Therefore all things whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do you even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
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Augustine of Hippo
Elsewhere Jesus says that there are two precepts on which the whole law and the prophets depend. The present precept seems to concern only the love of neighbor and not the love of God as well. Of course, if he had said, “All things whatever you wish to have done to you, do you also those things,” he would then have embraced those two precepts in the one maxim, for it would be readily understood that everyone would wish to be loved by both God and other persons. So, when someone would be given that one precept—when he would be required to do whatever he would wish to have done to him—then he would of course implicitly be given the other precept as well: that he should love both God and neighbor. But it would seem that the present maxim means nothing more than “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” for it seems very expressly restricted to persons, since it reads, “Whatever you wish that people would do to you, do so to them.” However, we must pay close attention to his further obse...
Firmness and strength of walking by the way of wisdom in good habits is thus set before us, by which men are brought to purity and simplicity of heart; concerning which having spoken a long time, He thus concludes, “All things whatsoever ye would” For there is no man who would that another should act towards him with a double heart.
Serm., 61. 7: Otherwise; The Lord had promised that He would give good things to them that ask Him. But that He may own his petitioners, let us also own ours. For they that beg are in every thing, save having of substance, equal to those of whom they beg. What face can you have of making request to your God, when you do not acknowledge your equal? This is said in Proverbs, “Whosostoppeth his ear to the cry of the poor, he shall cry and shall not be heard.” What we ought to bestow on our neighbour when he asks of us, that we ourselves may be heard of God, we may judge by what we would have others bestow upon us; therefore He says, “All things whatsoever ye w...
Moreover, a certain strength and vigour in walking along the path of wisdom ties in good morals, which are made to extend as far as to purification and singleness of heart—a subject on which He has now been speaking long, and thus concludes: Therefore all good things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. In the Greek copies we find the passage runs thus: Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them. But I think the word good has been added by the Latins to make the sentence clear. For the thought occurred, that if any one should wish something wicked to be done to him, and should refer this clause to that—as, for instance, if one should wish to be challenged to drink immoderately, and to get drunk over his cups, and should first do this to the party by whom he wishes it to be done to himself—it would be ridiculous to imagine that he had fulfilled this clause. Inasmuch, the...
Tr. vii: Since the Word of God, the Lord Jesus Christ came to all men, He summed up all his commands in one precept, “Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them;” and adds, “for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
For this is the law and the prophets; that is, all precepts that regard our neighbour are directed by this golden rule, do as you would be done by. (Witham)
The whole law and all the duties between man and man, inculcated by the prophets, have this principle for foundation. The Roman emperor Alexander Severus, is related to have said, that he esteemed the Christians for their acting on this principle. (Haydock)
This is the sum of the law and of the prophets, the whole law of the Jews. (Menochius)
In this statement Jesus briefly sums up all that is required. He shows that the definition of virtue is short and easy and known already to all. And he did not merely say, “Whatever things that you want,” but “Therefore whatever things that you want.” For he did not add this word therefore in its straightforward sense, but rather he used it with a deeper meaning. He is saying, “If you want to be heard, do these things in addition to those about which I have already spoken.” What are these additional things? “Whatever are those things that you want people to do to you.” Do you see how this shows that our wishes imply careful regulation of our behavior? Note that he did not say, “Whatever things that you want God to do for you, do these things to your neighbor.” Thus you cannot say, “How is that even possible? He is God and I am a human being!” Instead, Jesus said, “Whatever things that you want your fellow servant to do, you yourself also perform for your neighbor.” What is less of a bu...
Summing up all in brief, and signifying, that virtue is compendious, and easy, and readily known of all men.
And He did not merely say, All things whatsoever ye would, but, Therefore all things whatsoever ye would. For this word, therefore, He did not add without purpose, but with a concealed meaning: if you desire, says He, to be heard, together with what I have said, do these things also. What then are these? Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you. Do you see how He has hereby also signified that together with prayer we need exact conversation? And He did not say, whatsoever things you would to be done unto you of God, those do unto your neighbor; lest you should say, But how is it possible? He is God and I am man: but, whatsoever you would to be done unto you of your fellow servant, these things do thou also yourself show forth towards your neighbor. What is less burdensome than this? What fairer?
Then the praise also, before the rewards, is exceeding great.
Otherwise; He had above commanded us in order to sanctify our prayers that men should not judge those who sin against them. Then breaking the thread of his discourse He had introduced various other matters, wherefore now when Here turns to the command with which He had begun, He says, “All things whatsoeverye would” That is; I not only command that ye judge not, but “Allthings whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye unto them;” and then you will be able to pray so as to obtain.
He says not, “All things whatsoever,” simply, but “All things therefore,” asthough He should say, If ye will be heard, besides those things which I have now said to you, do this also. And He said not, Whatsoever you would have done for you by God, do that for your neighbour; lest you should say, But how can I? But He says, Whatsoever you would have done to you by your fellow-servant, do that also to your neighbour.
Whence what we ought to do is clear, as in our own cases we all know what isproper,...
. In a few words He shows us the way to virtue. We humans know just by common sense what we ought to do. If you wish others to do good to you, do good to them. If you wish to be loved by your enemies, you must love your enemies. For both the law of God and the prophets speak of those things which even natural law bids us to do.