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 December 13th, 2010

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 3:1-6

Posted by Dim Bulb on December 13, 2010

Ver 1. Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene,2. Annas and Caiaphas being the High Priests, the word of God came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.

GREG. The time at which the forerunner of the Savior received the word of preaching, is marked by the names of the Roman sovereign and of the princes of Judea, as it follows: Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Cesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, &c. For because John came to preach Him who was to redeem some from among the Jews, and many among the Gentiles, therefore the time of his preaching is marked out by making mention of the king of the Gentiles and the rulers of the Jews. But because all nations were to be gathered together in one, one man is described as ruling over the Roman state, as it is said, The reign of Tiberius Caesar.

GREEK EX. For the emperor Augustus being dead, from whom the Roman sovereigns obtained the name of “Augustus,” Tiberius being his successor in the monarchy, was now in the 15th year of his receiving the reins of government.

ORIGEN; In the word of prophecy, spoken to the Jews alone, the Jewish kingdom only is mentioned, as, The vision of Esaias, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. But in the Gospel which was to be proclaimed to the whole world, the empire of Tiberius Caesar is mentioned, who seemed the lord of the whole world. But if the Gentiles only were to be saved, it were sufficient to make mention only of Tiberius, but because the Jews s also must believe, the Jewish kingdom therefore, or Tetrarchies, are also introduced, as it follows, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod tetrarch, &c.

GREG. Because the Jews were to be scattered for their crime of treachery, the Jewish kingdom was shut up into parts under several governors According to that saying, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation.

THEOPHYL; Pilate was sent in the twelfth year of Tiberius to take the government of the Jewish nation, and remained there for ten successive years, almost until the death of Tiberius. But Herod, and Philip, and Lysanias, were the sons of that Herod in whose reign our Lord was born. Between these and Herod himself Archelaus their brother reigned ten years. He was accused by the Jews before Augustus, and perished in exile at Vienne. But in order to reduce the Jewish kingdom to greater weakness, Augustus divided it into Tetrarchies.

GREG. Because John preached Him who was to be at the same time both King and Priest, Luke the Evangelist has marked the time of that preaching by the mention not only of Kings, but also of Priests. As it follows, Under the High Priests Annas and Caiaphas.

THEOPHYL; Both Annas and Caiaphas, when John began his preaching, were the High Priests, but Annas held the office that year, Caiaphas the same year in which our Lord suffered on the cross. Three others had held the office in the intervening time, but these two, as having particular reference to our Lord’s Passion, are mentioned by the Evangelist. For at that time of violence and intrigue, the commands of the Law being no longer in force, the honor of the High Priest’s office was never given to merit or high birth, but the whole affairs of the Priesthood were managed by the Roman power. For Josephus relates, that Valerius Gratus, when Annas was thrust out of the Priesthood, appointed Ismael High Priest, the son of Baphas; but not long after casting him off, he put in his place Eleazar the son of the High Priest Ananias. After the space of one year, he expelled him also from the office, and delivered the government of the High Priesthood to a certain Simon, son of Caiaphas, who holding it not longer than a year, had Joseph, whose name also was Caiaphas, for his successor; so that the whole time during which our Lord is related to have taught is included in the space of four years.

AMBROSE; The Son of God being about to gather together the Church, commences His work in His servant. And so it is well said, The word, of the Lord came to John, that the Church should begin not from man, but from the Word. But Luke, in order to declare that John was a prophet, rightly used these few words, The word of the Lord came to him. He adds nothing else, for they need not their own judgment who are filled with the Word of God. By saying this one thing, he has therefore declared all. But Matthew and Mark desired to show him to be a prophet, by his raiment, his girdle, and his food.

CHRYS. The word of God here mentioned was a commandment, for the son of Zacharias came not of himself, but God moved him.

THEOPHYL. Through the whole of the time until his showing himself he was hid in the wilderness, that no suspicion might arise in men’s minds, that from his relation to Christ, and from his intercourse with Him from a child, he would testify such things of Him; and hence he said, He knew him not.

GREG. NYSS. Who also entered this life at once in the spirit and power of Elias, removed from the society of men, in uninterrupted contemplation of invisible things, that he might not, by becoming accustomed to the false notions forced upon us by our senses, fall into mistakes and errors in the discernment of good men. And to such a height of divine grace was he raised, that more favor was bestowed upon him than the Prophets, for from the beginning even to the end, he ever presented his heart before God pure and free from every natural passion.

AMBROSE; Again, the wilderness is the Church itself, for the barren has more children than she who has an husband. The word of the Lord came, that the earth which was before barren might bring forth fruit unto us.

Ver  3. And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;4. As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare you the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.5. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth;6. And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.

AMBROSE; The Word came, and the voice followed. For the Word first works inward, then follows the office of the voice, as it is said, And he went into all the country about Jordan.

ORIGEN; Jordan is the same as descending, for there descends from God a river of healing water. But what parts would John be traversing but the country lying about Jordan, that the penitent sinner might soon arrive at the flowing stream, humbling himself to receive the baptism of repentance. For it is added, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.

GREG. It is plain to every reader that John not only preached the baptism of repentance, but to some also he gave it, yet his own baptism he could not give for the remission of sins.

CHRYS. For as the sacrifice had not yet been offered up, nor had the holy Spirit descended, how could remission of sins be given? What is it then that St. Luke means by the words, for the remission of sins, seeing the Jews were ignorant, and knew not the weight of their sins? Because this was the cause of their evils, in order that they might be convinced of their sins and seek a Redeemer, John came exhorting them to repentance, that being thereby made better and sorrowful for their sins, they might be ready to receive pardon. Rightly then after saying, that he came preaching the baptism of repentance, he adds, for the remission of sins. As if he should say, The reason by which he persuaded them to repent was, as, that thereby they would the more easily obtain despair. For the hill produces no fruit.

ORIGEN; Or you may understand the mountains and hills to be the hostile powers, which have been overthrown by the coming of Christ.

BASIL; But as the hills differ from mountains in respect of height, in other things are the same, so also the adverse powers agree indeed in purpose, but are distinguished from one another in the enormity of their offenses.

GREG. Or, the valley when filled increases, but the mountains and hills when brought low decrease, because the Gentiles by faith in Christ receive fullness of grace, but the Jews by their sin of treachery have lost that wherein they boasted. For the humble receive a gift because the hearts of the proud they keep afar off.

CHRYS. Or by these words he declares the difficulties of the law to be turned into the easiness of faith; as if he said, No more toils and labors await us, but grace and remission of sins make an easy way to salvation.

GREG. NYSS. Or, He orders the valleys to be filled, the mountains and hills to be cast down, to show that the rule of virtue neither fails from want of good, nor transgresses from excess.

GREG. But the crooked places are become straight, when the hearts of the wicked, perverted by a course of injustice, are directed to the rule of justice. But the rough ways are changed to smooth, when fierce and savage dispositions by the influence of Divine grace return to gentleness and meekness.

CHRYS. He then adds the cause of these things, saying, And all flesh shall see, &c. showing that the virtue and knowledge of the Gospel shall be extended even to the end of the world, turning mankind from savage manners and perverse wills to meekness and gentleness. Not only Jewish converts but all mankind shall see the salvation of God.

CYRIL; That is, of the Father, who sent His Son as our Savior. But the flesh is here taken for the whole man.

GREG. Or else, All flesh, i.e. Every man can not see the salvation of God in Christ in this life. The Prophet therefore stretches his eye beyond to the last day of judgment, when all men both the elect and the reprobate shall equally see Him.

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Bernardin de Piconio on 1 Cor 4:1-5 for the 4th Sunday of Advent (Extraordinary Form)

Posted by Dim Bulb on December 13, 2010

1. Thus let man esteem us, as ministers of Christ, and dispensers of the mysteries of God.
2. Now here it is required among dispensers, that one be found faithful.
3. But to me it is of very little moment to be judged
by you, or by a human day: but neither do I judge myself.
4. For I am conscious of nothing to myself: but not in this am I justified: but he who judges me, is the Lord.
5. Therefore do not judge before the time, until the Lord come: who both will illuminate what is hidden in darkness, and manifest the counsels of hearts: and then shall be praise to everyone from God.

Chapter 4. In this chapter the Apostle severely censures the conceited and presumptuous teachers who had undertaken the instruction of the Christians of Corinth, and threatens them with the Divine displeasure.

1. Do not glory in men (3:21), but when you pay us honour, honour us only as the ministers of Christ, not for any eloquence or attainments of our own. Let man esteem us, is a Hebraism: Let everyone so esteem us. As ministers serving: and representing Christ : as dispensers, in the Greek stewards, of his mysteries, the doctrine of the Gospel, and the sacraments of the Church. The admonition is addressed to both sides. Prelates to remember that they are Christ’s servants; the faithful, not to glorify them for their personal merits, but not despise them, for the honour of him whose ministry they bear.

2. Now here. The Greek has, for the rest. The Syriac version reads as the Vulgate. What is required of a steward is not eloquent language, rhetoric, or philosophy; but fidelity. This is certainly his principal recommendation. How do your teachers stand this test? Are they faithful to the ministry they exercise?

3. It is of very little moment to be judged by you. For the Corinthians were always discussing their teachers, and comparing them. They ridiculed men who were good and holy, for their simplicity; but they thought a great deal of others, who were evil and full of faults, on account of their power of speaking. Saint Chrysostom. To me, your judgment is a matter I cannot seriously regard; compared with God’s, it is nothing, a very little thing. Or by a human day. A trial before an earthly tribunal, from the day fixed for the hearing.

Jer 17:6. The day of man I have not desired. I have had no solicitude about earthly judgment and human opinion. I do not even judge myself, for I am often ignorant from what end I act, with what motive, with what degree of knowledge. I am not indeed conscious of having neglected the ministry entrusted to me. I am conscious of nothing to myself; but it does not follow from this that I am free from fault in the sight of God. Who understands his faults? Ps 18:13. He finds error in his angels, Job 4:18. Of the greater part of our offences against God we are absolutely ignorant. St. Basil, in const, monach. 1. It is God who will judge me; and he knows not only what I do, but all my thoughts, intentions, objects, and motives, of which I am very imperfectly cognizant myself, and of which others know nothing.

5. Therefore do not judge before the time. Suspend your judgment upon your teachers, until you learn what the judj:3fment of God will be at the last day. Until the Lord comes. Wait for the arrival of Christ, the Judge of all. He will throw the full light of day upon all the actions of men, whether good or evil; and bring into that light not actions only, but the counsels of hearts, the will, latent in the heart, the design and intention with which all was done. Then shall it appear what degree of praise is really due to each of us, whose merits you so eagerly and busily compare. That praise will be real and true, as coming from him who searches the hearts of all men. That which comes from man is vain and worthless.

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Father Rickaby’s Commentary on Romans 1:1-7

Posted by Dim Bulb on December 13, 2010

1. Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God.

Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, a title not taken at the opening of any of the three previous epistles, but lately much in the Apostle s thoughts, as appears from Gal 6:17. It would be better to read either Paul, servant, or Paul, the servant. The three previous epistles Fr. Rickaby commented on were 1 & 2 Corinthians and Galatians.

Separated unto the gospel of God. Cf. Acts 13:2: The Holy Ghost said to them: Separate me Saul and Barnabas for the work whereunto I have taken them. Cf. also Gal 1:15, 16. The apostleship is of a nature to absorb all a man’s energy, life, and love.

2. Which he had promised before, by his prophets, in the holy Scriptures.

Promised by his prophets. The prophets were the apostles (men sent by God, Isaias vi. 8) of the Old Testament, as the Apostles were the prophets (God’s spokesmen, Luke x. 16) of the New. The faithful are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets (Eph 2:20).

3. Concerning his Son, who was made to him of the seed of David according to the flesh.

Made to him. The to him is not in the Greek. Made, or born, γενομενου.

Of the seed of David. The genealogy in St. Luke 4:23 31, is probably that of Mary; Joseph, who was of Heli, meaning son-in-law of Heli, otherwise called Heliachim, or Joachim. The difficulty arising from Luke 1:5, 36; Ex 2:1; 4:14, joined with Num 36; Tob 6:11, 12, is surmounted by supposing the prohibition of intermarriage between the tribes to have been confined to the case of females who were left heiresses by the failure of male issue. Thus Elizabeth on the mother s side may well have been of the tribe of Juda, and so related to Mary.

According to the flesh, that is, in His human nature, as Man: cf. Rom 9:3, 5. The phrase bears another sense in Rom 8 passim; 1 Cor 1:26; 2 Cor 1:17; 10:2, 3; 11:18; Gal 4:23, 29; John 8:15,  cf. Jn 1:13. It occurs remarkably in 2 Cor 5:16, where see notes.

4. Who was predestinated the Son of God in power, according to the spirit of sanctification, by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead.

Who was predestinated the Son of God. The Vulgate prædestinatus points to a Greek reading, προωρισεν (the word occurs in Acts 4:28; Rom 8:29, 30; 1 Cor 2:7; Eph 1:5, 11), which is not found in any Greek MS., but appears in St. Epiphanius (Hær. 54, 6). All the Greek MSS. read ορισθεντος (marked out), without the preposition. St. Hilary (De Trin. 7, 24) has destinatus, and Tertullian (Adv. Prax. 28) definitus. The Greek is the more received and likely reading. The Greek Fathers explain it to mean shown forth and manifested. Such is the sense required by the words that follow, as will be evident. If we keep the reading predestinated, we must understand it to mean predestinated to be shown forth, i.e. marked out beforehand from eternity to be shown forth in time as the Son of God.

In power according to the spirit of sanctification means exactly what we read in Rom 15:19, in (i.e. by) the power of the Holy Ghost. So the justice which is by faith, literally, justice according to faith (Heb 11:7), is equivalent to the justice of faith (Rom 4:13).

By the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead. We have here a double mistranslation. A literal rendering of what St. Paul wrote would run thus: Who was marked out Son of God in power according to the Spirit of sanctification by resurrection of dead, Jesus Christ our Lord. The words Jesus Christ our Lord are in apposition with Son of God: they are not the genitive after resurrection. True, they are genitive in the Greek, but so is Son of God, του ορισθεντος υιου θεου. The Latin translator has put this participle as a relative clause, changing υιου into filius, and has failed to change what was in apposition with υιου into the nominative also. This is one error–of no dogmatic consequence, but a loss of forcibleness and grammatical accuracy.

The second error is peculiar to our English translators, who have translated ex resurrectione mortuorum, εξ αναστασεως νεκρων, by the resurrection from the dead, instead of by resurrection of dead. The phrase εξ νεκρων, or  των νεκρων, occurs eleven times in Scripture (Matt 22:31; Acts 17:32; 23:6; 24:21; 26:23; 1 Cor 15:12, 13, 21, 42; Heb 6:2, and here); and it invariably means the same as the eleventh article of the Creed, the resurrection of the body, that is, of all dead bodies at the day of judgment. On the other hand, resurrection from the dead is εξαναστασιν των νεκρων, resurrectio ex mortuis (Phil 3:11; Luke 20:35; 1 Pet 1:3, &c.)

The literal then is the right rendering, εξ αναστασεως νεκρων, ex resurrectione mortuorum, by rising of the dead. The preposition εξ, ex, is rightly rendered by, as appears from James 2:18; Rev 8:11, showing the source of the demonstration.

But how can the Divine Sonship of Jesus Christ be marked out and manifest by the resurrection of the dead, an event which has not yet taken place? The answer is that it has taken place already, in promise and potency, by the resurrection of Christ Himself. So St. Paul says: But now Christ is risen from the dead, the first-fruits of them that sleep: for by a man came death, and by a man the resurrection of the dead (αναστασις νεκρων): and as in Adam all die, so also in Chnst all shall be made alive (1 Cor 15:20-22). Nor is the phrase irrespective of our resurrection in baptism (Rom 6:4, 5, 11).

5. By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith in all nations for his name.

By whom we have received, that is, ‘of whom I have received.’  It refers to the special call to the apostleship that St. Paul had from Jesus Christ Himself. See on Gal 1:1 Cf. also 1 Tim 1:12; and for the use of the preposition (δι ου) to denote the chief agent, 1 Cor 1:9; 1 Pet 2:14.

Grace and apostleship, i.e. a gratuitous gift of apostleship: freely have you received (Matt 10:8).

For obedience to the faith, to win men’s obedience to the faith, that is, to the gospel. Cf. Acts 6:7, obeyed the faith, meaning exactly obey the gospel (Rom 6:16). For another possible explanation see on Gal 3:2.

For his name, on his behalf, Acts 5:41; 9:16.

6. Among whom are you also the called of Jesus Christ:

The called of Jesus Christ. Cf. John 5:25, the dead there spoken of being those dead in sin, as the Ephesians (Eph 2:1) and Romans were before their conversion. Called in the New Testament (e.g. Matt. xxii. 14) means always those who have been called and have come to the faith and fold of Christ. Thus it means called by Jesus Christ, through the Apostles speaking in His name.

7. To all that are at Rome, the beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord  Jesus Christ.

In the New Testament generally, as here, the Father is called God, the Son Lord: in which phraseology the names are given, not “essentially,” but “notionally,” as theologians speak. That is to say, the Father is God, the fountain of divinity, as He is the First Person of the Holy Trinity: the Son is Lord by the title of redemption. But if therefore the Son is not God, neither is the Father Lord.

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Fourth Sunday of Advent: Bernardin de Piconio on Romans 1:1-7

Posted by Dim Bulb on December 13, 2010

Text in red represent my additions to the notes.
1.  Paul, servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an Apostle, separated to the Gospel of God.
2.  Which He had promised in former times by His prophets, in the Holy Scriptures.
3.  Concerning His Son, who was made to him of the seed of David according to the flesh.
4.  Who was predestined the Son of God in virtue according to the Spirit of Sanctification from the resurrection of the dead, our Lord Jesus Christ: (RSV Translation of this verse- and designated Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,)
5.  Through whom we have received grace and Apostolate for the obedience of faith in all the nations for his name,
6.  Among whom are you also, the called of Jesus Christ:
7.  To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints, grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

In this magnificent prologue the Apostle fixes the attention of his readers at Rome upon his own claim to be listened to by them, as an apostle of Christ.  We shall find that in the verses that succeed, 8-17, he continues to press the same subject on them, on the ground of his care and solicitude for their spiritual welfare.  In the remainder of the chapter he enters upon the task he has principally set himself in this Epistle, to prove that Justification is of faith, not of the law, natural or positive; and turning first to the Gentiles, convicts them of systematic and flagrant disobedience to the known laws of God.

Romans 1:1-17 forms a single literary sub-unit, consisting of a greeting (1-7), a thanksgiving (8-15), and statement of primary theme (16-17).  I refer to 1:1-17 as a sub-unit because it forms part of a larger literary section of the Gospel, namely, 1:1-4:25.  This broader unit has a concentric structure which may be outlined as follows:

A1) 1:1-17. The purpose of the letter is announced.  Justification is by faith.

B)  1:18-3:20.  Neither Jew nor Gentile can save themselves because the wrath of God is upon all who sin, whether men in general (1:1-18), or Jews under the law (2:1-3:20).

A2)  3:21-4:25.  St Paul expounds upon justification by faith.

For more details on the structure of Romans see SEVEN PAULINE LETTERS y Peter F. Ellis.

Paul.  The Apostle’s Hebrew name was Saul.  He may have had two names given him in circumcision, and this is the opinion of Origen, Saint Anselm, and Saint Thomas.  Or his name may have been changed to Paul in the same way that that of Simon was changed to Cephas, or Peter: this is the opinion of Saint Chrysostom.  Or else he took the name Paul from his first convert of distinction, Sergius Paulus, the proconsul of Cyprus; which is the view of Saint Jerome, followed by Baronius (see Acts13:12).  Or lastly, he may have assumed the name Paul, which means little, out of humility, being small of stature, and considering himself the least (Eph 3:8), which is the opinion of Saint Augustine.  At any rate it is certain that he is called Paul from the date of his mission to Cyprus with Saint Barnabas, and takes this name in all his Epistles.

The opinions concerning the name of Paul have a long history, right up into modern times.  The fact is, however, that no reason is given for the change of name: “Acts simply says, ‘Saul, who is also called Paul,’ and that is all there is to it” (Stanley B. Marrow, PAUL, HIS LETTERS AND HIS THEOLOGY pg 7).

Servant of Jesus Christ. There are several modes of servitude to God, says St Chrysostom: by creation, by faith, by institute (office) of life; and St Paul was God’s servant in all three.  The Greek word “servant,” as well as the Latin one, means literally “slave.”

Concerning St John Chrysostom, here is what he wrote: “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ.” Why did God change his name, and call him Paul who was Saul? It was, that he might not even in this respect come short of the Apostles, but that that preëminence which the chief of the Disciples had, he might also acquire (Mc 3,16); and have whereon to ground a closer union with them. And he calls himself, the servant of Christ, yet not merely this; for there be many sorts of servitude. One owing to the Creation, according to which it says, “for all are Thy servants” (Ps 119,91); and according to which it says, “Nebuchadnezzar, My servant” (Jr 25,9), for the work is the servant of Him which made it. Another kind is that from the faith, of which it saith, “But God be thanked that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from a pure heart that form of doctrine which was delivered unto you: being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” (Rm 6,17-18). Another is that from civil subjection (toliteia”), after which it saith, “Moses my servant is dead” (Jos 1,2); and indeed all the Jews were servants, but Moses in a special way as shining most brightly in the community. Since then, in all the forms of the marvellous servitude, Paul was a servant, this he puts in the room of the greatest title of dignity, saying, “a servant of Jesus Christ.”

The title “servant” has its origins in the Old Testament, wherein we find numerous individuals, especially prophets or those chosen for a special mission, referred to as such (2 Sam 24:10; Amos 3:7; Jer 25:4).  The title was also used of  the people of Israel in general, especially in relation to worship, the service of God.  St Paul is using the word here in reference to his mission, a mission he also sees in priestly terms (Rom 15:15-21), for the sake of making a priestly people (Rom 12:1-2).

Called to be an Apostle. The Greek word kletos called, is an adjective, not a participle.  It means an Apostle by vocation, or the call of Christ, not by his own intrusion into the office, or any human appointment.  The same adjective occurs in verses 6 and 7,  and has in both cases an analogous meaning: saints y God’s calling.

St Paul often emphasizes the gratuitous nature of his office.  This is usually done in response to opponents who were apparently claiming Paul had no right to the ministry and had taken it upon himself, without Divine warrant (see Gal 1:1, 11-17).  At other times St Paul refers to its gratuitous nature to highlight God’s mercy (1 Tim 1:12-17).

Separated. Has reference to the words of Christ in Acts 9:15, and 13:2.  Here the meaning has the sense of “appoint”, as in Galatians 1:15. The three terms, servant, called, separated to the Gospel, are perhaps insisted upon to counteract some unfavorable rumors which may have been prevalent at Rome regarding the purity of the Pauline doctrine.  But they are also the inalienable marks of the true Bishop of the Church of God in all times.  He is to teach the Gospel of God, not human inventions.  He must have a divine call, not a merely human one.  And he must live, labor, suffer, die, if necessary, in the service of God and his Church.

The Gospel of God. The Good News of Salvation in Christ Jesus.  The Good News is the announcement of the coming Reign of God (Mk 1:14); which is brought near in the death and resurrection of Christ, who now reigns in power and who, through the Church, is bringing the Reign and the Gospel to fulfillment (Matt 28:18-20).

Which He promised. God’s Gospel is no novelty.  It was announced and expected from the beginning of the world…St Paul sees the OT Scripture as being oriented towards the eschatological age in which we now live (see Rom 15:4; 1 Cor 9:10).  It is for this reason that the OT Scripture can only be understood in the light of the Gospel (2 Cor 3:7-4:7; 2 Tim 3:15 ).

Who was made to him. Who in time was made man, and born of the Virgin Mary, of the race of David.  The Greek word ginomai is also used for the birth of Christ in Galatians 4:4.  St Paul often employs this word in Christological contexts, perhaps implying Christ’s pre-existence.

Who was predestined the Son of God. This phrase has a long and complex interpretive history which cannot be gone into here.  Most modern scholars, rightly in my opinion, reject the Vulgate translation being used here.   The RSV reads:and designated Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord…” The full significance of Jesus being the Son of God and Messiah could not be adequately known until after his resurrection and the giving of the Spirit, when the prophecies of Scripture could be seen as fulfilled.

Through whom we have received grace and Apostolate. Sanctification gratuitously given of God’s mercy: all free and supernatural gifts; and the Apostolate, to be exercised in Christ’s name and by his authority among all nations.  Clearly the author of these comments sees a twofold reference here.  More likely, “gace and Apostolate” means “the grace of apostleship,” thus building upon the references to himself as servant, called, and separated in vs 1.

For the obedience of faith. St Chrysostom: He does not say, to be brought into question and debate, or to be loudly canvassed: but obeyed. We are not sent to put forward syllogisms and arguments; but to deliver that which is committed to our trust.  What God has pronounced and affirmed, men are not to criticize or cavil at, but to listen receive.  The spirit of faith is the spirit of obedience.  Not a simple and natural operation of the mind, or exercise of reason, but the submission and adhesion of the will of man by the help of grace, to the word of God.  Concerning the obedience of faith, see here.  See also 2 Cor 10:1-6.

Among whom you also. Among the other nations of the earth, to whom our mission extends universally, are you also, Romans, and to you therefore I write, who are the called of Jesus Christ. This word (called) is more than once repeated, for the faithful to understand that they are Christians by the grace of God.

Grace and peace. Grace, to unite them to God; peace to untie them to one another.  The two words are repeatedly joined in this manner in St Paul’s Epistles.  This form of salutation was given y Christ to his Apostles, (Luke 10:5).  The two words together imply the fullness of covenant blessing.

Called to e saints. Sanctity is the end of your vocation.  Observe here the grandeur of the Christian Vocation.  The Christian belongs to Christ.  He is “the dalled of Jesus Christ;” and he is “beloved of God.”  And he is a “saint,” being sanctified by Baptism.

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My Notes on Psalm 25:1-14

Posted by Dim Bulb on December 13, 2010

This post was originally on verses 1-9 but has been expanded to 1-14.

Unless otherwise noted all quotations of Scripture come from the Revised Standard Version in accordance with its copyright restrictions. Notice of copyright can be found at the end of this post.

The Hebrew text of this psalm is acrostic (i.e., alphabetic) in structure. The first verse begins with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet (aleph), the second verse with the second letter (beth), and so forth. One would expect then that the last verse would begin with the letter tau, but, in fact, an extra verse, beginning with pe, ends the Psalm.  Scholars have noted that the first (aleph), middle (lamedh) and last (pe) letters spell the Hebrew word “teach,” or “instruct,’ a major theme of this psalm.

Psa 25:1 To thee, O LORD, I lift up my soul.

The Psalmist opens with what might be called a personal sursum corda.

To thee, O Lord. The Hebrew expresses movement towards God: Towards thee, O Lord & c. The opening of this and the second verse (“in thee”) are emphatic, denoting the Psalmists trust and need for the Lord.

I lifted up my soul. The Hebrew word translated here as soul is נפשׁ (nephesh). the word is often associated with life itself, or the breath of life (Gen 35:18; 1 Kings 17:21). The Psalmist is oppressed by enemies (Ps 25:2) and knows his nephesh is in God’s hands (Ps 25:20), as a consequence he presents-so to speak-his very life to God in prayer. Seen in this light the psalmist stands as one can ascend the mountain of the Lord (i.e., the Temple Mount) and stand in his holy place (i.e., the Temple), because he is innocent of hand and clean of heart, for he has not lifted up his soul (nephesh) to vanity (Ps 24: 3-4). True, he has sinned in the past, but these have not become a way of life for him, he depends on the love of God (Ps 25:7).

Psa 25:2  O my God, in thee I trust, let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me.

There are some interesting conceptual word plays here. In verse 1 the psalmist has lifted up his soul to the Lord, here he asks that his enemies not exalt (עלץ “jump up”, as if celebrating) over him. He seeks to elevate his life into the hands of God on the basis of his trust (בּטח “to throw one’s self upon). The two verses suggest a confidence based upon humility: “I lift up my nephesh to you, O God, I throw myself humbly down upon you, that my enemies may not jump up over me.”

God is the only exalted one in essence, any who wish to have a share in that exultation can only do so by God’s good grace.

25:3 Yea, let none that wait for thee be put to shame; let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

The plea not to be put to shame by enemies is often coupled with the theme of waiting for God, which presupposes faith: “Teach me thy way, O LORD; and lead me on a level path because of my enemies. Give me not up to the will of my adversaries; for false witnesses have risen against me, and they breathe out violence. I believe that I shall see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; yea, wait for the LORD!”~Psalm 27:11-14 (see also 37:9, 34; 39:7; 40:1; 69:6; 130:5-6).

Those who persevere in patient faith will have their reward: “He will swallow up death for ever, and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth; for the LORD has spoken.  It will be said on that day, “Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”” (Isa 25:8-9).

25:4 Make me to know thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths.

Thy ways (דּרך = derek)…thy paths (ארח = ‘ôrach). The two Hebrew words are often used as metaphors for one’s moral life. “Two roads there are, one that leads to life, the other that leads to death, and great is the difference between the two” (Didache, ch. 1).

Man’s life is supposed to be a pilgrimage towards God, but he can only reach the goal by following the path laid out for him by God. This path is God’s revealed will: “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night…for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish” (Psalm 1:1-2, 6. See my notes on Psalm 1). See the Prayer of Moses (Ex 33:13).

“Thus says the LORD: “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls” (Jer 6:16).

“But this command I gave them, `Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people; and walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.’ But they did not obey or incline their ear, but walked in their own counsels and the stubbornness of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward” (Jer 7:23-24).

25:5 Lead me in thy truth, and teach me, for thou art the God of my salvation; for thee I wait all the day long.

Here and in the previous verse we see that the initiative for our pilgrimage comes from God, and its completion is dependent upon Him: Make me…Lead me…teach me. “Oh send out thy light and thy truth; let them lead me, let them bring me to thy holy hill and to thy dwelling! Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy; and I will praise thee with the lyre, O God, my God. Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God (Ps 43:3-5).

“And I will lead the blind in a way that they know not, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I will do, and I will not forsake them” (Isa 42:16).

Lead my in thy truth. A “do your own thing” religion is foreign to both Judaism and Catholicism. “Jesus then said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (Jn 8:31-32).

We are lead in the truth by the Holy Spirit: “But the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring all things to your mind, whatsoever I shall have said to you” (Jn 14:26 DRB).

“But when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will teach you all truth. For he shall not speak of himself: but what things soever he shall hear, he shall speak. And the things that are to come, he shall shew you” (Jn 16:13 DRB).

This is the same Spirit who revealed through St Paul “that in the last times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to spirits of error and doctrines of devils” (1 Tim 4:1 DRB). For this reason he urges Timothy to “command and teach” (1 Tim 4:11). And it is for this reason that the ministry of the Church continues: “I charge thee, before God and Jesus Christ, who shall judge the living and the dead, by his coming and his kingdom: Preach the word: be instant in season, out of season: reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine. For there shall be a time when they will not endure sound doctrine but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers having itching ears:  And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables.  But be thou vigilant, labour in all things, do the work of an evangelist, fulfil thy ministry. Be sober” (2 Tim 4:1-5 DRB).

25:6 Be mindful of thy mercy, O LORD, and of thy steadfast love, for they have been from of old.

Mercy…steadfast love. Attributes God has manifested, especially in the covenants he has made: “The LORD passed before him, and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.”” (Ex 34:6-7. Said at the renenwal of the Covenant after the Israelites had broken it in Ex 32).

It was because of this steadfast mercy and love that God fulfilled his promises to the patriarchs with the coming of our Lord: “He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity for ever”” (Luke 1:54-55).

On the basis of this mercy and love the Psalmist prays:

25:7 Remember not the sins of my youth, or my transgressions; according to thy steadfast love remember me, for thy goodness’ sake, O LORD!

The Psalmist has fulfilled the injunction of the Prophet Isaiah: “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unjust man his thoughts, and let him return to the Lord.”  Thus the Psalmist can trust that God “will have mercy on him, and to our God: for he is bountiful to forgive” (Isa 55:7).

Notice that here that the Psalmist is not making his request on the basis of his own goodness-he’s a sinner-but, for Thy goodness’ sake, O Lord. The word goodness here is a reference to God’s salvific bounty, though it can also be used in reference to his material bounty as well.

25:8 Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way.

Notice the cause (Good and upright is the Lord) and effect (therefore he instructs sinners) structure of the passage. “God condescends to sinners in order to teach them the way that leads to life, for He is טֹוב־וְיָשָׂר (upright); well-doing is His delight, and, if His anger be not provoked (Psa_18:27), He has only the sincerest good intention in what He does” (Keil and Delitzsch).

Because God is Good and upright he instructs sinners so long as they are repentant and do not remain “wantonly treacherous” (verse 3). It is this confidence that led the repentant Psalmist to make his appeal: “Make me to know thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me” (verses 4-5).

“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father from heaven give the good Spirit to them that ask him?” (Luke 11:13).

25:9 He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.

Humble. ענוים (anawim. Poor, humble, lowly, etc.). The word is generally used in reference to those who are totally dependent upon God. The Psalmist is, as we have seen, oppressed by enemies and, as we have also seen, recognizes his dependence on God, as a result, he is one of those whose cry God hears (Ps 9:12). He has waited in patience for help and will not be disappointed (Ps 9:18).  Such as these God saves (Ps 76:9). It was for the sake of such that Christ came in fulfillment of God’s promises (Luke 4:18-19, quoting Is 61:1-2).

25:10 All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.

The paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness. The paths are God’s teachings which lead to salvation (verses 4-5). The steadfast love of God was associated with God’s mercy in verse 6. The steadfast love that caused the psalmist to plead “remember not the sins of my youth, or my transgressions” (verse 7).

For those who keep his covenant and his testimonies. God’s merciful covenant comes with demands that his covenant be kept according to his teachings.

25:11 For thy name’s sake, O LORD, pardon my guilt, for it is great.

God has chosen a people for himself and through them glorifies his name, which signifies his very being (YHWH = “I Am who I Am”, see Ex 3:14). Were God to utterly abandon or destroy his people it would be a reproach upon him, as Moses pointed out (Exodus 32:11-13; Deut 9:26-29; Ezekiel 20:5-9). See Also Ezekiel 36:22-23, Isa 37:35; Isa 43:25; Isa 48:9-11.

25:12 Who is the man that fears the LORD? Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose.

Who is the man that fears the LORD? Him he will instruct, & c. Fear here means reverence. Here the psalmist is approaching the wisdom tradition which associates fear of the Lord with instruction (Prov 1:7, Prov 9:10; Job 28:28; Ps 111:10; Ecclesiastes 12:13).

25:13 He himself shall abide in prosperity, and his children shall possess the land.

He himself shall abide in prosperity. The covenant promises of land and blessing are here in mind (Deut 28:7-15). Compare with the blessing given for those who give up house and family for the sake of Jesus and the Gospel (Mark

25:14 The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant.

A reminder that the covenant is more than a contract of employer and employee. Living by the covenant brings friendship and intimacy with God: This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you (Jn 15:12-15).

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Maldonado’s Commentary on Matthew 1:18-25

Posted by Dim Bulb on December 13, 2010

Mat 1:18  Now the generation of Christ was in this wise. When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child, of the Holy Ghost.

Now the Generations of Christ. Some Greek copies add “Jesus”, but S. Chrysostom and Theophylact do not read it. Euthymius, however, does. The present version seems preferable as being more ancient and agreeing better with what has gone before, from the transmigration of Babylon to Christ. Because the Evangelist had numbered the generation of Christ with that of
others, lest any should think that He was born in the same manner as they, he describes the peculiar method of His birth. “Now the generation of Christ was in this wise,” i.e., not as others. “When as His Mother Mary.” To the same
effect he speaks of Christ’s Mother, signifying that He had no father, and, with the same care as he had said (in verse 16), “Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who was called Christ “.

When as His Mother Mary was espoused. The Greek reads μνηστευθεισης γαρ, but the word γαρ is not in our version, and rather interferes with the meaning. Some,considering the strict meaning of the word espoused and married, think that the Blessed Virgin, when she conceived
Christ, was not married, but only betrothed. For the Greek words for espoused and married differ like the Latin desponderi and nubere. These think that Joseph had not yet brought Mary home, and that this is the meaning of verse 20, as ifhe had not yet married her. Of this opinion were Origen (Homily in Evang.), S. Hilary (in loc), S. Basil (Hum. Nat. Christi), S. Epiphanius (Her., Ixxxviii.); but the opinion of S. Chrysostom, The Author (Hom, i.), S. Ambrose (ii., In Luc), Theophylact (in loc.), and almost all others, that she was then married, is to be preferred. The Holy Spirit willed Christ to be born of a married woman, to preserve the honour of the Blessed Virgin, which would not have been done if she had only been espoused; and Joseph is called a ανηρ αυτης (verse 19) literally,”man of her.” the Greek word aner (ανηρ) is used throughout the NT to refer to a husband.”  Mary  is called γυναικα  wife of Joseph (verse 20).

S. Matthew, therefore, uses the word μνηστευθεισης, sponsam, of the Blessed Virgin, not as if she were not married, but, as S. Chrysostom very rightly observes, because she was not known by her husband, otherwise than spousæ, who are not yet married. But we cannot accept the view of SS. Chrysostom and Bernard when they say that it was the custom of the Hebrews for sons-in-law to live in the houses of their fathers-in-law before marriage. They urge the case of the sons-in-law of Lot (Gen 19:14) as their
authority, but Scripture does not say that they lived in his house. Doubtless then, as all, or the best, authorities hold, the marriage of Joseph and Mary when Christ was conceived was a true one; as S. Augustin proves against
Julian the Pelagian, who defined marriage to be concubitus. The Jewish marriage process was twofold: (1) the espousal period, which could last up to a year.  During this period the couple lived apart but were still considered to be husband and wife; it is for this reason that Matthew can speak of Mary in verse 18 as “espoused” (NAB, “betrothed”) and also refer to Joseph as her husband in verses 16 and 19; and call Mary “thy wife” (NAB “your wife’) in verse 20. (2) the ratification of the marriage took place when the groom went to the house where his s=espoused wife was living and brought her back into his own home. This is what is being referred to when the angel says fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife (see verses 20 & 24). It is this process which is behind the marriage imagery of Matt 25:1-13; Jn 3:29-30.

Why Christ pleased to be born ex nupta is easily understood, but there dsefive especial reasons for it.

1. That given by S. Ambrose: Christ would rather that His own birth should be doubted than His mother’s honour. “For He preferred to be thought the son of Joseph to being thought the son of an immodest mother.”

2. That He might not appear to be spurius. For if some despised Him as the son of a carpenter, what would they not have done in this case?

3. That Joseph and Mary might have the care and custody of the Infant. Thus when anything was to be done, the word of the Lord came to Joseph, and not to Mary (S. Matt 2:13, 19) ; and when the Child was lost. He was sought for by Joseph (S.  Luke 2:48).

4. That Joseph mightbea witness to the virginity of Mary. For no one could have been so worthy of belief in asserting her chastity as he who was her guardian. He ought to have known, and he could have known it better than any other. For it would have been more likely that Joseph, with the natural zeal of a husband, would have suspected unchastity where it was not, than have defended it where it was.

5. The fifth reason, acknowledged by almost all authorities, is that the mystery of Christ’s birth might be concealed from the devil, lest he should lay snares for the Infant. But the question is, how the devil could be ignorant of the virginity of the Blessed Virgin when he could have seen that she was pure and incorrupt though married.

S. Hilary explains this to mean, before they had come
together in conjugis nomen (i.e., marriage in name only. St Hilary is referring to the espousal period). But it has been shown that they were fully married, and therefore the words “came together” must mean here, as S. Jerome says, rem matrimonii exercere (a fact of marriage being exercised. Coming together refers to the act of an existing marriage, not the establishment of it).  The Evangelist wished to give the reason of Joseph’s desire of putting Mary away privately before they came together. This was the argument chiefly relied upon by those who were afterwards called antidicomarianitæ by S. Epiphanius (Her., Ixxviii.), by Jovinianus (S. Augustin, De Hæresib.), and by Helvidius (S. Jerome, Lib. Cont. Helvid.), They believed that after the birth of Christ the Blessed Virgin had sons by Joseph, who were the persons called the brothers of Christ (S. Matt 12:46-7; 13:55; S. Mark 13:31, 33; S. Luke 8:19, 20). This error has been so thoroughly confuted by S. Jerome, that to attempt it again would be actum agere. The result is, that to say of non factum esse ante, is not to say factum est post. To use an example of S. Jerome, when we say that heretics will not perform penance before they die, we do not mean that they will do so afterwards; but we are silent on a matter that is certain, we speak of one that is doubtful. No man, assuredly, can perform penance after his death (Psalm 6:6), but it is unknown whether he will do so before it. It is certain that Joseph knew not Mary after the birth of Christ, for she had no other son than Christ; of Him there was no question. The question was, whether He were conceived by Joseph or the Holy Ghost. This was doubtful, and needed explanation. The Evangelist, then, explained what was doubtful and necessary to be known; he passed over what was not inquired about, and was not necessary to be told. How these persons were called the brothers of Christ shall be explained in chap. 12:46.

She was found. Origen (Hom. i. m Evang and S. Jerome (in loc.) say that
Joseph so found her, as being her husband. But the Greek ευρεθη does not mean finding a thing by seeking and inquiring, but rather by not seeking and not thinking, and contrarily to all opinion and expectation; as has been
observed by S. Chrysostom, a good judge of the Greek language (As used in Matt 1:18 the verb found (ευρεθη) is an aorist indicative passive). Joseph then found the Blessed Virgin with child, not by investigation, or inquiry, or contact, but by an observation most pure and free from all curiosity. Nor is
it signified that she was so found by Joseph rather than by any other, but that she suddenly and unexpectedly presented such a personal appearance that all who saw her could perceive her condition.

Of the Holy Ghost. Some unite these words to those immediately preceding,
understanding by them that Joseph not only found that Mary was with child, but that she was so by the Holy Ghost. But it is clear from what follows that he did not know by whom she had conceived, and he therefore wished to put her away. Upon this he was informed of the truth by the Angel. In this all the authorities agree.

“Of the Holy Ghost” does not mean that the Holy Ghost was the Father of Christ, as some, according to S. Jerome, formerly thought, but that it was caused by the power of the Holy Ghost, that Mary should conceive sine viro (without man). Nor is Christ said to have been conceived by the Holy Ghost, as if He only, and not the Father and the Son Himself, who was begotten, caused His birth. For that is a true law of the ancient Fathers, and retained by the Schoolmen, that “all the acts of the Trinity, out of Itself, were common to all the Persons “. Christ is said to have been conceived by the Holy Ghost by that “attribution” which is commonly spoken of in Holy Scripture, and by which what is common to the Three Persons is, on account of office or peculiar act, ascribed to one only; as the office and power of government is ascribed to the Father, of wisdom to the Son, of love, kindness, beneficence, liberality, fecundity to the Holy Ghost.

For two reasons, therefore, the conception of Christ is attributed to the Holy Ghost, both because He is the highest goodness, and the head of all benefits to men, and also because He is the work of fecundity, and He is the Life-giver. For the Holy Ghost is as a divine seed, by which all things are made fruitful, as Gen 1:2 ~”The spirit of God moved over the waters” is often explained, and is, as it were, the life and soul by which all things are animated and vivified (Psalm 104:30; S. John 6:64).

There is a strong resemblance between Christ and Christians, that is, between the head and the members, which almost all ancient writers, SS. Ambrose, Augustin, Leo, have observed. Christ was born of the Blessed Virgin, Christians of the Virgin Church. The Church is the Virgin and Mother, without spot or wrinkle, like Mary (Eph 5:27). The womb is the fount of baptism; the seed of the Church is water, which produces the living soul; the Holy Ghost is the seed. As, therefore, Christ was born of the Blessed Virgin and the Holy Ghost, so Christians, that is, the members of Christ, ought to be reborn of water and the Holy Ghost. So S. John 3:5.

Mat 1:19  Whereupon Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing publicly to expose her, was minded to put her away privately.

Being a just man. The Greek and Latin versions both admit a double
meaning to these words: (1) Although he was; (2) because
he was. The Latin cum; cum esset justus, is a causal word. The cause of the events that follow is given. Modern critical scholars accept number 2~”because he was a just man,” accepting the Vulgate’s understanding of the word as a present active participle. Being a just man was an active, continuing or repeated state with St Joseph.

The cause of each event is given, as two events follow: (1) He would not expose her; (2) he wished to put her away privately. Some, like S. Chrysostom, think that the cause of the second clause is given, and that he wished to put her away because he was just, and would not retain one whom he suspected of adultery. SS. Chrysostom, Jerome, and others of authority, thought that it was not lawful for a man to put away a wife who was an adulteress. And it was ordered by some decrees of the Church that this should not be done. Others, SS. Jerome, Ambrose, Theophylact, think
that the reason of the first clause is given. This seems much more probable. For the words, ”He would not expose her” are opposed to saying, ” He was a just man,” and therefore would not expose her, but began to think of some other manner of putting her away. The opinion of S. Chrysostom is abandoned, not only by divines, but by the whole Church. For the law permitted the putting away of an adulteress, but did not command it, Christ Himself so explaining it (S. Matt 19:8; S. Mark 10:5).

It will be said, If the law permitted it, it was lawful to accuse the adulteress. Hence Joseph, though a just man, was able, salva justitia, to do this. Joseph was called a just man, not because he was endowed with justice, one of the four moral virtues, but because, as S. Chrysostom says, he possessed, as a heap, every species of virtue. Whoever is of such a nature follows S. Paul, and says (1 Cor 10:22), “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient”.

Joseph, therefore, had the power to expose her, but he ought not to have done so, because it was an act of greater charity to put her away privately. Because he was a just man, that is, endowed with great charity, he would not do what justice indeed, a single virtue, allowed, but what charity, the queen of all virtues, demanded.

Publicly to expose her. Latin: Traducere, Greek: παραδειγματισαι, to see punished by public example, to accuse ignominiously. In a word, S. Augustin
explains it by exemplare (Ep. 59), although he elsewhere paraphrases it by divulgare solet. S. Joseph would have done this if he had called her to judgment, and set her out before all men as an adulteress. S. Paul uses the same word (Heb 6:6), where our version reads ostantatui habentes, making Him a mockery. The LXX. uses the word in the same sense (Num 24:4; Esther 14:8; Jer 13:22; Ezek 28:17).

Was minded to put her away privately.
Origen, S. Jerome, S. Bernard and others, think that Joseph wished to put her away, because he knew that she had conceived by the Holy Ghost, and that he was therefore unworthy of her society; as S. Peter said to Christ, ” Depart from me ” (S. Luke 5:8), and the centurion, “Lord, I am not worthy ” (S. Matt
8:8), Others, on the contrary, as S. Chrysostom (in loc) S. Augustin (Ep. 54, Serm. xvi. de Temp.: if his),Theophylact and Euthymius think that he would have put her away as suspecting her of adultery, and that Joseph, thinking that she had conceived, not of the Holy Ghost, but of adultery, feared to receive her, lest he might either appear to approve of her crime, or because he was unwilling to bear the injury he supposed done to him (S. Chrysostom, in loc, and De S. Susanna; S. Augustin, Ep. 54, Serni. xvi. De verb. Dom., Serm. xviii. de Temp.; Theophylact and Euthymius, Comment.). Joseph’s reason for thinking of putting her away privately is uncertain. The reason of Abulensis, that he thought to give her a writing of divorcement privately, does not seem good, for, however privately he might have given it, every writing is, sua natura, public. Besides, the divorce and disgrace could not be concealed, if, after living in the same house, they had been separated, privato Judicio, and especially at a time when Mary’s condition was apparent. The opinion of those, therefore, who say that Joseph thought of retiring into a voluntary exile, under pretence of taking a journey, that he might appear not to have put her away for any fault, but to have left her from necessity, seems more probable. Not only does the λαθρα (“privately”), but also απολυσαι (“put her away”), seems to warrant this.

A lot of ink has been spilled over St Joseph’s being “minded to put her away privately” (εβουληθη λαθρα απολυσαι αυτην), but need it have been so? The Greek απολυσαι (“put her away”) could be translated “pardon” or, “forgive” (see Luke 6:37). The angel’s words (verse 20), “fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife” could indicate not that Joseph was contemplating divorce, but that he was concerned about what the state of their married life would be in virtue of the supposed adultery.

Mat 1:20  But while he thought on these things, behold the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in his sleep, saying: Joseph, son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her, is of the Holy Ghost.

But while he thought of these things. How he should put her away privately, before he had found any plan for doing so, or had followed out his design. The Evangelist seems to signify that God awaited a fit moment to send the angel. If He had sent him before Joseph knew the condition of Mary, Joseph perhaps, like Zacharias, would not have believed him. If sent after Joseph had left her, the angel would have been sent too late. God, therefore, sends the physician to the sick man neither before he begins to be amiss nor after he has died and ceased to be so. The same authors give another reason why Joseph would not have been so good a witness of the virginity of Mary if he had been warned by the angel before he thought of putting her away. For who would not have believed a husband who bore witness of the purity of his wife, and a husband who had gone so far as to suspect her of adultery, and to meditate a divorce?
It is Divine Providence which permits one man to be sick, that from his disease it may make medicine for many. It was this which permitted S. Peter and S. Thomas to fall in the faith, that we might not fall. It waited until Joseph doubted of the chastity of Mary, lest we should doubt, as we have said on verse 19 from S. Bernard.

Why, again, was the angel sent to Mary before she conceived?

1. Probably because her consent was to be obtained before she could become the spouse of the Holy Ghost and conceive by Him.
2. Because it was not fitting that she should be ignorant whom she bore in her womb, and whence she had conceived.
3. Before that warning she could not have become the mother of Christ her Son (S. Augustin, De Virg. Sanct.; S. Leo, Serm, de Nat. Dom.). She knew Christ by faith before she conceived Him in her body, whom, unless so warned, she could not have possessed.

It has also been asked, why the angel was sent to Mary when watching and to Joseph when sleeping? Apparently faith and consent were required from Mary, as has been said. The question of Joseph is not so easy. S. Chrysostom
says, with much reason, that Joseph was a just man, whom it was sufficient to warn in sleep.

Again, knowing the condition of Mary, and doubting about her, he might in a moment be led to believe that it was the work of the Holy Ghost. It may seem very strange that the Blessed Virgin did not acquaint her husband with what the angel had said to her, that she might free herself from the risk of infamy, and her husband from sinister suspicion. Here again S. Chrysostom answers, that Joseph, whilst in doubt about the purity of his wife, would not have believed her own testimony, however holy she were, of herself—as, what husband, uninformed by God, would have done so?

That which is conceived in her. The words of the angel are directed to comfort Joseph, who was then in trouble and perplexity, and to prove to him that it was needless for him to doubt or despond, but that he should rejoice that his wife was about to be the mother of that Messiah who had been so long looked for. The angel calls Joseph the Son of David, not only as it was a title of honour, but also to show that He who was conceived of the Blessed Virgin was of the same family, and was that Messiah who was to be the Son of David. He wished also to bring to Joseph’s mind the words of Isaiah 7:14, “Behold, a Virgin shall conceive and bear a Son,” that he might believe and rejoice that this was accomplished in his wife.

Mat 1:21  And she shall bring forth a son: and thou shalt call his name Jesus. For he shall save his people from their sins.

And she shall bring forth a Son. τεξεται δε—δε (“and”) seems put for γαρ (“for,” “because”), the words appear to have been spoken by the angel to confirm the faith of Joseph. As if he had said: “Your wife is not the adulteress you fear, but she is that most spotless Virgin of whom Isaiah spoke (Is 7:14). She shall bring forth a Son, not a daughter, and when you see this, you will not doubt that He was conceived by the Holy Ghost. For when you see that what I have foretold you as future, has come to pass, you will believe that the past, of which I have told you, is also true.”

And thou shalt call His name Jesus. This additional honour was bestowed upon Joseph, that he should give His name to Him who was born not of himself, but of the Holy Ghost, as if He had been his own son. Some have said that this was done merely as it was the custom for fathers to give the children their names. This may have been the general custom, but it was not universal, for Rachel called her son Benoni (Gen 35:18), and his mother, not his father, gave Jabes his name, “Because I bore him with sorrow” (1 Chron 4:9). And what is here said to Joseph is said to Mary (S. Luke 1:32). ישׁוּע

“Thou shalt call His name Jesus” is certain proof that the angel wished to honour Joseph with the duty of a father, and at the same time to prove what he had said—that the child was conceived not of him but of the Holy Ghost, and from heaven, as His name was given from heaven. To those who are conceived divinitus names are given before their birth from heaven. So Isaac (Gen 17:17), S. John Baptist (S. Luke 1:13). From His name we are taught what manner of Infant He would be, that is. He who was sent to free His people from their sins. That is, ישׁוּע Jesus the Saviour. It is certain that the name Jesus was borrowed by the Greeks from the Hebrews, and by the Latins from the Greeks; for everywhere in the Old Testament ישׁוּע (yehôshûa‛ = Joshua) is used as a proper name. The LXX. have rendered it by Ἰησοῦς (Iēsous = Jesus), adapting the Hebrew word to the Greek, as they could, or as they knew how. In 1 Chron 7:27 the reading is Ἰησοῦς. The word signifies Salvation or Saviour; and although we read of many so called, as Jesus the son of Nave, and the son of Josedech the priest ( Haggai 1:12-14), the name was given to them by accident, but to Christ by design, and not by human but divine design: truly saviours, but Christ was more than it signifies.

In others, therefore, the name was in some sense common and usual. In Christ it was peculiar, and as the Prophet had foretold, new and singular, because in the sense in which it was used of Christ, it was used of no other; becausein no other is there salvation ; and by it His divine and human natures are both signified, as well as His most excellent office of Redeemer (Philippians 2:10).

It has been rightly observed, therefore, that the Evangelists, when they desire to describe our Saviour by His proper name, call Him, not Christ, but Jesus, as in this passage and in S. Luke 1:31; 3:23; 4:1. Christ is the name of His office, Jesus of His natures and person.

It has been asked how the angel ordered Him to be called Jesus, when Isaiah had said that His name should be Emmanuel? The Jews are the most persistent objectors to this, to prove that that prophecy does not apply to
Christ, But ancient Fathers have answered the question most completely (S. Justin Mart., Quest. 131 ad Orthad.; Tertullian, Adv. Marc, lib. iii.; Lactantius, iv. 12, De Ver. Sact.; S. Chrysostom, De Incarn., chap. ii.). The Prophet desired to describe Him, who was to be called Christ, but who was yet to be; the Evangelist to declare Him, who was both to be called and to be Christ. The Prophet wishes to say, not that the proper name of Christ should be Emmanuel, but that the thing meant by it should fit Him, and that He should be called by it. As the same Prophet had foretold of Jerusalem (Is 1:26), not that it was to be called by that name, in fact, but that it should be such a city that it might be so called. In the same way he had said (Is 60:14), “They shall call thee the City of the Lord, the Sion of the holy one of Israel,” when it never would bear that name. Like examples are found in Jer 3:17; Zech 8:3; and of Christ Himself IIsaiah 9:6), not that He was to have so many names, but so many offices (Jer 23:6); also, “The Lord our just one,” for Christ the Lord was truly ” the just one,” and also truly Emmanuel, which is “God with us “. It is clear that the Evangelist understood that passage of Isaiah in that sense, from the fact that when he had said, “Thou shalt call His name Jesus,” he cited the passage of Isaiah, ” His name shall be called Emmanuel” (Is 7:14). He is therefore Jesus and Emmanuel, for He is God with us, which is Emmanuel,
and God our Saviour, which is the meaning of Jesus.

Mat 1:22  Now all this was done that it might be fulfilled which the Lord spoke by the prophet, saying:

Now all this. S. Augustin, Theophylact, and Euthymius think these the words of the angel; but they are, beyond doubt, those of the Evangelist, who wished to prove his faith by the testimony of the Prophet.

All. That the Blessed Virgin should conceive, and that the Infant, not yet born, should be called Jesus.

Mat 1:23  Behold a virgin shall be with child, and bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

Behold a Virgin. The Jews bring FIVE arguments against this passage.
1. Isaiah has not בּתוּלה (bethûlâh) which is properly a virgin, but עלמה
(‛almâh) which means not a virgin but a young girl, and refers to age, not condition. To this no one has replied with more effect than S. Jerome (In tradit. Heb. in Gen.; lib. i., Cont. Jovinian; and in his Comment, on Isaiah 7).
He says that עלמה (‛almâh) means not only a virgin, but more even than that, a young girl (puella) who has been hidden and kept carefully; who has not even met the eyes of any man, and who, not only in person but in aspect, is chaste.
The origin of the word shows this; for she was called עלמה   which is to hide as a virgin, to be concealed or secluded. Nor is the word  ever used in Scripture of any but a virgin, as (Gen 24:16) of Rebecca. She is called עלמה (Gen 24:43).
The same of Mary, the sister of Moses (Exod 2:8), in the Punic language, which derives its origin from the Hebrew. Thus, בּתוּלה (bethûlâh) means virginity alone, עלמה (‛almâh) virginity and age together. The root of the two words has the same basic meaning. עלמה (‛almâh) is from עלם (‛elem), something kept out of sight.  בּתוּלה (bethûlâh), to separate, keep private.

And this is emphatically the meaning of the Prophet, namely, that a virgin, tender as yet, and who has not met even the gaze of men, should conceive. Some add that the particle of emphasis ה (“the”) is added in this place to the word עלמה (‛almâh) which has a like force to that of the Greek article ὁ,
signifying here, as S. Chrysostom observes, a virgin of the highest worth—one most especially a virgin.

2. The SECOND argument is that it is against all common sense to say that a virgin, remaining such, should conceive; but one who having been a virgin before should afterwards do so. The ancient Fathers reject this as not only false, but also absurd and ridiculous ; for in this case there would have been no sign, and no miracle. The Prophet intended to show a sign before unheard of and most wonderful, as in verses 7, 10, 14 So say S. Justin Mart., Against Trypho; Tertullian, Against the Jews, and III., Against Marcion; S. Basil (Hom. on the Human Generation of Christ); S. Epiphanius, Against Ebionites; S. Cyril Alexand. and S. Chrysostom, On Isaiah vii.

3. The THIRD objection is from Isaiah, from the name Emmanuel, which Christ had not. This objection has been answered on verse 21.

4. The FOURTH objection is that from the circumstances of place. It appears that this prophecy was uttered of the wife of Achaz (i.e., Ahaz) and his son Ezechia (i.e., Hezekiah), whom she was about to bring forth. S, Epiphanius and S. Jerome greatly deride this idea, for the prophecy was uttered when Achaz was reigning, and it was therefore directed to him as king. Assuming it to have been uttered in the first year of his reign, Ezechia would have been nine years old at least; for Achaz reigned sixteen years (2 Kings 16:2; 2 Chron 28:1), on whose death his son Ezechia reigned at once (2 Kings 16:20); for he was twenty-five when he began to reign (2 Kings 18:2; 2 Chron 29:1). Nor is there any more in what some others say, that it was spoken of the wife of Isaiah, for she was neither a virgin, nor ever brought forth a son who was, or was called, Emmanuel.

5. The FH’TH objection is one raised by the more modern Jews. The ancients have scarcely noticed it. It was not possible that the sign could have been given to Achaz, because he would not be able to see it, for it was not to happen for eighty years.

S. Chrysostom, in his Commentary in loc, answers that the sign was not given to Achaz, but to the house of David, which was not only to endure to the time of Christ, but was to produce Christ Himself. In the beginning the Prophet offered the condition of a sign to Achaz, that he should ask whatever he would; from which he might understand that God would be with him against the king of Assyria (Is 7:11); and when Achaz would not ask, the Prophet changed his language, and foretold another and greater sign than that which Achaz did not venture to ask, an argument of a greater liberation, that God would give, not to Achaz, but to the house of David (Is 7:1 3, 14). As if he had said: “Because you do not care to ask God, God will give you, of His own free-will, not such a gift as I offered to the king, that God would deliver him out of the hands of the king of Assyria; but a far greater one, that He would deliver His people from sin and the tyranny of the devil”. From the major is proved the minor.

And they shall call. Some have wondered that Isaiah says “Thou shalt call,”
and that the Evangelist says here “They shall call,” but it is of no moment, because, as S. Jerome says, the Evangelists frequently give the meaning rather than the words. Whether he had said καλεσεìς, thou shalt call, or καλεσεì, he shall call, or καλεσουσιν, they shall call, the meaning would be the same.

Which being interpreted is, God with us. It has been a question how these words should be understood. Some, with whom we cannot agree, think that they have a spiritual meaning alone—God with us, God reconciled with us (Col 4:2)—because our sins had separated us from Him (Isaiah 59:2). But S. Chrysostom and others think, more correctly, that the words are intended to
convey the doctrine of the actual incarnation of the Son of God. For God is with us not only as He gives us help and puts away our sins—in which manner He was with the ancient Jews also—but He was the Word made flesh. Some infer from this passage that S. Matthew did not write in Hebrew, but we have answered this in the Preface, chap. v.

Mat 1:24  And Joseph rising up from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him, and took unto him his wife.

Maldonado offers no comment on this verse. I’ll merely point out that the literary form is termed “command and compliance by modern scholars and it is standard biblical fare. “and took unto him his wife” recalls verse18 and 20 and brings the exposition of Joseph’s troubled mind-and the question of how “before they came together, she (the virgin) was found with child”-to a conclusion.

Mat 1:25  And he knew her not till she brought forth her first born son: and he called his name Jesus.

Verse 25. And he knew her not. The Jovinians, the Helvidians, the Ebionites, and, as Auctor Imperfecti Operis says, the Eunomians, take occasion from these words to assail the perpetual virginity of the Blessed Virgin after the birth of Christ (v. 18). But it need only be said that the particles “before,” “before that,” “until” —antequam, prius quam, donee, usque, and the like, do not always convey an affirmation of the thing in question afterwards, if a negative has preceded, nor a denial when an affirmative has been given before, as S. Jerome against Helvidius, and S. Chrysostom on this passage have shown by many examples. S. Matthew 28:30 does not mean that He would not be present afterwards, but much more present; 2 Sam 6:23 does not mean that Michal had a child after her death; Psalm 110:, 2, is not as if He would not sit at the right hand afterwards; S. Matt 5:18 not that that word should perish after heaven and earth should have passed away. In all these cases that which is doubtful is expressed, that which is uncertain is left unsaid.

Her first-born Son. It was another argument of the opponents of the perpetual virginity of the Blessed Virgin, that the Evangelist calls Christ the first-born, as if after Him she had other sons, and as if there could be no first-born unless there were a second-born. S. Jerome against Helvidius rightly says that Christ is called the first-born of Mary, not because there was another son after Him, but because before Him there had been none. For it is the custom of Scripture to call the only-born the first-born, because he who is unigenitus is necessarily before others; that is, no one else could have been before him, and this is to be the first-born. So (Exodus 4:22) God calls the people of Israel His firstborn, as He had no others, and (12:29) He is said to have slain all the first-born of the land of Egypt; among these, beyond doubt, were many only-born; and (Ex 13:2; 22:29) He commanded all the first-born to be sanctified to Him, among whom were included the only-born, otherwise such must have been waited for until others were born afterwards.

S. Paul (Heb 1:6) calls Christ the first-born, for the only-born of God. The Evangelist used the expression first-born to show, probably, that Mary not only conceived but also brought forth as a virgin. For he had said of the conception (verse 18), “Before they came together she was found with child of the Holy Ghost,” and he now says of the birth (v. 25), ” He knew her not till she brought forth her first-born son “. That is, when Joseph had not known her, she brought forth her Son, who, being her only Son, is therefore most properly called her first-born, for he who opened the womb was the first-born (Exodus 13:2; 39:19); and he only opened it who found it closed, as
has been said by Tertullian. The words “to have opened” should be taken not as if He literally opened it, but opened it, as it were, by being truly born.

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Dec 13: Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Matt 21:23-27)

Posted by Dim Bulb on December 13, 2010

Ver 23. And when he was come into the temple, the Chief Priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?”24. And Jesus answered and said unto them, “I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things.25. The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men?” And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him?26. But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet.27. And they answered Jesus, and said, “We cannot tell.” And he said unto them, “Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.”

Pseudo-Chrys.: The Priests were tormented with jealousy, because they had seen Christ entering the Temple in great glory. And not being able to master the fire of jealousy which burnt in their breasts, they break forth in speech.

Chrys.: Forasmuch as they could not detract from His miracles, they bring matter of blame from His forbidding to sell in the Temple. As though they had said, Hast Thou assumed the seat of authority? Hast Thou been anointed Priest, that Thou exertest this power?

Pseudo-Chrys.: By that they add, “Or who gave thee this authority?” they shew that there be many persons who give power to men, whether corporal or spiritual! as though they had said, Thou art not come of a priestly family; the Senate has not conferred on Thee this power, neither has Caesar granted it. But had they believed that all power is from God, they would never have asked, “Who gave thee this authority?” For every man judges of others by himself. The fornicator thinks that none are chaste; the chaste does not readily suspect any of fornication; he who is not a Priest of God, thinks no man’s Priesthood to be of God.

Jerome: Or in these words they urge the same cavil as above, when they said, “He casteth out demons through Beelzebub the Prince of the demons.” [Mat_12:24] For when they say, “By what authority doest thou thee things?” they doubt concerning the power of God, and would have it understood that the things He does are of the Devil. But when they add, “Who gave thee this authority?” they most clearly deny the Son of God, whom they suppose to work miracles, not by His own, but by others’ strength.

The Lord could have confuted the calumny of His tempters by a simple answer, but He put a question to them of such skilful contrivance, that they must be condemned either by their silence or their knowledge; “Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one question.”

Pseudo-Chrys.: Not that they should answer it, and thereupon hear of Christ the answer to their question, but that being puzzled they should ask Him no farther; according to that precept He had given above, “Give not that which is holy to the dogs.” [Mat_7:6] For even if He had told them, it would have profited nothing, because the darkened will cannot perceive the things that are of the light. For him that enquires we ought to instruct, but him that tempts, to overthrow by a stroke of reasoning, but not to publish to him the power of the mystery.

The Lord thus sets before them in His question a dilemma; and that they might not escape Him, says, “Which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things.” His question is this; “The baptism of John whence was it? from heaven, or of men?”

Aug., in Joan. Tr., v. 4: John received his authority to baptize from Him, whom he afterwards baptized; and that baptism which was committed to him is here called the baptism of John. He alone received such a gift; no righteous man before or after him was entrusted with a baptism to be called from himself. For John came to baptize in the water of repentance, to prepare the way for the Lord, not to give inward cleansing, which mere man cannot do.

Jerome: What the Priests revolved in their malice is shewn when he adds, “But they reasoned with themselves.” For had they replied that it was from heaven, the question was inevitable, Why then were ye not baptized by John? But should they reply that it was an invention of human device, and had in it nothing divine, they feared a tumult among the people. For all the assembled multitudes had received John’s baptism, and held him accordingly for a Prophet.

This godless party therefore make answer, and by a seeming humility of speech confessing that they know not, turned to hide their insidious designs. And they answered Jesus, and said, “We know not.” In saying that they knew not, they lied; and it might have followed upon their answering thus, that the Lord also should say, I know not; but truth cannot lie, and therefore it follows, “And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.”

This shews that they knew, but would not answer, and that He also knew, but would not answer, because they would not speak what they knew.

Origen: But some one will say in opposition to this, that it was absurd to ask by what authority Jesus did these things. For that it could not be that He would answer, that He did these by the Devil’s authority; and He would not tell them as it truly was, that He did them by His own power. If it should be said, that the rulers put this question to Him in order to deter Him from His proceedings; as when we say to one who is dealing with what is ours in a way which we do not like, we say to him, Who bade thee do this? meaning to deter him from what he is so doing; — if it is to be taken so, what means Christ’s answer, Do you tell Me this, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things.

Perhaps therefore, the place should be understood as follows. There are in the general two opposite powers, one on the side of God, the other on the side of the Devil; but of particular powers there are many; for it was not one and the same power that wrought in all the Prophets to enable them to do miracles, but one in these, another in those; and, it may be, for lesser things a lesser power, for greater things a greater power. The Chief Priests had seen Jesus working many miracles, whereupon they desired to know the special degree and properties of that power which wrought in Him. For others who have wrought miracles wrought them at first in one power, and afterwards when more advanced in another and greater power; but the Saviour wrought all in one power, that which He received of the Father. But because they were not worthy to hear such mysteries, therefore He gives them no answer, but on the contrary put a question to them.

Raban.: There are two reasons why the knowledge of truth should be kept back from those who ask; either when he who asks is unfit to receive, or from his hatred or contempt of the truth is unworthy to have that which he asks opened to him.

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