Ver. 34. I came not to send, &c. That is, dissension and war, in order that the false peace of sinners may be destroyed, and that those who follow me, may differ in morals and affections from the followers of this world. The sword, therefore, is the gospel, which separates those parents who remain in infidelity, &c. &c. &c. M.
— It must be observed, that the gospel does not necessarily of itself produce dissensions amongst men, but that Christ foresaw, from the depravity of man’s heart, that dissensions would follow the propagation of the gospel. The blame of this, however, does not attach to the gospel itself, since those who embrace it, after their conversion sought more than ever to keep peace with all men, even with their most bitter persecutors; whilst those who rejected the gospel, forgetting even the ties of kindred, persecuted even to death the followers of Christ. A.
— Send peace, &c. Indeed before Christ became man, there was no sword upon the earth; that is, the spirit had not to fight with so much violence against the flesh; but when he became man, he shewed us what things were of the flesh, and what of the spirit, and taught us to set these two at variance, by renouncing always those of the flesh, which constantly endeavour to get master over us, and follow the dictates of the spirit. Origen.
Ver. 35. I am come to set a man at variance, &c. Not that this was the end or design of the coming of our Saviour; but that his coming, and his doctrine would have this effect, by reason of the obstinate resistance that many would make, and of their persecuting all such as should adhere to him. Ch.
— Not that Christ came for this end, to cause divisions between father and son, &c. On the contrary, the Scriptures teach us to love every one without exception, and especially our kindred; but this is to shew, and foretell what would happen in the same families, when some of them were Christians. We have divers instances of the truth of this in the Lives of the Saints. Wi.
– No one can be connected with the earth and joined to heaven. Those who wish to enjoy the peace of heaven, must not be united to the lovers of this world by any connection. Baradius.
Ver. 36. And a man’s enemies, &c. He here alludes to our own passions of love, hatred, anger, envy, &c. which are our greatest enemies; and it is against these that we must make use of the sword our Saviour came to send amongst men. Baradius.