Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?
Read Chapter 7
Augustine of Hippo
But how do evil people give good gifts? Those whom he here calls evil are sinners. As such they are still lovers of this world. It is in accordance with their notion of good that their gifts are to be called good. Their gifts are called good, that is, because the givers consider them good. Although these things are good in the order of nature, they are nevertheless temporal things pertaining to the infirmities of life. Moreover, whenever an evil person bestows them, he is not giving what is his own, for “the earth and the fullness thereof is the Lord’s. … Who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all things that are in them.” So even we who are evil know how to give what is asked. How much more confidence ought we to have that God will give us good things when we ask. God will not deceive us by giving us one thing rather than another when we ask of him. Even we do not deceive our children. And whatever good gifts we bestow, we give what is God’s and not our own. .
Lest any one considering the great inequality between God and man, should despair of obtaining favours of God, and therefore should not dare to offer up his petitions, he immediately introduces this similitude of the Father; so that if we were on the point of despairing on account of our sins, from his fatherly tenderness we might still have hopes. (St. Thomas Aquinas)
Because, as among men, if you keep on doing so, you are even accounted troublesome, and disgusting: so with God, when you do not so, then thou dost more entirely provoke Him. And if you continue asking, though thou receive not at once, thou surely wilt receive. For to this end was the door shut, that He may induce you to knock: to this end He does not straightway assent, that you may ask. Continue then to do these things, and you will surely receive. For that you might not say, What then if I should ask and not receive? He has blocked up your approach with that similitude, again framing arguments, and by those human things urging us to be confident on these matters; implying by them that we must not only ask, but ask what we ought.
For which of you is there, a father, of whom if his son shall ask bread, will he give him a stone? So that if you receive not, your asking a stone is the cause of your not receiving. For though thou be a son, this suffices not for your receiving: rather t...