Matt. 7:13-14 (Part 1)

7:13ff EDITOR'S NOTE: A textual variant occurs here where “the gate” may have been removed by scribes in order to make the adjectives “wide and broad” describe only “the way” or else it was supplemented in order to complete the parallelism with Matthew 7:14. TATIAN does mention the “the wide gate” and HIPPOLYTUS says “broad gate,” but CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA, CYPRIAN, and HIPPOLYTUS (in another place) contain the variant reading. None of the readings fail to communicate the metaphor Jesus used to contrast the narrow way of practicing righteousness to the broad way of unrighteousness.

BARNABAS: But let us now pass to another sort of knowledge and doctrine. There are two ways of doctrine and authority, the one of light, and the other of darkness. But there is a great difference between these two ways. For over one are stationed the light-bringing angels of God, but over the other the angels of Satan. And He indeed (i.e., God) is Lord forever and ever, but he (i.e., Satan) is prince of the time of iniquity.

The way of light, then, is as follows. If any one desires to travel to the appointed place, he must be zealous in his works. The knowledge, therefore, which is given to us for the purpose of walking in this way, is the following. You shall love Him that created you: you shall glorify Him that redeemed you from death. You shall be simple in heart, and rich in spirit. You shall not join yourself to those who walk in the way of death.  You shall hate doing what is unpleasing to God: you shall hate all hypocrisy. You shall not forsake the commandments of the Lord. You shall not exalt yourself, but shall be of a lowly mind. You shall not take glory to yourself. You shall not take evil counsel against your neighbor.  You shall not allow over-boldness to enter into your soul. You shall not commit fornication: you shall not commit adultery:  you shall not be a corrupter of youth. You shall not let the word of God issue from your lips with any kind of impurity. You shall not accept persons when you reprove any one for transgression.  You shall be meek: you shall be peaceable.  You shall tremble at the words which you hear.  You shall not be mindful of evil against your brother. You shall not be of doubtful mind as to whether a thing shall be or not.  You shall not take the name of the Lord in vain.  You shall love your neighbor more than your own soul.  You shall not slay the child by procuring abortion; nor, again, shall you destroy it after it is born. You shall not withdraw your hand from your son, or from your daughter, but from their infancy you shall teach them the fear of the Lord.  You shall not covet what is your neighbor’s,  nor shall you be materialistic. You shall not be joined in soul with the haughty, but you shall be reckoned with the righteous and lowly. Receive as good things the trials which come upon you.  You shall not be of double mind or of double tongue, for a double tongue is a snare of death.  You shall be subject to the Lord, and to other masters as the image of God, with modesty and fear.  You shall not issue orders with bitterness to your maidservant or your man-servant, who trust in the same God, lest you should not reverence that God who is above both; for He came to call men not according to their outward appearance,  but according as the Spirit had prepared them. You shall share in all things with your neighbor; you shall not call things your own;  for if you are partakers in common of things which are incorruptible, how much more should you be of those things which are corruptible! You shall not be hasty with your tongue,  for the mouth is a snare of death.  As far as possible, you shall be pure in your soul. Do not be ready to stretch forth your hands to take, while you contract them to give. You shall love, as the apple of your eye, every one that speaks to you the word of the Lord. You shall remember the day of judgment, night and day. You shall seek out every day the faces of the saints, either by word examining them, and going to exhort them,  and meditating how to save a soul by the word, or by your hands you shall labor for the redemption of your sins. You shall not hesitate to give, nor murmur when you give. “Give to every one that asks you,” and you shall know who is the good Recompenser of the reward. You shall preserve what you have received in charge, neither adding to it nor taking from it.  To the last you shall hate the wicked one. You shall judge righteously.  You shall not make a schism, but you shall pacify those that contend by bringing them together. You shall confess your sins.  You shall not go to prayer with an evil conscience. This is the way of light. 

But the way of darkness is crooked,  and full of cursing; for it is the way of eternal death with punishment, in which way are the things that destroy the soul, namely, idolatry, over-confidence, the arrogance of power, hypocrisy, double-heartedness, adultery, murder, plunder, haughtiness, transgression, deceit, malice, self-sufficiency, poisoning, magic, avarice, lack of the fear of God.  In this way, too, are those who persecute the good, those who hate truth, those who love falsehood, those who do not know the reward of righteousness, those who do not cleave to that which is good,  those who do not attend with just judgment to the widow and orphan, those who do not watch to the fear of God, but incline to wickedness, from whom meekness and patience are far off;  persons who love vanity,  follow after a reward,  do not pity the needy, do not labor in aid of him who is overcome with toil; who are prone to evil-speaking, who do not know Him that made them, who are murderers of children, destroyers of the workmanship of God; who turn away him that is in want, who oppress the afflicted,  who are advocates of the rich, who are unjust judges of the poor, and who are in every respect transgressors.

It is well, therefore, that he who has learned the judgments of the Lord, as many as have been written, should walk in them. For he who keeps these shall be glorified in the kingdom of God; but he who chooses other things shall be destroyed with his works. Epistle of Barnabas, 1.148-149.

THE DIDACHE: There are two ways, one of life and one of death;  but a great difference between the two ways. The way of life, then, is this: First, you shall love God who made you; second, your neighbor as yourself;  and all things whatsoever you would not want to occur to you, you also to another do not do.  And of these sayings the teaching is this: Bless them that curse you, and pray for your enemies, and fast for them that persecute you.  For what thank is there, if you love them that love you? Do not also the Gentiles do the same?  But do you love them that hate you; and you shall not have an enemy.  Abstain from fleshly and worldly lusts.  If one gives you a blow upon your right cheek, turn to him the other also;  and you shall be perfect. If one compel you for one mile, go with him two.  If one takes away your cloak, give him also your coat.  If one take from you what is your own, do not ask for it back, for indeed you are not able. Give to every one that asks you, and do not ask for it back;  for the Father wills that to all should be given of our own blessings (free gifts). Happy is he that gives according to the commandment; for he is guiltless. Woe to him that receives; for if one having need receive, he is guiltless; but he that receives not having need, shall pay the penalty, why he received and for what, and, coming into straits (confinement), he shall be examined concerning the things which he has done, and he shall not escape from there until he pays back the last farthing.  But also now concerning this, it has been said, “Let your alms sweat in your hands, until you know to whom you should give.”

And the second commandment of the Teaching; You shall not commit murder, you shall not commit adultery,  you shall not commit pederasty, you shall not commit fornication, you shall not steal,  you shall not practice magic, you shall not practice witchcraft, you shall not murder a child by abortion nor kill that which is begotten.  You shall not covet the things of your neighbor,  you shall not forswear yourself,  you shall not bear false witness,  you shall not speak evil, you shall bear no grudge.  You shall not be double-minded nor double-tongued;  for to be double-tongued is a snare of death. Your speech shall not be false, nor empty, but fulfilled by deed.  You shall not be covetous, nor rapacious, nor a hypocrite, nor evil disposed, nor haughty. You shall not take evil counsel against your neighbor. You shall not hate any man; but some you shall reprove,  and concerning some you shall pray, and some you shall love more than your own life.

My child, flee from every evil thing, and from every likeness of it. Do not be prone to anger, for anger leads the way to murder;  neither jealous, nor quarrelsome, nor of hot temper; for out of all these murders are engendered. My child, do not be a lustful one; for lust leads the way to fornication; neither a filthy talker, nor of lofty eye; for out of all these adulteries are committed. My child, do not be an observer of omens, since it leads the way to idolatry; neither an enchanter, nor an astrologer, nor a purifier, nor be willing to look at these things; for out of all these idolatry is committed. My child, do not be a liar, since a lie leads the way to theft; neither money-loving, nor vainglorious, for out of all these thefts are committed. My child, do not be a murmurer, since it leads the way to blasphemy; neither self-willed nor evil-minded, for out of all these blasphemies are committed. But be meek, since the meek shall inherit the earth.  Be long-suffering and pitiful and trustworthy and gentle and good and always trembling at the words which you have heard.  You shall not exalt yourself,  nor give over-confidence to your soul. Your soul shall not be joined with lofty ones, but with just and lowly ones shall it have its relationships. The workings that befall you receive as good, knowing that apart from God nothing comes to pass. 

My child, him that speaks to you the word of God remember night and day; and you shall honor him as the Lord for in the place from where lordly rule is uttered, there is the Lord. And you shall seek out day by day the faces of the saints, in order that you may rest upon their words. You shall not long for division, but shall bring those who contend to peace. You shall judge righteously, you shall not respect persons in reproving for transgressions.  You shall not be undecided whether it shall be or not. Do not be a stretcher forth of the hands to receive and a drawer of them back to give.  If you have anything at all, through your hands you shall give ransom for your sins.  You shall not hesitate to give, nor murmur when you give;  for you shall know who is the good repayer of the hire. You shall not turn away from him that is in want, but you shall share all things with your brother, and shall not say that they are your own; for if you are partakers in that which is immortal, how much more in things which are mortal?  You shall not remove your hand from your son or from your daughter, but from their youth shall teach them the fear of God.  You shall not enjoin anything at all in your bitterness upon your bondman or maidservant, who hope in the same God, lest ever they shall not fear God who is over both;  for he comes not to call according to the outward appearance, but to them whom the Spirit has prepared. And you bondmen shall be subject to your masters as to a type of God, in modesty and fear.  You shall hate all hypocrisy and everything which is not pleasing to the Lord. In no way forsake the commandments of the Lord; but you shall keep what you have received, neither adding thereto nor taking away therefrom.  In the church you shall acknowledge your transgressions, and you shall not come near for your prayer with an evil conscience. This is the way of life.

And the way of death is this: First of all it is evil and full of curse: murders, adulteries, lusts, fornications, thefts, idolatries, magic arts, witchcrafts, plunders, false witnessings, hypocrisies, double-heartedness, deceit, haughtiness, depravity, self-will, greediness, filthy talking, jealousy, over-confidence, loftiness, boastfulness; persecutors of the good, hating truth, loving a lie, not knowing a reward for righteousness, not cleaving to good nor to righteous judgment, not watching for that which is good, but for that which is evil; from whom meekness and endurance are far, loving vanities, pursuing revenge, not pitying a poor man, not laboring for the afflicted, not knowing Him that made them, murderers of children, destroyers of the handiwork of God, turning away from him that is in want, afflicting him that is distressed, advocates of the rich, lawless judges of the poor, utter sinners. Be delivered, children, from all these.

See that no one causes you to err from this way of the Teaching, since apart from God it teaches you. For if you are able to bear all the yoke of the Lord, you will be perfect; but if you are not able, what you are able that do. And concerning food, bear what you are able; but against that which is sacrificed to idols be exceedingly on your guard;  for it is the service of dead gods. 7.377- 379.

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