Brethren: Be not wise in your own con-ceits. To no man rendering evil for evil: providing good things not only in the sight of God, but also in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as is in you, have peace with all men. Revenge not your-selves, my dearly beloved, but give place unto wrath. For it is written: Revenge is mine: I will repay, saith the Lord. But if thy enemy be hungry, give him to eat; if he thirst, give him to drink: for doing this, thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head. Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil by good.
Verse 16. Condescending to the humble, in the spirit of charity and sweetness. See Luke ii. 48. Wi.
Verse 18. If it be possible, . . . have peace with all. That is, if it can be without prejudice to truth or justice, &c. And even when others wrong you, seek not to revenge yourselves, but leave your cause to God. Do good offices even to those that do evil to you. Wi.
Verse 19. Give place to wrath. That we do, says S. Chrys. when we leave all to God, and endeavour to return good for evil. Wi.
Verse 20. Thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. This figurative way of speaking is differently expounded. Some say, inasmuch as by this means thou shalt make him liable to greater punishments from God. Others, as S. Jer. and S. Aug. by coals of fire, understand kindnesses and benefits, which shall touch the heart, and inflame the affections even of thy enemies, which shall make them sorry for what they have done, and become thy friends. Wi.
Verse 21. This is the apostle’s conclusion of the foregoing instructions. Be not overcome by the malice of thy enemy, so as to wish to revenge thyself, without leaving all to the just judgment of God; but overcome his malice by thy kindness. This is complied with, when upon occasion of injuries received we always make a return of kindness, and in proportion as the malice of our enemies increases, our spirit of benevolence should also increase. Estius.