But if you had known what this means, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, you would not have condemned the guiltless.
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Then, because to the hearers it would seem harsh, He quickly draws a veil over it, giving His discourse, as before, a lenient turn, yet even so expressing Himself with a rebuke.
Do you see how again He inclines His speech to lenity, yet again shows them to be out of the reach of lenity? For you would not have condemned, says He, the guiltless. Before indeed He inferred the same from what is said of the priests, in the words, they are guiltless; but here He states it on His own authority; or rather, this too is out of the law, for He was quoting a prophetic saying. Hosea 6:6