The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Commentaries for Weekdays (Years I and II) and Sundays (Years A, B and C) and Solemnities

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 22, 2018

NOTE: Solemnities and feasts are listed at the end of this post. This part is not yet complete. If you are looking for commentaries on the Sunday readings in the Extraordinary Form go here.

ADVENT

First Week of Advent.
Second Week of Advent.
Third Week of Advent.
Fourth Week of Advent.

CHRISTMAS SEASON TO EPIPHANY
Note: Traditionally Epiphany is celebrated on January 6. In the USA it is celebrated on the Sunday following January 6.

Dec. 25. Vigil Mass for the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord (Dec 24).
Dec. 25. Mass During the Night: The Nativity of the Lord (Midnight Mass).
Dec. 25. Mass at Dawn: The Nativity of the Lord.
Dec. 25. Mass During the Day: The Nativity of the Lord.

Sunday Within the Octave of Christmas (Feast of the Holy Family). If a Sunday does not fall between Dec. 26 and Dec 31 then the Feast of the Holy Family is celebrated on Dec. 30.

Dec. 26. The Feast of St Stephen, the Church’s First Martyr.
Dec. 27. The Feast of St John, Apostle and Evangelist.
Dec 28. Feast of the Holy Innocents, Martyrs.
Dec. 29. Fifth Day in the Octave of Christmas.
Dec. 30. Sixth Day in the Octave of Christmas. See next note.
!!! Dec 30. Feast of the Holy Family (Non-Sunday). If a Sunday does not fall between Dec 26-31 then the Feast of the Holy Family is celebrated on this date.
Jan 1. Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God.
Jan. 2. Memorial of St Basil the Great and St Gregory Nanzianzen, Bishops and Doctors of the Church.
Jan. 3. Christmas Weekday.
Jan . 4. Memorial St Elizabeth Ann Seton, Religious.
Jan. 5. Memorial of St John Nuemann, Bishop.
Jan. 6. Christmas Weekday. Traditionally this is Epiphany. In the USA the Epiphany is celebrated on the first Sunday after Jan 6. For commentary on the Epiphany readings see below, following Jan 8.
Jan. 7. Christmas Weekday. NOTE: in 2018 this date falls on the Sunday after Jan 6. IN the USA this Sunday is celebrated as the Epiphany. See the link for the Epiphany below, following Jan 8.
Jan 8.

!!! The Epiphany of the Lord.
Epiphany to the Baptism of the Lord.

ORDINARY TIME
Each week contains the beginning and ending Sundays (e.g., the 4th week contains Sundays 4 and 5). We are currently in daily cycle 1 and Sunday cycle C. The new Sunday cycle always begins on the First Sunday of Advent; and the daily cycle on the next day.

1st WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
2nd WEEK: Year 1Year 2.
3rd WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
4th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
5th WEEK: Year 1Year 2.
6th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
7th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
8th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
9th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
10th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
11th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
12th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
13th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
14th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
15th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
16th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
17th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
18th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
19th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
20th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
21st WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
22nd WEEK:  Year1Year 2.
23rd WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
24th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
25th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
26th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
27th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
28th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
29th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
30th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
31st WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
32nd WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
33rd WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
34th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.

LENTEN SEASON

Ash Wednesday Through Second Sunday of Lent.
Second Week of Lent.
Third Week of Lent.
Fourth Week of Lent.
Fifth Week of Lent.
!!! Holy Week.

EASTER SEASON

Easter Sunday to Divine Mercy Sunday (Second Sunday of Easter).
Second Week of Easter.
Third Week of Easter.
Fourth Week of Easter.
Fifth Week of Easter.
Sixth Week of Easter. Includes Ascension Thursday.
Seventh Week of Easter. Includes Pentecost.

SOLEMNITIES AND FEASTS
Some of these are also listed above (e.g., during the Christmas season).

December 8. Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

Dec 12. Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Dec 24-25. Christmas: Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord. 4 Masses below.

Dec 26. Feast of St Stephen the Proto-Martyr.

Dec 27. Feast of St John the Evangelist.

Dec 28. Feast of the Holy Innocents.

Jan 1. Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, The Mother of God (Octave of Christmas).

Jan 6. Solemnity of the Epiphany.

Jan 25. Feast of the Conversion of St Paul.

Feb 2. Feast of the Presentation of the Lord.

Feb 22. Feast of the Chair of St Peter.

Mar 19. Feast of St Joseph, Husband of Mary.

Mar 25. Feast of the Annunciation.

Apr. 25. Feast of St Mark the Evangelist.

May 1. Feast of St Joseph the Worker.

May 3. Feast of Saints Philip and James, Apostles.

May 14. Feast of St Matthias, Apostle.

May 31. Feast of the Visitation.

Second Friday After Pentecost: Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Year A.  Year B.  Year C.

Jun 24. Vigil and Mass of the Day. Feast of the Birth of St John the Baptist.

Jun 29. Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles.

Jul 3. Feast of St Thomas the Apostle.

Jul 22. Feast of St Mary Magdalene.

Jul 25. Feast of St James the Elder, Apostle.

Aug 6. Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord, Year A.

Aug 10. Feast of St Lawrence the Deacon.

Aug 15. Vigil and Mass of the Day. Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Aug 24. Feast of St Bartholomew, Apostle.

Sept 8. Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Sept 14. Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

Sept 21. Feast of St Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist.

Sept 29. Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, Archangels.

Oct 18. Feast of St Luke the Evangelist.

Oct 28. Feast of Saints Simon and Jude, Apostles.

Nov 1. Solemnity of All Saints.

Nov 2. The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed.

Nov 9. Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica.

Nov 30. The Feast of St Andrew, Apostle.

Last Sunday of the Year: Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. Always falls on last Sunday of the Year.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

EWTN Audio: A Study of the Gospel of John

Posted by Dim Bulb on March 19, 2019

Prologue of John & calling Disciples (John 1: 1-59).

Ignaural Signs of Jesus’ Ministry (John 2-3).

The First Passover and Jesus’ Encounter with Nicodemus (Chap. 3 cont.).

Woman at the Well and Healing on the Sabbath (John 4-5).

The Fulfillment of Jewish Liturgy: Jesus (John 5 cont.).

The Bread of Life (John 6).

The Feast of Tabernacles (John 7-8).

Continuing with the Feast of Tabernacles.

The Good Shepherd and the Raising of Lazurus (John 10 – 11).

The Washing of the Feet (John 12-13).

Jesus’ Farewell Discourse and His Passion (John 14-19).

Resurrection (John 20-21).

Continuing with the Resurrection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

EWTN Audio: A Study of the Epistle to the Ephesians

Posted by Dim Bulb on March 19, 2019

Ephesians 1:1-10.

Ephesians 1:11-23.

Ephesians 1:23-2:10.

Ephesians 2:11-20.

Ephesians 3:1-13.

Ephesians 3:14-21.

Ephesians 4:1-16.

Ephesians 4:17-24.

Ephesians 4:25-5:2.

Ephesians 5:3-14.

Ephesians 5:15-6:4.

Ephesians 6:5-13.

Ephesians 6:13-24.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

EWTN: The Way to Follow Jesus (On the Gospel of St Mark)

Posted by Dim Bulb on March 18, 2019

Introduction.

The Good News of the Gospel.

The Good News of the Kingdom.

Demise of the Demons.

Fear and Faith.

The Problem of Parables.

Miracles of the Bread.

The Blind Shall See.

How Long Will They Not Believe.

I’ve Come to Serve, Not to be Served.

Jesus’ Royal Entry Into Jerusalem.

The Widow’s Offering in the Temple (the widow’s mite).

Discipleship During the Passion and Crucifixion.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

EWTN: In The Footsteps Of St Paul (On 1 Corinthians)

Posted by Dim Bulb on March 18, 2019

Episode 1.

Episode 2.

Episode 3.

Episode 4.

Episode 5.

Episode 6.

Episode 7.

Episode 8.

Episode 9.

Episode 10.

Episode 11.

Episode 12.

Episode 13.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

EWTN: Adventures in Exodus

Posted by Dim Bulb on March 18, 2019

1). A People and Its Hero.

2). The Hesitant Servant.

3). Let My People Worship.

4). signs and Wonders.

5). Passover and Liberation.

6). Providence and Problems in the Wilderness.

7). The Ten Commandments.

8). The Tabernacle.

9). Rebellion at Sinai and Covenant Renewal.

10). Led by God’s Spirit.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Scripture Podcasts and You Tube Videos

Posted by Dim Bulb on March 17, 2019

Most of the EWTN links are not are now working. They changed how they archive their audio, so, instead of being able to link to an EWTN page with all the episodes of a series available (that is what the links were originally for), I have to create my own page onsite, or find an alternate source (e.g., You Tube).

The Institute of Catholic Culture (ICC) offers many podcasts on scripture but I’ve only linked to a few. You can access all their audio and video stuff by registering on their site (it’s free). The links below can also be found in the right sidebar of this blog under the heading Podcast: Bible Studies. I hope to add some more content to that sidebar in the near future.

1 Corinthians

Acts of Apostles (ICC)

Acts of Apostles (NL)

Bible Musings

Book of Revelation (ICC)

Book of Revelation (TM)

Deep In Scripture.

Ephesians (ICC).

Available: Ephesian (EWTN).

Available: EWTN: Exodus.

Available: EWTN: In the Footsteps of St Paul. On 1 Corinthians.

Available: EWTN: The Gospel of John.

Available: EWTN: Gospel of Mark (The Way to Follow Jesus).

EWTN: Matthew

Available: EWTN: Old Testament Prophets. 52 thirty minute episodes.

EWTN: Proverbs

EWTN: Seeds of Abraham

Fr. Mike’s Study

Galatians

Gospel of Holy Ghost

Gospel of Matt (ICC)

Gospel of Matt (NL)

Introduction to the Old Testament

St Irenaeus Ministries

Understanding Scripture

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Romans Chapter 8

Posted by Dim Bulb on March 17, 2019

ANALYSIS OF ROMANS CHAPTER 8
Scripture links are to the Douay Rheims translation

In this chapter, after inferring from the foregoing that the baptized have nothing deserving of damnation, except so far as they consent to the motions of concupiscence (Rom 8:1), the Apostle tells us that we are rescued from the dominion of concupiscence by the grace of the Gospel (Rom 8:2-4.) He shows the different motions and effects of the flesh and of the spirit (Rom 8:4–9). He exhorts us to live according to the spirit, and points out the spiritual and eternal life of both soul and body, resulting from such a course (Rom 8:9–11). He next exhorts us to follow the dictates of the spirit, and to mortify the deeds of the flesh, in order to escape death and obtain life (Rom 8:12-13)—to act up to our calling as sons of God, and to conform to the spirit of charity and love, which we received, unlike to that of the Jews of old, and by thus acting as sons of God, to secure the Heavenly inheritance, which we shall certainly obtain, on condition, however, of suffering (Rom 8:13–17). Lest this condition should dishearten them, he points out the greatness of God’s inheritance,—so great indeed is it, that he personifies inanimate creatures, and represents them as groaning for this glorious consummation. The very Christians themselves, although in the infancy of the Church, they received the sweet pledge of future glory in the choice gifts of the Holy Ghost, were sighing for it (Rom 8:17–24). The Holy Ghost, besides the assurance he gave them of being sons of God, was also relieving their necessities and prompting them to pray with ineffable ardour of spirit (Rom 8:25-27). The Apostle encourages them to patient suffering by pointing out to them that they were predestined for these sufferings as the means of their sanctification and future glorification (Rom 8:28–30), and, finally, he excites them to confidence in God (Rom 8:31–39).

COMMENTARY ON ROMANS CHAPTER 8
Text in purple indicates Fr. MacEvilly’s paraphrase of the scripture he is commenting on

Rom 8:1. There is nothing, therefore, deserving of damnation to be found in those who, by baptism, are engrafted on Christ Jesus, unless they themselves voluntarily consent to the desires of the flesh, and execute them in act.

“Therefore, now there is no damnation,” &c. This is the conclusion which the Apostle derives from the latter portion of the foregoing chapter. Whereas the man who is baptized and justified does not consent to the irregular sallies of concupiscence, there is nothing deserving of damnation in him, only as far as he voluntarily consents to them, “who walk not, &c.” Hence, by the grace of Baptism, sin is really remitted—(Council of Trent. SS. v. Can. 5). From this it by no means follows, that after the guilt of sin is remitted, there does not, sometimes, remain a temporal debt to be remitted, as Catholic faith teaches—(Ibidem, SS. xiv. Can. 12). For, such temporal debt is not “damnation.” 2ndly, All that would follow at best is, that no such debt to be expiated is left by Baptism (for it is to Baptism he alludes here), and this we freely admit. The conclusion drawn from the foregoing, in this verse, clearly shows: that in the latter part of the preceding chapter, the Apostle is describing the state of those who are justified. In the common Greek, the words, but according to the spirit, are added to this verse. They are, however, rejected by the best critics. They are wanting in the Alexandrian and other MSS., and also in some ancient versions. In the Vatican and other leading MSS. the words, “according to the flesh,” are also wanting, and the probability is, that, being taken from verse 4, as a marginal gloss, they crept into the Sacred text.

Rom 8:2. For, the grace of the vivifying spirit which is diffused in our hearts, instigating us to good, like a law, has liberated me and all Christians from the guilt and dominion of concupiscence, which ends in death.

“From the law of sin,” i.e., has delivered me and all “who are in Christ Jesus,” from the tyranny of sin and death, by giving us strength to resist its motions and dictates.

Rom 8:3. For, what was impossible to the law, inasmuch as it was weakned by corrupt nature, God (effected) when he sent his Son to assume real flesh, like sinful flesh, and condemned sin of injustice in the flesh of his Son.

“For that which the law could not do,” in Greek, αδυνατον τοῦ νομοῦ, is properly rendered in the Vulgate, “quod impossibile erat legi.” “In that it was weak through the flesh.” This he adds, lest he might be understood to attribute the commission of sin to the law itself; or, rather, to show how utterly impossible it was for the law to confer justification. For, even though it had not to contend with sinful flesh, of its own nature, without the grace of the Gospel, it could not justify, and how much more impossible it was for it to do so, when weakned by the rebellious flesh. “God sending his Son.” God (did or effected), when he sent his Son; the word did, or some such, must be understood in order to complete the sense. Others, with great probability, connect the passage thus: “For God, by sending (πεμψας) his Son into this world, in his assumed flesh, like unto our sinful flesh, and indeed on account of sin (και περι αμαρτιας), condemned sin by destroying its dominion in our flesh, a thing which the law could not effect, being weakned by the flesh rebelling against reason.” In this construction the word “did” need not be supplied; by giving the words “and of sin” the meaning referred to, which the Greek will admit, and by connecting them with “sending,” and not with “condemned,” there will be no difficulty. “In the likeness of sinful flesh;” he assumed real flesh, which was like our sinful flesh; “and of sin hath condemned sin,” because, “sin”—which the Apostle here personifies—had unjustly inflicted the punishment of death due to it, on Christ, who was wholly innocent. Hence, God deprived it of its power, which it exceeded and abused. The idea is the same as that in the Epistle to the Hebrews 2:14. According to the other interpretation referred to, the words, “condemned sin in the flesh,” will mean abolished, destroyed, the dominion which sin exercised in our sinful flesh. The Greek words, κατεκρινε την αμαρτιαν εν τῃ σαρκι, will admit of this meaning.—(Vide Beelen).

Rom 8:4. This was the thing impossible to the law, which, however, God accomplished, viz., that we might fulfil the entire law (“the doers of which will be justified,” Rom 2:13), who obey not the dictates of the flesh, but live according to the spirit of grace, which enables us to fulfil the entire law.

This is what was impossible to the law, viz., to enable us to fulfil its precepts, and thus insure its justification; for, “the doers of the law will be justified,” (Rom 2:13), and by the death of the Son of God, the grace was merited for us, which enabled us to observe God’s commandments. In the other interpretation, this verse is connected with the word “sending.” The object God had in sending his Son to destroy the dominion of sin was, “that the justification of the law,” &c. These understood “what the law could not do” to refer to the destroying the dominion of sin in our flesh.

Rom 8:5. For, as to those who live according to the flesh, they are too much engrossed with the things of the flesh, to mind the observance of the law, which is all spiritual; it is only those who live according to the spirit, that attend spiritual matters.

“They that are according to the flesh, mind,” (φρονουσι) i.e., have their entire thoughts and attention devoted to “the things that are of the flesh,” and hence, in reference to such, as they do not co-operate in observing God’s law, but rather oppose it, the grace of the New Testament will not give them strength to observe God’s law. The “flesh,” here, as in many other passages of St. Paul (v.g., Gal. 5:19), includes not only the animal propensities which reside in the sensual appetite, but the entire corrupt nature of man, even the spiritual faculties of the soul. In like manner, “sin,” or concupiscence, in the preceding, is not confined to carnal concupiscence; it extends to the disorderly affections of the soul, which are the source of spiritual sins.

Rom 8:6. Now, to be wholly engrossed with the things of the flesh is death to the soul; but to attend to spiritual things is the source of life and peace.

“For the wisdom of the flesh.” The Greek for “wisdom of the flesh” (φρόνημα τῆς σαρκος), means the same as “mind the things of the flesh,” (verse 5). Hence, the meaning is, and the proper rendering should be, the minding of the things of the flesh.

Rom 8:7. This wisdom of the flesh, or, this total giving one’s self up to be engrossed by the things of the flesh, is the source of death, because, it is at enmity with God, and rebellious against his law; hence, it is neither subject, nor can it be subject to the law of God; for, they are of their own nature perfectly irreconcilable.

The reason for which is, that this wisdom of the flesh is at enmity with God; for, it is rebellious against his law, it is not subject to it, nor can it be; for, the wisdom of the flesh and the observance of God’s law are perfectly irreconcilable; it must cease to be wisdom according to the flesh, when it obeys the law of God.

Rom 8:8. Hence those who live according to the flesh, cannot please God, nor can they observe his precepts so as to obtain the justification of the law.

This is the conclusion which the Apostle draws from the preceding verses. His argument is this:—I have said (verse 4), that it is only those, who walk according to the spirit, that can observe God’s law, “for those who walk according to the flesh, mind the things of the flesh (verse 5). But, to mind the things of the flesh is death,” (verse 6). Hence, those who walk according to the flesh cannot please God, which they would do were they to observe his commandments. They cannot please God, any more than rebels, continuing such, can please their lawful sovereign.

Rom 8:9. But you, after having been regenerated in Christ by baptism, do not live according to the flesh, but according to the spirit of grace which you received; if this spirit, however, still dwells in you. But if anyone does not preserve the Spirit of Christ, he is no longer a living member of him.

“You are not in the flesh.” You are not subject to the flesh, nor do you follow its desires, but you walk according to the spirit. He addresses those who were baptized. “If so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you,” i.e., if he has not departed from you on account of your actual sins, but dwells in you, as in his temples. The bodies of the just are the temples of the Holy Ghost. “Now, if any one hath not the Spirit of Christ,” i.e., if the Holy Ghost, who is the “Spirit of God,” and the “Spirit of Christ,” abide not in a Christian, he is merely a Christian in name, but he is not a living member of the mystical body of Christ.

Rom 8:10. But if Christ dwell in you by his spirit, your body is indeed subject to death, as a punishment of sin; but your spirit or soul enjoys the life of grace here on account of justification, and shall live a life of glory hereafter.

“The body is dead” (is and be are wanting in the original text), i.e., of necessity, liable to death, or, mortal, on account of the sin of Adam, in punishment of which “death entered into this world” (chap. 5) and he says “it is dead,” νεκρον, because it contains within it the seeds of certain death, and is gradually dissolving and approaching its final end. “But the spirit liveth.” (In Greek, τὸ πνευμα ζωη, the spirit is life) that is, the soul lives a spiritual life, “because of justification,” i.e., on account of the justifying graces with which it is adorned, and it shall hereafter live a life of glory, of which grace is the seed.

Rom 8:11. But if the spirit of God the Father, who raised Jesus from the dead, dwell in you by justice, this same spirit, that raised Jesus Christ from the dead, shall also vivify and endow with glory and immortality your mortal bodies, on account of their present dignity in being the dwelling-place of his spirit.

Not only will the immortal soul enjoy a glorious immortality, but even the mortal body shall share in and possess the attributes of glory and immortality. “Raised up Jesus Christ.” “Jesus” is wanting in the Greek.

Rom 8:12. As, therefore, brethren, we are in the spirit and not in the flesh, and as it is from the spirit that we have received past blessings and hope for greater in future, we are no longer debtors to the flesh, so as to walk or live according to its dictates or allow its dominion over us.

This is the conclusion which the Apostle derives from the foregoing. As it is to the spirit, we owe our spiritual life of grace here, and as it is from it we expect a life of glory hereafter; therefore, we are no longer debtors to the flesh, so as to follow its dictates; it is to the spirit alone that we are indebted. The Apostle personifies the “flesh” here; he supposes it to be a master demanding our service, as he did before regarding “sin.”

Rom 8:13. For, if you live according to the desires of the flesh, you shall die a spiritual death here which is the precursor of an eternal death hereafter. But if by the spiritual fervour infused into you by the Holy Ghost, you mortify the vicious desires and corrupt inclinations of the flesh, you shall live both a life of grace here and of glory hereafter.

This is an additional reason why we should serve not the flesh, but the spirit (by serving one we renounce the other); it is derived from the consequences of our service in both cases. “You mortify the deeds of the flesh.” In Greek, τοῦ σώματος (of the body), that is, kill within you those risings of corrupt passions, in subduing which are felt the pains of death.

Rom 8:14. For, whosoever are efficaciously moved by the Holy Ghost, and under his influence mortify the flesh and live a spiritual life, they are truly sons of God, and will, therefore, enjoy the inheritance of life eternal.

This is a proof of the foregoing, viz., that by mortifying the deeds of the flesh “they shall live;” because, by acting up to the inspirations of the Holy Ghost, they become “sons of God,” and as “sons of God,” they are his “heirs” (verse 17), i.e., they shall enjoy the never-ending inheritance of eternal life. Therefore, “they shall live” (verse 13). The Apostle supposes them to be baptized, as a condition of this divine filiation. The word “led,” implies only moral impulse, which by our own free will we might resist; it involves no loss of human liberty; for, in the preceding the Apostle supposes human liberty, when he speaks of “mortifying the deeds of the flesh,” &c. The same is observable, Phm. 11-13, where, after speaking of the operation of God, he tells them to “work out their salvation,” &c.

Rom 8:15. That you are the sons of God is clear from the spirit you received in baptism, for you have not received under the new dispensation, as the Jews did in the promulgation of the old on Sinai, the spirit of servitude, to inspire you with fear, but you have received the spirit of charity and loveadopting you as sons, under the influence of which, you freely and confidently call on God, or the entire Blessed Trinity, as the common Father of all the faithful, both Jews and Gentiles.

In this verse, he shows from the spirit they received that they are sons of God; or, perhaps, in it is conveyed an additional motive for them to walk according to the spirit, viz., in order to correspond with the spirit they received. “You have not received the spirit of bondage again in fear” (in Greek, εἴς φόβον, unto fear). He evidently refers to the spirit of fear which the Jews received on Sinai, and which was given them as a gift of the Holy Ghost, in order to deter them from violating God’s commandments. Ut probaret vos, venit Deus, et ut terror illius esset in vobis (for God is come to prove you, and that the dread of him might be in you, and you should not sin.).—Exodus 20:20. Although the fear proceeded from the Holy Ghost, the servility of the fear came from themselves. The graces whereby the Jews of old were justified, belonged not to the Old Law as such, but to the New Covenant. “But you have received the spirit of the adoption of sons.” He contrasts this latter gift of the Holy Ghost with the former gift, which it far excelled. “The spirit of adoption of sons,” the spirit of love, the sanctifying grace of the Holy Ghost, by which we are become the adopted sons of God, and under the influence of which we confidently and freely call God Father. “Whereby we cry Abba (Father).” The more probable reason why the Apostle repeats the word “Father,” in Hebrew, “Abba,” and in Greek πατηρ, is to show that God is the common Father of all the believers, whether Jews, in whose language “Abba” means “Father;” or Gentiles, who call him πατηρ.

Rom 8:16. And this same spirit of God, whom we have received, bears testimony to our spirit, that we are the sons of God.

This same spirit, by whose influence “we cry out Abba, &c.,” by this filial affection whereby he inspires us to utter such a cry, “testifies together with our spirit,” (this is the meaning of the Greek word συμμαρτυρει), in other words, confirms the testimony of our spirit, “that we are sons of God.” The compound verb in the Greek may simply mean, to testify, as in Paraphrase. Verses 15-16 are to be read within a parenthesis, and verse 17 immediately connected with verse 14. For in verse 15 there is given, incidentally, one proof of verse 14, viz., calling God Father; and in verse 16 another, viz., the testimony of the Holy Ghost.

Objection.—Does it not follow, then, that each man is absolutely certain of his salvation?

Resp.—By no means. If we give the words, “giveth testimony,” the full meaning of the compound Greek word, συμμαρτυρει; in Latin, contestatur, all that would follow is, that the Holy Ghost confirms our own testimony, that we are the sons of God, by inspiring us to repeat the prayer in which we address God as our Father. This would certainly convey no absolute certainly of faith on the subject; or, as the Council of Trent describes, “certitudo fidei, cui non potest subesse falsum.”—(SS. vi., ch. ix.) If the words be understood in a simple form, all that would follow is, that we arrive at a moral, or rather conjectural certainty from the signs which come from the Holy Ghost—viz., horror of sin, love of virtue, peace and tranquillity of conscience, &c. Besides, the Apostle does not say that the Holy Ghost tells every individual by a revelation, that he is the son of God. This would be opposed to the clear order of his Providence, in which “no one knows whether he be worthy of love or hatred,” and to the command, “to work out their salvation with fear and trembling.”

Rom 8:17. But, if we are the sons of God, we are therefore, his heirs, that is to say, we are heirs of God, as his sons, and co-heirs of Christ, as his brethren. It is on condition, however, that we suffer with him, and in the same spirit with him, that we shall be partners in his glory.

God has wished that his children should have, besides the title of inheritance, the title of merit also, to eternal life. “Yet so, if we suffer with him,” the very adoption on which the title of inheritance is founded, is the reward of merit. While infants can only have the title of inheritance, adults must have the twofold title of inheritance and merit.

Rom 8:18. (Nor should the annexed condition of suffering dishearten or discourage us. The difficulty vanishes when we consider the magnitude of the reward and inheritance), for I am firmly persuaded, that the sufferings of the present time, viewed in themselves, bear no proportion whatever to the future glory and happiness which shall be revealed in us.

He stimulates them to submit to the painful condition of suffering, without which no one will enter the kingdom of God, by pointing out the immensity of the reward. If you regard the substance of the works and sufferings of this life, they bear no proportion whatever to the future glory which is to be their reward. But, if they be regarded as emanating from God’s grace, and if we take into consideration God’s liberal promise, attaching eternal life to them, there is some proportion; but which, still, is neither exact nor adequate; the one being temporal, the other, eternal. It is the substance of the sufferings and their duration, that the Apostle here compares with the future glory, as in the 2 Cor 4:17–“For, that which is at present momentary and light—worketh for us an eternal weight of glory.”

Rom 8:19. So great is this future glory of the sons of God, that inanimate creatures themselves are anxiously yearning and earnestly looking forward to its manifestation, as they are to be sharers in it, in a certain way.

The Apostle employs a bold figure of speech, prosopopœia, to convey to us an idea of the magnitude of the bliss in store for the sons of God. He represents inanimate creatures themselves anxiously looking out for the manifestation of the glory of the sons of God. The Greek word for “creation,” κτισις, is taken in Scripture to denote inanimate nature (Rom. 1:25), and it is here distinguished from rational beings, verse 23.

Rom 8:20. For, inanimate nature is rendered subject to corruption and decay, notwithstanding the natural tendency of everything to attain its full perfection, in obedience to the will of him, who, in punishment of original sin, subjected it to corruption, but only for a time, with a hope, however, to which it anxiously looks,

For, inanimate creation was rendered subject to corruption and mutability, in punishment of the sin of man, for whose service it was destined; “not willingly,” i.e., notwithstanding the tendency of everything to attain its natural perfection, or, from no inherent defect of its own. “But by reason of him that made it subject,” i.e., by the ordination of God, who subjected it to vanity, i.e., to corruption and change, in punishment of the sin of man, at whose fall everything destined for his use became deteriorated. “In hope,” the object of the hope is expressed next verse.

Rom 8:21. Of being emancipated from the slavery of corruption, and of being asserted into the glorious liberty suited to the glorified state of the sons of God, to whose service it will administer.

This is the object of the hope—viz., that it shall be rescued from the corruption in which it now is, serving sinful and mortal man, and be transferred to a state of incorruption suited to the glorious liberty of the sons of God, for whose service the “new heavens and the new earth in which justice dwells,” (2 Peter 3:13), are destined.

Rom 8:22. When it shall be freed from these pangs and painful throes, which we know it has been suffering from creation to the present moment, in the hope of this happy and blessed deliverance.

He expresses, in the strongest form, the desire of inanimate nature to be rescued from corruption, by comparing it with the anxious desire, for a happy delivery, of a woman enduring the painful throes of childbirth.

Rom 8:23. And not only do inanimate creatures thus groan, but even we Christians, who have received the first fruits of the Holy Ghost, which are a sure earnest of our being on a future day glorified, groan within ourselves, anxiously expecting the consummation of our adoption as sons of God, when this body of sin and death shall be endowed with glorious immortality.

“But ourselves also,” is referred by some to the Apostle. It more probably, however, has reference to all Christians in the days of the Apostle. “Who have the first fruits of the spirit,” i.e., who have received the gifts of the Holy Ghost, sanctifying grace, faith, hope, &c., and the other gifts which were abundantly conferred in the primitive Church, and which were so many pledges of future glory. “Waiting for the adoption of the sons of God,” i.e., their perfect, consummate adoption, by receiving the glorious inheritance. We have already received the imperfect, incomplete adoption by grace. “The redemption of our body.” This is the perfect state of our adoption in our resurrection and glorification. “Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”—(Rom 7:24).

Rom 8:24. We are only in a state of expectancy; for, we have here only obtained the salvation of hope. Now, hope is incompatible with actual fruition; it must cease to be hope when we enter on the fruition of the object hoped for; since, who ever made the things which he enjoys the object of his hope.

The Apostle, in the preceding verse, said, that we are anxiously expecting the glory of the blessed, the liberation of our body from the slavery of corruption. The connexion of this verse with it is, “I said we were expecting,” &c., for, that we are yet only expecting is clear from the fact, that it is only the initial salvation by hope we enjoy here below. Now, hope and fruition are perfectly incompatible; for, hope has reference to future, but not to present good or actual possession. “Hope that is seen,” means hope, the object of which is obtained.

Rom 8:25. If, then, we have not the things we are anxiously hoping for, we are only to wait and expect them by patiently enduring the evils of this life.

If hope excludes actual possession of the thing hoped for, we ought to wait with patience for the object which must be at a distance. “Patience,” in the Greek, ῦπομονῆς, means, the patient suffering of evils; it has reference to the words, verse 17, “yet so if we suffer with him.” As we have not yet attained the objects of hope, viz., the inheritance of the sons of God, we must wait to receive them through the patient suffering of the crosses and evils of this life.

Rom 8:26. And not only have we received from the Holy Ghost the many favours referred to, particularly the testimony, that we are sons of God; but the same Spirit helps in sustaining our many infirmities, which are so great, that far from being able to perform good works, we even know not what to pray for, or how to pray, as we ought, and He Himself inspires us to pray with groans, that is to say, with a degree of spiritual fervour and strength, that cannot be fully expressed, or, with a fervour to ourselves inexplicable.

“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth.” This is more probably connected with verse 16, as in Paraphrase. The Holy Ghost “helpeth,” the Greek word, συναντιλαμβανεται, means to lay hold of a weight, on the opposite side, so as to help in carrying it. It implies the free concurrence of man with the aid of the Holy Ghost. “Our infirmity.” (in the common Greek, ἀσθενείαις ἡμῶν, our infirmities. The Vulgate, ἀσθενείᾳ, is supported by the chief MSS.) “For, we know not what we should pray for,” &c. So great is our weakness, that we know not how to pray as we ought, or what to pray for, much less to perform actions, the aid for which must be derived from prayer. The Apostle instances our inability to pray, as one out of the many cases of infirmity under which we labour. “But the Spirit himself,” which evidently refers to the Holy Ghost, “asketh for us, with unspeakable groanings;” “he asketh” by inspiring and making us to ask; and hence he is said “to ask,” because his grace is the principal agent, assisted by our free will, in making us pray “with ineffable groanings,” i.e., with a fervour of spirit which cannot be fully expressed, or, which is even to ourselves unaccountable. The Holy Ghost, then, asks along with us, and through us, by enlightening us, by exciting us as his members, to pray with an ardour and vehemence which we can neither fully express nor account for; hence it is said elsewhere, “non vos estis qui loquimini sed spiritus patris vestri,” &c.—(Matt. 10:20.) “Misit spiritum … clamantem, abba pater.”—(Gal. 4:6).

Rom 8:27. But although these groans which we send forth under the influence of God’s Spirit, be to us inexplicable, still God, the searcher of hearts, attends to them, and approves of them, because the Holy Ghost asks things, and asks them in a manner conformable to the will of God, when supplying the defect in the prayers of his saints.

But though these groans be to us inexplicable, still, God knows and fully approves of them, because they proceed from his Spirit, whose prayers for us, i.e., to supply our deficiency, are always according to God’s will, “because he asketh for the saints,” i.e., in order to supply the deficiency in the prayers of the saints. Others connect the words thus: The Spirit also, as well as the hope of future bliss, sustains us in all our distresses and weakness.

Rom 8:28. But although out infirmity be so great as not to know what to pray for, or how to pray as we ought; still we should not be disheartened under crosses and sufferings. For, we know that by the disposition of an all-wise Providence, all things work together unto the good of those who love God; of those, I say, who have been, by his gratuitous decree, called by him to the profession and practice of sanctity, and obey his call.

“To such as, according to his purpose, are called to be saints.” The word “saints” is not in the Greek: “called,” as appears from the Greek, τοῖς κατὰ πρόθεσιν κλητοῖς οὖσιν, is not a participle, but a noun.

This passage is intended by the Apostle to stimulate the Romans to the patient endurance of the crosses of this life; for we know that all things, whether prosperity or adversity, nay, even their very sins (as is added by some of the Commentators), which serve the purpose of humiliation, work together unto the good of those who love God. And to show that this love regarded the faithful among the Romans, the Apostle explains it, by saying, “such as according to his purpose,” πρόθεσιν, i.e., his gratuitous decree, “are called to be saints.”

Commentators are greatly divided as to the object of this “purpose” or decree in question. Some assert that it regards the decree of giving glory; and even these are divided on this subject; one class of them says, that the decree of giving glory is prior to, and quite independent of, the good works of man. Those hold predestination to glory to be, ante prævisa merita. On the other hand, a second class maintain that the prevision of man’s future merits is prior, in the divine mind, to the decree of giving glory. These are the advocates of Predestination to glory, post prævisa merita. Others assert, that this decree in question regards not glory directly, but grace and sanctity. The advocates of the former opinion ground their interpretation: 1st, On the words “all things work together,” &c. Now, it is only of those called to glory, this could be true. 2ndly, They say, the word “purpose,” in Greek, πρόθεσιν, signifies a decree or infallible efficacy. 3rdly, The words, “called according to his purpose,” (for the words “to be saints,” are not in the Greek), are restrictive of the preceding. 4thly, The word “glorifies,” (verse 30), shows glory to be the term of the decree.

The advocates of the interpretation, which makes the decree refer to grace and sanctity, ground it: 1st, On the words, “called to be saints,” which is the term of the decree, and the words mean, called to state and profession of sanctity—the meaning in which the same words are taken in the different introductory salutations in the Epistle of St. Paul, 2ndly, The very object of the Apostle introducing the concurrence of all things towards their good, as a motive to induce them to bear patiently the crosses of this life, would prove the same; since all whom he addresses were called to grace and sanctity, but they could not all regard themselves as called to glory. Finally, the general objects of the Apostle in this Epistle, which regards the gratuitous call to grace of the Romans (for it was regarding this alone there was any controversy), makes it probable that here, too, he refers to the same.

In reply to the arguments of the preceding interpretation, they say: 1st, That “all things,” may be restricted by the subject matter to mean, all sufferings; and that the words, “work together,” do not necessarily imply actual working together, but only that these sufferings are intended, according to the antecedent will of God, for their sanctification. And even though all sufferings may not work together for the good of such as fall away from justice; still the Apostle, in the fervour of his charity, abstracts from the possible chance of their not persevering, and to draw a line of distinction between those called to glory and those rejected from it, would only injure the object he has in view, by throwing some into despondency. 2ndly, They say the word “purpose,” does not involve absolute infallible efficacy (v.g. Acts 11:23); and morever, even though it did, no inconvenience would result; because, the grace and sanctity, which, in their opinion, it regards, are infallibly conferred. 3rdly. These words are explanatory, not restrictive. 4thly, Glory is only the reward of justice, and are we to wonder if the great charity of the Apostle made him abstract from the possibility of their not persevering, who were called, and represent all those whom God predestined to sanctity, as receiving the crown of glory which is decreed only for those who persevere? The latter opinion seems far the more probable. Hence, we have nothing to do here with the relative probability or improbability of the opinions regarding the decrees of glory, ante prævisa merita, or post prævisa merita. No doubt, the latter opinion appears far more in accordance with the doctrine of the Apostles, asserting that “God wishes all men to be saved,” and “none to perish;” more in accordance with our ideas of the goodnesss of God manifested in the death of Christ for all, and his tears and labours for the conversion of sinners during his mortal life. It is still free for any Theologian to hold either opinion. It is, however, to be observed, that although we can hold, that in predestinating men to glory, God is actuated by the prevision of the good works of those whom he predestines—post prævisa merita—and this is even, as has been just stated, the more probable opinion; still, no one could hold, without falling into the semi-Pelagian heresy, that in predestining men to grace, God is actuated by the prevision of their correspondence with this grace, as the motive of his conferring it. And although we may hold, negative reprobation, or, the non-predestinating, and selecting men out of the mass of perdition, to be, ante prævisa demerita—no doubt a very improbable opinion—still, no one, without falling into the shocking heresy of Calvin, could hold positive reprobation, or the decree of devoting anyone to eternal punishment, to be, ante prævisa demerita. The reason is, that Predestination ante prævisa merita, being a free gratuitous act of goodness of the part of God, he could exercise it as he pleased; but it would be unjust to inflict a punishment without some fault. Hence, God would be cruel and unjust in marking out men for punishment without some fault, i.e., in reprobating them positively, ante prævisa demerita. Of all the errors of Calvin, this is, perhaps, the most shocking and blasphemous.

Rom 8:29. Because these are they whom he foreknew, nay, even predestined to a conformity in patience with the model presented by his Son in patient suffering; in order that he who, in his Divine nature, is the only begotten Son of God, would, as Man, be the first begotten among many adopted brethren.

In this verse, the Apostle explains why all things work together unto the good of those “called according to the purpose,” or gratuitous decree of God. The construction of the verse, adopted by the generality of Commentators, is this, “for whom he foreknew (those) he also predestinated.” Such of them as make the passage refer to predestination to glory, by “foreknew,” understand “those whom he foreknew by a knowledge of love and predilection,” i.e., whom he loved from eternity, those he predestined. The others say the words mean, “those whom he foreknew would be conformable to the image of his Son, he predestined to be such.” A’Lapide, whose interpretation has been adopted in the Paraphrase, says that the Apostle in this verse enters on an explanation of the nature of predestination referred to here, and then resumes the word “predestinated,” in next verse (30) in which the sentence suspended is completed. This construction perfectly accords with the style of the Apostle, who, carried away by some idea that occurs to him, sometimes, defers, for a long time, the completion of a sentence (v.g. Rom 5:12; Ephesians 3). According to this construction, the words of our English version: “For whom he foreknew, he also predestinated,” should be rendered from the Vulgate, quos præscivit et prædestinavit, “whom he foreknew and predestinated;” and, then, a marked difference is clearly perceptible in the text, between the mode in which the words, “he foreknew,” and “predestinated,” in this verse are connected, and the connexion which exists between any of the verbs in next verse. He says here, “whom he foreknew and predestinated.” In the next verse, “whom he predestinated, them he also called—whom he called, them he also justified,” &c. And this interpretation of A’Lapide requires the introduction of no other word in the sentence. Hence, his interpretation is adopted in the Paraphrase, in preference to any other. He connects verses 29 with 28, thus: “all things work together, &c.” (verse 28). Because these are they whom God foreknew, and predestinated to be conformable to the image of his Son, or to the model which his Son presents (verse 29). This conformity is to exist in suffering and justice; no doubt, it will extend to glory also. According to A’Lapide, “also” or “and” has the meaning of “because,” “nay even,” as if to say, “he foreknew, because he predestined them to be conformable to the image of his Son,” in justice and suffering. “That he might be the first-born,” &c. This predestination redounds to the glory of Christ, who, as God, is the only begotten, and as Man, is the natural Son of God, and first-born among the others who are only his adopted sons.

Rom 8:30. Those (I say), whom he predestined to a conformity in suffering with his Son, he called to these sufferings; and whom he called, he has justified by these sufferings; and whom he justified, he has glorified.

“And whom he predestinated.” Resuming the sentence suspended last verse, he says, “those (I say) whom he predestinated” to a conformity with the Son in suffering, he called to the same; “whom he called, he justified” by these sufferings, “and whom he justified, he glorified” by the same. The Apostle uses the past tense, though some of the events are future in regard to many, to show the certainty of the future events marked out in God’s decrees. We are not to suppose each of the terms which express the order in which the decrees of God are executed to be equally extensive, so that all are glorified, who are called. The words only mean, that out of the “called” are the “justified,” and out of the “justified” the “glorified.”

Rom 8:31. Alter this abundant manifestation of concern on the part of God for us, what shall we say? Shall we despond? By no means; since, it God be for us (as he really is), who can succeed in opposing us?

This is said to animate them with greater courage in bearing up against the crosses and persecutions of this life, knowing that God is for them, and destines all temporal evils for their good (verse 28); how, then, can any temporal misfortune or persecution from men ultimately harm them.

Rom 8:32. He who has not spared his natural, only begotten Son, but rather delivered him up to death for us all, what will he not give us? In giving us his Son, has he not with him given us every grace and blessing that shall secure our final happiness?

God has given us the greatest earnest and pledge of his love, in delivering up to death, and in not sparing “his own Son,” his natural, well-beloved Son, for our sakes. “Hath he not also given us,” &c.; in the Greek it is in the future, χαρισεται, “will he not also give us all things?” The meaning, however, is not changed, for in giving us Christ, he has virtually given with him all blessings and graces, and he has given us a sure earnest of arranging the decrees of his Providence, so as to lead securely to our final happiness. Having given us what is greater, when we were his enemies, he will not hesitate to grant us what is less, when we are his friends; having obtained the master, why hesitate about the possessions?—St. Chrysostom. What an excess of charity on the part of God. “He spared not,” whom?—His own Son, “by whom all things were made.” On whose account? On account of us, his wretched creatures, the work of hands, his sworn enemies, owing to our manifold sins.

Rom 8:33-34. Who shall institute an accusation against those whom God has elected and made his own by grace? It is God, the judge of all, who pronounces their sentence of acquittal; who then can presume to condemn them? It is Christ Jesus himself who died for us, who has risen from the dead for us, who sits at the right hand of God the Father, that intercedes for us, as our advocate.

There is a great difference of opinion regarding the punctuation of these two verses. Some persons place a note of interrogation after each member of the sentences, thus: “Who then shall accuse against the elect of God? Is it God that justified?” To which the implied answer is: By no means. “Who is he that shall condemn? Is it Christ Jesus that died—yea, that is risen again?” &c. By no means. Others following the punctuation, as given in the Vulgate, interpret the words thus: “Who shall accuse the elect of God?” No one; since God has pronounced the sentence of their acquittal. “Who shall condemn?” No one; since Christ Jesus has died to save them, &c. In the Paraphrase is preferred the interpretation and construction adopted by Estius, who, adhering to the punctuation of the Vulgate, connects the words “God that justifies,” not with the preceding clause, but with the following: “who then shall condemn?” And the words, “Christ Jesus that died—yea, that is risen,” &c., with the following verse (35), “who then shall separate us from the love of Christ.” There apppears to be an allusion in these words to the 50th chapter of Isaias, and with this allusion the interpretation now given accords best. In verse 33 the Apostle appears to be arming and encouraging the Romans against the assaults and persecutions of their external enemies, whether Jews or Gentiles. In this, he is strengthening them against the alarms and terrors of conscience, which their past sins were apt to engender. “Who sits at the right hand of God,” i.e., as man, he holds the highest place next to God in heaven. “Who also maketh intercession for us.” He intercedes not by suppliant prayer, but by exhibiting his wounds, and the merits he gained by his sufferings.—(See Hebrews 9:24).

Rom 8:35. What, then, after receiving so many blessings from God, shall separate us from the charity which in turn we owe to Christ? Is it bodily affliction? mental anguish? famine? nakedness? danger? persecution? the sword?

“The love of Christ” may refer to the love Christ has for us, but it more probably refers to our love for Christ, since it alone could be effected or endangered by the causes referred to in this verse, how could “tribulation, famine,” &c., affect the charity of Christ for us? Hence, the words mean, who or what can deprive us of the love for Christ, which these great favours and sufferings on his part so imperatively demand at our hands?

Rom 8:36. Which afflictions, David predicted, would be always the lot of the pious and virtuous, in whose person he speaks when he says (Psalm 44, Ps 43 in Douay Rheims): “For thy sake are we put to death all the day long. We are regarded as sheep destined for the slaughter.”

As it is written: “For thy sake,” &c. These words are taken from the 43rd Psalm, and are generally supposed to have been written by David. In it, the Psalmist is supposed by the Greeks to represent, in a prophetic spirit, the sufferings of the Machabees. The Latins say that the Psalm is prophetic of the sufferings of the early martyrs of the Christian Church. Most probably, it refers to both; it is here taken by the Apostle, to refer to the sufferings, which the faithful are destined to undergo, in defence of the law of God in all ages.

Rom 8:37. But, far from yielding in these trying circumstances, we even obtain by means of them a triumphant victory through the grace and strength imparted to us by him who has loved us.

“We overcome;” the Greek, ὑπερνεικῶμεν, means “to obtain a most complete victory,” i.e., we have more than sufficient strength to overcome our enemies. What a beautiful illustration of this is furnished us by St. Chrysostom, after having been expelled by Eudoxia (Epistola ad Cyriacum), “since the queen wishes to drive me into exile, let her do so; the Lord’s is the earth and its fulness. If she wishes to have me sawn in two, let her do so,; Isaias suffered the like punishment. If she wishes to cast me into the deep, I will remember Jonas; to stone me, I shall have Stephen, the first martyr, for an associate; to take away my head, I shall have for an associate John the Baptist; to deprive me of my substance, let her do so, “naked have I come forth from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thereto.”

Rom 8:38. For I entertain a confident hope and firm persuasion, that neither threats nor fears of death, neither hopes nor promises of life, that neither spiritual powers, however strong, whether demons or good angels, from whatsoever order of spirits (were they to attempt it); that neither things present nor things to come, that neither the strength of earthly powers,

St. Augustine quotes this passage from the Apostle, from verse 31 to the end, as a specimen of the most finished and impassioned oratory. “I am sure.” The Greek word, πεπεισμαι, only expresses a moral certainty, a firm persuasion, and confidence. It is taken in this sense, and it could bear no other, in Rom 15:14, 2 Timothy 1, Hebrews 6 and Hebrews 11. Here, therefore, it furnishes no argument in favour of the special faith of heretics. We can, moreover, say that St. Paul is speaking of himself in the person of the elect, and who can say, regarding himself, that he is among the elect? And some of the Protestant writers themselves say that the “love of God,” referred to here, is the love of God for us. So that, even following their interpretation, there is not a shadow of argument for their erroneous doctrine. “Nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers.” These words refer to three of the different orders of angels, and under the three orders the rest are included; by some Commentators, they are referred to the demons, who fell from the different; orders of blessed spirits; by others, to the good angels, in which interpretation the Apostle makes an impossible hypothesis, as in Galatians 1:8-“If an angel from heaven should preach a different doctrine,” &c. “Nor might” is not in the Greek; it, most probably refers to the powers of this world, as opposed to the spiritual powers referred to before.

Rom 8:39. Nor the height of prosperity, nor the depth of adversity; in a word, that no creature whatsoever shall be able to separate us from the charity by which we are united to God, through Christ Jesus our Lord.

“Height, depth,” may also mean the things in the heavens, in the air, and under the earth and sea, &c.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Notes on Romans, Scripture | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Haydock’s Commentary on 2 Kings 5:1-15

Posted by Dim Bulb on March 16, 2019

2 Kings 5:1 (D-R) Naaman, general of the army, of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honourable: for by him the Lord gave deliverance to Syria: and he was a valiant man, and rich, but a leper.

King, Benadad, who had defeated Achab, and was slain by Hazael; (C. 8. T.) or, according to Salien, Hazael was already king. M.—Josephus passes over this history. It is not known for what reason, (C.) unless he was staggered at the petition of Naaman, v. 18. 19. H.—Syria. The Rabbins say, by killing Achab. 3 K. 22:34. But their authority is very small; (H.) and he might signalize himself on many other occasions.—Leper. This malady did not exclude him from court. The Hebrews allowed such to appear in public, till the priests had declared them unclean; and other nations viewed the leprosy with less horror.

2 Kings 5:2 Now there had gone out robbers from Syria, and had led away captive out of the land of Israel, a little maid, and she waited upon Naaman’s wife.

Robbers; soldiers. T. 2 K. 4:2.—Such invaded the dominions of Joachin. C. 24:2. Irruptions of this nature were then very common, (see Judg. 11:3. Job 1:15) and regarded as noble military exploits. When the Greeks first became acquainted with navigation, they exercised themselves in this manner; (Thucyd. l.) and the Germans allowed their citizens to take from other people. Juventutis exercendæ ac desidiæ minuendæ causâ. Cæsar. Bel. Gal. vi. Those who had been plundered, were allowed to redeem their goods. Strabo xi.—The Arabs still maintain their right to live upon their neighbours. C.—The Christian religion has introduced more gentle manners.—Maid. It seems, however, she was well informed of the miraculous powers and goodness of Eliseus. H.

2 Kings 5:3 And she said to her mistress: I wish my master had been with the prophet that is in Samaria: he would certainly have healed him of the leprosy which he hath.
2 Kings 5:4 Then Naaman went in to his lord, and told him, saying: Thus and thus said the girl from the land of Israel.
2 Kings 5:5 And the king of Syria said to him: Go; and I will send a letter to the king of Israel. And he departed, and took with him ten talents of silver, and six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of raiment;

Ver. 5. Raiment; the tunic and the cloak, (C.) of a finer sort. T.

2 Kings 5:6 And brought the letter to the king of Israel, in these words: When thou shalt receive this letter, know that I have sent to thee Naaman, my servant, that thou mayst heal him of his leprosy.
2 Kings 5:7 And when the king of Israel had read the letter, he rent his garments, and said: Am I God, to be able to kill and give life, that this man hath sent to me to heal a man of his leprosy? mark, and see how he seeketh occasions against me.

Ver. 7. Leprosy. The cure was deemed very difficult; as it generally kept gaining ground, and destroyed the constitution. See Num. 12:12. Isai. 53:4. C.—Me. The letter was, in effect, written in a haughty style, (M.) and the king might naturally infer that war would be the consequence. H.

2 Kings 5:8 And when Eliseus, the man of God, had heard this, to wit, that the king of Israel had rent his garments, he sent to him, saying: Why hast thou rent thy garments? let him come to me, and let him know that there is a prophet in Israel.

Ver. 8. Israel; able to perform much greater wonders, by God’s assistance. M.

2 Kings 5:9 So Naaman came with his horses and chariots, and stood at the door of the house of Eliseus:
2 Kings 5:10 And Eliseus sent a messenger to him, saying: Go, and wash seven times in the Jordan, and thy flesh shall recover health, and thou shalt be clean.

Ver. 10. Messenger. Eliseus supports the dignity of God’s envoy, and shews the general that his cure was to be attributed, not to the presence of the prophet, but to the will and goodness of God.

2 Kings 5:11 Naaman was angry, and went away, saying: I thought he would have come out to me, and standing, would have invoked the name of the Lord his God, and touched with his hand the place of the leprosy, and healed me.
2 Kings 5:12 Are not the Abana, and the Pharphar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel, that I may wash in them, and be made clean? So as he turned, and was going away with indignation,

Ver. 12. Pharphar. Benjamin (p. 53) informs us that the former river serves to water the city, and the second the surrounding gardens. Maundrell could discover no vestiges of these names in Syria, but he describes the Barrady, which supplies Damascus with abundance of water. Stephanus calls it Bardine; and others, the Chrysorroas. The Orontes, which is supposed to be one of these rivers, flows by Antioch into the Mediterranean sea. C.

2 Kings 5:13 His servants came to him, and said to him: Father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, surely thou shouldst have done it: how much rather what he now hath said to thee: Wash, and thou shalt be clean?

Father; a title given to masters, kings, &c. The Romans senators were styled, “conscript fathers;” and Homer calls kings “the fathers and shepherds of the people.” See Gen. 45:8. C.—Masters may often derive benefit from the observations of their servants, as Naaman did repeatedly, v. 2. This may serve to correct their pride. H.—Clean. The patient ought not to prescribe rules to his physician. M.—How justly might these words be addressed to delicate penitents! H.

2 Kings 5:14 Then he went down, and washed in the Jordan seven times, according to the word of the man of God; and his flesh was restored, like the flesh of a little child: and he was made clean.

Clean. If bathing seven times in the Jordan had been an infallible remedy, there would soon have been no lepers in the land; and our Saviour plainly intimates that the cure was miraculous. Luke 4:27. The leprosy of Naaman, though inveterate, was cured in an instant. To bathe in a rapid stream, is allowed to be very salutary for removing the diseases of the skin. C. Vales. 38.—The fathers discover in this miracle, a figure of the Gentiles called to the faith by the Synagogue, which is in servitude. Gal. 4:25. Baptism cleanses us from all the seven capital sins, (Tert. c. Marc. 4.) so that no vestiges remain. S. Amb. &c. C.

2 Kings 5:15 And returning to the man of God, with all his train, he came, and stood before him, and said: In truth, I know there is no other God, in all the earth, but only in Israel: I beseech thee, therefore, take a blessing of thy servant.

A blessing. A present, (Ch.) accompanied with wishes of happiness, on both sides. We have seen that the prophets generally received such presents. But Eliseus acts with more reserve in regard of this stranger, as S. Paul did towards the new converts; though he received some sustenance from those, who would be less in danger of suspecting that he was actuated by selfish views in preaching the gospel. 2 Cor. 10:7 and 12:14. Matt. 10:8. C.—They abstained from every appearance of evil, (H.) though they might lawfully have accepted such presents. Eliseus wished to convince Naaman that God’s grace was not to be purchased, and to leave a lesson of moderation to future teachers. M.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Lent, Notes on 2 Kings, Notes on the Lectionary, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

St Jerome’s Commentary on Daniel Chapter 9

Posted by Dim Bulb on March 16, 2019

Verses 1, 2. “In the first year of the Darius who was the son of Ahasuerus of the race of the Medes and who reigned over (678) the kingdom of the Chaldeans, in the first year of his reign. ...This is the Darius who in cooperation with Cyrus conquered the Chaldeans and Babylonians. We are not to think of that other Darius in the second year of whose reign the Temple was built (as Porphyry supposes in making out a late date for Daniel); nor are we to think of the Darius who was vanquished by Alexander, the king of the Macedonians. He therefore adds the name of his father and also refers to his victory, inasmuch as he was the first of the race of the Medes to overthrow the kingdom of the Chaldeans. He does this to avoid any mistake in the reading which might arise from the similarity of the name.

Verse 2. “I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years concerning which the word of the Lord had come to the prophet Jeremiah, that seventy years would be accomplished for the desolation of Jerusalem.” Jeremiah had predicted seventy years for the desolation of the Temple (Jer. 52:29), at the end of which the people would again return to Judaea and build the Temple and the city of Jerusalem. But this fact did not render Daniel careless, but rather encouraged him to pray that God might through his supplications fulfil that which He had graciously promised. Thus he avoided the danger that carelessness might result in pride, and pride cause offense to the Lord. Accordingly we read in Genesis (chap. 9) [sic!] that prior to the Deluge one hundred and twenty years were appointed for men to come to repentance; and inasmuch as they refused to repent even within so long an interval of time as a hundred years, God did not wait for the remaining twenty years to be fulfilled, but brought on the punishment earlier which He had threatened for a later time. [This deduction seems to have been based upon the fact that Gen. 5:32 mentions that Noah was five hundred years old when he had begotten Ham, Shem, and Japheth, and therefore |91 was still the same age when God appointed the one hundred twenty years in Gen. 6:3. Since the Flood dried up in the six hundred and first year of Noah (8:13), therefore the waiting period could not have been more than a hundred years. Yet it could also have been that the age given in Gen. 5:32 was the age when, within the one hundred twenty year period, Noah’s family was complete, the youngest son being born within that period, and being old enough to be married by the time the Flood itself actually occurred.] So also Jeremiah is told, on account of the hardness of the heart of the Jewish people: “Pray not for this people, for I will not hearken unto thee” (Jer. 7:16). Samuel also was told: “How long wilt thou mourn over Saul? I also have rejected him” (I Sam. 16:1). (p. 540) And so it was with sackcloth and ashes that Daniel besought the Lord to fulfil what He had promised, not that Daniel lacked faith concerning the future, but rather he would avoid the danger that a feeling of security might produce carelessness, and carelessness produce an offense to God.

Verse 4. “‘I beseech Thee, O Lord God, who art mighty and terrible….'” That is, Thou art terrible towards those who despise Thine injunctions.

“‘…Who keepest covenant and mercy towards those who love Thee and keep Thy commandments.’ ” It is not therefore the case that what God promises will come to pass without further ado, but rather, He fulfils His promises towards those who keep His commandments.

Verse 5. ” ‘We have sinned, we have behaved wickedly (A) and impiously, and we have departed….'” He reviews the sins of the people as if he were personally guilty, on the ground of his being (679) one of the people, just as we read the Apostle does also in his Epistle to the Romans.

Verse 7. ” ‘Justice belongeth unto Thee, O Lord, but for us there is only confusion of face. .. .'” It is of course just that we suffer what we deserve.

Verse 8. ” ‘Unto Thee belongeth mercy, O Lord our God, and also propitiation. . . .’ ” Concerning the same God of Whom he had previously said, “To Thee, O Lord, belongeth justice,” he now says (since the Lord is not only just but also merciful): “To Thee belongeth mercy.” He says this in order |92 that he might call upon the Judge to show mercy, after His sentence has been imposed.

Verse 11. “‘And (the curse) has come upon us drop by drop.'” That is, Thou hast not poured out upon us all of Thy wrath, for we should not have been able to bear it, but Thou hast poured forth a mere droplet of Thy fury, in order that we might return unto Thee once we have been immeshed in Thy snare.

‘The malediction and the curse which were written in the book of Moses, the servant of God. .. .’ ” In Deuteronomy we read the curses and blessings of the Lord (Deut. 27), which were afterwards uttered in Mount Gerizim and Ebal upon the righteous and upon the sinners.

Verse 13. “‘All this evil has come upon us, and we have not entreated Thy face, O Lord our God, that we might turn back from our iniquities and consider Thy truth.'” Their obduracy was so great that even in the midst of their toils they would not entreat God, and even if they had entreated Him, it would not have been a genuine entreaty, because they had not turned back from their iniquities. Yet to consider the truth of God is equivalent to turning back from iniquity.

Verse 14. ” ‘And the Lord hath kept watch over the evil and hath brought it upon us. .. .'” Whenever we are rebuked because of our sins, God is keeping watch over us and visiting us with chastenment. But whenever we are left alone by God and we do not suffer judgment but are unworthy of the Lord’s rebuke, then He is said to slumber. And so we read in the Psalms as well: “The Lord has risen up as one (B) who was slumbering or as a man out of a drunken sleep” (Ps. 77=78). For our wickedness and iniquity inflames God with wine, and whenever it is rebuked in our case, God is said to be keeping careful watch and to be rising up out of His drunken sleep, in order that we who are drunken with sin may be made to pay careful heed unto righteousness.

Verse 15. “‘And now, O Lord our God….'” Daniel remembers God’s ancient kindness in order that he may appeal to Him for a similar act of clemency.

Verse 17. “‘And show Thy face upon Thy |93 sanctuary, which lies desolate.'” By deed fulfil that which Thou (p. 541) hast promised in word, for the approximate period of desolation has elapsed.

Verse 18. “For Thine own sake, O my God, incline Thine ear and hear; open Thine eyes and behold our desolation ….” This appeal is couched (680) in anthropomorphic language (anthropopathos), with the implication that whenever our prayers are heard, God seems to incline His ear; and whenever God deigns to have regard to us, He appears to open His eyes; but whenever He turns His face away, we appear to be unworthy of attention either from His eyes or His ears.

Verse 20. “Now while I was yet speaking and praying and confessing my sins and the sins of my people, Israel, so as to present (Vulg.: and was presenting) my petitions in the presence of my God on behalf of the holy mountain of my God. …” And so, as we have pointed out above, he not only thought upon the sins of the people but also upon his own sins, as being one of the people. Or else it was by way of humility, although he had not personally committed sin; his purpose being to obtain pardon by reason of his humility. Observe what he said here: “I was confessing my sins.” For there are many passages in Scripture where confession does not imply an expression of repentance so much as an expression of praise to God.

Verse 21. “While I was still speaking in my prayer, behold the man Gabriel, whom I had seen (A) at the beginning of the vision.” He calls the previous vision preceding this one the beginning. The effect of his prayer was considerable, and the promise of God was fulfilled which says, “While thou art yet speaking, lo, I am at hand” (Isa. 58:9). And Gabriel appears not as an angel or archangel, but as a man (vir), a term used to indicate the quality of virtue rather than specifying his sex.

“. . .he quickly flew to me and touched me at the time of the evening sacrifice.” It is stated that he flew, because he had made his appearance as a man. It is said that it was at the time of the evening sacrifice, in order to show that the prophet’s prayer had persisted from the morning sacrifice even unto the evening sacrifice, and that God for that reason directed His mercy towards him.

Verse 22. “And He instructed me and spoke to me, |94 saying. …” The vision was so obscure that the prophet needed the angel’s teaching.

” ‘.. .Now, 0 Daniel, I have come forth that I may instruct thee and that thou mayest understand.'” That is, I have been sent to thee and have come (B) forth, not from the presence of God in the sense of departing from Him, but only in the sense of coming unto thee.

Verse 23. ” ‘From the very beginning of thy prayers the word went forth and I myself have come to show it to thee, because thou art a man of desires.'” That is, at the time when thou didst begin to ask God, thou didst straightway obtain His mercy, and His decision was put forth. I have therefore been sent to explain to thee the things of which thou art ignorant, inasmuch as thou art a man of desires, that is to say a lovable man, worthy of God’s love —- even as Solomon was called Idida (var: Jedida) or “man of desires.” I have been sent because thou art worthy, in recompense for thine affection for God, to be told the secret counsels of God and to have a knowledge of things to come (681).

‘Thou therefore pay heed to the word and understand the vision.’ ” Thus [reading sic instead of si] Daniel is told, “Pay diligent heed, in order that thou mayest hear and understand what thou seest.” We too should do (p. 542) this, for our eyes have been blinded by the shadows of ignorance and the darkness of sins.

Verses 24—-27. ” ‘Seventy weeks are shortened upon thy people and upon thy holy city, (C) that transgression may be finished, and sin may have an end, and iniquity may be abolished, and everlasting justice may be brought to bear, and that the vision and prophecy may be fulfilled that the Holy One of the saints may be anointed. Know therefore and take note that from the going forth of the word to build up Jerusalem again, unto Christ the prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks, and the street shall be built again, and the walls, in distressing times. And after sixty-two weeks Christ shall be slain, and ((D) the people that shall deny Him) shall not be His. And a people, with their leader that shall come, shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. And the end thereof shall be devastation, and after the end of the war there shall be the appointed desolation. And he shall confirm the covenant with many in one xveek; and in the middle of the week |95 both victim and sacrifice shall fail. And there shall be in the Temple the abomination of desolation, and the desolation shall continue even unto the consummation and the end.’ ” Because the prophet had said, “Thou didst lead forth Thy people, and Thy name was pronounced upon Thy city and upon Thy people,” Gabriel therefore, as the mouthpiece of God, says by implication: “By no means are they God’s people, but only thy people; nor is Jerusalem the holy city of God, but it is only a holy city unto thee, as thou sayest.” This is similar to what we read in Exodus also, when God says to Moses, “Descend, for thy people have committed sin” (Ex. 32:7). That is to say, they are not My people, for they have forsaken Me. And so, because thou dost supplicate for Jerusalem and prayest for the people of the Jews, hearken unto that which shall befall thy people in seventy weeks of years, and those things which will happen to thy city.

I realize that this question has been argued over in various ways by men of greatest learning, and that each of them has expressed his views according to the capacity of his own genius. And so, because it is unsafe to pass judgment upon the opinions of the great teachers of the Church and to set one above another, I shall simply repeat the view of each, and leave it to the reader’s judgment as to whose explanation ought to be followed. In the fifth volume of his Tempora [“Chronology”], Africanus has this to say concerning the seventy weeks (682) (and I quote him verbatim): “The chapter (E) which we read in Daniel concerning the seventy weeks contains many remarkable details, which require too lengthy a discussion at this point; and so we must discuss only what pertains to our present task, namely that which concerns chronology. There is no doubt but what it constitutes a prediction of Christ’s advent, for He appeared to the world at the end of seventy weeks. After Him the crimes were consummated and sin reached its end and iniquity was destroyed. An eternal righteousness also was proclaimed which overcame the mere righteousness of the law; and the vision and the prophecy were fulfilled, inasmuch as the Law and the Prophets endured until the time of (F) John the Baptist (Luke 16), and then the Saint of saints was anointed. And all these things were the objects of hope, prior to Christ’s incarnation, rather (p. 543) than the objects of actual possession. Now the angel himself specified |96 seventy weeks of years, that is to say, four hundred and ninety years from the issuing of the word that the petition be granted and that Jerusalem be rebuilt. The specified interval began in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes, King of the Persians; for it was his cupbearer, Nehemiah (Neh. 1), who, as we read in the book of Ezra [the Vulgate reckons Nehemiah as II Esdras], petitioned the king and obtained his request that Jerusalem be rebuilt. And this was the word, or decree, which granted permission for the construction of the city and its encompassment with walls; for up until that time it had lain open to the incursions of the surrounding nations. But if one points to the command of King Cyrus, who granted to all who desired it permission to return to Jerusalem, the fact of the matter is that the high priest Jesus [Jeshua] and Zerubbabel, and later on the priest Ezra, together with the others who had been willing to set forth from Babylon with them, only made an abortive attempt to construct the Temple and the city with its walls, but were prevented by the surrounding nations from completing the task, on the pretext that the king had not so ordered. And thus the work remained incomplete until Nehemiah’s time and the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes. Hence the captivity lasted for seventy years prior to the Persian rule. [This last sentence is bracketed by the editor.] At this period in the Persian Empire a hundred and fifteen years had elapsed since its inception, but it was the one hundred and eighty-fifth year from the captivity of Jerusalem when Artaxerxes first gave orders for the walls of Jerusalem to be built. [Actually only 141 years, the interval between 587 B.C. and 446 B.C.] Nehemiah was in charge of this undertaking, and the street was built and the surrounding walls were erected. Now if you compute (683) seventy weeks of years from that date, you can come out to the time of Christ. But if we wish to take any other date (A) as the starting point for these weeks, then the dates will show a discrepancy and we shall encounter many difficulties. For if the seventy weeks are computed from the time of Cyrus and his decree of indulgence which effectuated the release of the Jewish captives, then we shall encounter a deficit of a hundred years and more short of the stated number of seventy weeks [only seventy-eight years, by more recent computation, for Cyrus’s decree was given in 538 B.C.]. If we reckon from the day when the angel spoke |97 to Daniel, the deficit would be much greater [actually not more than a few months or a year]. An even greater number of years is added, if you wish to put the beginning of the weeks at the commencement of the captivity. For the kingdom of the Persians endured for two hundred and thirty years until the rise of the Macedonian kingdom; then the Macedonians themselves reigned for three hundred years. From that date until the sixteenth (i.e., the fifteenth) year of Tiberius Caesar, when Christ suffered death, is an interval of sixty [sic!] years [reckoning from the death of Cleopatra, the last of the Macedonian Ptolemies]. All of these years added together come to the number of five hundred and ninety, with the result that a hundred years remain to be accounted for. On the other hand, the interval from the twentieth year of Artaxerxes to the time of Christ completes the figure of seventy weeks, if we reckon according to the lunar computation of the Hebrews, who did not number their months according to the movement of the sun, but rather according to the moon. For the interval from the one hundred fiftieth year of the Persian Empire, when Artaxerxes, as king thereof, attained the twentieth year of his reign (and this was the fourth year of the eighty-third Olympiad), up until the two hundred and second Olympiad (for it was the second year of that Olympiad which was the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar) comes out to be the grand total of four hundred seventy-five years. This would result in four hundred ninety Hebrew years, reckoning according to the lunar months as we have suggested. For according to their (p. 544) computation, these years can be made up of months of twenty-nine (variant: twenty-eight) and a half days each. This means that the sun, during a period of four hundred ninety years, completes its revolution in three hundred sixty-five days and a quarter, and this amounts to twelve lunar months for each individual year, with eleven and a fourth days left over to spare. Consequently the Greeks and Jews over a period of eight years insert three intercalary months (embolimoi). (684) For if you will multiply eleven and a quarter days by eight, you will come out to ninety days, which equal three months. Now if you divide the eight-year periods into four hundred seventy-five years, your quotient will be fifty-nine plus three months. These fifty-nine plus eight-year periods produce enough intercalary months to make up fifteen |98 years, more or less; and if you will add these fifteen years to the four hundred seventy-five years, you will come out to seventy weeks of years, that is, a total of four hundred and ninety years.”

Africanus has expressed his views in these very words which we have copied out. Let us pass on to Eusebius Pamphili [the famous church historian, who assumed the cognomen Pamphili in honor of his beloved mentor, Bishop Pamphilus], who in the eighth book of his Euangelike Apodeixis [the full title was Euangelikes Apodeixeos Proparaskeue or “Preparation for the Demonstration of the Gospel”; the Latin title is Praeparatio Evangelica] ventures some such conjecture as this: “It does not seem to me that the seventy weeks have been divided up without purpose, in that seven is mentioned first, and then sixty-two, and then a last week is added, which in turn is itself divided into two parts. For it is written: ‘Thou shalt know and understand that from the issuing of the word (command) that the petition be granted and Jerusalem be built until Christ the Prince there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks.’ And after the rest which he relates in the intervening section, he states at the end: ‘He shall confirm a testimony (covenant) with many during one week.’ It is clear that the angel did not detail these things in his reply to no purpose or apart from the inspiration of God. This observation seems to require some cautious and careful reasoning, so that the reader may pay diligent attention and inquire into the cause for this division (variant: vision). But if we must express our own opinion, in conformity with the rest of the interpretation which concerns this present context, in the angel’s statement: ‘From the issuing of the word that the petition be granted and that Jerusalem be built, until the time of Christ the Prince,’ we are only to think of other princes who had charge of the Jewish people subsequent to this prophecy and subsequent to the return from Babylon. That is to say, we are to think of the arkhiereis [high priests] and pontiffs to whom the Scripture attaches the title of christs, by reason of the fact that they have been anointed. The first of these was Jesus [Jeshua] the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and then the rest who had that office up until the time of the advent of our Lord and Savior. And it is these who are intended by the prophet’s prediction when it states: ‘From the issuing of the word that the petition be granted and Jerusalem be built even unto |99 Christ the Prince there shall be seven weeks, and sixty-two weeks.’ (685) That is to say, the purpose is that seven weeks be counted off, and then afterward sixty-two weeks, which come to a total of four hundred and eighty-three years after the time of Cyrus. And lest we appear to be putting forth a mere conjecture too rashly and without testing the truth of our statements, let us reckon up those who bore office as christs over the people from the time of Jeshua, the son of Jehozadak, until the advent of the Lord; that is to say, those who were anointed for the high priesthood. First, then, as we have already stated, subsequent to Daniel’s prophecy, which occurred in the reign of Cyrus, and subsequent to the return of (p. 545) the people from Babylon, Jeshua the son of Jehozadak was the high priest, and together with Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel, they laid the foundations of the temple. And because the undertaking was hindered by the Samaritans and the other surrounding nations, seven weeks of years elapsed (that is to say, forty-nine years), during which the work on the temple remained unfinished. These weeks are separated by the prophecy from the remaining sixty-two weeks. And lastly, the Jews also followed this view when they said to the Lord in the Gospel-narrative: ‘This temple was built over a period of forty-six years, and shalt thou raise it up in three days’ (John 2:20). For this was the number of years which elapsed between the first year of Cyrus, who granted to those Jews who so desired the permission to return to their fatherland, and the sixth year of King Darius, in whose reign the entire work upon the temple was finished. [Actually the two dates involved are 538 B.C. and 516 B.C., an interval of only twenty-two years.] Furthermore Josephus added on three more years, during which the periboloi (precincts) and certain other construction left undone were brought to completion; and when these are added to the forty-six years, they come out to forty-nine years, or seven weeks of years. And the remaining sixty-two weeks are computed from the seventh year of Darius. At that time Jeshua the son of Jehozadak, and Zerubbabel (who had already reached his majority) were in charge of the people, and it was in their time that Haggai and Zechariah prophesied. After them came Ezra and Nehemiah from Babylon and constructed the walls of the city during the high priesthood of Joiakim, son of Jeshua, who had the surname of Jehozadak. After him Eliashib succeeded |100 to the priesthood, then Joiada and Johanan after him. Following him there was Jaddua, in whose lifetime Alexander, the king of the Macedonians, founded Alexandria, (686) as (A) Josephus relates in his books of the Antiquities, and actually came to Jerusalem and offered blood-sacrifices in the Temple. Now Alexander died in the one hundred and thirteenth Olympiad, in the two hundred thirty-sixth year of the Persian Empire, which in turn had begun in the first year of the fifty-fifth Olympiad. That was the date when Cyrus, King of the Persians, conquered the Babylonians and Chaldeans. After the death of the priest Jaddua, who had been in charge of the temple in Alexander’s reign, Onias received the high priesthood. It was at this period that Seleucus, after the conquest of Babylon, placed upon his own head the crown of all Syria and Asia, in the twelfth year after Alexander’s death. Up to that time the years which had elapsed since the rule of Cyrus, when computed together, were two hundred and forty-eight. From that date the Scripture of the Maccabees computes the kingdom of the Greeks. Following Onias, the high priest Eleazar became head of the Jews. That was the period when the Seventy translators (Septuaginta interpretes) are said to have translated the Holy Scriptures into Greek at Alexandria. After him came Onias II, who was followed by Simon, who ruled over the people when Jesus the son of Sirach wrote the book which bears the Greek title of Panaretos (“A Completely Virtuous Man”), and which is by most people falsely attributed to Solomon. Another Onias followed him in the high priesthood, and that was the period when Antiochus was trying to force the Jews to sacrifice to the gods of the Gentiles. After the death of Onias, Judas Maccabaeus cleansed the Temple and smashed to bits the statues of the idols. His brother Jonathan followed him, (p. 546) and after Jonathan their brother Simon governed the people. By his death the two hundred and seventy-seventh year of the Syrian kingdom had elapsed, and the First Book of Maccabees contains a record of events up to that time. And so the total number of years from the first year of Cyrus, King of Persia, until the end of the First Book of Maccabees and the death of the high priest Simon is four hundred twenty-five. After him John [Hyrcanus] occupied the high priesthood for twenty-nine years, and upon his death Aristobulus became head of the people for a year and was the first |101 man after the return from Babylon to associate with the dignity of high priesthood the authority of kingship. His successor was Alexander, who likewise was high priest and king, and who governed the people for twenty-seven years. Up to this point, the number of years from the first year of Cyrus and the return of the captives who desired to come back to Judaea is to be computed at four hundred and eighty-three. This total is made up of the seven weeks and the sixty-two weeks, or sixty-nine weeks altogether. And during this whole period high priests ruled over the Jewish people, and I now believe that they are those referred to as christ-princes. And when the last of them, Alexander, had died, the Jewish nation was rent in this direction and that into various factions, and was harrassed by internal seditions in its leaderless condition; and that too to such an extent that Alexandra, who was also called Salina, and who was the wife of the same Alexander, seized power and kept the high priesthood for her son, Hyrcanus. But she passed on the royal power to her other son, Aristobulus, and he exercised it for ten years. But when the brothers fought with each other in civil war and the Jewish nation was drawn into various factions, then Gnaeus Pompey, the general of the Roman army, came upon the scene. Having captured Jerusalem, he penetrated even to the shrine in the temple which was called the Holy of holies. He sent Aristobulus back to Rome in chains, keeping him for his triumphal procession, and then he gave the high priesthood to his brother, Hyrcanus. Then for the first time the Jewish nation became tributary to the Romans. Succeeding him, Herod, the son of Antipater, received the royal authority over the Jews by senatorial decree, after Hyrcanus had been killed; and so he was the first foreigner to become governor of the Jews. Moreover when his parents had died, he handed over the high priesthood to his children, even though they were non-Jews, utterly contrary to the law of Moses. Nor did he entrust the office to them for long, (B) except upon their granting him favors and bribes, for he despised the commands of God’s law.”

The same Eusebius offered another explanation also, and if we wanted to translate it into Latin, we should greatly expand the size of this book. And so the sense of his interpretation is this, that the number of years from the sixth year of Darius, who |102 reigned after Cyrus and his son, Cambyses, —- and this was the date when the work on the temple was completed —- until the time of Herod and Caesar Augustus is reckoned to be seven weeks plus sixty-two weeks, which make a total of four hundred eighty-three years. (688) That was the date when the christ, that is to say, Hyrcanus, being the last high priest of the Maccabaean line, was murdered by Herod, and the succession of high priests came to an end, so far as the law of God was concerned. It was then also that a Roman army (p. 547) under the leadership of a Roman general devastated both the city and the sanctuary itself. Or else it was Herod himself who committed the devastation, after he had through the Romans appropriated to himself a governmental authority to which he had no right. And as for the angel’s statement, “For he shall establish a compact with many for one week (variant: “a compact for many weeks”), and in the midst of the week the sacrifice and offering shall cease,” it is to be understood in this way, that Christ was born while Herod was reigning in Judaea and Augustus in Rome, and He preached the Gospel for three years and six months, according to John the Evangelist. And he established the worship of the true God with many people, undoubtedly meaning the Apostles and believers generally. And then, after our Lord’s passion, the sacrifice and offering ceased in the middle of the week. For whatever took place in the Temple after that date was not a valid sacrifice to God but a mere worship of the devil, while they all cried out together, “His blood be upon us and upon our children” (Matt. 27:25); and again, “We have no king but Caesar.” Any reader who is interested may look up this passage in the Chronicle of this same Eusebius, for I translated it into Latin many years ago. But as for his statement that the number of years to be reckoned from the completion of the temple to the tenth year of the Emperor Augustus, that is, when Hyrcanus was slain and Herod obtained Judaea, amounts to a total of seven plus sixty-two weeks, or four hundred eighty-three years, we may check it in the following fashion. The building of the temple was finished in the seventy-sixth (here and in the other place read: “sixty-seventh” —- Migne) Olympiad, which was the sixth year of Darius. In the third year of the one hundred and eighty-sixth Olympiad, that is, the tenth year of Augustus, Herod seized the rule over the Jews. This makes the interval four hundred and |103 eighty-three years, reckoning up by the individual Olympiads and computing them at four years each. This same Eusebius reports another view as well, which I do not entirely reject (A), that most authorities extend the one [last] week of years to the sum of seventy years, reckoning each year as a ten-year period [reading the corrupt upputatio as supputatio]. They also claim that thirty-five years intervened between the passion of the Lord and the reign of Nero, and that it was at this latter date when the weapons of Rome were first (689) lifted up against the Jews, this being the half-way point of the week of seventy years. After that, indeed, from the time of Vespasian and Titus (and it was right after their accession to power that Jerusalem and the temple were burned) up to the reign of Trajan another thirty-five years elapsed. And this, they assert, was the week of which the angel said to Daniel: “And he shall establish a compact with many for one week.” For the Gospel was preached by the Apostles all over the world, since they survived even unto that late date. According to the tradition of the church historians, John the Evangelist lived up to the time of Trajan. Yet I am at a loss to know how we can understand the earlier seven weeks and the sixty-two weeks to involve seven years each, and just this last one to involve ten years for each unit of the seven, or seventy years in all.

So much for Eusebius. But Hippolytus has expressed the following opinion concerning these same weeks (B): he reckons the seven weeks as prior to the return of the people from Babylon, and the sixty-two weeks as subsequent to their return and extending to the birth of Christ. But the dates do not (p. 548) agree at all. If indeed the duration of the Persian Empire be reckoned at two hundred and thirty years, and the Macedonian Empire at three hundred, and the period thereafter up to the birth of the Lord be thirty years, then the total from the beginning of the reign of Cyrus, King of the Persians, until the advent of the Savior will be five hundred and sixty years. Moreover Hippolytus places the final week at the end of the world and divides it into the period of Elias and the period of Antichrist, so that during the [first] three and a half years of the last week the knowledge of God is established. And as for the statement, “He shall establish a compact with many for a week” (Dan. 9:27), during the other three years under the Antichrist the sacrifice and offering shall |104 cease. But when Christ shall come and shall slay the wicked one by the breath of His mouth, desolation shall hold sway till the end.

On the other hand Apollinarius of Laodicea in his investigation of the problem breaks away from the stream of the past and directs his longing desires towards the future, very unsafely venturing an opinion concerning matters so obscure. And if by any chance those of future generations should not see these predictions of his fulfilled at the time he set, then they will be forced to seek for some other solution and to convict the teacher himself of erroneous interpretation. And so, in order to avoid the appearance of slandering a man as having made a statement he never made, he makes the following assertion —- and I translate him word for word: “To the period of four hundred and ninety years the wicked deeds are to be confined (690) as well as all the crimes which shall ensue from those deeds. After these shall come the times of blessing, and the world is to be reconciled unto God at the advent of Christ, His Son. For from the coming forth of the Word, when Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, to the forty-ninth year, that is, the end of the seven weeks, [God] waited for Israel to repent. Thereafter, indeed, from the eighth year of Claudius Caesar [i.e., 48 A.D.] onward, the Romans took up arms against the Jews. For it was in His thirtieth year, according to the Evangelist Luke, that the Lord incarnate began His preaching of the Gospel (Luke 1) [sic!]. According to the Evangelist John (John 2 and 11), Christ completed two years over a period of three passovers. The years of Tiberius’ reign from that point onward are to be reckoned at six; then there were the four years of the reign of Gaius Caesar, surnamed Caligula, and eight more years in the reign of Claudius. This makes a total of forty-nine years, or the equivalent of seven weeks of years. But when four hundred thirty-four years shall have elapsed after that date, that is to say, the sixty-two weeks, then [i.e. in 482 A.D.] Jerusalem and the Temple shall be rebuilt during three and a half years within the final week, beginning with the advent of Elias, who according to the dictum of our Lord and Savior (Luke 1) [sic!] is going to come and turn back the hearts of the fathers towards their children. And then the Antichrist shall come, and according to the Apostle [reading apostolum for apostolorum] he is going to sit in the |105 temple of God (II Thess. 2) and be slain by the breath of our Lord and Savior after he has waged war against the saints. And thus it shall come to pass that the middle of the week shall mark the confirmation of God’s covenant with the saints, and the middle of the week in turn shall mark the issuing of the decree under the authority of Antichrist that no more sacrifices be offered. For the Antichrist shall set up the abomination of desolation, that is, an idol or statue of his own god, within the Temple. Then shall ensue the final devastation and the condemnation of the Jewish people, who after their rejection of Christ’s truth shall embrace the lie of the Antichrist. Moreover this same Apollinarius asserts that he conceived this idea about the proper dating from the fact that Africanus, (p. 549) the author of the Tempora [Chronology], whose explanation I have inserted above, affirms that the final week will occur at the end of the world. Yet, says Apollinarius, it is impossible that periods so linked together be wrenched apart, but rather the time-segments must all be joined together in conformity with Daniel’s prophecy.

The learned scholar Clement, presbyter of the church at Alexandria, regards the number of years as a matter of slight consequence, (691) asserting that the seventy weeks of years were completed by the span of time from the reign of Cyrus, King of the Persians, to the reign of the Roman emperors, Vespasian and Titus; that is to say, the interval of four hundred and ninety years, with the addition in that same figure of the two thousand three hundred days of which we made earlier mention. He attempts to reckon in these seventy weeks the ages of the Persians, Macedonians, and Caesars, even though according to the most careful computation, the number of years from the first year of Cyrus, King of the Persians and Medes, when Darius also bore rule, up to the reign of Vespasian and the destruction of the Temple amounts to six hundred and thirty.

When Origen came to deal with [reading praefuisset instead of profuisset] this chapter, he urged us to seek out what information we do not possess; and because he had no leeway for allegorical interpretation, in which one may argue without constraint, but rather was restricted to matters of historical fact, he made this brief observation in the tenth volume of the Stromata: “We must quite carefully ascertain the amount of time between |106 the first year of Darius, the son of Ahasuerus, and the advent of Christ, and discover how many years were involved, and what events are said to have occurred during them. Then we must see whether we can fit these data in with the time of the Lord’s coming.”

We may learn what Tertullian had to say on the subject by consulting the book which he wrote against the Jews (Contra Judaeos), and his remarks may be set forth in brief: “How, then, are we to show that Christ came within the sixty-two (A) weeks? This calculation begins with the first year of Darius, since that was the time when the vision itself was revealed to Daniel. For he was told: ‘Understand and conclude from (B) the prophesying (692) of the command for me to give thee this reply. …’ Hence we are to commence our computation with the first year of Darius, when Daniel beheld this vision. Let us see, then, how the years are fulfilled up to the advent of Christ. Darius reigned nineteen (p. 550) years; Artaxerxes forty years; the Ochus who was surnamed Cyrus twenty-four years; (C) Argus, one year. Then Darius II, who was called Melas, twenty-one (D) years. Alexander the Macedonian reigned twelve years. And then after Alexander (who had ruled over both the Medes and the Persians, after he had conquered them, and had established his rule in Alexandria, calling it after his own name), Soter reigned (E) there in Alexandria for thirty-five years, and was succeeded by Philadelphus, who reigned for thirty-eight years (F). After him Euergetes reigned for twenty-five years, and then Philopator for seventeen years, followed by Epiphanes for twenty-four years. Furthermore the second Euergetes ruled for twenty (G) and nine years, and Soter for thirty-eight years. Ptolemy [sic!] for thirty-seven (H) years, and Cleopatra for twenty years and five months (I). Furthermore Cleopatra shared the rule with Augustus for thirteen years. After Cleopatra Augustus reigned forty-three years more. For all of the years of the reign of Augustus were fifty-six in number. And let us see (variant: we see) that in the forty-first year of the reign of Augustus, who ruled after the death of Cleopatra (J), (693) Christ was born. And this same Augustus lived on for fifteen years after the time when Christ was born. And so the resultant periods of years up to the day of Christ’s birth and the forty-first year of Augustus, after the death of Cleopatra [actually only twenty-nine |107 years after Cleopatra’s death —- the language here is confusing], come to the total figure of four hundred and thirty-seven years and five months. This means that sixty-two and a half weeks were used up, or the equivalent of four hundred and thirty-seven years and six months, by the day when Christ was born. Then eternal righteousness was revealed, and the Saint of saints was anointed, namely Christ, and the vision and prophecy were sealed, and those sins were remitted which are allowed through faith in Christ’s name to all who believe in Him.” But what is the meaning of the statement that the “vision and prophecy are confirmed by a seal”? It means that all the prophets made proclamation concerning [Christ] Himself, saying that He was going to come and that He would have to suffer. Hence we read shortly thereafter in this Tertullian passage, “The years were fifty-six in number; furthermore, Cleopatra continued to reign jointly under Augustus….” (p. 551) It was because the prophecy was fulfilled by His advent that the vision was confirmed by a seal; and it was called a prophecy because Christ Himself is the seal of all the prophets, fulfilling as He did all that the prophets had previously declared concerning Him. Of course after His advent and His passion (variant; the passion of Christ), there is no longer any vision or prophecy (variant: or prophet) which declares that Christ will come [?]. And then a little later Tertullian says, “Let us see what is the meaning of (A) the seven and a half weeks, which in turn are divided up into a subsection of earlier weeks; by what transaction were they fulfilled? Well, after Augustus, (B) who lived on after Christ’s birth, fifteen years elapsed. He was succeeded by Tiberius Caesar, and he held sway for twenty-two years, seven months and twenty-eight (C) days. In the fifteenth year of his reign (D) Christ suffered, being about (694) thirty-three when He suffered. Then there was Gaius Caesar, also named Caligula, who reigned for three years, eight months and thirteen days. [Note that Claudius’ reign of 13 years is here omitted.] Nero reigned for nine years, nine months and thirteen days. Galba ruled for seven months and twenty-eight (E) days; Otho for three months and five days; and Vitellius for eight months and twenty-eight (F) days. Vespasian vanquished the Jews in the first year of his reign, bringing the number of years to a total of fifty-two, plus six months. For he ruled for eleven years, and so by the date of his |108 storming Jerusalem, the Jews had completed the seventy weeks foretold by Daniel.”

As for the view which the Hebrews hold concerning this passage, I shall set it forth summarily and within a brief compass, leaving the credibility of their assertions to those who asserted them. And so let me put it in the form of a paraphrase (paraphrastikds) in order to bring out the sense more clearly. “O Daniel, know that from this day on which I now speak to thee (and that was the first year of the Darius who slew Belshazzar and transferred the Chaldean Empire to the Medes and Persians) unto the seventieth week of years (that is, four hundred and ninety years) the following events shall befall thy people in stages [literally: part by part]. First of all, God shall be appeased by thee in view of the earnest intercession thou hast just offered Him, and sin shall be canceled out and the transgression shall come to an end. For although the city at present lies deserted and the Temple lies destroyed to its very foundations [reading fundamenta for the non-existent frudamenta], so that the nation is plunged into mourning, yet within a fairly short time it shall be restored. And not only shall it come to pass within these seventy weeks that the city shall be rebuilt and the Temple restored, but also the Christ, who is the eternal righteousness, shall be born. (p. 552) And so shall the vision and the prophecy be sealed, with the result that there shall be no more any prophet to be found in Israel, and the Saint of saints shall be anointed. We read concerning Him in the Psalter: ‘Because God, even Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness (695) above thy fellows’ (Ps. 44:8 =45:7). And in another passage He says of Himself: ‘Be ye holy, for I also am holy’ (Lev. 19:2). Know therefore that from this day on which I speak to thee and make thee the promise by the word of the Lord that the nation shall return and Jerusalem shall be restored, there shall be sixty-two weeks numbered unto the time of Christ the Prince and of the perpetual desolation of the Temple; and that there shall also be seven weeks in which the two events shall take place which I have already mentioned, namely that the nation shall return and the street shall be rebuilt by Nehemiah and Ezra. And so at the end of the weeks the decree of God shall be accomplished in distressing times, when the Temple shall again be destroyed, and the city taken captive. For |109 after the sixty-two weeks the Christ shall be slain, and the nation who shall reject Him shall go out of existence” —- or, as the Jews themselves put it, the kingdom of Christ which they imagined they would retain (G) shall not even be. And why do I speak of the slaying of Christ, and of the nation’s utter forfeiture of God’s help, since the Roman people were going to demolish the city and sanctuary under Vespasian, the leader who was to come? Upon his death the seven weeks or forty-nine years were complete, and after the city of Aelia was established upon the ruins of Jerusalem, Aelius Hadrian vanquished (H) the revolting Jews in their conflict with the general, Timus Rufus. It was at that time that the sacrifice and offering (ceased and) will continue to cease even unto the completion of the age, and the desolation is going to endure until the very end. We are not, say the Jews, greatly impressed by the fact that the seven weeks are mentioned first, and afterwards the sixty-two, and again a single week divided into two parts. For it is simply the idiomatic usage of the Hebrew language, as well as of antique Latin, that in quoting a figure, the small number is given first and then the larger. For example, we do not, according to good usage say in our language, “Abraham lived a hundred and seventy-five years”; on the contrary the Hebrews say, “Abraham lived five and seventy and one hundred years” (I). And so the fulfilment is not to follow the literal order of the words, but it shall be accomplished in terms of the whole sum, taken together. I am also well aware that some of the Jews assert that as for the statement about the single week, (696) “He shall establish a covenant with many (p. 553) for one week,” the division is between the reigns of Vespasian and Hadrian. According to the history of Josephus, Vespasian and Titus concluded peace with the Jews for three years and six month. And the [other] three years and six months are accounted for in Hadrian’s reign, when Jerusalem was completely destroyed and the Jewish nation was massacred in large groups at a time, with the result that they were even expelled from the borders of Judaea. This is what the Hebrews have to say on the subject, paying little attention to the fact that from the first year of Darius, King of the Persians, until the final overthrow of Jerusalem, which befell them under Hadrian, the period involved is a hundred and seventy-four Olympiads or six hundred ninety-six years, which total up to |110 ninety-nine Hebrew weeks plus three years —- that being the time when Barcochebas, the leader of the Jews, was crushed and Jerusalem was demolished to the very ground.  |111 (source)

Posted in Bible, Catholic, fathers of the church, Notes on Daniel, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Romans Chapter 7

Posted by Dim Bulb on March 10, 2019

ANALYSIS OF ROMANS CHAPTER 7
Scripture links are to the Douay Rheims translation

In the first six verses if this chapter, the Apostle addresses the Jewish converts, and shows them that they are not “under the law” (Rom 6:14). The law is dead to them; and hence their union with it is dissolved; and they have contracted other nuptials with Christ, for whom they are to bring forth the fruits of grace, as, under the law, they brought forth fruit unto death (Rom 7:1–6). He next shows how sin became multiplied under the law, without any fault on the part of the law. The law gave a knowledge of sin, and this was made the occasion of further transgression, owing to our corrupt nature, and to the concupiscence which dwells within us Rom 7:(7–9). In order to illustrate the manner in which the law contributed to the increase of sin, he represents in his own person the different states of the Jewish people before and after the law (Rom 7:9); and shows, after the issuing of the law, how the knowledge it imparted, and the prohibition it contained, irritated and roused the hitherto comparatively dormant evil of concupiscence (Rom 7:10–14). He next (verse 14) shows how, even in the law of grace, this evil of concupiscence impels us to sin; and, in his own person, he describes the struggle of Just men infighting against this evil. So that, at verse 14, he passes from describing the law of Moses to the law of grace (Rom 7:14–25).

COMMENTARY ON ROMANS CHAPTER 7
Text in purple indicates Fr. MacEvilly’s paraphrase of the scripture he is commenting on

Rom 7:1. I address myself to you in particular, my Jewish brethren, who are acquainted with the law of Moses; are you not aware that the law exercises dominion over the man subject to it, so long as the law itself is in force and exists?

The Apostle wishes to show that they are not under the law (6:14); and he addresses the Jews acquainted with the precepts of the Mosaic law. “The law hath dominion,” i.e., binds by its precepts and exercises its threats and menaces, “as long as it liveth;” “liveth,” in the Greek, ζῇ, may regard either “man” or “the law;” it more probably, as in our English version, should be construed with the law, “it liveth.”

Rom 7:2. This dominion of the law over man may be illustrated by the dominion which the law of marriage gives the husband over his wife; for the married woman is bound to her husband by the law of marriage during his lifetime; but, when the husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. (So it is with the law: man is subject to it whilst it lives or is in vigour; but, he is released from it when once abrogated).

He illustrates this by the example of the law of marriage. He appears to regard the law of marriage as it was instituted by our Divine Redeemer, according to which institution, the marriage tie is indissoluble, except by the death of either of the parties; or, if he be understood to refer to the law of marriage among the Jews, then the words are to be taken with the limitations placed by God himself (v.g.) libellum repudii, &c. as in the New Law, the ingressus religionis, “the solemn profession of religion,” by either party before the consummation of the marriage, dissolves the tie of marriage. This is a point of faith defined by the Council of Trent, SS. xxiv., Can. 6. “The woman that hath a husband;” the Greek, ἡ ὕπανδρος γυνὴ, means, “the woman that is engaged to obedience and fidelity to a husband;” “is bound to the law,” i.e., to the law of obedience and fidelity, or bound by the law to her husband.

Rom 7:3. Therefore, she will be accounted an adulteress if she cohabit with another man, during her husband’s lifetime; but if her husband be dead, she is released from the law of matrimony, so as not to be accounted an adulteress, or liable to the penalties of adultery, by cohabiting with another man.

“She shall be called,” i.e., she shall be reputed and regarded as “an adulteress. So that she is not an adulteress,” &c.; although she may sin, if she cohabit unlawfully with another party, who is unmarried, after her husband’s death; still, she will not commit the crime, or incur the penalties of “adultery.”

Rom 7:4. In like manner, my brethren, the law is dead to you by the body of Christ offered up in sacrifice on the cross to abolish it; and you are dead to it, by being engrafted on his body in baptism: so that you have contracted new engagements with another, who has risen from the dead, and thus should bring forth the fruit of virtue and good works to God.

In this verse, he applies the foregoing example to the point in question, “therefore,” i.e., in like manner, “you are become dead to the law;” he avoids saying, “the law is dead to you,” in order not to offend and to spare the feelings of the Jews, among whom the law was held in such veneration; although this form would better suit the foregoing example, in which the husband is the party supposed to die, and the law is regarded by the Apostle as “the husband,” in reference to the Jews. The meaning, however, comes to the same, as the relation is dissolved, no matter which party dies—“by the body of Christ,” sacrificed for the abolition of the law, on the cross; or it may mean, by being engrafted on the body of Christ in baptism; both meanings are united in the Paraphrase, “that you may belong to another who is risen from the dead,” i.e., that after the death of your former spouse, you may again contract new nuptials with a more exalted spouse, Jesus Christ, “and that we may bring forth fruit to God,” to whom you are espoused. He employs the first person, “we,” from a feeling of humility.

Rom 7:5. And it is but just that after our exalted marriage engagements with such a spouse, we should bring forth fruits worthy of God; for, when we lived in the condition of the old and carnal man, under the Mosaic law, then the desires and corrupt inclinations to sin, which were irritated by occasion of the law, were consummated in our members, so as to bring forth the fruits of sin, the unhappy end and reward of which is death.

And why not now bring forth fruit to God, as we formerly, in our sinful state, brought forth fruit to death, “in the flesh,” i.e., under the Old Law, when we lived according to the flesh, “the passions of sins,” the corrupt inclinations of our nature to commit sin, “which were by the law,” i.e., which were irritated by the prohibition of the law, which only excited a desire of the thing prohibited; for we are so constituted by our corrupt nature as to desire more eagerly what is prohibited. Nitimur in vetitum, &c. “Did work in our members;” the Greek word for “work,” ἐνεργεῖτο, will bear a passive meaning, signifying “were worked,” or consummated, as in Paraphrase.

Rom 7:6. But now we are freed, by the grace of Christ from the yoke of the law, which was the occasion to us of death, in which we were detained captive; so that we may serve God, as spouses of his Son, in the new spirit of charity and love, and not in following the inclinations of the old man of sin, which the letter of the ancient law was the occasion of increasing, because it gave not the necessary grace for the observance of its own precepts.

We are now freed and loosed from the tie of the law which occasioned death, so that we should serve God “in the newness” or sanctity of the new man, produced by the spirit of grace “diffused in our hearts,” and love God as adopted children and spouses of his eternal son, Jesus Christ, “and not in the oldness of the letter,” and not serve in the sinful inclinations of the old man, which the “letter” of the Mosaic law had been the occasion of increasing, in consequence of not furnishing the grace necessary to resist our passions. In the common Greek, the reading is different from that of our Vulgate. Instead of the words, “loosed from the law of death,” κατηργηθημεν απο τοῦ νομοῦ θανατοῦ, the common Greek is, απο τοῦ νομου, αποθανοντες, “loosed from the law, being dead to it.” Both readings, however, make good sense.

Rom 7:7. What then! are we to infer from the foregoing that the law itself is the cause of sin? Far be it from us to assent to so impious a deduction. The law only serves to give us a more perfect knowledge of sin; for, there are many things which I did not know to be sin, until I was told so by the law; among the rest, I did not know that internal concupiscence was a sin, until I heard the prohibition of the law, Thou shalt not covet.

The Apostle had said in the foregoing (verse 5), “that the passions of sin were by the law.” He also calls it “the law of death.” In order to explain these points he asks, by way of objection—is not the law, then, the cause and source of sin? He says, by no means; for, though sin abounded under the law, this was not directly caused by the law. It is to be accounted for in a different way. The law only gave a knowledge of sin for the direct end and object of restraining it. And in the next verse, the Apostle shows how this knowledge, supplied by the law, was made the occasion of increasing sin. “I did not know sin but by the law,” i.e., I did not know it so clearly, and there were other sins which I did not know to be sins at all, until after the prohibition. He refers to the law of Moses prohibiting internal concupiscence. Here, “concupiscence,” means the consent to the irregular and deordinate inclination of our corrupt nature towards the objects prohibited by the law of God. The malice of these mere thoughts of consent was neither attended to nor clearly seen by men, until after the precept prohibiting them was issued. Some persons interpret the word, “but I did not know sin, but by the law,” to mean, nay even, far from being the cause of sin, the contrary is the case; since, the law pointed out sin, &c. It is better, however, to understand the words to be merely an excuse for the law, and the Apostle afterwards shows how under it sin abounded, but as a matter quite extrinsic to the law.

Rom 7:8. But the evil of concupiscence, latent within me, taking occasion of this knowledge derived from the law, excited and wrought in me all manner of evil inclination, by reason of this prohibition; and thus concupiscence, which before the prohibition of the law was dormant, assumed life and vigour.

He now shows how the law increased “sin;” it was only the occasion of exciting the dormant, slumbering passions of our corrupt nature. “Sin” is personified here as well as in the preceding chapter. The prohibition excited and irritated these passions; for, owing to the natural desire of liberty and opposition to restraint, so strongly implanted in our nature, the very prohibition only increases our desire of obtaining and enjoying the thing prohibited. The Greek word for “occasion” αφορμή, conveys the idea of receiving an impetus, or, being stimulated. “All manner of concupiscence,” i.e., all sorts of unlawful desires, so that, “concupiscence” is not merely confined to the unlawful desire of the things specified in the ninth and tenth commandments of the Decalogue; but it extends to the desire of all things prohibited. “For without the law sin was dead,” i.e., until the distinct prohibition of indulging the desires of concupiscence was issued, it comparatively slumbered—the prohibition aroused and excited it—nitimur in vetitum semper, cupimusque negata.

Rom 7:9. In order the more clearly to explain to you the influence which the knowledge derived from the law had in increasing sin, I shall illustrate it by representing, in my own person, the Jewish people in two different states—viz., before and after receiving the law: At a certain time, I, as a Jew, lived without the Mosaic law (during that time I was not so subject to the action of concupiscence as afterwards; it appeared, during that time, to slumber). But after the law was given, this slumbering evil, excited by the prohibition, came into active existence.

In order to render more clear what he has been saying regarding the manner in which the law contributed to the increase of sin under it, the Apostle supposes two different states of the Jewish people, before and after the law was given, and represents the Jewish people in his own person. “I lived some time without the law:” (verse 9); when as a Jew, I sojourned in Egypt. The sense requires that we should add, as in Paraphrase; during that time, I was not so subject to the action of concupiscence as afterwards. But in the next state of the Jewish people, after the giving of the law, “when the commandments came,” “sin”—i.e., the heretofore comparatively dormant evil of concupiscence—“revived,” or came into more active operation. A’Lapide says that in this verse the Apostle is not representing the different states of the Jewish people, but his own state, before he came to the use of reason, “when he lived without the law,” and after he came to the use of reason, and received a full knowledge, then “sin revived.” The former interpretation seems preferable. The interpretation which Estius gives the word, “I lived,” referring it to spritual life, I lived a life of grace in my own estimation, is very probable; and by uniting it with the meaning given in the Paraphrase, then there will be no need for supplying anything in the interpretation. It will run thus: “I seemed to myself to enjoy a life of grace, at a certain time—viz., when I lived without the law, but when the commandment was given, concupiscence revived.”

Rom 7:10. But I became clearly spiritually dead, having been now manifestly guilty of sin, which leads to death. And it was found in my regard, that the commandment, which was intended for my spiritual life, became, through my corruption, the occasion to me of spiritual death.

And then I was manifestly dead in sin, which causes the spiritual death of the soul; and through my own corruption it happened, that what had been given me for the purpose of life, became the occasion of spiritual death. The words, “and I died,” which evidently refer to spiritual death, make the interpretation of the words, “I lived once without the law,” given by Estius, very probable, since they are clearly put in opposition to each other. By saying “I died,” after the law was given, the Apostle does not mean to say that men were not spirtually dead before it, but that they were now more manifestly dead, as being now more clearly prevaricators.

Rom 7:11. For concupiscence, taking occasion from the commandment, lured and tempted me to sin, and through this sin, committed by occasion of the precept, caused my spiritual death, and involved me still more in guilt.

He explains how the commandment intended for life became the cause of death, because “sin,” “taking occasion” from, αφορμη, or being stimulated by, the prohibition, seduced him, by pointing out the unreasonableness of the command, the advantages and pleasures of its violation, &c., and “by it,” i.e., owing to the knowledge which it gave, and the consequent resistance which this knowledge provoked, it “killed” him, and added still more to his former guilt, not through any fault of the law, but owing to the corruption of human nature. It is to be observed that by “sin,” often personified in this and the foregoing chapters, the Apostle understands concupiscence, which he calls “sin,” because it is the result of sin, and entices us to sin.

Rom 7:12. Therefore, the entire law, far from being the cause of sin, is holy; and so is every one of its precepts holy, and just, and good.

This, then, is the conclusion which the Apostle draws from the preceding, and by it replies to the objection (verse 7). “The law,” far from being the cause of sin, “is holy;” and so is “the commandment,” i.e., each of its precepts, “holy,” prescribing how God may be served with sanctity, “just,” prescribing that each man receive what is due to him, “good,” prescribing what will render each one good, if observed; or as St. Thomas explains it: “holy” in its ceremonial, “just” in its judicial, and “good” in its moral precepts. By “the law” is meant the sum of the precepts, by “the commandment,” each individual precept.

Rom 7:13. What then! has that which is good been made for me the cause of death? The law is by no means the cause of death; but concupiscence, the source of sin, so that its sinfulness might be made to appear more manifestly, has been the cause of death to me, even by means, or rather by occasion, of what is in itself good; hence, the excessive sinfulness of concupiscence is more clearly manifested by reason of its making the commandment, which is in itself good and holy, the occasion of sin and death.

He now proposes an objection, grounded on the two preceding verses, “sin killed me by the commandment, and this commandment is good,” (verse 11). Hence, if the law be not in itself a sin, at least, it became the cause of sin to me, and caused my death. The Apostle rejects the observation as unmeaning. It was not the law that caused my death; it was “sin,” or, concupiscence, that caused it, taking occasion from what is good, in order that its aggravated enormity might appear, &c. The Greek interpreters make an addition to the text to complete the sense, thus: “but sin (was made death unto me) that it might appear sin, having worked death in me by that which is good.” The Greek reading, κατεργαζομενη, will admit the change in the words, having worked. However, there appears to be no necessity for any such addition, as the Vulgate makes perfect and complete sense; and the participle by a Hebraism may be taken for a verb; “wrought,” or hath worked. Here, “sin” is personified as committing great crimes, making “the commandment,” given for quite an opposite purpose, the occasion of transgression.

Rom 7:14. The multiplied increase in sin under the law, does not proceed from the law, as we know the law itself to be spiritual. It proceeds from the carnal propensities of man, and the corruption of human nature; and these propensities we have even under the law of grace: for, I myself now feel these stings of the flesh, soliciting me to sin; I feel like one handed over to the tyranny of concupiscence.

In this verse, the Apostle, according to the more probable opinion, passes from the law of Moses, and in his own person, represents mankind under the law of grace and even justified. He would appear to speak of himself in his present state, “I am carnal.” The same appears from the subsequent part of the chapter, wherein he refers to the arduous struggle he was sustaining against concupiscence; now, it is only of the just man that this could be said, since the sinner, far from struggling with, yields himself up to his passions. He even speaks of himself as “delighted with the law of God, and serving the law of God” (verses 22, 25). His object in thus describing the state of man in the law of grace, and representing it in his own person, is to show that in the Old Testament, the law was not the cause of the multiplied transgressions under it; since even under the New Law, in which grace is so liberally dispensed, we experience such difficulty in the struggle with the “law of the members.” Now, nobody would impute this to the New Law, but to the corruption of human nature; and he shows the difference between our present state and that of the Jews, under the Old Law: they obeyed concupiscence; we feel it, but far from obeying, we resist its corrupt motions. “The law is spiritual”—its end and object are spiritual—viz., man’s sanctification—and so are its precepts. “Sold under sin,” that is, given over by the sin of Adam, of which concupiscence is the consequence, to the dominion of corruption, the motions of which, even with reluctance, we must feel, but not obey, as “interiorly we serve the law of God,” (verse 25).

Rom 7:15. For, that I am delivered over and sold like a slave under the dominion of concupiscence, is clear from the fact, that I am constrained to do, or rather to submit to, things of which I do not approve in my mind and will; for, not the good which I wish for, viz., not to experience the motions of concupiscence, can I do or accomplish, but the evil, which I hate, viz., the experiencing these corrupt motions, I am forced to submit to.

The Apostle, in the subsequent part of the chapter, describes the struggle that exists in the just man, between the sensual appetite, corrupted and deranged by original sin, and the superior faculties of the soul, when aided and assisted by divine grace. “That which I work,” in my animal part, “I understand not,” i.e., approve not, because it happens without the consent of my will, nor does my reason approve of it. “I do not that good which I will,” (“good” is not in the Greek), i.e., to be exempt from concupiscence—and to perform good actions without the resistance of concupiscence; “the evil of which I hate, that I do” (“evil” is not in the Greek), because although its takes place in my animal part, I am still said to “do it” according to the axiom, actiones sunt suppositorum.

Rom 7:16. But if it be against my will that I experience these evil tendencies of concupiscence, by this unwillingness I bear testimony to the excellence of the law, commanding me, not to covet.

This withholding of the consent of the will from the actions, or rather passions, of the inferior appetite, is a testimony, on the part of my intellect and will, of the excellence of the prohibitory law.

Rom 7:17. But now, owing to my unwillingness to experience them, these motions are not, properly speaking, my acts, but the deeds of sin which reside in me; hence, no longer attributable to me.

He explains how it is that he did the evil which he did not wish to do. He himself was not the principle of these actions, or rather passions, and motions of concupiscence, but it was rather the evil of concupiscence, which had been implanted, and which dwelt in his nature; and hence, these motions being involuntary, are no longer imputable to him, as free, human actions.

Rom 7:18. For I have known from experience that there dwells not in me, that is to say, in my flesh, corrupted and rendered rebellious by sin, any inclination to good. For, to wish for good and for exemption from evil, I find very easy, but to accomplish that good I find beyond my power.

He explains the words, “sin that dwelleth in me;” for, from experience he finds that it is not good that dwells in his members, but evil; for, to wish to do good, and to be exempt from the evils of concupiscence, he finds easy enough, but to accomplish this, and be actually exempt from them, he finds impossible.

Rom 7:19. For, the good which I wish for, I cannot do; but the evil which I do not wish for, or consent to, that I reluctantly do, or rather submit to.
Rom 7:20. But if I reluctantly do or submit to what I wish not, then, this is not attributable to me; nor, is it, properly speaking, my act, but the act of sin, which dwells within me.

In these two verses there is a repetition, for greater emphasis sake, of the verses 15–17.

Rom 7:21. When, therefore, I wish to do good, in accordance with the divine law, I find an opposing resistance in my corrupt flesh, acting on me like a law; and this arises from the evil of concupiscence implanted in my very nature.

The construction of this verse has been a source of perplexity to Commentators generally. The easiest and the most natural construction appears to be that adopted in the Paraphrase, I find a law opposing or contradicting me when I have a wish to do good. “Evil is present with me,” i.e., this law, or opposing resistance, arises from the fact that evil or concupiscence is present, or is implanted in my nature.

Rom 7:22. For, I am delighted with the law of God according to my interior man; i.e., in my mind, in my intellect and will.

“For, I am delighted with the law of God, according to the inward man,” that is, my mind, my intellect, enlightened and aided by grace and faith, approves of, and my will is delighted with the law of God. This evidently shows that the Apostle is representing the state of a man justified. The “inward man” means, man considered as enlightened by grace and faith.

Rom 7:23. But I experience another law in my corrupt flesh opposed to the law of God, in which my mind is delighted, and subjecting me to servitude under itself, by feeling its motions, but not by consenting to them.

“But I see another law in my members,” i.e., in my rebellious flesh. Through feelings of modest delicacy, he omits mentioning the members more particularly. “Fighting against the law of my mind,” i.e., against the law of God, with which my mind is delighted (verse 22), and “captivating me in the law of sin, which is in my members,” is put by a Hebrew idiom, for “captivating me to itself,” because “the law of the members” is the same as “the law of sin,” “captivating;” by making me submit to its inordinate motions, but not forcing me to consent thereto. “Captivantem,” says St. Augustine, “motione, non consensione.”—(2 Epistola contra Pelagian., c. 10).

Rom 7:24. Unhappy man that I am, who will deliver me from this body, by its stings and corrupt motions inclining me to sin, entailing my spiritual and eternal death?

In this verse are conveyed the exclamation and groans of a just man battling with his corrupt passions, and aspiring, after the glorious liberty of the children of God, when this mortal shall put on immortality, and this corruptible shall be indued with incorruptibility. “From the body of this death;” the Greek, εκ τοῦ σωματος τοῦ θανατοῦ τούτου, may also be translated, “from this body of death,”—this mortal body, subject to the same motions of concupiscence, inclining us to the spiritual death of the soul, which leads to eternal death.

Rom 7:25. The gratuitous mercy of God one day conferring on me an immortal and incorruptible body in the resurrection, through the merits of Jesus Christ our Lord, will deliver me. I, therefore, the self-same person, may be regarded in a two-fold respect. In my mind and will, I serve the law of God, by not consenting to the motions of concupiscence; but in my sensual part, I serve the law of sin, by feeling, although reluctantly, its motions.

“The grace of God,” i.e., the gratuitous mercy of God, &c., will deliver me (vide Paraphrase). The common Greek reading for “the grace of God” is, ευχαριστῳ τῳ θεῳ διὰ Ἰησοῦ, &c., “I give thanks to God through Jesus Christ,” &c. The Codex Vaticanus has χαρις τῶ θεῶ δια Ἰησου, &c., thanks to God through Jesus Christ, &c. The meaning of which may be rendered thus: I give thanks to God for liberating me, or rather for giving me hopes of future liberation through our Lord Jesus Christ. The Vulgate reading is found in some ancient MSS. and in many of the Latin Fathers, and defended by many eminent critics. “Therefore, I myself,” &c. In these words, the Apostle briefly sums up what he had been saying in the latter part of this chapter from verse 14. The sum of all comes to this, that although one and the same person, I feel within me two principles of action: through the one—viz., the animal, sensual principle, I serve the law of sin, by actually having motions of concupiscence, although with reluctance, against God’s law; and through the other—viz., the spiritual principle, I serve the law of God, by not wishing for these motions, and by not consenting to them. This clearly shows, that the Apostle is speaking of himself as representing mankind justified under the law of grace, and battling with concupiscence.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Notes on Romans, Scripture | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
%d bloggers like this: