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2Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.

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1. Let brotherly love, etc. Probably he gave this command respecting brotherly love, because a secret hatred arising from the haughtiness of the Jews was threatening to rend the Churches. But still this precept is generally very needful, for nothing flows away so easily as love; when everyone thinks of himself more than he ought, he will allow to others less than he ought; and then many offenses happen daily which cause separations. 275275     “Continue” or remain, implies that they had manifested this love, chapter 6:10; as though he had said, “Let the love of the brethren be such as it has been.” — Ed.

He calls love brotherly, not only to teach us that we ought to be mutually united together by a peculiar and an inward feeling of love, but also that we may remember that we cannot be Christians without being brethren; for he speaks of the love which the household of faith ought to cultivate one towards another inasmuch as the Lord has bound them closer together by the common bond of adoption. It was therefore a good custom in the primitive Church for Christians to call one another brothers; but now the name as well as the thing itself is become almost obsolete, except that the monks have appropriated to themselves the use of it when neglected by others, while at the same time they show by their discords and intestine factions that they are the children of the evil one.

2. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, etc. This office of humanity has also nearly ceased to be properly observed among men; for the ancient hospitality, celebrated in histories, is unknown to us, and Inns now supply the place of accommodations for strangers. But he speaks not so much of the practice of hospitality as observed then by the rich; but he rather commends the miserable and the needy to be entertained, as at that time many were fugitives who left their homes for the name of Christ.

And that he might commend this duty the more, he adds, that angels had sometimes been entertained by those who thought that they received only men. I doubt not but that this is to be understood of Abraham and Lot; for having been in the habit of showing hospitality, they without knowing and thinking of any such thing, entertained angels; thus their houses were in no common way honored. And doubtless God proved that hospitality was especially acceptable to him, when he rendered such a reward to Abraham and to Lot. Were any one to object and say, that this rarely happened; to this the obvious answer is, — That not mere angels are received, but Christ himself, when we receive the poor in his name. In the words in Greek there is a beautiful alliteration which cannot be set forth in Latin.




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