Commentary on the Lord’s Sermon on the Mount with Seventeen Related Sermons

Commentary on the Lord’s Sermon on the Mount with Seventeen Related Sermons

Translated by DENIS J. KAVANAGH
Copyright Date: 1951
Pages: 388
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    Commentary on the Lord’s Sermon on the Mount with Seventeen Related Sermons
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    eISBN: 978-0-8132-1111-4
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-2)
    (pp. 3-16)

    The commentary presented in translation in this volume is one of fourteen works composed by St. Augustine¹ during the period of four or five years which elapsed between the dates of his ordination to the priesthood in 391 and his elevation to the episcopate in 395 or 396.² He himself tells us that he composed this work within the years 393-394, but he gives no information regarding any special circumstances which may have occasioned its composition.³ His purpose in composing it may have been to give a more elaborate and complete treatment to a whole section of the Gospel which...

    • BOOK I
      (pp. 19-108)

      If anyone piously and earnestly ponders the Discourse which Our Lord Jesus Christ delivered on the Mount—as we read in the Gospel according to Matthew¹—I believe that he will find therein, with regard to good morals, the perfect standard of the Christian life. We do not venture to make this statement rashly; we infer it from the very words of the Lord Himself. Indeed, that Discourse is brought to a conclusion in such a manner that it evidently contains all the precepts which pertain to the formation of such a life, for the Lord brings it to a...

    • BOOK II
      (pp. 109-200)

      After mercy, comes the cleansing of the heart. With a treatment of the former, the first book came to a close; with a treatment of the latter, this book takes its beginning. A cleansing of the heart is, as it were, a cleansing of that eye by which God is seen, and the solicitude for keeping it single ought to be great in proportion to the dignity of the reality that can be perceived by such an eye.¹ But, even when this eye has been cleansed in large measure, it is difficult to prevent the imperceptible ingress of certain kinds...

      (pp. 201-208)

      During the same period of time,¹ I wrote two volumes on The Lord’s Sermon on the Mount, according to Matthew. Concerning the pronouncement, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God,’ I made the following observation in the first of those two volumes: ‘Wisdom corresponds with the peacemakers, for with peacemakers all things are reduced to proper order, and no passion is in rebellion against reason, but everything is obedient to man’s spirit because that spirit is itself obedient to God.’²

      I have good reason to feel dissatisfied with this expression. For, in this life,...

      (pp. 211-226)

      On the occasion of the feast of a holy virgin who has given testimony of Christ and who has merited to receive testimony from Christ, a virgin who was put to death in public and received a crown in secret, I am reminded to address you, dearly beloved, on the exhortation which the Lord has just now delivered from the Gospel, wherein He says that there are many causes of that blessed life which no one wishes to be without. Surely, we can find no one who does not wish to be blessed. Would that men were as willing to...

      (pp. 227-232)

      (1) In the Sermon related in the Gospel, our Lord Jesus Christ says in one passage: ‘Take heed not to practice your justice before men, in order to be seen by them,’ although in an earlier passage He had said: ‘Let your light shine before men, in order that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.’ And this fact, dearly beloved, usually occasions perplexity to many persons, for the mind which does not fully understand those precepts and is anxious to obey both the one and the other is perturbed and...

      (pp. 233-238)

      (1) If we have faith, we have been greatly alarmed by the section of the holy Gospel to which we have just now listened while it was being read. But it occasioned no fear in those who have no faith. Because it arouses no fear in them, they are willing to enjoy a false security, for they know not how to discern and distinguish the respective times for fear and assurance. Because man is now leading a life that will come to an end, let him have fear now so that in the next life he may have security without...

      (pp. 239-258)

      (1) When the holy Apostle wished to show that the Prophets had foretold the coming of those times when it should come to pass that all nations would believe in God, he cited the testimony which reads: ‘And it shall come pass that everyone that shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’² For the name of God who has made heaven and earth used to be invoked among the Israelites only. The rest of the nations used to call upon deaf and dumb idols, and were not heard by them; or they invoked demons, and were...

      (pp. 259-274)

      (1) Every man who is unequal to the task of extricating himself from a distressful situation in which he finds himself tries to find some prudent person to consult, in order that he may thus learn what he ought to do. Let us suppose, therefore, that the whole world is, as it were, a man who is trying to escape evil and is disinclined to do good. Since it is unequal to the task of extricating itself from the tribulations which are thereby increasing, what counsellor can it find more prudent than Christ? Yes, let it find a better counsellor...

      (pp. 275-286)

      (1) In the pasage of the Holy Gospel which has been read to us,¹ the Lord exhorts us to pray. He says: ‘Ask, and you shall receive; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it shall be opened. Or what man is there among you, who, if his son asks him for bread, will hand him a stone; or if he asks for a fish, will hand him a serpent; or when he asks for an egg, will hand...

      (pp. 287-292)

      (1) The Lord Jesus Christ has admonished us to be good trees, and to be able to bear good fruit, for He says: ‘Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for by its fruit the tree is known.¹ When He says: ‘Make the tree good and its fruit good,’ this is not a mere admonition; it is a salutary precept which must be obeyed. But, as to His saying: ‘Make the tree bad and its fruit bad,’ this is not a precept commanding you to do so; it is...

      (pp. 293-294)

      Their Lordships, my brethren and fellow bishops, have deigned to visit us and to gladden us by their presence, but I know not why they are unwilling to aid me, although am fatigued. Dearly beloved, I tell you this while they are listening, so that your hearing it may somehow so intercede with them on my behalf that they also will deliver a discourse when I ask them. May they give out what they have received; may they graciously consent to put it to use, rather than to make excuses. Meanwhile, be willing to listen to a few words from...

    • 109. THE ADVERSARY
      (pp. 295-300)

      (1) We have heard the Gospel,¹ and therein we have heard the Lord rebuking those who ‘know how to judge the face of the sky,’² but know not how to discover the time of the promise of the kingdom of heaven which is approaching. Of course, it was to the Jews that He gave this rebuke. But His utterance concerns us, also, for it is thus that our Lord Jesus Christ Himself began to preach His gospel: ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’³ In like manner, His precursor, John the Baptist, began to preach: ‘Repent, for the...

      (pp. 301-306)

      (1) Beloved brethren, let us join in recalling that the Apostle has said: ‘As long as we are in the body we are exiles from the Lord, for we walk by faith and not by sight.’¹ For, the Lord Jesus Christ has said: ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life’;² He has, therefore, willed that we walk through Him and to Him. Where, indeed, can we walk except on a way? And what is our destination except truth and life? But that life is the eternal life, for it alone deserves the name of life. In comparison...

    • 4 (Denis). CHRIST: LAMB AND LION
      (pp. 307-310)

      (1) In fulfillment of Holy Writ, the Truth has resounded through the voice of the Apostles, for the Psalmist has sung: ‘Their voice has gone forth unto all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.’² So, also: ‘Christ our passover is sacrificed,’³ for of Him the Prophet had foretold: ‘He was led as a sheep to the slaughter, and he was mute as a lamb before its shearer, and he opened not his mouth.’⁴ Who is this man? He is the man of whom the Prophet at once goes on to say: ‘In humility his judgment...

    • 5 (Denis). LIFE FROM DEATH
      (pp. 311-320)

      (1) Paying attention to the Gospel lesson which has been read, we have heard the account of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Christ rose from the dead; therefore Christ had died, for a resurrection is a proof of death. The death of Christ is the destruction of fear. Hence, let us not be afraid to die, for Christ has died for us. Let us die with the hope of eternal life, for Christ has risen in order that we also may rise. In His Death and Resurrection we have our appointed task and our promised reward. Suffering is...

    • 6 (Denis). THE HOLY EUCHARIST
      (pp. 321-326)

      (1) Dear brethren, that which you see on the Lord’s table is bread and wine. But when a word is added, that bread and wine become the body and blood of the Word. Because the Lord, ‘who in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God’²—because that same Lord, in His mercy, did not despise that which He had created to His own image, ‘the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.’³ As you know, that Word assumed human nature by assuming a human soul and a human body, and...

      (pp. 327-330)

      (1) Everybody knows that we are celebrating the feast of the Pasch during the days when we sing the Alleluia. But, brethren, we must try to understand the inner meaning of that which we are openly celebrating when we say that we are celebrating the Pasch. Pasch is a Hebrew word, and it means a passover; paschein is a Greek word, and it means to suffer; pascere is a Latin word, and it means ‘to feed.’² For, who are they that celebrate the Pasch, except those who pass over from the death of their sins to the life of the...

    • 8 (Denis). ON BAPTISM
      (pp. 331-338)

      (1) My words are addressed to you, newborn babes, little ones in Christ, new offspring of the Church, grace of the Father, born of the Mother, a godly seed, a new swarm, the flower of our honor and the fruit of our labor, my joy and my crown—all you who stand fast in the Lord.² I address you in the words of the Apostle: ‘Behold, the night is far advanced; the day is at hand. Lay aside the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light. Walk becomingly as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness,...

      (pp. 339-356)

      (1) Because of the weariness of our audience, this discourse ought to be omitted, but for the sake of honoring the martyr it must be delivered. With the help of the Lord, therefore, it will be so modified as to be neither burden-some to our hearers nor insufficient for our purpose. A day of great solemnity has dawned in Rome, for vast crowds are assembling there to celebrate this feast. Although we are not among them in the flesh, we are nevertheless joined with them; for in spirit we are one with them, our brethren in one body under one...

    • 11 (Morin). ON THE BEATITUDES
      (pp. 357-372)

      (1) Dearly beloved, you have joined with us in listening to the reading of the Holy Gospel. May the Lord assist us while we address you on the portion that has been read, in order that our words may be appropriate to your needs and may bear spiritual fruit in your daily lives. Everyone who hears the word of God ought to bear in mind that his life ought to be conformed to what he hears. Therefore, let him not disregard that word in his conduct while he seeks to praise it with his lips. If the word of God...

  6. INDEX
    (pp. 375-382)