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Salt and Light


13. Ye are the salt of the earth. The prophets were sent to one race only, but you are the salt of the whole earth. By your teachings and reproofs you act as an astringent upon the slack and the indolent, so that they will not breed the worms that never die. So do not desist from your astringent reproofs, even if you are reviled or persecuted. Therefore He says: But if the salt has lost its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to he trodden under foot by men. For if the teacher has become insipid, that is, if he does not give astringent reproofs, but has become soft and lax, "wherewith shall it be salted?" that is, how can this be corrected? So from then on he is cast out from the rank of teacher and is trodden under foot, that is, despised.

14. Ye are the light of the world. First He calls them salt and then light. He who reproves what is done in secret is light, "for whatsoever doth make manifest is light." The apostles did not enlighten one nation only, but the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot he hid. He teaches them to struggle and to be strict in living a virtuous life, for they will be in view of all. Do not imagine, He says, that you will be hidden away in some corner, for you will be most visible. See to it, then, that you live blamelessly, lest you become a stumbling block for others.

15. Neither do men light a lamp, and put it under a bushel, but on a lamp stand; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Christ says, "It is I Who have kindled the light in you, but it is for you to labor zealously so that you do not extinguish that grace; in this way, the brightness of your life will shine upon others." He says, therefore:

16. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father Who is in heaven. He did not say, "You must display your virtue," for that is not good; but rather He said only, "Let it shine," so that even your enemies will marvel and glorify not you, but your Father. If we practice virtue, we must practice it for the glory of God, and not for our own glory.

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