed to desire the deference of others, but embraced the lowest humility. Hence it follows, John answered.

THEOPHYL; But how could he answer them who in secret thought that he was Christ, except it was that they not only thought, but also (as another Evangelist declares) sending Priests and Levites to him asked him whether he was the Christ or not?

AMBROSE; Or: John saw into the secrets of the heart; but let us remember by whose grace, for it is of the gift of God to reveal things to man, not of the virtue of man, which is assisted by the Divine blessing, rather than capable of perceiving by any natural power of its own. But quickly answering them, he proved that he was not the Christ, for his works were by visible operations. For as man is compounded of two natures, i.e. soul and body, the visible mystery is made holy by the visible, the invisible by the invisible; for by water the body is washed, by the Spirit the soul is cleansed of its stains. It is permitted to us also in the very water to have the sanctifying influence of the Deity breathed upon us. And therefore there was one baptism of repentance, another of grace. The latter was by both water and Spirit, the former by one only; the work of man is to bring forth repentance for his sin, it is the gift of God to pour in the grace of His mystery. Devoid therefore of all envy of Christ's greatness, he declared not by word but by work that he was not the Christ. Hence it follows, There comes after me one mightier than I. In those words, mightier than I, he makes no comparison, for there can be none between the Son of God and man, but because there are many mighty, no one is mightier but Christ. So far indeed was as he from making comparison, that he adds, Whose shoes latched I am not worthy to unloose.

AUG. Matthew says, Whose shoes I am not worthy to bear. If therefore it is worth while to understand any difference in these expressions, we can only suppose that John said one at one time, another at another, or both together, To bear his shoes, and to loose the latchet of his shoes, so that though one Evangelist may have related this, the others that, yet all have related the truth. But if John intended no more when he spoke of the shoes of our Lord but His excellence and his own humility, whether he said loosing the latchet of the shoes, or bearing them, they have still kept the same sense who by the mention of shoes have in their own words expressed the same signification of humility.

AMBROSE; By the words, Whose shoes I am not worthy to bear, he shows that the grace of preaching the Gospel was conferred upon the Apostles, who were shod for the Gospel. He seems however to say it, because John frequently represented the Jewish people.

GREG. But John denounces himself as unworthy to loose the latchet of Christ's shoes: as if he openly said, I am not able to disclose the footsteps of my Redeemer, who do not presume unworthily to take unto myself the name of bridegroom, for it was an ancient custom that when a man refused to take to wife her whom he ought, whoever should come to her betrothed by right of kin, was to loose his shoe. Or because shoes are made from the skins of dead animals, our Lord being made flesh appeared as it were with shoes, as taking upon Himself the carcass of our corruption. The latchet of the shoe is the connection of the mystery. John therefore can not loose the latchet of the shoe, because neither is he able to fathom the mystery of the Incarnation, though he acknowledged it by the Spirit of prophecy.

CHRYS. And having said that his own baptism was only with water, he next shows the excellence of that baptism which was brought by Christ, adding, He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit, and fire, signifying by the very metaphor which he uses the abundance of grace. For he says not, " He shall give you the Holy Spirit," but He shall baptize you. And again, by the addition of fire, he shows the power of grace. And as Christ calls the grace of the Spirit, water, meaning by water the purity resulting from it, and the abundant consolation which is brought to minds which are capable of receiving Him; so also John, by the word fire, expresses the fervor and uprightness of grace, as well as the consuming of sins.

THEOPHYL; The Holy Spirit also may be understood by the word fire, for He kindles with love and enlightens with wisdom the hearts which He fills. Hence also the Apostles received the baptism of the Spirit in the appearance of fire. There are some who explain it, that now we are baptized with the Spirit, hereafter we shall be with fire, that as in truth we are now born again to the remission of our sins by water and the Spirit, so then we shall be cleansed from certain lighter sins by the baptism of purifying fire.

ORIGEN; And as John was waiting by the river Jordan for those who came to his baptism, and some he drove away, saying, Generation of vipers, but those who confessed their sins he received, so shall the Lord Jesus stand in the fiery stream with the flaming sword, that whoever after the close of this life desires to pass over to Paradise and needs purification, He may baptize him with this laver, and pass him over to paradise, but whoso has not the seal of the former baptisms, him He shall not baptize with the laver of fire.

BASIL; But because he says, He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit, let no one admit that baptism to be valid in which the name of His Spirit only has been invoked, for we must ever keep undiminished that tradition which has' been sealed to us in quickening grace. To add or take away ought thereof excludes from eternal life.

GREEK EX. By these words then, He shall baptize with the Holy Spirit, He signifies the abundance of His grace, the plenteousness of His mercy; but lest any should suppose that while to bestow abundantly is both in the power and will of the Creator,

He will have no occasion to punish the disobedient, he adds, whose fan is in his hand, showing that He is not only the rewarder of the righteous, but the avenger of them that speak lies. But the fan expresses the promptitude of His judgment. For not with the process of passing sentence on trial, but in an instant and without any interval he separates those that are to be condemned from the company of those that are to be saved.

CYRIL; By the following words, And he shall thoroughly purge his floor, the Baptist signifies that the Church belongs to Christ as her Lord.

THEOPHYL; For by the floor is represented the present Church, in which many are called but few are chosen. The purging of which floor is even now carried on individually, when every perverse offender is either cast out of the Church for his open sins, (by the hands of the Priesthood,) or for his secret sins is after death condemned by Divine judgment. And at the end of the world it will be accomplished universally, when the Son of Man shall send His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom every thing that has offended.

AMBROSE; By the sign of a fan then the Lord is declared to possess the power of discerning merits, since when the corn is winnowed in the threshing floor, the full ears are separated from the empty by the trial of the wind blowing them. Hence it follows, And be shall gather the wheat into his barn. By this comparison, the Lord shows that on the day of judgment He will discern the solid merits and fruits of virtue from the unfruitful lightness of empty boasting and vain deeds, about to place the men of more perfect righteousness in His heavenly mansion. For that is indeed the more perfect fruit which was thought worthy to be like to Him who fell as a grain of wheat, that He might bring forth fruit in abundance.

CYRIL; But the chaff signifies the trifling and empty blown about and liable to be carried away by every blast of sin.

BASIL; But they are mixed up with those who are worthy of the kingdom of heaven, as the chaff with the wheat. This is not however from consideration of their love of God and their neighbor, nor from their spiritual gifts or temporal blessings.

ORIGEN; Or, because without the wind the wheat and chaff cannot be separated, therefore He has the fan in His hand, which shows some to be chaff, some wheat; for when you were as the light chaff, (i.e. unbelieving,) temptation showed you to be what you knew not; but when you shall bravely endure temptation, the temptation will not make you faithful and enduring, but it will bring to light the virtue which was hid in you.

GREG. NYSS. But it is well to know, that the treasure which according to the promises are laid up for those who live honestly, are such as the words of man cannot express, as eye has not seen, nor the ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man to conceive. And the punishments which await sinners bear no proportion to any of those things which now affect the senses. And although some of those punishments are called by our names, yet their difference is very great. For when you hear of fire, you are taught to understand something else from the expression which follows, that is not quenched, beyond what comes into the idea of other fire.

GREG The fire of hell is here wonderfully expressed, for our earthly fire is kept up by heaping wood upon it, and cannot live unless supplied with fuel, but on the contrary the fire of hell, though a bodily fire, and burning bodily the wicked who are put into it, is not kept up by wood, but once made remains unquenchable.

vv. 18-20

9318 Lc 3,18-20

ORIGEN; John having announced the coming of Christ, was preaching the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and the other things which the Gospel history has handed down to us. But besides these he is declared to have announced others in the following words, And many other things in his exhortation preached he to the people.

THEOPHYL. For his exhortation was the telling of good things, and therefore is fitly called the Gospel.

ORIGEN; And as in the Gospel according to St. John it is related of Christ that He spoke many other things, so also in this place we must understand Luke to say the same of John the Baptist, since certain things are announced by John too great to be entrusted to writing. But we marvel at John, because among them that are born of women there was not a greater than he, for by his good deeds he had been exalted to so high a fame for virtue, that by many he was supposed to be Christ. But what is much more marvelous he feared not Herod, nor dreaded death, as it follows, But Herod the tetrarch being reproved by him.

EUSEB. He is called the tetrarch, to distinguish him from the other Herod, in whose reign Christ was born, and who was king, but this Herod was tetrarch. Now his wife was the daughter of Aretas, king of Arabia, but he had sacrilegiously married his brother Philip's wife, though she had offspring by his brother. For those only were allowed to do this whose brothers died without issue. For this the Baptist had censured Herod. First indeed he heard him attentively, for he knew that his words were weighty and full of consolation, but the desire of Herodius compelled him to despise the words of John, and he then thrust him into prison. And so it follows, And he added this a above all, that he shut up John in prison.

THEOPHYL; But John was not imprisoned in those days. According to St. John's Gospel it was not till after some miracles had been performed by our Lord, and after His baptism had been noised abroad but according to Luke he had been seized beforehand by the redoubled malice of Herod, who, when he saw so man flock to the preaching of John, and the soldiers believing, the publicans repenting, and whole multitudes receiving baptism on the contrary not only despised John, but having put him in prison, slew him.

GLOSS. For before that Luke relates any of the acts of Jesus, he says that John was taken by Herod, to show that he alone was in an especial manner going to describe those of our Lord's acts, which were performed since the year in which John was taken or put to death.

Golden Chain 9303