You have heard that it has been said, You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.
This last illustration makes two advances upon even those foregoing. From the negative course, of not resisting evil, Christ proceeds to teach the high and moral principle of doing good for evil, positively and practically. Further, this illustration moves in that highest sphere where law merges in love. It finds its material in that law of love which comprehends the perfect fulfilling of law. The words of Chrysostom are well worth recording: "Note through what steps we have now ascended hither, and how Christ has set us here on the very pinnacle of virtue. The first step is, not to begin to do wrong to any; the second, that in avenging a wrong done to us we be content with retaliating equal; the third, to return nothing of what we have suffered; the fourth, to offer one's self to the endurance of evil; the fifth, to be ready to suffer even more evil than the oppressor desires to inflict; the sixth, not to hate him of whom we suffer such things; the seventh, to love him; the eighth, to do him good; the ninth, to pray for him. And because the command is great, the reward proposed is also great, namely, to be made like unto God." Consider in what is now enjoined by Christ.
I. THE PRINCIPLE IN ITSELF.
1. How frankly it addresses itself to the facts of human life!
2. How undisguisedly it acknowledges the damage of human nature!
3. How irresistibly it persuades of the not irredeemably lost original! It is as though tidings of it, and a reviving message from it, not seen for so long a time.
II. THE TYPE DISCARDED. The dead level of most ordinary human practice is all that can be said of it.
III. THE TYPE ADOPTED. It is the highest conceivable, and at the same time not discouraging in its tendency on that account, but most suggestive of gracious comfort for us, and of earnest effort on our part. It makes us children of "our Father who is in heaven." It looks like his perfectness, and leads onward and upward ever toward it. - B.
Parallel VersesKJV: Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.