Matthew 5:13

You are the salt of the earth: but if the salt has lost its savor, how shall it be salted? it is thereafter good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
Serm. in Mont., i, 6: If you by whom the nations are to be salted shall lose the kingdom of heaven through fear of temporal persecution, who are they by whom your error shall be corrected? Another copy has, “If the salt have lost all sense,” shewing that they must be esteemed to have lost their sense, who either pursuing abundance, or fearing lack of temporal goods, lose those which are eternal, and which men can neither give nor take away. ...
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
Hence there follows most justly the statement, You are the salt of the earth; showing that those parties are to be judged insipid, who, either in the eager pursuit after abundance of earthly blessings, or through the dread of want, lose the eternal things which can neither be given nor taken away by men. But if the salt have lost its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? i.e., If you, by means of whom the nations in a measure are to be preserved [from corruption], through the dread of temporal persecutions shall lose the kingdom of heaven, where will be the men through whom error may be removed from you, since God has chosen you, in order that through you He might remove the error of others? Hence the savourless salt is good for nothing, but to be cast out, and trodden under foot of men. It is not therefore he who suffers persecution, but he who is rendered savourless by the fear of persecution, that is trodden under foot of men. For it is only one who is undermost that can be trodden ...

Chromatius of Aquileia

AD 407
He shows that those who have been educated for the faith and in heavenly wisdom ought to remain faithful and steadfast and not “lose their taste.” If they forsake the faith and divine wisdom, they either plunge headlong into heresy or return to the folly of unbelievers. And so Jesus says, “But if the salt loses its flavor, with what will it be seasoned?” For people of this sort, made tasteless by the devil’s treachery and having lost the grace of faith, are good for nothing. Though they once might have seasoned nonbelievers still foreign to the faith with the word of divine preaching, they instead showed themselves useless. Judas Iscariot deteriorated into this sort of useless salt. After he had rejected divine wisdom, having changed from an apostle into an apostate, he not only did not help others. He became wretched and useless even to himself. . ...

Cyril of Alexandria

AD 444
He calls “salt” the frame of mind that is filled with the apostolic word, which is full of understanding. When it has been sown in our souls, it allows the word of wisdom to dwell in us. It has been compared with salt because of salt’s good taste and delightfulness. For without salt neither bread nor fish is edible. So too without the apostles’ understanding and instruction, every soul is dull and unwholesome and unpleasant to God. ...
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George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
The former instructions Jesus Christ gave to the multitude. Now he addresses his apostles, styling them the salt of the earth, meant to preserve men from the corruption of sin, and to make them relish the truths of salvation. He tells them not to suffer their faith or their charity to slacken, in which all their power consists, lest they come to be rejected by God, and despised by man. (Calmet) I send you, says Jesus Christ, not to two, ten, or twenty cities, not to one single nation, as the prophets were sent, but to the whole world, a world oppressed with numberless iniquities. It is not the property of salt to restore what is already corrupted, but to preserve from corruption. Therefore the virtue of the merits of Christ delivers us from the corruption of sin; but the care and labour of the apostles preserves us from again returning to it. (St. Chrysostom, hom. xv.) It appears from Luke xiv. 34, that this comparison is taken from agriculture. We observe these properties of salt in...

Glossa Ordinaria

AD 1480
Ap. Anselm: When then they who are the heads have fallen away, they are fit for no use but to be cast out from the office of teacher.
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Hilary of Poitiers

AD 368
Jesus calls the faithful the “salt of the earth.” He warns them to persist in the strength of the power handed over to them. Otherwise, losing their own taste, they are unable to make anything else tasty. Deprived of salt’s taste, they are unable to make what is rotten edible. He warns them lest, cast forth from the church storerooms, they be trampled underfoot by the feet of passersby—the very feet of those they should have served with salt. ...
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Hilary of Poitiers

AD 368
There may be here seen a propriety in our Lord’s language which may be gathered by considering the Apostle’s office, and the nature of salt. This, used as itis by men for almost every purpose, preserves from decay those bodies which are sprinkled with it; and in this, as well as in every sense of its flavour as acondiment, the parallel is most exact. The Apostles are preachers of heavenly things, and thus, as it were, salters with eternity; rightly called “the salt of the earth,” as by the virtue of their teaching, they, as it were, salt and preserve bodies for eternity. And because man is ever liable to change, He therefore warns the Apostles, who have been entitled “the salt of the earth,” to continue steadfast in the might of the power committed to them, when He adds, “If the salt have lost its savour, wherewith shall it be salted?”. But if the doctors having become senseless, and having lost all the savour they once enjoyed, are unable to restore soundness to things corrupt, they a...

Hilary of Poitiers

AD 368
The salt of the earth, I suppose, seems at first like nothing special. So what did Jesus mean when he called the apostles the “salt of the earth”? We must look for the words’ appropriate meaning. Both the apostles’ task and the nature of salt itself will reveal this. The element of water and the element of fire are combined and united in salt. So ordinary salt, made for the use of the human race, imparts resistance to corruption to the meats on which it is sprinkled. And, of course, it is very apt to add the sensation of hidden flavor. Likewise the apostles are the preachers of surprising heavenly things and eternity. Like sowers, they sow immortality on all bodies on which their discourse has been sprinkled. They are perfected by the baptism of water and fire. So those who are to be salted with the power of gospel teaching have rightly been called the “salt of the earth.” They are right now being preserved to the end. ...


AD 420
Or, because by the Apostles the whole human race is seasoned. That is, if the doctor have erred, by what other doctor shall he be corrected?. The illustration is taken from husbandry. Salt, though it be necessary for seasoning of meats and preserving flesh, has no further use. Indeed we read in Scripture of vanquished cities sown with salt by the victors, that nothing should thenceforth grow there. ...
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John Chrysostom

AD 407
Now then, after giving them due exhortation, He refreshes them again with praises. As thus: the injunctions being high, and far surpassing those in the Old Testament; lest they should be disturbed and confounded, and say, How shall we be able to achieve these things? hear what He says: You are the salt of the earth. Matthew 5:13 Implying, that of absolute necessity He enjoins all this. For not for your own life apart, says He, but for the whole world, shall your account be. For not to two cities, nor to ten or twenty, nor to a single nation am I sending you, as I sent the prophets; but to earth, and sea, and the whole world; and that in evil case. For by saying, You are the salt of the earth, He signified all human nature to have lost its savor, and to be decayed by our sins. For which cause, you see, He requires of them such virtues, as are most necessary and useful for the superintendence of the common sort. For first, the meek, and yielding, and merciful, and righteous, shuts not up...
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John Chrysostom

AD 407
When He had delivered to His Apostles such sublime precepts, so much greater than the precepts of the Law, that they might not be dismayed and say, How shall we be able to fulfil these things? He sooths their fears by mingling praises with His instructions, saying, “Ye are the salt of the earth.” This hews them how necessary were these precepts for them. Not for your own salvation merely, or for a single nation, but for the whole world is this doctrine committed to you. It is not for you then to flatter and deal smoothly with men, but, on the contrary, to be rough and biting as salt is. When for thus offending men by reproving them ye are reviled, rejoice; for this is the proper effect of salt to be harsh and grating to the depraved palate. Thus the evil-speaking of others will bring you no inconvenience, but will rather be atestimony of your firmness. A doctor when he is adorned with all the preceding virtues, then is like good salt, and his whole people are salted by seeing and heari...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
It is as a matter of absolute necessity that he commands all this. Why must you be salt? Jesus says in effect: “You are accountable not only for your own life but also for that of the entire world. I am sending you not to one or two cities, nor to ten or twenty, nor even to one nation, as I sent the prophets. Rather, I am sending you to the entire earth, across the seas, to the whole world, to a world fallen into an evil state.” For by saying, “You are the salt of the earth,” Jesus signifies that all human nature itself has “lost its taste,” having become rotten through sin. For this reason, you see, he requires from his disciples those character traits that are most necessary and useful for the benefit of all. The Gospel of Matthew, Homily ...

Remigius of Rheims

AD 533
The Apostles are “the salt of the earth,” that is, of worldly men who arecalled the earth, because they love this earth. It should be known, that in the Old Testament no sacrifice was offered to God unless it were first sprinkled with salt, for none can present an acceptable sacrifice to God without the flavour of heavenly wisdom. ...
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Theophylact of Ochrid

AD 1107
The prophets were sent to one race only, but you are the salt of the whole earth. By your teachings and reproofs you act as an astringent upon the slack and the indolent, so that they will not breed the worms that never die. So do not desist from your astringent reproofs, even if you are reviled or persecuted. Therefore He says: For if the teacher has become insipid, that is, if he does not give astringent reproofs, but has become soft and lax, "wherewith shall it be salted?" that is, how can this be corrected? So from then on he is cast out from the rank of teacher and is trodden under foot, that is, despised. ...

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

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