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 26th, 2012

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary/Meditation on Psalm 51 (50)

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 26, 2012

Against you alone have I sinned

1. We have just heard the Miserere, one of the most famous prayers of the Psalter, the most intense and commonly used penitential psalm, the hymn of sin and pardon, a profound meditation on guilt and grace. The Liturgy of the Hours makes us pray it at Lauds every Friday. For centuries the prayer has risen to heaven from the hearts of many faithful Jews and Christians as a sigh of repentance and hope poured out to a merciful God.

The Jewish tradition placed the psalm on the lips of David, who was called to repentance by the severe words of the prophet Nathan (cf. vv. 1-2; 2 Sam 11-12), who rebuked him for his adultery with Bathsheba and for having had her husband Uriah killed. The psalm, however, was enriched in later centuries, by the prayer of so many other sinners, who recovered the themes of the “new heart” and of the “Spirit” of God placed within the redeemed human person, according to the teaching of the prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel (cf. v. 12; Jer 31,31-34; Ez 11,19. 36,24-28).

2. Psalm 50 (51) outlines two horizons. First, there is the dark region of sin (cf. vv. 3-11) in which man is placed from the beginning of his existence:  “Behold in guilt I was born, a sinner was I conceived” (v. 7). Even if this declaration cannot be taken as an explicit formulation of the doctrine of original sin as it was defined by Christian theology, undoubtedly it corresponds to it:  indeed, it expresses the profound dimension of the innate moral weakness of the human person. The first part of the Psalm appears to be an analysis of sin, taking place before God. Three Hebrew terms are used to define this sad reality, which comes from the evil use of human freedom.

3. The first term, hattá, literally means “falling short of the target”:  sin is an aberration which leads us far from God, the fundamental goal of our relations, and, consequently, also from our neighbour.
The second Hebrew term is “awôn, which takes us back to the image of “twisting” or of “curving”.

Sin is a tortuous deviation from the straight path; it is an inversion, a distortion, deformation of good and of evil; in the sense declared by Isaiah:  “Woe to those who call good evil and evil good, who change darkness into light and light into darkness” (Is 5,20). Certainly, for this reason in the Bible conversion is indicated as a “return” (in Hebrew shûb) to the right way, correcting one’s course.

The third term the psalmist uses to speak of sin is peshá. It expresses the rebellion of the subject toward his sovereign and therefore an open challenge addressed to God and to his plan for human history.

4. If, however, man confesses his sin, the saving justice of God is ready to purify him radically. Thus we come to the second spiritual part of the psalm, the luminous realm of grace (cf. vv. 12-19). By the confession of sins, for the person who prays there opens an horizon of light where God is at work. The Lord does not just act negatively, eliminating sin, but recreates sinful humanity by means of his life-giving Spirit:  he places in the human person a new and pure “heart”, namely, a renewed conscience, and opens to him the possibility of a limpid faith and worship pleasing to God.

Origen spoke of a divine therapy, which the Lord carries out by his word and by the healing work of Christ:  “As God prepares remedies for the body from therapeutic herbs wisely mixed together, so he also prepared for the soul medicines with the words he infused, scattering them in the divine Scriptures…. God gave yet another medical aid of which the Lord is the Archetype who says of himself:  “It is not the healthy who have need of a physician but the sick‘. He is the excellent physician able to heal every weakness, and illness” (Origen, Homilies on the Psalms, From the Italian edition, Omelie sui Salmi, Florence, 1991, pp. 247-249).

5. The richness of Psalm 50 (51) merits a careful exegesis of every line. It is what we will do when we will meet it again at Lauds on successive Fridays. The overall view, which we have taken of this great Biblical supplication, reveals several fundamental components of a spirituality which should permeate the daily life of the faithful. There is above all a lively sense of sin, seen as a free choice, with a negative connotation on the moral and theological level:  “Against you, you alone, have I sinned, I have done what is evil in your sight” (v. 6).

There is also in the psalm a lively sense of the possibility of conversion:  the sinner, sincerely repentant, (cf. v 5), comes before God in his misery and nakedness, begging him not to cast him out from his presence (v. 13).

Finally, in the Miserere, a rooted conviction of divine pardon ” cancels, washes, cleanses” the sinner (cf. vv. 3-4) and is able to transform him into a new creature who has a transfigured spirit, tongue, lips and heart (cf. 4-19). “Even if our sins were as black as the night, divine mercy is greater than our misery. Only one thing is needed:  the sinner has to leave the door to his heart ajar…. God can do the rest…. Everything begins and ends with his mercy”, so writes St Faustina Kowalska (M. Winowska, The Ikon of Divine Mercy, the Message of Sister Faustina, from the Italian version, L’Icona dell’Amore Misericordioso. Il messaggio di Suor Faustina, Rome, 1981, p. 271).

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St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Psalm 51 (50)

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 26, 2012

The following Lecture on Psalm 51 (50 in Aquinas’ translation) is taken from the Aquinas Translation Project and is used here in accordance with that site’s copyright restrictions: The copyright for these translations are held by the individuals who have translated them. They are offered for public use with the provision that, if copied, they not be altered from their present form, and that the copyright notice remain at the bottom of each translation to ensure that appropriate credit be given to both individual and the Project. Links should be established to this index page. All Biblical translations are taken from the Douay-Rheims version.  

Psalm 50


a. Quando venit ad eum Nathan propheta, cum intravit ad Bersabee. When Nathan the prophet came to him, after he had sinned with Bersabee.
Miserere mei, Deus, secundum magnam misericordiam tuam; et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum dele iniquitatem meam. Amplius lava me ab iniquitate mea, et a peccato meo munda me. Have mercy on me, O God, according to thy great mercy. And according to the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my iniquity. Wash me yet more from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
b. Quoniam iniquitatem meam ego cognosco et peccatum meum contra me est semper. Tibi soli peccavi, et malum coram te feci, ut iustificeris in sermonibus tuis, et vincas cum iudicaris. For I know my iniquity, and my sin is always before me. To thee only have I sinned, and have done evil before thee: that thou mayest be justified in thy words, and mayest overcome when thou are judged.
c. Ecce enim in iniquitatibus conceptus sum, et in peccatis concepit me mater mea. Ecce enim veritatem dilexisti. For behold I was conceived in iniquities; and in sins did my mother conceive me. For behold thou has loved truth.
d. Incerta, et occulta sapientiae tuae manifestasti mihi. Asperges me hyssopo, et mundabor: lavabis me, et super nivem dealbabor. The uncertain and hidden things of they wisdom thou hast made manifest to me. Thou shalt sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be cleansed: thou shalt wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow.
e. Auditui meo dabis gaudium et laetitiam: et exultabunt ossa humiliata. To my hearing thou shalt give joy and gladness: and the bones that have been humbled shall rejoice.
f. Averte faciem tuam a peccatis meis, et omnes iniquitates meas dele. Cor mundum crea in me, Deus, et spiritum rectum innova in visceribus meis. Ne proiicias me a facie tua, et spiritum sanctum tuum ne auferas a me. Redde mihi laetitiam salutaris tui, et spiritu principali confirma me. Turn away thy face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create a clean heart in me, O God: and renew a right spirit within my bowels. Cast me not away from thy face; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of they salvation, and strengthen me with a perfect spirit.
g. Docebo iniquos vias tuas: et impii ad te convertentur. Libera me de sanguinibus, Deus, Deus salutis meae; et exultabit lingua mea iustitiam tuam. Domine, labia mea aperies, et os meum annuntiabit laudem tuam. I will teach the unjust thy ways: and the wicked shall be converted to thee. Deliver me from blood, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall extol thy justice. O Lord, thou wilt open my lips: and my mouth shall declare thy praise.
h. Quoniam si voluisses sacrificium, dedissem utique: holocaustis non delectaberis. Sacrificium Deo spiritus contribulatus: cor contritum, et humiliatum, Deus non despicies. For if thou hadst desired sacrifice, i would indeed have given it: with burnt offerings thou wilt not be delighted. A sacrifice to God is an afflicted spirit: a contrite and humbled heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
i. Benigne fac, Domine, in bona voluntate tua Sion, ut aedificentur muri Hierusalem. Tunc acceptabis sacrificium iustitiae, oblationes, et holocausta: tunc imponent super altare tuum vitulos. Deal favourably, O Lord, in thy good will with Sion; that the walls of Jerusalem may be built up. Then shalt thou accept the sacrifice of justice, oblations and whole burnt offerings: then shall they lay calves upon thy altar.
a. In praecedentibus Psalmis huius decadis videtur Psalmista egisse de his quae pertinent ad statum Regni, cuius gloriam descripsit, et alios ad eam invitavit: nunc autem, quia gloria huius Regni impedita est per peccatum, agit de abolitione peccati: ubi duo consideranda sunt. In the foregoing Psalms of this decade, the Psalmist is seen to have dealt with those things that pertain to the state of the Kingdom, whose glory he described and invited others to it: now, however, because the glory of this Kingdom is impeded through sin, he deals with the abolishment of sin: whence two things must be considered.
Primum quod in ordine Psalmorum hic Psalmus est quinquagesimus; et hic est numberus iubilaeus, ut dicitur Lev. 27 in quo fiebat remissio omnium debitorum: unde congruit hic numerus huic Psalmo, in quo agit de plena remissione peccatorum. First, that in the numbering of the Psalms, this Psalm is the fiftieth and this is the number of jubilee as is described in Leviticus 27 in which a remission of all debts was made, whence this number agrees with this Psalm in which he treats of full remission of sins.
Similiter quantum ad poenitentiales iste ponitur quartus, et convenienter. Nam primus pertinet ad cordis contritionem: unde dicit (Ps. 6) Lavabo per singulas noctes lectum meum. Secundus pertinet ad oris confessionem. (Ps. 31) Dixi Confitebor adversum me iniustitiam meam Domino. Tertius pertinet ad satisfactionem: unde dicit (Ps. 37) Afflictus sum, et humiliatus sum nimis. Hic autem quartus pertinet ad effectum poenitentiae: in quo ostenditur quomodo poenitentia restaurat hominem ad perfectum; et ideo inter omnes alios Psalmos inste magis frequentatur in Ecclesia, quia iste solum implorat misericordiam, et sic impetrat veniam; et hoc facile st, et cuilibet potest competere. Similarly, as to the Penitential Psalms, this one is placed fourth, and suitably. For the first pertains to contrition of heart: whence he says (Psalm 6) Every night I will wash my bed. The second pertains to the confession by mouth (Psalm 31) I said I will confess against myself my injustice to the Lord. The third pertains to satisfaction; whence he says (Psalm 37) I am afflicted and humbled exceedingly. This fourth one, however, pertains to the purpose of repentance, in which it is shown how repentance restores man to perfection; and therefore, among all the other Psalms, this one is more often repeated in Church because it alone beseeches mercy and thus it obtains favour; and this is easy and caan be suitable for anyone.
In aliis autem sex Psalmis poenitentialibus sunt quaedam gravia, sicut (Ps. 6) Lavabo per singulas noctes lectum meum. Et (Ps. 101) Cinerem tanquam panem manducabam et potum meum cum fletu mescebam: quae non possunt cuilibet competere. Now in the other six Penitential Psalms there are certain burdensome things such as (Psalm 6) Every night I will wash my bed. And (Psalm 101) I did eat ashes like bread and mingled my drink with weeping, which cannot be suitable for anyone.
Titulus talis est: Psalmus David, quando venit ad eum Nathan propheta, cum intravit ad Bersabee. Haec historia habetur expresse II. Regum 11. et 12. capp. Quando David erat in prosperitate vidit mulierem lavantem se, et concupivit eam, et adulteravit, et fecit occidere virum eius. Et hoc displicuit Deo, et missus est ad eum Nathan propheta, et reduxit eum in detestationem sui peccati, sub similitudine ovis perditae. Et David dixit: “Peccavi Domino.” Et dimissum est ei peccatum. Et haec est materia huius Psalmi, scilicet dimissio peccati. Such is the title: A Psalm of David when Nathan the prophet came to him when he had sinned with Bersabee. This story is contained expressly in Chapters 11 and 12 of 2 Kings. When David was in prosperity, he saw a woman bathing herself and he greatly desired her and caused the death of her husband. And this was displeasing to God and the prophet Nathan was sent to him and brought him back to hatred for his sin, under the image of a lost sheep. And David said, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And the sin was forgiven him. And this is the matter of this Psalm, namely, the forgiveness of sins.
Sed sciendum est in titulo huius Psalmi, quod David in aliis Psalmis loquitur de aliis; sicut ibi (Ps. 21) Deus Deus meus, loquitur praenuntians passionem Christi; et sic in diversis Psalmis loquitur de diversis. Sed istum Psalmum propter seipsum fecit: in quo ostendit culpam, quam fecit mundo manifestam, et similiter veniam; et sic implerunt illud quod Dominus dixit 2. Reg. 12. “Tu fecisti hoc in occulto; et ego faciam illud manifestum.” But it must be understood in the title of this Psalm that David speaks of other things in Psalms, as where (Psalm 21) he says O God, my God, foretelling the passion of Christ; and so in different Psalms he speaks of different things. But he made this Psalm for his very own account: in which he shows his fault, which he made manifest to the world and similarly his pardon and thus they will have fulfilled that which the Lord said in 2 Kings 12, “For thou didst it secretly, but I will make this thing manifest.”
Ratio autem huius manifestationis est divina misericordia. Nam utilis est iustis haec manifestatio, ut non praesumant de sua iustitia quia si David post tot victorias, post donum Spiritus sancti, post tantam familiaritatem cum Deo, et prophetiam peccavit; quantum debemus cavere nos, qui fragiles, et peccatores sumus? 1. Cor. 10. “Qui se existimat stare, videat ne cadat.” Item utilis est peccatoribus, ut non desperent. Prov. 24. “Si desperaveris lapsus, in die angustiae imminuetur fortitudo tua.” Nam David post homicidium, et adulterium recuperavit gratiam prophetiae. Now the reason for this manifestation is divine mercy. For this manifestation is useful for the righteous in order that they not presume on their own righteousness, for if David, after so many victories, after the gift of the Holy Spirit, after such a great intimacy with God and prophecy did sin, how much more ought we to beware, we who are frail and sinners? 1 Corinthians 10 “He that thinketh himself to stand, let him take heed lest he fall.” Also it is profitable for sinners lest they despair. Proverbs 24 “If thou lose hope being weary in the day of distress, thy strength shall be diminished.” For David, after murder and adultery recovered the grace of prophecy.
Notandus est autem modus loquendi in titulo: Quando venit: ubi designat veniam, de qua agitur in Psalmo, quia per eum audivit eum Dominus, et transtulit peccatum illius; sed cum dicit, Quando intravit ad Bersabee designatur culpa. Ubi duo ostenta sunt. Primum quod nominat culpam, cum dicit, Et intravit. Ps. 11. “Eloquia Domini eloquia casta.” Now the manner of speaking in the title, When Nathan came, must be noted: where it designates pardon about which he is moved in the Psalm because through it the Lord heard him and bore away his sin; but when he says, When he sinned with Bersabee, guilt is designated. Whence two things have been shown. The first which he calls guilt when he says, And he sinned. Psalm 11 “The words of the Lord are pure words.”
Item cum commisisset duo peccata, scilicet adulterium, et homicidium, Scriptura nominavit adulterium tantum; et hoc propter duo. Primum ut designet quod in scrutandis, et publicandis peccatis aliorum non simus prompti, sed valde parci. Prov. 24. “Ne insidieris, ut quaeras impeitatem in domo iusti.” Et hoc signatur Matth. 25. ubi Dominus merita bonorum enumerat diligenter, demerita malorum transiit. Item adnotandum, quod quando quis facit duo peccata, et unum facit propter aliud, unum transit in speciem alterius; sicut qui committit furtum ut fornicetur, dicitur potius fornicator. Also, although he had committed two sins, namely adultery and murder, Scripture names adultery and that for two reason. First, in order to designate that in examining and making public the sins of others, we be not quick, but exceedingly sparing. Proverbs 24: “Lie not in wait, nor seek after wickedness in the house of the just.” And this is indicated by Matthew 25 where the Lord reckons up carefully the merits of the good, he has passed over the desserts of the bad. Likewise it should be noted that when anyone commits two sins and does one for the sake of the other, the one passes over into the likeness of the other, as one who commits theft in order to fornicate is called above all a fornicator.
Dividitur autem iste Psalmus in duas partes: primo enim implorat misericordiam; secundo promittit emendam, ibi, Docebo iniquos. Circa primum duo facit. Primo petit culpae relaxationem; secundo petit sanctitatis, et gratiae restaurationem, ibi, Quoniam iniquitatem. And this psalm is divided into two parts: indeed in the first he beseeches mercy; in the second, he promises correction, where he says, I will teach the unjust. About the first he does two things. One, he seeks mitigation of guilt; two, he seeks the restoration of holiness and grace where he says, For my iniquity.
Petit ergo primo misericordiam Dei, cum dicit: Miserere mei, Deus. Ubi sciendum est, quod, sicut dicitur Prov. 14. “miseros facit populos peccatum.” Sicut enim non est vere felix qui abundat divitiis, fruitur voluptatibus, pollet honoribus, sed qui fruitur Deo; ita non est miser qui est pauper, miser, et debilis, et infirmus, sed qui est peccator: et ideo iste qui est peccator, dicit: Miserere mei, Deus, tu scilicet qui “misereris omnium, et nihil odisti eorum quae fecisti:” Sap. 11. et secundum Apostolum misereris cui vis. Rom. 9. “Miserebor cui voluero.” Ergo si voluntati tuae subest misereri, Miserere mei, scilicet peccatoris. Therefore, he seeks first the mercy of God when he says: Have mercy on me, O God. Whence it must be known that, as it is said in Proverbs 14, “sin maketh nations miserable.” Indeed, just as he is not truly happy who abounds in riches, delights in pleasures, possesses honours in abundance, but he who delights in God; so, he is not miserable who is poor, wretched and feeble and weak, but he who is a sinner; and therefore the one who is a sinner says: Have mercy on me, O God, Thou, namely who “hast mercy upon all and hatest none of the things which thou hast made” (Wisdom 11) and, according to the Apostle, you have mercy on whom you wish. Romans 9 “I shall have mercy on whom I wish.” Therefore, if to have mercy exists under your will, Have mercy on me, plainly, a sinner.
Non vult contendere, non quaerit disputare, sed brevi utitur via, Miserere. Item non allegat misericordiae causam, non servitia quae fecit Deo, non periricula quae sustinuit pro eo; sed solum Dei misericordiam implorat: unde dicit: Secundum magnam misericordiam tuam. Dan. 9. “Non in iustificationibus nostris prosternimus preces ante faciem tuam; sed in miserationibus tuis multis.” He does not wish to contend, he does not seek to dispute, but he makes use of a brief way, Have mercy. Likewise, he does not adduce as a cause for mercy, either the services he has done for God, or the dangers he has sustained for him; but he only implores the mercy of God, whence he says, According to thy great mercy. Daniel 9 “For it is not for our justifications that we present our prayers before thy face, but for the multitude of thy tender mercies.”
Et notandum, quod aliquis potest sperare de misericofria divina, duplici ratione. Una ratio est ex consideratione, et secundum multitudinem effectuum eius. And it must be noted that anyone can hope on divine mercy with a two-fold reason. One reason is from reflection, and according to the multitude of his accomplishments.
Primo ergo ostendit quod sperat de misericordia Dei, ex consideratione naturae divinae, quia naturae divinae proprium est quod sit ipsa bonitas. Unde Dionysius dicit, quod Deus est ipsa substantia bonitatis. Et Boethius de Trin. similiter. Unde nihil aliud est haec Dei misericordia, nisi bonitas relata ad depellandam miseriam. Ergo cum considero quod bonitatis miseriam repellere est proprium, et tamen est ipsa bonitas, confidenter ad misericordiam recurro. First, therefore, he shows that he hopes on the mercy of God from reflection on the divine nature, for it is a characteristic of the divine nature that it be goodness itself. Whence Dionysius says that God is the very substance of goodness. And likewise, Boethius On the Trinity. Whence this mercy of God is nothing other than goodness referred to the driving away of wretchedness. Therefore, when I reflect that it is a characteristic of goodness to drive away wretchedness and yet it is itself goodness, with confidence I have recourse to mercy.
Et dicitur magna, sua incomprehensibilitate, qua implet omnia. Ps. 32. Misericordia Domini plena est terra. And it is called great, with its own incomprehensibility, by which it fills all things. Psalm 32. The earth is full of the mercy of the Lord.
Et in omnibus habet locum, Nam iusti innocentiam servaverunt propter misericordiam Dei. Augustines: “Domine, gratiae tuae deputo mala quae non feci.” And it has a place in all things. For the righteous have preserved their innocence because of the mercy of God. Augustine: “O Lord, I impute to your grace the evils that I have not done.”
Item peccatores sunt conversi ad iustitiam propter Dei misericordiam. 1. Tim. 1. “Misericordiam consecutus sum.” Also, sinners have been turned to righteousness because of the mercy of God. 1. Timothy 1 “I obtained the mercy of God.”
Item in peccato existentes misericordiam Dei experti sunt. Tren. 3. “Misericordiae Domini multae quod non sumus consumpti.” Also, those living in sin have experienced the mercy of God. Lamentations 3. “The many mercies of the Lord that we are not consumed.”
Item dicitur magna sublimitate, quia miserationes eius super omnia opera eius. Also it is said with great sublimity because his tender mercies are upon all his works.
Nam misericordia non signat in Deo passionem animi, sed bonitatem ad repellendam miseriam. Item magna, duratione. Is. 34. “In misericordia sempiterna misertus sum tui.” For mercy does not designate in God passion of the intellect, but goodness for driving away wretchedness. And it is great in duration. Isaiah 34. “With everlasting kindness have I had mercy on thee.”
Item magna, virtute, quia Deum hominem fecit, de caelo Deum ad terram deposuit, et immortalem mori fecit. Eph. 2. “Deus autem, qui dives est in misericordia.” Likewise, great in power for it made God man, it brought God down from heaven to earth and made the immortal to die. Ephesians 2. “But God who is rich in mercy.”
Item magna per effectum, quia ex omni miseria potest homo per misericordiam elevari. Ps. 85. Misericordia tua magna est super me, et remisisti impietatem peccati mei (Ps. 31). Et ideo confidenter peto: Miserere mei Deus. Likewise, great through accomplishment because through mercy man can be lifted up from every misfortune. Psalm 85. Thy mercy is great towards me and Thou hast forgiven the wickedness of my sin (Psalm 31). And therefore with confidence I ask: Have mercy on me, O God.
Item alia ratio est, quia in omnibus a principio mundi inveni effectus misericordiae tuae; et ideo dicit: Et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum dele iniquitatem meam; quasi dicat: Miserere mei secundum quod multipliciter, et in diversis misertus es omnibus hominibus. Unde dicitur Isa. 63. “Miserationum Domini recordabor.” Ps. 24. “Reminiscere miserationum tuarum quae a saeculo sunt.” Also, another reason is that from the beginning of the world I have found in all things the effects of your mercy; and therefore he says: And according to the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my iniquity; as though he were saying: Have mercy on me accordingly, as variously and in manifold ways you ahve been merciful to all men. Whence it is said in Isaiah 63: “I will remember the tender mercies of the Lord.” Psalm 24: “Remember thy bowels of compassion that are from the beginning of the world.”
Dele iniquitatem meam. Hic ponit effectum miserendi. Nathan dixit (II Reg. 12) “Dominus transtulit peccatum tuum: non morieris.” Et sic erat securus de venia; sed volebat totaliter peccatum extirpari. Remanet autem duplex effectus peccati: scilicet reatus poenae, et macula in anima. Blot out my iniquity. Here he sets forth the effect of having mercy. Nathan said (II Kings 12) “The Lord has taken away thy sin: thou shalt not die.” And thus he was secure from punishment; but he wanted his sin to be eradicated totally. There remains however a double effect of sin: that is to say the charge of punishment and a stain on the soul.
Primo ergo petit removeri reatum poenae; et ideo dicit: Amplius lava me ab iniquitate mea. Sciendum est quod Hier. 17 dicitur quod “peccatum Iuda scriptum fuit stylo ferreo in ungue adamantino:” ad similitudinem iudicis qui scribit culpam, quae tamdiu servatur script quamdiu habet animum puniendi. Sed si deponit hunc animum, non servat scripturam. Et sic scriptum stylo adamantino dicitur quando peccatum non deletur. Et hoc est quod dicit: Dele iniquitatem meam; idest, non imputes mihi iniquitatem ad poenam. Is. 43. “Ego sum qui deleo iniquitates vestras.” Item Ibid 44. “Delevi ut nubes iniquitates tuas, et quasi nebulam peccata tua.” First therefore he asks that the charge of punishment be removed; and therefore he says: Wash me yet more from my iniquity. It should be known that in Jeremias 17 it is said that “The sin of Juda is written with a pen of iron, with the point of a diamond:” in the likeness of a judge who writes a punishment which so long as it is preserved written, thus lon godes it have the spirit of punishing. But if he puts aside this spirit, he does not preserve the scripture. And thus, written with a pen hard as steel is said when sin is not blotted out. And this is why he says: Blot out my iniquity; that is, you will not impute to me iniquity for punishment. Isaiah 43: “I am, I am he that blot out your iniquities.” Also, in the same 44: “I have blotted out thy iniquities as clouds and thy sins as a mist.”
Amplius. Hic petit removeri immunditiam culpae. Homo qui habet mentem bene dispositam plus abhorret immunditiam culpae, quam austeritatem posenae, et ideo dicat: Amplius lava me, quasi dicat: Peto ut deleas poenam; sed amplius peto quod mundes maculam. Yet more. Here he asks that the uncleanness of guilt be removed. The man who has a well-disposed conscience abhors more the uncleanness of the guilt than the severity of the punishment, and therefore says: Wash me yet more, as if he were saying: I ask that you blot out the punishment, but I ask yet more that you cleanse the stain.
Vel amplius lava, quam eog intelligo. Ro. 8. “Nam quid oremus sicut oportet nescimus.” Eph. 3. “Et qui potens est omnia facere superabundanter quam petimus, aut intelligimus.” Or, Wash yet more which I understand Romans 8: “For we know not what we should pray for as we ought.” Ephesians 3: “Who is able to do all things more abundantly than we ask for or understand.”
Duo susnt necessaria ad removendum maculam; scilicet ablutio praecedens, et munditia sequens. In corporibus ablutio fit per aquam; et sic secundum Glossam Psalmus per aquam praefigurat virtutem baptismi, qua Deus dimissurus erat peccatum. Ezec. 36. “Effundam super vos aquam mundam, et mundabimini ab omnibus inquinamentis vestris.” Zach. 13. “Erit fons patens domui David in ablutionem peccatorum, et menstruatae.” Et licet baptismus nondum institutus esset, tamen virtus Dei lavans erat in baptismo. Ergo Lava me ab iniquitate mea. Hierem. 4. “Lava a malitia cor tuum, Hierusalem, ut salva fias.” Two things are necessary for removing a stain, namely, a preceding washing and a following cleanliness. In bodies a washing is made through water, and so, according to the Gloss, the Psalm, through water, prefigures the power of baptism, by whcih God would be removing sin. Ezech. 36: “I will pour upon you clean water, and you shall be cleansed from all you filthiness. Zach. 13: “There shall be a fountain open to the house of David for the washing of sinners and of the unclean woman.” And although baptism had not yet been instituted, nevertheless the power of God was washing in baptism. Therefore, Wash me from my iniquity. Jeremias 4: “Wash thy heart from wickedness, O Jerusalem, that thou mayest be saved.”
Item peto ut mundes me a peccato, quia nullus mundatur nisi a te. Iob. 14. “Quis potest facere mundum de immundo conceptum semine?” Eccli. 34. “Ab immundo quis nundabitur?” Et dicit duo, scilicet iniquitatem, et peccatum. Iniquitas est contraria iustitiae; peccatum vero munditiae, et hoc est adulterium. Et sic iniquitas fuit inquantum laesit alium per homicidium; sed peccatum est per adulterium in quo se polluit. Also I ask that you cleanse me of sin for none is cleansed except by you. Job 14. “Who can make him clean that is conceived of unclean seed?” Eccli. 34. “Who will be made clean by the unclean?” And he says two things, namely, iniquity is opposed to justice, but sin to cleanliness and adultery is this. And thus it was iniquity insofar as he harmed another through murder; but it is sin through the adultery in which he made himself unclean.
b. Quoniam. Hic confitetur culpam: et primo confitetur culpam; secundo ostendit hanc confessionem esse Deo acceptam. Primo ergo confitetur culpam; secundo ipsam culpam exaggerat, ibi, Tibi soli peccavi; tertio eius originem demonstrat, ibi, Ecce enim. For. Here he acknowledges guilt: and first he acknowledges the guilt, secondly he shows that this confession has been accepted by God. First, therefore, he acknowledges guilt, secondly he amplifies the same guilt, where he says, To Thee only have I sinned; thirdly he shows its origin, where he says, For behold.
Recognoscit ergo culpam suam dicens, Quoniam iniquitatem. Quidam sunt qui peccata sua non cognoscunt propter tres causas. Quia aggravatur ratio ex gravitate peccati. Prov. 18. “Impius cum in profundum peccatorum venerit, contemnit.” Ps. 39. Comprehenderunt me iniquitates meae, et non potui ut viderem. Therefore he recognizes his guilt saying, For iniquity. There are certain ones who do not perceive thier sins on account of three causes. For the reckoning is made worse from the weight of the sin. Proverbs 18: “The wicked man when he is come into the depth of sincs, contemneth.” Psalm 39: My iniquities have overtaken me, and I was not able to see.
Item quia non recordantur. Eccli. 5. “Oblitus est deliciarum suarum.” Also because they do not remember. Eccli. 5: “He has forgotten his delights.”
Item propter adulationes hominum. Ps. 9. Laudatur peccator in desideriis anima sua. Also, because of the flatterings of men. Psalm 9: The sinner is praised in the desires of his soul.
Et ideo quia alii laudant eum de peccatis, ipse non recognoscit. Sed felix qui peccatum suum recognoscit sicut David. Prov. 14. “Cor quod novit amaritudinem animae suae, in gaudio eius non cognoscetur extraneus.” And therefore, because others praise him for his sins, he does not remember. But happy is he who, like David, remembers his sin. Proverbs 14: “The heart that knoweth the bitterness of his own soul, in his joy the stranger shall not intermeddle.”
Quantum ad secundum dicit: Et peccatum meum contra me est semper. Quidam sunt qui etsi cognoscant peccatum suum, tamen non detestantur; sed iste semper peccatum suum contra se habet ut contrarium, et nocivum et detestabile. Et dicit, Semper. Quidam sunt qui ad horam detestantur peccatum. Iac. 1: “Consideravit se, et abiit, et statim oblitus est qualis fuerit.” Isa. 38: “Recogitabo tibi omnes annos meos in amaritu animae meae.” Psalmus: Iniquitatem meam ego cognosco. As to the second he says: And my sin is always before me. There are certain ones who, although they perceive their sin, nevertheless do not abominate it; but that sin of theirs always holds against itself as inimical and hurtful and detestable. And he says Always. There are some who abominate their sin for a time. James 1: “For he beheld himself, and went his way, and presently ofrgot what manner of man he was.” Isaiah 38: “I will recount to thee all my years in the bitterness of my soul.” The psalm: I know my iniquity.
Alia littera, Coram me; et sic designatur quod recognoscit culpam, quod continue meditatur de ea. Et hoc statutum est coram eo per Nathoan prophetam sub similitudine. Another text, In my presence, and thus it is described that he knows his guilt, and that he continuously reflects upon it. And this was brought about through Nathan the prophet under a similitude.
Tibi soli peccavi. Supra Psalmista posuit recognitionem propriae culpae; hic autem exaggerat culpam suam; et circa hoc duo facit. Primo exaggerat ipsam; secundo ponit id quod ad exaggerationem consequitur, ibi, Ut iustificeris. Hanc culpam exaggerat per respectum ad Deum, et dupliciter, ut dicitur Hier. 29. “Ego ero iudex, et testis.” Videtur autem Deum iudicem contemnere qui non timet peccare propter iudicium eius. Et similiter contemnit Deum testem qui peccat in oculis eius; et ideo dicit: Tibi soli peccavi. To thee only have I sinned. Above, the Psalmist put down the recognition of his own guilt: here however he amplifies his guilt and about this he does two things. First he amplifies it; second he sets forth that which follows upon the amplification where he says, That thou mayest be justified. He amplifies this guilt by way of respect for God in a two-fold manner as it is said in Jeremiah 29: “I will be the judge and the witness.” It seems, however, that he who does not fear to sin because of his judgment despises God as a judge. And similarly he despises God as a witness who sins in his eyes; and therefore he says: To thee only have I sinned.
Sed numquid non peccavit contra Uriam quem occidit? Sic; sed dicit, Tibi soli; id est Deo, quia ipse non est obnoxius famulo suo, sed sententiae Dei. Cum enim peccat dominus, qui est super servum, non peccat servo, sed Deo. Sap. 6. “Potestas vobis data est a Domino, et virtus ab Altissimo, qui interrogabit opera vestra, et cognitationes scrutabitur.” But has he not sinned against Urias whom he killed? But he says, To thee only, that is, to God, for he is not guilty to his servant, but to the judgment of God. For when a master, who is over his servant, sins, he does not sin against the servant, but against God. Wisdom 6: “Power is given you by the Lord, and strength by the Most Hight who will examine your works, and search out your thoughts.”
Vel tibi soli, idest per comparationem ad te solum peccavi: et potest hoc referri sive ad Deum, sive ad Christum. Deo dicitur peccare per comparationem ad iustum; et sic, Tibi soli peccavi, quia solus es sine peccato. Et similiter Crhistus omnino fuit sine peccato. Tibi ergo soli peccavi, contemnendo iudicium tuum. Item contempsi te testem, quia malum coram te feci: vidente et praesente feci. Prov. 15. “Infernus et perditio coram Domino; quanto magis corda filiorum hominum?” Eccli. 23. “Oculi Domini multo lucidiores supra solem.” Or, to thee only, that is, by comparison, against you only have I sinned: and this can be referred either to God or to Christ. To sin against God is said by comparison to the just one; and thus To thee only have I sinned, by despising your judgment. Likewise I despised you as a witness, for I have done evil before thee: I have done this to you seeing and present. Proverbs 15: “Hell and destruction are before the Lord: how much more the hearts of the children of men?” Eccli. 23. “The eyes of the Lord are far brighter than the sun.”
Ut iustificeris. Hic ponitur quod consequens est ad istam exaggerationem; et hoc potest multipliciter legi: sed primo quod magis videtur dicam. Ut enim quandoque ponitur causaliter, quandoque consecutive tantum; et tunc est eius sensus: Malum coram te feci, ut iustificeris tu, quia nullus propter peccatum iustificatur; sed hoc consequitur ex peccato, quia ex hoc ipso quod homo peccat, iustitia Dei manifestior redditur. That thou mayest be justified. Here is set forth what is attendant upon that amplification; and this can be read in manifold ways: but first I shall say what appears more greatly. Now That, at some time is set forth causally, at some time it is set forth consecutively only: and this is its understanding: I have done evil before thee, that thou mayest be justified, for none is justified on account of sin, but this follows from sin, that from the very fact that man sins, the justice of God is rendered more manifiest.
Nam ex peccatis eius apparuit quod eum Deus punivit. Haec autem punitio consistit in duobus. Primo comminatur; secundo infert poenam; et in utroque est iustus. Quantum ad primim dicit, In sermonibus, quibus poenam comminaris. Prov. 8. “Iusti sunt sermones mei.” Quantum ad secundum dicit, Vincas, cum iudicaris; idest cum aliis in iudicio compararis. Frequenter Deus ad ostendam suam iustitiam et nostram etiam vult nobiscum iudicari. Isa. 5. “Iudicate inter me et vineam meam.” Et in hoc Deus iustior invenitur. Iob. 9. “Si contendere cum Deo voluerit, non poterit et respondere unum pro mille.” For it appeared that God punished him for his sins. But this punishment consists in two things. First, he threatens; secondly, he imposes a penalty; and in both he is just. As to the first he says, In thy words, by which you threaten a penalty. Proverbs 8: “My words are just.” As for the second he says, Thou mayest overcome when thou art judged: that is, when you are considered in judgment with others. Often God wishes to be judged with us to show forth his justice and ours as well. Isaiah 5: “Judge between me and my vineyard.” And in this God is found more just. Job 9: “If he will contend with God, he cannot answer him one for a thousand.
Et quod haec sit intentio Psalmi, patet ex Apostolo Rom. 3. “Est autem Deus verax, omnis homo mendax, sicut scriptum est.” And that this should be the purpose of the Psalm is clear from the Apostle: Romans 3: “But God is true; and every man a liar, as it is written.”
Sed in glossa, loquitur, ut hoc quod dicitur, Iustificeris in sermonibus suis, et vincas cum iudicaris, non continetur cum Malum coram te feci; sed cum hoc quod dicit, Tibi soli, idest ad tui comparationem, qui solus es iustus, et intantum quod omnes sermones tui iusti. Et sic Ut ponitur causaliter; quasi dicat: Intantum es iustus ut iustificeris. But in the Gloss it says that that which is said, That thou mayest be justified in thy words and mayest overcome when thou art judged may not be joined together with I have done evil before thee; but with this, that he says, To thee only, that is for comparison with you, who only are just, and inasmuch as all your words are just. And thus, That is set forth causally; as if he were saying: Inasmuch as you are just, that thou mayest be justified.
Vel si referatur ad Christum, sic est sensus: Tibi soli, scilicet Christo, peccavi, quia es iustus, et vincas omnes homines, cum iudicaris, licet iudiceris a Pilato. Or if it be referred to Christ, the sense is thus: To thee only, that is to say, to Christ, have I sinned, for you are just, and mayest overcome all men when thou art judged, even judged by Pilate.
Vel aliter: Ut iustificeris in hoc, amplius peto ut laves me, ad hoc ut iustificeris; scilicet, promissiones nostrae perfecte verae sint, scilicet de Christo nascituro; cui promissum est (Ps. 131) De fructu ventris tui ponam super sedem tuam. Et quod peccatum remitteretur. II. Reg. 12. “Dominus transtulit tibi peccatum tuum.” Et vincas cum iudicaris, ab hominibus, quod non debeas implere promissa, et non debeas delere peccata mea. Or, otherwise: That thou mayuest be justified in this, yet more do I seek that you wash me that thou mayest be justified in this, that is to say, that our promises may be completely true, anmely about the Christ to be born; to whom it was promised (Psalm 131). Of the fruit of thy womb I will set upon thy throne. And that sin might be dismissed, II Kings 12: “The Lord hath taken away thy sin.” And that thou mayest overcome when thou art judged by men, for you are not bound to fulfill the things promised and you are not bound to blot out my sins.
c. Ecce enim. Hic ponit radicem culpae. Radix omnis culpae actualis est peccatum originale, quod a parentibus contrahitur infectis illo peccato. Haec infectio erat in patre ipsius David, et in matre. Qauntum ad patrem dicit: In iniquitatibus conceptus sum, non actualibus, quia non de adulterio, sed de matrimonio, et sancto Iesse natus, sive generatus est, ut dicitur Ruth ultimo; sed in originali: nam in hoc peccato omnes nascuntur. Rom. 5. “Per unum hominem in hunc mundum peccatum intravit.” For behold. Here he sets forth the root of guilt. The root of all actual guilt is original sin which is contracted from parents tainted with that sin. This tainting was in the father of David himself, and in his mother. As to has father, he says: I was conceived in iniquities, not in actual sins, for not of adultery, but of marriage, and he was born to, or sprung from, the hold Jesse, as it is said in the final chapter of Ruth; but in original sin: for in this sin all are born. Romans 5: “By one man sin entered this world.”
Sed cum originale sit unum, quare dicit: In iniquitatibus conceptus sum? But since there is one original sin, why does he say: I was conceived in iniquities?
Dicendum est, quod peccatum originale est unum is essentia, ut sic dicatur, multa tamen in virtute: quia occasionem praebet ad omnia alia peccata. Rom. 7. “Peccatum quod est in carne mea operatur.” Et hoc diminuit culpam; quasi dicat: Non est mirum si pecco, quia in eis conceptus sum. It must be said that original sin is one in essence, as it thus may be said, many, however, in power: for it furnishes opportunity for all other sins. Romans 7: “The sin which is in my flesh is effectual.” And this lessens guilt, as if he were saying: It is not astonishing if I sin, for I was conceived in them.
Quantum ad matrem dicit: Et in peccatis concepit me mater mea. As for his mother he says: And in sins did my mother conceive me.
Sed numquid non erant mundati parentes David per circumcisionem ab originali peccato? But had not the parents of David been cleansed from original sin through circumsicion?
Dicendum est, quod baptismus, et circumcisio mundat animam a culpa originali, sed adhuc ramanet fomes; et circumcisio fiebat in carne, et homo generat filios carnales secundum carnem: et ideo necesse erat quod iterum filius natus circumcideretur; sicut modo natus ex parentibus baptizatis baptizatur. It must be said that baptism and circumcision clease the soul of original guilt, but so far incitement remains; and circumcision was done in the flesh, and man engenders fleshly children according to the flesh: and therefore it was necessary again that a son having been born should be circumcised; as now one born of baptized parents is baptized.
Alia littera habet: Alit me mater mea. Et hoc ad actualia peccata refertur; quia etiam in pueris inordinati motus inveniuntur, ut Augustinus in 6 Confessiones dicit. Another text has: My mother sustains me. And this refers to actual sins; for likewise in children are found irregular disturbances as Augstine says in Confessions 6.
Alia littera habet: Peperit me mater mea. Et sic quia quidam sanctificantur in utero; sed omnes praeter Christum concipiuntur in originali; ideo dicit quod non est sanctificatus in utero, sed natus in originali. Another text has: My mother brought me forth. And thus certain ones are sanctified in the womb; but all except Christ are conceived in original sin; therefore he says that he was not sanctified in the womb, but born in original sin.
Ecce enim veritatem dilexisti. Qui vult satisfacere, debet diligere ea quae Deus diligit; Deus autem diligit veritatem fidei. Io. 18. “Omnis qui est ex veritate, audit vocem meam.” Item iustitiam. Ps. 88. Misericordia, et meritas praecedent faciem tuam. Et hae necessaria est in poenitente, ut in se puniat quod deliquit. For behold thou has loved truth. He who wishes to give satisfaction, should love those things that God loves; but God loves the truth of faith. John 18: “Everyone that is of the truth heareth my voice.” Also, justice. Psalm 88: “Mercy and truth shall go before thy face.” And this is necessary in him who repents, that he might inflict punishment upon himself because he transgressed.
Item est necessaria confessio, ut confiteatur peccata. Also confession is necessary that he confess his sins.
d. Incerta. Hic petit totaliter reparationem: et primo ponit spem quem habet: secundo petitionem. Et primo ponit acceptum beneficium, per quod erigitur in spem; secundo ponit suam fiduciam, ibi, Asperges me. The uncertain things. Here he asks for reparation totally: and first he sets forth the hope that he has: secondly, a request. And first he sets forth the kindness received through which he is raised up into hope; second, he sets forth his trust, where he says, Thou shalt sprinkle me.
Commemoravit beneficium potentiae, cum dixit, Incerta, et occulta: qui scilicet Rex habui beneficium prophetiae. II Reg. 23. “Spiritus Domini locutus est per me; et sermo eius per linguam meam.” Et ponit tria: scilicet materiam prophetiae, modum, et causam. He called to mind the benefit of potency, when he said, The uncertain and hidden things: for I, certainly as King, had the benefit of prophecy. II Kings 23: “The spirit of the Lord hath spoken by me, and his word by my tongue.” And he sets forth three things: namely, the matter of prophecy, the method, and the cause.
Materiam prophetiae ostendit cum dicit, Incerta, et occulta. De his est prophetia; scilicet, incerta, et occulta, quae per sapientiam tuam comprehenduntur. In nobis est aliquid ignotum dupliciter, quod tamen est Deo notum. Aut propter defectum est nobis aliquid ignotum, aut propter excessum. He shows forth the matter of prophecy when he says, The uncertain and hidden things. Prophecy is about these things; namely the uncertain and hidden things that are comprehended through your wisdom. In us, something is unknown in a two-fold way, which, nevertheless, is known to God. Something in unknown to us either on account of defect, or on account of excess.
Propter defectum est nobis ignotum aliquid futurum contingens: quia nundum habet determinatam veritatem. On account of defect, something is unknown to us that reaches to the future: because it does not yet have the truth determined.
Propter excessum est nobis ignota divina substantia, et quae excedunt capacitatem nostram. Utraque autem fuerunt revelata David per spiritum prophetiae. Amos 3. “Non facit Dominus Deus verbum, nisi revelaverit secretum suum ad servos suos prophetas.” On account of excess is unknown to us the divine substance and that which exceeds our capacity. Nevertheless, both had been revealed to David through the spirit of prophecy. Amos 3: “The Lord God doth nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets.”
Incerta ergo manifestasti mihi, idest illa quae de sui natura habent variabilitatem; et haec fuerunt sibi revelata; ut patet in Psalmo. Occulta vocantur quae excedunt oculum mentis naturae. Iob 28. “Sapientia trahitur de occultis.” Eccli. 24. “Ego in altissimis habitavi, et thronus meus in columna nubis.” Therefore, The uncertain things thou hast made manifest to me, that is, those things which of their nature have changeableness; and they have been revealed to him, as is clear in the Psalm. Those things are called hidden that go beyond the eye of the mind of nature. Job 28: “Wisdom is drawn out of secret places.” Eccli. 24: “I dwell in the highest places, and my throne is in a pillar of a cloud.”
Et haec subsunt sapientiae Dei; quasi dicat: Licet nobis sint occulta, tamen a sapientia tua comprehenduntur; et inter occulta commemorat mysterium incarnationis, quod etiam manifestasti mihi. And these things lie concealed in the wisdom of God; as if he were saying: It is allowed that they be hidden from us, yet they are comprehended by your wisdom; and among the hidden things he recounts the mystery of the incarnation, which, furthermore, thou hast made manifest to me.
Item misericordia Dei inter ista annumeratur, quia remittit peccata. Sed melius est ut accipiatur universaliter. Modus revelationis ponitur cum dicit, Manifestasti mihi. Also the mercy of God is reckoned among those things because it removes sins. But it is better that it should be received all together. The manner of revelation is set forth when he says, Thou hast made manifest to me.
Triplex est modus prophetiae. Unus in quo revelatur supernaturalis, et intelligibilis veritas sub similitudinibus corporalibus, et imaginationibus, et sic dicitur Isa. 6. “Vidi Dominum sedentem super thronum excelsum et elevatum.” Alius est in quo fit revelatio supernaturalis, et intelligibilis veritatis, absque nebula imagintionis phantasticae, immo nondum revelatur et sic facta est revelatio Moysi Num. 12. “Palam, et non per aenigmata, et figuras vidit Deum.” The manner of prophecy is three-fold. One, in which supernatural and understandable truth is revealed, under corporal likenesses and fancies, and thus it is said in Isaiah 6: “I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne high and elevated.” Another, in which is made a revelation of supernatural and understandable truth, without a cloud of imaginary fancy indeed it is not yet revealed, and thus was made the revelation to Moses in Numbers 12: “Plainly, and not by riddles and figures doth he see the Lord.”
Et talis etiam fuit revelatio David II Reg. 23. “Deus Israel locutus est mihi.” Et infra: “Sicut lux aurorae mane oriente sole absque nubibus rutilat.” And of such a kind was the revelation to David in II Kings 23: “The God of Israel siad to me.” And below: “As the light of the morning when the sun riseth shineth in the morning without clouds.”
Asperges me hyssopo. Supra commemoravit Psalmista Dei beneficium sibi praestitum quantum ad gratiam prophetiae, ex quo consuregebat in spem; hic autem ostendit quid a Deo sperabat. Et fuerunt duo: primo enim sperat remotionem malorum quae incurrerat per peccatum; secundo sperat restitutionem bonorum, quae amiserat, ibi, Auditui. Thou shalt sprinkle me with hyssop. Above, the Psalmist remembered God’s excellent kindness to him with respect to the grace of prophecy, from which he rose in hope; here, however, he shows what he was hoping for from God. And there were two things: first, he hopes for the removal of the evils that he had incurred through sin; second, he hopes for the restitution of the good things that he had lost, where he says, To my hearing.
Sciendum est autem, quod homo per peccatum primo incurrit immunditiam. Hier. 1. “Maculata es in iniquitate tua.” Secundo incurrit turpitudinem. Unde Tre. 4. “Denigrata est super carbones facies eorum.” Et haec duo sperat a se removeri; immunditiam, scilicet, et turpitudinem spiritualem. For it must be known that man, through sin, first incurs uncleanness. Jer. 1. “You have been stained in your iniquity.” Secondly, he incurs disgrace. Whence, Lamentations 4: “Their face is made blacker than coals.” And he hopes that these two things are removed from himself: uncleanness, namely, and spiritual disgrace.
Immunditia contingit ex hoc quod affectus hominis inhaeret rebus temporalibus, quibus similis efficitur: unde si adiungatur vilioribus, ut aurum plumbo, vilis efficitur. Os. 9. “Facti sunt abominabiles sicut ea quae dilexerunt.” Uncleanness happens out of that, for man’s desire inheres in temporal things, to which it is made similar: whence if it be added to baser things, as gold to lead, it is made base. Hosea 9: “They become abominable, as those were, which they loved.”
Sed turpitudo ex eo quod inhaeret rebus terrenis, quibus obscuratur in eo lux rationis, quia comparatur animalibus brutis. Ps. 48. Homo cum in honore esset non intellexit, comparatus est iumentis insipientibus, et similis factus est illis. But disgrace happens out of this that it inheres in earthly things by which is obscured in it the light of reason, because it is compared to brute beasts. Psalm 48: And man when he was in honour did not understand; he is compared to senseless beasts, and is become like to them.
Et ideo anima efficitur nigra, sive obscura: et ideo quantum ad primum dicit: Asperges me hyssopo: ubi alludit ritui veteris testamenti. Num. 19. ubit tertio die aspergebatur immundus aqua lustrationis, et die septimo lavabatur aqua, et vestimenta etiam lavabantur; aqua lustrationis fiebat de hyssopo. And therefore the soul is made black, or dark: and therefore as to the first he says: Thou shalt sprinkle me with hyssop: where he alludes to the rite of the Old Testament. Numbers 19 where on the third day an unclean person would be sprinkled with the water of purification, and on the seventh day he would be washed with water and his garments likewise would be washed; it would be done with water of purification.
Et ideo dicit: Asperges me hyssopo. Et illa aqua fiebat ex cinere vitulae rufae, per quam figurabatur Christus. Unde per illam aspersionem quam petit signatur aspersio sanguinis Christi. I Pet. 1. “In aspersionem sanguinis Christi.” Heb. 12. “Accessistis ad montem.” Et infra: “Et sanguinis aspersionem melius loquentem quam Abel.” And therefore he says: Thous shalt sprinkle me with hyssop. And that water is made from the ash of a ruddy calf, through which was figured Christ. Whence through that sprinkling that he desires is signified a sprinkling of the blood of Christ. I Peter 1: “Unto sprinkling of the blood of Christ.” Hebrews 12: “You are come to mount (Sion).” And below: “And to the sprinkling of blood which speaketh better than that of Abel.”
Hoc fiebat cum hyssop. Hyssopus est herba quae terrae inhaeret, et curat inflationem, ut in Glossa dicitur: et convenit fidei quae humilitatem habet: quia per fidem subiicitur intellectus Deo. II Cor. 10. “In captivitatem redigentes omnem intellectum in obsequium Christi.” This was done with hyssop. Hyssop is a plant which cleaves to the earth and cures swelling, as it is said in the Gloss: and it suits a fiath that has humility: for through faith the understanding is subjected to God. II Corinthians 10: “Bringing into captivity every understanding unto the obedience of Christ.”
Item radicata est in petra, id est Christo. Matth. 16. “Super hanc petram aedificabo Ecclesiam meam.” Petra autem erat Christus; II Cor. 10. “Item depellit spiritus humani elationem, quae est in illis qui non obediunt fidei Christi.” I Tim. ult. “Si quis aliter docet, et non acquiescit sanis sermonibus Domini nostri Iesu Christi…hic non est eius.” (Rom. 8). Dicit ergo: Domine, ego habeo firmam spem, quod tu asperges me aqua lustrationis. Ezech. 36. “Effundam super vos aquam mundam; et mundabimini ab omnibus inquinamentis vestris.” Also it is rooted in rock, that is, in Christ. Matthew 16: “Upon this rock I will build my Church.” The rock is Christ; II Corinthians 10: “Also it drives away the pride of human spirit, which is in those who do not hearken to the faith of Christ.” I Timothy 6: “If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ…he is none of this.” (Romans 8). He therefore says: O Lord, I have a firm hope that you will sprinkle me with the water of purification. Ezechial 36: “I will pour upon you clean water, and you shall be cleansed from all your filthiness.”
Lavabis me. Nam post fidem necessarius est baptismus. Zach. 13. “Erit fons patens domui Jacob in ablutionem peccatoris, et menstruatae.” Is. 1. “Lavamini, mundi estote.” Effectus huius lavationis: Dealbabor super nivem, quia nigredo tolletur; et hoc scilicet, quia anima erit albior nive. Is. 1. “Si fuerint peccata vestra ut coccinum, quasi nix dealbabuntur.” Thou shalt wash me. For after faith, baptism is necessary. Zach. 13: “There shall be a fountain open to the house of Jacob for the washing of the sinner, and of the unclean woman.” Isaiah 1: “Wash yourselves, be clean.” The effect of this washing” I shall be made whiter than snow; for blackness will be taken away and this namely because my soul will be whiter than snow. Isaiah 1: “If your sins be as scarlet, they shall be made as white as snow.”
Et dicit, Super nivem, quia candor animae sanctificatae excedit omnem pulchritutidnem corporalem, ut patet Matth. 17. in transfiguratione Christi, cuius “vestimenta facta sunt alba sicut nix.” Omnes iusti pertinet ad vestimenta Christi. Is. 49. “Omnibus his quasi vestimento vestieris.” Et per hoc designat se ad vestimentum Christi pertinere per baptismum. “Quotquot baptizati estis, Christum induistis” dicit Apostolus Gal. 3. And he says, Than snow, because the brilliance of the soul made holy surpasses all corporeal beauty, as is evident in Matthew 17, on the Transfiguration of Christ whose “garments became white as snow.” It applies all the just to the garments of Christ. Isaiah 49: “Thou shalt be clothed with all these as with an ormament.” And through this he points out that he relates to the garment of Christ through baptism. “As maany as have been baptized, have put on Christ” says the Apostle in Galations 3.
e. Audisti. Hic ponit quomodo habgeet spem de recuperatione bonorum quae perdiderat: et sunt duo, scilicet donum prophetiae, et gaudium conscientiae. Donum prophetiae assimilatur auditui, quia propheta non videt Dei essentiam, ut in ea videat revelata; sed quaedam signa veritatis revelatae fiunt in anima prophetae; et haec signa habent se per modum locutionis et etc. I Reg. 3. “Loquere, Domine, quia audit servus tuus.” Isa. 21. “Quae audivi a Domino exercituum Deo Israel, annuntiavi vobis.” Hic auditus erat ei interruptus per peccatum, et sperat se recuperaturum; et ideo dicit: Auditui meo dabis gaudium, et laetitiam. To my hearing. Here he sets forth how he has hope about the recovery of the good things he had lost: and they are two, namely, the gift of prophecy and joy of conscience. The gift of prophecy is likened to hearing, for the prophet does not see the essence of God, that he might see in it revealed things; but certain signs of revealed truth are had in the soul of a prophet by way of speaking, and so forth. I Kings 3. “Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth.” Isaias 21. “That which I have heard of the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, I have declared unto you.” This hearing was interrupted for him through sin and he hopes that he will recover it and therefore he says: To my hearing thou shalt give joy and gladness.
Vel, auditui, quo audivi a Nathan translatum esse peccatum meum, quo concepi laetitiam. Or, To my hearing, by which I heard from Nathan that my sin had been removed, by which I conceived gladness.
Sed quantum ad gaudium conscientiae sciendum est quod spirituale gaudium habet tres gradus. Primus existit in complacentia affectus; secundus in dilatatione cordis; tertius in progressu ad exteriora. As for joy of conscience, it must be known that spiritual joy has three steps. The first is manifest in the conciliation of desire; the second in the enlarging of the heart; the third in advancing to outward things.
Complacentia designatur per gaudium, cum dicit: Auditui meo dabis gaudium; ex hoc scilicet quod audiam quae loqueris, vel quae locutus est nathan. Philip. 4. “Gaudete in Domino semper; iterum dico, gaudete.” Quando vero affectus quiescit in re amata, tunc animus eius dilatatur ad plus percipiendum dilatationem; et hoc etiam apparet in sensibilibus. II Cor. 6. “Cor nostrum dilatatum est.” Conciliation is designated by joy, when he says: To my hearing thou shalt give joy; from this namely that I may hear what you say, or what Nathan said. Philippians 4. “Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I say rejoice.” surely when desires reposes in the thing loved then his soul is enlarged to attain further enlarging; and this appears in perceptible things. II Cor. 6. “Our heart is enlarged.”
Et ideo dicit laetitiam; quae hic importat dilatationem, quasi latitiam. Sed ulterius quandoque est quod laetitia redundat usque ad corpus. Prov. 17. “Animus gaudens aetatem floridam facit; spiritus tristis exsiccat ossa.” And therefore he say gladness, which here conveys enlargement, as if it were breadth. But when it is beyond this that gladness abounds even to the body. Proverbs 17. “A joyful mind maketh age flourishing; a sorrowful spirit drieth up the bones.”
Et ideo in visione gloriae in patria post resurrectionem ex gaudio mentis corpus glorificabitur. Isa. ult. “Videbitis, et gaudebit cor vestrum, et ossa vestra quasi herba germinabunt.” Et sic dicit ipse: Exultabunt ossa humiliata; et hoc ad glorificationem praesentem. And therefore in a vision of glory in the land after the resurrection, from joy of mind the body will be glorified. Isaias 66. “You shall see and your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall flourish like an herb.” And so he himself says: The bones that have been humbled shall rejoice; and this for immediate glorification.
Nam per tristitiam poenitentiae cor hominis conteritur; et ideo quando sunt homines laeti, est signum quod ossa, quae sunt contrita, et afflicta, participant gaudium. Prov. 12. “Maeror in corde viri humiliabit eum.” Isa. 58. “Implebit splendoribus animal tuam, et ossa tua liberabit.” For through the sorrow of repentance the heart of man is crushed; and therefore when men are glad, it is a sign that their bones which are sorrowful and suffering share joy. Proverbs 12. “Grief in the heart of a man shall bring him low.” Isaias 58. “He will fill thy soul with brightness, and deliver they bones.”
Vel exultabunt ossa, ides virtutes spirituales, quae per laetitiam spiritualem augmentantur, et quia per hanc laetitiam roboratur iustus. Or, The bones shall rejoice, that is spiritual powers, which are increased through spiritual gladness, and because, through this gladness, a just man is made strong.
f. Averte. Hic petit recuperationem innocentiae: et quia considerat in se malum culpae esse, et bonum gratiae; petit primo removeri malum, sive peccatum; secundo petit removeri effectum peccati, ibi, Cor mundum crea in me, Deus. Peccatum enim removetur non hoc modo quod peccatum non fuerit, sed quod non imputetur ei peccatum commissum ad poenam, secundum illud Psalm. 31. Beatus vir cui non imputavit Dominus peccatum. Et loquitur ad similitudinem iudicis punientis, qui primo considerat quantitatem culpae, et postea taxat poenam; et ideo petit ut non consideret peccatum eius, sed fit immemor eius; et ideo dicit: Averte faciem tuam a peccatis meis. Turn away. Here he seeks for recovery of innocence: and because he regards in himself that there is the evil of guilt and the good of grace, he asks first that the evil, or sin, be removed; second he asks that the effect of sin be removed, Create a clean heart in me, O God. For sin is not removed in this way, as if there had not been sin, but as if committed sin might not be imputed to him for punishment, according to Psalm 31. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord hath not imputed sin. And he speaks according to the parable of the punishing judge who first reckons the amount of guilt, and afterward assesses the penalty; and therefore he asks that he not regard his sin, but that he become forgetful of it; and therefore he says, Turn away thy face from my sins.
Secundo petit ut non inferatur poena, unde dicit: Et omnes iniquitates meas dele; quasi dicat: scio quod malum coram te feci; et ideo rogo ut avertas faciem tuam a peccatis meis, idest non consideres peccata mea ad puniendum. Ezech. 18. “Omnium iniquitatum eius non recordabor.” Secondly he asks that punishment not be inflicted, whence he says, And blot out all my iniquities; as if he were saying: I know that I have done evil before you; and therefore I ask that you turn away your face from my sins, that is that you regard not my sins for punishment. Ezech. 18. “I will not remember all his iniquities.”
Item merui poenam damnationis; sed rogo ut deleas, quia Deus etsi non mutat consilium, tamen sententiam mutat: Cor mundum. Just so have I deserved the penalty of damnation; but I ask that you blot it out, for even if God does not change plan, nevertheless he changes sentence: A clean heart.
Supra Psalmus petiit removeri peccatum; hic autem petit removeri effectus peccati, qui sunt duo; scilicet inquinatio animae, et inordinatio affectus. Primus effectus fit per hoc quod homo afficitur ad terrena: unde petit cordis munditiam. Matth. 5. “Beati mundo corde, quoniam ipsi Deum videbunt.” Above, the Psalm sought that sin be removed; here, however, it asks that the effects of sin be removed, and they are two; namely pollution of soul and disorder of desire. The first effect happens through this, that man is attached to earthly things: whence he seeks cleanliness of heart. Matthew 5. “Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God.”
Et ideo dicit: Cor mundum crea in me, Deus, et spiritum rectum. Istam munditiam cordis solus Deus restituere potest. Iob 14. “quis potest facere mundum de immundo conceptum semine? Nonne tu qui solus es?” scilicet mundus simpliciter. And therefore he says: Create a clean heart in me, O God, and a right spirit. This cleanliness of heart God only is able to reestablish. Job 14. “Who can make him clean that is conceived of unclean seed? is it not thou who only art?” that is to say, clean simply.
Et dicit, Crea. Creatur aliquid ad esse naturae, quando ex nihilo producitur ad esse. Gen. 1. “In principio creavit Deus caelum, et terram.” And he says, Create. Something is created according to the being of nature when it is brought forth to being from nothing. Genesis 1. “In the beginning God created heaven and earth.”
Item quando ad esse gratiae producitur. I Cor. 13. “Si habuero prophetiam, et noverim mysteria omnia…nihil sum,” in esse gratiae. Sed quando Deus operatur operatione gratiae in habente gratiam, dicitur magnificare eum; quando vero de peccatore facit iustum, tunc dicitur proprie creare. Eph. 2. “Ipsius creatura sumus, creati in Christo Iesu in operibus bonis.” Iaco. 1. “Ut sitis initium aliquod creaturae Dei,” scilicet spiritualis eius. Likewise when it is brought forth to the being of grace. I Cor. 13. “If I should have prophecy and should know all mysteries…I am nothing” in the being of grace. But when God operates by the operation of grace in one having grace, he is said to magnify him; but when he makes a just man from a sinner, then he is said properly to create. Eph. 2. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus in good works.” James 1. “That you might be some beginning of God’s creature,” that is, a spiritual one.
Secundum quod sequitur ex peccato, est inordinatio mentis, quae fit per aversionem a fine debito. Sicut ergo per conversionem ad aliquod commutabile bonum animus efficitur immundus, ita per aversione a fine deordinatur; et huiusmodi deordinationi opponitur rectitudo qua homo dirigitur in Deum. I Cant. 1. “Recti diligunt te.” Et ideo dicit: Et spiritum rectum innova; idest, de novo tribuas, quia per peccatum amisi. Ephes. 4. “Renovamini spiritu mentis vestrae.” Et innova non exterius, sed in visceribus meis, ut scilicet non labia tantum ad loquendum, sed cor fit rectum ad cognoscendum. According to what follows from sin, there is a disorder of the mind that happens through turning away from its due end. So, therefore, through turning to some changeable good the spirit is made unclean. Thus it is disordered through turning from its end; and of such kind is righteousness opposed to disorder whereby man is directed to God. Canticle 1. “The righteous love thee.” And therefore he says: And renew a right spirit; that is, that you grant it anew for I have lost it through sin. Ephesians 4. “Be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” And renew not outwardly but within my bowels so that , namely, not only may the lips be made right for speaking, but the heart be made right for perceiving.
Ne proiicias me a facie tua, et spiritum sanctum tuum ne auferas a me. Hic petit restitutionem gratiae: et primo petit ipsam gratiam, secundo petit gratiae effectum, ibi, Redde. Gratiam Dei dicitur quis habere dupliciter. Nam aliquis dicitur habere gratiam Dei, et hominis, et quantum ad aliquid similiter, scilicet quando est utrique gratus, scilicet Deo, et homini. Cast me not away from thy face; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Here he asks for the restoration of grace: and first he asks for grace itself, second he asks for the effect of grace, where he says, Restore. One is said to have the grace of God on two accounts. Now, one is said to have the grace of God and of man, and similarly, as far as anything is concerned, that is, when he is pleasing to both, namely to God and to man.
Et haec vocatur gratia gratum faciens. Ephes. 1. “In qua gratificavit nos in dilecto filio suo.’ Et secundum hoc gratia dicitur benevolentia Dei, qua Deus diligit hominem ad vitam aeternam. Et quantum ad aliquid est dissimile. Gratia enim hominis non facit eum bonum, sed ex sua bonitate efficitur gratus homini; sed apud Deum est e converso: quia ex Dei benevolentia sequitur quod homo fiat bonus. Duo ergo sunt in gratia Dei; scilicet ipsa benevolentia, et effectus eius in anima; et utrumque petit cum dicit: Ne proiicias me a facie tua; et spiritum sanctum tuum ne auferas a me. And this grace is called making pleasing. Ephes. 1. “In which he hath graced us in his beloved son.” And according to this, grace is declared the benevolence of God, by which God loves man unto eternal life. And as far as anything is concerned, it is dissimilar. For the grace of man does not make him good, but out of its goodness one is made pleasing to man; but with God, it is in a contrary manner: for from the benevolence of God it follows that man should be made good. Therefore there are two things in the grace of God; namely, benevolence itself and its effects on the soul; and he asks for both when he says: Cast me not away from thy face; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
Et hoc potest dupliciter intelligi. Ille qui est in facie alicuius, videtur ab eo, et potest illum videre. Iste dicitur esse in facie Dei secundum illud III Reg. 17. “Vivit Dominus, in cuius conspectu sto.” Genes. 32. “Deus, in cuius conspectu ambulaverunt patres nostri.” Et hoc quia ipsi recti sunt ad videndum Deum. Psalm. 26. Unam petii a Domino, hanc requiram, ut inhabitem in domo Domini omnibus diebus vitae meae. And this can be understood in a double sense. He who is in the face of someone is seen by him, and can see him. That one is said to be in the face of God according to III Kings 17. “As the Lord liveth, in whose sight I stand.” Genesis 32. “God, in whose sight our fathers walked.” And this because they are upright to see God. Psalm 26. One thing I have asked of the Lord, this will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.
Per peccatum utrumque perditur; quia peccatores deserunt Deum, deseruntur a Deo, et amittunt fiduciam confidendi de Deo. Esa. 59. “Peccata, et iniquitates diviserunt inter vos et Deum vestrum (quantum ad primum) et peccata vestra absconderunt faciem eius a vobis;” quantum ad secundum. Iste est ergo a facie Dei per peccatum proiectus; et ideo petit ne finaliter proiiciatur utroque modo. Through each sin one is lost; for sinners forsake God, are forsaken by God, and disperse the trust of confidence in God. Isaias 59. “Your sins and iniquities have divided between you and your God (so far as concerns the first) and your sins have hid his face from you;” as far as concerns the second. That one, therefore, is cast away from the face of God through sin; and therefore he asks that he not be finally cast away in both ways.
Item nota, quod in homine duo sunt; scilicet culpa, ex qua dignus est poena, et natura, ex qua habet congruitatem ad gratiam: et ideo petit ut non prospiciat culpam, sed naturam, et ideo dicit, Ne proiicias me. Likewise note that there are in men two things; namely guilt, from which he is worthy of punishment, and nature from which he has a fitness for grace: and therefore he asks that he look not at his guilt but his nature; and therefore he says, Cast me not away.
Item donum gratiae datur per caritatem, et tale donum datur per Spiritum sanctum; et ideo dicit: Et spiritum sanctum tuum ne auferas a me; cuius templum fueram, sed perdidi propter peccatum. Sap. 1. “Spiritus sanctus disciplinae effugiet fictum.” Ne ergo auferas, scilicet finaliter. Likewise, the gift of grace is given through charity, and such a gift is given through the Holy Spirit; and thus he says: And take not thy holy spirit from me; whose temple I was, but lost on account of sin. Wisdom 1. “The Holy Spirit of discipline will flee from the deceitful.” Take not away, therefore, that is, finally.
Redde mihi. Nam duo facit gratia in homine. Unum respectu superiorum: quia scilicet dat iucunditatem, quia qui habet gratiam, habet caritatem; et qui habet caritatem, amat Deum, et habet ipsum; et qui habet quod amat, gaudet. Ergo ubi caritas ibi gaudium. Rom. 14. “Non est Regnum Dei esca, et potus, sed gaudium in Spiritu sancto.” Hoc gaudium perdiderat Psalmista; et ideo petit restitui sibi, cum dicit: Redde mihi laetitiam, non de mundanis, sed salutaris tui, idest de tua salvatione. Restore unto me. For grace does two things in a man. One in respect of higher things: that, namely, it gives cheerfulness, for he who has grace has charity; and he who has charity loves God, and possesses him; and he who has what he loves, rejoices. Therefore, where charity is, there is joy. Romans 14. “The kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but joy in the Holy Ghost.” The Psalmist had lost this joy; and therefore he asks that it be restored to him, when he says: Restore unto me the joy, not of worldly things, but of thy salvation, that is, of your act of saving.
Alia litera habet, Laetitiam Iesu, scilicet salvatoris, per quem fit remissio peccatorum. Habac. ult. “Exultabo in Deo Iesu meo.” Another text has The joy of Jesus, that is, the Saviour, through whom is effected the forgiveness of sins. Habacuc 3. “I will joy in God my Jesus.”
Alius effectus est respectu inferiorum; et hic effectus est confirmatio in gratia, quae fit per Spiritum sanctum: Et spiritu principali confirma me. The other effect is in respect of lower things; and this effect is confirmation in grace, which is done through the Holy Spirit: And strengthen me with a perfect spirit.
Spiritus autem sanctus firmat dupliciter. Uno modo contra mala: Esa. 8. “In forti manu erudivi te:” alio modo in bono. Esa. 40. “Qui sperant in Domino mutabunt fortitudinem.” Haec fortitudo habetur per Spiritum. Nam corpus non est firmum, nec ad faciendum nisi propter fortidinem spirituum: ita homo non est fortis sine Spiritu sancto. Sed ille non praeberet fortitudinem nisi esset spiritus principalis, quia virtus inferior non est sufficiens ad praebendum auxilium contra superiorem. Potestas autem diaboli est magna. Iob. 41. “Non est potestas super terram quae comparetur ei.” Ergo contra diabolum indiget homo iuvari spiritu principali, scilicet principante et dominante super omnia. Et hoc spiritu indidet homo contra spiritum carnis. Num. 16. Fortissime Deus spirituum universae carnis.” But the Holy Spirit makes strong in a two fold way. In one way, against evil things. Isaias 8. “I have taught thee with a strong arm:” in another way in the good. Isaias 40. “They that hope in the Lord shall renew their strength.” This strength is had through the Spirit. For the body is not strong except on account of the strength of spirits; so man is not strong without the Holy Spirit. But it would not have shown strength except it were a perfect spirit, for a lower power is not enough to show help against a higher. For the power of the devil is great. Job 41. “There is no power upon earth that can be compared with him.” Therefore against the devil man needs to be helped by a perfect spirit, that is, one ruling and prevailing over all things. And man is needful of this spirit against the spirit of the flesh. Num. 16. “O most mighty, the God of the spirits of all flesh.”
Item contra spiritum mundi. I Cor. 2. “Nos autem non spiritum huius mundi accepimus, sed spiritum qui est ex Deo.” Item conspiritum diaboli. I. Reg. 18. “Invasit spiritus Domini malus Saul.” Notandum est, quod in hac lectione fit triplex mentio de spiritu: quia dicitur spiritus rectus, spiritus sanctus, et spiritus principalis. Et secundum Glos. quidam accipiunt spiritum essentialiter dictum, secundum quod est spiritus omne quod non est corpus. Unde spiritus dicitur Pater, et Filius, et Spiritus sanctus; sed melius est ut accipiatur personaliter. Tria autem facit Spiritus sanctus in homine. Also against the spirit of the world. I Cor. 2. “Now we have received not the spirit of this world, but the spirit that is of God.” Also, against the spirit of the devil. I Kings 18. “The evil spirit from the Lord came upon Saul.” It must be noted that in this reading there is made a triple mention of spirit: it is called a right spirit, a holy spirit and a perfect spirit. And according to the Gloss, certain persons receive what is called essentially spirit, according to which all that is not body is spirit. Whence spirit is called Father, and Son, and Holy Spirit; but it is better that it be received personally. For the Holy Spirit causes three things in man.
Primo rectitudinem intentionis. Psal. 142. Spiritus bonus deducet me in terram rectam. Item sanctificat nos. Rom. 1. “Secundum spiritum sanctificationis.” Item nobilitat, et tacit nos principes. Gal. 4. “Quoniam estis filii Dei, misit Deus spiritum filii sui in corda vestra.” First, rectitude of purpose. Psalm 142. Thy good spirit shall lead me into the right land. Also, it sanctifies us. Romans 1. ”According to the spirit of sanctification.” Also, it makes us illustrious and makes us princes. Galatians 4. “Because you are sons of God, God hath sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts.”
g. Docebo. Supra Psalmista proposuit suas petitiones Deo; hic autem repromittit recompensationem: et primo promittit quid fit facturus pro Deo in praesenti; secundo in futuro, ibi, Benigne. Circa primum duo facit. Primo promittit Deo quaedam spiritualia sacrificia; secundo excusat se ab oblatione carnalium, ibi, Quoniam si voluisses. Duplex sacrificium spirituale Deo promittit; scilicet doctrinae per quod instruatur proximus; secundo promittit spirituale sacrificium laudis, per quod laudetur Deus, ibi, Libera me. I will teach. Above, the Psalmist set forth his petitions to God; here, however, he promises again a making-up: and first he promises what it happens he is about to do for God in the present; secondly, in the future, where he says, Favourably. About the first he does two things. First he promises to God certain spiritual sacrifices; second, he excuses himself from the offering of meats, where he says, For if thou hadst desired. He promises to God a twofold spiritual sacrifice; namely, of instruction, through which his neighbour is taught; secondly he promises the spiritual sacrifice of praise, through which God is praised, where he says, Deliver me.
Dicit ergo: Docebo iniquos vias tuas. Et notandum, quod supra in alio Psalmo dixit (49) Peccatori dixit Deus: Quare tu enarras iustitias meas, et assumis nomen meum per os tuum? Per quod ostendit quod peccatorem non decet doctrinam effundere. He therefore says, I will teach the unjust thy ways. And it is to be noted what he said above in another Psalm (49) To the sinner God hath said: Why dost thou declare my justices, and take my name in thy mouth? Through which he shows that it is not proper for a sinner to pour forth instruction.
Et ideo quamdiu sensit se peccatorem, non promisit doctrinam manifestare; sed postquam restituit ei Deus spiritum principalem: et tales decet doctrinam habere, et alios docere. Hier. 3. “Dabo vobis pastorem iuxta cor meum, qui pascet vos scientia, et doctrina.” And as long as he felt himself a sinner, he did not promise to make instruction known; but after God restored to him a perfect spirit: it is fitting both that such have instruction and also instruct others. Jeremias 3. “I will give you a pastor according to my own heart, and he shall feed you with knowledge and doctrine.”
Et de Christo dicitur Acto. 1. ‘Coepit Iesus facere, & (postea) docere.” Fructus autem huius doctrinae non est tantum speculatio veritatis ad beatam contemplationem, sed intentus finis eius est conversio peccatorum: et ideo dicit: Et impii ad te convertentur. Hierem. 15 “Ipsi convertentur ad te, et tu non converteris ad eos.” Psalm. 21. Convertentur ad Dominum omnes gentes. Et secundum Glo. eosdem dicit impios, et iniquos, quamvis David intelligat quod iniqui dicuntur qui peccant contra Deum; et ideo signanter dicit, Docebo iniquos, quasi dicat: Aliqui etsi revereantur Deum, tamen operantur contra proximum, et iniusta; et hos docebo vias tuas, scilicet ut non offendant proximum. Pr. Ioan. 4. “Mandatum habemus a Deo ut qui diligit Deum, diligat et fratrem suum.” And it is said of Christ in Acts 1. “Jesus began to do and (afterward) to teach.” But the fruit of this instruction is not only observation of the truth towards blessed contemplation, but its extended end is the conversion of sinners: and therefore he says: And the wicked shall be converted to thee. Jeremias 15. “They shall be turned to thee, and thou shalt not be turned to them.” Psalm 21. All the Gentiles shall be converted to the Lord. And according to the Gloss, he calls the same wicked and unjust, howevermuch David understands that they are called unjust who sin against God; and therefore he significantly says, I will teach the unjust, as if he were saying: Although some revere God, yet they do produce things against their neighbour; and to these I will teach your ways, that is, so they offend not their neighbour. I John 4. “And this commandment we have from God, that he who loveth God, love also his brother.”
Libera me de sanguinibus. Hic promittit sacrificium laudis; et sunt duo impedimenta huius sacrificii. Unum est reatus peccati; aliud est interior defectus. Primo ergo petit remotionem primi impedimenti; secundo petit remotionem secundi, ibi, Domine, labia mea aperies. Petit ergo remotionem impedimenti, et promittit sacrificium laudis. Impedimentum laudis divinae, sicut dictum est, est reatus culpae. Eccl. 15. “Non est speciosa laus in ore peccatoris.” Deliver me from blood. Here he promises a sacrifice of praise; and there are two obstacles to this sacrifice. One is the guilt of sin; the other is an inner failing. First, therefore, he asks for the removal of the first obstacle; secondly, he seeks the removal of the second, where he says, O Lord, thou wilt open my lips. He seeks therefore the removal of the obstacle, and promises a sacrifice of praise. The obstacle to divine praise, as was said, is the guilt of sin. Eccles. 15. “Praise is not seemly in the mouth of a sinner.”
David autem erat gravi culpa reus; et ideo petit liberari ab ea et ideo dicit: Libera me de sanguinibus. Secundum Glo. hoc nomen sanguis non declinatur in plurali numero; tamen translator voluit uti ad expressionem peccati; et refertur hoc ad concupiscentiam carnis quae est caro et sanguis. Matt. 16. “Caro et sanguis non revelavit tibi; sed Pater meus qui est in caelis.” Quasi dicat: Libera me de peccatis commissis de carne et sanguine. Now David was guilty of serious sin; and therefore he asks to be liberated from it and therefore says: Deliver me from blood. According to the Gloss, the noun blood is not declined in the plural number; nevertheless the translator wished to use it for an expression of sin; and this refers to concupiscence of the flesh, which is flesh and blood. Matth. 16. “Flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven.” As if he were saying: Deliver me from sins that have been committed from flesh and blood.
Vel dicendum, quod David commiserat culpam adulterii, et homicidii; et in utroque est sanguis: quia in homicidio sanguis effunditur. Ps. 5. Virum sanguinum, et dolosum abominabitur Dominus. Adulterium autem procedit ex fervore sanguinis; et ideo dicit. De sanguinibus. Oseae 4. “Sanguis sanguinem tetigit.” O Deus, libera ergo me de sanguinibus, quia solus potes. Isa. 43. “Ego sum qui deleo iniquitates tuas propter me, et peccatorum tuorum non recordabor:” et quia tu es Deus salutis mei, idest qui potes me salvare. Et exultabit lingua mea; idest, cum delectatione, et cum interiori gaudio cordis, narrabo iustitiam tuam. Isa. 30. “Canticum erit vobis, sicut vox sanctificatae solemnitatis.” Item ibidem (cap. 35.) “Venient in Sion laudantes, et laetitia sempiterna super capita eorum.” Psalm. 41. “In voce exultationis, et confessionis sonus epulantis.” Or it must be said that David had committed the fault of adultery and of murder; and in both there is blood: for in murder blood is poured out. Psalm 5. The bloody and the deceitful man the Lord will abhor. But adultery proceeds from a fervour of blood; and he therefore says. From blood. Osee 4. “Blood hath touched blood.” O God, deliver me, therefore, from blood, for you only can do it. Isaias 43. “I am he that blot out thy iniquities for my own sake, and I will not remember thy sins.” And because you are God of my salvation, that is, the one who can save me. And my tongue shall extol; that is, with delight, and with inward joy of heart, I shall speak of your justice. Isaias 30. “You shall have a song like the voice of the sanctified solemnity.” Likewise in the same (Ch. 35) “They shall come into Sion with praise, and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads.” Psalm 41. “With the voice of joy and praise; the noise of one feasting.”
Domine, labia mea aperies. Est autem sciendum, quod homo aliquando impeditur a doctrina etiam propter impedimentum interius loquendi; et hoc contingit aliquando propter culpam auditorum. Ezech. 3. “Linguam tuam adhaerere faciam palato tuo; et eris mutus. Et infra. “Quia domus exasperans est.” Et propter proprium peccatum. Psalm. 106. Omnis iniauitas oppilabit os suum. Quia ergo solus Deus “linguas infantium fecit disertas:” Sapien. 10. ideo petit: Domine, remove impedimenta quae incurri per peccatum, a labiis meis; et tu Labia mea aperies. Ephe. ult. “Ut detur mihi sermo in apertione oris mei, cum fiducia notum facere mysterium Evangelii.” O Lord, thou wilt open my lips. But it must be understood that man at times is prevented from instruction also on account of the hindrance of speaking inwardly; and this happens at times on account of the fault of the hearers. Ezech. 3. “I will make thy tongue stick fast to the roof of thy mouth, and thou shalt be dumb.” And below: “Because they are a provoking house.” And on account of his particular sin. Psalm 106. All iniquity shall stop her mouth. Because then God only “made the tongues of infants eloquent:” Wisdom 10. Therefore he asks: O Lord, take away the hindrances, which I have incurred through sin, from my lips; and thou Wilt open my lips. Ephesians 6. “That speech may be given me, that I may open my mouth with confidence to make known the mystery of the gospel.”
Est autem notandum, quod in apertione oris intelligitur doctrinae profunditas, ubicumque in Scripturis invenitur apertio oris; ut Iob 3. “Post haec aperuit Iob os suum.” Et Matth. 5. “Aperiens Iesus os suum,” scilicet in profunditatem Scripturae. Et tunc os meum annuntiabit laudem tuam; quasi dicat: Quod in corde habeo, ore confitebor. But it must be noted that in the opening of the mouth is understood the depth of instruction, wherever in the Scriptures is found the opening of the mouth; as in Job 3. “After this Job opened his mouth.” And Mattthew 5. “Opening his mouth, Jesus.” that is, in the depth of Scripture. And then my mouth shall declare thy praise; as if he were saying: What I hold in my heart, I shall confess with my mouth.
h. Quoniam si voluisses sacrificium. Hic excusat se: et primo ostendit sacrificium non esse Deo acceptum; secundo ostendit quod sacrificium sit Deo acceptum, ibi, Sacrificium Deo. For if thou hadst desired sacrifice. Here he absolves himself: and first he shows that sacrifice had not been accepted by God; second, he shows that sacrifice might be accepted by God, where he says, A sacrifice to God.
Dicit ergo: Ego repromitto doctrinam, et laudem: hoc enim sacrificium honorificabit te, sed carnale sacrificium non est tibi acceptum. Et ideo dicit: Si voluisses sacrificium, scilicet carnale, utique dedissem; sed utique holocaustis non delectaberis. Therefore he says: I promise again instruction and praise: for this sacrifice will glorify you; but a carnal sacrifice is not accepted by you. And therefore he says: If thou hadst desired sacrifice, that is to say, carnal; I would indeed have given; but indeed, with burnt offerings thou wilt not be delighted.
Sed numquid non vult sacrificia carnalia? Si illa sacrificia non approbat Deus, quare ergo mandavit fieri in veteri lege? But does he not desire carnal sacrifices? If God does not approve those sacrifices, why then in the Old Law did he command that they be done?
Dicendum, quod mandavit ea fieri non propter se, sed quia erant figura interioris veri sacrificii quo Christus se obtulit; et sunt signa interioris sacrificii, inquantum homo animam suam offert Deo, et iterum fuerunt instituta propter rudes, qui Deum non noverant; et ideo oportebat quod in rebus honorarent, et cognoscerent Deum, ne sacrificia idolis imolarent, ad quod erant multum proni. Sed quia David ex Spiritu sancto sciebat cordis sacrificium Deo acceptum, non dedit hic sacrificia corporalia. It must be said that he commanded that they be done not for his sake, but because they were figures of the inner true sacrifice whereby Christ offered himself; and they are signs of an inner sacrifice, inasmuch as man offers his life to God, and again they had been ordained for the sake of uncultured people who did not know God and therefore it was fitting that they honour him and learn about God, lest they render sacrifices to idols, to which they were greatly inclined. But because David knew from the Holy Spirit that sacrifice of the heart was accepted by God, he did not give bodily sacrifices.
Inter omnia autem sacrificia, holocausta erant magis Deo accepta. Et tamen illa propter se non erant accepta Deo; ideo dicit: Holocaustis non delectaberis: quia et si ipsa fuissent tibi accepta simpliciter, obtulissem ea. Et si obiiciatur quod odor suavissimus erant Domino; dicendum, quod erat hoc propter figuratum sacrificium, et in signum interioris sacrificii, quod Deo placet. Unde subdit: Sacrificium Deo, scilicet acceptum, spiritus contribulatus. Aug. 10. de Civi. Dei: “Omne sacrificium, quod offert exterius, signum est interioris sacrificii, in quo animam suam offert Deo.” But among all the sacrifices, holocausts were more accepted by God. And yet those were not accepted by God for their own sake; therefore he says: With burnt offerings thou wilt not be delighted: for if they would have been accepted by you purely, I would have offered them. And if it should be proposed that they were an aroma most pleasant to the Lord, it must be said that this was for the sake of a symbolical sacrifice and as a sign of inward sacrifice which is pleasing to God. Whence he appends: A sacrifice to God, that is, accepted, an afflicted spirit. Augustine, in Book X of On the City of God: “Every sacrifice that he offers outwardly is a sign of inward sacrifice in which he offers his soul to God.”
Sed sciendum, quod anima hominis deducitur in peccatum primo per inane gaudium. Eccle. 2. “Risum reputavi errorem, et gaudio dixi: Quid frustra deciperis?” idest deduceris in peccatum. Secundo induratur ad spiritualia ex peccato. Eccli. 3. “Cor durum male habebit in novissimo.” Rom. 2. “Secundum duritiam tuam, et cor impoenitens.” Tertio quia sufficit sibi in rebus corporalibus, et non curat de spiritualibus, tunc superbit; quod “est initium omnis peccati:” Eccli. 10. Oportet ergo quod poenitens qui cor suum offert sacrificium Deo, contraria omnibus his faciat. But it should be known that the soul of man is led into sin first through empty mirth. Ecclesiastes 2: “Laughter I counted error: and to mirth I said : Why art thou vainly deceived?” that is, led into sin. Secondly, out of sin it is hardened to spiritual things. Eccli. 3. “A hard heart shall fear evil at the last.” Rom. 2. “According to thy hardness and impenitent heart.” Thirdly, because it suffices unto itself in bodily things, and does not attend to spiritual, then it is proud, for “it is the beginning of all sin:” Eccli. 10. Therefore, it is fitting that a penitent, who offers his heart as a sacrifice to God, do the opposites of all these things.
Et primo contra inane gaudium oportet quod assumat tristitiam poenitentiae; et ideo subdit: Sacrificium Deo spiritus contribulatus; idest, de omnibus peccatis simul tristatur, non de uno tantum. II Cor. 7. “Quae secundum Deum est tristitia, poenitentiam in salutem stabilem operatur.” Baruch.2. “Anima quae est tristis super magnitudinem mali, et incidit curva: et infra dat tibi gloriam, et tristitiam Domino.” And first, against empty mirth it is fitting that it assume the sorrow of penitence; and therefore he supplies: A sacrifice to God is an afflicted spirit; that is, that it be sorrowful for all sins together, not for one only. II Cor. 7. “The sorrow that is according to God worketh penance, steadfast unto salvation.” Baruch 2. “The soul that is sorrowful for greatness of evil she hath done, and goeth bowed down and feeble, giveth glory and sorrowfulness to thee, the Lord.”
Contra secundum opponitur contritio: unde dicit, Cor contritum. Et nota differentiam inter confracta et contrita: quia confracta sunt quae dividuntur in magnas partes; contrita sunt quae in parvissimas partes dividuntur. Quamdiu ergo quis habet cor durum, tunc quasi integrum habet cor in malitia; sed quando totaliter deserit peccatum praebens se spiritualibus, dicitur tunc contritus. Iob 16. “Ego ille quondam opulentus (scilicet in temporalibus) repente contritus sum.” Against the second is opposed contrition: whence he says, A contrite heart. And mark the difference between shattered and ground: for shattered are those things that are divided into large parts; ground are those that are divided into the smallest parts. Therefore as long as one has a hard heart, then he has his heart as if entirely in evil; but when he wholly forsakes sin, yielding himself to spiritual things, then he is called contrite. Job 16. “I that was formerly so wealthy (that is, in temporal goods), am all on a sudden broken to pieces.”
Contra tertium opponitur humilitas; et ideo dicit: Et humiliatum, Deus, non despicies: quia “superbis Deus resistit; humilibus autem dat gratiam:” Iac.4. Et est sciendum, quod facit mentionem de corde, et spiritu: et spiritus pertinet ad animositatem, et sic pertinet ad irascibilem. Isa. 25. “Spiritus robustorum quasi turbo impellens parietem.” Cor pertinet ad concupiscibilem; et sic datur per hoc intelligi quod quicquid est in vi appetitiva, debet Deo offerri in sacrificium. To the third is opposed humility; and he therefore says: A humbled (heart), O God, thou wilt not despise: for “God resisteth the proud; and giveth grace to the humble:” James 4. And it must be understood that he makes mention of the heart and the spirit: and the spirit relates to impetuosity, and thus it relates to the irascible. Isaias 25. “The blast of the mighty is like a whirlwind beating against a wall.” The heart relates to the concupiscible; and so it is given through this to be understood that whatever is in the power of desire should be offered to God in sacrifice.
i. Benigne. Hic promittit quid debeat facere in futurum: et primo petit quid fiendum a Deo; secundo pronuntiat, ibi, Tunc accentabis. Favourably. Here he promises what he ought to do in the future: and first he seeks what must be done by God; secondly, he declares, in the place where he says, Then shalt thou accept.
Oculus David ferebatur ad duo. Unum propinquum, quod erat figurale, aliud remotum, quod erat figuratum. Primum, quia legitur, quod David aedificavit muros civitatis Hierusalem, sed non consummaverat; et his consummatis aedificandum erat templum, et ideo dicit: Fac in bona voluntate tua ut aedificentur muri Hierusalem. Et tunc aedificatis muris, aedificabitur templum, et tunc acceptabis sacrificium iustitiae, oblationes, et holocausta. Et hoc totum erat figurale. The eye of David was carried to two things. One, near, which was allusional, the other, remote, which was figurative. The first, for it is read that David built the walls of the city of Jerusalem, but he had not completed them; and after they had been completed, the temple was to be built, and he therefore says: Deal in thy good will that the walls of Jerusalem may be built up. And then when the walls have been built, the temple will be built; and then shalt thou accept the sacrifice of justice, oblations and whole burnt offerings. And all this was allusional.
Sed si referamus ad figuratum, sic dicendum est, quod est duplex Hierusalem; scilicet caelestis. Gal. 4. “Illa quae sursum est Hierusalem, libera est, quae est mater nostra.” Alia est praesens Ecclesia exemplata ab illa. Apoc. 21. “Vidi civitatem sanctam Hierusalem novam, descendentem de caelo a Deo.” But if we refer to the figurative, so it must be said, there is a two-fold Jerusalem; that is heavenly. Galatians 4. “That Jerusalem, which is above, is free: which is our mother. The other is the present Church, imaged from her. Apoc. 21. “I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.”
Et utraque habet muros. Muri caelestis Hierusalem sunt munimenta aeternitatis, et immortalitatis, quam consecuti sunt sancti per Christum. Rom. 8. “Qui suscitavit Iesum Christum, vivificabit et mortalia corpora nostra.” Muri praesentis Hierusalem, scilicet Ezech. 13. “Non stetistis ex adverso, ne opposuistis murum pro domo Israel, ut staretis in praelio.” Aedificationem istorum praevidebat spiritu prophetiae Isaias 56. Ad hoc ergo quod aedificentur isti muri, tu, Domine, fac benigne, idest, ostende benignitatem hanc: quam benignitatem Apostolus Tit. 3. dicit impletam. “Apparuit benignitas, et humanitas salvatoris nostri Dei.” And both have walls. The walls of the heavenly Jerusalem are bulwarks of eternity and of immortality, which the saints pursued through Christ. Romans 8. “He that raised up Jesus Christ, shall quicken also our mortal bodies.” The walls of the present Jerusalem, to wit, Ezechiel 13. “You have not stood up to face the enemy, nor have you set up a wall for the house of Israel, to stand in battle.” He foresaw their building in the spirit of the prophecy of Isaias 56. For this, therefore, that those walls might be built, deal favourably, O Lord, that is, show forth this goodness, which goodness the Apostle says is accomplished in Titus 3. “The goodness and kindness of God our Saviour appeared.”
Et hoc non propter merita nostra, sed propter tuam voluntatem bonam. Rom. 12. “Ut probetis quae fit voluntas Dei bona, et beneplacens, et perfecta.” I Thes. 4. “Haec est voluntas Dei sanctificatio vestra.” Et hoc facias ad hoc ut aedificentur muri Hierusalem, vel militantis, vel triumphantis. And this is not on account of our merits, but on account of your good will. Romans 12. “That you may prove what is the good, and the acceptable, and the perfect will of God.” I Thes. 4. “This is the will of God, your sanctification.” And this you should do for that end that the walls of Jerusalem may be built up, either militant or triumphant.
Sed quid erit? Tunc acceptabis sacrificium iustitiae Hoc autem tripliciter exponitur: et duo primi modi pertinent ad Ecclesiam praesentem. Uno modo quod hoc referamus ad sacrificium, non quo trucidantur pecora, sed quo occiduntur homines propter Christum, et in hoc est duplex gradus: quia primum locum tenet sacrificium Christi. Galat. 2. “Dilexit me, et tradidit semetipsum pro me.” Et ideo dicit, Tunc, idest in aedificatione murorum Hierusalem, idest Ecclesiae, acceptabis sacrificium iustitiae, quo Christus se obtulit, qui iustus est. Ioan. 8. “Quis ex vobis arguet me de peccato?” But what will it be? Then shalt thou accept the sacrifice of justice. And this is explained in a three-fold way: and the first two ways relate to the present Church. For in one way we are to refer to this sacrifice, not in which cattle are slaughtered, but in which men are slain for the sake of Christ, and in this there is a two-fold step: for the sacrifice of Christ holds the first place. Gal. 2. “He loved me and delivered himself for me.” And therefore he says, Then, that is in the building of the walls of Jerusalem, that is, of the Church, shalt thou accept the sacrifice of justice, whereby Christ, who is just, offered himself. John 8. “Which of you shall convince me of sin?”
Et quia tantae virtutis est ut satisfaceret pro homine, ut iustificaret eum. Secundum locum tenent alii sancti qui se propter Deum obtulerunt in sacrificium: unde dicit, Oblationes, scilicet confessores, qui confitendo Christum, quantum in se est, obtulerunt se morti, licet non sint occisi. Iudic. 5. “Qui sponte obtulistis de Israel animas vestras ad periculum, benedicite Domino.” And it is because he is of such great virtue that he gave satisfaction for man in order to justify him. The other holy ones who, for the sake of God, offered themselves in sacrifice, hold the second place: whence he says, Oblations, that is, confessors, who by confessing Christ, as much as in them, offered themselves to death, it is not permitted that they should have been slain. Judges 5. “O you of Israel, that have willingly offered your lives to danger, bless the Lord.”
Et holocausta. Isti sunt martyres. Ioan. 15. “Maiorem caritatem nemo habet, ut animam suam ponat quis pro amicis suis.” Et tunc accentabis, quando ita ipso sancti imponent se tanquam vitulos super altare tuum; idest, super fidem tuam, et super Christum, idest, exponent se tamquam vitulos, propter Christum, et fidem Christi ad immolandum. And whole burnt offerings. These are the martyrs. John 15. “Greater love no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” And then shalt thou accept, when thus these same holy ones lay themselves like calves upon your altar; that is, upon your faith, and upon Christ; that is, they set themselves like calves for the sake of Christ, and faith in Christ, for immolation.
Alio modo ut referatur quantum ad opera iustorum: et sic est sensus: Acceptabis iustitiam, sicut sacrificium, quia opera iustitiae, et misericordiae sunt sicut sacrificium. Heb. ultimo. “Beneficentiae, et communionis nolite oblivisci: talibus enim hostiis promeretur Deus.” Et tunc accipies oblationes. Secundum Gregorium, holocaustum est quod totum incendebatur; et signat perfectos viros, qui totaliter dant se Deo. In another way, as may be related so far as concerns the works of the just: and the sense is this: You will accept justice as a sacrifice, for the works of justice and of mercy are like a sacrifice. Hebrews 13. “Do not forget to do good, and to impart; for by such sacrifices God’s favour is obtained.” And then you will accept oblations. According to Gregory, a holocaust is that which was wholly burned; and it signifies perfect men who give themselves totally to God.
Oblationes sunt illi qui aliquid offerunt, et aliquid reservant: et tunc sacerdotes imponent vitulos, idest, conversos de novo, super altare, idest super fidem Christi: vel tunc praelati maiores imponent praedicatores mugientes doctrina fidei super altare, idest super confessione fidei. Oblations are those who offer something and reserve something: and then the priests shall lay calves, that is, the newly converted, upon the altar, that is, upon the faith of Christ: or then the greater prelates will lay preachers groaning with instruction in faith upon the altar, that is, upon the confession of faith.
Tertia expositio est de caelesti Hierusalem; et est sensus: Tunc, scilicet quando aedificabuntur muri caelestis Hierusalem, acceptabis sacrificium iustitiae. Hic quandoque fit sacrificium poenitentiae; sed ibi est tantum laudis. Isa.60. “Populus tuus omnes iusti in perpetuum hereditabunt terram.” Et hoc est illud sacrificium laudis de quo Psal. 63. Beati qui habitant in domo tua, in saecula saeculorum laudabunt te. Et tunc oblationes, idest sanctos minores, et holocausta, idest sanctos maiores acceptabis. Et hoc offerent Angeli, quibus dicitur, Matth. 13. “Triticum autem congregate in horreum meum.” Et isti Angeli imponent sanctos super altare tuum, idest in gloriam caelestem. Apoc. 8. “Data sunt ei incensa multa, ut darent de orationibus sanctorum omnium super altare aureum.” Ps. 68. Placabit Deo super vitulum novellum cornua producentem, et ungulas. There is a third explanation about the heavenly Jerusalem; and the sense is: Then, namely when the walls of the heavenly Jerusalem shall be built up, shalt thou accept the sacrifice of justice. Here, whenever a sacrifice of penitence is made; but there there is so much of praise. Isaias 60. “Thy people shall be all just, they shall inherit the land for ever.” And this is that sacrifice of praise about which Psalm 63 speaks. Blessed are they that dwell in thy house, forever shall they praise thee. And then oblations, that is the lesser saints, and whole burnt offerings, that is, the greater saints you will accept. And this the Angels will offer, to whom it is said, Matth. 13. “But the wheat gather up into my barn.” And these Angels shall lay the saints upon thy altar, that is, into heavenly glory. Apoc. 8. “And there was given to him much incense, that he should offer of the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar.” Psalm 68. It shall Please God better than a young calf, that bringeth forth horns and hoofs.

© The Estate of Ed Redmond

The Aquinas Translation Project

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Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matt 5:13-19

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 26, 2012

Ver 13. “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.”

Chrys.: When He had delivered to His Apostles such sublime precepts, so much greater than the precepts of the Law, that they might not be dismayed and say, How shall we be able to fulfil these things? He sooths their fears by mingling praises with His instructions, saying, “Ye are the salt of the earth.” This shews them how necessary were these precepts for them. Not for your own salvation merely, or for a single nation, but for the whole world is this doctrine committed to you. It is not for you then to flatter and deal smoothly with men, but, on the contrary, to be rough and biting as salt is. When for thus offending men by reproving them ye are reviled, rejoice; for this is the proper effect of salt to be harsh and grating to the depraved palate. Thus the evil-speaking of others will bring you no inconvenience, but will rather be a testimony of your firmness.

Hilary: There may be here seen a propriety in our Lord’s language which may be gathered by considering the Apostle’s office, and the nature of salt. This, used as it is by men for almost every purpose, preserves from decay those bodies which are sprinkled with it; and in this, as well as in every sense of its flavour as a condiment, the parallel is most exact.

The Apostles are preachers of heavenly things, and thus, as it were, salters with eternity; rightly called “the salt of the earth,” as by the virtue of their teaching, they, as it were, salt and preserve bodies for eternity.

Remig.: Moreover, salt is changed into another kind of substance by three means, water, the heat of the sun, and the breath of the wind. Thus Apostolic men also were changed into spiritual regeneration by the water of baptism, the heat of love, and the breath of the Holy Spirit. That heavenly wisdom also, which the Apostles preached, dries  up the humours of carnal works, removes the foulness and putrefaction of evil conversation, kills the work of lustful thoughts, and also that worm of which it is said “their worm dieth not.” [Isa_66:24]

Remig.: The Apostles are “the salt of the earth,” that is, of worldly men who are called the earth, because they love this earth.

Jerome: Or, because by the Apostles the whole human race is seasoned.

Pseudo-Chrys.: A doctor when he is adorned with all the preceding virtues, then is like good salt, and his whole people are salted by seeing and hearing him.

Remig.: It should be known, that in the Old Testament no sacrifice was offered to God unless it were first sprinkled with salt, for none can present an acceptable sacrifice to God without the flavour of heavenly wisdom.

Hilary: And because man is ever liable to change, He therefore warns the Apostles, who have been entitled “the salt of the earth,” to continue steadfast in the might of the power committed to them, when He adds, “If the salt have lost its savour, wherewith shall it be salted?”

Jerome: That is, if the doctor have erred, by what other doctor shall he be corrected?

Aug., Serm. in Mont., i, 6: If you by whom the nations are to be salted shall lose the kingdom of heaven through fear of temporal persecution, who are they by whom your error shall be corrected? Another copy has, “If the salt have lost all sense,” shewing that they must be esteemed to have lost their sense, who either pursuing abundance, or fearing lack of temporal goods, lose those which are eternal, and which men can neither give nor take away.

Hilary: But if the doctors having become senseless, and having lost all the savour they once enjoyed, are unable to restore soundness to things corrupt, they are become useless; and “are thenceforth fit only to be cast out and trodden by men.”

Jerome: The illustration is taken from husbandry. Salt, though it be necessary for seasoning of meats and preserving flesh, has no further use. Indeed we read in Scripture of vanquished cities sown with salt by the victors, that nothing should thenceforth grow there.

Gloss. ap. Anselm: When then they who are the heads have fallen away, they are fit for no use but to be cast out from the office of teacher.Hilary: Or even cast out from the Church’s store rooms to be trodden under foot by those that walk.

Aug.: Not he that suffers persecution is trodden under foot of men, but he who through fear of persecution falls away. For we can tread only on what is below us; but he is no way below us, who however much he may suffer in the body, yet has his heart fixed in heaven.

Ver 14. “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.” 15  Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but upon a candlestick, that it may shine to all that are in the house.  16  So let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

Gloss: As the doctors by their good conversation are the salt with which the people is salted; so by their word of doctrine they are the light by which the ignorant are enlightened.

Pseudo-Chrys.: But to live well must go before to teach well; hence after He had called the Apostles “the salt,” He goes on to call them “the light of the world.”

Or, for that salt preserves a thing in its present state that it should not change for the worse, but that light brings it into a better state by enlightening it; therefore the Apostles were first called salt with respect to the Jews and that Christian body which had the knowledge of God, and which they keep in that knowledge; and now light with respect to the Gentiles whom they bring to the light of that knowledge.

Aug.: By the world here we must not understand heaven and earth, but the men who are in the world; or those who love the world for whose enlightenment the Apostles were sent.

Hilary: It is the nature of a light to emit its rays whithersoever it is carried about, and when brought into a house to dispel the darkness of that house. Thus the world, placed beyond the pale of the knowledge of God, was held in the darkness of ignorance, till the light of knowledge was brought to it by the Apostles, and thenceforward the knowledge of God shone bright, and from their small bodies, whithersoever they went about, light is ministered to the darkness.

Remig.: For as the sun sends forth his beams, so the Lord, the Sun of righteousness, sent forth his Apostles to dispel the night of the human race.

Chrys.: Mark how great His promise to them, men who were scarce known in their own country that the fame of them should reach to the ends of the earth. The persecutions which He had foretold, were not able to dim their light, yea they made it but more conspicuous.

Jerome: He instructs them what should be the boldness of their preaching, that as Apostles they should not be hidden through fear, like lamps under a corn-measure, but should stand forth with all confidence, and what they have heard in the secret chambers, that declare upon the house tops.

Chrys.: Thus shewing them that they ought to be careful of their own walk and conversation, seeing they were set in the eyes of all, like a city on a hill, or a lamp on a stand.

Pseudo-Chrys.: This city is the Church of which it is said, “Glorious things are spoken of thee, thou city of God.” [Psa_87:3] Its citizens are all the faithful, of whom the Apostle speaks, “Ye are fellow-citizens of the saints.” [Eph_2:19] It is built upon Christ the hill, of whom Daniel thus, “A stone hewed without hands” [Dan_2:34] became a great mountain.

Aug.: Or, the mountain is the great righteousness, which is signified by the mountain from which the Lord is now teaching.

Pseudo-Chrys.: “A city set on a hill cannot be hidden” though it would; the mountain which bears makes it to be seen of all men; so the Apostles and Priests who are founded on Christ cannot be hidden even though they would, because Christ makes them manifest.

Hilary: Or, the city signifies the flesh which He had taken on Him; because that in Him by this assumption of human nature, there was as it were a collection of the human race, and we by partaking in His flesh become inhabitants of that city. He cannot therefore be hid, because being set in the height of God’s power, He is offered to be contemplated of all men in admiration of his works.

Pseudo-Chrys.: How Christ manifests His saints, suffering them not to be hid, He shews by another comparison, adding, “Neither do men light a lamp to put it under a corn-measure,” but on a stand.

Chrys.: Or, in the illustration of the city, He signified His own power, by the lamp He exhorts the Apostles to preach with boldness; as though He said, ‘I indeed have lighted the lamp, but that it continue to burn will be your care, not for your own sakes only, but both for others who shall receive its light and for God’s glory.’

Pseudo-Chrys.: The lamp is the Divine word, of which it is said, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet.” [Psa_119:105] They who light this lamp are the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Aug.: With what meaning do we suppose the words, “to put it under a corn-measure,” were said? To express concealment simply, or that the “corn-measure” has a special signification? The putting the lamp under the corn-measure means the preferring bodily ease and enjoyment to the duty of preaching the Gospel, and hiding the light of good teaching under temporal gratification. The corn-measure aptly denotes the things of the body, whether because our reward shall be measured out to us, [2Co_5:10] as each one shall receive the things done in the body; or because worldly goods which pertain to the body come and go within a certain measure of time, which is signified by the corn-measure, whereas things eternal and spiritual are contained within no such limit.

He places his lamp upon a stand, who subdues his body to the ministry of the word, setting the preaching of the truth highest, and subjecting the body beneath it. For the body itself serves to make doctrine shine more clear, while the voice and other motions of the body in good works serve to recommend it to them that learn.

Pseudo-Chrys.: Or, men of the world may be figured in the “corn-measure” as these are empty above, but full beneath, so worldly men are foolish in spiritual things, but wise in earthly things, and therefore like a corn-measure they keep the word of God hid, whenever for any worldly cause he had not dared to proclaim the word openly, and the truth of the faith. The stand for the lamp is the Church which bears the word of life, and all ecclesiastical persons. [margin note: Phi_2:15]

Hilary: Or, the Lord likened the Synagogue to a corn-measure, which only receiving within itself such fruit as was raised; contained a certain measure of limited obedience.

Ambrose. non occ.: And therefore let none shut up his faith within the measure of the Law, but have recourse to the Church in which the grace of the sevenfold Spirit shines forth.

Bede, in Loc. quoad sens.: Or, Christ Himself has lighted this lamp, when He filled the earthen vessel of human nature with the fire of His Divinity, which He would not either hide from them that believe, nor put under a bushel that is shut up under the measure of the Law, or confine within the limits of any one oration. The lampstand is the Church, on which He set the lamp, when He affixed to our foreheads the faith of His incarnation.

Hilary: Or, the lamp, i.e. Christ Himself, is set on its stand when He was suspended on the Cross in His passion, to give light for ever to those that dwell in the Church; “to give light,” He says, “to all that are in the house.”

Aug.: For it is not absurd if any one will understand “the house” to be the Church.

Or, “the house” may be the world itself, according to what He said above, “Ye are the light of the world.”

Hilary: He instructs the Apostles to shine with such a light, that in the admiration of their work God may be praised, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works.”

Pseudo-Chrys.: That is, teaching with so pure a light, that men may not only hear your words, but see your works, that those whom as lamps ye have enlightened by the word, as salt ye may season by your example. For by those teachers who do as well as teach, God is magnified; for the discipline of the master is seen in the behavior of the family.

And therefore it follows, “and they shall glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

Aug., Serm. in Mont., i, 7: Had He only said, “That they may see your good works,” He would have seemed to have set up as an end to be sought the praised of men, which the hypocrites desire; but by adding, “and glorify your Father,” he teaches that we should not seek as an end to please men with our good works, but referring all to the glory of God, therefore seek to please men, that in that God may be glorified.

Hilary: He means not that we should seek glory of men, but that though we conceal it, our work may shine forth in honour of God to those among whom we live.

Ver 17. “Think not that I am come to destroy the Law, or the Prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.18. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.19. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

Gloss. ord.: Having now exhorted His hearers to undergo all things for righteousness’ sake, and also not to hide what they should receive, but to learn more for others’ sake, that they may teach others, He now goes on to tell them what they should teach, as though He had been asked, ‘What is this which you would not have hid, and for which you would have all things endured? Are you about to speak any thing beyond what is written in the Law and the Prophets;’ hence it is He says, “Think not that I am come to subvert the Law or the Prophets.”Pseudo-Chrys.: And that for two reasons. First, that by these words He might admonish His disciples, that as He fulfilled the Law, so they should strive to fulfil it. Secondly, because the Jews would falsely accuse them as subverting the Law, therefore he answers the calumny beforehand, but in such a manner as that He should not be thought to come simply to preach the Law as the Prophets had done.

Remig.: He here asserts two things; He denies that He was come to subvert the Law, and affirms that He was come to fulfil it.

Aug., Serm. in Mont., i, 8: In this last sentence again there is a double sense; to fulfil the Law, either by adding something which it had not, or by doing what it commands.

Chrys., Hom. 16: Christ then fulfilled the Prophets by accomplishing what was therein foretold concerning Himself – and the Law, first, by transgressing none of its precepts; secondly, by justifying by faith, which the Law could not do by the letter.

Aug., cont. Faust., 19, 7. et seq.: And lastly, because even for them who were under grace, it was hard in this mortal life to fulfil that of the Law, “Thou shalt not lust,” He being made a Priest by the sacrifice of His flesh, obtained for us this indulgence, even in this fulfilling the Law, that where through our infirmity we could not, we should be strengthened through His perfection, of whom as our head we all are members.

For so I think must be taken these words, “to fulfil” the Law, by adding to it, that is, such things as either contribute to the explanation of the old glosses, or to enable to keep them. For the Lord has shewed us that even a wicked motion of the thoughts to the wrong of a brother is to be accounted a kind of murder.

The Lord also teaches us, that it is better to keep near to the truth without swearing, than with a true oath to come near to blasphemy.

But how, ye Manichaeans, do you not receive the Law and the Prophets, seeing Christ here says, that He is come not to subvert but to fulfil them? To this the heretic Faustus replies [ed. note: Faustus was of Milevis in Africa and a Bishop and controversialist of the Manichees. He was a man of considerable abilities. Augustine was first his hearer, and in after years his opponent; and in his work against him he answers him seriatim. In this way the treatise of Faustus is preserved to us.], Whose testimony is there that Christ spoke this? That of Matthew.

How was it then that John does not give this saying, who was with Him in the mount, but only Matthew, who did not follow Jesus till after He had come down from the mount? To this Augustine replies, If none can speak truth concerning Christ, but who saw and heard Him, there is no one at this day who speaks truth concerning Him.

Why then could not Matthew hear from John’s mouth the truth as Christ had spoken, as well as we who are born so long after can speak the truth out of John’s book? In the same manner also it is, that not Matthew’s Gospel, but also these of Luke and Mark are received by us, and on no inferior authority. And, that the Lord Himself might have told Matthew the things He had done before He called him.

But speak out and say that you do not believe the Gospel, for they who believe nothing in the Gospel but what they wish to believe, believe themselves rather than the Gospel. To this Faustus rejoins, We will prove that this was not written by Matthew, but by some other hand, unknown, in his name. For below he says, “Jesus saw a man sitting at the toll-office, Matthew by name.” [Matt 9:9] Who writing of himself say, ‘saw a man,’ and not rather, ‘saw me?’ Augustine; Matthew does no more than John does, when he says, “Peter turning round saw that other disciple whom Jesus loved;” as it is well known that this is the common manner of Scripture writers, when writing their own actions.

Faustus again, But what say you to this, that the very assurance that He was not come to destroy the Law and the Prophets, was the direct way to rouse their suspicions that He was? For He had yet done nothing that could lead the Jews to think that this was His object. Augustine; This is a very weak objection, for we do not deny that to the Jews who had no understanding, Christ might have appeared as threatening the destruction of the Law and the Prophets.

Faustus; But what if the Law and the Prophets do not accept this fulfilment, according to that in Deuteronomy, “These commandments I give unto thee, thou shalt keep, thou shalt not add any thing to them, nor take away.” Augustine; Here Faustus does not understand what it is to fulfil the Law, when he supposes that it must be taken of adding words to it. The fulfilment of the Law is love, which the Lord hath given in sending His Holy Spirit. The Law is fulfilled either when the things there commanded are done, or when the things there prophesied come to pass.

Faustus; But in that we confess that Jesus was author of a New Testament, what else is it than to confess that He has done away with the Old? Augustine; In the Old Testament were figure of things to come, which, when the things themselves were brought in by Christ, ought to have been taken away, that in that very taking away the Law and the Prophets might be fulfilled wherein it was written that God gave a New Testament.

Faustus; Therefore if Christ did say this thing, He either said it with some other meaning, or He spoke falsely, (which God forbid,) or we must take the other alternative, He did not speak it at all. But that Jesus spoke falsely none will aver, therefore He either spoke it with another meaning, or He spake it not at all. For myself I am rescued from the necessity of this alternative by the Manichaean belief, which from the first taught me not to believe all those things which are read in Jesus’ name as having been spoken by Him; for that there be many tares which to corrupt the good seed some nightly sower has scattered up and down through nearly the whole of Scripture.

Augustine; Manichaeus taught an impious error, that you should receive only so much of the Gospel as does not conflict with your heresy, and not receive whatever does conflict with it. We have learned of the Apostle that religious caution, “Whoever preaches unto you another Gospel than that we have preached, let him be accursed.” [Gal 1:8] The Lord also has explained what the tares signify, not things false mixed with the true Scriptures, as you interpret, but men who are children of the wicked one.

Faustus; Should a Jew then enquire of you why you do not keep the precepts of the Law and the Prophets which Christ here declares He came not to destroy but to fulfil, you will be driven either to accept an empty superstition, or to repudiate this chapter as false, or to deny that you are Christ’s disciple.

Augustine; The Catholics are not in any difficulty on account of this chapter as though they did not observe the Law and the Prophets; for they do cherish love to God and their neighbour, “on which hang all the Law and the Prophets.” And whatever in the Law and the Prophets was foreshewn, whether in things done, in the celebration of sacramental rites, or in forms of speech, all these they know to be fulfilled in Christ and the Church. Wherefore we neither submit to a false superstition, nor reject the chapter, nor deny ourselves to be Christ’s disciples. He then who says, that unless Christ had destroyed the Law and the Prophets, the Mosaic rites would have continued along with the Christian ordinances, may further affirm, that unless Christ had destroyed the Law and the Prophets, He would yet be only promised as to be born, to suffer, to rise again. But inasmuch as He did not destroy, but rather fulfil them, His birth, passion, and resurrection, are now no more promised as things future, which were signified by the Sacraments of the Law; but He is preached as already born, crucified, and risen, which are signified by the Sacraments now celebrated by Christians.

It is clear then how great is the error of those who suppose, that when the signs or sacraments are changed, the things themselves are different, whereas the same things which the Prophetic ordinance had held forth as promises, the Evangelic ordinance points to as completed.

Faustus: Supposing these to be Christ’s genuine words, we should enquire what was His motive for speaking thus, whether to soften the blind hostility of the Jews, who when they saw their holy things trodden under foot by Him, would not have so much as given Him a hearing; or whether He really said them to instruct us, who of the Gentiles should believe, to submit to the yoke of the Law. If this last were not His design, then the first must have been; nor was there any deceit or fraud in such purpose.

For of laws there be three sorts. The first that of the Hebrews, called the “law of sin and death,” [Rom 8:2] by Paul; the second that of the Gentiles, which he calls the law of nature, saying, “By nature the Gentiles do the deeds of the law;” [Rom 2:14] the third, the law of  truth, which he means, “The law of the Spirit of life.” Also there are Prophets some of the Jews, such as are well known; others of the Gentiles as Paul speaks, “A prophet of their own hath said;” [Titus 1:12] and others of the truth of whom Jesus speaks, “I send unto you wise men and prophets.” [Matt 23:34]

Now had Jesus in the following part of this Sermon brought forward any of the Hebrew observances to shew how he had fulfilled them, no one would have doubted that it was of the Jewish Law and Prophets that He was now speaking; but when He brings forward in this way only those more ancient precepts, “Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not commit adultery,” which were promulged of old to Enoch, Seth, and the other righteous men, who does not see that He is here speaking of the Law and Prophets of truth? Wherever He has occasion to speak of any thing merely Jewish, He plucks it up by the very roots, giving precepts directly the contrary; for example, in the case of that precept, “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.”

Augustine; Which was the Law and which the Prophets, that Christ came “not to subvert but to fulfil,” is manifest, to wit, the Law given by Moses. And the distinction which Faustus draw between the precepts of the righteous men before Moses, and the Mosaic Law, affirming that Christ fulfilled that one but annulled the other, is not so. We affirm that the Law of Moses was both well suited to its temporary purpose, and was not now subverted, but fulfilled by Christ, as will be seen in each particular. This was not understood by those who continued in such obstinate error, that they compelled the Gentiles to Judaize – those heretics, I mean, who were called Nazarenes.

Pseudo-Chrys.: But since all things which should befall from the very beginning of the world to the end of it, were in type and figure foreshewn in the Law, that God may not be thought to be ignorant of any of those things that take place, He therefore here declares, that heaven and earth should not pass till all things thus foreshewn in the Law should have their actual accomplishment.

Remig.: “Amen” is a Hebrew word, and my be rendered in Latin, ‘vere,’ ‘fidenter,’ or ‘fiat;’ that is, ‘truly,’ ‘faithfully,’ or ‘so be it.’ The Lord uses it either because of the hardness of heart of those who were slow to believe, or to attract more particularly the attention of those that did believe.

Hilary: From the expression here used, “pass,” we may suppose that the constituting elements of heaven and earth shall not be annihilated. [ed. note: The text of Hil. has ‘maxima, ut arbitramur, elementa esse solvends.’]

Remig.: But shall abide in their essence, but “pass” through renewal.

Aug., Serm. in Mont. i, 8: By the words “one iota or one point shall not pass from the Law,” we must understand only a strong metaphor of completeness, drawn from the letters of writing, iota being the least of the letters, made with one stroke of the pen, and a point being a slight dot at the end of the same letter. The words there shew that the Law shall be completed to the very least matter.

Rabanus: He fitly mentions the Greek iota, and not the Hebrew job, because the iota stands in Greek for the number ten, and so there is an allusion to the Decalogue of which the Gospel is the point and perfection.

Pseudo-Chrys.: If even an honourable man blushes to be found in a falsehood, and a wise man lets not fall empty any word he has once spoken, how could it be that the words of heaven should fall to the ground empty? Hence He concludes, “Whoso shall break the least of these commandments, &c.” And, I suppose, the Lord goes on to reply Himself to the question, Which are the least commandments? Namely, these which I am now about to speak.

Chrys.: He speaks not this of the old laws, but of those which He was now going to enact, of which he says, “the least,” though they were all great. For as He so oft spoke humbly of Himself, so does He now speak humbly of His precepts.

Pseudo-Chrys.: Otherwise; the precepts of Moses are easy to obey; “Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not commit adultery.” The very greatness of the crime is a check upon the desire of committing it; therefore the reward of observance is small, the sin of transgression great.

But Christ’s precepts, “Thou shalt not be angry, Thou shalt not lust,” are hard to obey, and therefore in their reward they are great, in their transgression, ‘least.’ It is thus He speaks of these precepts of Christ, such as “Thou shalt not be angry, Thou shalt not lust,’ as ‘the least;’ and  they who commit these lesser sins, are the least in the kingdom of God; that is, he who has been angry and not sinned grievously is secure from the punishment of eternal damnation; yet he does not attain that glory which they attain who fulfil even these least.

Aug.: Or, the precepts of the Law are called ‘the least,’ as opposed to Christ’s precepts which are great. The least commandments are signified by the iota and the point. “He,” therefore, “who breaks them, and teaches men so,” that is, to do as he does, “shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven.” Hence we may perhaps conclude, that it is not true that there shall none be there except they be great.

Gloss. ord.: By ‘break,’ is meant, the not doing what one understands rightly, or the not understanding what one has corrupted, or the destroying the perfectness of Christ’s additions.

Chrys.: Or, when you hear the words, “least in the kingdom of heaven,” imagine nothing less than the punishment of hell. For He oft uses the word ‘kingdom,’ not only of the joys of heaven, but of the time of the resurrection, and of the terrible coming of Christ.

Greg., Hom. in Ev., 12, 1: Or, by the kingdom of heaven is to be understood the Church, in which that teacher who breaks a commandment is called least, because he whose life is despised, it remains that his preaching be also despised.

Hilary: Or, He calls the passion, and the cross, the least, which if one shall not confess openly, but be ashamed of them, he shall be least, that is, last, and as it were no man; but to him that confesses it He promises the great glory of a heavenly calling.

Jerome: This head is closely connected with the preceding. It is directed against the Pharisees, who, despising the commandments of God, set up traditions of their own, and means that their teaching the people would not avail themselves, if they destroyed the very least commandment in the Law.

We may take it in another sense. The learning of the master if joined with sin however small, loses him the highest place, nor does it avail any to teach righteousness, if he destroys it in his life. Perfect bliss is for him who fulfils in deed what he teaches in word.

Aug.: Otherwise; “he who breaks the least of these commandments,” that is, of Moses’ Law, “and teaches men so, shall be called the least; but he who shall do (these least), and so teach,” shall not indeed  be esteemed great, yet not so little as he who breaks them. That he should be great, he ought to do and to teach the things which Christ now teaches.

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Father Callan’s Commentary on 2 Timothy 4:1-8

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 26, 2012

This post includes Father Callan’s brief summary of 4:1-8, followed by his notes. Text in red are my additions.


A Summary of 2 Timothy 4:1-8~Now that the end is drawing near, the aged Apostle, feeling his days are numbered and his work is done, adjures Timothy incessantly to continue the labors of the ministry and to bear up under its trials, being prepared for the onslaughts of future false teachers. As for Paul himself, he is about to pour out his blood as a sacrifice for the cause; but he is ready and his reward is waiting for him. The just Judge will never fail him, nor anyone else who has lived and labored for the cause.

1. I charge thee, before God and Christ Jesus, who shall judge the living and the dead, by his coming and his kingdom:

St. Paul in verses 1-4 solemnly charges Timothy so much the more to preach the word of God as the wicked stray farther from the truth.

I charge thee, etc. Better, “I solemnly charge thee, etc.” The same solemn formula occurs again in 1 Tim 5:21 and 2 Tim 2:14.

The living and the dead. See commentary on 1 Thess 4:16-17.

His coming, in General Judgment to render to each one according to his works. The word “coming” is the Greek επιφανειαν (epiphaneian), whence our word “epiphany.” The same word was used earlier in the letter wherein St Paul began gearing up for the charge he is now giving: I give thanks to God, whom I serve from my forefathers, with a pure conscience, that without ceasing I have a remembrance of thee in my prayers, night and day. Desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy: Calling to mind that faith which is in thee unfeigned, which also dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois and in thy mother Eunice, and I am certain that in thee also. For which cause I admonish thee that thou stir up the grace of God which is in thee by the imposition of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear: but of power and of love and of sobriety. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but labour with the gospel, according to the power of God. Who hath delivered us and called us by his holy calling, not according to our own works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the times of the world: But is now made manifest by the illumination (επιφανειας = epiphaneius) of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath destroyed death and hath brought to light life and incorruption by the gospel. Wherein I am appointed a preacher and an apostle and teacher of the Gentiles. For which cause, I also suffer these things: but I am not ashamed. For I know whom I have believed and I am certain that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him, against that day. Hold the form of sound words which thou hast heard of me: in faith and in the love which is in Christ Jesus. Keep the good thing committed to thy trust by the Holy Ghost who dwelleth in us (2 Tim 1:3-14). The preaching of the Gospel is rooted God’s eternal purpose, inaugurated as a result of Christ’s first coming, and oriented towards his second.

His kingdom, which the good will be invited to share. The word “coming” and “kingdom” are accusatives of adjuration in Greek and form part of the Apostle’s oath. I.e., he is not writing that the living and the dead will be judged by his coming and kingdom, a possible implication of the English translation if due account isn’t taken of the comma, rather, “I charge you…by his coming and his kingdom.” See the various translations which place a conjunctive “and” after the subordinate clause “who shall judge the living and the dead”) immediately before the words “by his appearing”.

2. Preach the word: be instant in season and out of season: reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine.

Preach the word: be instant (επιστηθι) in season and out of season. One could almost translate: “Preach the word: take your stand (επιστηθι) in season and out of season.” The admonition St Paul gives here is in marked contrast to that of first century pagan moralists who cautioned that the call for right action should be seasonable only (i.e., at the right time). On this point see Father Benjamin Fiore’s THE PASTORAL EPISTLES.  The fact that Christians know they are in the end times and do not know when Christ will return to judge is what motivates Paul’s insistence here and, also, the knowledge that there shall be a time when they (people) will not endure sound doctrine but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers having itching ears: And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables (see below, verses 3-4). The Spirit had predicted that such people would come: Now the Spirit manifestly saith that in the last times some shall depart from (αποστησονται = “cease to stand upon”) the faith, giving heed to spirits of error and doctrines of devils (1 Tim 4:1). This is why Timothy is to be instant (επιστηθι = “take his stand”) in season and out of season.

The word, i.e., the Gospel message (Gal 6:6; Col 4:3). This Timothy is to proclaim incessantly, in order that all may hear it and have the opportunity to embrace its teachings. “Proclaim incessantly, in order that all may hear:” Father George T. Montague, in his Commentary on FIRST AND SECOND TIMOTHY, TITUS notes that the phrase “preach the word” might today give some people the impression that what St Paul has in mind are brief sermons preached occasionally in the assembly. The word “preach”, however, has very public overtones and implies a very public message meant to be announced from the rooftops (see Matt 10:27).  The idea that religion ought to be private is very foreign to the Scripture. A contrast is being drawn between the very public nature of the Gospel and the practices of the false teachers who “creep into houses” (2 Tim 3:6), “subvert whole houses” (Titus 1:11).

Preach…reprove…entreat…rebuke. What St Timothy is told to do here calls to mind what St Paul had said regarding the use of Scripture for the man of God: All scripture, inspired of God, is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice: That the man of God may be perfect, furnished to every good work (2 Tim 3:16-17).

In doctrine. Preaching without doctrine is of little value, since it lacks substance and leaves rebuke and exhortation without a reason and basis. The Greek word translated here as “doctrine” is διδαχή (didache). The word can denote both the act of instructing or the subject matter of the instruction.

3. For there shall be a time when they will not endure sound doctrine; but according to their own lusts they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears:

The reason is now given why Timothy must redouble his zeal; for during his own lifetime there will be persons who, following their own lusts and craving for novelties, will reject sound doctrine they will repudiate and turn away from the dogmas of the Church, and instead will seek out teachers whose doctrines appeal to the passions and lower appetites. In our own time this is precisely what is taking place. Multitudes are now ridiculing the very notion of dogfma as old-fashioned and out of date, and are running after those preachers who justify artificial birth-control, trial marriages, divorces, and similar disorders. In case you’re wondering, Father Callan wrote these words in 1922.

For there shall be a time (καιρος = kairos, an appointed, set, or proper time). As already indicated, this is what necessitates that St Timothy and all those commissioned to preach the Gospel take their stand in season (ευκαιρως = eukairos) and out of season (ακαιρως = akairos).

They will not endure ( have, hold, ανεξονται) sound ( healthy, υγιαινουσης) doctrine (instruction, learning, διδασκαλιας). The word translated here as “endure” could also be translated as “suffer”, suggesting a somewhat sarcastic statement: They will not suffer healthy learning. But the word ανεξονται appears only here in the pastorals, and St Paul uses a different word for suffering (see 2 Tim 3:11). The root of ανεξονται is ἔχω (“to have, hold or possess”).   This word is used several times in the Pastorals and its use in 2 Timothy is instructive inasmuch as it sometimes is applied to Gospel preachers and, sometimes to false teachers; thus establishing a contrast: Hold the form of sound words which thou hast heard of me: in faith and in the love which is in Christ Jesus (2 Tim 1:13). And their (i.e., false teachers’) talk takes hold like a canker (2 Tim 2:17). But the sure foundation of God standeth firm, having this seal: the Lord knoweth who are his; and let every one depart from iniquity who nameth the name of the Lord (2 Tim 2:19).  Having an appearance indeed of godliness but denying the power thereof. Now these avoid (2 Tim 3:5).

But according to their own lusts. Establishes the motivation for their not enduring sound, healthy doctrine. “Their own” indicates self-centered individualism and the whole phrase calls to mind those spoken of earlier: Know also this, that in the last days shall come dangerous times. Men shall be lovers of themselves, covetous, haughty, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, wicked, Without affection, without peace, slanderers, incontinent, unmerciful, without kindness, Traitors, stubborn, puffed up, and lovers of pleasure more than of God: Having an appearance indeed of godliness but denying the power thereof. Now these avoid (2 Tim 3:1-5). Note that those who reject the Gospel for their own esires are to be avoided (1 Cor 5:9-11; Matt 18:15-18).

They will heap to themselves (επισωρευσουσιν) teachers. It is people who are laden with (“piled up with” σεσωρευμενα) sins, who are led away with divers desires who do this (see 2 Tim 3:6).

Having itching ears, i.e., they will be eager for all kinds of novelties.

4. And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables.

They will turn away their hearing. Because of their “itching ears”. For “turning away” see 2 Tim 1:15; Titus 1:14.

Turned unto fable. For “turned unto” see 1 Tim 1:6; 5:15. In 1 Tim 6:20 St Paul warns St Timothy to avoid (literally, keep from turning to) novelties of words.

Fables. See on 1 Tim 1:4, 4:7. On 1 Tim 1:4 Father Callan wrote: “Fables were most probably Jewish legends (Titus 1:14), such as are frequently found in the Talmud; and genealogies were extravagant, legendary stories about the ancient patriarchs, such as we find in the Book of Jubilees. Speculation on these useless subjects would lead away from the great truths of faith and the practical realities of Christian life; and thus vast harm would be done to the Church and to souls”.

5. But be thou sober, labor in all things, suffer hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill thy ministry.

In the face of the difficulties just described, Timothy is to be prudent and well poised in all things, to endure hardship, to preach the Gospel, and faithfully to fulfill all his duties as a minister of Christ, entrusted with his master’s business.

Evangelists. Evangelist. See on Eph 4:11. In his notes on Eph 4:11 Father Callan wrote: Evangelists are not necessarily those only who wrote the Gospels, but missionaries and preachers of the word among strangers and infidels (John 21:15 ff.; Acts 21:8; 2 Tim 4:5; 1 Peter 2:25).

Ministry. See on 1 Tim 1:12. In his notes on 1 Tim 1:12 Father Callan wrote: “The Greek word for “ministry” here in the time of St. Paul meant the apostolate, whereas in the second century it had come to designate the order of deaconship. Hence we have in the use of the word here an argument for the early date of this letter. St. Paul would hardly be speaking of himself as having been called to the deaconship.” In Father Callan’s day some rationalist scholars were postulating a second century date for the Pastorals, a position now almost completely abandoned.

6. For I am even now ready to be sacrificed: and the time of my departure is at hand.

The secret of the Apostle’s anxiety about Timothy’s preparedness, zeal, readiness to suffer, etc., is now revealed; the old champion of the Gospel is going to leave him very soon, he is looking into his open grave.

Ready to be sacrificed. Better, “being poured out In sacrifice,” i.e., he was about to shed his blood as a sacrifice to God, as the drink-offering of wine used to be poured out as a libation to God in certain of the old Jewish sacrifices (Num 15:1-10); the Apostle’s death is at hand. Calls to mind what he wrote in Philippians 2:17~Even if I am to be poured as a libation upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all (RSV).

My departure. Another image to signify the imminence of his death. In Philippians 1:23 St Paul spoke of his desire to depart and be with Christ.

7. I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.
8. As to the rest, there is laid up for me a crown of justice, which the
Lord the just judge will render to me in that day; and not only to me, but to them also that love his coming.

The metaphors are here drawn from the arena and the racecourse. Like a strong athlete, the Apostle has fought the good fight in defence of the faith (1 Tim 6:12); like a faithful runner in the race, he has completed the course; he has fulfilled all his duties and preserved the deposit of faith entrusted to him. Now he is ready for the crown, the reward with which the Lord, his just Judge, will recompense him.

This reward is called “a crown of justice,” because it has been merited; it is something due the Apostle in justice. Here we have an explicit proof that the just, by means of good works performed in the state of grace, can merit eternal life de condigno. And yet it remains true that the joys of heaven are a gratuitous gift; for God from eternity has gratuitously predestined the just to life eternal, and in time He gratuitously confers on them the grace by which they work out their salvation and merit eternal rewards. Cf. Conc. Trid., sess. VI, can. 32.

In that day, i.e., on the day of the Last Judgment. Immediately after death the Apostle, as is the case with all the just, received his crown, but the crown of life will not shine in all its splendor till the final judgment is over, when the body will have its reward along with the soul.

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