The Old Rule and the New: of Love and Hate

The Old Rule and the New: of Love and Hate

Sermon on the Mount. St Matthew.

(The Gospel History, Section 43*)

Ye have heard that it was said to them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgement: but I say unto you, that every one who is angry with his brother shall be in danger of the judgement; and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council; and whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of the hell of fire. If therefore thou art offering thy gift at the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee, leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way, first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art with him in the way; lest haply the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou have paid the last farthing.

The Old Rule and the New: of Love and Hate

(The Saviour of the World, Vol II Book III Poem XL)

The Lord said:—
“Thou shalt not kill,” was spoken in old time;

And whoso kills shall be to judgment brought:
I say to you that each resentful thought,

Harboured against thy brother, is a crime

Shall bring thy soul to judgment; have a care

How thou lett’st out thy wrath in words of scorn
Intemperate, in pride and fury born;

Of judgment, council, fire of hell, beware!

“A word,” thou sayst, “is but a thing of breath,

A man on heated impulse cries ‘Thou fool,’
Would fain recall the slight when he is cool—

For so small trespass is he worthy death?”

Nay, thou may’st call him “Raca,” any name,

Spoken in kind rebuke, or anger just,
Or play of love; who speaks in sudden lust

Of rage would kill, his word takes deadly aim.

Nor need he speak; each surging vengeful thought,

To Him with whom ye have to do, is plain;
As stab of dagger, too, the murderous pain

Of hate which yet no harm to flesh hath wrought.

Not what ye do, but what, in secret, feel,

Condemns or justifies before your Lord:
So leave your offering; if some hasty word

Rankle in brother’s heart, make haste to heal;

Then, to Mine altar come with praise and prayer:

Agree with him who hath against thee aught,
Lest, quick, it come to pass that thou be brought

Before My judgment seat offence to bear:—

I say to you, the man who nurses hate

Must adversary seek with acts of love—
Gentle as lamb, tender as nesting dove—

Lest reconcilement come for him too late!

This the whole law—who loves cannot offend;

Nor hurt his brother’s body, wound his heart;
Let every man with thee have brother’s part,

And whoso grieves thee, cherish as thy friend.

St. Matthew v. 21-26