And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
Read Chapter 7
Augustine of Hippo
Serm. in Mont. in fin.: Otherwise; Rain, when it is put to denote any evil, isunderstood as the darkness of superstition; rumours of men are compared to winds; the flood signifies the lust of the flesh, as it were flowing over the land, and because what is brought on by prosperity is broken off by adversity. None of these things does he fear who has his house founded upon a rock, that is, who not only hears the command of the Lord, but who also does it. And in all these he submits himself to danger, who hears and does not. For no man confirms in himself what the Lord commands, or himself hears, but by doing it.But it should be noted, that when he said, "He that heareth these words of mine,” He shows plainly enough that this sermonis made complete by all those precepts by which the Christian life is formed, so that with good reason they that desire to live according to them, may be compared to one that builds on a rock.
Spiritually understood, the one who rightly hears the word is contrasted with the builder who builds his house on sand. In time of temptation the house falls down. The onslaught of evil wind covers it with silt, and troubled waters flood into the soul. From this turbid flood stream of iniquity the house is shaken to its foundations. This should rouse us to become aware of the danger that comes in final judgment. Those who hear the Lord’s words are like a wise man building on rock. Those who do not follow the Lord’s words are likened to a foolish man building on sand. One who practices virtue is made thoroughly able “through Christ who strengthens him.” We receive everything from God who puts things right. From him comes wisdom and insight and union with all that is good. The bad person cannot claim God as cause of his own wickedness and stupidity. He makes himself like the fool when he withdraws from that which proceeds according to nature. He then turns toward what is unnatural.
Such again shall be the end of all false prophets. Their death shall be in the same proportion, ignominious and miserable, as their life had been glorious and attractive. They shall be punished with so much greater severity, than others, as their sins have proceeded from greater knowledge and greater malice. (Haydock)
Otherwise; By the showers He signifies the allurements of smooth and gently invading pleasures, with which the faith is at first watered as with spreading rills, afterwards comes down the rush of torrent floods, that is, the motions of fiercer desire, and lastly, the whole force of the driving tempests rages against it, that is, the universal spirits of the Devil’s reign attack it.
Because there would be some who would admire the things that were said by the Lord, but would not add that shewing forth of them which is in action, He threatens them before, saying, “Every man that hears these words of mine, and does them, shall be likened to a wise man.”.
He said not, I will account him that hears and does, as wise; but, “He shall be likened to a wise man.” He then that is likened is a man; but to whom is he likened? To Christ; but Christ is the wise man who had built His house, that is, the Church, upon a rock, that is, upon the strength of the faith. The foolish man is the Devil, who has built his house, that is, all the ungodly, upon the sand, that is, the insecurity of unbelief, or upon the carnal, who are called the sand on account of their barrenness; both because they do not cleave together, but are scattered through the diversity of their opinions, and because they are innumerable. The rain is the doctrine that waters a man, the clouds are those from which th...
Speaking of the man who believes but does not act, Jesus did not say, "I will liken him to a foolish man." Instead Jesus says, "He shall be likened" on his own account to a foolish man. Such a man builds the house of his soul upon sand, that is, with no deeds to provide a stable foundation. This is why it collapses under the blows of temptations. For when temptation beats upon it, it falls with a crash. Unbelievers do not fall, for they are always lying on the ground. It is the believer who falls. Therefore "great was the fall," because it was a Christian who fell.