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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. VI:
Our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount.: Chapter XXIII

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XXIII.

77. But because this belongs to few, He now begins to speak of searching for and possessing wisdom, which is a tree of life; and certainly, in searching for and possessing, i.e. contemplating this wisdom, such an eye is led through all that precedes to a point where there may now be seen the narrow way and the strait gate. When, therefore, He says in continuation, “Enter ye 457 in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which p. 60 go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it; 458 He does not say so for this reason, that the Lord’s yoke is rough, or His burden heavy; but because few are willing to bring their labours to an end, giving too little credit to Him who cries, “Come unto me, all ye that labour, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: for my yoke is easy, 459 and my burden 460 is light” 461 (hence, moreover, the sermon before us took as its starting-point the lowly and meek in heart): and this easy yoke and light burden which many spurn, few submit to; and on that account the way becomes narrow which leadeth unto life, and the gate strait by which it is entered.



Introite; Vulgate, intrate.


The narrowness of the way is taken to represent the self-denial and hardships of disciples (Meyer, Mansel, etc.), or righteousness (Bengel, Schaff, etc.). “The picture is a dark one, and yet it represents but too faithfully the impression made, I do not say on Calvinist or true Christian, but on any ethical teacher, by the actual state of mankind around us. If there is any wider hope, it is found in hints and suggestions of the possibilities of the future (1 Pet. 3:19, 1 Pet. 4:6),” etc. ( Plumptre).


Lene…sarcina; Vulgate, suave…onus.


Lene…sarcina; Vulgate, suave…onus.


Matt. xi. 28-30.

Next: Chapter XXIV

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