The Divine Lamp

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Archive for May, 2013

Father Callan’s Commentary on Romans 9:6-13

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 30, 2013

IN SPITE OF JEWISH INCREDULITY GOD IS FAITHFUL TO HIS PROMISES; FOR EVEN IN THE OLD TESTAMENT ELECTION DEPENDED ON THE FREE CHOICE OF GOD

A Summary of Romans 9:6-13~Up to these verses in the present chapter the condition of Israel has been only indirectly stated in Paul’s wish that he might be anathema from Christ for his fellow-Jews, if that was possible. Strange as it may seem, in spite of all their privileges, in spite of the promise made to them, in spite of the fact that Christ took His human nature from among them, it is they who are anathema from Christ. And yet the designs of God cannot be frustrated, neither have they been; for, on the one hand, the designs of God are not restricted to a carnal descent, and on the other hand, some of the Jews have accepted the Gospel. If all the Jews have not embraced the faith, it is because they did not all receive an efficacious call. God, who even in the beginning of Jewish history, drew distinctions within the seed of Abraham, as in the case of Isaac’s children, Jacob and Esau, was not obliged to call all the Jews to the faith, nor of those called, to treat all in the same manner. God chooses men in accordance with His purposes, and this is the first explanation of Israel’s condition.

6. Not as though the word of God hath miscarried. For all are not Israelites that are of Israel:

While St. Paul found no difficulty in that the Law had been abrogated, he could in nowise admit that the word of God to Israel, i.e., the unconditional promise that Israel should be saved by the Messiah, could fail of its fulfillment. In this promise the veracity and fidelity of God were involved. Those who think the incredulity of the Jews has rendered vain the promise of God make the mistake, says the Apostle, of thinking that that promise was made to the carnal descendants of Abraham; they fail to distinguish between those who are Israelites according to the flesh (1 Cor 10:18) and those who are Israelites according to the spirit, the spiritual children of Abraham (Gal 6:16).

Israel, in place of Israelitae of the Vulgate, is more in conformity with the Greek. Hence also, “Israelites” would better be “Israel” in English.

7. Neither are all they that are the seed of Abraham, children; but in Isaac shall thy seed be called:

The thought of the preceding verse is more clearly developed. The Apostle says that not all who are carnally descended from Abraham shall be the inheritors of the promise, but only those who are descendants through Isaac, as Gen 21:12 clearly testifies.

Seed (σπερμα = sperma) in the first part of this verse means carnal descendants; in the second part it indicates the descendants that inherit the blessings of the promise. Ishmael was a type of the first; Isaac of the second.

Children (τεκνα = tekna), an endearing term, are those descendants of Abraham who are recognized by God as the legitimate heirs of the promises made to the Patriarchs.

8. That is to say, not they that are the children of the flesh, are the children of God; but they, that are the children of the promise, are accounted for the seed.

The preceding verse (7) is explained here.

Not . . . the children of the flesh, etc., i.e., they are not the children of God, and the consequent heirs of the promise, that are descended carnally from Abraham, as Ishmael was; but those are the heirs that, like Isaac, are the children of the promise; those, namely, who, being united to Christ through faith, have imitated the virtues of Abraham, and have thereby become his true descendants and the heirs of the promise (Gal 3:26). People do not become the children of God because of their natural origin, but only by God’s free choice in advance, as in the case of the election of Isaac. Isaac was called the child of promise (Gal 4:23, 29), because he was born of Abraham and Sara in their old age by virtue of the promise God made to them.

It is to be noted that the words of Genesis regarding Isaac in the preceding verse, as well as the quotations about Jacob and Esau in the verses that follow, have direct reference to temporal blessings; but the Apostle is here making use of them in their typical meaning. He wishes to say that just as God, of His own free choice, bestowed temporal blessings on Isaac in consequence of Isaac’s being the child of promise, rather than on Ishmael, who was descended from Abraham only in a carnal and natural way; so will He likewise bestow His spiritual blessings of grace and justification on those who are the children of Abraham by reason of their faith, rather than by reason of mere carnal descent. Faith, and not carnal descent, establishes the true relationship between Abraham and his children.

9. For this is the word of promise : According to this time will I come; and Sara shall have a son.

This verse explains how Isaac was the child of promise. When Abraham and Sara were old and could not naturally expect to have a child, God promised them through His angel (Gen 18:10-14) that in about a year’s time they would have a son. Isaac was therefore the result of a miracle, rather than a child of the flesh.

According to this time, i.e., in about one year.

10. And not only she. But when Rebecca also had conceived at once, of Isaac our father.

The Apostle gives a second example (Rom 9:10-13) which proves still more clearly the liberty of God’s elections, since there is question now of the same mother and her twins by the same father. She is not in the Greek, which reads: “Not only (this), but also Rebecca,” etc. The Apostle wishes to point out from the case of Rebecca (Gen 25:23) that God, in giving privileges and blessings to men, has no regard either for the conditions of their birth or for their personal merits. Thus we see that, of two sons, twins, conceived at once, i.e., at the same time by the same father and of the same mother, one was chosen, the other rejected by God before they saw the light of day (Rom 9:11). Hence it follows that the promise of God was not made to all the carnal descendants of Abraham, and so it is not to be wondered at that many Jews remain in their incredulity and do not have part in the promised blessings.

The ilia of the Vulgate should be omitted, according to the Greek.

11. For when the children were not yet born, nor had done any good or evil (that the purpose of God, according to election, might stand),
12. Not of works, but of him that calleth, it was said to her: The elder shall serve the younger.

In these verses the Apostle shows that God, guided solely by His gratuitous election, freely chooses people to do His will; and that, consequently, just as, irrespective of the personal merits of Jacob and Esau, He chose the former on whom to bestow all kinds of temporal blessings, and rejected the latter; so has He gratuitously decreed to bestow on the Gentiles, typified by Jacob, the spiritual blessings of justification and of the Gospel, and exclude the Jews, as a race, typified by Esau, from a participation in those blessings.

When the children were not yet born (11). The subject of γεννηθεντων (gennethenton) is evidently Jacob and Esau in the womb of their mother.

Nor had done any good, etc., i.e., before any chance of merit or demerit on their part, God preferred Jacob and made him the object of future blessings, in spite of the fact that Esau was the first-born, and as such would seem to enjoy some special rights to those blessings. But Esau, as a matter of fact, as if in fulfillment of the divine decree, sold his rights as firstborn to Jacob, and this latter obtained the blessing of his father Isaac and was made heir in place of his brother. The Edomites, the descendants of Esau, were consequently made subject to and were dominated by the Israelites, who were descended from Jacob (2 Sam 8:13). These words of the Apostle are a refutation of the Pelagian heresy which said that grace is given by God in view of antecedent merits.

That the purpose, etc., i.e., the eternal decree of God to reject Esau and call Jacob to the inheritance of temporal blessings.

According to election. This eternal decree of God has its reason not in the present or future merits of those who are called, but only in the free and gratuitous choice of God.

Not of works, etc., i.e., not out of regard for anyone’s works or merits, but solely of him that calleth, i.e., through the grace of God who calls.

The elder shall serve (12), etc. This reference is to Gen 25:23. When Rebecca felt the infants struggling in her womb, she sought an explanation of the incident from the Lord, and she was told that she “had two nations in her womb,” and that the elder, i.e., the descendants of the elder (the Edomites) would be subject to those of the younger, namely, the Israelites. This divine prediction was literally verified in the time of David (2 Sam 8:13). The mystical application of these words by St. Paul is evident.

Nearly all modern exegetes omit the parentheses of verse 11.

13. As it is written: Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.

Jacob I have loved, etc. Here St. Paul cites the Prophet Malach1:2 to show the reason why God chose Jacob rather than Esau. He freely loved the former and hated the latter, and this is the sole reason why He forechose and predestined the one for future blessings, and rejected the other. The words of Malachi, like those of Gen 25:23, refer both to the persons of Jacob and Esau and to the peoples that descended from them, i.e., to the Israelites who descended from Jacob, and to the Edomites who descended from Esau; and by quoting the Prophet’s words St. Paul shows that the actual course of history verified the statement made to Rebecca. Therefore, concludes the Apostle, just as the choice of Jacob was due solely to the love and freedom of God, so also is the call to the faith a free gift of God’s love, not dependent on conditions of birth or personal merits. This same freedom on the part of God explains why many of the Jews, although descendants of Jacob, are excluded from a participation in the blessings of the Messianic Kingdom. God chooses whom He will to carry out His purposes, and His plans do not fail because of the failure of individuals.

Esau I have hated. God loves all things that He makes, and consequently He loves all human beings, inasmuch as He confers on all some benefits of nature and of grace, but not in the sense that He confers on all the same measure of blessings. Accordingly God, in His eternal wisdom and justice, does not give to all the efficacious call to the faith and the reward of eternal life; He is thus said to hate those whom He excludes from the prize of eternal life, and to love in a special manner those on whom He confers it. These latter God predestines to glory, the former He reprobates. There is this vast difference, however, between predestination and reprobation that, while both are eternal and unchangeable in God, predestination implies on God’s part the preparation of merits in virtue of which glory is afterwards conferred; whereas reprobation does not suppose that God prearranged sins on account of which one is condemned to eternal punishment. Hence it follows that God’s foreknowledge of merits cannot be the cause of predestination, since merits are rather the consequence of predestination. But positive reprobation, on the contrary, which implies not only exclusion from glory, but the infliction of eternal pain, does not take place until after the permission and prevision of sins. God will punish the wicked for the sins which they themselves commit, in which He has no part; and He will reward the just on account of the merits which they possess, not alone of themselves, but through the help of His grace: “Destruction is thy own, O Israel: thy help is only in me” (Hosea 13:9) (Sales, Martini).

God, therefore, far from regulating His choice by the dispositions of persons, is guided rather by His own hidden purposes, and by His consequent personal sentiments of love or of hate; before the birth of the twins, He loved one and hated the other of His own free choice. This hatred of God, anterior to all foreseen demerits, has something awful about it, which Cornely feels forced to mitigate by softening the sense of εμισησα (emisesa “hated”) so as to mean “to love less” or “to neglect.” But whatever may be said of the texts cited (Gen 29:30-31; Luke 14:26; Deut. 21:15-17; Judges 14:16; Prov 14:20), the text of Malachi says plainly that God detested Esau, representing the Edomites, as His subsequent conduct toward that people proved. It would be necessary, therefore, in Cornely’s view, to suppose that St. Paul set aside the sense of the text of Malachi, either by eliminating all allusion to the history of the peoples represented by Esau and Jacob, or by distinguishing between the sentiments which God entertained toward these peoples, on the one hand, and their unborn ancestors, on the other—suppositions which cannot be sustained (cf. Lagrange, h. 1.).

Whichever view we take of εμισησα (emisesa “hated”) here, whether we say that God really hated Esau before he was born, or only that He neglected him, or loved him less than Jacob, we must remember that St. Paul is quoting Old Testament language,—language natural and familiar to the Jews, but essentially severe in its tone, and oftentimes shocking to ears attuned to the mildness and mercy of Christian words. Furthermore, in trying to understand the mysteries of divine election and reprobation it makes little difference in fact whether we say that God hates, or merely neglects or loves less the reprobate, since the final outcome is the same, whatever be the words used to unfold the mystery to our human and limited intelligences. In negative reprobation God simply does not choose the person or persons in question, and this for His own hidden reasons, although in time He gives them graces and means sufficient for their salvation.

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Father Callan’s Commentary on Romans 9:1-5

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 29, 2013

With this chapter begins the third section of the Dogmatic Part of this Epistle. In the preceding chapter the Apostle exposed his conception of the Christian life—the life of faith, animated by the Holy Ghost and destined for unfading glory in heaven. The Gospel is the power of God to everyone that believes, to the Jew first, and then to the Greek (Rom 1:16). But how is it, then, it may rightly be asked, that the great majority of the Jews have failed to embrace the Gospel and enter the Church of Christ? This is the problem which engages the Apostle’s attention in the present and in the two following chapters. The Jews were, indeed, the chosen people of God who gave the Redeemer to the world (Rom 9:1-5), and although they have, notwithstanding, been in the main excluded from a part in the Messiah’s redemption, still the divine promises have not failed in their regard (Rom 9:6-29); their rejection is due to their own culpableness, blindness and disobedience (Rom 9:30-x. 21); and even in this the mercy of God has been manifest, for a remnant has been saved already; the Gentiles have profited by Israel’s loss, and all the Jews will find mercy at the end (Rom 11:1-32). These profound reflections are a reason for praising the wisdom and knowledge of God’s inscrutable providence (Rom 11:33-36).

THE APOSTLE’S PROFOUND SORROW OVER THE STATE OF THE JEWS

A Summary of Romans 9:1-5~Following upon the exposition of a new system of justification by faith, the glorious life and outcome of which inspired the hymn of triumph that closed the preceding chapter, comes now an expression of sorrow the most profound. St. Paul explains to his Roman readers why his own people have been rejected by God, in spite of all their privileges, and incidentally why he himself turned from them to the Gentile world, in spite of his natural ardent love for them.

1. I speak the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost:

I speak the truthI lie not. These are strong ways, one positive and the other negative, of assuring his readers of the truth of what he is about to say. The Apostle avows that he is acting in union with Christ, conformably to his own conscience, of which the Holy Ghost is the interior principle. Cf. 1 Tim 2:7; 2 Cor 11:31; 2Cor 7:14; 2 Cor 12:6; Gal 1:20.

The before “truth” is not in the Greek.

2. That I have great sadness, and continual sorrow in my heart.

The fact of Israel’s having cut herself off from the Messianic blessings was a continual source of sorrow to St. Paul. Some of the Jews (Acts 21:21) considered the Apostle to be an enemy of their nation, but here he shows the truth and sincerity of his feelings toward them. Sadness expresses mental pain; sorrow is grief in general.

I wished, etc. Better, I could wish (ηυχομην, optarem), if it were possible. The Apostle knew this was not a serious hypothesis, and was expressing himself in the language of sentiment rather than according to cold reasoning (Lagrange); he was giving expression to an impracticable wish.

Anathema from Christ, i.e., to be separated from Christ so as to be deprived of Christianity and of the Messianic benefits. “Anathema” literally means a thing set up to be destroyed; it comes from two Greek words signifying to place apart. To the Jews it meant a person or thing cursed, and therefore fit for destruction (Lev 27:28-29; Deut 7:26; Josh 6:17). With St. Paul it meant cursed of God (Gal 1:89; 1 Cor 12:3; 1 Cor 16:22). According to Cornely, therefore, St. Paul meant to say that, for the sake of his brethren, the Jews, he was willing to be externally separated from Christ forever, and to be condemned to eternal torments, without ceasing, however, to be united to Christ through grace. But as there seems to be nothing in the context to suggest this distinction, and as there is not question of future time, but of the present (ειναι), we think it better to accept for this passage the explanation of Lagrange given above.

Optabam of the Vulgate would better be optarem.

4. Who are Israelites, to whom belongeth the adoption as of children, and the glory, and the testament, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises:

Here the Apostle enumerates the principal prerogatives of the Jews.

Israelites—a title of honor, comprehending all the privileges of the Jews, and given to them because they were descendants of Jacob, to whom God gave the name Israel (Gen 22:29).

The adoption, etc., by which the Israelites had been selected from among all others, to be the people of God (Exodus 4:22; Exodus 19:5; Deut 14:1),—which adoption, however, being only political, was merely a figure of, and therefore far inferior to that which the Christian enjoys through the grace of Christ.

The glory, i.e., the Shechinah, or sensible manifestation of the presence of God in the Tabernacle and in the Temple (Exodus 40:34; 1 Kings 8:10; Ezek 10:11; 2 Macc 1:18, etc.).

The testament. In Greek the plural is used, “the testaments,” i.e., the covenants ( αι διαθηκαι) that were made with Abraham ( Gen 15:18; Gen 17:2, etc.), with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Exodus 2:24), and with Moses and the whole people (Exodus 24:7 ff.).

The giving of the law, i.e., the Mosaic Law, which regulated the service; i.e., the worship of the true God in antiquity (cf. 2 Macc 6:23).

The promises made to Abraham, and especially those concerning the Messiah, which were contained in the numerous prophecies relative to the Redeemer (cf. Rom 4:13; Gal 3:16).

In the Vulgate testamentum should be plural, testamenta.

5. Whose are the fathers, and of whom is Christ, according to the flesh, who is over all things, God blessed for ever. Amen.

The dignity of the Jews because of their origin is now shown. Their ancestors were the fathers, i.e., the Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—men beloved of God above all others (Exodus 3:6; Deut 4:37; Acts 7:32).

Of whom is Christ. The greatest of all the dignities of the Jews consisted in the fact that Christ was to come from them, that they were to give the Messiah to the world.

According to the flesh, i.e., as regards the flesh (το κατα σαρκα, quantum attinet ad carnem), namely, according to His human nature.

Who is . . . God, i.e., this Christ, who was of Jewish origin according to His human nature, was also God, the Creator and Ruler over all things, and had, therefore, a divine nature, and hence is blessed for ever.

St. Thomas observes that in this verse four heresies are destroyed: (a) that of the Manicheans, who said that Christ had not a true, but only an apparent body; against which the Apostle here says that Christ was descended from the Jews according to the flesh; (b) that of Valentine who taught that the body of Jesus was not from the common mass of the human race, but had come from
heaven; whereas St. Paul here says that according to the flesh Christ was from the Jews; (c) that of Nestorius who held that the son of man was one person, the son of God another person in Christ; against which the Apostle asserts that the same person who was from the Jews according to the flesh was God, the Ruler of all things; (d) that of Arius, who said that Christ was less than the Father and created out of nothing; against which the Apostle insists that Christ was God over all things and that He is blessed forever: only God could be blessed forever.

Certain Rationalists (Julicher, Lipsius, Lochmann, etc.), in order to weaken this clear testimony of the Apostle regarding the Divinity of Christ, have said that a period should be placed after secundum carnem or after omnia, and that the remainder of the verse should be considered as a doxology in praise of God. This opinion, however, cannot be sustained,—(a) because it is opposed to the traditional reading, found in the vast majority of MSS. and in almost all versions; and (b) because it is opposed to the authority of the oldest Fathers, who made use of this very text to prove the Divinity of Christ. Cf. Cornely, h. 1.; Lagrange, h. 1. ; Revue Bib., 1903, pp. 550-57O.

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St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 110

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 29, 2013

ST AUGUSTINE’S NOTES ON PSALM 110

1. … This Psalm is one of those promises, surely and openly prophesying our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; so that we are utterly unable to doubt that Christ is announced in this Psalm, since we are now Christians, and believe the Gospel. For when our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ asked of the Jews, whose Son they alleged Christ to be, and they had replied, “the Son of David;” He at once replied to their answer, “How then doth David in spirit call Him Lord, saying, The Lord said unto My Lord?” etc. “If then,” He asked, “David in the spirit call Him Lord, how is He his son?” (Matt 22:42-45) With this verse this Psalm beginneth.

2. “The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou on My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool” (ver. 1). We ought, therefore, thoroughly to consider this question proposed to the Jews by the Lord, in the very commencement of the Psalm. For if what the Jews answered be asked of us, whether we confess or deny it; God forbid that we should deny it. If it be said to us, Is Christ the Son of David, or not? if we reply, No, we contradict the Gospel for the Gospel of St. Matthew thus beginneth, “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the Son of David” (Matt 1:1). The Evangelist declareth, that he is writing the book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the Son of David. The Jews, then, when questioned by Christ, whose Son they believed Christ to be, rightly answered, the Son of David. The Gospel agreeth with their answer. Not only the suspicion of the Jews, but the faith of Christians, doth declare this.… “If then David in the spirit called Him Lord, how is He his son?” The Jews were silent at this question: they found no further reply: yet they did not seek Him as the Lord, for they did not acknowledge Him to be Himself that Son of David. But let us, brethren, both believe and declare: for, “with the heart we believe unto righteousness: but with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Rom 10:10); let us believe, I say, and let us declare both the Son of David, and the Lord of David. Let us not be ashamed of the Son of David, lest we find the Lord of David angry with us.

3. … We know that Christ sitteth at the right hand of the Father, since His resurrection from the dead, and ascent into heaven. It is already done: we saw not it, but we have believed it: we have read it in the Scripture, have heard it preached, and hold it by faith. So that by the very circumstance that Christ was David’s Son, He became His Lord also. For That which was born of the seed of David was so honoured, that It was also the Lord of David. Thou wonderest at this, as if the same did not happen in human affairs. For if it should happen, that the son of any private person be made a king, will he not be his father’s lord? What is yet more wonderful may happen, not only that the son of a private person, by being made a king, may become his father’s lord; but that the son of a layman, by being made a Bishop, may become his father’s father. So that in this very circumstance, that Christ took upon Him the flesh, that He died in the flesh, that He rose again in the same flesh, that in the same He ascended into Heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of His Father, in this same flesh so honoured, so brightened, so changed into a heavenly garb, He is both David’s Son, and David’s Lord.…

4. Christ, therefore, sitteth at the right hand of God, the Son is on the right hand of the Father, hidden from us. Let us believe. Two things are here said: that God said, “Sit Thou on My right hand;” and added, “until I make Thy enemies Thy footstool;” that is, beneath Thy feet. Thou dost not see Christ sitting at the right hand of the Father: yet thou canst see this, how His enemies are made His footstool. While the latter is fulfilled openly, believe the former to be fulfilled secretly. What enemies are made His footstool? Those to whom imagining vain things it is said, “Why do the heathen so furiously rage together: and why do the people imagine a vain thing?” etc., (Ps 2:1) … He therefore sitteth at the right hand of God, till His enemies be placed beneath His feet. This is going on, this is taking place: although it is accomplished by degrees, it is going on without end. For though the heathen rage, will they, taking counsel together against Christ, prevent the fulfilment of these words: “I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the utmost parts of the earth for thy possession”?… “Their memorial is perished with a cry;” but, “The Lord shall endure for ever” (Ps 9:7): as another Psalm, but not another Spirit, saith.

5. And what followeth? “The Lord shall send the rod of Thy power out of Sion” (ver. 2). It appeareth, brethren, it most clearly appeareth, that the Prophet is not speaking of that kingdom of Christ, in which He reigneth for ever with His Father, Ruler of the things which are made through Him: for when doth not God the Word reign, who is in the beginning with God (Jn 1:1)? For it is said, “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever” (1 Tim 1:17). To what eternal King? To one invisible, incorruptible. For in this, that Christ is with the Father, invisible and incorruptible, because He is His Word, and His Power, and His Wisdom, and God with God, through whom all things were made; He is “King eternal;” but, nevertheless, that reign of temporal government, by which, through the mediation of His flesh, He called us into eternity, beginneth with Christians; but of His reign there shall be no end. His enemies therefore are made His footstool, while He is sitting on the right hand of His Father, as it is written; this is now going on, this will go on unto the end.…

6. When therefore He hath sent the rod of His power out of Sion: what shall happen? “Be Thou ruler, even in the midst among Thine enemies.” First, “Be Thou ruler in the midst of Thine enemies:” in the midst of the raging heathen. For shall He rule “in the midst of His enemies” at a later season, when the Saints have received their reward, and the ungodly their condemnation? And what wonder if He shall then rule, when the righteous reign with Him for ever, and the ungodly burn with eternal punishments? What wonder, if He shall then? Now “in the midst of Thine enemies,” now in this transition of ages, in this propagation and succession of human mortality, now while the torrent of time is gliding by, unto this is the rod of Thy power sent out of Sion, “that Thou mayest be Ruler in the midst of Thine enemies.” Rule Thou, rule among Pagans, Jews, heretics, false brethren. Rule Thou, rule, O Son of David, Lord of David, rule in the midst of Pagans, Jews, heretics, false brethren. “Be Thou Ruler in the midst of Thine enemies.” We understand not this verse aright, if we do not see that it is already going on.…

7. “With Thee the beginning on the day of Thy power” (ver. 3). What is this day of His power, when is there beginning with Him, or what beginning, or in what sense is there beginning with Him, since He is the Beginning?…

8. What meaneth, “With Thee is the beginning”? Suppose anything you please as the beginning. Of Christ Himself, it would rather have been said, Thou art the Beginning, than, With Thee is the beginning. For He answered to those who asked Him, “Who art Thou?” and said, “Even the same that I said unto you, the Beginning” (Jn 8:25); since His Father also is the Beginning, of whom is the only-begotten Son, in which Beginning was the Word, for the Word was with God. What then, if both the Father and the Son are the beginning, are there two beginnings? God forbid! For as the Father is God, and the Son is God, but the Father and the Son are not two Gods, but one God: so is the Father Beginning and the Son Beginning, but the Father and the Son are not two, but one Beginning. “With Thee is the beginning.” Then it shall appear in what sense the beginning is with Thee. Not that the beginning is not with Thee here also. For hast Thou not also said, “Behold, ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave Me alone; but I am not alone, because the Father is with Me” (Jn 16:32)? Here therefore also, the beginning is with Thee. For Thou hast said elsewhere also, “But the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth His works” (Jn 14:10). “With Thee is the beginning:” nor was the Father ever separated from Thee. But when the Beginning shall appear to be with Thee, then shall it be manifest unto all who are made like Thee; since they shall see Thee as Thou art (1 Jn 3:2); for Philip saw Thee here, and sought the Father (Jn 14:8). Then therefore shall be seen what now is believed: then shall “the beginning be with Thee” in the sight of the righteous, in the sight of saints; the ungodly being removed, that they may not see the brightness of the Lord.…

9. Explain of what power thou speakest. Because here also, as is said, His power is mentioned, when the rod of His power is sent forth out of Sion, that He may be Ruler in the midst of His enemies. Of what power speakest thou, “In the splendour of the saints”? “In the splendour,” he saith, “of the saints.” He speaketh of that power when the saints shall be in splendour; not when still carrying about their earthly flesh, and groaning in a mortal and corruptible body.…

10. But this is put off, this will be granted afterwards: what is there now? “From the womb I have begotten Thee, before the morning star.” What is here? If God hath a Son, hath He also a womb? Like fleshly bodies, He hath not; for He hath not a bosom either; yet it is said, “He who is in the bosom of the Father, hath declared Him” (Jn 1:18). But that which is the womb, is the bosom also: both bosom and womb are put for a secret place. What meaneth, “from the womb”? From what is secret, from what is hidden; from Myself, from My substance; this is the meaning of “from the womb;” for, “Who shall declare His generation” (Isa 53:8)? Let us then understand the Father saying unto the Son, “From My womb before the morning star have I brought Thee forth.” What then meaneth, “before the morning star”? The morning star is put for the stars, as if the Scripture signified the whole from a part, and from one conspicuous star all the stars. But how were those stars created? “That they may be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years” (Gen 1:14). … This expression also, “before the morning star,” is used both figuratively and literally, and was thus fulfilled. For the Lord was born at night from the womb of the Virgin Mary; the testimony of the shepherds doth assert this, who were “keeping watch over their flock” (Lk 2:7-8). So David: O Thou, my Lord, who sittest at the right hand of my Lord, whence art Thou my Son, except because, “From the womb before the morning star I have begotten Thee”?

11. And unto what art Thou born? “The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent: Thou art a Priest for ever after the order of Melchizedec” (ver. 4). For unto this wast Thou born from the womb before the morning star, that Thou mightest be a Priest for ever after the order of Melchizedec. For in that character in which He was born of the Father, God with God, coeternal with Him who begot Him, He is not a Priest; but He is a Priest on account of the flesh which He assumed, on account of the victim which He was to offer for us received from us. “The Lord,” then, “hath sworn.” What then meaneth, the Lord hath sworn? Doth the Lord, who forbiddeth men to swear (Matt 5:34), Himself swear? Or doth He possibly forbid man to swear chiefly on this account, that he may not fall into perjury, and for this reason the Lord may swear, since He cannot be for sworn. For man, who, through a habit of swearing, may slip into perjury, is rightly forbidden to swear: for he will be farther from perjury in proportion as he is far from swearing. For the man who sweareth, may swear truly or falsely: but he who sweareth not, cannot swear falsely; for he sweareth not at all. Why then should not the Lord swear, since the Lord’s oath is the seal of the promise? Let Him swear by all means. What then dost thou, when thou swearest? Thou callest God to witness: this is to swear, to call God to witness; and for this reason there must be anxiety, that thou mayest not call God to witness anything false. If therefore thou by an oath dost call God to witness, why then should not God also call Himself to witness with an oath? “I live, saith the Lord,” this is the Lord’s oath.… “The Lord sware,” then, that is, confirmed: “He will not repent,” He will not change. What? “Thou art a Priest for ever. “For ever,” for He will not repent. But Priest, in what sense? Will there be those victims, victims offered by the Patriarchs, altars of blood, and tabernacle, and those sacred emblems of the Old Covenant? God forbid! These things are already abolished; the temple being destroyed, that priesthood taken away, their victim and their sacrifice having alike disappeared, not even the Jews have these things. They see that the priesthood after the order of Aaron hath already perished, and they do not recognise the Priesthood after the order of Melchizedec. I speak unto believers. If catechumens understand not something, let them lay aside sloth, and hasten unto knowledge. It is not therefore needful for me to disclose mysteries here: let the Scriptures intimate to you what is the Priesthood after the order of Melchizedec.

12. “The Lord on Thy right hand” (ver. 5). The Lord had said, “Sit Thou on My right hand;” now the Lord is on His right hand, as if they changed seats.… That very Christ, the “Lord on Thy right hand,” unto whom Thou hast sworn, and it will not repent Thee: what doth He, Priest for evermore? What doth He, who is at the right hand of God, and intercedeth for us (Rom 8:34), like a priest entering into the inner places, and into the holy of holies, into the mysteries of heaven, He alone being without sin, and therefore easily purifying from sins (Heb 9:12, 14, 24). He therefore “on Thy right hand shall wound even kings in the day of His wrath.” What kings, dost thou ask? Hast thou forgotten? “The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers took counsel together against the Lord, and against His Anointed” (Ps 2:2). These kings He wounded by His glory, and by the weight of His Name made kings weak, so that they had not power to effect what they wished. For they strove again to blot out the Christian name from the earth, and could not; for “Whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken (Matt 21:44). Kings therefore fall on this “stone of offence,” and are therefore wounded, when they say, Who is Christ? I know not what Jew or what Galilean He may have been, who died, who was slain in such a manner! The stone is before thy feet, lying, so to speak, mean and humble: therefore by scorning thou dost stumble, by stumbling thou fallest, by falling thou art wounded.… “But on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder” (Lk 20:18). When therefore any one falleth upon it, it lieth as it were low; it then woundeth: but when it shall grind him to powder, then it will come from above. See how in these two words, it shall wound him and grind him to powder: he striketh upon it, and it shall come down upon him: are distinguished the two seasons, of the humiliation and the majesty of Christ, of hidden punishment and future judgment. He will not crush, when He cometh, that man whom He doth not wound when He lieth in a contemptible appearance.…

13. “He shall judge among the heathen: He shall fill up what hath fallen” (ver. 6). Whoever thou art who art obstinate against Christ, thou hast raised on high a tower that must fall. It is good that thou shouldest cast thyself down, become humble, throw thyself at the feet of Him who sitteth on the right hand of the Father, that in thee a ruin may be made to be built up. For if thou abidest in thy evil height, thou shalt be cast down when thou canst not be built up. For of such the Scripture saith in another passage: “Therefore shall He break down, and not build them up” (Ps 28:5). Beyond doubt he would not say this of some, unless there were some whom He broke down so as to build them up again. And this is going on at this time, while Christ is judging among the heathen in such a manner as to fill up what hath fallen. “He shall smite many heads over the earth.” Here upon the earth in this life He shall smite many heads. He maketh them humble instead of proud; and I dare to say, my brethren, that it is more profitable to walk here humbly with the head wounded, than with the head erect to fall into the judgment of eternal death. He will smite many heads when he causeth them to fall, but He will fill them up and build them up again.

14. “He shall drink of the brook in the way, therefore shall he lift up his head” (ver. 7). Let us consider Him drinking of the brook in the way: first of all, what is the brook? the onward flow of human mortality: for as a brook is gathered together by the rain, overflows, roars, runs, and by running runs down, that is, finishes its course; so is all this course of mortality. Men are born, they live, they die, and when some die others are born, and when they die others are born, they succeed, they flock together, they depart and will not remain. What is held fast here? what doth not run? what is not on its way to the abyss as if it was gathered together from rain? For as a river suddenly drawn together from rain from the drops of showers runneth into the sea, and is seen no more, nor was it seen before it was collected from the rain; so this hidden rain is collected together from hidden sources, and floweth on; at death again it travelleth where it is hidden: this intermediate state soundeth and passeth away. Of this brook He drinketh, He hath not disdained to drink of this brook; for to drink of this brook was to Him to be born and to die. What this brook hath, is birth and death; Christ assumed this, He was born, He died. “Therefore hath He lifted up His head;” that is, because He was humble, and “became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross: therefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a Name which is above every name; that at the Name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of things in Heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ the Lord is in the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:8-11).

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Father Rickaby’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 29, 2013

1Co 11:23  For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread,

I have received of the Lord. Evidently St. Paul means that a special instruction had been vouchsafed to him, beyond that which other Christians of his time had received concerning the Last Supper from the Apostles there present. Elsewhere he says: For neither did I receive it (the gospel) of man, nor did I learn it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ (Gal 1:12). Our Saviour Himself then, appearing after His Ascension to St. Paul, had deigned to instruct him in this and other mysteries. St. Paul was a seer of visions (1 Cor 15:8; 2 Cor 12:2-4; Acts 9:12; Acts 22:7; Acts 23:11; Acts 26:15).

This is the oldest record of the Last Supper. St. Luke 22:19-20, closely follows St. Paul, whose companion he was. St. Matthew 26:26-28, writes as an eye-witness; and St. Mark 14:22-24, records the story as he learnt it of another eye-witness, St. Peter.

1Co 11:24  And giving thanks, broke and said: Take ye and eat: This is my body, which shall be delivered for you. This do for the commemoration of me.

Giving thanks, ευχαριστησας, means the same thing as ευλογησας, which is translated blessing  (e.g., Mark 8:7). The two words are used as synonymous in 1 Cor 14:16, where ευλογης and ευχαριστια are translated bless and blessing. Again they are interchanged in Mark 14:22-23. And St. John 6:11, has ευχαριστησας where the other three evangelists (Matt 14:19; Mark 6:41; Luke 9:16) have ευλογησεν, of our Lord blessing the loaves and fishes.

Take ye and eat : this is my body which shall be delivered for you. To represent these words, all that we find in the three oldest manuscripts is, This is my body that is for you. The other Greek manuscripts read, This my body that is broken (i.e. given in food) for you. For the Hebrew phrase of breaking bread cf. Isaiah 58:1; Lam 4:4; Mark 8:19; Acts 2:46; Acts 20:11. Our present reading, given, or delivered, διδομενον, is found in Luke 22:19; while take ye and eat is in Matt 26:26. The variation then is unimportant.

1Co 11:25  In like manner also the chalice, after he had supped, saying: This chalice is the new testament in my blood. This do ye, as often as you shall drink, for the commemoration of me.

After he had supped (also in Luke 22:20). We may argue from these words, with St. Mark’s whilst they were eating (Mark 14:22), and St. Matthew’s while
they were at supper (Matt 26:26), that the institution of the Holy Eucharist took place when supper was in the main over, but they had not yet risen from table. The chalice used in the institution may have been the fourth cup of wine, that legally terminated the Jewish paschal supper.

The new testament in my blood, i.e. my blood of the new testament (Matt 26:28). For when every commandment of the law had been read by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, . . . and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, This is the blood of the testament, which God hath enjoined unto you (Heb 9:19; Exodus 24:8). With this sprinkling of the blood of oxen and goats, it was impossible that sins should be taken away (Heb 10:4). Nor again could the law take away sin (Rom 4; Rom 7; Gal 3). Sins are taken away, not by the real, living blood of goats and oxen, but by what that blood was a figure of, the real, living Blood of Christ, which He gave to His disciples to drink (Matt 26:27-28). In this was the new testament, in which God said: I will be merciful to their iniquities, and their sins I will remember no more (Heb 8:8; Heb 8:12; Jer 31:31-34).

This do for the commemoration of me. “If any one says that by the words, This do for the commemoration of me, Christ did not institute His Apostles priests, or did not ordain that they and other priests should offer His Body and Blood, let him be anathema” (Council of Trent, sess. 22, can. 2). This is one of the comparatively few texts, the sense of which has been dogmatically declared by the Church.

1Co 11:26  For as often as you shall eat this bread and drink the chalice, you shall shew the death of the Lord, until he come.

You shall eat, you shall show forth: better, you eat, you show forth (καταγγελλετε, you declare).

The eating and drinking here spoken of, being the completion of the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, is put for that celebration itself. Every time the Holy Eucharist is celebrated, every time Mass is said, the death of the Lord is shown forth by the separate consecration of the bread into His Body, and the wine into His Blood, which separate consecration is symbolical of the actual separation of that same Body and Blood, which was the actual death of that same Lord on Calvary.

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Sunday, June 2, 2013~Resources for Sunday Mass (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms)

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 28, 2013

This post contains resources (mostly biblical commentaries and notes) for both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite. A few updates will be made before Sunday.

SUNDAY, JUNE 2, 2013
ORDINARY FORM OF THE ROMAN RITE
SOLEMNITY OF THE MOST HOLY BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST

READINGS AND OFFICE:

  • Anglican Use Daily Office. ”Briefly, it is a provision for an “Anglican style” liturgy similar to the Book of Common Prayer as an ecclesiastically approved variant on the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church.” More info.

COMMENTARIES ON THE FIRST READING: Genesis 14:18-20.

COMMENTARIES ON THE RESPONSORIAL: Psalm 110:1 , 2 3, 4.

COMMENTARIES ON THE SECOND READING: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26.

COMMENTARIES ON THE GOSPEL READING: Luke 9:11b-17.

GENERAL RESOURCES:

  • The Bible Workshop. Links to relevant articles, gospel guide, suggestions for a lesson (i.e., homily).
  • Sacerdos. Gives theme of the readings, doctrinal message, suggested pastoral applications.

 

SUNDAY, JUNE 2:2013
EXTRAORDINARY FORM OF THE ROMAN RITE
DOMINICA II POST OCTAVAM PENTECOSTES~II. CLASSIS

MISSAL AND BREVIARY:

COMMENTARIES AND HOMILIES ON THE LESSON: 1 John 3:13-18.

COMMENTARIES AND HOMILIES ON THE GOSPEL: Luke 14:16-24.

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Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 28, 2013

1Co 11:23  For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread,
1Co 11:24  And giving thanks, broke and said: Take ye and eat: This is my body, which shall be delivered for you. This do for the commemoration of me.

That which also I delivered unto you. Not by writing, as I said before, but by word of mouth. This is one authority for the traditions which, orthodox divines teach, should be added to the written word of God.

That the Lord Jesus, the same night &c. Five actions of Christ are here described: (1.) He took bread; (2.) He gave thanks to the Father; (3.) He blessed the bread, as S. Matthew also says (Matt 26:26); (4.) He brake it; (5.) He gave it to His disciples, and in giving it, He said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” These are the words of one who gives as well as of one who consecrates.

Hence there is no foundation for the argument of Calvin, who says that all these words “took,” “blessed,” “broke,” “gave,” refer to bread only, and that therefore it was bread that the Apostles took and ate, not the body of Christ. My answer is that these words refer to the bread, not as it remained bread, but as it was changed into the body of Christ while being given, by the force of the words of consecration used by Christ. In the same way Christ might have said at Cana of Galilee, “Take, drink; this is wine,” if He had wished by these words to change the water into wine. So we are in the habit of saying, Herod imprisoned, slew, buried, or permitted to be buried, S. John, when what he buried was not what he imprisoned: he imprisoned a man; he buried a corpse. Like this, and consequently just as common, is this way of speaking about the Eucharist, which is used by the Evangelists and S. Paul.

Notice too from Christ’s words, “Take, for this is,” &c. that He seems to have taken one loaf, and in the act of consecration to have broken it into twelve parts, and to have given one part to each Apostle, and that each one seems to have received it into his hand. Hence the custom existed for a long time in the Church of giving the Eucharist into the hands of the faithful, as appears from Tertullian (de Spectac.), from Cyril of Jerusalem (Myst. Catech. 5), from S. Augustine (Serm. 44). Afterwards, however, it was put into the mouth to prevent accidents, and out of reverence.

This is My body. Heretics say that this is a figure of speech, a metonymy, or something of the sort, and that the meaning is, “This is a figure of My body,” “This represents My body.”

But that this is no mere figure of speech is evident (1.) from the emphasis on the word “This,” and from the words, “My body and My blood,” as well as from the whole sentence, which is so clearly expressed that it could not have been put more plainly. Add to this that the words were used on the last day of Christ’s life, at the time that He left His testament, instituted a new and everlasting covenant with His unlettered and beloved disciples, and also instituted this most sublime sacrament, at once a dogma and a Christian mystery, all which things men generally express as they ought to do in the clearest terms possible. Who can believe that the great wisdom and goodness of Christ would have given in His last words an inevitable occasion for false doctrine and never-ending idolatry?—which He surely did if these so clear words, “This is My body,” were meant to be understood merely as a figure of speech. If this is indeed true, then the whole Church, for the last 1500 years, has been living in the most grievous error and idolatry, and that too through Christ’s own words, which Luther thought so clear that he wrote to the men of Argentum: “If Carlstad could have persuaded me that in the sacrament there is nothing but bread and wine, he would have conferred a great kindness upon me; for so I should have been most utterly opposed to the Papacy. But I am held fast: there is no way of escape open; for the text of the Gospel is too apparent and too convincing, its force cannot well be evaded, much less can it be destroyed by words or glosses forged in some brain-sick head.” And Melancthon (ad. Fred. Myconium) says: “If you understand ‘My body’ to mean ‘a figure of My body,’ what difficulty is there that you will not be able to explain away? It will then be easy to transform the whole form of religion.” With Servetus, you will be able to say that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are but three names of the one God, not Three Persons; that Christ took flesh, but only in appearance; that He died and suffered, but only as a phantasm, as the Manichæans teach. In short, in this way who will not be able to say that the Gospel is the Gospel, Christ is Christ, God is God figuratively, and so come, as many do, to believe nothing at all? Observe how the Sacramentaries open here a door to atheism. Cardinal Hosius most truly prophesied that heretics would in course of time become atheists, and that the end of all heresy is atheism. When they fall away from Catholic truth into heresy, and find in that nothing fixed, or firm, or durable, what remains for them but to abjure their heretical opinions and believe nothing, and become that of which the Psalmist sings (Ps 14:1), “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God?” Would that we did not daily see the truth of this.

Again, not only Paul, but Matthew, Mark, and Luke record the institution in the same way and in the same words: “This is My body; this is My blood.” Not one, then, can say it is a figure of speech, or maintain that one explains the other where he is obscure. Erasmus was convinced by this argument, and replied to the attempts of Conrad Pellican to convert him to Zwinglianism: “I have always said that I could never bring my mind to believe that the true body of Christ was not in the Eucharist, especially when the writings of the Evangelists and S. Paul expressly speak of the body as given and of the blood as shed. . . . If you have persuaded yourself that in Holy Communion you receive nothing but bread and wine, I would rather under go all kinds of suffering, and be torn limb from limb, than profess what you do; nor will I suffer you to make me a supporter or associate of your doctrine; and so may it be my portion never to be separated from Christ. Amen.”

2. If in the Eucharist bread remains bread, then the figure of bread has succeeded to the figure of the lamb. Who is there that does not see that it is wrong to say that that can be? The lamb slain under the Old Law was a plainer representation of Christ suffering than the bread in the New Law. Again, the lamb would have been a poor type of the Eucharist if it is, as Calvin says, bread and nothing else. Any one would rather have the lamb, both for itself and as a figure of Christ, than the bread.

3. This is still more evident in the consecration of the cup. “This is My blood of the new testament, which is shed for you”—words which are clearest of all in S. Luke 22:20—”This is the chalice, the new testament in my blood, which shall be shed for you.” The relative in this verse undoubtedly refers to “cup.”  S. Luke, therefore, says that the cup, or the chalice of the blood of Christ, was poured out for us; therefore, in this chalice there was truly the blood of Christ, so that, when this chalice was drunk from, there was poured out, not wine, which was before consecration, and, as heretics say, remains after consecration also, but the blood of Christ, which was contained in it after consecration; for this is the meaning of “the cup of My blood which is poured out for you.” Otherwise it was a cup of wine, not of blood, that was poured out for us, and Christ would have redeemed us with a cup of wine, which is most absurd. This will still more plainly appear from the next verse. Nor can it be said, as Beza does, that the text is corrupt, for all copies and commentators read it as we do, and always have so read it.

4. All the Evangelists and S. Paul explain what “this body” means by adding, “which is given for you,” or, as S. Paul says, “which is broken for you.” But it was not the figure of the body, but the true body of Christ that was given and “broken for us;” therefore it was the true body of Christ that Christ gave to His Apostles. Moreover, S. Paul says: “Whosoever shall eat this bread . . . unworthily shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.” Therefore there is here really “the body and blood of the Lord,” and he who handles and takes it unworthily does it an injury.

In short, the Greek and Latin Fathers of all ages explain these words of consecration literally. This was how the Church understood them for 1050 years, till the time of Berengarius. He was the first who publicly taught the contrary, being a man untaught indeed, but ambitious of obtaining the name of a new teacher. For J. Scotus and Bertram, who, at an earlier date, held the same views as Berengarius, were but little known, and were at once refuted and silenced by Paschasius Radbert, and others. This opinion of Berengarius was at once opposed as a dogma that had seen light for the first time by Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury, Guidmund, Alger, and the whole Catholic Church. The error of Berengarius was condemned at a council held at Versailles, under Leo IX., and at another held at Tours, under Victor II., at which Berengarius was present, and being convicted, he at once abjured his heresy, but having relapsed, he was once more convicted in a Roman council of 113 bishops, under Nicholas II., and his books were burnt. Having again lapsed, he condemned his error in a third Roman council, under Gregory VII., and uttered the following confession of faith given by Thomas Wald. (de Sacram. vol. ii. c. 43): “I, Berengarius, believe with my heart and profess with my mouth that the bread and wine are charged into the true and real and lifegiving flesh and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that, after consecration, there is His true body which he took of the Virgin, and that there is the very blood which flowed from His side, not merely by way of sign, but in its natural properties, and in reality of substance.” Would that those who follow Berengarius now in his error would follow him also in his repentance. The heresy of Berengarius has been renewed in the present century by Andrew Carlstadt, who was at once opposed by Luther. Carlstadt was followed by Zwingli, he by Calvin; and yet there is no single article of faith which has such firm support of all the Fathers and of the whole Church as this of the reality of the body of Christ in the Eucharist.

The same truth has been defined in eight General Councils—the First and Second Nicene, the Roman under Nicholas II., the Lateran, those of Vienne, of Constance, Florence, and Trent, as well as by many provincial synods. If any one doubts this, let him read John Garetius, who gives in order the testimonies of the Fathers for sixteen centuries after Christ, and of the Councils of each century, who alike unanimously and clearly confess this truth. He also brings forward the profession of the same faith given by the Churches of Syria, Ethiopia, Armenia, and India. Let him read also Bellarmine (de Eucharistiâ), who gives and comments on the words of each. Whoever reads them will see that this has been the faith of the Church in all ages, so that Erasmus might well say to Louis Beer: “You will never persuade me that Christ, who is Truth and Love, would so long suffer His beloved bride to remain in so abominable an error as to worship a piece of bread instead of Himself.”

And here appears the art and ingenuity of Zwingli, Calvin, and their friends. They bring forward a new view of the Eucharist, and teach that in it there is not really the body of Christ, but merely a figure of the body. How do they prove it? From the Scriptures. Well, then, let the words be studied, let all the Evangelists be read, let Paul too be read, and let it be said whether they support them or us and the received teaching of the Church. What else do all clearly proclaim but a body, and that a body given for us? What else but blood shed for us? Where here is room for shadow, or figure, or type? But they say these words must be explained figuratively. Admit, then, that the words of Scripture, do not favour you, for you say that the mind of Scripture is to be ascertained elsewhere than from the words of Scripture. How, then, do you prove that these words ought to be explained figuratively? If they are ambiguous, whence is the exposition to be sought? Who is to end the strife save the Church, which is the pillar and ground of the truth handed down to her from the Fathers? What save the primitive authority of the Fathers, the tradition of our forefathers, and the consent of the first ages of the Church? We quote and allege the Fathers of every century, all our forefathers, the national and General Councils of each century: all take the words of Christ as they stand, and condemn the figurative interpretation. What remains, then, but to follow the plain words of Scripture, and the clear exposition of the Fathers and of the whole Church in all ages? And yet you obstinately adhere to your figurative explanation. What Scripture supports you—whose authority—what reason? You can only say that your heresy has so determined, and that you follow the trumpet of Luther. So I think, so I choose, so I will, so I determine: let my will do instead of reason. This is the only ground you have for all your beliefs.

Melancthon wrote far more truly and more soundly about this (de Ver. Corp. et Sang. Dom.): “If, relying on human reason, you deny that Christ is in the Eucharist, what will your conscience say in time of trial? What reason will it bring forward for departing from the doctrine received in the Church? Then will the words, ‘This is My body,’ be thunderbolts. What will your panic-stricken mind oppose to them? By what words of Scripture, by what promises of God will she fortify herself, and persuade herself that these words must necessarily be taken metaphorically, when the Word of God ought to be listened to before the judgment of reason?” At all events in the hour of death, and in that terrible day when we stand before the tribunal of Christ, to be examined of our life and faith, if Christ ask me, “Why didst thou believe that My body was in the Eucharist?” I can confidently answer, “I believed it, 0 Lord, because Thou saidst it, because Thou didst teach it me. Thou didst not explain Thy words as a figure, nor did I dare to explain them so. The Church took them in their simple meaning, and I took them as the Church did. I was persuaded that this faith and this reverence were due from me to Thy words and to Thy Church.”

If Christ ask the Calvinist, “Why didst thou wrest My words from their proper meaning into a figure of speech?” what answer will he make? “I thought that I must do so, for my reason could not understand how they could or ought to be true.”—”But,” He will reply, “which ought you to have listened to—your reason, which has human infirmity, or My word, which is all-powerful, than which nothing can be truer? Reason dictated to the Gentiles that to believe in Me as God, when born, suffering, and crucified, was folly. Yet you thought and believed that you should believe all this about Me, and you were persuaded of it from the words of Scripture only, which say this simply. Why, then, in this one article of the Eucharist did you presume to interpret what I expressly said, by the rule of your reason, according to the measure of your brain? Why did you not bow to the authoritative exposition of the Church of all ages? Why desire to be wiser than it?” What answer will he give—how excuse himself—whither turn? Let each one think earnestly of this ere it be too late, let him submit himself to God’s word and the Church with humble and loyal obedience, lest he be confounded in that day of the Lord, and receive his lot with the unbelievers in the lake of fire that burneth with fire and brimstone, lest he hear the words of thunder, “Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire.” Nor let him marvel at such a wonderful mystery in the Eucharist, when Christ, throughout His whole life, was wonderful for His mysteries (Isa 9:6) ; and when Isaiah also says of Him (Isa 45:15): “Verily thou art a hidden God, the God of Israel the saviour. .” If an angel should conceal himself under the form of the Host, he would be really there though hidden; you would see, touch, and taste bread only, not an angel; yet you would believe that an angel was hidden beneath it if an angel or a prophet had said so. Why, then, in like manner, do you not believe that Christ is concealed under the Host, when Christ Himself, who cannot lie, says so? For God, who is Almighty, can supernaturally give this mode of existence—spiritual, invisible, indivisible—to the body of Christ in the Eucharist. Let no one then faithlessly say: “How can Christ be in so small a Host?” Let him think that Christ is there, as an angel might be; let him not inquire as to the mode, but embrace instead the wonderful love of Christ, whose delights are with the sons of men, who went about to pass from the world to the Father; as S. John says (John 13:1), “having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end;” and of whom says the verse of S. Thomas—

“By birth their Fellow-man was He,
Their meat when sitting at the board;
He died their Ransomer to be;
He ever reigns, their great Reward.”

that by His love He might compel our love in return, that as often as we see and take our part in these mysteries we might think of Him as addressing us in the words: “So Christ gives Himself here wholly to thee; give, nay give again thyself wholly to Him.”

You will perhaps object that the Eucharist is called “bread and fruit of’ the vine,” i.e., wine, in S. John 6:57, S. Matt 26:29. I answer that in the account of the institution of the Eucharist it is called bread by no one, if it is elsewhere, and also that “bread” there denotes any kind of food. (See note on 10:17). So wine might signify any kind of drink, as being the common drink among the Jews, as it is now in Spain, Italy, France, and Germany.

But the better answer is that Christ applied the name “fruit of the vine,” not to what was in the Eucharistic chalice, but to that in the cup of the Passover Supper. For, as He said of the lamb (S. Luke 22:16), “I will not eat thereof until it be fulfilled in the Kingdom of God,” so of the cup of the lamb, “I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the Kingdom of God shall come.” For S. Luke plainly makes a distinction, not observed by S. Matthew and S. Mark, between the lamb and the cup of the Passover supper, and relates that Christ spoke of both before the Eucharist (Luke 22:17). Christ simply meant to say that He would not afterwards live with them, or take part in the common supper, as He had hitherto done, because He was going to His death, as Jerome, Theophylact and others say in their comments on the passage.

You may perhaps object, secondly, that the words, “This is My body” are a sacramental mode of speech, and are, therefore, typical and figurative.

But I deny that this follows; for this is a sacramental mode of speech, because, by these words, a true sacrament is worked, viz., because, under the species of bread and wine as the visible signs, there is present the very body of Christ. The words are not sacramental in the sense of being typical or figurative, for sacraments properly speaking signify what they contain and effect. For a sacrament is a visible sign of an invisible reality which it causes and effects, as, e.g., when we say, “I baptize thee,” i.e., “wash thee,” the meaning is not, “I give thee a sign or figure of washing,” but strictly, “By this sacrament I wash thy body, and by this I wash thy soul from the stains of thy sins.” So when we say, “I absolve thee,” “I confirm thee,” “I anoint thee,” there is signified, not a figurative but a real and proper absolution, confirmation, and anointing of the body and soul.

If Christ, therefore, when He said “body,” had meant “figure of My body,” He ought to have explained Himself, and said, “I am speaking, not only sacramentally, but figuratively,” otherwise He would have given to the Apostles and to the whole Church an evident occasion for the most grievous error. The conclusion then has no basis that Christ is in the Eucharist as in a sacrament, that is, figuratively or typically, as the commentary ascribed to S. Ambrose says, in which it is followed by some of the Fathers, and that therefore He is not really there, but only figuratively; the contrary should be inferred. Christ is not, therefore, there figuratively, but truly and properly; for a sacrament signifies what is really present, not what is falsely absent. As, then, the conclusion is valid that where there is smoke there is fire, because smoke is the sign of the presence of fire; and again this body breathes, therefore life is present in it, because breathing is a sign of life, so also it rightly follows that the body of Christ is in the Eucharist as in a Sacrament; therefore, He is really there, because the Sacrament and the sacramental species signify that they as the true sacraments of Christ’s body, truly contain it.

You will object perhaps, thirdly, that Christ said (S. John6:63): “It is the Spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing;” therefore the flesh of Christ is not present, and is not eaten in the Eucharist.

3. I answer that it cannot be said without impiety that the flesh of Christ, suffering and crucified for us, profits us nothing. Indeed, the very opposite of this is taught by Christ Himself throughout S. John 6:35-65. He says in so many words that His flesh greatly profits us. His meaning therefore is, as S. Cyril points out, (1.) that the flesh of Christ has not its quickening power in the Eucharist from itself, but from the Spirit, that is from the Godhead of the Word, to which it is hypostatically united. (2.) That this manducation, as S. Chrysostom says, of Christ’s flesh in the Eucharist is not carnal: that we do not press it with our teeth, as we might bull’s flesh, but that we eat it after a spiritual manner, one suited to the nature of spirit, viz., mysteriously sacramentally, invisibly. For you here eat the flesh of Christ in exactly the same way as you would feed on and appropriate the substance of an angel, if he lay concealed in the sacrament. The opposite of this was what was understood by the unspiritual people of Capernaum, and it is against them only that Christ says these words. Hence He proceeds to say: “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.” In other words, “They are spiritual, and must be understood spiritually: you will not eat My flesh in the carnal sense of being bloody, cut into pieces and chewed, but only in a spiritual way, as though it were a spirit couched invisibly and indivisibly beneath the Blessed Sacrament.” In the same way, “My words are life,” that is full of life, giving life to him that heareth, believeth, and eateth My flesh.

4. You will perhaps again urge that it seems impossible that Christ, being so great, should be in so small a Host and at so many different altars, and that it seems incredible that Christ should be there, subject to the chance of being eaten by mice or vomited, &c.

I reply to the first, “With God all things are possible.” Hence we say, “I believe in God the Father Almighty.” God can do more than a miserable man, nay, more than all the hosts of angels and men can conceive, else He would not be God. Moreover, faith transcends human capacity: these mysteries are matters for faith, not for reason. “Faith,” says S. Augustine (in Joan. Tract. 27 and 40), “is believing what you see not.” And S. Gregory (in Evang. Hom. xxvi.) says: “Faith has no merit where human reason supplies proof.” S. Thomas, therefore, well sings of this sacrament—

“Faith alone, though sight forsaketh,
Shows true hearts the mystery.”

Moreover, it can be shown by a similar case that it is not impossible for the body of Christ to be in so small a Host; for the body of Christ was born of the Virgin, i.e., came forth from her closed womb; He therefore penetrated the Virgin’s womb in such a way that when He was born He was in the same place as His mother’s womb was. Similarly, Christ rose from the closed sepulchre, and entered to His disciples when the doors were shut: He was therefore in the same place as the stone before the tomb and the door of the upper room.

Now I argue thus: If two whole bodies can be at once in the same place, e.g., Christ and the stone, so also two parts of the same body, e.g., the head and feet of Christ, can be in the same place, as, e.g., in the same Host. If two can be, then can three or four or five, or as many as God shall see fit to put in the same place. Christ says the same in S. Matt 19:24., in the words, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of heaven.” But God can absolutely draw a rich man to heaven, therefore He can make a camel go through the eye of a needle, and therefore the body of Christ through so small a Host.

Now, if two bodies can be in the same place, so, by parity of reasoning, the same body, viz., that of Christ, can be in difierent places and different Hosts; for both are of equal difficulty and of equal power.

We can show, thirdly, the possibility of this by another example; for God can make an angel, nay, an angel can make himself expand from filling a single point to fill a whole room; and on the other hand He can make a body that is spread through some extent of space contract to a single point. If He can do that, why not this, especially since He is Almighty? for both belong to the same order and present the same difficulty, nor does one involve more contradiction than the other.

Further, not only does God do this in the case of an angel, who is spirit and not body, but He does it also to bodies in the world of nature. For fire will rarefy and expand water to ten times its volume, nay, make it boil over and escape; and, again, cold can so condense this same water, when the heat of the fire is taken from it, as to contract it to its original volume. Why, then, cannot God, who infinitely surpasses the workings of nature, reduce the body of Christ, which is but of six feet, to the dimensions of a single Host, nay, of a single point? As God can increase anything indefinitely, so can He diminish it in the same way; for both the infinite power of God is requisite and sufficient.

Lastly, Christ compares Himself and His Gospel to a grain of mustard-seed (S. Matt 13:31), which, from being of small dimensions, attains great size by its inherent vigour, and spreads itself out into wide-spreading branches, and becomes a large tree. If God does this to a grain of mustard-seed by natural agencies, why can He not do the like in the Eucharist according to His promise?

2. As to the indignity offered to Christ, I reply that Christ suffers nothing: it is the species alone that are affected. For Christ is here after a mysterious and indivisible manner, as a spirit. As, then, an angel who should enter the Host, or as God, who is in reality in every body and every place, suffers nothing if the Host or the body containing Him is vomited, burnt, or broken, so neither does the body of Christ in the Eucharist suffer anything, because it is like to an angel. Erasmus (Praef. in lib. Algeri.) says: ”God, who, according to nature, is as truly in the sewers as the skies, cannot be hurt or defiled, nor can the glorified body of the Lord.” And again (ad Conrad Pellican) he says: “Up to the present, with all Christians I have adored in the Eucharist Christ, who suffered for me, nor do I yet see any reason why I should abandon my belief. N human reasons will ever have power to draw me away from the unanimous belief of the Christian world. Those few words, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earthy’ have more weight with me than all the arguments of Aristotle and the rest of the philosophers, by which they strive to show that the heavens and the earth had no beginning. So, too, here we have the words of God, “This is My body,
which is given for you,”  “This is My blood, which is shedfor you.”

I have dealt with these objections at some length, because of the importance of their subject, and because of the modern Protestant controversies, which, I observe, are causing some of our neighbours, and especially the Dutch, to swerve from the ancient orthodox faith, because of the supposed difficulty or incredibility of this article of the Eucharist, when, as a fact, there is no other article in Holy Scripture, the Fathers, or councils so firmly fixed as this is.

From what has been said, it appears (1.) that in the Eucharist the species of bread does not remain, but is transubstantiated into the body of Christ, as the wine is into His blood, as the Lateran Council lays down, and as the Church has always held. Consequently it also appears (2.) that the accidents only of the bread and wine remain without a subject, and (3.) that the body of Christ is present after the manner of a spiritual substance, invisible, indivisible, the whole in the whole and the whole in each part of the host, as is thought universally by theologians. Let us now weigh the meaning of the words of consecration.

This. This pronoun is not so much a substantive denoting an indefinite individual (as some think it to stand for “this thing,” or “what is contained under these species,” whether bread or the body of Christ) as it is an adjective signifying the same thing indeterminately, as “My body” signifies distinctly and by name. Similarly, when we say, “This is a servant,” “This is a man,” the word “this” merely points out the servant or the man in an indeterminate way. You will perhaps reply that when Christ said “this” it was not yet the body of Christ, and therefore the word cannot stand for it. I answer that, as this is a form of consecration, the words are not enuntiative but efficacious, and that, therefore, the word “this ” refers to that which is not yet, but which comes through the use of the formula, and will be there when that has been said.

Perhaps you will urge again: This efficacious form of words signifies, This is transubstantiated into My body: therefore this refers to the bread; for it is the bread alone that is so transubstantiated, I deny the major, viz., that transubstantiation is here signified primarily and directly. Primarily there is only signified that the body of Christ is made to be present in such a way that when the species is signified, so too is the body; it then follows secondarily, that the bread is transubstantiated and annihilated. Still, if you wish to explain “this is” indirectly, as meaning “This is transubstantiated into My body,” then I grant that it refers to the bread. It is no wonder if this pronoun stands for two different things, because the one proposition, “This is My body,” is of manifold meaning, efficacious, enuntiative, nay, efficacious in a twofold way.

But to clearly understand all this, take notice that if Christ had taken the species only of bread without the substance, and had then consecrated it, nay, if He had taken not even the species but had created it, as He consecrated, out of nothing, by saying, “This is My body,” then primarily He would have done just what He did when He took the bread and consecrated it and said, “This is My body.” Put in the two supposed cases He would not have transubstantiated anything, for no substance of bread would have been there before, nor would the pronoun “this” have referred to bread or any other substance, but only to the body of Christ, which would be simply produced; therefore in our last case, and in the actual consecration, there is not primarily signified transubstantiation, nor does “this” refer to the bread but to the body of Christ.

Similarly, when God created the heaven. He could have said, “This is heaven,” i.e., this is created and brought into being, and is heaven; “This is earth,” i.e., this is created, is produced, and at the same time, by these very words, the earth is; “This is Eve,” i.e., she is produced, and at the very instant that she comes into being she is Eve. In like manner, when it is said, “This is My body; this is My blood,” the meaning is, This is consecrated, produced, and becomes My body and blood, so that at the close of the consecration it is in fact My body and blood.

This form of consecration then, “This is My body,” seems, from what has been said, to signify properly and primarily, not the startingpoint, “viz., the change and annihilation of the bread, but the goal, viz., the production of the body and blood of Christ; and this is pointed to in the pronoun “this.” In other words: that which under the species of bread and wine is produced and comes into being, and when it comes into being exists, is My body and blood. Still, in a secondary sense, the form of words denotes the destruction of the starting-point, the bread, and its transubstantiation. For, as under these species the substance of bread and wine formerly existed, and as they have to give place to the body and blood of Christ, which are produced by virtue of the words of consecration, so the pronoun “this” refers to nothing else but the body and blood of Christ. Hence, since by these words it is signified that the body of Christ is produced, it is necessarily also signified that the bread is done away with and transubstantiated into the body.

The words of consecration are (1.) simply practical, and denote, “This is made My body;” (2.) enuntiative, denoting. This at the end of the consecration is My Body; (3.) conversive and transsubstantiative, and denote that “this” substance of bread contained under this species is changed into the body of Christ, in such a way that, when the consecration is finished, bread no longer remains, but has been changed into the body of Christ.

Is. (1.) We must notice that Christ does not seem to have said is, for the Hebrew and Aramaic do not use the verb substantive but understand it, nay, they do not possess the present tense. Consequently in Greek and Latin the verb is not of the essence of the form of consecration; still in practice it ought not to be omitted, and cannot be omitted without grievous sin, for the form of consecration would be ambiguous without it. (2.) The verb “is” is better supplied than “is made,” (a) because there is no change here from not being to being, as “is made” would imply, for the flesh of Christ existed before; (b) because “is” expresses the instantaneousness of the change, and includes what is and what was; (c) because the pronoun “this” properly points to what is, not to what is being made, for what is not yet cannot, strictly speaking, be seen and pointed to, yet it is afterwards said to be pointed to when it is shown to be coming into existence so as to be seen; (d) because “is” signifies the abiding, unchanging truth of this sacrament; (e) because, lastly, it is better to say, “Take eat: this is My body,” than, “This is being made My body.”

(3.) Notice again that Christ consecrated by the words, “This is My body,” and not when He blessed the bread. So priests now consecrate by them in imitation of Christ, as the Councils of Florence and Trent and all the Fathers lay down, in opposition to the Greeks. Hence these words are used by the priest (a) historically, as relating what Christ did; (b) personally, as imitating in consecrating the exact actions of Christ. Hence in consecrating and transubstantiating the priest puts on the person of Christ.

My Body.—1. Notice that “body” here signifies, not the whole man, but the flesh as distinguished from the soul, which flesh is here present by the force of the words alone. The soul and divinity are present, however, by concomitance, both with the body and the blood. So too by concomitance the blood is with the body under the species of bread, and the body in turn is with the blood under the species of wine. Cf. the Council of Trent.

2. Notice that Christ here instituted the sacrament of the Eucharist for all to partake of, and at the same time a sacrifice for the priests to offer to God. So the Church teaches, following Apostolical tradition, and so the Council of Trent lays down (sess. xxii, c. 1). This is the one sacrifice of the New Law, the antitype of all that were under the Old Law. Therefore this one sacrifice is at once Eucharistic, a sin-offering, a burnt-offering, and a peace-offering.

Which is broken for you. 1. According to Ambrose and Theophylact, the body of Christ is now being broken under the species, or by means of the species of bread, which are being broken and consumed, and so it is, as S. Luke has it, given to God, that is, sacrificed. All this is implied in the word “broken.” Formerly, in the sacrifice called the “mincha” when the bread was offered to God, it had to be broken, blessed, and eaten, as S. Thomas points out (iii. qu. 85, art. 3, ad. 3). Hence the Catholic confession of Berengarius, in which he recanted his error about the Eucharist, runs, that the body of Christ is in truth handled and broken by the hands of the priests, and pressed by the teeth of the faithful, viz., through the sacramental species of bread, which is handled, broken, and pressed. For this species is no longer that of bread, but of Christ’s body, which alone is the substance here under such species or accidents. Hence it is that, when this species is seen, touched, and named, it is the substance of the body of Christ that is seen, touched, and named, and nothing else, just as before consecration, by the same species was seen, touched, and named the substance of bread.

2. “Is broken” denotes, shall be shortly broken and immolated on the Cross. So Anselm. This breaking and immolation were not so much future as present, for the day of the Passover and Christ’s suffering had begun when Christ said these words. It was therefore a kind of prolonged present. It was, says Cajetan, to be broken with scourgings in its skin, nails in its hands and feet, and a spear in its side.

3. Bellarmine (de Missa, lib. i. c. 12) says: “In the Eucharist the body of Christ is broken, i.e., is divided and destroyed, viz., when under the distinct and different species of bread and wine. It is offered to God, taken, and consumed, to represent the suffering and death of Christ.” Hence S. Chrysostom says: “The breaking of the body in the sacrament is a symbol of the Passion, and of the body broken on the Cross.” Tropologically this breaking denotes mortification. Cf. S. Dionysius (Eccl Hier. c. iii.).

1Co 11:25  In like manner also the chalice, after he had supped, saying: This chalice is the new testament in my blood. This do ye, as often as you shall drink, for the commemoration of me.

In like manner also the chalice, after he had supped, saying: This chalice is the new testament in my blood. Notice (1.) that Christ, after He celebrated the typical supper of the Paschal lamb, and afterwards the common supper on  other meats, instituted the third, viz., the Eucharistic supper.

2. Notice that tlie heathen offer their sacrifices after a banquet, as giving thanks to God for their feast, and offered Him libations and sang His praises crowned with garlands. (Cf. Athen. lib. i. c. ix. and lib. xv. c. 20, also Virg. Æn. lib. viii., also Giraldus, de Diis Gentium.) The ancient ritual records of the Hebrews show that they did the same in the sacrifice of the Paschal lamb. When the supper was over, the head of the family took a piece of unleavened bread and broke it into as many parts as there were guests, and gave a piece to each, saying, “This is the bread of affliction which our fathers ate in the land of Egypt: whosoever hungers, let him come nigh and complete the Passover.” Then he would take a cup and bless it, saying, “Blessed art Thou, O Lord, who hast created the fruit of the vine,” &c. Then he would taste of it, and hand it on to the next, and he to his neighbour, and so on till it had made the round of the table.

Christ follows their customs in instituting the Eucharist, and He left it as His last farewell and testament, and to give us and His disciples a symbol and proof of His great love, and to replace the typical lamb by the verity of the Eucharist. And this is why Christ supped first and instituted the Eucharist last of all. Now, however, through reverence for so great a sacrament, the Eucharist, by Apostolic tradition, is always received fasting.

This chalice is the new testament in My blood. This is the authentic instrument, and as it were the paper on which the new testament has been written and sealed, i.e., the new covenant ratified, and the new promises of God confirmed, and My last will to give you an eternal inheritance, sealed, if only you will believe on Me and obey Me. It has been written, not in letters of ink, but in My blood, contained in this cup, just as a sheet of parchment contains the writing of the will.

You will perhaps object that SS. Matthew and Mark have: “This is the blood of the new testament.” Why, then, does S. Paul say, “This cup,” i.e., the blood contained in this cup, “is the testament?”

I answer that testament has a twofold meaning—(a) the last will of a testator, in which sense it is used by the two Evangelists, who speak of the blood in which the last will of Christ was confirmed; and (b) it signifies the writing or the instrument of tins last will. So S. Paul uses it here, and calls the blood itself the testament.

Notice (1.) that Christ is here alluding to the covenant of Moses between God and the people, ratified by the blood of victims, which in an allegory represented this covenant, ratified by the blood of Christ. Cf. Exodus 24. Notice (2.) that the ancients were wont to ratify their covenants with the blood of victims. Livy (lib. i.), speaking of the treaty drawn up between the Romans and Albans, says: “When the laws of the treaty had been agreed upon, the Fetial priest said, “‘The Roman people will not be the first to break them. If it shall at any time do so, by common consent and with hostile intent, then do thou, O Jupiter, on the same day strike the Roman people as I this day strike this boar. Strike them the harder as thy power is the greater.”  Then he killed the boar by a blow from a flint stone.” Cf. too Virg. (Æn. lib. viii.). This same custom was common also long before that amongst true worshippers of God. Hence (Gen 15:9-10, 17) the Lord ordered a bullock, a ram, and a she-goat to be sacrificed for a sign and confirmation of the covenant that He had made with Abraham, and He divided them in the midst. When this was done, a lamp representing God passed through between the pieces, typifying that so should he be divided who should break the covenant. Cf. Jeremiah 34:18. Hence Cyril (contra Julian, lib. x.). shows from Sophocles that this custom was observed in later times, when they went through the midst of a fire carrying a sword in their hands when they took an oath. Cf. also in this connection Exodus 24. The blood of the victims was here sprinkled, to signify that he who should break the covenant would in like manner pay with his own blood for his broken faith. But because it was between God and the people that the covenant was made, it was necessary for both God and the Israelites to divide the blood between them to be sprinkled with it; and since God is incorporeal, and so cannot be sprinkled with blood, the altar was sprinkled with the blood of the sacrifices in His stead.

In the same way Christ the Lord ratified the new covenant with His own blood, being the blood of a federal victim; especially because by His blood He won redemption, grace, and an inheritance for us, and all the other good things which He promised us in His covenant. Cf. Hebrews 9:15 et seq. He expressed this in the institution of the Eucharist when He said: “This cup is the new testament in My blood,” or as S. Matthew more clearly expresses it, “This is My blood of the new testament.” From this we may collect a strong argument against the Sacramentaries for the verity of the body of Christ; for if the old covenant was ratified in blood, as we see it was from Exodus 24:8, where we read, “This is the blood of the covenant which the Lord hath made with you,” so too is the new covenant ratified with actual blood, as we see from the words, “This is My blood of the new testament.” For here the old was a type cf the new and the real covenant, and it is certain that Christ here referred to it.

It may be said, Christ speaks of the blood of the new testament, not of the new covenant, as Moses does in Exodus 24, and therefore the two sprinklings are dissimilar. I answer that testament here has a twofold meaning: (a) specially for the last will of a testator, or his authentic instrument; and when his will is conditioned, his promise takes the form of an agreement or covenant. Even if his will be absolute, yet there is always involved a mutual obligation on the testator’s side to bequeath his goods, and on the side of the beneficiary to undertake the debts and burdens of the testator, and to carry out his wishes. But since a testament contains the last wishes of a man, and so makes, as it were, a closely binding agreement, the word has come to mean (b) any agreement, promise, or covenant, as S. Jerome says (in Malachi ii.), and Innocent (De Celeb. Miss. cap. cum Marth.), and S. Augustine (Locut. in. Genes. 94). This is proved to be the meaning in both Latin and Greek by Budæus.

Hence it is that Christ and S. Paul, following the Septuagint, mean by the “blood of the testament” the blood of the covenant, whether in its looser or stricter meaning; for testament here can be understood in both ways: (1.) the Eucharist gives us the blood of Christ as an earnest of our promised possession in heaven, or of the covenant entered into with us about it; (2.) this covenant was Christ’s last will, and is therefore a testament most important and most sure. Hence, too, the Apostle teaches us that Christ, the testator, sealed this testament with His blood. Cf. notes to Heb 8:10.

Do this, that I have just done—consecrate, offer as a sacrifice, take, distribute the Eucharist, as I have consecrated, offered, taken, and distributed it. Hence the Apostles were here ordained priests. So the Council of Trent says (sess. xxii. c. i), following the perpetual belief of the Church.

It may be objected that Christ did not say, “I have sacrificed: do you also sacrifice.” I answer 1, that neither did He say, “I have instituted the sacrament: do you celebrate it.” Nor did He say on the Cross, “I offer Myself as a sacrifice,” but He actually did so. So, too, this consecration was a real offering of sacrifice, inasmuch as by it, through a real transubstantiation, there was offered to the glory of God a most worthy victim, viz., the body of Christ under the species of an animal slain and dead, that is, a body separated from the blood as far as the act of consecration goes.

2. That the Eucharist is a sacrifice is also implied by the phrase “when He had supped.” In other words, after the sacrifice of the typical lamb, Christ instituted the true and blessed Eucharistic sacrifice which the lamb had foreshadowed. Since the Paschal lamb was a type of the Eucharist and was a sacrifice, as is agreed by all, it follows that the Eucharist is a sacrifice.

3. The word “testament” also implies the sacrifice of the Eucharist, for the blood by which covenants were ratified was the blood of victims. As then, when it is said in Exodus 24:8, “This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord hath made with you,” we understand the blood of the victims sacrificed, by which the old covenant was ratified; so when Christ said, “This is My blood of the new testament,” we must understand the blood of the sacrifice by which the new testament was ratified, and which was prefigured by the old covenant, and by the blood of the sacrifice. Lastly, in the Eucharist alone Christ is properly and perfectly the Priest after the order of Melchizedech; for on the cross (if the victim and its slaughter, the oblation and the effusion of the blood be considered) Christ was a Priest after the order of Aaron only, i.e.. His priesthood was like Aaron’s. So the Fathers lay down. See them quoted in Bellarmine (de Missd, lib. i. c. 6 and 12). This too is the voice and mind of the Church of all ages.

It may be said again that the Eucharist is a commemoration of the sacrifice on the Cross, and therefore it is not a sacrifice. I deny that this follows, for if so the ancient sacrifices would not be true sacrifices, although they prefigured the sacrifice of the Cross. Similarly, the Eucharist is a true sacrifice, though it is done in commemoration of the sacrifice of the Cross.

1Co 11:26  For as often as you shall eat this bread and drink the chalice, you shall shew the death of the Lord, until he come.

For as  often as you shall eat this bread, &c. Ye show it forth not only in word (as in the canon of the Mass are the words, “Wherefore we, mindful of Thy blessed Passion,” &c.), but better still in deed, both to yourselves and to the people. So Anselm, Theophylact, Ambrose.

Theophylact draws the moral lesson: “When you take the Eucharist you should feel Just as if you were with Christ on the evening of the Paschal feast and at supper with Him, lying by His side on the couch, and receiving from His own hands the sacred food; for that is the supper, and that is the death which we announce and show till His second advent.”

Take note that it is His death rather than the mighty deeds of His life that Christ bids us show. The reason is, that by His death the testament of Christ was completed, together with His last will, and our redemption, and the supreme love that He had for us, which caused Him to die for us. Of all these the Eucharist is the memorial.

S. Basil says tropologically (in Reg. Brev. 234): “We announce the Lord’s death when we die unto sin and live unto Christ, or wheti the world is crucified unto us and we unto the world.”

Lastly, S. Hippolytus (de Consumm. Mundi.) says, with S. Chrysostom and Theophylact, that the sacrifice and sacrament of the Eucharist will publicly last till the second coming of Christ and the coming of Anti-Christ, who will remove it, as Daniel foretold (12:11), and prevent it from being publicly celebrated at all events. S. Paul implies this when he says, :Until He come,” that is, till the glorious Lord come to judgment. Hence, as S. Thomas says, it appears that the celebration of the Eucharist will last to the end of the world.

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Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 28, 2013

This post begins with the Bishop’s brief analysis of the entire chapter (11), followed by his commentary on 11:23-26. Text in purple is the Bishop’s paraphrase of the scripture he is commenting on.

ANALYSIS OF 1 CORINTHIANS 11

The Apostle undertakes, in this chapter, the correction of three abusive practices, which prevailed at Corinth. The first was, the indecorous practice on the part of the Corinthian females of appearing in the churches with heads uncovered, while the men appeared with their heads covered. In order to combat this abuse, he shows the relation of inferiority and subjection which the woman holds towards the man; whence he infers the deordination of the man appearing with covered head, and the woman with head uncovered, and from other reasons of congruity, and finally, from the practice of the Church, he demonstrates the same (1–16).

The second regarded their conduct at the Agapes, celebrated immediately before Holy Communion. He reproves the Corinthians for their dissensions on such occasions. He taxes the rich with a want of consideration for the poor, when they assemble together; and in order to bring them to a sense of what they owed this divine banquet, he relates the history of the institution of the adorable Eucharist (16–26).

The third regarded the sacrilegious impiety of unworthy communion. He points out its enormity (27), its antidote (28), and in order to stimulate them to greater diligence in their preparation for this divine banquet, he again depicts the enormity of unworthy communion (29). He refers to instances of its punishment even among themselves (30). He shows the mode of avoiding these punishments (31), and again reverts to the subject of the Agapes.

1Co 11:23  For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread,

23. For I have received by revelation from the Lord himself immediately and directly (as, indeed, I have the entire Gospel, of which the doctrine of the Eucharist forms a prominent part), what I have already described to you by word of mouth touching this subject, viz., that the Lord Jesus, on the very night on which he was betrayed, took bread into his venerable and creative hands;

In order to point out the enormity of the sacrilegious communions, which were the great evils resulting from the excesses committed at the Agapes (see note), the Apostle repeats the loving history of the institution of the adorable Eucharist, which he had already, when among them, described orally, and to their forgetfulness of which, as well as of the sanctity of the mystery they were about to approach, their irreverences, their contempt of the entire church, their neglect of the poor, their excesses might be attributed. Note: The earliest Christians met in the houses of the more well-to-do among them in order to celebrate the Eucharist, for such houses were usually large enough to accommodate a sizable number of people. These meeting were usually held in the evenings, after the work day was through. Those who could, would often bring food to these gathering in order to share it with the poorer working people in a  meal preceding the Eucharist. For this reason the meals became known as Agape Meals (love feasts). It appears that some individuals and cliques began eating the food among themselves, not waiting for the arrival of the people dependent upon such meals. This lack of charity at thee meals showed a fundamental misunderstanding concerning the nature of the Eucharist, which became known as the Sacrament of Charity (see next paragraph).

“The same night on which he was betrayed.” This circumstance the Apostle mentions, in order to commend the excessive charity of Christ for us in this adorable institution, wherein our amiable Saviour poured forth all the riches of his Divine love for man (Council of Trent, SS. 13, ch. 2), and exhausted all the treasures of his infinite riches, all the inventions of wisdom, and all the efforts of infinite power.—(St. Augustine). Oh! how calculated is not the frequent consideration of the boundless love of our Blessed Jesus in the Sacrament of the altar—wherein he makes it his delight to remain with the children of men, even unto the end of the world, although the greater part of mankind are quite insensible to the incomprehensible prodigy of love, which he there never fails to exhibit—wherein he is prodigal of himself, to an extent that the mind of man could not fathom, and faith alone could believe—to draw us, to force us to love this disinterested lover who first loved us. What is the gift bestowed? On whom is it bestowed? How long is it to last? When was it given? Why was it given? At how great a sacrifice was it given? Shall not the consideration of these and the other circumstances of this Divine institution, force us to love our Lord Jesus in the Holy Eucharist!

1Co 11:24  And giving thanks, broke and said: Take ye and eat: This is my body, which shall be delivered for you. This do for the commemoration of me.

24. And giving thanks, broke and said: Take ye and eat, this is my body which shall be delivered for you. What I have now done, do you and your successors also to the end of time, in commemorat on of my bitter passion and death.

“And giving thanks.” These words express the act of returning thanks to his Heavenly Father, as well for his great benefit, which he had long pre-ordained, and which he is now immediately about to give, as for all his other blessings bestowed on mankind. The Evangelists add, in the history of the institution of the Eucharist—“he blessed”—the object of which benediction was, to implore upon the bread which he was about to consecrate, the Divine beneficence. In the Canon of the Mass, wherein the whole action is minutely and circumstantially detailed, are added the words, elevatis oculis in cœlum (He lifted his eyes to heaven), which he is presumed to have done on this as well as on the other occasions when he performed miracles; he did so in multiplying the bread (Matt 14), and in raising Lazarus from the grave (John 11).

“Broke.” According to some Expositors, he did this before consecration. These say, there was a two-fold breaking, the one referred to here, the other in the words, “this is my body which shall be delivered for you,” or, as in the Greek, which is broken for you, very expressive of his immolation and subjection to great tortures on the altar of the Cross. It seems, however, more probable that only one breaking took place, viz., that which occurred at the consecration, and of which the Apostle only gives a summary account, neglecting the order in which things took place.

“This is my body, which shall be delivered for you.” In Greek, τὁ ὑπερ ὑμῶν κλωμενον, which is broken for you, of course in the external species or appearances. The words, “which is broken,” although in the present tense, are used for a proximate future; they have a pregnans significatio, equivalent to “broken and given.” It corresponds with διδομενον (“which is given”), in St. Luke (22:19). Hence, it is well expressed by the Vulgate, tradetur. The word, κλωμενον, is wanting in the Vatican and Alexandrian MSS. From these words is derived a most solid and unanswerable proof of the real presence of the body and blood of our Lord in the blessed Sacrament.—(Concil. Trid. SS. xiii. c. 1). The words must have been understood in their plain, literal sense by the Apostles at the Last Supper; for, the Redeemer gave them no clue, that we are aware of, for understanding them, figuratively. On the contrary, the words of promise, which they had heard a year before (John, 6), and of which the fulfilment was deferred to the present moment, should have made them expect, that he would leave them his real body and blood, which it is clear, from the offence his words caused them, they understood him to promise.—(John, 6:62, &c.) Hence, our Blessed Redeemer could not have employed figurative language on this occasion, unless he had forewarned his Apostles, that he intended doing so; since, according to all the acknowledged laws of language, the man would be guilty of a he, who would employ language, in a figurative sense, which he knew his hearers were prepared to understand, literally. Now, the Apostles could be prepared to understand our Redeemer’s words, in the literal sense only: and his words, therefore, could be uttered in that sense only by our Divine Reedeemer. Taken literally, they clearly enunciate, and, therefore, prove the real presence. “Which shall be delivered for you;” according to this reading, adopted by the Vulgate, reference is made in these words to our Redeemer’s death upon the cross. If we follow the Greek reading, which is broken for you, the words express the present breaking of his body under the appearance or species of bread; and this breaking, which affects only the species, is referred to the substance contained under them, viz., the body and blood of Christ.

“This do for a commemoration of me,” i.e., in commemoration of his death and passion (as in verse 24). It is to be observed, that the three Evangelists (Matthew, chap. 26.; Mark, 14.; Luke, 22), and St. Paul here, give the same precise words in the consecration of the bread, “THIS IS MY BODY;” to which St. Luke adds, “which is given for you,” and St. Paul here, “which shall be delivered for you.”

1Co 11:25  In like manner also the chalice, after he had supped, saying: This chalice is the new testament in my blood. This do ye, as often as you shall drink, for the commemoration of me.

25. In like manner, after having first partaken of the Paschal supper, and also of the ordinary Jewish supper, he took the chalice, saying, this chalice, i.e., the contents of this chalice, is the authentic instrument of the New Testament, sealed and sanctioned in my blood, or, the thing contained in this chalice of my blood, it is, that ratifies and confirms the New Testament. As often as you shall drink of this, do it in commemoration of me.

“After he had supped.” These words are added in the account given by St. Paul of the consecration of the chalice; because, as is clear from the history of the Last Supper by St. Luke (22:17–20), there were two different chalices used on the occasion; one, the cup employed by the Jewish householder, before the Paschal supper; the other, the Eucharistic chalice, which is not to be confounded with the former—for, it was only after the Paschal Supper, and after the Jewish common supper also, that the Eucharistic chalice was consecrated. It is to be borne in mind, that it was only after the Paschal and the Jewish common suppers, which were used on the occasion of the Pasch (for the Jews had two suppers on this occasion, the Paschal and the common one), the bread also was transubstantiated; but this circumstance is omitted by the Apostle when describing the consecration of the bread; because, no confusion would result from such omission; whereas, if omitted in the history of the consecration of the cup, this Euchariastic cup might be confounded with that used at the common supper.

“This chalice,” the container for the thing contained.

“Is the new testament.” It is a “testament,” being the instrument through which a dying testator bequeathes a gift.

“New,” in opposition to the old, given by Moses; and, moreover, it conveys new blessings of a more exalted and spiritual character.

The form of the consecration of the chalice left us by St. Paul and St. Luke, is perfectly the same; “this chalice is the new testament in my blood,” to which St. Luke adds, τό ὑπερ ὑμῶν εκχυνομενον, “which shall be shed for you,” (chap. 22 verse 20). The form recorded by St. Matthew, which is the same as that of St. Mark, is somewhat different from that employed here by St. Paul and by St. Luke. In Matthew and Mark, the form is, “this is my blood of the new testament which shall be shed for many,” to which is added in St. Matthew, “unto the remission of sin.” The meaning of which is, that the new covenant of God with man, promising grace here and glory hereafter, on certain conditions, is ratified and sanctioned by the blood contained in the chalice; for it was by the effusion of the blood of Christ that these blessings were secured to man. The form here employed by St. Paul, and by St. Luke, “this chalice is the new testament,” &c., is reconciled by Piconio and A’Lapide with the form used by St. Matthew, “this is my blood of the new testament,” &c., in this way: they attach a different meaning to “testament,” in both cases. With St. Matthew, it means, the will itself. Here, according to them, it means the authentic instrument or copy of that will. Estius gives the word, “testament,” the same precise signification in both cases; he says, that the form here used by St. Paul means precisely the same thing with the form of St. Matthew. This chalice, or what is contained in this chalice of my blood, it is, that ratifies and confirms the new testament. Estius transposes the words, “in my blood,” as they are found in the form used here by St. Paul, and joins them with the word “chalice,” “this chalice in my blood,” which, according to him, means the same as “this chalice of my blood;” and he appears to insinuate that the difference of case “in my blood,” for, “of my blood,” is owing to some idiomatic peculiarity of language. This exposition has the advantage of giving the words used on this solemn occasion, the same fixed and definite meaning.

From this is clearly proved that the real blood of Christ was there; for, it was real blood that was shed in the testament of Moses, to which these words are allusive, and it would be perfectly unmeaning to suppose that the type was dedicated in real blood, and the antitype, only in the figure of blood.

“This do ye, as often as you shall drink,” &c. It is the doctrine of the Council of Trent (SS. xxii. chap. 1, de Missæ Sacrif.) that, at the institution of the adorable Eucharist, our Redeemer constituted his Apostles priests of the new testament, and commanded them and their successors in the priesthood to offer up (his body and blood), under the symbols or appearances of bread and wine, when he uttered the words, “Do this in commemoration of me.”

The precept conveyed in this and the preceding verses, by no means implies that the faithful are bound to receive communion under both kinds. For, our Redeemer directly addresses his priests, and commands them to offer sacrifice; to do, what he has done, to the end of time, in commemoration of his bitter death and passion. The only precept indirectly, or, rather, by correlative obligation binding on the faithful, is, to receive the Eucharist from the hands of their pastors, and in receiving it, to commemorate the death of Christ. But there is no command imposed on them to receive it under two kinds. Nay, the very conditional form in which our Redeemer speaks, when referring to the chalice, “this is ye as often as you shall drink.” &c., would imply the contrary; for why employ a condition if it were absolutely imperative? The command goes no farther in reference to the faithful, than to commemorate the death of Christ, when approaching to Holy Communion, and this may be done even under one kind. No doubt, Holy Communion was given in the early ages under both kinds; but, this was only a matter of discipline which might vary, but not of precept, which it was not in the power of the Church to change. She, for wise reasons, changed the discipline of former ages, and now allows Communion to be given to the faithful under one kind only. The precept of receiving under both kinds, only regarded the priests offering sacrifice, and the sacrifice most perfectly “shewed” forth the death of Christ, under the two distinct kinds.

1Co 11:26  For as often as you shall eat this bread and drink the chalice, you shall shew the death of the Lord, until he come.

26. As often, then, as you shall partake of this bread (transubstantiated into the body), and drink the chalice (changed into the blood of Christ), you shall announce the death of the Lord until he comes to judge the world.

In this verse, the Apostle explains the precept included in the institution of the Eucharist, as regarded the faithful, viz., that as often as they partook of the body and blood of Christ, they should announce his death, until he comes to judge the world. The Eucharist, therefore, is to continue till the end of time. “And drink the chalice,” the common Greek has, ποτηριον τουτο, this chalice, but, this, is cancelled by the best critics, on the authority of the chief MSS. “You shall shew.” The Greek is in the present, “you do show,” καταγγελλετε.

 

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St Cyril of Alexandria’s Commentary on Luke 14:15-24

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 28, 2013

14: 15-24. And when one of them that reclined at table with Him heard these things, he said unto Him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God. But He said unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many. And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come, for lo! all things are ready. And they at once began all of them to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a field, and I must needs go to see it: I pray you permit me to be excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them: I pray you permit me to be excused. And another said, I have taken a wife, and therefore I cannot come. And when the servant returned, he told his lord these things. Then the master of the house was angry, and said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and marketplaces of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the blind, and the lame. And the servant said, Lord, what you command is done, and yet there is room. And the lord said to his servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you, that none of those men that were bidden shall taste of my supper.

AGAIN, the purport of the lessons laid before us obliges me to say, that the fruit of good works is praiseworthy. For not unrewarded is the toil of the saints, as they strenuously labour to lead that life which is truly worthy of admiration both with God and men. For the wise Paul writes, “For God is not unrighteous to forget your labour and your love, which you have showed unto His Name.” And again in another place he uses similar words, “For the lightness, he says, of our present affliction works for us abundantly and in a higher degree an eternal greatness of glory, when we look not at the things which are seen, but at those which are not seen; for the things which are seen are those of time, but the things which are not seen are for eternity.” For the things of time are those of |485 earth; and these we say are what are here called “the things which are seen:” but those which are to come, and which at present are not seen, but consist in those hopes which, are with God, are stored up for us in mansions that cannot be shaken.

And who they are for whom these things are prepared, and unto whom they will be given, the Saviour has here shown, portraying as in a picture by the parable set before us, the nature and efficacy of the dispensation. It is necessary however for me first to say what was the occasion which led to this discourse.

Our Lord then was feasting at a certain Pharisee’s, in company with many others assembled there, the friends of him who had bidden them to the entertainment, and the sharers of his sentiments. There again the Saviour of all, to benefit those who were gathered there,—-for He loves mercy rather, and not honour and vainglory;—-perfected him that invited them, by not permitting him to make lavish expense, or aim at what was beyond his means, to gain the praise of men. For He said, “When you make a dinner or a supper, call not your friends, nor your brethren, nor further, any others who are rich and your neighbours: but rather the poor, and the maimed, and the blind. For those, He said, who so act shall be blessed at the resurrection of the just.” Upon which one of those who were reclining with them at meat, on hearing words thus excellent, said, “Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.” Probably however this man was not as yet spiritual, but rather animal, nor fitted to understand correctly what was spoken by Christ: for he was not one of those who believed, nor had he as yet been baptized. For he supposed that the rewards of the saints, for their mutual labours of love, would be in things pertaining to the body. Because then they were too dull in heart to comprehend a precise idea, Christ frames for them a parable which with sufficient appositeness sets forth the nature of the dispensation about to be instituted for their sakes: and says, “A certain man made a great supper, and bade many. And he sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come, for lo! all things are ready.”

And here let us first of all inquire, what was the reason why it is rather to a supper than a dinner that the guests were |486 invited; or rather, even before this, who is to be understood by the man who sent one to invite to the supper; and who also is the inviter, and who in fine they are who were invited, but despised the summons.

By the man therefore is to be understood God the Father. For similitudes are formed to represent the truth, and are by no means the truth themselves. He therefore, the Creator of the universe, and the Father of glory, made a great supper, that is, a festival for the whole world, in honour of Christ. In the last times then of the world, and. so to speak, at this our world’s setting, the Son arose for us: at which time also He suffered death for our sakes, and gave us His flesh to eat, as being the bread from heaven, Which gives life to the world. Towards evening also, and by the light of torches, the lamb was sacrificed, according to the law of Moses. And therefore with good reason the invitation that is by Christ is called a supper.

And next, who is he that was sent, and who it also says was a slave? Perchance Christ Himself: for though God the Word is by nature God, and the very Son of God the Father, from Whom He was manifested, yet He emptied Himself, to take the form of a slave. As being therefore God of God He is Lord of all; but one may justly apply the appellation of a slave to the limits of His humanity. Yet though He had taken, as I said, the form of a slave, He was even so Lord as being God.

And when was He sent? At supper time, it says. For it was not at the commencement of this world that the only-begotten Word of the Father descended from heaven, and was in form like unto us; but rather when the Omnipotent Himself willed it, even in these latter times, as also we have already said.

And what was the nature of the invitation? “Come: for lo! all things are ready.” For God the Father has prepared in Christ for the inhabitants of earth those gifts which are bestowed upon the world through Him, even the forgiveness of sins, the cleansing away of all defilement, the communion of the Holy Spirit, the glorious adoption as sons, and the kingdom of heaven. Unto these blessings Christ invited by the commandments of the gospel Israel before all others. For somewhere He has even said by the voice of the Psalmist; “But I have been set as a king by Him; that is, by God the Father; |487 upon Zion His holy mount, to preach the commandment of the Lord.” And again, “I was not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

And their determination then, was it for their own good? Did they regard with admiration the gentleness of Him Who bade them, and the office of Him Who ministered the call? Not so: for “they began, it says, all of them at once to make excuse:” that is, as with one purpose, without any delay, they made excuse. “For the first said, I have bought a field, and I must needs go to see it: I pray you, permit me to be excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them: I pray you, permit me to be excused. And another said, I have taken a wife, and therefore I cannot come.” You perceive that by senselessly giving themselves up to these earthly matters, they cannot see things spiritual; for being overcome by the love of the flesh, they are far from holiness, and are covetous and greedy after wealth. They seek those things which are below, but make no account, no not in the slightest degree, of those hopes which are stored up with God. Far better would it have been instead of earthly fields to gain the joys of paradise: and instead of transitory tillage, for this was the object of the yokes of oxen, to gather the fruits of righteousness. For it is written, “Sow for yourselves righteousness; gather as vintage the fruit of life.” Was it not their duty rather, instead of the carnal procreation of children, to have chosen spiritual fruitfulness? For the one is subject unto death and corruption: the other is an eternal and abiding; affluence for the saints.

When then the householder heard their refusal, he was angry, it says; and commanded that from the streets and marketplaces of the city there should be gathered the poor, and the maimed, and the blind, and the lame. And who then are to be understood by those who for the sake, as I said, of lands, and tillage, and the carnal procreation of children, refused to come? Certainly it must be those, who stood at the head of the Jewish synagogue; men with wealthy purses, the slaves of covetousness, with their mind set on lucre, on which they lavished all their earnestness. For so to speak throughout |488 the whole of inspired Scripture, one may see them blamed for this very thing.

Those then who were superior in station to the mass of the common people did not submit themselves to Christ, when, saying unto them, “Take My yoke upon you:” they rejected the invitation: they did not accept the faith; they remained away from the feast; and scorned the great supper by their hardened disobedience. For that the scribes and Pharisees did not believe in Christ, is manifest by what He says unto them, “You have taken away the key of knowledge: you enter not in yourselves: and those that are entering you have hindered.” In their stead therefore those were called who were in the streets and market-places, who belonged, that is, to the Jewish common people, whose mind was sickly, and infirm, and dark, and halting: for such one may consider to be blind and lame. But they became strong and whole in Christ: they learnt to walk uprightly, and received the divine light into their mind. And that a multitude of the Jews not easy to number believed, one may learn from the Acts of the Apostles.

When then those, it says, who were in the streets had been called, he whose office it was to bid them to the supper said to the householder, “Still there is room. And the lord said to his servant. Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you, that no one of those men that were bidden shall taste of my supper.”

Here observe, I pray, the calling of the Gentiles after that the Israelites had entered by faith.. For in old time the Gentiles were boorish in mind, and uncultivated in understanding, and so to say, outside the city, as living in lawlessness, and more like cattle than men, and with little use of reason. And on this account he who invites to the supper is sent unto the highways, outside the city, and to the hedges in the fields: |489 moreover he is commanded by him who seat him not merely to invite, and offer them exhortation only, but even to compel them. And yet in all men faith is a voluntary act, and by attaining unto it of their own free will, men are acceptable unto God, and largely endowed with His gifts. How then are men compelled? Yes, this also was said advisedly. For it was necessary, absolutely necessary for the Gentiles, as being fettered by an intolerable tyranny, and fallen under the yoke of the devil, and caught, so to speak, in the indissoluble meshes of their sins, and utterly ignorant of Him Who by nature and verily is God, that their calling should be very urgent, resembling the use of force, that they might be able to look up unto God, and taste the sacred doctrines, and leave off their former error, and spring away as it were from the hand of Satan. For Christ also said, “No man can come unto Me except My Father Who sent Me drag him.” But dragging implies that the calling is an act of power such as God only can exercise. And the blessed David is also found addressing God in similar terms respecting them, “With bridle and bit shall You restrain the jaws of those that draw not near unto You.” You see how the God of all as with a bridle turns unto Himself those who fiercely have departed from Him: for He is good and loving unto mankind, and wills that all men should be saved, and come unto the knowledge of the truth.

The chiefs therefore of the Israelitish populace remained aloof from the supper, as being obdurate and proud and disobedient, and scorned so surpassing an invitation, because they had turned aside to earthly things, and fixed their mind upon the vain distractions of this world. But the vulgar multitude was called in, and after them immediately and without delay the Gentiles. For when our Lord Jesus Christ arose from the dead, He cried out unto the holy apostles saying, ” All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth: go make disciples of all nations, baptizing you them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: and teaching you them to observe all those things that I have commanded you: and lo! I am with you every day even unto the end of the world.” |490  (source).

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Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 14:15-24

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 28, 2013

Ver  15. And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said to him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.16. Then said he to him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many:17. And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.18. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said to him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray you have me excused.19. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray you have me excused.20. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.21. So that servant came, and showed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.22. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as you have commanded, and yet there is room.23. And the lord said to the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.24. For I say to you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.

EUSEB. Our Lord had just before taught us to prepare our feasts for those who cannot repay, seeing that we shall have our reward at the resurrection of the just. Some one then, supposing the resurrection of the just to be one and the same with the kingdom of God, commends the above-mentioned recompense; for it follows, When one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said to him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.

CYRIL; That man was carnal, and a careless hearer of the things which Christ delivered, for he thought the reward of the saints was to be bodily.

AUG. Or because he sighed for something afar off, and that bread which he desired lay before him. For who is that Bread of the kingdom of God but He who says, I am the living bread which came down from heaven? Open not your mouth, but your heart.

BEDE; But because some receive this bread by faith merely, as if by smelling, but its sweetness they loathe to really touch with their mouths, our Lord by the following parable condemns the dullness of those men to be unworthy of the heavenly banquet. For it follows, But he said to him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many.

CYRIL; This man represents God the Father just as images are formed to give the resemblance of power. For as often as God wishes to declare His avenging power, He is called by the names of bear, leopard, lion, and others of the same kind; but when He wishes to express mercy, by the name of man. The Maker of all things, therefore, and Father of Glory, or the Lord, prepared the great supper which was finished in Christ.

For in these latter times, and as it were the setting of our world, the Son of God has shone upon us, and enduring death for our sakes, has given us His own body to eat. Hence also the lamb was sacrificed in the evening according to the Mosaic law. Rightly then was the banquet which was prepared in Christ called a supper.

GREG. Or he made a great supper, as having prepared for us the full enjoyment of eternal sweetness. He bade many, but few came, because sometimes they who themselves are subject to him by faith, by their lives oppose his eternal banquet. And this is generally the difference between the delights of the body and the soul, that fleshly delights when not possessed provoke a longing desire for them, but when possessed and devoured, the eater soon turns from satiety to loathing; spiritual delights, on the other hand, when not possessed are loathed, when possessed the more desired. But heavenly mercy recalls those despised delights to the eyes of our memory, and in order that we should drive away our disgust, bids us to the feast. Hence it follows, And he sent his servant, &c.

CYRIL; That servant who was sent is Christ Himself, who being by nature God and the true Son of God, emptied Himself, and took upon Him the form of a servant. But He was sent at supper time. For not in the beginning did the Word take upon Him our nature, but in the last time; and he adds, For all things are ready. For the Father prepared in Christ the good things bestowed upon the world through Him, the removal of sins, the participation of the Holy Spirit, the glory of adoption. To these Christ bade men by the teaching of the Gospel.

AUG. Or else, the Man is the Mediator between God and man, Christ Jesus; He sent that they who were bidden might come, i.e. those who were called by the prophets whom He had sent; who in the former times invited to the supper of Christ, were often sent to the people of Israel, often bade them to come at supper time. They received the inviters, refused the supper. They received the prophets and killed Christ, and thus ignorantly prepared for us the supper. The supper being now ready, i.e. Christ being sacrificed, the Apostles were sent to those, to whom prophets had been sent before.

GREG. By this servant then who is sent by the master of the family to bid to supper, the order of preachers is signified. But it is often the case that a powerful person has a despised servant, and when his Lord orders any thing through him, the servant speaking is not despised, because respect for the master who sends him is still kept up in the heart. Our Lord then offers what he ought to be asked for, not ask others to receive. He wishes to give what could scarcely be hoped for; yet all begin at once to make excuse, for it follows, And they all began with one consent to make excuse. Behold a rich man invites, and the poor hasten to come. We are invited to the banquet of God, and we make excuse.

AUG. Now there were three excuses, of which it is added, The first said to him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it. The bought piece of ground denotes government. Therefore pride is the first vice reproved. For the first man wished to rule, not willing to have a master.

GREG. Or by the piece of ground is meant worldly substance. Therefore he goes out to see it who thinks only of outward things for the sake of his living.

AMBROSE; Thus it is that the worn out soldier is appointed to serve degraded offices, as he who intent upon things below buys for himself earthly possessions, can not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Our Lord says, Sell all that you have, and follow me.

It follows, And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them.

AUG. The five yoke of oxen are taken to be the five senses of the flesh; in the eyes sight, in the ears hearing, in the nostrils smelling, in the mouth taste, in all the members touch. But the yoke is more easily apparent in the three first senses; two eyes, two ears, two nostrils. Here are three yoke. And in the mouth is the sense of taste which is forma to be a kind of double, in that nothing is sensible to the taste, which is not touched both by the tongue and palate. The pleasure of the flesh which belongs to the touch is secretly doubled. It is both outward and inward. But they are called yoke of oxen, because through those senses of the flesh earthly things are pursued. For the oxen till the ground, but men at a distance from faith, given up to earthly things, refuse to believe in any thing, but what they arrive at by means of the five-fold sense of the body. “I believe nothing but what I see.” If such were our thoughts, we should be hindered from the supper by those five yoke of oxen. But that you may understand that it is not the delight of the five senses which charms and conveys pleasure, but that a certain curiosity is denoted, he says not, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and go to feed them, but go to prove them.

GREG. By the bodily senses also because they cannot comprehend things within, but take cognizance only of what is without, curiosity is rightly represented, which while it seeks to shake off a life which is strange to it, not knowing its own secret life, desires to dwell upon things without. But we must observe, that the one who for his farm, and the other who to prove his five yoke of oxen, excuse themselves from the supper of their Inviter, mix up with their excuse the words of humility. For when they say, I pray you, and then disdain to come, the word sounds of humility, but the action is pride. It follows, And this said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.

AUG. That is the delight of the flesh which hinders many, I wish it were outward and not inward. For he who said, I have married a wife, taking pleasure in the delights of the flesh, excuses himself from the supper; let such a one take heed lest he die from inward hunger.

BASIL; But he says, I cannot come, because that the human mind when it is degenerating to worldly pleasures, is feeble in attending to the things of God.

GREG. But although marriage is good, and appointed by Divine Providence for the propagation of children, some seek therein not fruitfulness of offspring, but the lust of pleasure. And so by means of a righteous thing may not unfitly an unrighteous thing be represented.

AMBROSE; Or marriage is not blamed; but purity is held up to greater honor, since the unmarried woman cares for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy in body and spirit, but she that is married cares for the things of the world.

AUG. Now John when he said, all that is in the world is the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, began from the point where the Gospel ended. The lust of the flesh, I have married a wife; the lust of the eyes, I have bought five yoke of oxen; the pride of life, I have bought a farm. But proceeding from a part to the whole, the five senses have been spoken of under the eyes alone, which hold the chief place among the five senses. Because though properly the sight belongs to the eyes, we are in the habit of ascribing the act of seeing to all the five senses.

CYRIL; But whom can we suppose these to be who refused to come for the reason just mentioned, but the rulers of the Jews, whom throughout the sacred history we find to have been often reproved for these things?

ORIGEN; Or else, they who have bought a piece of ground and reject or refuse the supper, are they who have taken other doctrines of divinity, but have despised the word which they possessed. But he who has bought five yoke of oxen is he who neglects his intellectual nature, and follows the things of sense, therefore he cannot comprehend a spiritual nature. But he who has married a wife is he who is joined to the flesh, a lover of pleasure rather than of God.

AMBROSE; Or let us suppose that three classes of men are excluded from partaking of that supper, Gentiles, Jews, Heretics. The Jews by their fleshly service impose upon themselves the yoke of the law, for the five yoke are the yoke of the Ten Commandments, of which it is said, And he declared to you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone. That is, the commands of the Decalogue. Or the five yoke are the five books of the old law. But heresy indeed, like Eve with a woman’s obstinacy, tries the affection of faith. And the Apostle says that we must flee from covetousness, lest entangled in the customs of the Gentiles we be unable to come to the kingdom of Christ. Therefore both he who has bought a farm is a stranger to the kingdom, and he who has chosen the yoke of the law rather than the gift of grace, and he also who excuses himself because he has married a wife.

It follows, And the servant returned, and told these things to his Lord.

AUG. Not for the sake of knowing inferior beings does God require messengers, as though He gained aught from them, for He knows all things steadfastly and unchangeably. But he has messengers for our sakes and their own, because to be present with God, and stand before Him so as to consult Him about His subjects, and obey His heavenly commandments, is good for them in the order of their own nature.

CYRIL; But with the rulers of the Jews who refused their call, as they themselves confessed, Have any of the rulers believed on him? the Master of the household was wroth, as with them that deserved His indignation and anger; whence it follows, Then the master of the house being angry, &c.

PSEUDO-BASIL; Not that the passion of anger belongs to the Divine substance, but an operation such as in us is caused by anger, is called the anger and indignation of God.

CYRIL; Thus it was that the master of the house is said to have been enraged with the chiefs of the Jews, and in their stead were called men taken from out of the Jewish multitude, and of weak and impotent minds. For at Peter’s preaching, first indeed three thousand, then five thousand believed, and afterwards much people; whence it follows, He said to his servant, Go out straightway into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.

AMBROSE; He invites the poor, the weak, and the blind, to show that weakness of body shuts out no one from the kingdom of heaven, and that he is guilty of fewer sins who lacks the incitement to sin; or that the infirmities of sin are forgiven through the mercy of God. Therefore he sends to the streets, that from the broader ways they may come to the narrow way.

Because then the proud refuse to come, the poor are chosen, since they are called weak and poor who are weak in their own judgment of themselves, for there are poor, and yet as it were strong, who though lying in poverty are proud, the blind are they who have no brightness of understanding; the lame are they who have walked not uprightly in their works. But since the faults of these are expressed in the weakness of their members, as those were sinners who when bidden refused to come, so also are these who are invited and come; but the proud sinners are rejected, the humble are chosen. God then chooses those whom the world despises, because for the most part the very act of contempt recalls a man to himself. And men so much the sooner hear the voice of God, as they have nothing in this world to take pleasure in. When then the Lord calls certain from the streets and lanes to supper, He denotes that people who had learnt to observe in the city the constant practice of the law. But the multitude who believed of the people of Israel did not fill the places of the upper feast room.

Hence it follows, And the servant said, Lord, it is done as you have commanded, and yet there is room. For already had great numbers of the Jews entered, but yet there was room in the kingdom for the abundance of the Gentiles to be received.

Therefore it is added, And the Lord said to the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. When He commanded His guests to be collected from the wayside and the hedges, He sought for a rural people, that is, the Gentiles.

AMBROSE; Or, He sends to the highways and about the hedges, because they are fit for the kingdom of God, who, not absorbed in the desire for present goods, are hastening on to the future, set in a certain fixed path of good will. And who like a hedge which separates the cultivated ground from the uncultivated, and keeps off the incursion of the cattle, know how to distinguish good and evil, and to hold up the shield of faith against the temptations of spiritual wickedness.

AUG. The Gentiles came from the streets and lanes, the heretics come from the hedges. For they who make a hedge seek for a division; let them be drawn away from the hedges, plucked asunder from the thorns. But they are unwilling to be compelled. By our own will, say they, will we enter. Compel them to enter, He says. Let necessity be used from without, thence arises a will.

GREG. They then who, broken down by the calamities of this world, return to the love of God, are compelled to enter. But very terrible is the sentence which comes next. For I say to you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper. Let no one then despise the call, lest if when bidden he make excuse, when he wishes to enter he shall not be able.

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Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on 1 John 3:13-18

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 28, 2013

This post begins with the Bishop’s brief analysis of 1 John 3, followed by his commentary on the passage (3:13-18). Text in purple represents the Bishop’s paraphrase of the passage he is commenting on.

In this chapter, the Apostle continues the subject, upon which he entered in the last verse of the preceding, and extols the great love of God, manifested in our spiritual regeneration by sanctifying grace (verse 1). He shows the great privilege of Divine Sonship, conferred on us at present, and points out the glory we are to enjoy in future (2); and also what we are to do here, in order to enjoy this glory hereafter (3). He next shows how opposed the commission of sin is to the sanctity of the Christian state, to the economy of the Incarnation of the Son of God, and to the true knowledge and love of God (4–6).

He then guards them against the leading error of the heretics of the day, respecting the sufficiency of faith without good works, and declares, that the performance of good works, and the avoidance of sin, are the real qualities and characteristics, whereby the sons of God are distinguished from the children of the devil, and among the principal sins of the latter, he specifies hatred of our brethren (7–10).

He points out, how stringent, from the very beginning of the gospel, has been the precept of loving one another (11), and cautions them against following the example of the fratricide, Cain (12). The love of our neighbour is a probable sign that we are in a state of spiritual life, while the man who loves not his neighbour is in a state of spiritual death (14); and the man who hates his brother, with a haired involving a wish for his death, the Apostle calls a murderer like Cain. In such a person, the grace of God cannot reside (15).

In continuation, he points out the extent to which the precept of charity obliges. It binds us to lay down our lives for the spiritual good of our brethren, after the example of the charity of Christ for us; and also to relieve his corporal wants out of our worldly substance (16, 17). In every case, our sympathy should be practically manifested in works of beneficence (18). It is by the possession of this beneficent charity, we can tranquillize our conscience against all fears, and feel confidence that God will rescue us from damnation on the day of judgment (19–21); and we shall merit to obtain all our requests, because we observe his commandments regarding our believing in Christ and loving our neighbour (23). He concludes, by showing the advantages of keeping God’s commandments.

1Jn 3:13  Wonder not, brethren, if the world hate you.

13. Let it not be a subject of wonder to you, my brethren, if the corrupt votaries of the world, instead of respecting your virtues, hate and persecute you.

The hatred of the good, by the wicked, is almost as old as creation, as is seen in the foregoing example. In these words of St. John, is contained an allusion to the saying of our Redeemer, “if the world hate you, know that it first hated me.”—(John 15:13). Several reasons are assigned by Commentators, why the wicked hate the just: 1st, dissimilarity of morals; “He is grievous unto us even to behold; for, his life is not like other men’s, and his ways are very different,” (Wisdom 2:15-16, &c.); 2ndly, envy at their superior virtues; 3rd, their avoidance of worldly society and intercourse; “because you are not of the world … therefore, the world hateth you,” (John 15:19); 4th, the censure which their morals reflect, by the contrast, on the corruption of worldlings, “contrarius est operibus nostris.”—(“He sets himself against our doings”— Wisdom 2:12).

1Jn 3:14  We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not abideth in death

14. For, although they may persecute us, we can calculate with very great probability, from the fact of loving our brethren, that we have been translated from a state of sin and spiritual death, to a state of grace and spiritual life. The man who loves not his brother, still remains in a state of sin, and spiritual death.

“We know … because we love the brethren;” the love of our brethren is the sign whereby we may know that we are in this happy state of spiritual translation. Of course, it can be no more than a probable sign or conjecture in any individual case; for, as no one can know with an absolute certainty that he has this love of his brethren in the required degree, so, neither can he be absolutely certain that he is in the state of grace. He cannot have a greater certainty of the existence of the thing signified, than he has of the existence of the sign itself. “He that loveth not, abideth in death;” remains in the state of mortal sin and spiritual death, which involves a liability to eternal death, from which the others have been translated Hence, the man who neglects to fulfil the positive precept of loving his neighbour, and fails to succour him in his necessities, lives in the state of mortal sin. After the words “loveth not,” are added in the ordinary Greek, his brother. But these words are wanting in the chief manuscripts, the Vatican and Alexandrian.

1Jn 3:15  Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer. And you know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in himself.

15. But whosoever not only omits loving his brother, but positively hates him, is a murderer in heart and wish; and you know, from the principles of your faith, that no murderer can have the seed of eternal life, or sanctifying grace, abiding in him.

The Apostle in this verse compares the man who hates his brother, to Cain the murderer of Abel; “whosoever hates his brother is a murderer.” The hatred of which he speaks is a grievous hatred, containing a wish for the death and destruction of our neighbour; the man who entertains such a hatred is a murderer in heart and wish; the internal act derives its species and malignity from the external act to which it extends. Hence, our Redeemer says, that every one who looks after a woman, to covet her, has committed adultery with her in his heart.—(Matt 5:28). “And you know,” from your knowledge of Faith, “that no murderer has eternal life,” that is, sanctifying grace, the pledge and seed of eternal life, “abiding in him.”

1Jn 3:16  In this we have known the charity of God, because he hath laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

16. We have the clearest proof and manifestation of the charity and love of God for us in his having voluntarily and freely laid down his life for us; and we also, following the example of love which he, our predestined model, has set us, should lay down our lives for our brethren whenever the order of charity requires it.

He points out the extent or degree to which we should love our neighbour, after the example of Christ, who assigns his love for us, as the model of our love for our neighbour: love one another, as I have loved you.—(John, 15) His charity has been manifested in his having so loved us, that, “he hath laid down his life for us;” and we, in turn, are bound by well regulated charity, “to lay down our lives for our brethren.” The order of well regulated charity requires, that we should expose our lives for the souls of our brethren, if they be placed in extreme spiritual necessity. A pastor, who has charge of souls, is bound to expose his life for the salvation of his people, even in case of grievous spiritual necessity. “The charity of God.” The Greek omits the words, “of God.”

1Jn 3:17  He that hath the substance of this world and shall see his brother in need and shall shut up his bowels from him: how doth the charity of God abide in him?

17. (And we are still more bound, under pain of grievous sin, to contribute out of our substance to his temporal wants); for, how can that man preserve the charity and grace of God, who, having it in his power to administer, out of his temporal substance, to the wants of his brother, of which he is conscious, will still refuse, and show no practical sympathy or commiseration for him?

Not only are we bound to expose our lives for the spiritual wants of our neighbour; but we are also bound to administer to his temporal wants out of our worldly substance. If we are bound to sacrifice our lives for him, we are obliged to relieve his wants, out of our temporal substance, when necessary. “He that hath the substance of this world;” the Greek word for “substance,” τον βιον, means, all the things required for the sustenance of human life, such as meat, drink, clothing, money, &c.; “and sees his brother in need,” is aware of his wants, “and shall put up his bowels from him,” steels his heart, against every feeling of pity for him, and refuses him all relief; “how doth the charity of God?” &c. The question is equivalent to a denial, that the charity or love of God, the common Father of all, for whom our neighbour is to be loved, can reside in the heart of the man, who neglects the precept of loving his neighbour. Hence, the obligation of the duty of almsdeeds, under pain of mortal sin, or of losing the charity and friendship of God. Two things are required to render us guilty of this mortal neglect—1st, that we have wherewith to relieve our neighbour, “he that hath the substance,” &c.; and 2ndly, a knowledge of his wants, “and shall see his brother in need.” Most likely, this extends to the common necessities of our brethren, as it is not probable, that the Apostle contemplates cases so rare as those of extreme necessity generally are. It is on the neglect of this duty, that our Redeemer will, on the day of judgment, ground the sentence of reprobation on the wicked, “because I was hungry, and you gave me not to eat,” &c.—(Matt. 25).

1Jn 3:18  My little children, let us not love in word nor in tongue, but in deed and in truth.

18. Dearly beloved children, this love which we are all bound to manifest for our neighbour, should not be confined to mere bland expressions and kind words of condolence and pity, it should be manifested in works of alleviation, and acts of beneficence, which alone are the real test of true feelings of compassion.

He points out the kind of charity we should show our neighbour—not the barren sympathy of bland words, like the man described by St. James (2:15, 16); but, we should evince the truth and sincerity of our professions of regard and pity, in actually relieving him by acts of practical benevolence.

 

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