Trees and fruits - Father SJ Maldonado
This article deals with the exegetical analysis by the P. Juan de Maldonado on the passage of trees and good fruit and bad Matthew 7 : 17-18. As a complement, it should be noted that according to the very prestigious Bible Mons. Straubinger, Our Lord, in parallel instead of Luke 6, 43, does not speak of trees and fruits "good" and "bad", but trees and fruits "healthy" and "rotten".
Well, everyone knows that a tree can be more or less healthy or more or less rotten, and that a fruit can be more or less healthy or more or less rotten; as well as a healthy tree can bear fruit and rotten a rotten tree (to some degree) can give some healthy fruits. Serve this entry which, absurdly denying what everyone readily evident from experience and mistakenly thinking that Christ tries to teaching in the field of natural science about trees and fruits, condemn those who say that a good tree can bear fruit bad, bad one can bear good fruit, and can be healthy or rotten trees means healthy environment and half rotten fruits or medium.
We have highlighted in bold and underlined certain passages.
Father Juan de Maldonado (Casas de la Reina, 1534-Rome, 1583), Spanish theologian, Jesuit since 1562, was professor of philosophy and theology in Paris and worked in the Catholic Counter Reformation . Visitor of the Province of France, Pope Gregory XIII called him to Rome to revise the text of the Septuagint. He wrote, among other works, a commentary on the four Gospels (1596-1597) and a commentary on the main Old Testament books (1643).
Father Maldonado parable speaks of trees and fruits are good and bad in his Commentarii Quatuor In Evangelists. This is a classic in the field of biblical exegesis, which had all the approvals required by the Church in a time marked by the "Reform" Protestant and the Catholic Counter -Reformation era. We had to look at an English version of that work: A Comentay on the Holy Gospels, 2nd. ed., Catholic Standard Library, John Hodges, London, 1888, pp. 242-246.
We here in Spanish, some more relevant extracts of the work:
"Christ called" tree "the man who has faith [in the sense of conscience, in which we speak of" good faith "and" bad faith "], whether good or bad; good tree if your faith is good, bad tree if it is bad. It may be objected that a man who has good faith often bears bad fruit. This can not be denied; but Christ does not speak of what happens occasionally, but what happens most of the time, not what usually happens by human perversity, but of the nature of faith; by faith, by its nature, if it is good, not bad fruit, if it is bad, no good fruit. "
"These words seem to oppose the daily experience: as we see many bad become good, and good become bad. Many explanations have been offered them: 1. Many take it as meaning the good tree, while it is good, and a bad tree while it is bad, can not bear good fruit and the other evil fruit first. (St. Augustine, author, St. John Chrysostom, Bede). 2. Others saw that in this way the truth and experience are not satisfied, because although a good tree, that is, a righteous man, who remains such, can not bear bad fruit, a bad tree, which remains bad, it can give some good fruit. Neither it is an opinion to hold (lately condemned justly by the Council of Trent) that all works of sinners, or even infidels, are sin ... "
"It is not asserted, therefore, that a good tree can not bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree can not bear good fruit; surely a bad tree can give some good and some bad tree good fruits; but its very nature can not; and usually not a good tree bears bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. "
"The Scribes and Pharisees who spoke [...] were certainly bad because their lives were evil; and yet they uttered good words because what they said was to be done. "
"It will be objected," If a good tree can bear bad fruit, and a bad tree bear good fruit, how we are taught that we may know them by their fruits "[...] Christ did not want to give some indication, but only a probable sign, and teach false prophets, which proved false doctrine by its claim to holiness, not much could have hidden under the sheepskin, but the wolf beneath appear at one time or another. For the claim it can not spend much time for truth. "
"It 's amazing how many mistakes have come out of this good and bad tree First came the Manichean, who said that some men were naturally good and never bad.; and there were other evil by nature, so they could never be good. St. Jerome (in loc.) And St. Augustine (i. 3 Cont. Julian. Disput .; ii., Cent. Fortunat.) The refuted with Scripture. The Pelagians denied original sin, because marriage, they said, was a good tree and could not bear bad fruit, ie generate original sin. St. Augustine (ii. 26, De nupt. Et Concupis.) Responded to this. [...] "
Verse 16. By Their fruits.
As Christ uttered a warning HAD Against false prophets, it was Necessary to give some mark by Which They Might Be known. I Could not give any single Certain one, as Their disguises Were many, and God alone is the examiner of the human heart, but I gave a probable one Adapted to ordinary intelligence and MOST Commonly true, "By Their Fruits" (S. Luke vi. 43).
S. Luke (. Vi 43) Seems to imply That Were These words spoken in another sense and in another place; for I unites them to the injunction Recorded by S. Matthew (v . 5) "Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thy own eye" as if the meaning Were: Thou hypocrite, why wilt thou pretend to be a good tree When thou bearest evil fruit? for, thou mayest however wish to dis semble thy evil deeds, from thy fruits thou shalt be Known; for there is no good tree Which Brings forth evil fruit, and every tree Shall Be Known by ITS fruits. In This sense S. Matthew says (. Xii 33) That Christ used the same simile of the tree and Its fruits, as if I HAD said: "If you would seem to be good, do not feign goodness, but Practise it". The leaves are pretense, the works are the fruit, and the tree is not Known by its leaves, but by ITS fruit. HENCE it is clear That Christ used the same comparison more than eleven; Either, THEREFORE, S. Luke is not reciting the same as S. Matthew, or I is not keeping the order and connection of the words of Christ; for in Matthew S. rmonises it so well With The PRECEDING That sentence can not be separated it from it without one being destroyed or Both. We must see, Therefore, what Christ calls the tree, and what the fruits. Tertullian (i., Cont. Marc.) Thinks faith the tree. This AGREES well with the text, Which treats of the true and false distinguishing Between faith. But S. Augustin (xv, Euchirid, and i 3, Cont Julian.....) And Bede, on This pas sage, think the man s will That is the tree and the man himself the ground; for as to good and evil tree can spring from the same ground, but good and bad fruit can not come from the same tree, but good from good and evil from evil: so from the same man May proceed at one time a good will, at another a bad will, but the same will rom Both good and bad works can not proceed. S. Augustin (De grat. Christ., I. 18, 19), The Author (Horn, xix.), S. Chrysostom (Horn, xxiv.), Theophylact, and De Lyra call the man Who has a good will to good tree, and the man Who will have an evil an evil tree. This view would agree well per se With the context, if the Latter Were not concerned With the discerning of true faith, but of a good will; but it is concerned With true faith: "Beware of false prophets." Christ calls the man, then a , Who has faith, Whether good or bad, "a tree" a good tree if His faith be good, an evil tree if it be bad. May it be answered That a Man Who has a good faith Brings forth evil fruit Frequently This can not be denied; but Christ does not speak of what is so occasionally, but of what is so for the MOST part is not of what used to happen from human perversity, but from the nature of faith; for faith, by Its Own nature, if good, does not bring forth evil fruit, nor if evil, good fruit. Verse 18. Can not.
These words seem to be Opposed to daily experience; for we see many good from evil Become, and Become from good evil. Many Explanations of them have, THEREFORE, Been offered.
1. Many Have taken them to mean That a good tree, while it is good, and an evil tree, while it is evil, can not bring forth I have one good and the other evil fruit (S. Augustin, The Author, S. Chrysostom Bede). 2. Others That Have Seen In This Manner truth and experience are not satisfied. For, , Although a good tree, That is, a just man, continuing to be such, can not bring forth evil fruit, yet an evil tree, remaining evil, can bring forth some good fruit. Nor is the opinion (lately with demned, with justice, by the Council of Trent) to be held, That all the works of sinners, or even of infidels, are not, himself , Although S. Augustin (iv. 3 Cont. Julian ., and iii. 5, Cont. Epist. Pelag duos.) and Prosper (Sentent. cvi.) seem to have held it, and some Catholic divines Have defended it. They have, THEREFORE, Asserted That a good tree, In That it is good, can not bring forth evil fruit, nor an evil tree, as it is evil, bring forth good fruit. But we can not distinguish by This Means a good from a bad tree, Which is the question at issue.
It is not Asserted, THEREFORE, That a good tree can not bring forth evil fruit, nor an evil tree good fruit; For This can not possibly be, for assuredly an evil tree can bring forth some good, and a good tree some evil fruit; but nature That of Their Own They can not; and a good tree does not bring forth evil fruit habitually, nor an evil tree good fruit For, each of Its own nature, "out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh"; and "a good man out of a good treasure ringeth forth good things, and an evil man out of an evil treasure bringeth forth evil things". And When Christ HAD Previously Said, "Either make the tree good and Its fruit good, or make the tree evil and Its fruit evil" (S. Matt. Xii. 33-35), I added, "How can ye, being evil , speak good things? "But not as meaning That It Could not be. For the Scribes and Pharisees of Whom I spoke (. Xxiii 2, 3) Were Certainly evil, Because Their Lives Were evil; They uttered and yet good words, Because They Said what was to be done. This only shows, however, That in esta They ACTED Against Their nature, and Were not accustomed to do so.
It will be objected: "If a good tree can bring forth evil fruit, and an evil tree good fruit, how are we to know them Taught by Their fruit? "It May be objected, again:" If the Pharisees, When They Brought forth evil fruit, Were yet the good tree, That is, Were not false prophets, but true Doctors of the Law, How Could They Be Known by Their fruits? For if the hearers HAD Followed this rule of Christ, and of Their doctrine Judged by Their Lives, They Would Have rejected the former as false "Christ did not will to give a Certain text, but only a probable sign.; and to teach That false prophets, WHO PROVED Their doctrine to be false by Their pretense of holiness, would not be reliable to conceal Themselves long under the sheep s clothing, but That the wolf Which underlay it would, some time or other, appear. For pretense can not long pass for truth.
It is wonderful how many errors Have sprung from this good and evil tree, (i) First of all there came the Manicheans, Who Said That some men were good by nature and never evil; and (2) That Were there others evil by nature, Who Never Could be good. S. Jerome (in loc.), And S. Augustin (i. 3 Cont. Julian. Disput .; ii., Cent. Fortunat.) Have Refuted them out of scripture. (3) The Pelagians denied original sin, Because marriage, They Said, was a good tree, and Could not bring forth evil fruit, That is, original generate no. S. Augustin (ii. 26, De nupt. Et Concupis.) Esta have answered. Again, They Said That free-will was inherent in us, like a kind of root, and Could, of itself and by itself (ipsa per se), produces Either a good tree, That is, a good will, or an evil tree , That is, an evil will (S. Augustin, i. 18, De Graf. Christ).