Sacred Texts  Christianity  Early Church Fathers  Index  Previous  Next 

Chapter I.—The Two Ways; The First Commandment.

1. There are two ways, 2370 one of life and one of death; 2371 but a great difference between the two ways. 2. The way of life, then, is this: First, thou shalt love God 2372 who made thee; second, thy neighbour as thyself; 2373 and all things whatsoever thou wouldst should not occur to thee, thou also to another do not do. 2374 3. And of these sayings 2375 the teaching is this: Bless them that curse you, and pray for your enemies, and fast for them that persecute you. 2376 For what thank is there, if ye love them that love you? Do not also the Gentiles do the same? 2377 But do ye love them that hate you; and ye shall not have an enemy. 2378 4. Abstain thou from fleshly and worldly lusts. 2379 If one give thee a blow upon thy right cheek, turn to him the other also; 2380 and thou shalt be perfect. If one impress thee for one mile, go with him two. 2381 If one take away thy cloak, give him also thy coat. 2382 If one take from thee thine own, ask it not back, 2383 for indeed thou art not able. 5. Give to every one that asketh thee, and ask it not back; 2384 for the Father willeth that to all should be given of our own blessings (free gifts). 2385 Happy is he that giveth according to the commandment; for he is guiltless. Woe to him that receiveth; for if one having need receiveth, he is guiltless; but he that receiveth not having need, shall pay the penalty, why he received and for what, and, coming into straits (confinement), 2386 he shall be examined concerning the things which he hath done, and he shall not escape thence until he pay back the last farthing. 2387 6. But also now concerning this, it hath been said, Let thine alms sweat 2388 in thy hands, until thou know to whom thou shouldst give.  



This phrase connects the book with the Duæ Viæ; see Introductory Notice. Barnabas has “light” and “darkness” for “life” and “death.”  


Deut. 30:15, 19; Jer. xxi. 8; Matt. 7:13, 14  


Comp. Deut. vi. 5, which is fully cited in Apostolic Constitutions, vii. 2, though the verb here is more exactly cited from LXX.  


Lev. xix. 18; Matt. 22:37, 39. Comp. Mark 12:30, 31  


Comp. Tobit iv. 15; and Matt. vii. 12; Luke vi. 31  


These Old-Testament commands are thus taught by the Lord.  


Matt. v. 44. But the last clause is added, and is of unknown origin; not found in Apostolic Constitutions  


Matt. 5:46, 47; Luke vi. 32. The two passages are combined.  


So Apostolic Constitutions. Comp. 1 Pet. iii. 13  


1 Pet. ii. 11. The Codex has σωματικῶν, “bodily;” but editors correct to κοσμικῶν  


Matt. v. 39; Luke vi. 29.  


Matt. v. 41  


Matt. v. 40; Luke vi. 29  


Luke vi. 30. The last clause is a peculiar addition: “art not able,” since thou art a Christian; otherwise it is a commonplace observation.  


Luke vi. 30. The rest of the sentence is explained by the parallel passage in Apostolic Constitutions, which cites Matt. v. 45.  


Bryennios finds a parallel (or citation) in Hermas, Commandment Second, p. 20, vol. i. Ante-Nicene Fathers. The remainder of this chapter has no parallel in Apostolic Constitutions.  


Gr. ἐν συνοχῇ. Probably = imprisonment; see next clause.  


Matt. v. 26.  


Codex: ιδροτάτω, which in this connection is unintelligible. Bryennios corrects into ιδροσάτω, rendered as above. There are various other conjectural emendations. The verse probably forbids indiscriminate charity, pointing to an early abuse of Christian liberality.  

Next: Chapter II.—The Second Commandment: Gross Sin Forbidden