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

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on 1 John 1:5-2:2

Posted by Dim Bulb on December 24, 2011

1Jn 1:5  And this is the declaration which we have heard from him and declare unto you: That God is light and in him there is no darkness.

And this is the declaration. That is, the message announced: As God is called our fear, our hope, that is the object of our fear and hope, by a metonymy.

That God is light and in Him there is not darkness.  Referring to John 1:4. The Word then is the light of men, by which they are enlightened through faith, hope, and charity. For it is spiritual light which is here spoken of. The meaning is, that our life consists in the enlightenment of the Word, whereby men are enlightened in the knowledge of God and their own salvation. And this was the reason why the Word was made flesh, and manifested to men. The Word then is substantial and uncreated light, formally, ideally, and as the cause of all light, whether corporeal or spiritual, of grace and of glory. God, accordingly, is said to be clothed with light (Ps 104), to be the Father of lights (James 1:17), and to dwell in unapproachable light (1 Tim 6:16). For light is the noblest quality of matter, setting forth the glory and gifts of God’s illumination and grace. There are indeed very many and most beautiful resemblances between God and light. For the quality of light is its great swiftness and its efficacy, its purity, which is not soiled by anything it comes into contact with, bringing with it warmth, brightness, and gladness making everything visible, giving to all living things life and vigour. Such is the grace of God. Sin is the opposite, and is therefore symbolised by darkness. S. [Pseudo-Dionysius (Cælest. Hier. cap. xv.) gives thirty-one resemblances between light and the grace of God. And S. John Damascene (de Fide ii. n) compares the Holy Trinity to a parhelion, in which there appear to be three suns, though in reality there is but one. “He says the Godhead is indivisible, just as in these three suns, inseparably connected together, there is one and the same tempering and blending of light.” And [Pseudo-Dionysius represents the Holy Trinity by three lamps, illuminating a house as with one single indistinguishable brightness. And the light of the Deity, and the Trinity, bright as it is in itself, yet is obscure darkness to us, because the eyes of our mind are unable to gaze steadily on so brilliant and overpowering a light. This is also referred to by Pseudo-Dionysius. The Father then is the source of light; the Son, light proceeding directly from Him with equal and commensurate brightness; the Holy Spirit, as a reflected brightness, proceeding from the mutual and reflected love of the Father and the Son. The Gentiles had some shadowy notion of this, Parmenides denning God as a continuous circle of light, encompassing heaven, and Democritus, as mind in a fiery circle.

Christ, as God and the Word, is the formal uncreated light; as man, He is the created light, because He is full of wisdom, grace, and glory. He is also the causal light, as being the cause of all grace and glory in us. As S. John says, He is the light, because He enlightens every man that cometh into the world, and that not as giving them the light of reason (as Origen and S. Cyril suppose), but rather as giving them the supernatural light of faith and wisdom. Malachi terms Him the Son of righteousness. Manichseus was wrong ia supposing that the material sun was Christ (see S. Augustine, Tract, xxxiv. on S. John). Christ specially shone forth after His Incarnation, though He shone as a light even before that, as the dawn precedes the day. See S. Augustine (Tract, 1. on S.John, and Isa 49:6). Christ said Himself, I am the Light of the World. And Simeon also, Luke 2:32. S. Augustine (Hom, xliii. inter? [nunc cxxxv. ]) says beautifully, “Christ came as an illuminator, because the devil had blinded men. This chiefest Physician com pounded an eye-salve of infinite value to cure the blinded eyes. How healing was it, compounded of the Word and the flesh. But the eyes of man were so restored and enlightened, as to be equal to the eyes of angels, and to behold the heavenly glory of God Himself.” This light He imparted to the faithful, and especially to apostolic men, for them to become the light of the world (see Job 38; Ps 89) And as He said to His apostles, &q You are the light of the world. So John, speaking of S. John the Baptist, and so S. Paul writes to the Ephesians 5:5.

And in Him there is no darkness, darkness being the type of ignorance and sin. So Didymus and Œcumenius, who quotes John 1:5, and adds, “He calls our sinful flesh darkness, in which Christ was born, and yet was not partaker of sin.” As Moses, David, Habakkuk, and S. James 1:17 say of God. Our actions, however they shine, are not the light. But the Divine Essence is light. It was said of the holiest of men, He was not that Light (Jn 1:8); but of the Word of
God, it was said, That was the true Light, &c (Jn 1:9). And S. Gregory Nazianzen (Orat. xl.) says, “God is that highest and unapproachable Light, which cannot be conceived in the mind, or expressed in words, enlightening every nature which is endowed with reason, in matters intelligible to the mind, as the sun does in objects of sense, presenting itself more clearly to our comprehension, the more carefully we have cleansed our minds from sin, and as one who is the more greatly loved, the more we contemplate Him, and lastly, as one who is better known the more we love Him.”

All this indicates the truth of John s words, that God is light perfectly unblended with darkness, and that light of the understanding, which enlightens the eyes of our soul to discern it, by withdrawing it from all material objects, exciting all our affections to desire it, and it alone.

This corresponds with John 1:4: The light shineth in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. Of which S. Gregory Nyssen (Orat. de Nativ.) remarks, “His purity touched our filthiness, but was not defiled.” And S. Augustine (Epist. ad Honorat) says, “The Son of God is not absent even from the minds of the ungodly, though they see Him not, just as light is not seen when presented to the eyes of the blind. But the light of the Word shines in the darkness of ungodly men, by the light of reason, by the voices of created beings, which exclaim that there is a Creator who is to be venerated and loved, by the law of nature within in the mind, by the new law, by Scripture, by doctors and preachers, holy inspirations,” &c.

And hence S. Augustine (Tract, ii. in John) says, “Sink not into sin, and that sun will not sink to thee. If thou sinkest, He will sink to thee.”

The Gentiles seem to have seen this in a shadowy way. See S. Clement Alex., Strom. Lib. iv.

1Jn 1:6  If we say that we have fellowship with him and walk in darkness, we lie and do not the truth.

If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie. See 2 Cor 6:14. To walk in darkness, is to live in sin, to add sin to sin. He here aims at the Gnostics, who, like the Lutherans and Calvinists, think that they are predestinate, and that they will certainly be saved, however sinfully they may live. And so too the Ebionites. Here observe sins are called darkness for various reasons, (1.) Darkness is a loss of light, sin is a loss of grace. (2.) Darkness causes us to stumble, so do sins cause us to stumble in the way of holiness. (3.) Those who work in the dark (owls) hate the light, so do sinners. John 3:20. (4.) Sins are the work of the prince of darkness. (5.) They are committed in the dark. (6.) Sins arise from blindness of heart. “This can be removed only by God, who enlightens our minds” (see S. Augustine, contr. Julian, lib. v.) This darkness is a sin and the punishment of sin. (7.) Sins darken the mind more and more; and (8.) they lead to everlasting darkness, and are called the shadow of death.

We lie, and do not the truth. The truth here meant is not mere speculative truth, but truth in act and deed. By truth we mean duty, and he who merely pretends to do it, is merely a masked hypocrite. (See Gregory Nyssen, Epist. ad Harm.) It is said of the devil that he abode not in the truth (John 8:44), because he fell from his first estate, and was a liar and the father of a lie.

1Jn 1:7  But if we walk in the light, as he also is in the light, we have fellowship one with another: And the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

But if we walk in the light (of reason, virtue, grace), going on from virtue to virtue, as He is in the light. He is in truth the very substantial and divine Light, and does all things in the light of wisdom, prudence, and divine holiness.

We have fellowship one with another, and consequently with God. S. Augustine truly said (Confess, iv. 9), “Blessed is he that loveth Thee, his friend in Thee, and his enemy on account of Thee. For he loses no friend to whom all men are dear in Him, who is never lost.” See Prov 4:18, and Phil 2:15. S. Augustine says (de Verb. Apost. Serm. xv.), “Ye see that we are wayfarers. What then is walking? It is in a word to make progress, lest ye should not understand this, and walk too slowly. Be ever displeased with what thou art, if thou wishest to arrive at that which as yet thou art not. For thou remainest in the spot where thou art satisfied to be. If thou sayest it is enough, thou art lost. Ever be adding somewhat, ever be walking, ever make progress. Do not tarry in the way, do not turn back. He tarries who is not going onward, he turns back who goes back to his old starting-place he who apostatises turns away from the path. A lame man who walks in the way, is better than a swift runner who goes astray from it.”

And the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin. But not so as to make us impeccable. It means that He has cleansed us from our sins by baptism, that He cleanses us (at the present time) from venial sins, and will cleanse us hereafter from the peril of mortal sins, and at last will cleanse in heaven from all concupiscence. S. John uses the present tense, as including both the past and future. (See S. Augustine and Bede in loc. and S. Jerome contra Pelag. Lib. ii.) Here note (1.) that God does not merely erase sins, but washes them away entirely. The Council of Trent (Sess. vi. chap. 6) says, “No one can be righteous unless the merits of Christ’s Passion are imparted to him,” &c. And Clement VI. (Extrav. Unigenitus) asserts that “one drop of Christ’s blood could have redeemed the whole world, as being the blood of the Word by hypostatic union.” S. Gregory Nazianzen says, “No miracle is comparable with that of our salvation, wherein a few drops of blood restored the whole world, and (as blood curdles milk) binds us all into one;” and S. Augustine, on Ps 65, “Ask ye what He purchased? See what He gave, and then find out what He purchased. The blood of Christ is the price. What did it purchase, save the whole world?”  “The blood of the Lord is the price of our life,” &c. And S. Ambrose (de Virg. Lib. iii.), “We have all things in Christ. Let every soul draw nigh to Him, whether suffering from bodily sins, or firmly fastened by the nails of worldly desire, or which is still imperfect, but yet is making progress in inward meditation, or being even perfect in many virtues is altogether in the power of God; and Christ is all things to us. If thou wishest to cure thy wound, He is thy Physician; if thou art burning with fever, He is a fountain of waters; if thou art burdened with guilt, He is thy righteousness; if thou needest help, He is thy strength; if thou fearest death, He is thy life; if thou longest for heaven, He is the way; if thou shrinkest from darkness, He is thy light; if thou seekest food, He is thy sustenance.”

The blood of Jesus Christ is put, by a metonymy, for the pouring forth His Blood. It follows that His blood cleanses us not physically but meritoriously. But see S. Thomas (3 part 9. 48, art. 6, and 9. 50, art. 6), who says that it has physically power to sanctify as being the physical instrument which God makes use of for our sanctification. But see the whole passage.

1Jn 1:8  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves. Cajetan understands this of original sin, which we all contract from Adam, the Blessed Virgin alone excepted (see authorities quoted). (2.) Lyranus understands it of mortal sin, from which no one can dare to assert that he is free. (3.) Cardinal Hugo and others generally understand it of venial sin, into which we cannot help falling. See Conc. Irid. sess. iii. can. 23, where, however, the Blessed Virgin is counted as an exception. By speaking in the first person John includes himself and the other Apostles, for though they were so strengthened by grace that they could not sin mortally, yet they did sin venially. And how much more are we guilty, and how constantly should we humble ourselves and sorrow for our sins. Others regard it as speaking of the punishment of sin, others of concupiscence which remains even in those who are regenerate and justified. See Conc. Indent. But we may include all sin under one general statement, the word have comprehending both past and future time. We have had original sin, and we have, or shall have, some actual sin. In ver. 10 the past tense is used. S. John wishes to show that all are guilty of sin, and need redemption by Christ, for he says, If we say that we have no sin, &c. But though these words may be taken as referring to all sin, yet properly and directly they speak of actual sin, whether mortal or venial. For he speaks of our confessing our sins, which refers only to actual sins. The meaning then is this, that we deceive ourselves if we assert that we are free from any actual sin. It is thus understood by the Council of Millois, S. Jerome, S. Basil, S. Gregory (Mor. xviii. 4), and many others. S. James 3:2 supports this view. Both S. John and S. James refer to the heretics of their own day, who said that unbelief was the only sin, and that all things were pure to the believer, however foul his life. Luther and the Libertines taught the same, while the Beynards and Beguines considered they had attained to such perfection that they could not possibly sin, under whatever temptation. Pelagius taught that all sins could be avoided by the power of nature alone. Durandus (in Part ii. Dist. xxviii. q. 3) had much the same opinion, viz., that all deliberate venial sins could be avoided, but not all such as come upon us by surprise. See Eccles 7:20, and Prov 24:16. It is then our humiliation to own ourselves sinners, and to pray daily in our Lord’s words,  Forgive us our trespasses. S. Augustine (de Nat. et Gratia, cap. xxxvi.) says, “With the exception of the Virgin Mary (respecting whom I do not wish, for the honour of the Lord, to raise any question about sin, for we know that more grace was given her to overcome sin of every kind, to whom it was vouchsafed to conceive and bear Him who, it is admitted, had no sin) with her exception, if we were to question all those holy men and women, when they were living here, what, think you, would be their answer? that which this man, or what the apostle John, said? would they not say, If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves?” And so too S. Gregory (Hom, xxxix. on the Gospels): “If then thou art elated by thy learning, thy wealth, &c., knowest thou who thou art? Thou art a sinner. Knowest thou what sin is? It is the greatest vileness, the greatest misery of man, the greatest evil to the world, for it is in the highest measure opposed to the highest good. It is the greatest contempt of God, the greatest ingratitude, the greatest hatred of God, the greatest offence to Him. It is Christicide, nay Deicide. For if God could be killed, sin would be the weapon.”

Cassian (Collet, xxxii. cap. 19.) gives an example from prayer, in which there is scarce any one who does not wander in thought, and thus commit a venial sin. But he seems to say that anything which withdraws us, even against our wills, from continual contemplation of God, is a sin; and therefore he must be read with caution. But he must be understood to speak of the evil of punishment, from which however there frequently arises the evil of guilt.

We deceive ourselves, and moreover are deceived in our own minds: to the ruin of our soul. For he who thinks he is free from sin, neglects to seek a remedy for that sin, for which he will be punished. And moreover, he proudly contradicts Scripture, which says that we all are sinners, and does away with the grace and passion of Christ, in saying that he does not need to be cleansed by His Blood.

And the truth is not in us. That is, we lie. S. Augustine (commenting on Eccles 7, in Sententiis Sent. 365) says, “He who is just overmuch, becomes unjust over much. For who is he who makes himself just, but he who says that he has no sin?

1Jn 1:9  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all iniquity.

If we confess. S. John here suggests a remedy for sin, namely, its sincere acknowledgment, and humble confession, and penance, for by this is the Blood of Christ applied to us, to cleanse us from it. But what is the kind of confession which he requires? a general confession made to God, or a special confession to a Priest? S. John seems to require both of those, a general confession for lighter sins, special confession for grave ones. Mortal sins must be confessed, not only to God, but to the Priest, who has power to for give (John 20:23). See Bellarmine, de Pænit. i. 13, iii. 4. As S. Cyprian says (Serm, de Lapsis): “In this way do they remove the burden of their mind, and seek for a salutary remedy for such small and slight wounds.” And Tertullian (de Pænit. ch. 3) says, “Confession removes the burden of sins, just as concealment adds to it.” He then sets forth the acts of penance; as sackcloth and ashes, simple food, frequent fasts, tears and sighs, &c. As S. Chrysostom briefly says, “Penitence is contrition of heart, confession with the lips, and humility in every act.”

See here the great benefit of confession, in appeasing God’s wrath, and obtaining His grace. (See Is a43:26, sec. LXX., and Ps 51:4, Ps 32:5). Origen, on Ps 37[38], says that it is like a vomit, which relieves the overloaded stomach. And S. Diadochus says that it is the best remedy against sin for “religious” to confess to their spiritual director; and S. Francis, quoting S. Augustine (Sentent.), says, “If thou excusest thyself, God accuses thee; and if thou accusest thyself, He excuses thee.” Besides this, S. John teaches us that as we sin frequently, we should confess frequently, for trifling sins, if neglected, become great ones, “as many drops fill a river, and many grains make up a mass.” And what difference is it, whether a ship be sunk with one huge wave, or by the gradual oozing in of water, through a neglected leak? See Sirach 19:1. And as S. Gregory says, “If we neglect to cure small faults, we are insensibly led on to boldly commit greater ones;”  and again, “He who neglects to sorrow for and avoid even the least sins, does not fall suddenly from a state of grace, but, by little and little, he falls entirely away. Those then who frequently fall away in little things, should seriously consider that sometimes we sin more grievously in a little fault than in a greater one. For the greater it is, the more quickly do we discover that it is a fault, and therefore more speedily correct it, whereas a smaller fault is counted as nothing, and is therefore more fatally and more unconcernedly persevered in. And frequently a mind accustomed to lesser faults dreads not greater ones.”

He (God) is faithful. Because He who told us to pray for forgiveness of our sins promised that His fatherly forgiveness and pardon would follow. (S. Cyprian, de Orat. Dom.)

And just. (1) How is this? He is not bound as an act of justice to forgive sins even to him who is penitent. It is of His mere mercy and clemency. But it is fitting and an act worthy of God to forgive the sin of a penitent, both because He promised to do so, as the reward of penitence (see John 20:23, Ezek 18:32, and else where) His promise is a debt which ought to be paid as well as being in accordance with Divine goodness. “It is just for Thee, O God, to spare the wicked: it is also just to punish them,” says S. Anselm (in Prosolog. cap. ix. and x.) Some accordingly explain just as compassionate, compassion being most accordant with God’s nature, and penitence in its very nature is a disposition towards reconciliation and grace.

(2) He is just because Christ has by this death merited pardon for us, and God has promised it Him. The remission of our sins is due to Christ and not to ourselves. And Christ communicates His merits to the sinner, and makes them his, so that he can offer them as his own to God. And God is just in accepting this ransom. This rule of justice, properly speaking, is with reference to Christ, not to ourselves. For otherwise we (and not Christ) should be our own redeemers, which is impious and a wrong to Christ.

(3) Suarez says, rather too subtilly (3 p. disp. xi. sect, r, conc. 3), “He is faithful, whence He forgives penitents their more mortal sins, but just when He condones the venial sins of the righteous, because they deserve this by their deserts” (de condigno). (See S. Augustine, de Corrupt, and Grat. cap. xiii.).

(4) God is in a certain way is just when He forgives one who is penitent and confesses his mortal sins, because this is a kind of satisfaction. Just as an offender who vilifies his neighbour, by humbling himself and asking pardon, and the offended person is bound in justice to accept this satisfaction, so does the penitent make some kind of satisfaction to God when he humbly confesses his faults, and especially if he does so from true and perfect contrition. For contrition, proceeding as it does from the love of God above all things, is a kind of compensation for the wrong and slight he has done to God by preferring the creature to Him. For the love which loves God above all things compensates for the hatred felt towards Him, as the honour paid Him makes up for the former contempt and slight, though not to an equal extent. And therefore it is just in a certain measure that God should pardon the sinner for some such acts as these. And for this reason penitence is counted by theologians as closely allied to justice, and as its effective part. Nay, Durandus (in 4 Dist. 14 q.) thinks that penitence is reciprocal justice, inasmuch as the theological virtues enjoin it to make due satisfaction (as far as it can) for its offence. But others on every side more truly suppose that penitence is a special virtue distinct from strict justice, and all other moral virtues. Richard (in 4 Dist. art. 1. q. 2) adds, that the merits of Christ being granted, penitence can in strictness, as an act of justice, make satisfaction for sin. And (on Dist. xvii. art. 2, Qncest. 7) he asserts that contrition, if it precedes remission of sins, merits it by desert (ex condigno). And so also others teach that contrition stands on the same level as mortal sin, and can by itself make satisfaction for it. And they derive that from S. Thomas own principles; for he teaches (1, 2 q. 113, art. 8) that in the justification of a sinner, sanctifying grace is infused prior to contrition and remission of sin. In this he is followed by many of his disciples. But the general opinion is otherwise, namely, that contrition does not result from sanctifying, but from prescient grace. For since contrition disposes us for receiving sanctifying grace, it cannot result from it, but necessarily precedes it (see Conc. Triden. sess. vi. chap. 6, 7, and 8), and consequently teaches that we are justified freely, and do not merit that justification which includes remission of sins. (See authorities quoted.)

And to cleanse its from all iniquity. Sin and unrighteousness are here used synonymously.

1Jn 1:10  If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar: and his word is not in us.

If we say that we have not sinned, &c. (1) By original sin, and (2) by actual sin. This no one questions. S. John probably refers to venial sins. He uses the past tense, as speaking to those who had been converted from heathenism, and who in that state had committed many grievous sins. Again, among those who had been brought to Christ many deferred their baptism till the last, and were consequently termed “clinics”. The Fathers severely condemn them. But those who were baptized as children, had committed (as adults) many venial sins, at least. The Apostle therefore speaks to all in the past tense, as wishing to warn them for the future, that (as having been regenerate) they should carefully abstain from sin, as he says in the next chapter.

We make Him a liar. Because God says in Scripture that all men are sinners and do not live without sin. See Eccles 7:20; Prov 14:6 ; Ps 142:2; James 3:2, and elsewhere, and in the Lord’s Prayer.

And His word is not in us. We do not understand, or embrace, or retain its true doctrine, or anyhow we forget it. We do not believe Scripture, which says that we are all liable to sin. So S. Clement, Didymus, Cajetan, and others. But the Gloss understands by His Word His Son Jesus Christ; and says that He abides not in us, because from our unbelief and pride we overthrow the mystery of redemption, and say that we do not need, nor ever needed, a Redeemer. Or it may mean the word which God has said (“the greater thou art, humble thyself the more,” Sirach 3:20) abideth not in us. For we do the exact contrary, and being of no account, and sinners, we wish to be great, and incapable of sin.

1Jn 2:1  My little children, these things I write to you, that you may not sin. But if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the just.

My little children, these things I write to you, that you may not sin. At the end of the last chapter it was said that all who were grown up had sinned, either mortally as heathens, or venially as Christians. But he now exhorts them one by one to be most watchful against the sins they committed as heathens, and to abstain as far as they could from venial sins. For though it be impossible to avoid them collectively, yet it is possible to avoid them one by one, especially such as are committed not by surprise, but with previous consideration, and deliberately.

But if any man sin, we have an advocate. This anticipates the objection, what then will he do, who through human weakness has fallen into some unusual and shameful sin? He answers, he should not despair, or be cast down, because we have Christ as our advocate with our most loving Father, Christ who by presenting His death and sufferings which He underwent for us, will easily obtain our pardon, if we are truly penitent, for God is most merciful, and Christ’s merits are infinite. And just as the seventy of a wound or disease displays the skill and credit of the physician who cures them, so does the greatness of our sins which He heals, and in which He is a propitiator, set forth the greatness of Christ s mercy, grace, and redemption. As in the case of the Magdalene and S. Paul. See 1 Tim 1:15. Here observe Advocate means one who pleads our cause: in a forensic sense; and He is so 1. By displaying His wounds, and thus silently pleading His own merits. 2. Many, with great probability, assert that He is ever praying for us orally, being no longer a wayfarer on earth, but as having attained to his rest and claiming our pardon as His right. See Heb. 7:25, 9:12; John 14:16; Rom 7:3. Beza and others thence contend that the saints are not our advocates, and that we make them superior to Christ, if we regard them as such. But they reason falsely, for we know and profess that Christ is the Son of God, and that the Blessed Virgin and the Saints are immeasurably inferior to Him. But yet they intercede for us through His merits. See S. Irenseus, v. 29; S. Bernard, xii.; and on the whole question, Bellarmine, de Invocat. Sanct.

Jesus Christ the just. That is, (1) Innocent and holy, and who by His very sanctity is most loved of the Father, and desirous to be heard of Him. (2.) He who made a full satisfaction for our sins, paying a full ransom for them by His own Blood. He is then our righteous advocate in another sense, as pleading a righteous cause, as those who plead for gain. Whence Cassiodorus says (Epist. xi. 4.), “If in your zeal for advocacy ye have shone forth with the light of justice.” Such an one, then, is a good advocate amongst men, but not with God, since we ask of Him, not justice, but mercy and grace. And His is a tribunal of grace.

1Jn 2:2  And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.


And (i.e. because) He is the propitiation (the propitiator) for our sins. For by offering Himself on the Cross as a Victim for sins, He has made satisfaction for them, and reconciled the Father to us. This refers to the mercy-seat, which was above the ark (see Exodus 25:17), which represented Christ our Propitiator (see Rom 3:25.) S. Augustine (de Fide et Operibus) reads, “He is the entreater (exoratio) for our sins.” S. Cyprian reads deprecatio, John means that Christ is so powerful an advocate, that our case cannot fail in His hands, being Himself, by His very office, our redemption and propitiation, who made a full satisfaction for our sins.

So S. John says (Rev 1:5); and S. Leo (Serm, xii. de Passione), “The pouring forth of His righteous Blood for the unrighteous, was so powerful to gain this privilege, so fully sufficient to pay the price, that if the whole body of captives believed in their Redeemer, the bands of tyranny would not retain their hold of a single one . . . For though the death of the Saints was precious in the sight of the Lord, yet it was not the death of any innocent person that was the propitiation of the world. The righteous received crowns, they did not confer them. In the fortitude of the saints were exhibited examples of patience, not gifts of righteousness. They each died their own several deaths, and none of them dying discharged any other s debt than his own, since the Lord Jesus Christ stood forth alone among the sons of men, in whom all are crucified, all die, all are buried, and all moreover will be raised again.” For this cause S. Augustine and other saints who had sinned betook themselves to the wounds of Christ, and dwelt therein as in a refuge. See note on Zechariah 12. As S. Ambrose (pref. in Ps 35) says, “The Blood of Christ is fine gold, plenteous to redeem, and flowing forth to wash away every sin.”

And not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. Not for Jews only but for Gentiles, to whom Christ ordered the Gospel to be preached. Again, Christ is offered in the Sacrifice of the Mass for all men, excepting those who are excommunicated.



2 Responses to “Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on 1 John 1:5-2:2”

  1. […] Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Today’s First Reading (1 John 1:5-22). […]

  2. […] Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Today’s First Reading (1 John 1:5-22). […]

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