At that time, Jesus said to His disciples: Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and the evil tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit shall be cut down, and shall be cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them. Not every one that saith to Me: Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Verse 15. In the clothing of sheep. Beware of hypocrites, with their outward appearance of sanctity, and sound doctrine — by their fruits you shall know them. Such hypocrites can scarcely ever continue constant in the practice of what is good. W. — Heretics usually affect an extraordinary appearance of zeal and holiness, calling themselves evangelical preachers and teachers of the gospel, as if that Church which preceded them, and which descends by an uninterrupted succession from the apostles, did not teach the pure gospel of Christ. A. — Beware of false prophets, or heretics. They are far more dangerous than the Jews, who being rejected by the apostles, are also avoided by Christians, but these having the appearance of Christianity, having churches, sacraments, &c. &c. deceive many. These are the rapacious wolves, of whom S. Paul speaks, Acts xx. Chry. hom. xix. Origen styles them, the gates of death, and the path to hell. Com. in Job. lib. i. Tom. 2.
Verse 16. As the true Church is known by the four marks of its being one, holy, catholic, and apostolical, so heretics and false teachers are known by certain vices, and the pernicious effects of their novelties in religion. As the true Church is one, by its members submitting with humility to the authority established by Christ, (he that will not hear the Church, let him be unto thee as the heathen and the publican. Mat. xviii. 17.) so are false teachers known by their separation from the ancient Church, and their divisions among themselves, the necessary consequences of rebelling against the authority established by Christ, and alone capable of determining controversies. The same pride and other secret vices which make them despise government, (2 Peter ii. 10.) make them also not afraid to bring in sects of perdition, blaspheming, and this in civil government as well as ecclesiastical. Those that call themselves Reformers, in the beginning of the 16th century, of all others were remarkable in this. What bloody tumults and wars were there not produced in Germany, by the first Reformers in that country! Calvin overturned the government of Geneva; and his followers, under the name Hugonots, filled France for a great length of time with slaughter and civil wars, frequently shaking the throne itself. In this country, the first cause of its separation from the universal Church, was the unbridled passion of a tyrant: the effects were adultery, and the murder of the successive queens that he had taken to his adulterous bed. In the reign of his successor, the insatiate avarice of a corrupt nobility, gratified with the sacrilegious plunder of the Church, established what is called the Reformation. The fear of being compelled to disgorge the fruits of their rapine, contributed much to the confirmation of that order of things in the reign of Elizabeth. She was inclined to it by the circumstances of her birth, which could not be legitimate, if her father’s marriage with Catharine of Arragon was valid, as the first authority in the Catholic Church had declared. The natural spirit of this heresy, though checked a while and kept under by the despotical government of this queen, appeared in its own colours soon after, and produced its natural fruits in the turbulence of the times that succeeded, and the multiplicity of sects that are continually springing up to this very day. — As the true Church is holy, recommending various exercises of religion tending to purify human nature, and render men holy, as fasting, confession of sins, evangelical counsels, &c. so false teachers cast off all these, promising liberty, (2 Pet. ii. 16.) and giving full rein to the lustful passions, thus giving a liberty of living, as well as a liberty of believing. — Another fruit of false teachers is, separation from what was the Universal Church before their time, and which continues to be still the far greater part, not being confined to one state or country. If some modern principles, of not allowing any communion of religion out of each state, were admitted, as many religions should have been established by heaven as men think proper to establish different states; nor could Christ have given one for all mankind, under whatever state or form of government they might live. — Finally, false teachers are to known by their not being able to shew, that they have received their doctrine and mission from the apostles, in a regular succession from them. Some of our modern divines would spurn at the idea of holding their doctrine and orders from the Catholic Church, such as it existed at the time of the Reformation, which is precisely such as it exists at the present moment. — In answer to this it has been retorted, that the fruits of the Catholic religion have been as bad, or worse; and the horrors of the French revolution are particularly mentioned, as a proof. … That great crimes have been committed by those who professed themselves Catholics, is not denied; but that they were prompted to them by the nature of their religion, is certainly not admitted. The revolution of France in particular, was the effect of the people falling off from their religion. As well may the Puritans, that brought Charles to the block, be said to be Catholics, because they or their parents once had been such: as well may the present bench of Protestant bishops be said to be Catholics, because the bishops of their sees once were so; or that Robespierre, Marat, and the Jacobins that persecuted catholicity in France, and brought its too indulgent sovereigns to the guillotine, were Catholics, or directed in the least by Catholic principles. A.
Verse 17. It is not to be understood from this text, that a man who is once bad can never bring forth good fruit; but that as long as he remains in the state of sin, he cannot perform any meritorious action. Chry. hom. xxiv.
Verse 18. A good tree cannot yield bad fruit, &c. Not but that both good and bad men may change their lives. This, according to the unanimous consent of the Fathers, is only to be understood while they remain such. If a bad tree begin to produce good fruit, it becomes a good tree, &c. Wi. — For not those who do one or two good works are just, but those who continue permanently to do good: in the same manner, not those who commit one or two bad actions are wicked, but those who continue in evil. M.
Verse 21. Here Jesus Christ shews, that it is not sufficient to believe in him and hear his words, but that in order to salvation, we must join works with faith; for in this shall we be examined at the last day. M. — Without faith they could not cry out, Lord, Lord. Rom. x. But the strongest faith without the works of justice, will not be available to salvation. 1 Cor. xiii. B. — Many who have the Lord continually in their mouths, but care little about putting on the Lord, or penetrating themselves with his true spirit, will find their presumption, and the false consciences they have made to themselves, wofully disappointed. A.
15. "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17. Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.19. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."
Pseudo-Chrys.: The Lord had before commanded His Apostles, that they should not do their alms, prayers, and fastings before men, as the hypocrites; and that they might know that all these things may be done in hypocrisy, He speaks saying, “Take heed of false prophets.”
Aug., Serm. in Mont., ii, 23: When the Lord had said that there were few that find the strait gate and narrow way, that heretics, who often commend themselves because of the smallness of their numbers, might not here intrude themselves, He straightway subjoins, “Take heed of false prophets.”
Chrys.: Having taught that the gate is strait, because there are many that pervert the way that leads to it, He proceeds, “Take heed of false prophets.” In the which that they might be the more careful, He reminds them of the things that were done among their fathers, calling them “false prophets;” for even in that day the like things fell out.
Pseudo-Chrys.: What is written below that “the Law and the Prophets were until John,” [Matt 11:13] is said, because there should be no prophecy concerning Christ after He was come. Prophets indeed there have been and are, but not prophesying of Christ, rather interpreting the things which had been prophesied of Christ by the ancients, that is by the doctors of the Churches. For no man can unfold prophetic meaning, but the Spirit of prophecy. The Lord then knowing that there should be false teachers, warns them of divers heresies, saying, “Take heed of false prophets.” And forasmuch as they would not be manifest Gentiles, but lurk under the Christian name, He said not ‘See ye,’ but, “Take heed.” For a thing that is certain is simply seen, or looked upon; but when it is uncertain it is watched or narrowly considered. Also He says “Take heed,” because it is a sure precaution of security to know him whom you avoid. But his form of warning, “Take heed,” does not imply that the Devil will introduce heresies against God’s will, but by His permission only; but because He would not choose servants without trial, therefore He sends them temptation; and because He would not have them perish through ignorance, He therefore warns them before hand.
Also that no heretical teacher might maintain that He spoke here of Gentile and Jewish teachers and not of them, He adds, “who come to you in sheep’s clothing.” Christians are called sheep, and the sheep’s clothing is a form of Christianity and of feigned religion. And nothing so casts out all good as hypocrisy; for evil that puts on the semblance of good, cannot be provided against, because it is unknown. Again, that the heretic might not allege that He here speaks of the true teachers which were yet sinners, He adds, “But inwardly they are ravening wolves.” But Catholic teachers should they indeed have been sinners, are spoken of as servants of the flesh, yet not as ravening wolves, because it is not their purpose to destroy Christians. Clearly then it is of heretical teachers that He speaks; for they put on the guise of Christians, to the end they may tear in pieces the Christian with the wicked fangs of seduction. Concerning such the Apostle speaks, “I know that after my departure there will enter among you grievous wolves, not sparing the flock.” [Acts 20:29]
Chrys.: Yet He may seem here to have aimed under the title of “false prophets,” not so much at the heretic, as at those who, while their life is corrupt, yet wear an outward face of virtuousness; whence it is said, “By their fruits ye shall know them.” For among heretics it is possible many times to find a good life, but among those I have named never.
Aug., Serm. in Mont., ii, 24: Wherefore it is justly asked, what fruits then He would have us look to? For many esteem among fruits some things which pertain to the sheep’s clothing, and in this manner are deceived concerning wolves. For they practise fasting, almsgiving, or praying, which they display before men, seeking to please those to whom these things seem difficult. These then are not the fruits by which He teaches us to discern them. Those deeds which are done with good intention, are the proper fleece of the sheep itself, such as are done with bad intention, or in error, are nothing else than a clothing of wolves; but the sheep ought not to hate their own clothing because it is often used to hide wolves. What then are the fruits by which we may know an evil tree? The Apostle says, “The works of the flesh are manifest, which are, fornication, uncleanness, &c.” [Gal 5:19] And which are they by which we may know a good tree? The same Apostle teaches, saying, “The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace.”
Pseudo-Chrys.: The fruits of a man are the confession of his faith and the works of his life; for he who utter according to God the words of humility and a true confession, is the sheep; but he who against the truth howls forth blasphemies against God is the wolf.
Jerome: What is here spoken of false prophets we may apply to all whose dress and speech promise one thing, and their actions exhibit another. But it is specially to be understood of heretics, who by observing temperance, chastity, and fasting, surround themselves as it were with a garment of sanctity, but inasmuch as their hearts within them are poisoned, they deceive the souls of the more simple brethren.
Aug., non occ.: But from their actions we may conjecture whether this their outward appearance is put on for display. For when by any temptations those things are withdrawn or denied them which they had either attained or sought to attain by this evil, then needs must that it appear whether they be the wolf in sheep’s clothing, or the sheep in his own.
Greg., Mor., xxxi, 14: Also the hypocrite is restrained by peaceful times of Holy Church, and therefore appears clothed with godliness; but let any trial of faith ensue, straight the wolf ravenous at heart strips himself of his sheep’s skin, and shews by persecuting how great his rage against the good.
Chrys.: And the hypocrite is easily discerned; for the way they are commanded to walk is a hard way, and the hypocrite is loth to toil. And that you may not say that you are unable to find out them that are such, He again enforces what He had said by example from men, saying, “Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?”
Pseudo-Chrys.: The grape had in it a mystery of Christ. As the bunch sustains many grapes held together by the woody stem, so likewise Christ holds many believers joined to Him by the wood of the Cross. The fig again is the Church which binds many faithful by a sweet embrace of charity, as the fig contains many seeds inclosed in one skin. The fig then has these significations, namely, love in its sweetness, unity in the close adhesion of its seeds. In the grape is shewn patience, in that it is cast into the wine-press - joy, because wine maketh glad the heart of man - purity, because it is not mixed with water - and sweetness, in that it delighteth. The thorns and thistles are the heretics. And as a thorn or a thistle has sharp pricks on every part, so the Devil’s servants, on whatsoever side you look at them, are full of wickedness. Thorns and thistles then of this sort cannot bear the fruits of the Church. And having instanced in particular tress, as the fig, the vine, the thorn, and the thistle, He proceeds to shew that this is universally true, saying, “Thus every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, but an evil tree bringeth forth evil fruit.”
Aug., Serm. in Mont., ii, 25: In this place we must guard against the error of such [margin note: Manichees] as imagine that the two trees refer to two different natures; the one of God, the other not. But we affirm that they derive no countenance from these two tree; as it will be evident to any who will read the context that He is speaking here of men.
Aug., City of God, book 12, ch. 4: These men of whom we have spoken are offended with these two natures, not considering them according to their true usefulness; whereas it is not by our advantage or disadvantage, but in itself considered, that nature gives glory to her Framer. All natures then that are, because they are, have their own manner, their own appearance, and as it were their own harmony [margin note: pacem], and are altogether good.
Chrys.: But that none should say, An evil tree brings forth indeed evil fruit, but it brings forth also good, and so it becomes hard to discern, as it has a two-fold produce; on this account He adds, “A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit.”
Aug., Serm. in Mont., ii, 25: From this speech the Manichees suppose that neither can a soul that is evil be possibly changed for better, nor one that is good into worse. As though it had been, A good tree cannot become bad, nor a bad tree become good; whereas it is thus said, “A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit,” nor the reverse. The tree is the soul, that is, the man himself; the fruit is the man’s works. An evil man therefore cannot work good works, nor a good man evil works. Therefore if an evil man would work good things, let him first become good. But as long as he continues evil, he cannot bring forth good fruits. Like as it is indeed possible that what was once snow, should cease to be so; but it cannot be that snow should be warm; so it is possible that he who has been evil should be so no longer; but it is impossible that an evil man should do good. For though he may sometimes be useful, it is not he that does it, but it comes of Divine Providence super-intending.
Rabanus: And man is denominated a good tree, or a bad, after his will, as it is good or bad. His fruit is his works, which can neither be good when the will is evil, nor evil when it is good.
Aug., see Op. Imp. in Jul. v. 40: But as it is manifest that all evil works proceed from an evil will, as its fruits from an evil tree; so of this evil will itself whence will you say that it has sprung, except that the evil will of an angel sprung from an angel, of man from man? And what were these two before those evils arose in them, but the good work of God, a good and praiseworthy nature. See then out of good arises evil; nor was there any thing at all out of which it might arise but what was good. I mean the evil will itself, since there was no evil before it, no evil works, which could not come but from evil will as fruit from an evil tree. Nor can it be said that it sprung out of good in this way, because it was made good by a good God; for it was made of nothing, and not of God.
Jerome: We would ask those heretics who affirm that there are two natures directly opposed to each other, if they admit that a good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, how it was possible for Moses, a good tree, to sin as he did at the water of contradiction? Or for Peter to deny his Lord in the Passion, saying, “I know not the man?” Or how, on the other hand, could Moses' father-in-law, an evil tree, inasmuch as he believed not in the God of Israel, give good counsel?
Chrys.: He had not enjoined them to punish the false prophets, and therefore shews them the terrors of that punishment that is of God, saying, “Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit shall be hewn down, and cast into the fire.” In these words He seems to aim also at the Jews, and thus calls to mind the word of John the Baptist, denouncing punishment against them in the very same words. For he had thus spoken to the Jews, warning them of the axe impending, the tree that should be cut down, and the fire that could not be extinguished. But if one will examine somewhat closely, here are two punishments, to be cut down, and to be burned; and he that is burned is also altogether cut out of the kingdom; which is the harder punishment. Many indeed fear no more than hell; but I say that the fall of that glory is a far more bitter punishment, than the pains of hell itself. For what evil great or small would not a father undergo, that he might see and enjoy a most dear son? Let us then think the same of that glory; for there is no son so dear to his father as is the rest of the good, to be deceased and to be with Christ. The pain of hell is indeed intolerable, yet are ten thousand hells nothing to falling from that blessed glory, and being held in hate by Christ.
Gloss., non occ.: From the foregoing similitude He draws the conclusion to what He had said before, as being now manifest, saying, “Therefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”
21. "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23. And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."
Jerome: As He had said above that those who have the robe of a good life are yet not to be received because of the impiety of their doctrines; so now on the other hand, He forbids us to participate the faith with those who while they are strong in sound doctrine, destroy it with evil works. For it behoves the servants of God that both their work should be approved by their teaching and their teaching by their works. And therefore He says, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, enters into the kingdom of heaven.”
Chrys., Hom., xxiv. Rom. 2, 17: Wherein He seems to touch the Jews chiefly who placed every thing in dogmas; as Paul accuses them, “If thou art called a Jew, and restest in the Law.”
Pseudo-Chrys.: Otherwise; Having taught that the false prophets and the true are to be discerned by their fruits, He now goes on to teach more plainly what are the fruits by which we are to discern the godly from the ungodly teachers.
Aug., Serm. in Mont., ii, 24: For even in the very name of Christ we must be on our guard against heretics, and all that understand amiss and love this world, that we may not be deceived, and therefore He says, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord.” But it may fairly create a difficulty how this is to be reconciled with that of the Apostle, “No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.” [1 Cor 12:3] For we cannot say that those who are not to enter into the kingdom of heaven have the Holy Spirit. But the Apostle uses the word ‘say,’ to express the will and understanding of him that says it. He only properly says a thing, who by the sound of his voice expresses his will and purpose. But the Lord uses the word in its ordinary sense, for he seems to say who neither wishes nor understands what he says.
Jerome: For Scripture uses to take words for deeds; according to which the Apostle declares, “They make confession that they know God, but in works deny him.” [Titus 1:16]
Ambrosiaster Comm. in 1 Cor 12, 3: For all truth by whomsoever uttered is from the Holy Spirit.
Aug., non occ.: Let us not therefore think that this belongs to those fruits of which He had spoken above, when one says to our Lord, “Lord, Lord;” and thence seems to us to be a good tree; the true fruit spoken of is to do the will of God; whence it follows, “But who doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
Hilary: For obeying God’s will and not calling on His name, shall find the way to the heavenly kingdom.
Pseudo-Chrys.: And what the will of God is the Lord Himself teaches, “This is,” He says, “the will of him that sent me, that every man that seeth the Son and believeth on him should have eternal life.” [John 6:40] The word believe has reference both to confession and conduct. He then who does not confess Christ, or does not walk according to His word, shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Chrys.: He said not “he that doth” My “will,” but “the will of my Father,” for it was fit so to adapt it in the mean while to their weakness. But the one secretly implied the other, seeing the will of the Son is no other than the will of the Father.
Aug., Serm. in Mont., ii, 25: Here it also pertains that we be not deceived by the name of Christ not only in such as bear the name and do not the deeds, but yet more by certain works and miracles, such as the Lord wrought because of the unbelieving, but yet warned us that we should not be deceived by such to suppose that there was invisible wisdom where was a visible miracle; wherefore He adds, saying, “Many shall say to me in that day.”
Chrys.: See how He thus secretly bring in Himself. Here in the end of His Sermon He shews Himself as the Judge. The punishment that awaits sinners He had shewn before, but now only reveals who He is that shall punish, saying, “Many shall say to me in that day.”
Pseudo-Chrys.: When, namely, He shall come in the majesty of His Father; when none shall any more dare with strife of many words either to defend a lie, or to speak against the truth, when each man’s work shall speak, and his mouth be silent, when none shall come forward for another, but each shall fear for himself. For in that judgment the witnesses shall not be flattering men, but Angles speaking the truth, and the Judge is the righteous Lord; whence He closely images the cry of men fearful, and in straits, saying, “Lord, Lord.” For to call once is not enough for him who is under the necessity of terror.
Hilary: They even assure themselves of glory for their prophesying in teaching, for their casting our daemons, for their mighty works; and hence promise themselves the kingdom of heaven, saying, “Have we not prophesied in thy name?”
Chrys.: But there are that say that they spoke this falsely, and therefore were not saved. But they would not have dared to say this to the Judge in His presence. But the very answer and question prove that it was in His presence that they spoke thus. For having been here wondered at by all for the miracles which they wrought, and there seeing themselves punished, they say in wonderment, “Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name?” Others again say, that they did sinful deeds not while they thus were working miracles, but at a time later. But if this be so, that very thing which the Lord desired to prove would not be established, namely, that neither faith nor miracles avail ought where there is not a good life; as Paul also declares, “If I have faith that I may remove mountains, but have not charity, I am nothing.” [1 Cor 13:2]
Pseudo-Chrys.: But not that He says, “in my name,” not in My Spirit; for they prophesy in the name of Christ, but with the spirit of the Devil; such are the diviners. But they may be known by this, that the Devil sometimes speaks falsely, the Holy Spirit never. Howbeit it is permitted to the Devil sometimes to speak the truth, that he may commend his lying by this his rare truth. Yet they cast out daemons in the name of Christ, though they have the spirit of his enemy; or rather, they do not cast them out, but seem only to cast them out, the daemons acting in concert with them. Also they do mighty works, that is, miracles, not such as are useful and necessary, but useless and fruitless.
Aug.: Read also what things the Magi did in Egypt in withstanding Moses.
Jerome: Otherwise; To prophesy, to work wonders, to cast out daemons by divine power, is often not of his deserts who performs the works, but either the invocation of Christ’s name has this force; or it is suffered for the condemnation of those that invoke, or for the benefit of those that see and hear, that however they despise the men who work the wonders, they may give honour to God. So Saul and Balaam and Caiaphas prophesied; the sons of Scaeva in the Acts of the Apostles were seen to cast out daemons; and Judas with the soul of a traitor is related to have wrought many signs among the other Apostles.
Chrys.: For all are not alike fit for all things; these are of pure life, but have not so great faith; those again have the reverse. Therefore God converted these by the means of those to the shewing forth much faith; and those that had faith He called by this unspeakable gift of miracles to a better life; and to that end gave them this grace in great richness. And they say, “We have done many mighty works.” But because they were ungrateful towards those who thus honoured them, it follows rightly, “Then will I confess unto you, I never knew you.”
[Appropriately then he said: “I will confess…”, because for a long time before he had kept this quiet.]
Pseudo-Chrys.: For great wrath ought to be preceded by great forbearance, that the sentence of God may be made more just, and the death of the sinners more merited. God does not know sinners because they are not worthy that they should be known of God; not that He altogether is ignorant concerning them, but because He knows them not for His own. For God knows all men according to nature, but He seems not to know them for that He loves them not, as they seem not to know God who do not serve Him worthily.
Chrys.: He says to them, “I never knew you,” as it were, not at the day of judgment only, but not even then when ye were working miracles. For there are many whom He has now in abhorrence, and yet turns away His wrath before their punishment.
Jerome: Note that He says, “I never knew you,” as being against some that say that all men have always been among rational creatures." [ed. note: Origen was accused of saying that all men were from their birth inwardly partakers of the Divine Word or Reason. vid. Jerome, Ep. ad Avit.]
Greg., Mor., xx, 7: By this sentence it is given to us to learn, that among men charity and humility, and not mighty works, are to be esteemed. Whence also now the Holy Church, if there be any miracles of heretics, despises them, because she knows that they have not the mark of holiness. And the proof of holiness is not to work miracles, but to love our neighbour as ourselves, to think truly of God, and of our neighbour better than of ourselves.
Aug., Cont. Adv. Leg. ii. 4: But never let it be said as the Manichees say, that the Lord spoke these things concerning the holy Prophets; He spoke of those who after the preaching of His Gospel seem to themselves to speak in His name not knowing what they speak.
Hilary: But thus the hypocrites boasted, as though they spoke somewhat of themselves, and as though the power of God did not work all these things, being invoked; but reading has brought them the knowledge of His doctrine, and the name of Christ casts out the daemons. Out of our own selves then is that blessed eternity to be earned, and out of ourselves must be put forth something that we may will that which is good, that we may avoid all evil, and may rather do what He would have us do, than boast of that to which He enables us. These then He disowns and banishes for their evil works, saying, “Depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
Jerome: He says not, Who have worked, but “who work iniquity,” that He should not seem to take away repentance. “Ye,” that is, who up to the present hour when the judgment is come, though ye have not the opportunity, yet retain the desire of sinning.
Pseudo-Chrys.: For death separates the soul from the body, but changes not the purpose of the heart.