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 January 2nd, 2012

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 98 (97)

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 2, 2012

LIKE the preceding, this psalm, is largely taken up with the End-period, the Messianic age. It is more closely connected in thought with Ps 47 than with Ps 96. Here, as in Ps 96, there is question of a “new song.” The occasion of the poem is here also obscure, but the predominance of Messianic imagery is just as marked in this as in the preceding psalms. Hence if the psalm was intended to commemorate some victorious intervention of God on behalf of Israel, that intervention is viewed as a phase, or foreshadowing, of Messianic rule. The presence of ideas and literary forms resembling closely those found in Isaias 42-44 is characteristic of this psalm, as of the preceding, so that the ascription of the psalm to David must be understood in the same way as in the previous Psalm. Indeed, the peculiarly close connection of verses 1-3 with Isaias 53:10 and 59:16; 63:5, suggests that this psalm is more completely a product of the period of Deutero-Isaias than its predecessor. It is more exact, therefore, to speak of this psalm simply as “Davidic,” than to ascribe it to David as author.

The structure of the psalm is clear. In verses 1-3 we have the “new song.” The psalmist calls for the new song to celebrate the establishment of the unquestioned rule of Yahweh over the nations. By the might of His arm the Lord has compelled the nations to acknowledge His rule. This the psalmist regards as the bringing of salvation to Israel, so that the overthrow of God’s foes is represented as an act of divine favour towards Israel—as the giving to Israel its rights against the nations. Thus it is here implied that the accession of Yahweh to the Messianic throne has been preceded by a victory over, and humiliation of, the heathen peoples. But when God’s purposes in the punishment of the heathen have been attained, then the heathen also share in the general salvation. Thus, the universality of grace is made to depend on Judgment—the world-judgment which we meet with so often elsewhere.

After His victory Yahweh takes His seat as King. As an earthly King is applauded when he comes to his throne, so all the world acclaims Yahweh (vv. 4-6). The heathens turn away from their gods and join with Israel in welcoming the Lord as King and Saviour of the world. The ceremonial of welcome and joyous acclamation is thought of after the manner of 2 Kings 11 and 12. Cf. Numbers 23:21, and Ps 45.

The poet now passes on to describe (in vv. 7-9) how all nature joins in the chorus of applause and jubilation which greets Yahweh’s accession. The ocean thunders its joy; the rivers clap hands, and the mountains burst forth into shouts of rejoicing—” before the Lord who cometh to judge the earth.”

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, liturgy, Notes on the Lectionary, NOTES ON THE PSALMS, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

St Augustine’s Homily on 1 John 2:29-3:6

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 2, 2012

The following is an excerpt from a homily on 1 John 2:27-3:8 by St Augustine. I’ve included a few notes of my own and these appear in red. The entire sermon can be read online here. St Augustine’s entire series of sermons on 1 John can be found here.

1Jn 2:29  If you know that he is just, know ye, that every one also who doth justice is born of him.

“If you know that he is just, know ye, that every one also who doth justice is born of him. ” The  justice (righteousness) which at present is ours is of faith. Perfect righteousness is not, save only in the angels: and scarce in angels, if they be compared with God: yet if there be any perfect righteousness of souls and spirits which God hath created, it is in the angels, holy, just, good, by no lapse turned aside, by no pride falling, but remaining ever in the contemplation of the Word of God, and having nothing else sweet unto them save Him by whom they were created; in them is perfect righteousness: but in us it has begun to be, of faith, by the Spirit. Ye heard when the Psalm was read,“Begin to the Lord in confession” (Ps 147:7. See my note 1 at end of paragraph) “Begin,” saith it; the beginning of our righteousness is the confession of sins. Thou hast begun not to defend thy sin; now hast thou made a beginning of righteousness: but it shall be perfected in thee when to do nothing else shall delight thee, when “death shall be swallowed up in victory” (1 Cor 15:24) when there shall be no itching of lust, when there shall be no struggling with flesh and blood, when there shall be the palm of victory (see note 2 end of paragraph), the triumph over the enemy; then shall there be perfect righteousness. At present we are still fighting: if we fight we are in the lists (“stadium” would be a better translatio; see note 3 end of paragraph); we smite and are smitten; but who shall conquer, remains to be seen. And that man conquers, who even when he smites presumes not on his own strength, but relies upon God that cheers him on. The devil is alone when he fights against us. If we are with God, we overcome the devil: for if thou fight alone with the devil, thou wilt be overcome. He is a skillful enemy: how may palms (i.e., victories) has he won! Consider to what he has cast us down. That we are born mortal, comes of this, that he in the first place cast down from Paradise our very original. What then is to be done, seeing he is so well practised? Let the Almighty be invoked to thine aid against the devices of the devil. Let Him dwell in thee, who cannot be overcome, and thou shalt securely overcome him who is wont to overcome. But to overcome whom? Those in whom God dwelleth not. For, that ye may know it, brethren; Adam being in Paradise despised the commandment of God, and lifted up the neck, as if he desired to be his own master, and were loath to be subject to the will of God: so he fell from that immortality, from that blessedness. But there was a certain man, a man now well skilled, though a mortal born, who even as he sat on the dunghill, purifying with worms, overcame the devil: yea, Adam himself then overcame: even he, in Job; because J0b was of his race. So then, Adam, overcome in Paradise, overcame on the dunghill. Being in Paradise, he gave ear to the persuasion of the woman which the devil had put into her: but being on the dunghill he said to Eve, “Thou hast spoken as one of the foolish women” (Job 2:10). There he lent an ear, here he gave an answer: when he was glad, he listened, when he was scourged, he overcame. Therefore, see what follows, my brethren, in the Epistle: because this is what it would have us lay to heart, that we may overcome the devil indeed, but not of ourselves. “If ye know that He is righteous,” saith it, “know ye that every one that doeth righteousness is born of Him:” of God, of Christ. And in that he hath said, “Is born of Him,” he cheers us on. Already therefore, in that we are born of Him, we are perfect. The text of Augustine’s sermon continues after the notes below.

Notes:
1. Begin to the Lord in confession (Ps 147:7). The Latin reads: praecinite Domino in confessione psallite. the Greek has: εξαρξατε τω κυριω εν εξομολογησει. The opening word of both versions mean, or at least imply, “a beginning”. Praecinite, for example, has “to foretell,” or “to predict” as one of its basic meanings, thus implying a beginning. The first word of the Hebrew text is ענו, which has “to begin” as one of its extended meanings.  Confessione would, in this instance, be better translated into English as “praise”. The Psalm began with these words: Praise the LORD! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for he is gracious, and a song of praise is seemly. The LORD builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the outcasts of Israel.He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds (RSV).  The goodness and graciousness of God has manifested itself by bringing to an end the Babylonian Exile, a fact which implies the confession and forgiveness of sins (Deut 30:1-10).

2. Palm of victory. Palms were signs of victory and conquest (1 Macc 13:51; 2 Macc 10:7).

3. If we fight we are in the lists. “In the stadium” (or “arena”). The underlying Greek word stadion referred to a unit of measurement and, by implication, a list of some sort (i.e., of names, merchandise, etc.). The translator of the text was probably unduly influenced by the underlying Greek. Augustine is comparing our fight against sin and Satan to the gladiatorial spectacle.

1Jn 3:1  Behold what manner of charity the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called and should be the sons of God. Therefore the world knoweth not us, because it knew not him.

4. Hear. “Behold what manner of charity the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called and should be the sons of God” (1 Jn 3:1).  For whoso are called sons, and are not sons, what profiteth them the name where the thing is not? How many are called physicians, who know not how to heal! how many are called watchers, who sleep all night long! So, many are called Christians, and yet in deeds are not found such; because they are not this which they are called, that is, in life, in manners, in faith, in hope, in charity. But what have ye heard here, brethren? “ Behold what manner of charity the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called and should be the sons of God. Therefore the world knoweth not us, because it knew not him,” us also the world knoweth not. There is a whole world Christian, and a whole world ungodly; because throughout the whole world there are ungodly, and throughout the whole world there are godly: those know not these. In what sense, think we, do they not know them? They deride them that live good lives. Mc well and see: for haply there are such also among you. Each one of you who now lives godly, who despises worldly things, who does not choose to go to spectacles, who does not choose to make himself drunken as it were by solemn custom, yea, what is worse, under countenance of holy days to make himself unclean: the man who does not choose to do these things, how is he derided by those who do them! Would he be scoffed at if he were known? But why is he not known? “The world knoweth Him not.” Who is “the world”? Those inhabiters of the world. Just as we say, “a house;” meaning, its inhabitants. These things have been said to you again and again, and we forbear to repeat them to your disgust. By this time, when ye hear the word “world,” in a bad signification, ye know that ye must understand it to mean only lovers of the world because through love they inhabit, and by inhabiting have become entitled to the name. Therefore the world hath not known us, because it hath not known Him. He walked here Himself, the Lord Jesus Christ in the flesh; He was God, He was latent in weakness. And wherefore was He not known? Because He reproved all sins in men. They, through loving the delights of sins, did not acknowledge the God: through loving that which the fever prompted, they did wrong to the Physician.

1Jn 3:2  Dearly beloved, we are now the sons of God: and it hath not yet appeared what we shall be. We know that when he shall appear we shall be like to him: because we shall see him as he is.

For us then, what are we? Already we are begotten of Him; but because we are such in hope, he saith, “Beloved, we are now sons of God” (1 Jn 3:2). Now already? Then what is it we look for, if already we are sons of God? “And it hath not yet,” saith he, “appeared what we shall be.” But what else shall we be than sons of God? Hear what follows: “We know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is.” Understand, my beloved. It is a great matter: “We know that when he shall appear we shall be like to him: because we shall see him as he is..” In the first place mark, what is called “Is.” Ye know what it is that is so called. That which is called “Is,” and not only is called but is so, is unchangeable: It ever remaineth, It cannot be changed, It is in no part corruptible: It hath neither proficiency, for It is perfect; nor hath deficiency, for It is eternal. And what is this? “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (Jn 1:1). And what is this? “Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God” (Philipp 2:6).  To see Christ in this sort, Christ in the form of God, Word of God, Only-Begotten of the Father, equal with the Father, is to the bad impossible. But in regard that the Word was made flesh, the bad also shall have power to see Him: because in the day of judgment the bad also will see Him; for He shall so come to judge, as He came to be judged. In the selfsame form, a man, but yet God: for “cursed is every one that putteth his trust in man” (Jer 17:5).  A man, He came to be judged, a man, He will come to judge. And if He shall not be seen, what is this that is written, “They shall look on Him whom they pierced? (Jn 19:37, quoting Zech 12:10).  For ofthe ungodly it is said, that they shall see and be confounded. How shall the ungodly not see, when He shall set some on the right hand, others on the left? To those on the right hand He will say, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom:” to those on the left He will say, “Go into everlasting fire” (Matt 25:34, 41).  They will see but the form of a servant, the form of God they will not see. Why? because they were ungodly; and the Lord Himself saith, “Blessed are the clean of heart: they shall see God” (Matt 5:8).  Therefore, we are to see a certain vision, my brethren, “That eye hath not seen, nor ear heard: neither hath it entered into the heart of man” (1 Cor 2:9),  a certain vision, a vision surpassing all earthly beautifulness, of gold, of silver, of groves and fields; the beautifulness of sea and air, the beautifulness of sun and moon, the beautifulness of the stars, the beautifulness of angels: surpassing all things: because from it are all things beautiful.

What then shall “we” be, when we shall see this? What is promised to us? “We shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is.” The tongue hath done what it could, hath sounded the words: let the rest be thought by the heart. For what hath even John himself said in comparison of That which Is, or what can be said by us men, who are so far from being equal to his merits? Return we therefore to that unction of Him, return we to that unction which inwardly teacheth that which we cannot speak: and because ye cannot at present see, let your part and duty be in desire. The whole life of a good Christian is an holy desire. Now what thou longest for, thou dost not yet see: howbeit by longing, thou art made capable, so that when that is come which thou mayest see, thou shall be filled. For just as, if thou wouldest fill a bag, and knowest how great the thing is that shall be given, thou stretchest the opening of the sack or the skin, or whatever else it be; thou knowest how much thou wouldest put in, and seest that the bag is narrow; by stretching thou makest it capable of holding more: so God, by deferring our hope, stretches our desire; by the desiring, stretches the mind; by stretching, makes it more capacious. Let us desire therefore, my brethren, for we shall be filled. See Paul widening, as it were, his bosom, that it may be able to receive that which is to come. He saith, namely, “I do not count myself to have apprehended. But one thing I do: Forgetting the things that are behind and stretching forth myself to those that are before, I press towards the mark, to the prize of the supernal vocation of God in Christ Jesus” (Philipp :13-14).  Then what art thou doing in this life, if thou have not yet apprehended? “But one thing I do: Forgetting the things that are behind and stretching forth myself to those that are before, I press towards the mark, to the prize of the supernal vocation.” He says he reaches forth, or stretches himself, and says that he follows “upon the strain.” He felt himself too little to take in that “That eye hath not seen, nor ear heard: neither hath it entered into the heart of man” (1 Cor 2:9).  This is our life, that by longing we should be exercised. But holy longing exercises us just so muchas we prune off our longings from the love of the world. We have already said, “Empty out that which is to be filled.” With good thou art to be filled: pour out the bad. Suppose that God would fill thee with honey: if thou art full of vinegar, where wilt thou put the honey? That which the vessel bore in it must be poured out: the vessel itself must be cleansed; must be cleansed, albeit with labor, albeit with hard rubbing, that it may become fit for that thing, whatever it be. Let us say honey, say gold, say wine; whatever we say it is, being that which cannot be said, whatever we would fain say, It is called—God. And when we say” God,” what have we said? Is that one syllable the whole of that we look for? So then, whatever, we have had power to say is beneath Him: let us stretch ourselves unto Him, that when He shall come, He may fill us. For “we shall be like Him; because we shall see Him as He is.”

1Jn 3:3  And every one that hath this hope in him sanctifieth himself, as he also is holy.

“And every one that hath this hope in Him.” Ye see how he hath set us our place, in “hope.” Ye see how the Apostle Paul agreeth with his fellow-apostle, “For we are saved by hope. But hope that is seen is not hope. For what a man seeth, why doth he hope for?  But if we hope for that which we see not, we wait for it with patience” (Rom 8:24-25).  This very patience exerciseth desire. Continue thou, for He continueth: and persevere thou in walking, that thou mayest reach the goal: for that to which thou tendest will not remove. See: “And every one that hath this hope in him sanctifieth himself, as he also is holy.” See how he has not taken away free-will, in that he saith, “sanctifieth himself.” Who sanctifieth us but God? Yea, but God doth not sanctify thee if thou be unwilling. Therefore, in that thou joinest thy will to God, in that thou sanctifiest thyself. Thou sanctifiest thyself, not by thyself, but by Him who cometh to inhabit thee. Still, because thou doest somewhat therein by the will, therefore is somewhat attributed to thee. But it is attributed to thee only to the end thou shouldest say, as in the Psalm, “Be thou my helper, forsake me not” (Ps 27:9).   If thou sayest, “Be thou my helper,” thou doest somewhat: for if thou be doing nothing, how should He be said to “help” thee?

1Jn 3:4  Whosoever committeth sin committeth also iniquity. And sin is iniquity.
1Jn 3:5  And you know that he appeared to take away our sins: and in him there is no sin.
1Jn 3:6  Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: and whosoever sinneth hath not seen him nor known him.

“Whosoever committeth sin committeth also iniquity.” Let no man say, Sin is one thing, iniquity another: let no man say, I am a sinful man, but not a doer of iniquity. For, “Whosoever committeth sin committeth also iniquity. And sin is iniquity.” Well then, what are we to do concerning sins and iniquities? Hear what He saith: “And you know that he appeared to take away our sins: and in him there is no sin.” He, in Whom sin is not, the same is come to take away sin. For were there sin in Him, it must be taken away from Him, not He take it away Himself. “Whosoever abideth in Him, sinneth not.”  In so far as he abideth in Him, in so far sinneth not. “Whosoever sinneth hath not seen Him, nor known Him.” A great question this: “Whosoever sinneth hath not seen Him, nor known Him.” No marvel. We have not seen Him, but are to see; have not known Him, but are to know: we believe on One we have not known. Or haply, by faith we have known, and by actual beholding have not yet known? But then in faith we have both seen and known. For if faith doth not yet see,why are we said to have been enlightened? There is an enlightening by faith, and an enlightening by sight. At present, while we are on pilgrimage, “we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor 5:7), or, actually beholding. Therefore also our righteousness is “by faith, not by sight.” Our righteousness shall be perfect, when we shall see by actual beholding.45 Only, in the meanwhile, let us not leave that righteousness which is of faith, since “The just man liveth by faith” (Rom 1:17), as saith the apostle. “Whosoever abideth in Him, sinneth not.” For, “whosoever sinneth, hath not seen Him, neither known Him.” That man who sins, believes not: but if a man believes, so far as pertains to his faith, he sinneth not.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, fathers of the church, liturgy, Notes on 1 John, Notes on the Lectionary, Quotes, Scripture, SERMONS | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Bishop MacEvily’s Commentary on 1 John 2:29-3:6

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 2, 2012

This post includes the Bishop’s paraphrasing (in purple) of the text he is commenting on.

1Jn 2:29  If you know that he is just, know ye, that every one also who doth justice is born of him.

And, since you have known him to be just by excellence, know also this, that every man who doth good works has has contracted with God the relation of Son, having been regenerated by his spirit; it is only in virtue of the grace and strength, received at this second spiritual birth, that he performs good works.

The Apostle, after cautioning the faithful against the seductions of error, now proceeds to describe the sons of God. “If you know ” (as you know, certainly, from faith) “that he is just,” that Christ is by excellence “just,” “know ye that every one also that doth justice” (to “do justice,” means in every part of sacred Scripture, to perform just or good works, v.g., Psalm 15:2; Rom 9:30; 1 John 3:7), “is born of him.” It is not in virtue of the strength or natural powers received at his birth from the first Adam, that he does good works; but in virtue of the spiritual and supernatural strength received at his second birth from the second Adam, by sanctifying grace; for, through sanctifying grace, we receive a new existence, and are made partakers of the Divine nature.—(2 Peter 1:4). And, as the morals and complexion of the son in the order of nature, show his earthly parentage and the seed from which he sprang; so, does the performance of good works point out the heavenly seed of grace, and the spiritual birth from God.

1Jn 3:1  Behold what manner of charity the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called and should be the sons of God. Therefore the world knoweth not us, because it knew not him.

Reflect again and again, how great a proof of his unbounded love the Father has given us, by conferring upon us the exalted title of sons of God, and rendering us such in reality; and it is because the world neither knows nor loves this your bountiful Father, that it does not love you either; but on the contrary, persecutes you, and treats you with the greatest contempt.

“Behold,” diligently consider, “what manner of charity the Father hath bestowed upon us,” that is, how great is the love of God the Father for us, as manifested in this, viz., “that we should be called,” or, should receive the exalted appellation and epithet, of “sons of God,” and “should be,” in reality, such, viz., adopted sons of God, owing to our new spiritual birth by grace, and owing to his adopting us, as co-heirs of his Son. “Therefore, the world knows us not,” does not recognise, or love us as his sons; on the contrary, it contemns and persecutes us, “because it knew not him,” it is because the world, that is to say, worldly, carnal men, neither knew nor loved him, that, therefore, they prize not your exalted privilege of divine filiation, through sanctifying grace. The words, “should be,” are not in the ordinary Greek copies, but they are implied in “should be called,” and are found  και εσμεν, in the chief manuscripts and ancient versions.

1Jn 3:2  Dearly beloved, we are now the sons of God: and it hath not yet appeared what we shall be. We know that when he shall appear we shall be like to him: because we shall see him as he is.

Dearly beloved, we are even now  in the midst of the persecution and contempt with which we are treated, the sons of God. But what we shall be, what glory we shall enjoy at a future day, hath not yet appeared. But when Christ shall come in majesty to judge the world, we know that our bodies, clad with all the properties of glorification, shall be assimilated to his, because we shall then see him, not as we see him now (“through a glass, in a dark manner,”) but, as he really is, face to face.-(1 Cor 12).

Even at the present moment, in the midst of the opprobrium heaped upon us, by those who know not God, we enjoy the lofty prerogative of divine sonship; and “what we shall be, hath not yet appeared,” it is only at a future day it will be seen, to how great a degree of glory we are to be raised. “We know, that when he shall appear,” when Christ shall appear in majesty to judge the world, “we shall be like to him.” This is commonly understood to regard a likeness in the glorified bodies of the elect to Christ’s glorified body. Some interpreters translate the words, “when he shall appear,” εαν φανερωθη   “when it shall appear,” namely, when it shall appear, what we will be, as if reference were made to the words immediately preceding. The other, however, is the far more common construction. The words have the same meaning, as in chapter 2 verse 28. “Because we shall see him as he is,” not obscurely, as now, but “face to face” (1 Cor 12), the lumen gloria shall enable us to see, “face to face” the glory of God; for this, the grace of the present life would be insufficient; and from the beatific vision of God, or the glory of our souls, shall flow the glorification of our bodies. Hence, the Apostle assigns our “seeing him as he is,” as the cause why we will be like him as to the glorification of our bodies, when he shall appear in judgment, “because we shall see him as he is.”

1Jn 3:3  And every one that hath this hope in him sanctifieth himself, as he also is holy.

And everyone that hath a true and well grounded hope, through the merits of Christ, of thus seeing him, and of being, consequently, assimilated to him in glory, must, in this life, purify and sanctify himself, as Christ is pure and holy, as far as a creature can imitate God.

1Jn 3:4  Whosoever committeth sin committeth also iniquity. And sin is iniquity.

To this purity, which should characterize every Christian, sin is opposed; for, all who commit sin or in any way grievously violate the moral law, or the dictates of right reason, are guilty of iniquity, and violate the law of God; since every grievous departure from the law of right reason is a violation of the law of God.

Verse 3~“And everyone that hath this hope,” or, a well grounded confidence “in him,” through the merits of Christ, of seeing him as he is, and of consequently being assimilated to him in his glorified body. “Sanctifieth himself, as he also is holy.” The Greek for “sanctifieth,” αγνιζει, purifieth, and renders himself chaste, by imitating his purity and sanctity, as far as this imitation can be carried by creatures. The resemblance in glory between Christ and the elect, in order to be the object of solid and legitimate hope, must be commenced in this life by grace.

He now shows (verse 4), how opposed to this sanctity and purity, which should characterize every Christian, is the commission of sin, “whosoever committeth sin committeth also iniquity, and” (i.e. for), “sin is iniquity.” The interpretation of the verse depends on the meaning of the words “sin” and “iniquity.” St. Ambrose and St. Augustine think that “sin” is more grievous than “iniquity.” Others, among whom is St. Gregory, understand them to mean the same thing, although there may be some difference in the signification of both words. It is, however, more probable, that “sin,” is employed to denote every grievous departure from the rule of right reason, or the dictates of the moral law, although not punishable with penalties by human law (v.g.) sins of uncleanness and impurity; and it is likely that the followers of Simon Magus, and the Nicolaites, regarded sins of impurity, and other sins, not punished by human laws, as trifling, and thus indulged in them freely. Hence, St. John says, that all such sins are violations of God’s law, and are opposed to the sanctity of the Christian state. The Greek word for iniquity is, ανομια, that is, the transgression, or prevarication of a law. Of course, St. John, when calling “sin” iniquity, speaks of grievous violations of the natural or moral law. 

1Jn 3:5  And you know that he appeared to take away our sins: and in him there is no sin.

And you know from the principle of your faith that the object of Christ appearing on earth in his assumed nature, was to take away or abolish sin, by offering a sufficient ransom to obtain pardon for our past, and to merit grace to prevent our future, transgressions; for, he was fit to make satisfaction for our sins, having been himself free from all sin.

The Apostle gives, in this verse, a reason, grounded on the very economy and
plan of the incarnation, why we should not sin; “to take away our sins,” is understood by some to mean, to carry or take upon him our sins, as to their imputability, in the sense of the prophet, ”vere languores nostros ipse tulit et dolores portavit; ipse peccata multorum tulit(Isaiah 53:4~Surely he hath borne our infirmities and carried our sorrows).  The interpretation of abolishing sin, adopted in the Paraphrase, is the most probable. The words, “and in him there is no sin,” are understood causatively, by some—he made atonement for sin; because, being a victim free from all sin, his atonement should be accepted. Others make these words have reference to the preceding words, “our sins,” he took away our sins; for, he had no sins of his own to atone for.

1Jn 3:6  Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: and whosoever sinneth hath not seen him nor known him.

And whosoever is united to him, by sanctifying grace, receives the spiritual influences which, as head, he imparts to members, commits no grievous sin, and whosoever commits mortal sin, has not practically seen him, nor known him with a knowledge joined with love.

“Whosoever abideth in him,” or, is united to him by sanctifying grace, “sinneth not.” How can this be reconciled with the doctrine of the Church, viz., that without an extraordinary privilege of grace, every person will fall into venial sins? Some Expositors, with St. Agustine (lib de Bap. Parvul. ch. viii., et Epistola 95), say, the words mean, that such a person, inasmuch, as he received the grace of Christ, and shares in the influence of his headship on his members, does not commit any sin whatever: although, as a son of the world, he may often fall into sins. This interpretation, they contend, best accords with the scope of the Apostle in this verse, which is to prove the foregoing assertion, viz., that “in him (Christ) there is no sin;” for, if his members, deriving the vital influence of his grace from him, do not commit any sin whatsoever; therefore, in him there can be no sin. Others, with St. Jerome (contra Jovinianum, ch. i., et libr. i contra Pelagianos, ch. i.), say, the words, “sinneth not,” refer to mortal sin, on account of which, alone, a person ceases to be a living member of Christ; and, it is clear from the following verses, that the Apostle is referring to the sin which makes us “children of the devil,” and that is mortal sin only. And, moreover, it is only of a. person sinning mortally, that the words could be verified in the next member of the sentence, “whosoever sinneth, hath not seen him nor known him” practically, with an affective vision, a knowledge joined with love, he knows God, as if he knew him not; for, had he known God as he ought, had he considered his love and goodness, and the rewards and punishments which he holds out, such a knowledge would have restrained him from the commission of sin. The words, “seen” and “known,” mean the same thing. Oh! that men had known God, how ardently would they love him, how zealously would they fulfil his holy law, and run in the way of his holy commandments!

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, liturgy, Notes on 1 John, Notes on the Lectionary, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

 
%d bloggers like this: