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Matthew 5:17

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
And therefore, after He has exhorted His hearers that they should prepare themselves to bear all things for truth and righteousness, and that they should not hide the good which they were about to receive, but should learn with such benevolence as to teach others, aiming in their good works not at their own praise, but at the glory of God, He begins now to inform and to teach them what they are to teach; as if they were asking Him, saying: Lo, we are willing both to bear all things for Your name, and not to hide Your doctrine; but what precisely is this which Thou forbiddest us to hide, and for which You command us to bear all things? Are You about to mention other things contrary to those which are written in the law? No, says He; for think not that I have come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. ...

Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
In this sentence the meaning is twofold. We must deal with it in both ways. For He who says, I am not come to destroy the law, but to fulfil, means it either in the way of adding what is wanting, or of doing what is in it. Let us then consider that first which I have put first: for he who adds what is wanting does not surely destroy what he finds, but rather confirms it by perfecting it. ...

Chromatius of Aquileia

AD 407
The Son of God, who is the author of the law and the prophets, did not come to abolish the law or the prophets. He gave the people the law that was to be handed down through Moses, and he imbued the prophets with the Holy Spirit for the preaching of the things to come. Therefore he said, “I have come not to abolish the law and the prophets but to fulfill them.” He fulfilled the law and the prophets in this way: He brought to pass those things that had been written about him in the law and the prophets. Hence, when he drank the vinegar offered him on the cross, he said, “It is finished,” evidently to show that everything written about him in the law and the prophets had been completed, even including the drinking of vinegar. He fulfilled the law at any rate when he completed by the sacrament of his passion the once prefigured mystery of the paschal meal. Consequently the apostle says, “For Christ our paschal lamb has been sacrificed.” . ...

Chromatius of Aquileia

AD 407
While it is sinful to abolish the least of the commandments, all the more so the great and most important ones. Hence the Holy Spirit affirms through Solomon: “Whoever despises the little things shall gradually die.” Consequently nothing in the divine commandments must be abolished, nothing altered. Everything must be preserved and taught faithfully and devotedly that the glory of the heavenly kingdom may not be lost. Indeed, those things considered least important and small by the unfaithful or by worldly people are not small before God but necessary. For the Lord taught the commandments and did them. Even small things point to the great future of the kingdom of heaven. For this reason, not only words but also deeds are important; and you should not only teach, but what you teach, you should do. . ...

George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
Not to destroy the law It is true, by Christ's coming, a multitude of ceremonies and sacrifices, and circumcision, were to cease; but the moral precepts were to continue, and to be complied with, even with greater perfection. (Witham) To fulfil. By accomplishing all the figures and prophecies, and perfecting all that was imperfect. (Challoner) Our Saviour speaks in this manner, to prepare the minds of the Jews for his new instructions. For although they were not very solicitous about fulfilling the law, still they were extremely jealous of any change being made in the letter of the law; more particularly, if the proposed change exacted a more perfect morality. Our Lord fulfilled the law three several ways: 1. By his obedience to the prescribed rites; therefore he says, it behoveth us to fulfil all justice: and who shall accuse me of sin? 2. He observes the law, not only by his own observance of it, but likewise by enabling us to fulfil it. It was the wish of the law to make man just,...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
Why, who suspected this? Or who accused Him, that He should make a defense against this charge? Since surely from what had gone before no such suspicion was generated. For to command men to be meek, and gentle, and merciful, and pure in heart, and to strive for righteousness, indicated no such design, but rather altogether the contrary. Wherefore then can He have said this? Not at random, nor vainly: but inasmuch as He was proceeding to ordain commandments greater than those of old, saying, It was said to them of old time, You shall not kill; but I say unto you, Be not even angry; and to mark out a way for a kind of divine and heavenly conversation; in order that the strangeness thereof might not disturb the souls of the hearers, nor dispose them quite to mutiny against what He said He used this means of setting them right beforehand. For although they fulfilled not the law, yet nevertheless they were possessed with much conscientious regard to it; and while they were annulling i...

Theophylact of Ochrid

AD 1107
He was about to introduce new laws, yet He did not want them to think that He was opposed to God. Therefore He says, anticipating the suspicion that many would have, "I have not come to abolish the law, but rather to fulfill it." How did He fulfill it? First, He did everything which the prophets had foretold concerning Him, which is why the evangelist often says, "So that what was spoken by the prophet might be fulfilled." He also fulfilled every commandment of the law. "For He did no sin, neither was any guile found in His mouth" (1 Peter 2:22). And He fulfilled and completed the law in yet another way: whatever the law had sketched in outline, Christ fully painted in. The law said, "Do not murder’’; but Christ said, "Neither be angry without a cause." So too the painter does not destroy the sketch, but rather completes it. ...

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

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