But again in case some might be encouraged by this gentleness, and scorn to obey his commands, he proceeds with the severity of an apostle: “But if any man obey not our word by this Epistle, note that man and do not keep company with him that he may be ashamed.” And in warning them of what they ought to observe out of regard for him and for the good of all, and of the care with which they should keep the apostolic commands, at once he joins to the warning the kindness of a most indulgent father; and teaches them as well, as if they were his children, what a brotherly disposition they should cultivate towards those mentioned above, out of love. “Yet do not esteem him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.” With the severity of a judge he combines the affection of a father, and tempers with kindness and gentleness the sentence delivered with apostolic sternness. For he commands them to note that man who scorns to obey his commands, and not to keep company with him; and yet he does not bid them do this from a wrong feeling of dislike, but from brotherly affection and out of consideration for their amendment. “Do not keep company,” he says, “with him that he may be ashamed;” so that, even if he is not made better by my mild charges, he may at last be brought to shame by being publicly separated from all of you, and so may some day begin to be restored to the way of salvation.
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