May 18, 2010

Augustine (354–430) on Matthew 5:44–45

"The Lord in the Gospel saith, "If ye love them that love you, what reward shall ye have? do not the publicans this?" Then what would He have us do? "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, and pray for them that persecute you." If then He bids us love our enemies, whence brings He an example to set before us? From God Himself: for He saith, "That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven." How doth God this? He loveth His enemies, "Who maketh His sun to rise upon the good and the bad, and raineth upon the just and the unjust." If this then be the perfection unto which God inviteth us, that we love our enemies as He loves His; this is our boldness in the day of judgment, that "as He is, so are we also in this world:" because, as He loveth His enemies in making His sun to rise upon good and bad, and in sending rain upon the just and unjust, so we, since we cannot bestow upon them sun and rain, bestow upon them our tears when we pray for them."
Augustine, "Ten Homilies on the First Epistle of John," NPNF, 1st series, ed. Philip Schaff (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2004), 7:515.

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