The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Archive for June 6th, 2013

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Romans 5:5-11

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 6, 2013

This post includes the Bishop’s brief analysis of Romans 5, followed by his notes on the reading (Rom 5:5-11). Text in purple indicate the Bishop’s paraphrase of the biblical text he is commenting on. Text in red, if any, are my additions.

ANALYSIS OF ROMANS 5

The Apostle, having proved in the preceding chapters, that our justification comes from faith and not from the works performed by the sole aid of cither the natural law or the law of Moses, now points out the excellence if this justification from its effects and the fruits which it produces. The first effect is, peace and tranquillity of conscience (Rom 5:1). The second is the adoption of us, as sons of God (Rom 5:2). The third is joy in our afflictions, which subserve as means to bring us to the enjoyment of our eternal inheritance (Rom 5:3-5). We have two most consoling and certain grounds for this hope, viz., the diffusion of the Holy Ghost in our hearts, and the death if Christ, than which God could not furnish a greater proof of his boundless love (Rom 5:6–10). The fourth effect of our justification is our glorying in God, as our Father, and in Jesus Christ, as our Mediator (Rom 5:11). In order to show the absolute necessity of this reconciliation on the part of Christ, the Apostle traces matters to the very root of all evil, viz., original sin, of which subject he treats in the remainder of the chapter.

Rom 5:5  And hope confoundeth not: because the charity of God is poured forth in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost who is given to us.

5. But this hope of future bliss shall never cause the shame of disappointment, since, as a pledge of the fulfilment of this hope, the charity and liberality of God is poured forth into our hearts by the Holy Ghost who has been given to us. (After giving us this pledge of our future inheritance, what can God deny to us?)

“And hope confoundeth not.” The Greek for “confoundeth,” καταισχύνει (kataischynei), means shameth, by which is expressed the shame of disappointment resulting from grounding our hopes on vain, delusive promises; but our hopes in God are most certain and infallible, as is seen from two indubitable proofs which he has given us of the fulfilment of his promises. The first proof is the diffusion of the gift of charity, by which we love him through the Holy Ghost, who is given to us, and permanently resides and inheres in our souls by his gifts. The words, “in our hearts” favour this meaning of “charity of God.” “The charity of God” may also refer to the love of God for us manifested by his pouring forth plenteously into our souls the gifts of his Holy Spirit, which permanently reside and inhere in us; and these gifts of sanctifying grace, and the virtues which are inseparable from it, being the seed of future glory, are the surest earnest God could give us of one clay attaining that glory. This latter meaning of “the charity of God,” is rendered probable by verse 8. It may refer to both God’s love for us, and our love for Him. Some Commentators understand the words, “by the Holy Ghost who is given to us,” to refer to a personal union of the Holy Ghost, in a manner peculiar or proper to him, and not common to the Father and Son (see Beelen). From this verse is derived an argument, that sanctifying grace is intrinsic and permanent, as it is “poured forth in our hearts by the Holy Ghost who is given to us,” to reside in us.

Rom 5:6  For why did Christ, when as yet we were weak, according to the time, die for the ungodly?

6. In the next place, why should Christ die for us at the prescribed time, when we were yet impious and languishing uder the infirmity of sin, unless it were to display his charity towards us and confirm our hope?

The second proof of God’s love for us, and a further confirmation of our hope is, the death of Christ for us, “for why did Christ … die for the ungodly?” unless it was by this splendid proof of his love for us to animate and confirm our hope, and give us an assurance, that, one day he would crown his gifts in us. “Why,” is not in the common Greek, which gives the sentence in an affirmative form, ἔτι γὰρ (eti gar). The ancient MSS. have various readings. The Codex Vaticanus, εἴ γε (ei ge). Irenæus and other Fathers support the Vulgate; “weak,” i.e., labouring under the infirmity of infidelity and sin, which is more clearly expressed in the word “ungodly.” The first proof of his great charity which God has given us, is the diffusion of the gifts of his Holy Spirit in our hearts. The second is the death of Christ for us. “According to the time,” i.e., at the precise period, pointed out by the prophets, and fixed on by his heavenly Father.

Rom 5:7  For scarce for a just man will one die: yet perhaps for a good man some one would dare to die.

7. Now, scarcely will you find among men an instance of one man dying for another: even though that other be a just man. I say, scarcely, because, perhaps, for the just man, who may be at the same time a benefactor, one may submit to die.

The Apostle, in order to render the love of charity displayed by God for us in the death of his Son the more conspicuous, contrasts this great act of love on the part of God, with similar manifestations on the part of mankind to one another. “Scarcely will you find one” to carry his love for another to such a degree, as to die for him, even though that one be “a just man.” It may, however, possibly happen that this rare instance of love may be shown in behalf of a just man, who may be, at the same time, beneficent to us. “A good man,” implies, not only that one is just, rendering to every one what is due, but also beneficent to us; and therefore, having some grounds for demanding a sacrifice from us.

Rom 5:8  But God commendeth his charity towards us: because when as yet we were sinners according to the time.
Rom 5:9  Christ died for us. Much more therefore, being now justified by his blood, shall we be saved from wrath through him.

8, 9. But in this does God display in a conspicuous manner his charity and love for us, that Christ has died in the plenitude of lime for us, while we were yet his enemies and in the state of sin. Having suffered so much for us while in a state of sin, much more shall we be saved and preserved by him from the eternal punishment, with which we will, in his wrath, visit the impious, now that we have been justified at the price of his precious blood.

But the charity of God surpasses anything ever heard of, or anything even supposed to be possible among men, by His dying for us, when we were neither “just” nor “good,” but when we were “sinners” and enemies The Greek word for “commends,” συνιστησιν (synestesin), means, to set forth, to display. The words “according to the time,” κατα χαιρον (kata kairon), are not in any Greek copies, and were probably introduced from verse 6. The word “God” is omitted in the Codex Vaticanus, according to which “Christ” is the nominative to “commendeth.” What a lively picture is drawn here by the Apostle of the boundless love of God for man—the Creator dying for us, his wretched creatures, when we were his enemies. How few correspond with this boundless love. How few make a suitable return. Tam amantem quis non redamet? in quantum possumus, amemus, redamemus vulneratum nostrum—(“Who will not return such a love? In so far as we can, let us return love to our lover who was slain” St. Bernard, de Passione). What wonder that the Apostle should invoke the heaviest malediction on the head of him who loves not our Lord Jesus Christ.—(1 Cor. 16:22.) “Let us therefore love God, because God first hath loved us.”—(1 John, 11:19). How frequently should we not meditate on the different circumstances of God’s love for us, as here set forth by the Apostle.

Rom 5:10  For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son: much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.

10. For, if when we were his enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more now that we are reconciled to him, shall he complete this work of our justification by saving us after having entered on his exalted state of glorious and immortal life.

 In this verse, he repeats with greater emphasis, founded on the contrast between Christ’s ignominious death and glorified life, the idea conveyed in the preceding one. If Christ, in his weak, possible and humiliated state, had, at the expense of his precious blood, performed the more difficult work of reconciling us with God; is it not much more natural to expect, that he will now, in his glorious state of immortal and impassible life, perform in our behalf the complement of the preceding, without which it would be unavailing, viz., bring us to consummate salvation, and thereby perfect the work of our reconciliation?

Rom 5:11  And not only so: but also we glory in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received reconciliation.

11. But not only do we glory in the hope of future bliss, and in tribulations as conducing thereto; but, we also glory in God, whose adopted sons we have become, not through any merits of our own, but through those of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have been admitted to the grace of reconciliation with God.

“And not only so.” Some Commentators, among the rest, Estius, connect these words with the preceding, thus: “and not only have we been reconciled, but we also glory,” &c. The participial form of reconciliati and gloriantes favours this. The connexion in the Paraphrase appears far more probable, and is also well sustained by external authority. The Greek for “we glory” is a participle, καυχωμενοι (kauchomenoi), glorying, but it is equivalent to the indicative. a participle is a verb (“glory”) used as an adjective, (“glorying”). In Greek it can have indicative force, i.e., it indicates something: “we glory.”

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Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 30

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 6, 2013

A SONG OF THANKS FOR RESCUE

THE singer was at the point of death when he was rescued. In his great need he prayed, and his prayer was heard. For this he thanks, and will always thank, his Helper, God. There is nothing in the psalm to exclude Davidic origin. It may be a song of thanksgiving arising out of some situation of David’s career. Possibly it deals with the deadly peril which over shadowed Israel in the pestilence by which David’s overweening pride (cf. verses 7-8) was punished (2 Sam 24). During the pestilence David and his household wore the garment of mourning of which verse 12 speaks ( 1 Chron 21:16). The psalm would, in this view,
deal rather with the griefs of the nation Israel, than with the personal
experience of the poet. The words of the title: Canticum (more correct than Cantici: see note 1.) in dedicatione domus are a late addition, due, probably, to the circumstance that this psalm was sung at the Feast of Dedication established by Judas Maccabeus in 165 B.C. (1 Macc 4:48-59; cf. John 10:22). There is nothing in the psalm to show that it was written for that Feast.

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