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Love for Enemies


43-44. Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies. Here the Lord has reached the very pinnacle of the virtues. For what is greater than to love one's enemies? But it is not impossible to accomplish. For Moses and Paul loved the Jews who were raging against them more than they loved themselves, and all the saints have loved their enemies. Bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. We bless them because we must consider them our benefactors. For anyone who persecutes us and puts us to the test, lightens the punishment that we will suffer for our own sins. We will also bless them when God gives us the great crown of the contest. For hear what He says:

45. That ye may be the sons of your Father Who is in heaven. For He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the righteous and on the unrighteousness. Do you see how good a gift is given to you by him who hates and abuses you, if only you will endure it with patience? By rain and sun, understand knowledge and teaching, for God enlightens and teaches all.

46. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans do the same? Let us tremble with fear since we are not the equal of the publicans, but hate even those who love us.

47-48. And if ye salute your friends only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father Who is in heaven is perfect. To love some men, that is, one's own friends, and to hate others, is imperfection. Perfection is to love every one.

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