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

Archive for April, 2008

A Meditation On the Eve of the Ascension, by a Monk of Sept-Fonts

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 30, 2008

Why has He ascended , if not because He first descended into the lower parts of the earth?-Eph 4:9

Point 1.  The abasement of Jesus was the foundation of His elevation; His ignominies were the steps and the preparation for His glory.  When He is ready to ascend ot heaven, the angels exclaim: “Lift ye eternal gates,” which hitherto have been closed to men; be ye lifted up and “the King of glory shall enter in; but who is this King of glory?  The Lord, who is strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle, the Lord of hosts” (Ps 24:8).  It is because He is mighty in battle, and the Lord of hosts, that He is recognized as King of glory; for it is by combating that He has won victory; it is by His humility that He has merited to be exalted, by the opprobrium of the Cross that He has entered into His glory.  Only those who have shared in His humiliations are permitted to share in His triumphs, and His elevation repeats to us eloquently the words which He pronounced more than once: “He that humbles himself, shall be exalted” (Matt 23:12).

Point 2.  St Paul mentions four states of absement to which Jesus humbled Himself, and four other states of elevation and greatness; the first are expressed in four words: “He emptied Himself; he humbled Himself; He became obedient even to the death of the Cross” (see Phil 2:2); “He descended into the lowest parts of the earth” (see Eph 4:9).   These four profound and inconceivable abasements have all been recompensed by the Father, as the same apostle teaches us: Because He humbled Himself, “God has exalted Him and given Him a name, which is above all names;” because “He obeyed even to the death of the Cross,” God has ordained that “every knee should bend before Him, in heaven, on earth and under the earth” (Phil 2:10); and because He descended, God His Father glorified Him and placed Him at His right hand on the throne of His majesty (Phil 2:11).  Happy humiliations, which have been so worthily exalted and so justly recompensed!  Let us humble ourselves with Jesus, let us become obedient with Him, let us descend with Him, if we to have a share in His elevation and His glory!  If we do not ide with Him, we may not hope to rise again, to live , to triumph with Him.  The Holy Spirit says: “Acceptable me (are tried) in the furnace of humiliation” (Eccli 2:5).

Point 3.   “He who descended is the same who ascended above all the heavens” (Eph 4:10).  As the depth of the foundation is proportioned to the height to be given the edifice, so humiliations of the Man-God were the measure of His elevation and greatness.  He descended to the lowest parts of the earth, and therefore He is exalted to the summit of the holy mountains above all the heavens: thus the sovereign equity of God will give to each one according to his merits, with just proportion.   The Holy Spirit says: “The mighty shall be mightly tormented” (Wis 6:7).  “By what things a man sins, by the same also he is tormented” (Wis 11:17); he will be punished “according to his works” (Rev 18:6); his torment and his suffering shall be in proportion to his pride and his sinful pleasures.  Abraham said to the wicked rich man: “Remember that you did receive good things in your life-time, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted, and you are tormented” (Lk 16:25).  Le the just man rejoice, because, if he suffers for a time,  joy will soon be restored to him.  “Let him who will be great among you, become the least” (Lk 22:26), for he who humbles himself and makes himself little, shall be the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven (Mt 18:1).  “The servant is not greater than his Lord” (Jn 13:16).  If Jesus ascended to His glory by the steps of the most profound humiliations, would we, or could we without temerity, and without a guilty presumption, hope to reach it by any other way?  O Lord, may I humble myself with You, that I may follow You in Your abasements, and merit to follow You in Your glory!-Excerpted from MEDITATIONS ON THE MYSTERIES OF FAITH AND THE EPISTLES AND GOSPELS, By a Monk of Sept-Fonts.  Public domain book.

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A short sketch of the philosophy of Fichte

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 30, 2008

Fichte (1762-1814)

Fichte was a disciple of Kant.  When he published his work THE SCIENCE OF COGNITION, he intended to give a scientific explanation of the system of Kant.  But Kant repudiated the explanation and thus Fichte became aware that he had invented a new system of his own.

Th difference between the Critical Philosophy and Transcendental Idealism, as Fichte termed his system, is as follows:

Although Kant held that we have no means of knowing whether the objects which appear to us are actually such as they appear, he did not deny the possibility of this being the case: that they  may have a mode of existence independent of us,  although we have no means of ascertaining it.  But Fichte went further and denies that this was possible.  He moreover  maintained that these objects could be nothing but the product of the human spirit.  He argued thus:  the objects of cognition are all the products of the act of cognition, but the act of cognition is a product of the human spirit, therefore the objects of cognition are also products of our own spirit.  These objects, he continued, may be reduced to the sensible universe, God, and ourselves.  Therefore the universe, God, and ourselves, are only so many products of our own spirit, which places them before it as objects of its cognition.

Fichte then goes on to explain how the human spirit produces from itself all these things.  He says that with the first pronouncement or creation the Ego posits itself.  Before man says Ego, he is not as yet under the form of Ego.  By a second pronouncement man, the Ego, posits the non-Ego, or creates it.  The non-Ego, according to Fichte, is all that is not Ego, That is to say the external world, the divinity, and all the objects of human thought whatsoever.  Now these two acts by which our spirit posits the Ego and the non-Ego are co-relatives, so that the one cannot stand without the other.  The human spirit cannot pronounce itself without contrasting it with the Ego, and finding it to be different from itself.

This double creation of the Ego and the non-Ego is according to Fichte the first operation of the human spirit, which he also terms the intuition.  It has two relations or terms, which are in mutual contrast and opposition.  By this first mysterious operation he thinks he has explained not only the origin of human cognition, but the existence of all things as well; for, since the non-Ego includes all that is not the Ego, it includes God as well as the external world, and thus he arrives at the absurd proposition that not only the external world but even God Himself is a creation of man.

This system is termed Transcendental Idealism, because it applies the idealistic principle of Berkeley to all things without exception, drawing forth with an inexorable logic all its consequences, and discovering the abyss concealed beneath.  The Critical Philosophy of Kant left a doubt whether or not things had a susistence of their own; this was decided by Fichte in the negative; he thus changed the critical Scepticism of Kant into dogmatic Scepticism.

From Fichte’s system were originated in Germany the two others: Schelling’s system of absolute identity, and Hegel’s of the absolute idea, but we omit their exposition as unnecessary for our present purpose.

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Ascension Hymns

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 29, 2008

A Morning Hymn For Ascension Day
Aeterne Rex Altissime

Eternal King and Lord most high,
Redeemer robed in majesty,
Who didst the world and death o’ercome
And rise triumphant from the tomb;
Then to thine everlasting height
Wast lifted in a cloud of light,
Above the stars, through heaven’s cope,-
Thou art our light, our love, our hope.

Earth, sea and sky, the threefold frame
Bow down before thy sacred name,
The ranks of hell in terror see,
Feel thy stern power, and bend the knee,
Thy angel hosts behold and know
The changed estate of man below,
The flesh that sinned, made clean again,
And God as man take up his reign.

Be thou our lasting joy, O Lord,
Our love on earth, our high reward;
Kind Ruler of the world, inspire
Our longing souls with holy fire.
To thee we bow our hearts in prayer,
Lord, keep us from the tempter’s snare;
Lift up our souls with heavenly grace,
And fit us for thy dwelling-place.

So when thou comest in majesty,
Among the clouds, our judge to be,
We may be freed from guilt and pain
And our lost crown assume again.
Jesus to thee be glory meet,
Triumphant in thy heavenly seat,
Unto the Sire and Spirit praise
In equal meed through endless days.-Attributed to St Ambrose.

Vesper Hymn For Ascension Day
Jesu Nostra Redemptio

Jesus, our love, our Savior,
The joy of every heart,
Thou bringest light unto our night,
For light itself thou art.

What wealth of love o’ercame thee
That thou shouldst will to die
Upon the tree of Calvary
To save mankind thereby!

The night of sin is broken,
The power of hell o’erthrown,
The heavenly door made wide once more
By thee, most Holy One.

‘Twas heavenly love impelled thee
Thus to redeem our race,
And bless our sight with sweet light
That shineth from thy face.

Thou to the stars ascended
Hast banished fear, O Lord;
Be thine all praise, through endless days,
Be thou our sweet reward.

The Glory Of Christ
Quicumque Christum Quaeritis

O Thou who seek’st the Christ to find,
Uplift thine eyes on high;
For lo! to every humble mind
His glory fills the sky.

His mighty wonders there behold,
In boundless fields of light,
Sublime, eternal, and as old
As heaven and ancient night.

Here is the nation’s King indeed,
Here Israel’s mighty Lord,
To Araham promised and his seed,
Forevermore adored.

To him each prophet witnesseth,
By word and sign sincere;
Acknowledged by the Sire, who saith,
“Behold, believe and hear!”

To Jesus, who his light displays
To babes, all glory be,
To Sire and Spirit equal praise
For all eternity.

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Where is Balaam’s jackass when you need him?

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 29, 2008

A Baptist preacher on youTube offers his take on the Old testament phrase “One who pisseth against the wall.”

In fact, the term has a pejorative meaning, and all the Biblical uses threaten impending death. In the Middle East in ancient times it was considered immodest to urinate standing up; one crouched or sat in order to conceal oneself. The term originally denoted young boys who, precisely because they were young lacked a sense of modesty. When used in reference to adult men it always had negative connotations.

Let this be a lesson to you; avoid fundamentalist preachers:

We have the more sure word of prophecy; and you do well that you heed it, as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns, and the morning star arises in your hearts: cb(1,20); 1:20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of private interpretation….But false prophets also arose among the people, as false teachers will also be among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, denying even the Master who bought them, bringing on themselves swift destruction…forsaking the right way, they went astray, having followed the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of wrongdoing; cb(2,16); 2:16 but he was rebuked for his own disobedience. A mute donkey spoke with a man’s voice and stopped the madness of the prophet… In those (i.e., St Paul’s writings), there are some things that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unsettled twist, as they also do to the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. (see 2 Peter)

So, remember to sit down. The life you save could be your own. Especially if there are women in the house. H/T Canterbury Tales

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A short sketch of the philosophies of Reid and Kant

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 29, 2008

To see the introductory post, click here.  To see the previous post, click here.  To see a more detailed exposition/refutation of Locke, Condillac, and Reid by Rosmini click on THE ORIGIN OF IDEAS listed above, underneath this blogs header title.
Reid (1710-1796)

The disastrous consequences deduced by two such powerful minds as Berkeley and Hume from the principles of Locke, aroused and alarmed the Scottish philosopher Reid.  he saw that these consequences annihilated the external world, and destroyed all certainty of human cognitions with such rigor of logic, that, by granting the premises, no escape was possible from the conclusion.

But on the other hand he saw that these consequences were opposed to the common sense of mankind, and destroyed all morality and religion.  Therefore he said, “They can not be true.”

The conclusion, therefore, of Reid was that the premises were false, and that Locke’s system must not be accepted blindly, but must be submitted to a profound re-examination in order to detect the falsehood which lay at its root.

He set to work on this investigation with all the force of his genius, and in the end was convinced that he had succeeded.

Reid observed that in the fact of human perceptions there is something besides simple sensation.   If it were true that man knows nothing beyond his sensations he would be able to affirm nothing beyond them.  But experience shows us that we affirm the existence of real beings which are not our sensations; since we are conscious of knowing not only the modifications of our own spirit (mind), but also of the substances which are not ourselves, and which exercise an action upon us.  We must, therefore, conclude that we have not only the faculty of sensation, but another mysterious faculty as well, and that whenever we experience a sensation it is this which excites and compels us to affirm the existence of something outside of the sensation.

But here the Scottish philosopher found himself confronted by the following difficulties, which form the great knot of the ideological problem.

How can we explain this faculty which affirms that which we do not find in sensation?

The object of this faculty is not given by sensation.  Where then does it reside-what presents it to our perception?

Reid endeavored to meet the difficulties thus: he said, “We must not go beyond our facts.  Now it is attested by fact that we perceive substance and being, things which do not fall under our senses, which are entirely different from sensations, but which we perceive on occasion of the sensations.  We must therefore admit that the human soul has of its own nature an  instinct which leads us to this perception.  This instinct is a primitive faculty which must be accepted as an ultimate and inexplicable fact.”

According to Reid, then, there is in us a suggestion of nature, as he terms it, by which on experiencing the sensations we are necessitated not to stop there, but to pass beyond them by an act of thought, to the persuasion of the existence of real beings, which are the causes of our sensations, and to which we give the name of  bodies.

By means of this primitive faculty, which affirms or perceives the corporeal substance itself, Reid thought he had confuted the Idealism of Berkeley, and secured the existence of bodies.  He thought also that by placing the criterion of certitude in this same primitive faculty, he had given its death-blow to the Scepticism of Hume.  He imagined that he had thus reconciled philosophy with the common sense of mankind, from which it had been divorced by the English philosophers.

The merit of the thinkers of the Scottish school consists in this, that they were the first who attempted to liberate philosophy from the sensistic principles of Locke and Condillac.

Kant (1724-1800)

Whilst it was supposed that the Scottish school had placed philosophy once for all on a solid basis, the celebrated Sophist of Konigsberg came and shattered its foundations again, and worse than before.  He took the author of the Scottish school at his word, and proceeded to reason with him much as follows: “You are quite right in saying that our persuasion of the existence of bodies does not come from the sense, but from a totally different faculty.  The human spirit is by its very nature obliged to affirm the existence of bodies when our sensitive faculty experiences sensations.   If so, our faith in the existence of bodies is an effect of the nature of the human mind, and hence if our mind were differently constituted we should not be necessitated to affirm that bodies exist.  Therefore the truth of the existence of bodies is subjective or relative to the mind that pronounces it, but it is not in any way objective.  We are indeed obliged to admit the existence of bodies, because we are so constituted that we cannot resist this instinct of our nature; but it does not by any means follow that these bodies exist in themselvespthat they have an objective existence independent of us.”

This reasoning was extended by Kant to all human cognitions in general.  He maintained that since they are all and each acts and products of the human spirit, and this spirit can never go out of itself, so there can be nothing but subjective truth and certainty, and therefore we can never be sure that things are such as they appear.

To support this reasoning he observed that as all beings act according to the laws of their nature, so their products ear the stamp of those laws, whence he concluded that since our cognitions are all products of our own spirit, they must necessarily be in conformity with its nature and laws.

“Who can tell,” he says, “that if there were a mind constituted differently from our own, it would not see things quite differently from what they appear to us?  Does not a mirror reflect objects according to the form which these objects assume in it, a convex mirror showing them elongated, a concave mirror on the contrary making them appear shortened.”

“The human mind therefore,” he continues, “gives its own forms to objects of its cognitions, it does not receive those forms from the objects themselves.  Now the office of the philosopher consists in discovering what these forms are, in enumerating them one by one, and in defining each according to its proper limitations.  For this all that is required is accurately to observe all the objects of human cognition, transferring the forms of such objects to the human mind itself, and thus getting rid of the transcendental illusion, which leads us to imagine that the forms belong to the objects, whilst they are actually the forms of our own mind.”

This task Kant undertook to accomplish in his work, which bears the title A CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON.  His method is as follows.

The Sensitivity, according to Kan, has two forms.  The one he assigns to the external sense, and he terms it space, the other to the internal sense, and he calls this time.  To the understanding  he assigns four forms, quantity, quality, modality, and relation; to the reason he gives three forms- namely, absolute matter, absolute whole, absolute spirit; in other words, matter, the universe, and God.

By this method Kant professed to reconcile all the most opposite systems of philosophy.  Of these he makes two grand divisions, the Dogmatic and the Sceptical.  Under the Dogmatic he includes all that admitted the truth and certainty of human cognitions.  Under the Sceptical those that denied them.  He said that both sides were in the right; that the Dogmatists were so, because a truth and certainty existed-namely, the subjective or relative; and that the Sceptics too were right, because there is not such thing as objective truth or certainty in the objects considered in themselves, since man cannot know anything as it is in itself.

This system Kant termed Criticism, because it criticised not only all previous systems, but human reason itself.  He also called it Transcendental Philosophy, because it transcended sense and experience, and subjected to its criticism all that man believed himself to know about the sensible world.

The system of Kant, however, is in fact:

  1. Sceptical, because the subjective truth and certainty which he admits cannot, except by an abuse of words, be called either truth or certainty.
  2. Idealistic, since it admits only the subjective existence of bodies, and declares them to be the mere product of instinct and the innate forms of the human mind.  It admits bodies only in appearance, and denies their proper existence.  Moreover, his system is idealism, transported from the particular to the general.  It is the idealism which Berkeley had applied to bodies only, extended by Kant, no less than by Hume before him, to all the objects of human cognition, whether corporeal or spiritual, concrete or abstract.
  3. Atheistic, because if human reason cannot give us security of the absolute and objective truth of the objects presented to our perception, there is not possibility of knowing with certainty the existence of God, and God is reduced to a subjective phenomenon.  Kant himself admits this with perfect frankness.  In fact, he criticizes all arguments employed by philosophers to demonstrate the existence of God, and proves, as he thinks, that they are futile and useless.
  4. Pantheistic, because according to this system nothing is left but spirit, which produces and figures to itself all things, in virtue of its inherent instincts and innate forms.  It follows that one only substance exists, which is the human subject itself, and which carries within it the whole universe and God Himself; so that God, in this system, becomes a modification of man.
  5. Spiritualistic and Materialistic at once, because what we call matter is in the object man as a product of himself, and what we call spirit is also in the object man as producing and modifying him, so that the human spirit becomes at one and the same time spirit and matter.

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A short sketch of the philosophies of Locke, Condillac, Berkeley and Hume.

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 27, 2008

John Locke (1632-1704)

Locke undertook to solve the problem of the origin of ideas. According to him all ideas are acquired by sensations aided by reflection.

By reflecting he meant the labor of the reflective faculty of the human soul exercised upon the sensations. It follows that Locke denies to the mind every innate idea.

By innate ideas we mean ideas or cognitions which man has in his mind by nature.

Condillac (1715-1780).

Th philosophy of Locke was propagated in France by Condillac with certain modifications of his own.

Condillac professed to have simplified the ideological system of Locke y his suppression of reflection, which he held to be nothing more than sensation.

He thus reduced all human cognitions to sensation only. He held, therefore, that man possessed one only faculty-namely, the faculty of sensation. Memory, imagination, intelligence, and reason were only different modes of sensation.

This system was most pernicious in its consequences as well in regard of morals as of religion. For, if man has no faculty but that of sensation, it follows that good and evil are nothing more than agreeable or disagreeable sensations. Thus morality would consist in procuring for ourselves pleasant sensations, and in avoiding those which are unpleasing.

This immoral system was developed in France by Helvetius (1713-1771), and Bentham (1748-1832), the leader of the English Utilitarian school, applied its teaching to the promotion of public prosperity.

Berkeley (1648-1752)

Berkeley, and Anglican Bishop, was educated in the school of Locke. His intentions were good. Whilst some carried out Locke’s system into Materialism, he undertook to deduce Spiritualism from it in the following way.

Accepting the principle then unusually admitted, that all human knowledge must be reduced to an aggregate of sensations, he observed that the sensations can have no existence except in the being which is sensible of them, and of which they are so man modifications. The sensations then do not exist outside of man, but only in man, in the human soul.

It follows, therefore, that if man knows nothing beyond his own sensations, the objects of his knowledge are not outside him, but exist only in his own soul as modifications of his own spirit. Consequently the whole external world exists merely in appearance; it consists only of sensations which manifest themselves in the soul as modifications of itself.

This system, which denies the external existence of bodies, leaving nothing in existence but spirit, is termed Idealism.

Berkeley applied his system to the analysis of bodies, and shows that they are only certain sensations experienced by ourselves. He thence concludes that our whole knowledge of bodies consists in an aggregate of sensations, and that what we term the qualities of bodies exist not as is commonly supposed in the bodies themselves, or outside of us, but in ourselves only.

Whence then do we get the sensations” this question is proposed by Berkeley in his celebrated Dialogues of Philonous and Philylas. He replies that they are produced immediately by God in the human soul. He shows by the example of dreams that there is no need for the presence of corporeal objects in order to our acquiring the persuasion of their presence, the feeling of their presence is sufficient. Thus, according to Berkeley, human life is a continuous dream, with this difference only, that in life the several sensations have an harmonious and constant connection one with another; whereas in dreams they take place without this harmony and constancy-the visual sensations and images, for example, having no correspondence with those of touch.

Hume (1711-1776)

Hume also was educated in the school of Locke. he accepted as certain, without examination, the principle that all human cognitions may be reduced to sensation. But whilst Berkeley had arrived by this principle at Idealism, Hume, on the other hand, arrived at Skepticism, o r the system which denies all certainty to human cognitions.

he said, human reasoning is based on the principle of cause, which is thus expressed: “Here is an effect, therefore there must be a cause.” But this principle, he continued, is false and illusory, for man knows nothing but his sensations, and a sensation can never be a cause of any thing.

In fact, a cause is such only in so far as it acts-it is an active entity. But a sensation is not an entity; it is the modification of an entity; it is not active but passive, therefore a sensation can not be a cause.

But we know nothing except our sensations, we can, therefore, know nothing about cause. What we term “cause and effect” are only antecedent and subsequent sensations, and we reason falsely when we assume that the sensation which precedes is the cause of that which follows. The argument post hoc propter hoc is false reasoning; therefore whenever we speak of beings as causes of effects in the sensible world, we attempt the impossible, for it is certainly impossible to proceed from sensations to the knowledge of any cause whatever.

The impiety of this system is manifest, since by denying or doubting the principle of cause, we deny or doubt the existence of the first cause-God Himself.

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Rosmini: A Sketch of His Philosophical Critique and His System

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 27, 2008

  • The following is an introduction written by Father William Lockhart to a short work written by Blessed Antonio Rosmini Serbati, wherein Serbati sketched a critique of the philosophies of Locke, Berkeley, and Fichte, and also presented a sketch of his own philosophy. In this introduction Father Lockhart gives a succinct description of the major point of Rosmini’s system.

It often happens that I am asked to say in a few words what it the characteristic principle of the system of philosophy named after Rosmini, the venerated Founder of the Order to which I have the honor to belong.

The following Short Sketch of Modern Philosophies, written by Rosmini forty years ago, but only recently published in the Italian original, seems well suited to the above purpose. I commend it to all who wish to know what Rosmini’s system is, but who have not time or inclination for studying it in his larger works; or who perhaps have only heard Rosmini spoken of as one against whom much opposition has been raised by many Catholic writers, especially by Italian members of the Jesuit Order.

On this point it may be well to say a few words. Many accusations having been laid before the Holy See against Rosmini as a theologian and philosopher, Pope Pius IX, appointed, in 1850, a special Congregation to examine and report on his works. A most searching examination was instituted of more that three years duration, made by twenty-four Consultors of the Index, all bound under oath to study thoroughly all the inculpated works, independently, without consultation with others, and in relation to the charges, more than three hundred in number, that had been brought against them. In the month of June, 1854, Pius IX presiding over the assembly of the Cardinals and Consultors of the Index, and having heard the all but unanimous verdict of acquittal, pronounced the following Decree: “All the works of Antonio Rosmini Serbati, concerning which investigation has recently been made, must be dismissed; nor has this investigation resulted in anything whatever derogatory to the good name of the author, or to the praiseworthiness of life and singular merits before the Church of the Religious Society founded by him.” To this Decree was added at the same time the following Precept of Silence: “That no new accusations and discords should arise and be disseminated in the future, silence is now for the third time enjoined on both parties by command of his Holiness.”

Being myself in Rome in the early part of the year 1854, a little before the sentence of acquittal on Rosmini’s works, I one day received a visit from the English Assistant of the General of the Jesuits, who informed me in the course of conversation that he had been sent expressly by the General to assure me, and through me the Superiors of our Institute, that the General wished it to e understood that “the opposition to our venerated Founder was not the work of the Society of Jesus, but a School in the Society.”

I have always treasured these words, because they assure me that the opposition on the part of those writers, which is as active as ever, notwithstanding the Precept of Silence, is not to be understood as committing a venerable Order, for which I feel so high an esteem; between which and ourselves I feel sure there one day e a perfect harmony of views on the subject of philosophy, since we are agreed in taking St Thomas as our master. We may differ with those writers in some of their interpretations of St Thomas’ meaning, but we both recognize in the Holy See an infallible umpire if ever it should declare any philosophical opinions to clash with any principle of Catholic Doctrine.

a few remarks on the fundamental principle of Rosmini’s philosophy may not e out of place. This concerns thee origin of ideas in the human mind.

Now the preliminary difficulty in understanding the Rosminian philosophy is that it goes deeper than what are popularly assumed to be the first principles of human thought. It undertakes to account for ideas. But to many people it has never occurred that there is any difficulty in this matter requiring explanation. They have been used to assume with Locke and others, more or less of the same school, that the formation of ideas is so simple that it does not require to e accounted for. It is assumed to e a simple fact like sensation. They say “We have sensations, and we have ideas; the sensations come first, and they are transformed into ideas y the faculty of reflection.”

Those who talk thus are not aware that between sensations and ideas they have jumped a gulch which is not less than infinite!

This mental condition reminds me of a conversation I once overheard in a railway carriage between two countrymen. “John,” said to one, “how about this railway telegraph; how do they send messages by it?” “Oh,” said the other, “it is very simple. You see them wires along the line. They run from London to York. They are fastened to a thing at each end with a dial plate and hands to it like a clock, with letters all round, and when they turn the hands in London this’,n and that’n, the hands in York goes that’n and this’n.” “Ah,” said the other, “it seems very simple when you have it explained.”

Much like this is the state of mind of those who do not see any difficulty in the formation of ideas, and serenely talk, as Locke and his school do, of “sensations eing transformed into ideas by means of the faculty of reflection.” They ignore the crucial point in philosophy, much like the countryman who explained the electric telegraph, omitting all mention of electricity-that occult and mysterious force which is behind the phenomena. (See note 1)
The fundamental principle of Rosmini’s philosophy concerns, as I have said, the origin of ideas-how the ideas or thoughts of things arise in our mind. For, it is certain that whenever that modification of our sensitivity which we term our sensation takes place, we immediately and necessarily think, not of the sensation within us, but of a something outside of us to which we attribute existence, call it a thing, and credit it with being the cause of our sensations; so that we actually attribute to it the qualities of heat or cold, blackness, whiteness, or the like, which, when we reflect or think again, we know exists within our own sensitivity only.

This mental process is obviously a judgment, in which we predicate the existence of a cause of our sensation. To say nothing at present of the idea of cause; it is clear that we could not apply the predicate of existence unless we knew what existence is, that is to say, unless we had the idea of existence already in our mind. We have thus two modes of knowledge to e carefully distinguished from each other-knowledge by judgment, whereby we affirm the reality of individual things-knowledge by intuition, whereby we intellectually think pure ideas. With this fundamental distinction in view I now Proceed to trace the origin and show the relative position of these two modes of thought. A little reflection will make it clear that the idea goes before the judgment, and is necessary for it formation.

We are said to know a thing when we apply to it the idea of existence or judge that it is an existing thing.

That which is no thing is unthinkable, for the object of thought-the idea of existence-is gone. And this shows that the idea of existence is the necessary object of thought, as St Thomas says, “Objectum intellectus est vel verum commune” . It is the first idea, without which we can form no judgment and know nothing. It is plain, therefore, that the idea of existence must be self-known (per se nota), otherwise we should be incapable of knowing it or of knowing anything. And this is the same as to say that it must be the first idea and the one innate idea in the human mind. (see note 2)
But how does this idea of existence make its appearance in the mind?

Not as a product of the senses, for we are obliged to apply this idea on occasion of each sensation, in order to form that idea of the thing which necessarily arises in our mind on occasion of each sensation. In the following brief treatise Rosmini shows very clearly from the very nature of the idea of existence, which is the formal part of all our ideas, why this idea can not come from the senses. He shows that the sensations are limited to the particular impression made on our sensorium, whereas ideas are unlimited, and can be applied ad infinitum to any number of beings, and to any number of the same genus or species. (see note 3). Now the idea of a thing is the same as the logical possibility of the thing. That which is possible was always possible, and is therefore eternal, and that which is eternal is divine, therefore Rosmini teaches that ideas are in a certain sense divine, i.e., because they have divine characteristics.

The idea, therefore, is so totally distinct from the sensations, so immensely elevated above them, that it is absurd to suppose it to be the product of sensations, because no effect can rise higher than its source; although it is, at the same time, an obvious fact that the ideas are made known to us on occasion of the sensations. In a word the sensations furnish the material element, the innate idea of existence, the formal element, of all the ideas we form by aid of the senses.

If then the idea of existence is not a product of sensation, yet if on occasion of the sensations we always find in our mind, it is clear that we find there what has there before, which was never formed but which was given from without, by means of another faculty, that of intelligence, which, as Rosmini teaches, is endowed with the intuition of the idea of existence by God, in whose Mind the idea of existence, and of all existences was from all eternity. This is expressed by St Thomas when he says: “Deus cognoscendo se cognoscit naturam universalis entis” SCG, I. 50).

And, indeed, this is self-evident if we believe in God as the infinitely intelligent Creator, willing and therefore knowing every particle of creation from all eternity.

These ideas of possible being in the mind of God are the types according to which He created all things, by an act of His free will, selecting out of all possible things such as He saw it was for the best to create. Thus an architect forms in his own mind the design which he intends to draw or to build, selecting also for good reasons, not always the thing most perfect in itself, but that which is best, all the circumstances being considered.

In like manner, regarding the communication of ideas; (to carry out the same analogy), the architect may if he pleases keep his idea to himself, or if he pleases he may communicate it or any portion of it to another mind, and then it becomes the thought or idea of that other; yet it would still be the original idea in essence, and the idea of the originator would always stand objectively to the recipient, as something distinct from his own subjectivity.

Analogously to this we say that the idea of existence, and the ideas of existences, which we find in our mind, and which were elicited on occasion of the sensations, are the same that were originally in the mind of God, Who, seeing all creation, saw even the modes in which the forces of the universe would make themselves perceived by us, and be classed as things, objects, or beings (see note 4). These ideas, Rosmini teaches, could come into our minds only by communication from God, through the intellectual faculty, or intuition of the idea of existence, which combines with the sensations that are perceived by us, in the unity of the identical human subject, which is at once sensitive and intelligent. Thus it is the identical Ego or self which feels and knows, and the result is the intellectual perception of objects, or the formation of ideas and the application of them (see note 5).

St Thomas says: “Esse in quantum est esse non potest esse diversum” (SCG I, 52). The idea, therefore, of existence or of possible being in the mind of God is the same essence of being as the idea of existence in the mind of man. It must, therefore, be a communication to man of some thing that considered in itself is Divine, since the ideas in God are His Divine substance. In God they are God. But if so, it is objected “to suppose man to be by nature in communication with the Divine substance is the error of the Ontologists and tends logically to Pantheism.” Rosmini replies, in his answer to Gioberti, “that the human mind has only the intuition of a light which descends from God and which is, therefore, an appurtenance of God. Now every appurtenance of God is God, if we consider it as it is in God, but if we consider it abstracting from all the rest that makes the reality of God, it is an appurtenance of God, as the Divine Goodness and the Divine Wisdom are appurtenances of God but not God himself, for God is not Wisdom or Goodness only. Thus although in God there are no real distinctions except those of the three Divine Persons, God is able to distinguish mentally His ideas from His Divine substance; and a man likewise can abstract his ideas from himself and may impart his ideas or a part of his idea to his fellow man without imparting his own substance, so God may abstract His ideas from Himself, and may communicate His ideas or some part of them, such as the idea of existence or being, without communicating to man His Own Divine substance. He may manifest His idea without manifesting His Reality or subsistence, and to the objection of Gioberti (that “this idea must be God, because everything is either God or a creature, but the idea of being is not a creature seeing it has Divine characters, therefore it must be God”), Rosmini replies, “Every real being must be God or creature, but not so every ideal being. The idea of being abstracted from God’s reality is neither God nor creature, it is something sui generis, an appurtenance of God.”

The idea of existence is the light of the mind, according to the analogy with the material light, so that the light of reason is the name given universally to the informing constitutive principle of the intellectual faculty. For as it is y the material light that our eye is enlightened so as to receive the impressions of form and color which aid us to distinguish one thing from another (and without this light the whole universe would remain for us perfectly dark); so the idea of existence is the light of our mind, by which we actually distinguish objects and know existences, on occasion of our eye being enlightened by the material light, or on receiving other sensitive impressions.

The light of reason is, according to Rosmini, what Philosophy, following the lines traced out by Aristotle, defines as the Lumen intellectus agentis, and of which St Thomas says that it is participatio Luminis in nobis impress, seu participatio Lucis aeternae.

St John tells us, Deus erat Verbum…erat Lux vera quae illuminat omnem hominem venientem in hunc mundum-“The Word of God is the light that enlightens every man coming into the world.”

It is this “idea of existence” or “light of being” given to man which constitutes the objectivity of truth, as seen by the human mind. For truth is that which is, as falsehood is that which is not. It is this which makes man intelligent and gives him a moral law y which he sees the beingness or essence of things, and recognizes the duty of his own being, to act towards each being whether finite or infinite, creature or God, according to the beingness or essence of being which he eholds in the light of the truth of being.

Thus, according to Rosmini, is secured the objectiveness of truth; and the high rule of morality and religion is summed up in the grand sentence of Rosmini which he shows to be the divine imperative in the conscience of man, “Riconoscere l’ente secondo la sua entita”- “Recognize being according to the beingness that is in it.” He shows, too, that this same principle of natural reason, when sublimated by Divine Grace, becomes the great principle of faith and charity, dictating to us the duty, and giving the power of loving God above all things and our neighbor as ourselves, inspiring the soul of man to perform deeds of supernatural self-sacrifice, arising from the intimate sense of the presence of God in the soul, and the conviction of the nothingness of all things, except as they give glory to God, by being used according to the infinitely perfect will of God, in which He designed the universe, and which he causes man to know by the natural and supernatural light, and by the external manifestations of His Providence.

1. Every sensation is particular; reflection simply reproduces the particular, imagination pictures it; but ideas are universal, and all involve the idea of existence which is the most universal of all. how do we get the universal?
2. It does not account for the origin of the idea of existence in our minds to say we have in us a faculty endowed with the virtue of acquiring the idea of existence on occasion of the sensations. The question is, what is the nature of this faculty? For, in order that this faculty may be able to operate must it not be itself in act? Surely that which is not in act, does not exist, and therefore can not operate. For a faculty is nothing but a “first act (actus primus) whence “second acts” (actus secundi), or what we commonly call “acts,” may proceed. Now the first act of the intellectual faculty-the act by which this faculty exists-must in the very nature of things, e an intellectual act; else the faculty would not be intellectual; and if the act is intellectual it must consist in the vision or intuition of an object; because this is what is meant by an intellectual act. The very etymology of intellectus (derived from intus legere, to read within) shows this clearly. The act of reading necessarily implies the act of seeing; and there can be no seeing without something which is seen; in other words, without the intelligent subject, and the object which this subject looks at and thus understands. The thing seen-the object present a initio to the intelligent subject-the constitutive form of the human understanding (vis intellectiva), is existence, being, and this is the light of reason.

3. Rosmini makes the faculty and art of language, as taught to man by the tradition of human society, a chief factor in the formation of abstract ideas, for words are sensible signs of ideas, and stand as sensible representations of ideal things, enabling us to form classes of things in our mind-genera and species, which are all abstract ideas.

4. Qui cognoscit perfecte naturam universalem, omnes modos cognoscit in quibus illa natura potest haberi (SCG I, 50).

5. Rosmini teaches that there is a spiritual as well as a corporeal sense, and that the soul feels itself as it knows itself.

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Another Summa Contra Haugen-Hass

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 27, 2008

I am not worthy, Lord, mine eyes
To turn unto thy starry skies;
But bowed in sin, with moans and sighs,
I beg thee, hear me.

My duty left undone
Nor sought I crime or shame to shun,
My feet in sinful paths have run,
Sweet Christ, be near me.

O, fill my soul with grief sincere
For mine offenses; let the tear
Moisten my pillow; Father hear,
And grant Repentance.

For all my many crimes, O Lord,
The pains of hell were just reward;
But thou, O God, my cry regard,
And spare the sentence.

Redeemer, sole-begotten Son,
Father ans Spirit, three in one,
Thou art my hope; as ages run
Be thine all glory.

If in the balance thou should weigh
My crimes there were nor hope nor stay,
But Lord; thy clemency I pray,
To grace restore me.

Dear Jesus, I acknowledge thee,
Thou gavest thy life upon the tree;
Who takes from thy Divinity
Is a blasphemer.

All godless errors, proud or vain;
The false belief and murmuring strain
Insult thy love, thy law profane,
Gentile redeemer.

Sweet Lord, I love thy holy name;
I hear my mother Church proclaim
The Spirit, Sire and Son the same,
One God eternal.

Power, love and glory be to thee,
O high and holy Trinity;
Be ours the bliss thy face to see
In light supernal.  (St Hilary + A.D. 368.  id Coeli Clara)

Jesus thy memory divine
To every heart is heavenly wine;
But sweetness more than sweetest things
Thy presence in the bosom brings.

Such gladness ne’er hath poet sung,
Such joy ne’er pleasured ear or tongue,
To man no dream, so sweet e’er came,
Dear Son of God, as thy blest name.

True hope of all repenting hearts,
What tender joy thy love imparts!
Thou givest the seekers here below
Such bliss as only they can know.

O Lord, if we bet claim thy love,
Our souls are lighted from above,
And feel such wondrous happiness
As tongue or pen can ne’er express.

Be still our joy and stay, dear Lord,
Our guide, our hope, our sweet reward;
Let praise and love and glory be
Sung to thy name eternally. (St Bernard of Clairvaus + A.D. 1153. Jesu Dulcis Memoria)

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A Preface to St Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians.

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 26, 2008

On June 28th  of last year, Pope Benedict XVI announced a Jubilee Year in honor of the 2,000th anniversary of Saint Paul’s birth.  It is to begin on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, June 28, 2008, and conclude on June 29, 2009.   I hope during this time to offer copious notes on the writings of St Paul-both my own and others-and, towards this end, I here offer a preface to St Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, written by Bernardine de Piconio.

The Epistle, written while St. Paul was a prisoner at Rome, is entitled as addressed to the Christians of Ephesus, the famous capital city of the Roman province of Asia.  Ancient writers have sometimes referred to and quoted it as addressed to the Christians of Laodicea.  The probability is that it was an encyclical letter or circular letter intended for all the Christians of Asia, and primarily that of Ephesus.  The title in the earlier copies (mystically explained by St Basil, Eunon. lib. II. 2 p. 733) purports that it is addressed to the Saints who are-omitting the name of any particular place-and the faithful in Christ Jesus.  In verse 1 the blank is filled in with at Ephesus. At the conclusion the Apostle salutes not the Ephesians only, but all Christians of Asia, and instead of writing, as usual, peace to you, he writes peace to the brethren. And it was sometimes spoken of as the Epistle to the Laodiceans, as by Tertullian, in Contra Marcion.

The Apostle had converted many of the Ephesians to the faith of Christ during a residence of three years in their city; and his present object is to confirm them in the faith and instruct them more fully in the sublimer mysteries of the Christian religion.  There was another and more urgent object which he has in view, for the faith of the Ephesian Christians was seriously imperiled by the efforts of the Judaizers on the one hand, and on the other by the followers of Simon Magnus, whose wild errors, disguised under the veil of a subtle and imposing system of philosophy, were beginning to spread over the Roman Empire.  They maintained, among other false doctrines which will have to be referred to further on, that angels, and not Christ, are the true mediators between God and man, and that it is to the angels, and not to Christ, that we are to have recourse for reconciliation with God.  The first three chapters of the Epistle treat of eternal predestination, of man’s redemption by the death of Christ, of the vocation of the Gentiles, of the union of the Gentiles and Jews, men and angels, under the scepter of Christ, the great Head of the Church, who is raised above all creation.  In the concluding chapters the Apostle lays down the principles and precepts of the Christian life in all its relations and conditions.  For both the Judaizers and the followers of Simon erred alike, in manners as in faith.

The style of the Epistle, as every reader of it must have observed, differs conspicuously from that of all the other writings of St Paul.  Erasmus remarks that it would appear to have been written y another hand, were it not that its drift and meaning, and the doctrine it conveys, proceeds evidently from the mind of St Paul.  The difference is ascribable to the more serious and terrible nature of the heresies which the Apostle is compelled to expose and refute.   In addressing the Galatians, he could appeal to their common sense, almost their sense of ridicule, against the Judaic compliances which were exacted from them by worldly and self-seeking men, or in refutation of unfounded charges brought against himself.  But in repelling the awful and monstrous delusions, concealed under the guise of philosophy, which were put forward by the impiety of Simon and his adherents, he is compelled to ascend to the higher regions of theological truth, and use language of greater solemnity, not unlike that which was directed, a few years later, against the same or similar errors, by St Peter and St Jude, and in the second of his own Epistles to St Timothy, and later still, by the Evangelist St John.  All early writers have noticed in the Epistle to the Ephesians a deeper wisdom, energy, and fervour, than in the others composed during the same period of imprisonment, as if the writer were panting after martyrdom, and breathed forth something of the divine fire and celestial illumination which enlightened and consumed his soul.

There is, however, some difference of opinion as to whether it was composed during St Paul’s first or second imprisonment at Rome, of which the latter terminated in his martyrdom.  Theodoret (Preface to the Epistles of St Paul) thinks it was written during the first imprisonment, and sent by Tychius, together with the Epistle to the Colossians.  Baronius also considers that it was written at that time, and sent by Tychius, and with it the second Epistle to Timothy.  Other writers also think that it was sent together with the second to Timothy, but that oth were written during the second imprisonment, and shortly before the Apostle’s martyrdom, which took place June 29, 67.  On this subject see M. de Tillemont, note 78 on St Paul and Memoires, tom. I.  )Excerpted from AN EXPOSITION OF THE EPISTLES OF ST PAUL, Volume 2, by Bernardin de Picquigny.  He is also known as Bernardine de Piconio, he was a member of the Capuchin Order and lived from 1633 to 1707, or 1709.  In addition to his 3 volume work on St Paul’s Epistles, he also wrote commentaries on the four Gospels,)


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St John Chrysostom’s Introductory Homily on St Paul’s Epistle to the Romans

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 26, 2008

10 As I keep hearing the Epistles of the blessed Paul read, and that twice every week, and often three or four times, whenever we are celebrating the memorials of the holy martyrs, gladly do I enjoy the spiritual trumpet, and get roused and warmed with desire at recognizing the voice so dear to me, and seem to fancy him all but present to my sight, and behold him conversing with me. But I grieve and am pained, that all people do not know this man, as much as they ought to know him; but some are so far ignorant of him, as not even to know for certainty the number of his Epistles. And this comes not of incapacity, but of their not having the wish to be continually conversing with this blessed man. For it is not through any natural readiness and sharpness of wit that even I am acquainted with as much as I do know, if I do know anything, but owing to a continual cleaving to the man, and an earnest affection towards him. For, what belongs to men beloved, they who love them know above all others; because they are interested in them. And this also this blessed Apostle shows in what he said to the Philippians; “Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the Gospel.” (Ph 1,7). And so ye also, if ye be willing to apply to the reading of him with a ready mind, will need no other aid. For the word of Christ is true which saith, “Seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” (Mt 7,7). But since the greater part of those who here gather themselves to us, have taken upon themselves the bringing up of children, and the care of a wife, and the charge of a family, and for this cause cannot afford to all events aroused to receive those things which have been brought together by others, and bestow as much attention upon the hearing of what is said as ye give to the gathering together of goods. For although it is unseemly to demand only so much of you, yet still one must be content if ye give as much. For from this it is that our countless evils have arisen—from ignorance of the Scriptures; from this it is that the plague of heresies has broken out; from this that there are negligent lives; from this labors without advantage. For as men deprived of this daylight would not walk aright, so they that look not to the gleaming of the Holy Scriptures must needs be frequently and constantly sinning, in that they are walking the worst darkness. And that this fall not out, let us hold our eyes open to the bright shining of the Apostle’s words; for this man’s tongue shone forth above the sun, and be abounded more than all the rest in the word of doctrine; for since he labored more abundantly than they, he also drew upon himself a large measure of the Spirit’s grace. (1Co 15,10). And this I constantly affirm, not only from his Epistles, but also from the Acts. For if there were anywhere a season for oratory, to him men everywheregave place. Wherefore also he was thought by the unbelievers to be Mercurius, because he took the lead in speech. (Ac 14,12). And as we are going to enter fully into this Epistle, it is necessary to give the date also at which it was written. For it is not, as most think, before all the others, but before all that were written from Rome, yet subsequent to the rest, though not to all of them. For both those to the Corinthians were sent before this: and this is plain from what he wrote at the end of this, saying as follows: “But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints: for it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem.” (Rm 15,25-26). For in writing to the Corinthians he says: “If it be meet that I go also, they shall go with me” (1Co 16,4); meaning this about those who were to carry the money from thence. Whence it is plain, that when he wrote to the Corinthians, the matter of this journey of his was in doubt, but when to the Romans, it stood now a decided thing. And this being allowed, the other point is plain, that this Epistle was after those. But that to the Thessalonians also seems to me to be before the Epistle to the Corinthians: for having written to them before, and having moved the question of alms to them, when he said, “But as touching brotherly love, ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another. And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren” (1Th 4,9-10): then he wrote to the Corinthians. And this very point he makes plain in the words, “For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago, and your zeal hath provoked very many” (2Co 9,2): whence he shows that they were the first he had spoken to about this. This Epistle then is later than those, but prior (prwth) to those from Rome; for he had not as yet set foot in the city of the Romans when he wrote this Epistle, and this he shows by saying, “For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift.” (Rm 1,11). But it was from Rome he wrote to the Philip plans; wherefore he says, “All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caear’s household” (Ph 4,22): and to the Hebrews from thence likewise, wherefore also he says, “all they of Italy salute them.” (He 13,24). And the Epistle to Timothy he sent also from Rome, when in prison; which also seems to me to be the last of all the Epistles; and this is plain from the end: “For I am now ready to be offered,” he says, “and the time of my departure is at hand.” (2Tm 4,6). But that he ended his life there, is clear, I may say, to every one. And that to Philemon is also very late, (for he wrote it in extreme old age, wherefore also he said, “as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner in Christ Jesus”) (Phm 1,9), yet previous to that to the Colossians. And this again is plain from the end. For in writing to the Colossians, he says, “All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, whom I have sent with Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother.” (Col 4,7). For this was that Onesimus in whose behalf he composed the Epistle to Philemon. And that this was no other of the same name with him, is plain from the mention of Archippus. For it is he whom he had taken as worker together with himself in the Epistle to Philemon, when he besought him for Onesimus, whom when writing to the Colossians he stirreth up, saying, “Say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received, that thou fulfil it.” (Col 4,17). And that to the Galatians seems to me to be before that to the Romans.2 But if they have a different order in the Bibles, that is nothing wonderful, since the twelve Prophets, though not exceeding one another in order of time, but standing at great intervals from one another, are in the arrangement of the Bible placed in succession. Thus Haggai and Zachariah and the Messenger3 prophesied after Ezekiel and Daniel, and long after Jonah and Zephaniah and all the rest. Yet they are nevertheless joined with all those from whom they stand so far off in time.

But let no one consider this an undertaking beside the purpose, nor a search of this kind a piece of superfluous curiosity; for the date of the Epistles contributes no little to what we are looking after.4 For when I see him writing to the Romans and to the Colossians about the same subjects, and yet not in a like way about the same subjects; but to the former with much condescension, as when he says, “Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations; for one believeth that he may eat all things, another, herbs” (Rm 14,1-2): who is weak, eateth weak, but to the Colossians he does not write in this way, though about the same things, but with greater boldness of speech: “Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ,” he says, “why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances (touch not, taste not, handle not), which all are to perish with the using, not in any honor to the satisfying of the flesh” (Col 2,20–23);—I find no other reason for this difference than the time of the transaction. For at the first it was needful to be condescending, but afterwards it became no more so. And in many other places one may find him doing this. Thus both the physician and the teacher are used to do. For neither does the physician treat alike his patients in the first stage of their disorder, and when they have come to the point of having health thenceforth, nor the teacher those children who are beginning to learn and those who want more advanced subjects of instruction. Now to the rest he was moved to write by some particular cause and subject, and this he shows, as when he says to the Corinthians, “Touching those things whereof ye wrote unto me” (1Co 7,1): and to the Galatians too from the very commencement of the whole Epistle writes so as to indicate the same thing; but to these for what purpose and wherefore does he write? For one finds him bearing testimony to them that they are “full of goodness, being filled with all knowledge, and able also to admonish others.” (Rm 15,14). Why then does he write to them? “Because of the grace of God,” he says, “which is given unto me, that I should be the minister of Jesus Christ” (Rm 15,16): wherefore also he says in the beginning: “I am a debtor; as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the Gospel to you that are at Rome also;” for what is said—as that they are “ble to exhort others also” (Rm 1,14-15),—and the like, rather belongs to encomium and encouragement: and the correction afforded by means of a letter, was needful even for these; for since he had not yet been present, he bringeth the men to good order in two ways, both by the profitableness of his letter and by the expectation of his presence. For such was that holy soul, it comprised the whole world and carried about all men in itself thinking the nearest relationship to be that in God. And he loved them so, as if he had begotten them all, or rather showed (so 4 mss.) a greater instinctive affection than any father (so Field: all mss. give “a father’s toward all”); for such is the grace of the Spirit, it exceedeth the pangs of the flesh, and displays a more ardent longing than theirs. And this one may see specially in the soul of Paul, who having as it were become winged through love, went continually round to all, abiding nowhere nor standing still. For since he had heard Christ saying, “Peter, lovest thou Me? feed My sheep” (Jn 21,15); and setting forth this as the greatest test of love, he displayed it in a very high degree. Let us too then, in imitation of him, each one bring into order, if not the world, or not entire cities and nations, yet at all events his own house, his wife, his children, his friends, his neighbors. And let no one say to me, “I am unskilled and unlearned:” nothing were less instructed than Peter, nothing more rude than Paul, and this himself confessed, and was not ashamed to say, “though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge.” (2Co 11,6). Yet nevertheless this rude one, and that unlearned man,5 overcame countless philosophers, stopped the mouths of countless orators, and did all by heir own ready mind and the grace of God. What excuse then shall we have, if we are not equal to twenty names, and are not even of service to them that live with us? This is but a pretence and an excuse—for it is not want of learning or of instruction which hindereth our teaching, but drowsiness and sleep. (Ac 1,15 Ac 2,41). Let us then having shaken off this sleep with all diligence cleave to our own members, that we may even here enjoy much calm, by ordering in the fear of God them that are akin to us, and hereafter may partake of countless blessings through the grace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ towards man, through Whom, and with Whom, be glory to the Father, with the Holy Ghost, now, and evermore, and to all ages. Amen.

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