And said unto him, Do you hear what these say? And Jesus said unto them,
Yea; have you never read, Out of the mouth of babes and infants you have perfected praise?
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Augustine of Hippo
Regula ad Serv. Dei., 3: Let no one therefore do ought in the oratory, but that for which it was made and whence it got its name. It follows, “But ye have made it a den of thieves.”.
de Cons. Ev., ii, 68: It is manifest that the Lord did this thing not once but twice; the first time is told by John, this second occasion by the other three.
Have you never read: Out of the mouth The words are Psalm viii. 3, which some apply to the praises the people gave to David, when he had conquered Goliath, but Christ applies them to the present circumstances. (Witham)
It is here said, that from the mouth of children the Almighty, had perfected praise, as in Psalm viii. 3. in the Septuagint, to show that their words did not proceed from their own minds, but that their tender tongues were employed by the power of God to sound forth his praise. (St. Chrysostom, hom. lxviii.)
It is evident from this and various other texts, that we ought to read the Old Testament with an eye to Christ, who was the end of the law.
When Jesus entered with the multitudes, the whole city of Jerusalem was moved, wondering at the crowds, and not knowing the power.
While others were in doubt or enquiring, the worthless multitude confessed Him; "But the people said, This is Jesus the Prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.” They begin with the lesser that they may come to the greater. They hail Him as that Prophet whom Moses had said should come like to himself, for there He had been brought up, that the flower of the field might be nourished with the flower ofall excellencies.
“And he cast out all them that sold and bought.” It should be known that in obedience to the Law, in the Temple of the Lord venerated throughout the whole world, and resorted to by Jews out of every quarter, innumerable victims were sacrificed, especially on festival days, bulls, rams, goats; the poor offering young pigeons and turtle-doves, that they might not omit all sacrifice. But it would happen that those who came from a distance would have no v...
But they not even so would be persuaded, but together with the rest of the miracles hearing even the children proclaiming, were ready to choke, and say, Do you not hear what these say? And yet it was Christ's part to have said this to them, Hear ye not what these say? for the children were singing to Him as to God.
What then says He? Since they were speaking against things manifest, He applies His correction more in the way of reproof, saying, Have ye never read, Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings You have perfected praise? And well did He say, Out of the mouth. For what was said was not of their understanding, but of His power giving articulation to their tongue yet immature.
And this was also a type of the Gentiles lisping, and sounding forth at once great things with understanding and faith.
And for the apostles also there was from hence no small consolation. For that they might not be perplexed, how being unlearned they should be able to publish the gospel, the child...
With good reason were they moved at sight of a thing so to be wondered at. Manwas praised as God, but it was the God that was praised in the man. But, I suppose, that neither they who praised knew what they praised, but the Spirit that suddenly inspired there poured forth the words of truth.
Hom., lxvii: Which aggravates the fault of the Jews, who after He had done the same thing twice, yet persisted in their hardness.
For this reason also He overturns the tables of the money-changers, to signify that in the temple of God ought to be no coin save spiritual, such as bears the image of God, not an earthly image. He overturns the seats of those that sold doves, saying by that deed, What make in My temple so many doves for sale, since that one Dove descended of free gift upon the temple of My Body? What the multitude had proclaimed by their shouts, the Lord shows in deeds. Whence it follows, “And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them.”.
But not even thus were...
But it is to be noted, that this entry of His into Jerusalem was five days before the passover. For John relates, that six days before the Passover He came to Bethany, because on the same day of the same month, that is, five days before the passover, the Lord was to enter the city in which He was to suffer.
When the Pharisees saw the children offering to Christ the hymn of David which the prophet seems to offer to God (Ps. 117:26), they exploded with spite and reviled Him for allowing things of God to be said of Him. But He confirmed this by saying "Yea." For, He says, I am so disinclined to stop the mouths of those who are saying these things to Me, that I will even bring forward the prophet as a witness, and show you up as either ignorant or spiteful. For have you not read, "Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings Thou hast perfected praise?" (Ps. 8:2). "Thou hast perfected" means "Thou hast shown a perfect and fitting hymn" even if "the babes and sucklings" seem imperfect, or immature, in age. For it was not they who were speaking what they spoke, but they only gave their mouth to the Spirit and became His instruments. This is why He says, "Out of the mouth of babes," implying that the words were not of their own intellect, but only of their mouth which was moved by divine grace. He al...