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Matthew 12:45

Then he goes, and takes with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
When there is forgiveness of sins through the sacraments, the house is cleaned; but the Holy Spirit must be a necessary inhabitant. And the Holy Spirit inhabits only those who are humble of heart, for God says, “Upon whom will my Spirit rest?” And he answers the question: “Upon the one who is humble and quiet and who fears my word.” Therefore, when he is the inhabitant, he fills up, rules, acts, deters from evil, inspires one to do good and tempers justice with sweetness, so that one may do good with the love of an upright heart and not with the fear of punishment. But once that unclean spirit that made you evil has gone out of you, that is, from your mind, when your sins have been forgiven, it roams through dry places in search of a resting place. Finding none, the unclean spirit returns to his house, where he finds everything clean and in order. Then he takes with him seven other spirits more evil than himself; and the last state of that person becomes worse than the first. He takes ...

Cyril of Alexandria

AD 444
This is said with good reason. For when someone who has once been freed from evils loses selfcontrol, he suffers a much worse fall than previously. For this reason “he passes through waterless places seeking rest.” This indicates how thoroughly the demons’ stratagem has taken hold of such a person—completely and absolutely. There are many reasons why such a person should have kept himself under control before it is too late. He has already suffered. He has been redeemed. The threat of a worse future punishment should be constraining. But none of these reasons has prevailed to make them better. Now remember how the evil spirit inhabited the people when they were in Egypt, how they lived according to Egyptian customs and laws and became filled with all kinds of uncleanness. When they had been delivered by Moses and had received the law as a guide calling them to the light of true divine knowledge, the wicked and unclean spirit left them. But what happens when someone who has believed now...

George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
Seven is taken frequently, in Scripture, for an indefinite number; for several. (Bible de Vence)

Gregory The Dialogist

AD 604
Mor., xxxiii, 3: The dry places where no water is are the hearts of the righteous, which by the power of discipline are dried from all humours of carnal lust. The wet places are the minds of worldly men, which the humour of carnal lust fills, and makes watery; in such the Devil imprints his footsteps the more deeply, inasmuch as in his wanderings he comes down upon such hearts as upon low and marshy ground. Mor., vii, 17: For it often happens that the soul in the commencement of its progress is lifted up, and prides itself on its virtues, that it opens an entrance to the adversary who is raging against it, and who shows himself the more violent in breaking into it, by how much he was grieved at being cast out, though but for a short space. ...

Jerome

AD 420
Some suppose that this place is spoken of heretics, because the unclean spirit who dwelt in them before when they were Gentiles, is cast out before the confession of the true faith; when after they went over to heresy, and garnished their house with feigned virtues, then it is that the Devil, having taken to him other seven evil spirits, returns and dwells in them; and their last state becomes worse than their first. And indeed heretics are in a much worse condition than the Gentiles; for in the heretics was a hope of faith, in the Gentiles a war of discord. Yet though this exposition has aplausibility and a show of learning, I am doubtful of its truth. For by the concluding words of this, whether it be parable or example, “Thus shall it beto this evil generation,” we are compelled to refer it, not to heretics, or tomen in general, but to the Jewish people. So the context of the passage may not shift about loosely and vaguely, and be like unmeaning speeches, but may be consistent with ...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
The Lord had said to the Jews, “The men of Nineveh shall rise in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it;” that they should not therefore be careless, He tells them that not only in the world to come but here also they should suffer grievous things; setting forth in a sort of riddle the punishment that should fall upon them whence He says, “When, the unclean spirit has gone out of a man.” ...

Rabanus Maurus

AD 856
Or, the “dry places” are the hearts of the faithful, which after they have been purged from the weakness of loose thoughts, the crafty lier-in-wait tries if by any means he may fix his footsteps there; but lying from the chaste spirit, the Devil finds no resting place to his mind but in the heart of the wicked; as it follows, “and findeth none.”. For when any one is converted to the faith, the Devil is cast out of him in Baptism, who driven thence wanders up and down through the dry places, that is, the hearts of the faithful. And returning to his house whence he had gone out, “he findeth it empty,” of good works through slothfulness, “swept,” that is, of its old vices by Baptism, and “garnished” with feigned virtues through hypocrisy. And as he will not only have the seven vices which are the contraries of the spiritual virtues, but will hypocritically feign that he has the virtues, therefore his old lust, taking to itself seven other worse, that is, this seven-fold hypocrisy, returns...

Remigius of Rheims

AD 533
The Devil supposed he should have rest for ever among the Gentiles, but it is added, “and findeth none,” because when the Son of God appeared in the mystery of His Incarnation, the Gentiles believed.

Theophylact of Ochrid

AD 1107
He shows that they have been brought to utter perdition by not accepting Him. For just as those who have been delivered from demons suffer worse things if they become lazy and careless, so it is that your generation was possessed of a demon when it worshipped the idols. But this demon was cast out by means of the prophets. Then I Myself came, wishing to cleanse you further. But since you rejected Me, and, indeed, are eager to slay Me, as your sin is worse, so will your punishment be worse, and your last captivity will be more grievous than the former. You, O reader, must also understand this, that the unclean spirit is cast out by baptism and goes forth among waterless and unbaptized souls; but it does not find rest in them. Rest for demons is to harass with evil deeds those who are baptized, for they already possess those who are unbaptized. Therefore the demon returns with seven other spirits to the one who is baptized. For just as there are seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, so, on the...

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. - 2 Peter 1:20

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