Luke 14:28

For which of you, intending to build a tower, sits not down first, and counts the cost, whether he has enough to finish it?
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
Or the ten thousand of him who is going to fight with the king who has twenty, signify the simplicity of the Christian about to contend with the subtlety of the devil. But as with respect to the unfinished tower, he alarms us by the reproaches of those who say, The man began to build, I and was not able to finish, so with regard to the king with whom the battle was to be, he reproved even peace, adding, Or else, while the other is yet agreat way off, he sends an ambassage, and desires conditions of peace; signifying that those also who forsake all they possess cannot endure from the devil the threats of even coming temptations, and make peace with him by consenting to him to commit sin. Now to what these comparisons refer, He on the same occasion sufficiently explained, when he said, So likewise whosoever he be of you that forsakes not all that he has, he cannot be my disciple. The cost therefore of building the tower, and the strength of the ten thousand against the king who has twent...

Basil the Great

AD 379
Or the tower is a lofty watch-tower fitted for the guardianship of the city and the discovery of the enemy's approach. In like manner was our understanding given us to preserve the good, to guard against the evil. For the building up whereof the Lord bids us sit down and count our means if we have sufficient to finish. But our Lord's intention in the above-mentioned example is not indeed to afford occasion or give liberty to any one to become His disciple or not, as indeed it is lawful not to begin a foundation, or not to treat of peace, but to show the impossibility of pleasing God, amidst those things which distract the soul, and in which it is in danger of becoming an easy prey to the snares and wiles of the devil.


AD 735
But there is a difference between renouncing all things and leaving all things. For it is the way of few perfect men to leave all things, that is, to cast behind them the cares of the world, but it is the part of all the faithful to renounce all things, that is, so to hold the things of' the world as by them not to be held in the world. But there is a difference between renouncing all things and leaving all things. For it is the way of few perfect men to leave all things, that is, to cast behind them the cares of the world, but it is the part of all the faithful to renounce all things, that is, so to hold the things of' the world as by them not to be held in the world.

Cornelius a Lapide

AD 1637
For which of you, intending to build a tower, &c. By means of this parable Christ would teach us with what prudence we ought to test our bodily, and above all our spiritual strength, as well as such gifts of grace as we may possess, before we attempt to build the lofty tower of evangelical perfection, and declare war against ourselves our passions, our friends and the whole world; lest afterward, recoiling from so great an undertaking, we incur the loss of all our outlay, and also the reproach of having rashly commenced a building which we were unable to finish, and of having entered upon a war in which we were worsted. "He counts the cost," says the Gloss, "who perceives that money will have to be spent, i.e. that the heart must be weaned from corrupt desires, and the soul prepared for adversity." Symbolically. Salmeron (tom. vii. tract24) says, "Christ puts forth two parables to teach the rulers of the Church that they must be skilled both in action and in contemplation, the one ab...

Cyril of Alexandria

AD 444
Next he uses two examples to encourage his friends to an unconquerable strength and to establish those who want to attain to honors by patience and endurance in an unwavering zeal. If anyone wants to build a tower, he first counts if he has sufficient means to finish it. Otherwise when he has laid the foundation and is not able to finish it, people will laugh at him. Those who choose to lead a glorious and blameless life should store up beforehand in their mind a sufficient zeal. They should remember him who says, “My son, if you come close to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for every temptation. Make your heart straight and endure.” How will those who do not have this zeal be able to reach the goal that is set before them.“Or what king,” he says, “wishing to make war with another king, does not consider with himself, whether with his ten thousand he can prevail over one who is more mighty than himself?” What does this mean? “We do not wrestle against blood and flesh, but against gove...

Cyril of Alexandria

AD 444
For we fight: against spiritual wickedness in high places; but there presses upon us amultitude also of other enemies, fleshly lust, the law of sin raging in our members, and various passions, that is, a dreadful multitude of enemies.
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George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
For which of you The similitude, which our divine Saviour makes us of, represents the offices and duty of a true Christian, for he has to build within himself and conduct others by his example to war with the devil, the world, and the flesh; and he has to season, purify, and keep all his actions free from corruption by the spiritual salt of mortification and prayer. (Tirinus)
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Gregory The Dialogist

AD 604
For when occupied in good works, unless we watch carefully against the evil spirits, we find those our mockers who are persuading us to evil. But another comparison is added proceeding from the less to the greater, in order that from the least things the greatest may be estimated. For it follows, Or what king, going to make war against another king, sits not down first, and consults whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that comes against him with twenty thousand. Or else, in that awful trial we come not to the judgment a match for our king, for ten thousand are against twenty thousand, two against one. He comes with a double army against a single. For while we are scarcely prepared in deeds only, he sifts us at once both in thought and deed. While then he is yet afar off, who though still present in judgment, is not seen, let us send himan embassy, our tears, our works of mercy, the propitiatory victim. This is our message which appeases the coming king.

Gregory of Nyssa

AD 394
For we must be ever pressing onward that we may reach the end of each difficult undertaking by successive increases of the commandments of God, and so to the completion of the divine work. For neither is one stone the whole fabric of the tower, nor does a single command lead to the perfection of the soul. But we must lay the foundation, and according to the Apostle, thereupon must be placed store of gold, silver, and precious stones. Whence it is added, Lest haply after he has laid the foundation
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Gregory of Nyssa

AD 394
The Gospel somewhere says that a person who begins to build a tower but stops with the foundations and never completes it is ridiculous. What do we learn from this parable? We learn that we should work to bring every aspiration to a conclusion, completing the work of God by an elaborate building up of his commandments. One stone does not make a complete tower, nor does one commandment bring the perfection of the soul to its desired measure. It is necessary to both erect the foundation and, as the apostle says, “to lay upon it a foundation of gold and precious stones.” That is what the products of the commandments are called by the prophet when he says, “I have loved your commandment more than gold and much precious stone.”

Tertullian of Carthage

AD 220
. For after the similitude of that most prudent builder,
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Theophilus of Antioch

AD 184
For we ought not to lay a foundation, i.e. begin to follow Christ, and not bring the work to an end, as those of whom St. John writes, That many of his disciples went back. Or by the foundation understand the word of teaching, as for instance concerning abstinence. There is need therefore of the above-mentioned foundation, that the building up of our works be established, a tower of strength from the face of the enemy. Otherwise, man is laughed atby those who see him, men as well as devils. The king is sin reigning in our mortal body; but our understanding also was created king. If then he wishes to fight against sin, let him consider with his whole mind. For the devils are the satellites of sin, which being twenty thousand, seem to surpass in number our ten thousand, because that being spiritual compared to us who are corporeal, they are come to have much greater strength.

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

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