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 12th, 2011

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on John 5:33-36

Posted by Dim Bulb on December 12, 2011

Joh 5:33  You sent to John: and he gave testimony to the truth.

You sent to John, &c. Ye sent messengers to him as a man in your estimation holy, and worthy of all credit, to ask him if he were the Messias. John answered that not he, but I, am the Messias. This testimony he gave not out of friendship, or favour to Me, but to the truth. For that he would testify to nothing but the truth, ye yourselves thought, when ye were willing to receive him as the Messiah. Therefore ye cannot reject his testimony, says Euthymius.

Joh 5:34  But I receive not testimony from man: but I say these things, that you may be saved.

But I receive not, &c. I do not require the witness of John, for I am God, and the Son of God, to whom John, Moses, and the Prophets ought to yield, and be taught by, and receive authority from.

But I say these things that you may be saved: meaning, as S. Chrysostom says, “I do not need the testimony of man, for I am God. But since John, whom ye admire as a prophet, is of so great authority with you, when ye do not believe Me working miracles, I bring back to your remembrance his testimony, that I may draw you and save you.”

Joh 5:35  He was a burning and a shining light: and you were willing for a time to rejoice in his light.

He was a burning and a shining light. Greek, ό λύχνος, the illustrious and famous lamp. John was not the light itself, shining of itself (for this was what Christ Himself was), but he was the lamp or lantern which, receiving light from Christ, burnt in himself with the knowledge and love of God, and afforded light to others by the example of his sanctity, and the fervour of his preaching. For God sent John after a long silence for ages of all the prophets, as it were a heavenly prophet, to be a lamp to illuminate the dark ignorance of the Jews, and to show them the true Light, Christ the Lord, and to bear a torch before Him. So S. Cyril and others. For the Only Begotten One is Light by nature, who, out of Light, that is, the Substance of the Father, hath shone forth. John indeed was a lamp, because he shone with light derived from Him. He shone through oil, i.e., with the grace of the Holy Spirit, which coming into our souls as it were lamps, nourishes and keeps them. Wherefore the type of John was the lamp of oil burning before God in the Temple in the Holy of Holies. For so did John shine before Christ. Therefore was John the Baptist always a burning and shining lamp in the tabernacle of witness, as Cyril says.

Moraliter:  S. Bernard (Serm. de S. Joan Bapt.) teaches that holy men and preachers ought first to burn with charity and zeal in themselves before they shine in preaching to others. “John was a burning and shining light. It does not say, shining and burning, because the brightness of John sprang from his fervour, not his fervour from his splendour. For there are some who do not shine because they burn, but rather burn in order that they may shine. But these plainly do not burn with the spirit of charity, but with the love of vanity. Listen to Alcuin on this passage: “John was a lamp, enlightened by light from Christ, burning with faith and love, shining in word and action, who was sent before to confound the enemies of Christ, according to the words, ‘I have prepared a lamp for My Christ, I will clothe His enemies with confusion'” (Vulg.)

Such a one was S. Athanasius. Hence S. Gregory Nazianzen (Orat. 21), speaking in his praise, calls him “the eye of the world, the prelate of priests, the leader and master of confessors, a sublime voice, a firm pillar of the faith, next to John the Baptist, a second burning and shining lamp.” He adds, “Athanasius was as an adamant to the persecutors” (by his invincible patience), “a magnet to disputers, to attract them to himself, and to make them be at harmony one with another.” And again, “Let virgins praise him as their betrothed, wives as their director, anchorites as him who wakes them up, monks as their lawgiver, the simple as their guide, those given to speculation as their theologian, the joyous as their moderator, the unfortunate as their consoler, the aged as their staff, youths as their instructor, the poor as a dispenser, the rich as their almoner, the sick as their physician, the whole as the guardian of their health, and, in short, all as he who is made all things to all that he may gain all, or as many as possible.” Such a one was S. Basil, of whom the same Nazianzen says, “The voice of Basil was as thunder, because his life was as lightning.” Because he lightened in his life, therefore did he thunder with his voice.

The Vulgate has, But you wished to rejoice for an hour, i.e., for a short time, in his light. When John began to preach with so much sanctity of life and zeal, ye rejoiced because so great a prophet had been sent by God, who, ye trusted, would be your Messiah. But when John began to rebuke your wickedness, and to indicate that I, the poor and lowly One, was the Messiah, ye despised John. Ye would not believe his testimony, because if ye had believed it, ye would have received Me as the Messiah.

Joh 5:36  But I have a greater testimony than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to perfect, the works themselves which I do, give testimony of me, that the Father hath sent me.

 

But I have a greater testimony, &c.: i.e., than John’s witness; greater in the sense of surer, more efficacious, that I am Messiah, the Son of God. This greater testimony is My works, My miracles which the Father hath given Me, that by them I may show that He Hath sent Me. “For one might find fault with John’s testimony, as if it were given out of favour,” says Euthymius; “but the works being free from all suspicion stop the mouths of the contentious,” says S. Chrysostom. “For the works might convince even the insane.”

The works themselves (the miracles) which I do, &c., such as the recent healing of the paralytic. I speak of My supernatural works, which could not be effected by any natural cause, but are peculiar to God alone. Wherefore they are as it were the seal of God, by which He bears testimony to Me, and seals and confirms My doctrine. So S. Chrysostom and others.

From this it follows that the Jews both could and ought to have known of a certainty that Jesus was the Messiah, or the Christ, and the Son of God, by the miracles which He wrought. 1. Because He did them with this end and object, that by them He might prove that He was Christ and God. 2. Because Jesus did all the miracles which the prophets had foretold would be done by Christ. 3. Because although certain of the prophets and holy men had done some miracles, they had done neither so many nor so great as Jesus had done. Again, the prophets had wrought miracles, not by their own power, but through invoking God; but Christ did them by His own power, and His own authority, as being the Lord. Whence it was easy to discern that He was the Messiah and God.

In two special ways therefore the miracles of Jesus prove that He is God. First, by the way in which He wrought them, as I have said; because He employed that most mighty power, peculiar to Himself, in working miracles. Then He reserved some miracles to Himself, which by their very nature prove beyond possibility of doubt that He was God. Of this sort was His birth of a Virgin, His knowing the secrets of the heart, and what was in man, and all things. This last was the reason which the apostles gave for believing that He came forth from God. Of like nature was His foretelling all things which were about to happen in His Passion, death, and resurrection, according to the Scriptures. Also that when He willed He laid down His life upon the cross, and resumed it on the third day; that He ascended into heaven; that He sent the Holy Ghost; lastly, that He transmitted that marvellous power of working miracles to His apostles and seventy-two disciples. This also was peculiar to Christ of which I am about to speak,—the force and the power at all times and in all places, ready and at hand, wholly unrestricted, of working such great, such incredible miracles, and so wholly beyond the power of nature; so full and perfect, so salutary, so true, so sure and glorious, so Divine, and so in accordance with the character of the Son of God; among which stands pre-eminent that salutary and instantaneous power of healing every kind of disease in all who in all places and at all times approached Him for the sake of recovering their health. This absolute power, and ever-abiding virtue, belongs to Christ alone. Neither Elijah, nor Eliseus, nor even Moses, nor any angel, had it in the time of the Old Testament; for all these only wrought miracles at intervals, as appears from perusing their histories. Moreover, their miracles are summed up in a definite number; the miracles of Christ were continuous and incessant, and could not be numbered. So S. Augustine and others. Add to all this the results of the death of Christ, the conversion of the whole world by twelve fishermen, the fervour of the faithful in the primitive Church, the unconquerable strength of innumerable martyrs, yea, the exultation in their torments of even boys, virgins, and women. All these things proclaim aloud that Christ is to be worshipped, loved, and adored as the Son of God, for He alone could work such Divine works peculiarly belonging to God.

 

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St Cyril of Alexandria’s Homily on Luke 7:24-28

Posted by Dim Bulb on December 12, 2011

7:24-28. And when the messengers of John had departed, He began to speak unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed, shaken with the wind? But what went ye out to see? A man clad in soft garments? Behold they who wear soft clothing, are in the abodes of kings. But what went ye out to see? A Prophet? Yea, I say unto you: and more than a prophet: for this is he of whom it is written, Behold I send My messenger before Thy face, to prepare Thy way before Thee. Verily I say unto you, Among those born of women there is no one greater than John: but he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.

YE who thirst for the knowledge of the divine doctrines, open once again the treasure-house of your minds: satiate yourselves with the sacred words: or rather, give way to no feeling of satiety herein: for gluttony in things that tend to edification is a quality worth the gaining. Let us approach, then, the Saviour’s words, not carelessly, and without due preparation, but with that attentiveness and vigilance which befits those who would learn. For so alone can those subjects for contemplation, which are difficult of comprehension, be rightly understood. Let us, therefore, ask of Christ that light, which He sends down upon the mind and heart, that thus being enabled correctly to understand the force of what is said, we may again admire the beautiful skill of the management. For He had been asked by the disciples of John, whether He is He that cometh? When then: He had answered them in a suitable manner, and commanded them to return to him that sent them. He began to say unto the multitudes concerning him, “What went ye out into the wilderness to see? a reed shaken by the wind?” And what the instruction is which we gain from this, or what the end to which our Saviour’s words have reference, how must it not be worth our while to inquire? Let us examine, therefore, the meaning of what is said: let us search |144 it as a treasure: let us spy into its secrets: and fixing our mind upon the profundity of the mystery, let us be like careful moneychangers,23 proving every thing, as Scripture says.

There were then certain who prided themselves upon their performance of what was required by the law: the Scribes namely, and Pharisees, and others of their party; who were regarded according to their professions as exact observers of the law, and claimed on this score, that their heads should be adorned with honours. This too is the reason why they neither accepted faith in Christ, nor paid due honour to that mode of life which truly is praiseworthy and blameless: even that which is regulated by the commands of the Gospel. The purpose, therefore, of Christ the Saviour of all, was to shew them that the honours both of the religious and moral service that are by the law, were of small account, and not worthy of being attained to, or oven perhaps absolutely nothing, and unavailing for edification: while the grace that is by faith in Him is the pledge of blessings worthy of admiration, and able to adorn with incomparable honour those that possess it. Many, then, as I said, were observers of the law, and greatly puffed up on this account: they even gave out that they had attained to the perfection of all that is praiseworthy, in the exact performance of the righteousness that consisted in shadows and types. In order, then, that, as I said, He might prove that those who believe in Him are better and superior to them, and that the glories of the followers of the law are evidently but small in comparison with the evangelic mode of life, He takes him who was the best of their whole class, but nevertheless was born of woman, I mean the blessed Baptist: and having affirmed that he is a prophet, or rather above the measure of the prophets, and that among those born of women no one had arisen greater than he in righteousness, that namely, which is by the law, He declares, that he who is small, who falls short, that is, of his measure, and is inferior to him in the righteousness that is by the law, is greater than he:—-not greater, in legal righteousness, but in the kingdom of God, even in faith, and the excellencies which result from faith. For faith crowns those that receive it with glories that surpass the law. And this thou |145 learnest, and wilt thyself affirm to be the case, when thou meetest with the words of the blessed Paul: for having declared himself to be free from blame in the righteousness that is by the law, he added forthwith, “But those things that were gain unto me, those I have counted loss for Christ’s sake: and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ: not having my own righteousness which is by the law, but the righteousness that is of the faith of Jesus Christ.” And the Israelites he even considers deserving of great blame, thus saying: “For being ignorant of God’s righteousness, that namely which is by Christ, and seeking to establish their own; even that which is by the law; they have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the completion of the law for righteousness unto every one that believeth.” And again, when speaking of these things: “We, he says, who by nature are Jews, and not sinners of the Gentiles, knowing that a man is not justified by the works of. the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, we also have believed in Jesus Christ, that we may be justified in Him.” The being justified, therefore, by Christ, that is to say, by faith in Him, surpasses the glories of the righteousness that is by the law. For this reason the blessed Baptist is brought forward, as one who had attained the foremost place in legal righteousness, and to a praise so far incomparable. And yet even thus he is ranked as less than one who is least: “for the least, He says, is greater than he in the kingdom of God.” But the kingdom of God signifies, as we affirm, the grace that is by faith, by means of which we are accounted worthy of every blessing, and of the possession of the rich gifts which come from above from God. For it frees us from all blame; and makes us to be the sons of God, partakers of the Holy Ghost, and heirs of a heavenly inheritance.

Having prefaced therefore thus much by way of preparation, and to explain the connection of the ideas, come now. and let us examine the actual words. As I have already said then, He exalts the divine Baptist to a great height, and crowns the Forerunner with surpassing honours purposely; that thou mayest the more thoroughly admire faith; as that which makes believers to have a grandeur far surpassing even that of men thus illustrious. He asks the Jews, then, saying |146 “What went ye out into the wilderness to see? a reed shaken by the wind?” Now He compares to a reed,—-a thing tossed about, and, so to speak, reeling and shaken to and fro by the violence of the winds,—-the man who lives in worldly honours and pleasures, and in the grandeur of temporal sovereignty. For there is nothing stable or firm or unshaken with such persons, but things change frequently in an unexpected manner, and to that which they did not anticipate, and their prosperity lightly passes away. For true it is, that “all flesh is grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass: the grass withereth, and the flower falleth.” Did ye then, He says, go out into the desert to see a man like a reed? This, however, possibly he is not, but of a different character; one of those who live in pleasures, and are wont to be clad in beautiful garments, and value childish honour. And yet one does not see persons such as these dwelling in the desert, but at the courts of kings: and as for the blessed Baptist’s raiment, it was of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle upon his loins.

What then did ye go out to see? Perhaps ye say, A Prophet. Yea, I also say as well as you. For he is a saint and a prophet: nay, he even surpasses the dignity of a prophet; for not only did he announce before that I am coming, but pointed Me out close at hand, saying? “Behold the Lamb of God, That beareth the sin of the world.” Moreover, he was testified of by the prophet’s voice, “as sent before My face, to prepare the way before Me.” And I bear him witness that there hath not arisen among those born of women one greater than he: but he that is least—-in the life I mean according to the law—-in the kingdom of God is greater than he. How and in what manner? 24In that the blessed John, together with as |147 many as preceded him, was born of woman: but they who have received the faith, are no more called the sons of women, but as the wise Evangelist said, “are born of God.” “For to all, he says, who received Him, that is, Christ, He gave power to become the sons of God, even to them who believe on His Name: who have been born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” For we have been born again to the adoption of the sons, “not of corruptible seed,” but, as Scripture saith, “by the living and abiding Word of God.” Those then who are not of corruptible seed, but, on the contrary, have been born of God, are superior to any one born of woman.

There is also another respect in which they surpass those born of women. For they have earthly fathers: but we Him Who is above in heaven. For we have received this also of Christ, Who calleth us to the adoption of sons and brotherhood with Him. For He has said, “Ye shall not call any one on earth father: for One is your Father, Who is in heaven. But ye, all of you, are brethren.” And most wise Paul gives us surety of this, writing as follows: “For because ye are sons, God hath sent the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, calling Father, our Father.” For when Christ rose, and spoiled hell, the spirit of adoption was then given to them that believed on Him, and first of all to the holy disciples; for “He breathed upon them, saying, Receive ye the Holy Ghost. If ye remit the sins of any, they are remitted them; and if ye retain the sins of any, they are retained.” For inasmuch as they have become partakers of the divine nature, by being richly endowed with that lordly and all-governing Spirit; therefore He has also given them the godlike power of remitting the sins of whomsoever they will, and of retaining those |148 of all others. But that previously to the resurrection of Christ from the dead, and His ascent to heaven, there was not among men the spirit of adoption, the most wise Evangelist John makes plain where he says: “For the Spirit was not as yet: because that Jesus was not yet glorified.” And yet certainly, how can the Spirit be unequal in eternity to God the Father, and the Son? And when did He not exist, Who is before all? For He is equal in substance to the Father, and the Son. “But inasmuch as Christ, he says, was not yet glorified,” that is to say, had not yet risen from the dead, and ascended to heaven, the spirit of adoption did not as yet exist for men. But when the Only-begotten Word of God ascended up into heaven, He sent down for us in His stead the Comforter, Who is in us by Him. And this He taught us, thus saying: “It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you: but when I have departed, I will send Him unto you.”

Even though, therefore, we be inferior to them who have fulfilled the righteousness that is by the law: inferior, I mean, in righteousness of life, yet are we who have received faith in Him endowed with greater privileges. We must, however, bear in mind, that although the blessed Baptist was thus great in virtue, yet he plainly confessed that he stood in need of holy baptism: for he somewhere said, speaking to Christ, the Saviour of us all, “I have need to be baptized of Thee.” But he would have had no need of holy baptism, nor have requested leave to have it granted him, had there not been in it something more and better, than the righteousness that is by the law.

Christ therefore does not contend against the honours of the paints; nor is it His purpose to diminish and strip of their renown those holy men who had before attained to victory: but as I said, it rather is to prove that the Gospel mode of life is superior to the legal worship, and to crown with surpassing honours the glory of faith, that we all may believe in Him. For so we enter by Him, and with Him, into the kingdom of heaven: by Whom and with Whom to God the Father be praise and dominion, with the Holy Ghost, for ever and ever, Amen. (source)

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Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 7:24-30

Posted by Dim Bulb on December 12, 2011

Ver  24. And when the messengers of John were departed, he began to speak to the people concerning John, What went you out into the wilderness for to see? A reed shaken with the wind?25. But what went you out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they which are gorgeously appareled, and live delicately, are in kings’ courts.26. But what went you out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say to you, and much more than a prophet.27. This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before your face, which shall prepare your way before you.28. For I say to you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.

CYRIL; The Lord, knowing the secrets of men, foresaw that some would say, If until now John is ignorant of Jesus, how did he show Him to us, saying, Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sins of the world? To quench therefore this feeling which had taken possession of them, He prevented the injury which might arise from the offense, as it follows, And when the messengers of John were departed, he began to speak to the people concerning John, what went you out for to see? A reed shaken in the wind? As if He said, you marveled at John the Baptist, and oftentimes came to see him, passing over long journeys in the desert; surely in vain, if you think him so fickle as to be like a reed bending down whichever way the wind moves it. For such he appears to be, who lightly avows his ignorance of the things which he knows.

TIT. BOST. But you went not out into the desert, (where there is no pleasantness,) leaving your cities, except as caring for this man.

GREEK EX. Now these things were spoken by our Lord after the departure of John’s disciples, for He would not utter the praises of the Baptist while they were present, lest His words should be counted as those of a flatterer.

AMBROSE; Not unmeaningly then is the character of John praised there, who preferred the way of righteousness to the love of life, and swerved not through fear of death. For this world seems to be compared to a desert, into which, as yet barren and uncultivated, the Lord says we must not so enter as to regard men puffed up with a fleshly mind, and devoid of inward virtue, and vaunting themselves in the heights of frail worldly glory, as a kind of example and model for our imitation. And such being exposed to the storms of this world, and tossed to and from by a restless life, are rightly compared to a reed.

GREEK EX. We have also an infallible testimony to John’s way of life in his manner of clothing, and his imprisonment, into which he never would have been cast had he known how to court princes; as it follows, but what went you out for to see? A man clothed with soft raiment? Behold they who are gorgeously appareled, and live delicately, are in kings’ houses. By being clothed with soft raiment, he signifies men who live luxuriously.

CHRYS. But a soft garment relaxes the austerity of the soul; and if worn by a hard and rigorous body, soon, by such effeminacy, makes it frail and delicate. But when the body becomes softer, the soul must also share the injury; for generally its workings correspond wit the conditions of the body.

CYRIL; How then could a religious strictness, so great that it subdued to itself all fleshly lusts, sink down to such ignorance, except from a frivolity of mind, which is not fostered by austerities, but by worldly delights. If then you imitate John, as one who cared not for pleasure, award him also the strength of mind, which befits his continence. But if strictness no more tends to this than a life of luxury, why do you, not respecting those who live delicately, admire the inhabitant of the desert, and his wretched garment of camel’s hair.

CHRYS. By each of these sayings He shows John to be neither naturally not easily shaken or diverted from any purpose.

AMBROSE; And although very many become effeminate by the use of softer garments, yet here other garments seem to be meant, namely, our mortal bodies, by which our souls are clothed. Again, luxurious acts and habits are soft garments, but those whose languid limbs are wasted away in luxuries are shut out of the kingdom of heaven, whom the rulers of this world and of darkness have taken captive. For these are the kings who exercise tyranny over those who are their fellows in their own works.

CYRIL; But perhaps it does not concern us to excuse John upon this ground, for you confess that he is worthy of imitation, hence He adds, But what went you out for to see? A prophet? Verily I say to you, more than a prophet. For the prophets foretold that Christ would come, but John not only foretold that He would come, but also declared Him to be present, saying, Behold the Lamb of God.

AMBROSE; Indeed, greater than a prophet (or more than a prophet) was he in whom the prophets terminate; for many desired to see Him whom he saw, whom he baptized.

CYRIL; Having then described his character by the place where he dwelt, by his clothing, and from the crowds who went to see him, He introduces the testimony of the prophet, saying, This is he of whom it is written, Behold, I send my angel.

TITUS BOST. He calls a man an angel, not because he was by nature an angel, for he was by nature a man, but because he exercised the office of an angel, in heralding the advent of Christ.

GREEK EX. But by the words which follow, Before your face, he signifies nearness of time, for John appeared to men close to the coming of Christ. Wherefore must he indeed be considered more than a prophet, for those also who in battle fight close to the sides of kings, are their most distinguished and greatest friends.

AMBROSE; But he prepared the way of the Lord not only in the order of birth according to the flesh, and as the messenger of faith, but also as the forerunner of His glorious passion. Hence it follows, Who shall prepare your way before you.

AMBROSE; But if Christ also is a prophet, how is this man greater than all. But it is said, among those born of woman, not of a virgin. For He was greater than those, whose equal he might be in way of birth, as it follows, For I say to you, of those that are born of woman, there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist.

CHRYS. The voice of the Lord is indeed sufficient to bear testimony to John’s preeminence among men. But any one will find the real facts of the case confirming the same, by considering his food, his manner of life, the loftiness of his mind. For he dwelt on earth as one who had come down from heaven, casting no care upon his body, his mind raised up to heaven, and united to God alone, taking no thought for worldly things; his conversation grave and gentle, for with the Jewish people he dealt honestly and zealously, with the king boldly, with his own disciples mildly. He did nothing idle or trifling, but all things becomingly.

ISID. PELEUS; John was also greatest among those that are born of women because he prophesied from the very womb of his mother, and though in darkness, was not ignorant of the light which had already come.

AMBROSE; Lastly, so impossible is it that there should be any comparison between John and the Son of God, that he is counted even below the angels; as it follows, But he that is least in the kingdom of God, is greater than he.

THEOPHYL; These words may be understood in two ways. For either he called that the kingdom of God, which we have not yet received, (in which are the Angels,) and the very least among them is greater than any righteous man, who bears about a body, which weighs down the soul. Or if by the kingdom of God be meant to be understood the Church of this time, the Lord referred to Himself, who in the time of His birth came after John, but was greater in divine authority, and the power of the Lord. Moreover, according to the first explanation, the distinction is as follows, But he who is least in the kingdom of God, and then it is added, is greater than he. According to the latter, But he who is least, and then added, is greater in the kingdom of God than he.

CHRYS. For He adds this, that the abundant praise of John might not give the Jews a pretext to prefer John to Christ. But do not suppose that he spoke comparatively of His being greater than John.

AMBROSE; For He is of another nature, which bears not comparison with human kind. For there can be no comparing of God with men.

CYRIL; But in a mystery, when showing the superiority of John among those that are born of women, he places in opposition something greater, namely, Himself who was born by the holy Spirit the Son of God. For the kingdom of the Lord is the Spirit of God. Although then as respects works and holiness, we may be inferior to those who attained to the mystery of the law, whom John represents, yet through Christ we have greater things, being made partakers of the Divine nature.

Ver 29. And all the people that heard him, and the Publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John.30. But the Pharisees and Lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.

CHRYS. Having declared the praises of John, he next exposes the great fault of the Pharisees and lawyers, who would not after the publicans receive the baptism of John. Hence it is said, And all the people that heard him, and the Publicans, justified God.

AMBROSE; God is justified by baptism, wherein men justify themselves confessing their sins. For he that sins and confesses his sin to God justifies God, submitting himself to Him who overcomes, and hoping for grace from Him; God therefore is justified by baptism, in which there is confession and pardon of sin. EUSEB. Because also they believed, they justified God, for He appeared just to them in all that He did. But the disobedient conduct of the Pharisees in not receiving John, accorded not with the words of the prophet, That you might be justified when you speak. Hence it follows, But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God, &c.

THEOPHYL; These words were ere spoken either in the person of the Evangelist, or, as some think, of the Savior; but when he says, against themselves he means that he who rejects the grace of God, does it against himself. Or, they are blamed as foolish and ungrateful for being unwilling to receive the counsel of God, sent to themselves The counsel then is of God, because He ordained salvation by the passion and death of Christ, which the Pharisees and lawyers despised.

AMBROSE; Let us not then despise (as the Pharisees did) the counsel of God, which is in the baptism of John, that is, the counsel which the Angel of great counsel searches out. No one despises the counsel of man Who then shall reject the counsel of God?

 

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