Matthew 12:35

A good man out of the good treasure of the heart brings forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
Serm., 72, 1: Or this is an admonition to ourselves that we should be good trees that we may be able to bring forth good fruit; “Make the tree good, and its fruit good,” is a precept of health to which obedience is necessary. But what He says, “Make the tree corrupt, and its fruit corrupt,” is not a commandto do, but a warning to take heed, spoken against those who being evil thought that they could speak good things, or have good works; this the Lord declares is impossible. The man must be changed first, that his works may be changed; for if the man remains in that wherein he is evil, he cannot have good works; if he remains in that wherein he is good, he cannot have evil works. Christ found us all corrupt trees, but gave power to become sons of God to them that believe on His name. And observe He said not, How can ye speak good things, seeing ye are a generation of vipers? for these two are not connected together; but He said, “How can ye being evil speak good things? He calls them “...

Cyril of Alexandria

AD 444
When he says “treasure,” Christ refers to the multitude of motives that lie in the soul. It is not by nature that people are good or bad but by their own choice. He makes this plain in his remark to the Pharisees: It is possible for one and the same person at one time to become good, at another time evil, for “a good man speaks out of the abundance of his heart,” and likewise for the bad. ...


AD 420
Thus He holds them in a syllogism which the Greeks call ‘Aphycton,’ the unavoidable; which shuts in the person questioned on both sides, and presses him with either horn. If, He saith, the Devil be evil, he cannot do good works; so that if the works you see be good, it follows that the Devil was not the agent thereof. For it cannot be that good should come of evil, or evil of good. What He says, “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart” is either pointed against the Jews, that seeing they blasphemed God, what treasure in their heart must that be out of which such blasphemy proceeded; or it isconnected with what had gone before, that like as a good man cannot bring forth evil things, nor an evil man good things, so Christ cannot do evil works, northe Devil good works. ...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
Hom. xlii: After his former answers He here again refutes them in another manner. This He does not in order to do away their charges against Himself, but desiring to amend them, saying, “Either make the tree good and his fruit good, or make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt. "As much as to say, None of you has said that it is an evil thing for a man to be delivered from daemons. But because they did not speak evil of the works, but said that it was the Devil that wrought them, He shows that this charge is contrary to the common sense of things, and human conceptions. And to invent such charges can only proceed from unbounded impudence. For the discerning of a tree is done by its fruits, not the fruits by the tree. A tree is known by its fruits.” For though the tree is the cause of the fruit, yet the fruit is the evidence of the tree. But ye do the very contrary, having no fault to allege against the works, ye pass a sentence of evil against thetree, saying that I have a daemon. T...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
For think not by any means, says He, that it is so in respect of wickedness only, for in goodness also the same occurs: for there too the virtue within is more than the words without. By which He signified, that both they were to be accounted more wicked than their words indicated, and Himself more perfectly good than His sayings declared. And He calls it a treasure, indicating its abundance. Then again He fences them in with great terror. For think not at all, says He, that the thing stops at this, that is, at the condemnation of the multitude; nay, for all that do wickedly in such things shall suffer the utmost punishment. And He said not, ye, partly in order to instruct our whole race, partly to make His saying the less burdensome. ...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
When wickedness is overflowing within, its words will pour out of one’s mouth. So when you hear someone speaking wicked words, do not suppose only so much wickedness to be in that one as the words display, but suspect the fountain to be much more abundant. For that which is spoken outwardly is the superabundance of that which is within. The Gospel of Matthew, Homily ...

Rabanus Maurus

AD 856
Or the words, “Generation of vipers,” may be taken as signifying children, or imitators of the Devil, because they had wilfully spoken against good works, which is of the Devil, and thence follows, “Out of the abundance of the heartthe mouth speaketh.” That man speaks out of the abundance of the heart who isnot ignorant with what intention his words are uttered; and to declare his meaning more openly He adds, “A good man, out of the good treasure of his heartbringeth forth good things.” The treasure of the heart is the intention of the thoughts, by which the Judge judges that work which is produced, so that sometimes though the outward work that is shown seem great, yet because of the carelessness of a cold heart, they receive a little reward from the Lord. ...

Theophylact of Ochrid

AD 1107
When you see a speaker of obscenities, know that he does not have in his heart the same quantity of evil that he speaks, but many times more. For it is the excess that spills over, and he who has a hidden treasure displays only a small part. Likewise he who speaks good has even more in his heart.

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

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