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Matthew 5:44

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you, and persecute you;
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
That there is, however, a certain step [in advance] in the righteousness of the Pharisees, which belongs to the old law, is perceived from this consideration, that many men hate even those by whom they are loved; as, for instance, luxurious children hate their parents for restraining them in their luxury. That man therefore rises a certain step, who loves his neighbour, although as yet he hates his enemy. But in the kingdom of Him who came to fulfil the law, not to destroy it, he will bring benevolence and kindness to perfection, when he has carried it out so far as to love an enemy. For the former stage, although it is something, is yet so little that it may be reached even by the publicans as well. And as to what is said in the law, You shall hate your enemy, it is not to be understood as the voice of command addressed to a righteous man, but rather as the voice of permission to a weak man. Here indeed arises a question in no way to be blinked, that to this precept of the Lord, wh...

Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
But the question before us is rendered more urgent by what the Apostle John says: If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and the Lord shall give him life for him who sins not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. For he manifestly shows that there are certain brethren for whom we are not commanded to pray, although the Lord bids us pray even for our persecutors. Nor can the question in hand be solved, unless we acknowledge that there are certain sins in brethren which are more heinous than the persecution of enemies. Moreover, that brethren mean Christians can be proved by many examples from the divine Scriptures. Yet that one is plainest which the apostle thus states: For the unbelieving husband is sanctified in the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified in the brother. For he has not added the word our; but has thought it plain, as he wished a Christian who had an unbelieving wife to be understood by ...

George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
I come to establish the purity of the law, which they have corrupted. (Haydock)

John Chrysostom

AD 407
And if any one should examine accurately, he will see that even to these things somewhat is added, much greater than they are. For neither did He simply command to love, but to pray. Do you see how many steps He has ascended, and how He has set us on the very summit of virtue? Nay, mark it, numbering from the beginning. A first step is, not to begin with injustice: a second, after he has begun, to vindicate one's self by equal retaliation; a third, not to do unto him that is vexing us the same that one has suffered, but to be quiet; a fourth, even to give one's self up to suffer wrongfully; a fifth, to give up yet more than the other, who did the wrong, wishes; a sixth, not to hate him who has done so; a seventh, even to love him; an eighth, to do him good also; a ninth, to entreat God Himself on his behalf. Do you see, what height of self-command? Wherefore glorious too, as we see, is the reward which it has. That is, because the thing enjoined was great, and needed a fervent soul,...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
For neither did Christ simply command to love but to pray. Do you see how many steps he has ascended and how he has set us on the very summit of virtue? Mark it, numbering from the beginning. A first step is not to begin with injustice. A second, after one has begun, is not to vindicate oneself by retaliating in kind. A third, to refuse to respond in kind to the one who is injuring us but to remain tranquil. A fourth, even to offer up one’s self to suffer wrongfully. A fifth, to give up even more than the wrongdoer wishes to take. A sixth, to refuse to hate one who has wronged us. A seventh, even to love such a one. An eighth, even to do good to that one. A ninth, to entreat God himself on our enemy’s behalf. Do you perceive how elevated is a Christian disposition? Hence its reward is also glorious. The Gospel of Matthew, Homily ...

Theodore the Stratelates

AD 319
The law of the Lord transcends both the law of nature and the law revealed to Moses. For the things that are impossible with humans are possible with God. But Christ does not legislate impossibilities, as Stephen showed at the time of his passion, when he bent his knees and prayed for those who were stoning him. Similarly Paul, who had suffered so many things at the hands of the Jews, also prays for them. Therefore the infrequency of these things shows that they are not impossible. For most people, though, they are difficult to accomplish owing to their unwillingness to strive to reach the summit of virtue. ...

Theophylact of Ochrid

AD 1107
. But I say unto you, Love your enemies. Here the Lord has reached the very pinnacle of the virtues. For what is greater than to love one’s enemies? But it is not impossible to accomplish. For Moses and Paul loved the Jews who were raging against them more than they loved themselves, and all the saints have loved their enemies. . We bless them because we must consider them our benefactors. For anyone who persecutes us and puts us to the test, lightens the punishment that we will suffer for our own sins. We will also bless them when God gives us the great crown of the contest. For hear what He says: ...

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

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