Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to Matthew
In that time Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to his disciples, Saying: The scribes and the Pharisees have sitten on the chair of Moses. All things therefore whatsoever they shall say to you, observe and do: but according to their works do ye not; for they say, and do not. And so on.
Homily by St Jerome, Priest at Bethlehem.
Bk. iv. Comm. on Matth. xxiii.
Was there ever man gentler and kinder than the Lord? The Pharisees tempted Him; their craft was confounded, and, in the words of the Psalmist, The arrows of babes have pierced them, Ps. lxiii. 8, and nevertheless, because of the dignity of their priesthood and name, He exhorteth the people to be subject to them, by doing according to their words, though not according to their works. By the words Moses' seat we are to understand the teaching of the law. Thus also must we mystically take, Sitteth in the seat of the scornful, Ps. i. 1, and likewise, overthrew the seats of them that sold doves, Matth. xxi. 12, to describe doctrine.
How they bind heavy burdens, and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders, but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. This is generally directed against all teachers who command things hard, and themselves do not even things easy. But it is to be remarked that the shoulders, the fingers, and the binding of the burdens, have a spiritual interpretation. But all their works they do for to be seen of men. Whosoever therefore doth anything for to be seen of men, the same is, so far, a Scribe and a Pharisee.
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