But I say to you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,…
on barbarous customs: — Had the Son of Man been in body upon the earth during the Middle Ages, hardly one wrong and injustice would have wounded His pure soul like the system of torture. The main forces in medieval society, even those which tended to its improvement, did not touch this abuse. Roman law supported it; Stoicism was indifferent to it; Greek literature did not affect it; feudalism and arbitrary power encouraged a practice which they could use for their own ends; and even the hierarchy and a State Church so far forgot the truths they professed as to employ torture to support the religion of love. But against all these powers were the words of Jesus, bidding men "Love your enemies!" "Do good to them that spitefully use you!" and the like commands, working everywhere on individual souls, heard from pulpits and in monasteries, read over by humble believers, and slowly making their way against barbaric passion and hierarchic cruelty. Gradually, in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the books containing the message of Jesus circulated among all classes, and produced that state of mind and heart in which torture could not be used on a fellow-being, and in which such an abuse and enormity as the Inquisition was hurled to the earth.
(C. L. Bruce.)The master-word of Christianity is love.
(R. S. Storrs, D. D. , LL. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,