The Divine Lamp

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Archive for June 9th, 2013

Father Rickaby’s Commentary on Galatians 2:16-21

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 9, 2013

Gal 2:16  But knowing that man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, we also believe in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by the faith of Christ and not by the works of the law: because by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.

The works of the law. The precepts of the Old Law were some ceremonial, as circumcision, the sabbath, meats clean and unclean; and some moral, as the ten commandments, the third excepted (Aquinas Ethicus, i. 309). The heresy of Pelagius in St. Augustine’s time turned upon the observance of the moral precepts, which of course are obligatory upon Christians and upon all men. But the solicitude of the Judaizers, against whom St. Paul wrote, was for the observance of the ceremonial precepts, as days and months and times and years (Gal 4:10), and principally circumcision (Gal 5:2-11). The observance then of these ceremonial precepts constitutes the works of the law here spoken of. The Epistle is available against the Pelagians by the inferences that it affords, rather than by its express statements. Cf. however Gal 3:10. See note on Rom 3:20.

We also believe, should be, came to believe, επιστευσαμεν. See on Rom 13:11.

By the works of the law no flesh shall be justified, a quotation (repeated Rom 3:20) from Psalm 143:1-2: no living man shall be justified in thy sight. No living man includes the Hebrew people, for all their observance of ceremonial precepts, the works of the law.

Gal 2:17  But if, while we seek to be justified in Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ then the minister of sin? God forbid!

We ourselves are found sinners. That is what the Judaizers objected, that by seeking justification in Christ, or in the Christian dispensation alone, without
observance of the ceremonial precepts of Judaism, St. Paul and others like him become as gentiles, sinners (15). To which his reply is: Is Christ then the minister of sin? Have we been betrayed into sin by our conversion to the faith of Christ? Is a Christian, who, taking the grace of Christ to be all-sufficient for his justification, has departed from the Mosaic rites, no better than a mere heathen? God forbid.

It may be objected on behalf of the Judaizing Christian: These things, faith in Christ and baptism in His Name, you ought to have done, and not to leave those works of the ceremonial law of Moses undone (Matt 23:23). “True,” he might say, ” justice is not by the law (21): a man is justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: still it was never Christ’s intention that you should part with the law in order to go to Him: there is an utter lack of proof of the baptized man being exempted from the ceremonial precepts, as he certainly is not exempted from the moral precepts of the law of Moses.”

This is a real difficulty. It is not met by St. Paul in the present passage, but it is met fully and explicitly in the Epistle to the Hebrews 7:18 9:18: There is indeed a setting aside of the former commandment because of the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. . . . In saying a new (covenant), he hath made the former old. . . . The law having a shadow of the good things to come, &c. The argument is briefly, that types and shadows, such as the Mosaic ritual, must yield to the substance and fulfilment, which is come in Christ; and that he who still clings to the shadow as a thing of necessity to salvation, virtually denies that the substance has yet come, in other words, he denies that Jesus is the Messiah. And such is the argument urged in this very epistle, Gal 3:24-25; Gal 4:1-9.

If we might add to the imagery of St. Paul, we might say that the Jewish rites were to the Christian economy as is a scaffolding to the arch which is erected
upon it: to insist upon retaining the scaffolding as a thing that must not be touched, after the arch was complete and set, would be to impugn the sufficiency of the arch.

And this, we may as well remark once more, explains the different practice of the Church at Jerusalem and the Gentile Churches, of St. James and St. Paul, and even of St. Paul himself at various times (cf. Gal 2:3 with Acts 16:3), the one preserving, the other repudiating the Mosaic observances. Such customs were things indifferent in themselves (1 Cor 7:18-19), and might well be permitted for a time to those who were used to them, to bury the Synagogue with honour; but the moment they were made essentials to Christianity, that was heresy and denial of our Redemption.

Gal 2:18  For if I build up again the things which I have destroyed, I make myself a prevaricator.

The things which I have destroyed are the ceremonial works of the law which I have quitted.

A transgressor (prevaricator). A retort upon the Judaizers. They said that whoever quitted the Jewish observances to join Christ, made himself a gentile, a sinner (see verses 15 & 17). “No,” says St. Paul, “you are the sinner, you the transgressor, you the gentile fallen away from the Israel of God (Gal 6:16: cf. Rom 9:6), who after believing in Christ, have gone back as to things of necessary observance to those works and ceremonies of the law, which the coming of the Messiah has superseded and rendered nugatory. You call me a false Jew: I say you are no true Christian, and therefore no genuine son of Abraham (Gal 3:29; Gal 4:22, 31), but a stranger to the testament (Eph 2:12), like one lapsed into heathendom.

Gal 2:19  For I, through the law, am dead to the law, that I may live to God; with Christ I am nailed to the cross.

I through the law am dead to the law, literally, I through law died to law. The best commentary on this is Rom 7:8-11, and 1 Cor 15:56. Syllogistically it would stand thus: What gave me knowledge of concupiscence and sin, what gave occasion to sin, what quickened sin, what is the strength of sin, through that I died (morally and spiritually). But law did this and is this. Therefore through law I died, and to law, or so far as law was concerned, I became as one dead morally and spiritually. In this state of spiritual death the grace of Christ found me, and gave me life, and a new law with strength to keep it, not the mere law of Moses, graven on tables of stone, nor a mere natural law
written in the conscience of humanity, but a law of love, promulgated by Christ and carried out through His grace, which law of love does not carry with it the ceremonial observances of the Old Law. Such is the explanation given by St. Chrysostom: “Through law I died to law: for the law commands men to do all that is written in it, and chastises him who does it not. At that rate we have all died to it, for no one has fulfilled it [i.e. apart from the grace of Christ, there has been no thoroughly law-observing man] . As then it is impossible for a corpse and a dead man to obey the commands of the law, so neither is it possible for me who have died under the curse of the law. Let it not then dictate to the dead man, whom itself has slain.”

Law here (νόμος without the usual article) is law in general, particularly the Mosaic law in all its extent, but including also the natural law; all mere law away from the grace of Christ.

With Christ I am nailed to the cross. Explained by Rom 6:6.

Gal 2:20  And I live, now not I: but Christ liveth in me. And that I live now in the flesh: I live in the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and delivered himself for me.

And I live, now not I. Greek: ζω δε ουκετι εγω, and no longer do I live.

Christ liveth in me. This is the new life of baptism, by which I am dead to sin, and live in the image of Christ my Saviour (Rom 6:4; 2 Cor 5:15; Col 2:12; Col 3:13).

And that I live now in the flesh means, And the life that I live now, since my baptism, still a mortal man among other men. St. Paul speaks in the first person, uttering the innermost sentiment of his own heart, but in the name of all Christians as such.

Gal 2:21  I cast not away the grace of God. For if justice be by the law, then Christ died in vain.

I cast not away the grace of God, the grace of baptism, described in the two previous verses, as they do, who by clinging to Mosaic observances, and placing their hopes of salvation in them, make Christ to have died gratuitously (δωρεαν, gratis translated in vain in verse 20), it being enough for salvation in their view to be disciples of Moses (John 9:28). This view was not expressed formally and fully by the Judaizers, as that would have meant sheer apostasy from Christianity, but St. Paul, it seems, was thinking of the effect which their teaching would have on minds which accepted it. We must remember the fanatical attachment of the Jews of that date to the ceremonial precepts as well of Moses as of the later Rabbis, and the sense of self-righteousness engendered by the observance of those rules. Cf. Luke 18:10-12; Matt 13:5, 16-23. Formalism took the place of the weightier things of the law, even of the Old Law. It threatened to arrest the transition from the Old Law to the New (Heb 8:7-13); to make men forget God their Saviour (Isaiah 17:10), the merits of His death, the value of His ordinances, and rank no higher than Eliah or Jeremiah Him who was the Christ (Matt 16:14, 16); and at the same time to put a yoke upon the necks of the disciples, sure to prevent any wide acceptance of the Gospel among the heathen (Acts 15:10). That is why St. Paul spent great part of his energies in combating the Judaizers, whose system, be it observed, presents several curious analogies with Puritanism and with Jansenism.

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Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Galatians 2:16-21

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 9, 2013

This post begins with the Bishop’s brief analysis of chapter 2 of Galatians, followed by his notes on the reading (Gal 2:16, 19-21). Text in purple represents the Bishop’s paraphrase of the scripture he is commenting on.


In this chapter, the Apostle, the better to confound the false teachers, proves that the other Apostles received and sanctioned the doctrine preached by him as perfectly harmonizing with their own; and hence, that his teaching nowise differed from theirs, as was calumniously asserted regarding him. He refers to his going up to Jerusalem in order to confer with the Apostles in the Council of Jerusalem, on the question of the legal ceremonies.—(Acts, 15).

He next shows how he acted both in public and private conferences with the principal Apostles, and as a proof that they coincided in opinion with him on this subject, Titus was not subjected by them to circumcision, although an attempt was insidiously made to have it otherwise (1:5). As a second proof of the identity of his doctrine and theirs, the principal Apostles made no change, either in the way of adding or taking away, in his doctrine. They even extended the right hand of fellowship to him, and confirmed his Apostleship among the Gentiles, with the sole injunction of attending to the cause of charity towards the afflicted poor (5–11).

He next refers to a rebuke which, after the close of the Council of Jerusalem, on his return to Antioch, he was forced publicly to administer to St. Peter on account of his mode of acting in reference to the observance of the legal ceremonies; and this rebuke St. Peter received without attempting a reply, which proves the doctrine of St. Paul to be correct (11, 15)

He then adduces several reasons to prove the abrogation of the legal ceremonies. Among the rest, he shows that this inconvenience would result, viz., that Christ was the minister, nay, the moral cause of sin, and that his death was useless and unnecessary, if the legal ceremonies were not abrogated.

Gal 2:16  But knowing that man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, we also believe in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by the faith of Christ and not by the works of the law: because by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.

16. Still, fully conscious, that justification does not come from the works of the law; but from quite a different source, viz., the faith in Jesus Christ; we, I say, embrace the faith in Christ, in order to obtain justification from the proper source, in preference to the works of the law; for, no man shall ever obtain justification from the works of the law.

“But knowing,” &c., that is; still fully conscious, &c.—(Vide Paraphrase). “Faith of Jesus Christ,” may also mean, the faith taught by Jesus Christ. In Paraphrase, “Jesus Christ” is made the object of this faith. This verse is to be connected with the preceding, the sense of which is kept suspended with a dependence on this, as in Paraphrase. The Apostle, in this passage, supposes two sources of man’s justification, viz., faith, and the works of the law. To the latter, the false teachers attributed justification; but the Apostle wholly excludes the works of the ceremonial law from any share in justification; for, it is to the law abolished by Christ, he refers in the following verses, and this is the ceremonial law. Hence, there is no question here of good works performed by the aid of grace and faith; for, such works enter the system of justification through faith contemplated here by the Apostle, since without them, faith is dead. The works which he excludes are those to which faith, as the foundation of a quite different system of justification, is opposed.

Gal 2:17  But if, while we seek to be justified in Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ then the minister of sin? God forbid!

17. If, then, seeking to be justified by faith in Christ to the exclusion of the ceremonies of the law: we have failed to obtain it, and still remain in sin; in other words, if faith, without the ceremonial law, be insufficient to justify us, as the false teachers inculcate, the most inconvenient consequences would result; it would follow, that Christ was ministering to the continuance of sin, having abolished the ceremonial law, a necessary means, as they allege, for removing sin.

He points out the inconvenient results that would flow from the doctrine of the false teachers. According to them, Christ would be ministering to the continuance of sin, since, he would have abolished a necessary means for its remission, viz., the ceremonial law, which they hold to be necessary for justification.

Gal 2:18  For if I build up again the things which I have destroyed, I make myself a prevaricator.

18. Christ would be the minister, nay more, the moral cause of sin. For if, after holding, as a point of Christian doctrine, the ceremonial law to be unnecessary, and after ceasing to practise its precepts, thus destroying it, I have recourse to the same law for my justification—thus building it up again—do I not, by the very fact, convict myself of prevarication in my former desertion of it; and so, render Christ, whose doctrine I follow, the moral cause of sin?

He shows how Christ would be the minister and the moral cause of sin.—(Vide Paraphrase).

Gal 2:19  For I, through the law, am dead to the law, that I may live to God; with Christ I am nailed to the cross.

19. For, that I destroyed the law is clear, since, by the law itself pointing out its term, Christ, in whom it should cease, I am dead to the law and exonerated from its observance, so as to begin a new life to God through Christ; and this new life had commenced from my baptism, wherein I represented Christ crucified, and spiritually crucified the old man with him.

Lest it might be said, that the supposed assertion contained in the first part of the preceding verse, “for if I build up again the things which I have destroyed,” which supposes that he destroyed them, was not in itself quite clear; in this verse the Apostle plainly asserts that he did really destroy the ceremonial law—since by the very law itself, pointing out its term, Christ, in whom it should cease, he was dead to the law, and exempted from its observance, so as to begin a new life to God through Christ. He was dead to the ceremonial law, absolutely, and to the moral part of the law, so far as threats and menaces were concerned. This new life to God he commenced from baptism.—(See Paraphrase). Other Commentators make the connexion of this with the preceding verse, thus:—they say that in the preceding verse the words, but I am not a prevaricator, are understood; and they make the words of this verse (19) a proof of this proposition, which, according to them, is implied without being expressed in the foregoing; others, among whom is A’Lapide, say that this verse contains a second reason for the abrogation of the Mosaic Law.

Gal 2:20  And I live, now not I: but Christ liveth in me. And that I live now in the flesh: I live in the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and delivered himself for me.
Gal 2:21  I cast not away the grace of God. For if justice be by the law, then Christ died in vain.

20. This spiritual life which I now enjoy is not from myself, but from Christ, whom I so perfectly imitate, that he would appear to live in me, and to be the animating principle of my actions. But that I should enjoy a life so spiritual and divine in this mortal flesh, subject to so many miseries and sins, I am indebted, not to the law, but to my faith in the Son of God, who loved me quite gratuitously, while undeserving of his love, and this to such an extent, as to deliver himself up to death to purchase for me eternal life.
21. In my system of justification, I by no means cast away the great grace of Christ’s death, as is done by the false teachers, who, in recurring to the law, as sufficient for justification, regard the death of Christ as useless; for, if the law were sufficient for justification, the necessary conclusion should be, that the death of Christ was quite useless and unnecessary.

(20). “And I live,” &c. The words, “I live,” are repeated three different times, and each time they refer to spiritual life.

“Who loved me.” What a subject for gratitude to God! Who is the lover? God. The object loved? The creature. How is this love manifested? In “delivering himself” to an ignominious death, brought about by unheard of excruciating tortures, which he could not merit, to deliver me from the tortures and eternal death which my sins merited, and in which I would infallibly be involved, if he had not graciously substituted himself a vicarious offering in my place, and purchased for me everlasting life. He loved me first, before I was capable of loving him; before I was born; from eternity. Good God! what excessive, incomprehensible love. Ut servum redimeres, filium tradidisti. “Sic amantem quis non redamet?” Diligamus Dominum Deum nostrum, quoniam ipse prior nos dilexit. Every one can, with the Apostle, apply to himself by appropriation, the merits of Christ. “He loved me … delivered himself for me.”

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Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 32

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 9, 2013


THE singer declares him happy whose sin is forgiven (1-7). He himself has felt the deep joy of being pardoned, when he confessed his sin (3-5). Taught by his own experience he exhorts the pious to seek God in due season, for with God is protection and rescue (6-7). Men must not set themselves up in passion or stubborn pride against the guidance of Providence (8-9). Sin brings sorrow, but trust in God brings grace in fulness. For this must all the just rejoice.

The psalm is a development of the thought expressed in Prov 28:13: He that hideth his sins shall not prosper; but whoso confesseth, and forsaketh them, shall have mercy. The thought of the psalm is also strikingly like that of the Johannine saying: If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:8). The psalm is the second of the penitential psalms. It is obviously a description, in part at least, of the poet’s personal experience. It describes in a very powerful way the bitterness of the burden of sin unconfessed, and the wonderful peace and joy which confession of sin brings to the soul. It was a favourite psalm of St. Augustine. If we are to seek in David’s life for an occasion of this poem, the most suitable incident to serve as such occasion would be the reconciliation of David with God after his sin with Bathsheba (2 Sam 12).

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Sunday, June 16, 2013~Resources for Sunday Mass (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms)

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 9, 2013

This post contains resources for both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite.

SUNDAY, JUNE 16, 2013


  • 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.



  • Pending: Father McSwiney’s Commentary on Psalm 32.



  • Pending: Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Luke 7:36-8:3


  • Sacerdos. Gives theme of the readings, doctrinal message, suggested pastoral applications.
  • Lector Notes. Brief historical and theological background.


  • Fr. Francis Martin’s Video: In 4 Parts:

Part 1: Pardon and Forgiveness.
Part 2: First Reading and Psalm.
Part 3: Second Reading.
Part 4: Gospel Reading.

SUNDAY, JUNE 16, 2013
Dominica IV Post Pentecosten ~ II. classis





Posted in Bible, Catholic, Catholic Sunday Lectionary, Christ, Latin Mass Notes, Notes on the Lectionary | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Father Callan’s Commentary on Romans 8:14-30

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 9, 2013

Text in red are my additions.


A Summary of Romans 8:14-30~In this section the Apostle considers the qualities of Christians, who are the adopted sons of God. If we are sons of God, we are heirs with Christ, and therefore heirs of future glory (Rom 8:14-18). The certainty of this future glory is proved: (a) from the desire of irrational creatures (Rom 8:19-22); (b) from the desire of the faithful (Rom 8:23-25); (c) from the desire of the Holy Ghost dwelling in us (Rom 8:26-27); (d) from the designs of God Himself (Rom 8:28-30).

Rom 8:14. For whosoever are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

Whosoever are led, etc., i.e., those who are governed by the Spirit of God, the Holy Ghost, and who, consequently, repress and control the desires of the flesh, are the sons of God, because sanctifying grace, communicated to them by the Holy Ghost, unites them to Christ, and makes them members of His mystical body and His brothers. To be a son of God, therefore, it is necessary not only to have received the Holy Ghost, but to be also governed by Him.

Rom 8:15. For you have not received the spirit of bondage again in fear; but you have received the spirit of adoption of sons, whereby we cry: Abba (Father).

This and the following verse constitute a kind of parenthesis in which the Apostle shows why Christians are truly the adopted sons of God. He does not say that formerly they received the spirit of servitude, but only that the spirit they now have is unlike that which used to move them. Hence παλιν (“again”) is to be joined to εις φοβον (“in fear”), and not to ελαβετε (“received”).

You have not received, etc., in Baptism the spirit of bondage or slavery which in Judaism you possessed, and which made you serve God without affection and from fear, as an unwilling slave would serve his master. Such a spirit could not come from God, or be pleasing to God.

The pagans served their divinities in this servile manner, being always moved by the fear of chastisement. The Jewish Law also was called the law of fear, because it did not exclude all servility. To secure its observance it had no power to confer grace (Rom 9:3; Gal 3:12, Gal 3:21), but was forced to hold out threats of chastisement or promises of temporal reward (Heb 8:6; Heb 9:15). A spirit like this, says the Apostle, the Christians have not received. On the contrary, they have received the spirit of adoption of sons, i.e., a disposition of mind and soul which enables them to serve God out of love, as a good son would serve his father.

The spirit, therefore, which the Christians have received, and which is here in question, is not the Holy Ghost (verse 16), nor a supernatural principle of their actions, but a disposition of mind given by God, and as such, supernatural, similar to the spirit of wisdom spoken of in the Old Testament (Isa 11:2-3; Isa 28:6). Cf. Lagr., h. 1. This spirit is a characteristic mark of a Christian, whereby he is known to be of the adopted sons of God; and of a filial disposition of soul which makes him freely choose to serve God not out of fear, but out of love. To this spirit of piety which the Christian possesses the Holy Ghost also bears witness (verse 16) that the faithful are the sons of God.

Abba is an Aramaic word which the Apostle here tells us means Father (cf. Mark 14:36; Gal 4:6). Some think the term pertained to an official prayer, but more probably it was only an expression of tenderness toward God, the Father.

Rom 8:16. For the Spirit himself giveth testimony to our spirit, that we are the sons of God.

This verse completes the previous one and shows still more clearly that we are the sons of God. For the Spirit himself giveth testimony, etc., i.e., the Holy Ghost joins our spirit (verse 15) in bearing witness that we are truly the adopted children of God, because it is by the impulse of this Holy Spirit, together with our own, that we, with filial love, invoke God by the name of Father (Gal 4:6). Here, however, we must observe that short of a special divine revelation we can never be absolutely certain that we are in a state of grace and are the sons of God; and that, consequently, the testimony which seems to come from the Holy Spirit may not be a deception of our own minds or of the evil one (cf. Conc. Trid., Sess. VI. de Justif., cap. 9. can. 14, 15). Moral certitude in such matters is all we can hope for.

Lagrange holds that our spirit of the present verse is not the same as the spirit spoken of in the second part of the preceding verse, but is rather a more complete gift of God, coming from an outpouring of love from the Holy Ghost, who dwells in our souls and is the principle of our good actions.

That we are (οτι εσμεν) refers to the Christians who are the sons of God. The term τεκνα here is used in the same sense as υἱόἱ. Both can be translated as “sons” or “children.”

Rom 8:17. And if sons, heirs also; heirs indeed of God, and joint-heirs with Christ: yet so, if we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified with him.

St. Paul now alludes to the Roman law which recognized the same rights to inheritance in adopted sons as in natural ones (Gal 4:1 ff.); and he concludes that since we are the adopted children of God, we shall be heirs together with Christ of God’s life and glory (Rom 8:13, Rom 8:18). It is by reason of our union with Christ that we have a right to share in the eternal goods which are His by nature. But we shall be glorified with Christ only on condition that here below we suffer in union with Him. As He only through humiliation, sufferings and death entered into His glory; so we also must bear our sufferings and crosses in union with Him, in a disposition akin to His, if we wish to have part in His life and glory hereafter.

Yet so. The conjunction  ειπερ may be translated, as in the Vulgate, by si tamen (yet so; if so); or by si quidem (if indeed), as many moderns prefer. The sense is nearly the same, except for the meaning which  ινα (“that”) receives in these two interpretations. According to the first, suffering with Christ in order to be glorified with Him is a matter of free choice; but if we choose so to suffer, it is with the intention (eo fine ut) that we shall be glorified with Him. According to the second interpretation, suffering with Christ is looked upon more as a fact of our present existence, the natural outcome of which is that we shall be glorified with Christ hereafter. This latter interpretation establishes a natural connection between suffering with Christ and reigning with Him, without this expressed intention on our part, which the former interpretation does not seem to recognize.

Rom 8:18. For I reckon that the sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come, that shall be revealed in us.

Having spoken in the preceding verse about suffering and reigning with Christ, the Apostle was reminded by the reference to δοξαν (glory), to note here the contrast between the passing trials and crosses of the present life, on the one hand, and the lasting glory that is in store hereafter for the faithful Christian, on the other. He who had suffered so much (2 Cor 11:23 ff.), and had also been elevated even to the third heaven (2 Cor 12:2 ff.) was able to speak from personal experience. Hence I reckon means I am certain.

This time means the present life of the Christian.

The glory to come, that shall be revealed, that shall be poured out upon us, body and soul (εις ημας, in nos, rather than in nobis of the Vulg.), is now hidden from us, waiting upon death first, and for its complete and final unfolding, upon the resurrection of the body.

Rom 8:19. For the expectation of the creature waiteth for the revelation of the sons of God.

In verses 19-22 the Apostle, representing the irrational world as a person, proves the certainty of our future glory from the longing after it which is manifest even in irrational creatures. The present state of our own physical nature, with its many sufferings and limitations, finds its analogy in all material creation; for the material world shows by its actions that it is irresistibly, though unconsciously, striving after a liberation from the state of change and corruption to which it is now subjected. Following the great authorities we have taken the creature here to mean irrational creation. It is true, however, that the word κτισεως has various meanings in the Epistles. Sometimes it
means the creature as distinguished from the Creator (Rom 1:25), sometimes it signifies men and angels (Col 1:15-16), sometimes it stands for creation or the creative act (2 Pet 3:4), sometimes it means mankind or the human creature (1 Pet 2:13).

Rom 8:20. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him that made it subject, in hope:

A reason is now assigned for the condition just given of the material world. The creature (κτισις), i.e., irrational creation, was made subject, by the sentence pronounced by God against Adam after the latter’s sin (“cursed is the earth,” etc., Gen 3:17), to vanity, i.e., to mutability, corruption, dissolution and death,—from which condition it yearns to be delivered by participating in the glory and incorruption of the sons of God (St. Chrys., St. Thomas, Toussaint and many non-Catholics). According to Comely, Prat, Crampon and others, “the creature” has been “subjected to vanity” inasmuch as, since the sin of Adam, in place of serving and glorifying God, it has become, in the hands of fallen man, an instrument of sin and rebellion against God.

Not willingly, i.e., irrational creation, which, like everything else, naturally seeks its own perfection and permanence, has not chosen either the corruption and death, or the profane and sinful uses to which it has been subjected by reason of him, i.e., by the ordination of God, who has cursed nature along with fallen man, but who at the same time has left in it a hope that in the future renovation it will be delivered from its present condition and will have part in the glorification of man (Cornely, Lagrange, etc.).

In spe of the Vulgate would better be in spem.

Rom 8:21. Because the creature also itself shall be delivered from the servitude of corruption, into the liberty of the glory of the children of God.

St. Paul explains in what the hope of the creature consists. It hopes to be delivered from the state of corruption to which it is now subjected, and to have a share in the glory and incorruption of the sons of God. This is the renovation of nature foretold by the Prophet (Isa 65:17) and expressly designated in the New Testament (2 Peter 3:13; Rev 21:1).

It is evident that the part nature shall have in the glory of the children of God will be negative rather than positive. It will be delivered from its present state of corruption, dissolution and death, as well as from the profane uses to which it is now subjected.

Rom 8:22. For we know that every creature groaneth, and travaileth in pain, even till now.

We know, i.e., we Christians know from revelation (Gen. 3:17) that the condition of nature is far from what it ought to be, and that it will have a better state hereafter (2 Peter 3:13; Apoc. 21:1).

Groaneth, and travaileth, as a woman in the pangs of childbirth, who feels the pain of her present state, but looks forward to another one of joy when the child is born (John xvi. 21). Nature feels its state of bondage even till now, i.e., at the present moment, as it has felt it all along since the Fall; but the figure of parturition here used does not mean that, as in the case of a woman in childbirth, nature is soon to be delivered from its sufferings. Its emancipation will follow only upon the glorification of man.

Rom 8:23. And not only it, but ourselves also, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption of the sons of God, the redemption of our body.

The Apostle now passes to the second argument in favor of the certainty of our future glory. Not only it, i.e., not only irrational nature yearns for deliverance from the present state of corruption, but ourselves also, i.e., all Christians, have the same longing. It is not correct to say, as some of the ancients did, that ourselves refers only to the Apostles.

The first fruits of the Spirit, i.e., the first gifts of the Holy Ghost, such as faith, sanctifying grace, hope, etc., but which are not the fulness of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that shall be ours in the state of glory. Lagrange and others understand “the first fruits of the Spirit” to mean the Holy Ghost dwelling in us with His grace, who is an earnest and a pledge of the gift of glory hereafter (2 Cor 5:5).

The adoption, i.e., the complete and perfect adoption which will consist in the glorification of both soul and body; now we enjoy only that imperfect adoption which follows upon justification. The last and final fruit of our consummate adoption will be the resurrection and glorification of our body. The body needs redemption, because it became the seat of sin and death (Rom 7:24; Rom 8:11), because it is through the body that we are connected with the physical universe, and because our happiness would not be complete without the redemption of our whole being, body as well as soul.

Of the sons of God (Vulg., filiorum Dei) is not in the Greek.

Rom 8:24. For we are saved by hope. But hope that is seen, is not hope. For what a man seeth, why doth he hope for?

St. Paul shows here that our adoption and salvation are now complete only in hope, and not in reality. Hence τη ελπιδι (“in hope”), is a modal dative, which shows the manner in which our redemption is now complete, namely, in hope. Being justified we have already the beginning of our salvation and perfect adoption, the full possession and realization of which waits upon the glorification of both our body and our soul.

As a matter of fact, according to the doctrine of St, Paul, we are saved by faith; we firmly believe that God will save us, and hope vividly anticipates the fulfillment of God’s promises and the realization of all we believe.

But hope that is seen, etc. The meaning is that hope regards an absent object, and not one “that is seen,” that is present. That which is present and is seen, is no longer hoped for.

For what a man seeth, etc. Better, “Who hopeth for what he seeth” (ο γαρ βλεπει τις ελπιζει, as it is in the Vatican MS.).

Rom 8:25. But if we hope for that which we see not, we wait for it with patience.

But if we hope, etc., i.e., it is of the essence of hope to regard not that which is present, but that which we see not; and for this we wait with patient endurance (υπομονης), steadily resisting all adverse influences. Patient and firm expectancy is the peculiar quality of Christian hope. The Greek υπομονης (hupomenō) is derived from ὑπό ( hupo = under) and μένω (menō = stay, abide, endure). It is the opposite of  cowering in fear. See Lk 8:15; Lk 21:19; Rom 2:7; Rom 5:3; Rom 8:25; Rom 15:4; 2 Cor 6:4; 1 Tim 6:11; 2 Tim 3:10; Heb 12:1; James 1:3; James 5:11; 2 Pet 1:6; Rev 2:2; Rev 2:19.

Rom 8:26. Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmity. For we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit himself asketh for us with unspeakable groanings.

The third proof of the certainty of our future glory comes from the Holy Ghost who dwells in the faithful soul. As the creature, and as we ourselves yearn for our complete redemption, so likewise does the Holy Spirit, who dwells in our hearts. And this Holy Spirit also helpeth (συναντιλαμβανεται, i.e., lends a helping hand and cooperates with us) the infirmity of our prayers. The Greek συναντιλαμβάνομαι (sunantilambanomai) is a kind of tri-compound word meaning to take hold of, with the implication of some form of substitution: “Let us take in hand what others can not do.”

For we know not, etc. Although we know in a general way from the Our Father (Matt 6:9) what form our prayers should take, still often we do not know how to ask in particular cases. At these times the Spirit himself comes to our aid and asketh for us, i.e., moves us to ask as we ought (Matt 10:20), putting on our lips unspeakable groanings, i.e., words unintelligible to man, but understood by God. There is question here of an extraordinary kind of prayer in which the soul is absorbed in God, and does not understand what it says or what it does. The state is somewhat comparable to that of the gift of tongues possessed at times by the early Christians who could pray in strange languages without being able to interpret their prayers (1 Cor 14:2-39); but there is not a complete parity between the state here mentioned and that of those early Christians. The gift of tongues has disappeared now, but the inspiration or direction of the Spirit concerning which St. Paul wrote to the Romans is always present to the faithful soul, teaching it how to pray (Matt 10:20).

Rom 8:27. And he that searcheth the hearts, knoweth what the Spirit desireth; because he asketh for the saints according to God.

While the utterance which the Spirit frames for us and puts on our lips may be altogether inexplicable to us and unintelligible to others, nevertheless God, whose science penetrates all the secrets of our hearts (1 Sam 8:39; Ps 7:10), knoweth the desires (το φρονημα) which the Spirit utters through us, i.e., God knows the end to which the petitions of the Spirit tend and the purpose which they serve.

Because (οτι, in the sense of quod, i.e., “that”). God knows not only the desire of the Spirit, but He knows also that what the Spirit asks is always conformable to the divine will (κατα θεον), and tends, therefore, to the fulfillment of the divine decrees and to the consequent salvation of the faithful soul (Cornely).

For the saints, i.e., on behalf of those who are dear to God, namely, the faithful.

Rom 8:28. And we know that to them that love God, all things work together unto good, to such as, according to his purpose, are called to be saints.

In verses 28-30 the certainty of our future glory is proved from the testimony of God Himself. This is the fourth proof the Apostle has given regarding the certainty of our coming blessedness. These arguments are calculated to encourage and strengthen the Christians to bear their sufferings patiently in view of their glory to come.

That the object or term of the series of divine acts mentioned in these verses (28-30), which give assurance to the hope of the just is not grace, as St. Chrysostom and his school have said, but glory, is evident from the fact that the testimony of God Himself, which is the confirmation and completion of the Christian’s hope, is concerned with that which we have not yet seen, but which we hope for (verse 24), namely, future glory. St. Paul is considering two states, the state of present grace, and that of future glory (verse 21); the first has been discussed already in the preceding verses, the second remains to be considered, unless the final and supreme confirmation of our hope is to go without consideration. This would seem to result in the opinion held by St. Chrysostom.

In the present verse (28) the Apostle tells the Christians not to be disheartened over the troubles and sufferings of this passing life, because God in His eternal, all-wise decree concerning them has so arranged matters that He will make all things—trials, crosses, sufferings, etc., contribute to their present sanctification, and thus to their future glory.

To them that love God, i.e., to the Christians, all of whom the Apostle is supposing to be in the state of grace, and therefore, through love to belong to Christ (Rom 8:9).

All things work together, etc. The subject of “work together” (συνεργει) is not “all things,” but God (ο θεος), which must be supplied,—(a) because “God” is surely the subject of the verbs that follow coordinately with συνεργει (work together) in the succeeding verses (29, 30), and (b) because it would only be by the action or causality of “God” that “all things” could be said to cooperate or “work together” for our salvation. The meaning is that God makes use of all things as helps and aids to those whom He calls to sanctity and glory.

To such as, etc., i.e., to those who are called to be Christians, and who respond to that call (Cornely, Prat). St. Paul is not referring here to the distinction between the “called” and the “elect” (Matt 20:16; Matt 22:14); his words are not restrictive, but explanatory, as referring to all the Christians that have embraced the faith, without entering here into the further question of those who are finally to be saved. In this and the two following verses St. Paul is speaking only of what God does, of God’s calling the Christians to the faith, of His sanctifying them and of His glorifying them,—all of which is according to His eternal decree; the Apostle is not now affirming or denying the possibility of some of the Christians failing to cooperate with God’s grace, thereby coming short of their eternal crowns. Had he wished in these verses to distinguish two classes among the Christians—those who were to be saved, and those who were to be lost—he would have greatly saddened some of them, at least, and this was surely contrary to his purpose, which was to encourage them all.

According to his purpose (κατα προθεσιν) , i.e., according to God’s eternal decree. Everywhere in the New Testament, with the exception of three places (2 Tim 3:10; Acts 11:23; Acts 27:13), where it indicates the purpose of man, the word πρόθεσις (prothesis) signifies a divine decree to confer some supernatural benefit, as in Rom 9:11; Eph 1:11; Eph 3:11; 2 Tim 1:9 (Cornely). God, therefore, has called Christians to the faith, because He has decreed to do so from all eternity; and this decree is gratuitous, as not depending on the merits of men; it is absolute, as having for its effect an efficacious call (Lagrange, Prat).

It is de fide that we cannot merit the first habitual grace of justification, or the grace of final perseverance ; these are gratuitous gifts of God. Given the first grace, we may merit subsequent graces, with the exception of the final one. Whether God’s eternal decree (πρόθεσις = prothesis), in the mind of St. Paul, has reference to predestination to glory ante or post praevisa merita is disputed. Indeed, it seems that in this verse the Apostle is not treating either phase of this question directly; proximately and directly he is speaking at present only of an efficacious call to the faith (Cornely). Naturally, however, predestination to glory is on the horizon here, and is necessarily bound up with what is said in these verses, 28-30, and in the following chapter. If one is not predestined to be called to the faith, he is lacking the first requisite for predestination to glory.

Rom 8:29. For whom he foreknew, he also predestinated to be made conformable to the image of his Son; that he might be the firstborn amongst many brethren.

This verse is explanatory of the preceding one. The Apostle tells the Christians that efficacious divine assistance is assured them, because they are predestined to be participants in the glory of Christ.

For (οτι, because) explains παντα συνεργει (“all things” in verse 28), why God causes all things to contribute to the help of those whom He calls.

He foreknew (προεγνω). For St. Chrysostom and other Greek Fathers, who understand πρόθεσις, purpose, of the preceding verse, to mean only the good disposition on the part of Christians which makes their call to the faith efficacious, “foreknew” of this verse does not include the idea of choice, but simply means the foreknowledge by which God understood those who would respond to His call, and whom He, therefore, predestined. For those who regard the call as efficacious and the purpose a divine decree, “foreknew” means: (a) knowledge accompanied by a choice or preference on the part of the divine will (Zahn, Allo, etc.); (b) the knowledge which God has from eternity of the perseverance of some in faith and love (Cornely); (c) foreknowledge, as distinguished from predestination, and yet accompanied by a predilection of which St. Paul does not here assign the cause (Lagrange, St. Thomas).

Those, therefore, whom God has known and loved from all eternity, He has predestinated (verse 29) to be made conformable, etc. This conformity is not the motive or cause, but rather the effect or consequence of predestination; and it will consist finally, in the resurrection, in our complete and perfect adoption as sons, in our transformation and glorification of body and soul, so as to share in the glory of Christ’s risen, glorified body (Cornely, Toussaint, etc.). God, then, has predestined Christians to be conformable to His Son, and the Son has taken our body, in order that we might share in the glory of His risen body, in order that we might be His adopted brethren and He the firstborn among His many brethren. St. Paul is here telling the Christians that the call to the faith, to which they have responded, is, in the divine plan, the pledge of their eternal glory (Lagrange). Doubtless a conformity to Christ here below through grace is presupposed to our final and glorious conformity to Him in the resurrection, but it is only this latter that is under consideration now.

Nam of the Vulgate would better be quoniam, and filii sui should be filii eius.

Rom 8:30. And whom he predestinated, them he also called. And whom he called, them he also justified. And whom he justified, them he also glorified.

The Apostle here enumerates the various acts by which God in time executes His eternal decree regarding Christians. The first of these acts is the call to the faith, the next is justification, and the last is glorification. Obviously there is question in the Apostle’s mind only of an efficacious call, of an actual embracing of the faith and of a real internal justification through grace which persists to the end of life, and which is finally crowned by a glorification of body and soul that will render the Christian conformable to the glorified risen Christ. It is true that glorified (εδοξασεν), being in the past tense, causes a difficulty. We can easily understand how the predestination, the call and the justification of the faithful, to whom the Apostle is writing, are past; but it would seem that their glorification should be expressed by a future tense. St. Chrysostom explained this by saying that the faithful have already acquired glory by adoption and grace. But since the great majority of interpreters hold that there is question here only of future glory, we can explain εδοξασεν (“glorified”) by saying that the Apostle, speaking of the consummation of the Christian life, regards all as past, and so rightly speaks of the Christians’ glorification as completed. Or it may be observed that the verbs in this verse —predestinated, called, justified, glorified—are in the aorist tense in Greek, and as such they abstract from time, and might be rendered by the present tense in English, as expressing an abiding truth, namely, God’s eternal mode of acting.

Throughout this section (verses 28-30) St. Paul is assuring the Christians as a body of the certitude of their future glory. His aim is to encourage them to bear their present sufferings and labors, and to persevere in view of the future glory which God has decreed for them. As far as God is concerned, he wishes to tell them their call to the faith and their justification are a sure pledge of salvation; their cooperation with God’s grace and their perseverance are tacitly presupposed. The Apostle is not considering the particular destiny of each Christian in the designs of God, but only the designs of God for Christianity; he is considering Christians as a body, those who have responded to God’s call, who have believed, who have received Baptism and have been justified. He is taking it for granted that the faithful will do their part by cooperating with God’s grace to the end, and consequently he is describing the glorious consummation of the work of their salvation as far as God’s part is concerned. Cf. Cornely, Lagrange, etc., h. 1.

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St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Psalm 32 (31)

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 9, 2013

The following appears courtesy of  The Aquinas Translation Project and is in accord with their copyright policy. The post includes the original Latin (left column) and an English translation (right column) done by Peter Zerner, the copyright holder. The heading identifies the text as Psalm 31, following the numbering of the LXX and Vulgate. In most modern translations it is identified as Psalm 32.

Psalm 31 

a. Ipsi David Intellectus.Beati quorum remissae sunt iniquitates, et quorum tecta sunt peccata. Beatus vir cui non imputavit Dominus peccatum: nec est in spiritu ejus dolus. To David himself, understanding.Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord hath not imputed sin, and in whose spirit there is no guile.
b. Quoniam tacui, inveteraverunt ossa mea: dum clamarem tota die. Quoniam die ac nocte gravata est super me manus tua, conversus sum in aerumna mea, dum configitur spina.  Because I was silent my bones grew old; whilst I cried out all the day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: I am turned in my anguish, whilst the thorn in fastened. 
c. Delictum meum cognitum tibi feci: et injustitiam meam non abscondi. Dixi, Confitebor adversum me injustitiam meam Domino: et tu remisisti impietatem peccati mei.  I have acknowledged my sin to thee, and my injustice I have not concealed. I said, I will confess against myself my injustice to the Lord: and thou hast forgiven the wickedness of my sin. 
d. Pro hac orabit ad te omnis sanctus, in tempore opportuno.  For this shall every one that is holy pray to thee in a seasonable time. 
e. Verumtamen in diluvio aquarum multarum, ad eum non approximabunt.  And yet in a flood of many waters, they shall not come nigh unto him. 
f. Tu es refugium meum a tribulatione, quae circumdedit me: exsultatio mea, erue me a circumdantibus me.  Thou art my refuge from the trouble which hath encompassed me: my joy, deliver me from them that surround me. 
g. Intellectum tibi dabo, et instruam te in via hac qua gradieris: firmabo super te oculos meos.  I will give thee understanding, and I will instruct thee in this way, in which thou shalt go: I will fix my eyes upon thee. 
h. Nolite fieri sicut equus et mulus: quibus non est intellectus.  Do not become like the horse and the mule, who have no understanding. 
i. In camo et freno maxillas eorum constringe: qui non approximant ad te.  With bit and bridle bind fast their jaws, who come not near unto thee. 
j. Multa flagella peccatoris: sperantem autem in Domino misericordia circumdabit.  Many are the scourges of the sinner, but mercy shall encompass him that hopeth in the Lord. 
k. Laetamini in Domino, et exsultate, justi: et gloriamini, omnes recti corde.  Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye just, and glory, all ye right of heart. 




a. Hic incipit quarta deca primae quinquagenae. Et sicut in prima decade sunt psalmi in quibus fit mentio de persecutione Absalonis; in secunda de persecutione Saulis; in tertia de persecutione populi, ita in ista quarta de tribulatione quam boni a peccatoribus sustinent: 2 Petr. 2: Habitans apud eos qui de die in diem animam justam iniquis operibus cruciabant. Dividitur autem haec deca in duas partes. Quia primo commendatur justorum dignitas. Secundo imploratur auxilium contra persecutiones impiorum, in Psalm. 34: Judica Domine nocentes me. Circa primum duo commemorat. Primo gratiam justificantem. Secundo dignitatem justorum, ibi, Ps. 32: Exultate justi etc. Tertio monet justos ut in justitia sistant, ibi, Ps. 33: Benedicam Dominum.  This Psalm marks the beginning of the fourth decade of the first 50 Psalms. Just as in the first decade, there are Psalms where reference is made to Absalom’s pursuit of David, in the second to his persecution by Saul, and in the third to his persecution by his own people, the fourth decade describes the tribulations the good endure at the hands of the wicked: “Dwelling among them who from day to day vexed the just soul with unjust works.” (2 Peter 2:8) This group of ten Psalms, however, is itself divided into two parts. In the first, the excellence of the righteous is commended. In the second, God’s help is implored against persecution by the impious: “Judge thou, O Lord, them that wrong me.” (Psalm 34) In regard to the first, he emphasizes two things, the justifying power of grace and the excellence of the just: “Rejoice in the Lord, O ye just” (Psalm 32); thirdly, he urges the just to persevere in their righteousness: “I will bless the Lord at all times.” (Psalm 33) 
Hujus Psalmi novus est titulus, scilicet Ipsi David Intellectus. Hieronymus habet, Eruditio David. In multis Psalmis sequentibus est invenire titulum hunc. Et signatur per hoc, quod in omnibus Psalmis in quibus hic titulus dicitur, tractatur aliqua veritas communis, non solum pertinens ad unam personam, sed quasi ad providentiam Dei, vel ad aliquid aliud arduum. Et licet in omnibus Psalmis quaedam sint ad eruditionem, ista tamen ad hoc principaliter ordinantur. Specialiter vero iste Psalmus intitulatur ab intellectu quem debet habere poenitens, qui debet intelligere se peccatorem, et gratiam dei liberantis: Lev. 5: Si intellexerit homo delictum etc. Hunc intellectum dat vexatio, Isa. 28.  The superscription of the Psalm makes its appearance here for the first time: “To David himself, understanding.” Jerome renders it as “The knowledge of David.” The same superscription also appears in many of the Psalms that follow, and this is worth noting because, in all the Psalms in which this title is used, some universal truth is addressed that does not involve one individual only, but divine providence or some other lofty theme. Although instruction is found in every Psalm, the Psalms thus titled are principally ordered to that end. Psalm 31 bears the superscription, because it sets out the kind of understanding that one who is repentant must have, the intellectual comprehension, that is, of being a sinner and the knowledge of God’s grace which forgives and sets him free: “If a man should become aware of his offense” etc. (see Lev. 5:4). Such understanding derives from the endurance of hardship (Isaiah 28). 
Beati quorum. Iste est secundus Psalmus poenitentialium. In primo enim egit de contritione cordis, in isto vero de confessione; et dividitur in tres partes. In prima enim ponitur remissio peccatorum. In secunda, via ad remissionem, ibi, Quoniam tacui etc. Tertio desiderium sanctorum de remissione, ibi, Pro hac orabit. Circa primum duo facit. Primo enim ponitur aliquid quod est ex parte Dei. Secundo illud quod est ex parte hominis, ibi, Nec est in spiritu.  Blessed are they. This is the second of the “Penitential Psalms.”1 In the first (of these Penitential Psalms), the psalmist was concerned with contrition of heart; here he is concerned with the confession of sin. It is divided into three parts. The first deals with the remission of sins, the second with the path that leads to that remission, at Because I was silent, and the third with the desire of the saintly for remission of their sins, at For this shall everyone…pray. In regard to the first point, he does two things. First, he sets forth what the Lord does, secondly, that which a man must do, at In whose spirit there is no guile. 
In peccato namque primo est offensa Dei. Secundo macula. Tertio reatus poenae. Contra haec tria ordinat tria. Quia Deus remittit offensam, maculam tegit, reatum poenae tollit, non imputando peccatum. Quantum ad primum dicit, Beati quorum remissae sunt etc. Sed quia beatitudo est duplex, scilicet rei et spei, isti tales, scilicet quorum remissae sunt iniquitates, sunt beati in spe; qui tandem erunt beati in re. Beatus enim ille est spe, in quo praecedit causa beatitudinis, et via quae est virtus, et praecipue perfecta: unde in quo virtus perfecta apparet, potest dici beatus in spe: sicut arbor bene florens potest dici fructificans. Post corruptionem enim primi hominis isti flores non erant, sed spinae peccatorum. Et ideo beatitudo peccatoris quae est in spe, non est hujusmodi, sed quod Deus remittat peccatum, et sic fructificat: Hier. 4: Novate vobis novale etc. Remissae: Isa. 40: Dimissa est iniquitas illius: Luc. 6: Dimittite, et dimittetur vobis.  In sin there is first an offense against God; secondly there is the stain of sin, and thirdly the guilty state of punishment. Over against these three things, three others are arrayed: God remits the offense, covers the stain, and removes the guilty state of punishment by not imputing the sin. In regard to the first, he says, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven etc. However, since blessedness is two-fold, namely of that in which it really consists (i.e., in God Himself), and this as He is enjoyed first in man’s hope, those whose sins are forgiven are already blessed in this hope, that they will, at length, be happy in (union with) Him.2 He is blessed in hope in whom the cause of his (future) blessedness and the path to it (which is virtue, especially that which is complete) is anticipated. Therefore, the person in whom perfect virtue is observed is said to be blessed in hope, just as a beautiful flowering tree is said to be fruitful. However, following the corruption of the first man those flowers ceased and only the thorns of sin remained. The blessedness of sinners, which exists in hope, is not like this, however, because God forgives their sins and causes them (i.e., those forgiven) to flourish: “Break up anew your fallow ground (and sow not upon thorns).” (Jeremiah 4:3) Are forgiven: “Her iniquity is forgiven” (Isaiah 40:2); “Forgive, and you shall be forgiven.” (Luke 6:37) 
Quantum ad secundum dicit, Et quorum tecta sunt peccata. Peccata sunt maculae animae: Hier. 2: Quam vilis facta es etc. Quando quis habet in se turpe, et illud tegitur, tunc oculos intuentis turpitudo non offendit. Deus autem tegit turpitudinem peccatorum: sed quomodo? Totaliter, scilicet abluendo animam. In peccato enim duplex est deformitas. Una scilicet ex privatione gratiae qua privatur peccator: et haec totaliter tollitur, et non tegitur, quia datur ei gratia. Alia macula est ex actu peccati praeterito: et haec non deletur, quia non datur ei quod non fecerit, sed quod non imputetur ei ad culpam: et haec tegitur.  With respect to the second (thing that God does over against man’s sin), he says, And whose sins are covered. Sins are blemishes on the soul: “How exceeding base art thou become.” (Jeremiah 2:36) When someone has something ugly in him and it is concealed, then his ugliness does not offend the eyes of those who see him. But God “covers” the ugliness of sin. How? Completely, that is, by cleansing the soul. For in sin, there is a two-fold deformity. The first is that stain which arises from the privation of grace that the sinner finds himself in consequent upon his sin. With forgiveness, this deformity is totally removed and is not concealed, since grace is bestowed on him. The second stain is that which the actual sin itself committed in the past leaves on one’s soul. This stain is not destroyed because it is not given to the sinner to have not actually committed the sin, but only that the blame is not imputed to him. And this is what is covered. 
Quantum ad tertium dicit, Beatus vir cui non imputavit Dominus peccatum. De reatu poenae intelligitur, quia poena non ei reservatur pro peccato: Dan. 3: Omnia induxisti super nos etc. Secundum glossam, triplex peccatum hic insinuatur: peccatum originale, actuale mortale, et actuale veniale. Primum signatur per iniquitatem, quae est quaedam inaequalitas: et hoc est in originali, inquantum in ea vires animae recedunt ab aequalitate innocentiae; et hoc dimittitur et diminuitur, quia aufertur reatu et remanet actu. Dicit autem pluraliter iniquitates, quia in diversis diversa originalia, et in uno unum. Secundum signatur per peccatum actuale mortale. Actualia enim peccata mortalia dicuntur tegi, quando non imputantur peccatori jam ad culpam. Tertium signatur per peccatum veniale, quod non imputat Dominus. Peccatum enim veniale non imputatur ad poenam aeternam. Vel primum dicit propter peccatum quod est ante baptismum. Secundum propter peccata quae sunt post baptismum. Tertium vero post confessionem, quia non imputabitur peccatum ad poenam. Sed ex parte hominis requiritur quod non fictus confiteatur; alias non consequitur gratiam: Sap. 1: Spiritus sanctus disciplinae effugiet fictum. Et ideo, Nec est in spiritu ejus dolus, ut aliud habeat interius, et aliud praetendat exterius.  In regard to the third (thing that God does over against man’s sin), he says, Blessed is the man to whom the Lord hath not imputed sin. With respect to the guilty state of punishment, it is understood that the punishment for his sin is not reserved to him (alone): “(For thou hast executed true judgments in all the things that thou hast brought upon us, and upon Jerusalem the holy city of our fathers: for according to truth and judgment) thou has brought all these things upon us (for our sins).” (Daniel 3:28) According to the Gloss, there is an allusion to three kinds of sin at work here: original sin, actual mortal sin, and actual venial sin. The first type of sin is characterized by iniquity, which is a kind of inequality. This was present in original sin, in that the powers of the soul departed from the even tenor of innocence. This aspect of sin is forgiven and diminished, since it is taken away from the one responsible for it, although it still persists (in one’s soul). The psalmist speaks of iniquities as plural in number, since there are diverse original sins in diverse individuals, but only a single original sin in one individual man (Adam). The second type of sin is characterized as actual mortal sin. These are said to be covered when they are no longer imputed to us as sin. The third type is venial sin, which the Lord does not impute to the sinner; for venial sin is not considered in terms of eternal punishment. Considered in another way, the first type is sin which occurs prior to baptism, the second after baptism, while the third occurs after confession, since sin will not then be subject to punishment. On the part of the individual, however, it is necessary for his confession to be unfeigned; otherwise, he will not receive grace: “The Holy Spirit of discipline will flee from the deceitful.” (Wisdom 1:5) That is why he says, And in whose spirit there is no guile, unlike one who, possessing one thing inwardly, outwardly pretends another. 
b. Quoniam tacui. Secunda pars est, ubi ponitur via perveniendi ad remissionem peccatorum: et circa hoc tria facit. Primo enim ponit statum peccati. Secundo conversionem, quae est causa remissionis peccati, ibi, Delictum meum.  Because I was silent. In the second part of this Psalm, the path of arriving at the remission of sin is described. In this regard, he does three things: first he sets forth the condition of sin, secondly, conversion, which is the reason for the remission of sin, at I have acknowledged my sin.3 
Dicit ergo, Quoniam tacui etc. Contradictio videtur hic. Cum enim clamet tota die, dicit se tacere. Respondeo. Tacebat ab eo quod dicendum erat, sed clamabat quod dicendum non erat, nedum clamandum. Et in utroque est peccatum. De primo Isa. 6: Vae mihi quia tacui. Debet enim peccator dicere peccata sua: Job 16: Si tacuero, non recedit a me; nunc autem etc. Ergo Quoniam tacui peccata mea, Inveteraverunt ossa mea, idest interior fortitudo defecit. Saepe in Scriptura sacra per membra corporalia intelliguntur virtutes interiores. Unde per ossa in quibus est fortitudo, intelligitur interior virtus. Et quia inveterascit quod deficit, idest minuitur, inde dicit: Inveteraverunt ossa mea: Baruch 3: Quid est Israel, quod in terra inimicorum es, inveterasti etc. De secundo Isa. 5: Expectavi, ut faceret judicium, et ecce iniquitas: justitiam, et ecce clamor. Et hoc est quod dicit, Dum clamarem tota die. Clamabat enim se justum, clamabat de poena, et tacebat de culpa. Sed quid fecit Dominus? Convertit eum aggravando manum Domini, gravamen inferentem, Quoniam die ac nocte.  And so, he says Because I was silent etc. This appears to be contradictory — when he is weeping all day, he says he is quiet. My response is this. He was silent about what needed to be spoken, and he was weeping over what was left unsaid, not what he should have been weeping for — and in both there is sin. Concerning the first, Isaiah says, “Woe is me, because I have held my peace.” (Isaiah 6:5) The sinner must declare his sins: “If I hold my peace, it will not depart from me. But now (my sorrow hath oppressed me, and all my limbs are brought to nothing.” (Job 16:7-8) Therefore, Because I was silent about my sins, my bones grew old, that is, my inner strength has failed. In Holy Scripture, inner strength is frequently expressed in terms of parts of the body. Hence through “bones,” in which there is strength, is understood interior strength. And since what grows feeble decays or is diminished, he says, My bones grew old. “How happeneth it, O Israel, that thou art in thy enemies’ land? Thou art grown old (in a strange country).” (Baruch 3:10-11) Concerning the second,4 Isaiah states: “I looked that he should do judgment, and behold iniquity: and do justice, and behold a cry.” (Isaiah 5:7) This is also what the psalmist says: Whilst I cried out all the day long. He was clamoring that he was just and weeping over his punishment, but he was keeping silent about his moral responsibility. Now what does the Lord do? He brings about his conversion by imposing his hand on him — the hand of the Lord — bringing a heavy pressure to bear both Day and night. 
Secundo conversione consequente, Conversus sum etc. Dicit ergo, Die ac nocte, idest continue, Gravata est etc. Manus Domini aliquando consolatur: Ezech. 3: Manus Domini erat mecum confortans me. Aliquando aggravat, sicut hic 1 Reg. 5, dicitur manus domini gravissima: Isa. 26: In tribulatione etc. Et ideo dicit, Conversus sum in aerumna mea, idest in miseria quam patior pro peccatis. Dum configitur spina, dum spina, idest remorsus conscientiae, infigitur cordi meo. Vel pro spina dorsi quae tenet totum hominem rectum, Dum configitur. Et signat superbiam, quae quando constringitur, corrigitur homo. Vel quare clamabas? Propter gravitatem, inquit, manus tuae. Et hoc ideo quia non sum conversus ad te, sed ad peccatum. Et hoc dum spina peccatorum configitur, idest firmatur in me, et sic spina, idest peccatum, intelligitur. Vel dum ratio, quae sicut spina est, regens dorsum deprimitur. Vel secundum Hebraeos, Conversus est humor meus in siccitatem aestatis, idest ex aggravatione manus tuae, quicquid in me carnale et humidum fuit, conversum est in siccitatem aestatis. Hieronymus habet, Versatus sum in miseria mea dum exardescit messis, idest ad modum messis arui.  Then there follows his conversion,5 at I am turned. And so, he says Day and night, that is, continuously, (Thy hand) was heavy (upon me). At times the hand of the Lord is comforting: “The hand of the Lord was with me, strengthening me.” (Ezekiel 3:14) Sometimes it weighs heavily, as is stated in 1 Kings 5:12 that the hand of the Lord is exceedingly heavy.6 And so he says, I am turned in my anguish, that is, in the misery I suffered because of my sins. Whilst the thorn, that is, the remorse of conscience, is fastened, that is, is laid upon my heart. Or he may be speaking here of the spine in our backs, which holds the entire person erect Whilst fastened. And this signifies pride, which when it is held in check, man is held upright. “Why was I continually weeping” he asks. It was “from the weight of your hand upon me, for I did not turn toward you, but toward sin.” He implies this by saying, “When the thorn of sin pierces,” that is, when it is firmly fixed in us and is acknowledged. Or the meaning is, when the rule of reason, like a thorn, presses downward upon us. Finally, according to the Hebrew (version?), “My humor was turned into the dryness of summer,” that is to say, by reason of the heaviness of your hand, whatever was humid in my body, was turned into the dryness of summer. Jerome’s version has “I was tossed in sorrow as my harvest burned,” that is, I shriveled up, scorched like a standing crop. 
c. Deinde cum dicit, Delictum. Primo ponit confessionem. Secundo ejus efficaciam ostendit, ibi, Dixi, Confitebor. Sed quia duo debet homo confiteri, scilicet bona omissa, et mala commissa; quantum ad primum dicit, Delictum meum, scilicet quod dimisi facere quod debui: Cognitum tibi feci: non quod Deus non cognoscat; sed quando homo recognoscit peccatum suum, tunc vult etiam quod Deus cognoscat, ut ignoscat. Quantum ad secundum dicit, Injustitiam meam non abscondi: Job 31: Si abscondi quasi homo peccatum meum etc. Prov. 28: Qui abscondit scelera sua etc.  Next he says, (My) sin. First, he describes his confession. Second, he shows its efficacy, at I said, I will confess. But, since a person ought to confess two sorts of things, both the good things left undone and the bad things done, he begins with the former saying My sin, namely that “I have omitted to do what I ought to have done:” I have acknowledged…to thee, not because God was unaware of it, but because when man recognizes his sin, he also desires God to be aware of it, in order to forgive it. He continues with respect to the latter, saying, My injustice I have not concealed: “If as a man, I have hid my sin” (Job 31:33)7; “He who hideth his sins (shall not prosper: but he that is hardened in mind shall fall into evil). (Proverbs 28:13)8 
Efficacia vero confessionis ostenditur, cum dicit, Dixi, Confitebor. Confessionis effectus est remissio peccatorum. Dicit ergo, Dixi, idest proposui in corde me: Confitebor Domino, idest ad honorem Domini: Jos. 7: Da gloriam Domino Deo Israel, et confitere etc. Injustitiam meam, non bona mea: Adversum me, non pro me. Aliquis confitetur peccatum suum, sed contra proximum, dicens, Alius induxit me. Contra naturam, ex fragilitate sic accidit. Contra Deum, non potui resistere: 2 Reg. ult.: Ego sum qui peccavi, ego sum qui inique egi. Vel, Adversum me, idest propositum meum, quo manere in peccato proponebam.  The efficacy of confession is shown when he says I said, I will confess. The effect of confession is the remission of sin. Therefore, he says I said, that is, “I proposed it in my heart:” I will confess…to the Lord,” that is to say, to the honor of God. “Give glory to the Lord God of Israel, and confess…” (Joshua 7:19). (I will confess) my injustice, and not my good works: (I will confess) against myself, and not for my benefit. One might confess a sin, but only in relation to another person who was involved, by saying, “He led me into it.” Or he acknowledges his sin, but holds nature responsible: “It was because of my own weakness that I acted so.” Or it is held against God: “I could not resist.” (But in contradistinction to these so-called confessions of sin, we have the true example of David in) 2 Samuel 24:17 (where we read): “It is I, I am he that have sinned, I have done wickedly.” Or, (I will confess) against myself, that is “It was I who proposed the sin and I who persisted in it.” 
Sequitur remissio, Et tu remisisti: Eccl. 2: Remittit in tempore tribulationis peccata. Sed contra: tanta est efficacia confessionis, quod non solum quando quis actu confitetur, sed habens propositum confitendi consequitur remissionem. Ante ergo remittitur ei quam confiteatur: Isa. 65: Et erit antequam clamet, ego exaudiam. Quid ergo facit confessio? Dicendum quod propositum operandi operatur ex virtute rei propositae, ut fiat. Unde si cesset operatio illius rei, cessat effectus. Et ideo necesse est perseverare in proposito. Tamen in confessione actuali peccatorum, et absolutione virtute clavium, dimittitur ei de poena, et propter verecundiam amplius ei gratia confertur, et multa bona consequitur.  There then follows the remission of sin, at And thou hast forgiven: “(For God is compassionate and merciful, and) will forgive sins in the day of tribulation.” (Ecclesiasticus 2:13). Contrary to this reading, one might say the following: So great is the efficacy of confession, that not only when one actually is engaged in the act of confession, but even when one has made the decision to confess, he attains forgiveness. Thus, he is forgiven before he confesses: “And it shall come to pass, that before he calls, I shall hear.” (Isaiah 65:24) What, therefore, does confession accomplish? I reply to this objection by stating the following: A proposed action becomes operative by virtue of the thing that is proposed, i.e. that it should occur. Thus, if doing a thing ceases, its effect also ceases. For this reason one needs to persist in the action that is proposed. However, in the actual confession of sin, and in the absolution granted by the “power of the keys,” the penalty is dismissed and, what is more, because of the feeling of shame that arises, grace is conferred and a multitude of good things follow as a consequence. 
d. Hic tertio ponit desiderium sanctorum de remissione peccatorum: et circa hoc tria facit. Primo enim proponitur sanctorum ad hoc desiderium. Secundo peccatorum monitio, Nolite fieri sicut equus. Tertio concluditur Psalmus in gratiarum actione, ibi, Laetamini. Circa primum duo facit. Primo enim exprimit desiderium sanctorum ad remissionem peccatorum in generali. Secundo in speciali suiipsius refugium ostendens, ibi, Tu es. Circa primum duo facit. Primo enim proponit desiderium sanctorum signo orationis; secundo orationis effectum ostendit, ibi, Verumtamen in diluvio.  The third part of this psalm concerns the desire of the saintly for the remission of sin. In this regard, he does three things. First, he sets forth the desire of the saints toward this end, secondly, an admonition to the sinner at, Do not become like the horse, and thirdly the Psalm concludes by giving thanks at, Be glad. In regard to the first, he does two things. First, he expresses the yearning of the saints for a remission of sin in general. Secondly, he particularly emphasizes his own place of refuge by saying, Thou art (my refuge). In regard to the first, he does two things: He sets forth the desire of saintly people in the context of prayer, and then shows the effect of prayer at, And yet in a flood. 
Dicit ergo, Dixi, Confitebor pro hac, re, idest pro remissione peccatorum. Orabit ad te etc. Et dicit tria. Primo quid orandum, scilicet ut remissionem consequamur: omnes enim peccavimus; 1 Joan. 1: Si dixerimus quia peccatum non habemus etc. Et ideo petenda est remissio: Eccl. 38: Ora Dominum, et ipse curabit te: Matth. 6: Dimitte nobis debita nostra. Secundo quis debet orare, scilicet, Sanctus omnis: Jac. ult.: Multum valet deprecatio justi assidua. Tertio, quando, quia, In tempore opportuno, scilicet gratiae et praesentis vitae, quia novissime clausa est janua, Matth. 25; 2 Cor. 6: Ecce nunc tempus acceptabile etc. Jo. 9: Venit nox, quando nemo potest operari.   Therefore he states, I said, I will confess…For this, matter, that is for the remission of sins, Shall every one that is holy pray to thee. He says three things. First, that he is about to pray, so that we might receive remission for our sins, for we have all sinned: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves.” (1 John 1:8). And for this reason remission is to be sought: “Pray to the Lord and he shall heal thee” (Ecclesiasticus 38:9): “Forgive us our debts.” (Matthew 6:12) Second, who should pray, that is, Every one that is holy: “For the continual prayer of a just man availeth much.” (James 5:16) Third, when (one should pray), In a seasonable time, namely of grace and in this present life, since the door is closed at the last hour (see Matthew 25:10-11); “Behold, now is the acceptable time (behold, now is the day of salvation)” (2 Corinthians 6:2); “The night cometh, when no man can work.” (John 9:4) 
e. Deinde cum dicit, Verumtamen, ostenditur effectus orationis, quia, In diluvio aquarum multarum. Aqua potest hic accipi tripliciter. Uno modo voluptates: Gen. pen.: Effusus es sicut aqua. Alio modo falsae doctrinae: Prov. 9: Aquae furtivae dulciores sunt. Tertio tribulationes: Ps. 68: Intraverunt aquae usque ad animam meam. Sequitur, Ad eum non approximabunt. Quod dicit, Ad eum, dupliciter potest intelligi. Uno modo, ut ly, Eum, referatur ad sanctum; quasi dicat, Quamvis oret sanctus, patitur tamen aquas multas, sed eum non obruunt, sive sint aquae voluptatis, sive falsae doctrinae; sive tribulationis: unde, Non approximabunt: Isa. 43: Cum transieris per aquas, tecum ero, et flumina non operient te: Psalm. 43: Transivimus per ignem et aquam etc. Alio modo ut ly Eum referatur ad Deum: et sic loquitur mutata persona: quia primo ad Deum loquitur, modo ad alios; quasi dicat, Qui sunt in diluvio aquarum multarum, sicut dictae sunt, non appropinquabunt ad Deum.  When he says, And yet in a flood of many waters, the efficacy of prayer is demonstrated. “Water” can be interpreted in three ways. It can signify pleasure: “You have poured forth like water” (General Penitential Rite). It can also mean false teachings: “Stolen waters are sweeter.” (Proverbs 9:17) Or thirdly it can mean tribulations, as in Psalm 68:2: “The waters are come in even unto my soul.” But in this Psalm he goes on to say: “The waters will not approach him.” What he says concerning the word “him” can be interpreted in two ways. In one way, the word “him” can be taken in reference to the saintly person, as if to say that even though the saint prays he still endures a flood of waters. However, they do not overwhelm him, whether they are the waters of pleasure, false doctrine, or tribulation. “When thou shalt pass through the waters, I will be with thee, and the rivers shall not cover thee” (Isaiah 43:2); “We have passed through fire and water.” (Psalm 65:12) Looked at another way, the reference of the word “him” can be to God, although the object of the psalmist’s words has changed. First he was addressing God, but now he is speaking to other men, as if he were saying, “Those who are, so to speak, caught in a flood of many waters, shall not draw near to God.” 
f. Consequenter cum dicit, Tu es refugium etc. Exprimitur desiderium sanctorum in speciali: et circa hoc duo facit. Primo exprimit desiderium ut liberetur. Secundo effectum desiderii, ibi, Intellectum. Circa primum duo facit. Primo enim ostendit, unde concipit spem orandi. Secundo subdit petitionem, Erue a circumdantibus me.  And so, when he says, Thou art my refuge, he describes the desire of the saints in particular. Concerning this, he does two things. First, describes their desire to be freed, and secondly, the effect of this desire at Understanding. Concerning the first, he does two things. First, he shows whence he conceives the hope of praying, secondly, he states the intention of his prayer, at Deliver me from them that surround me. 
Spem autem petendi concipit ex duobus. Primo, quia Deus est speciale justorum refugium. Secundo, quia eorum speciale refugium in tribulatione. Ergo dicit, Tu es refugium meum a tribulatione quae circumdedit me. Tribulatio circumdat quando undique opprimit, ita quod non patet refugium ab aliqua parte: Psalm. 39: Circumdederunt me mala quorum non est numerus etc. Sed in hac tribulatione non est refugium nisi ad Deum: 2 Paral. 20: Cum ignoremus quid agere debeamus etc. Psalm. 90: Qui habitat in adjutorio altissimi etc. Sic ergo habeo, inquit, ad quem refugiam, habeo et in quo consoler, quia, Exultatio mea: 2 Cor. 1: Qui consolatur nos in omni tribulatione nostra: Ps. 93: Secundum multitudinem dolorum meorum in corde meo, consolationes tuae laetificaverunt animam meam. Deinde exprimit quid petit cum dicit, Erue me a circumdantibus, idest a tribulatione quae circumdedit me. Et quia tribulatio debet fieri ab aliquo, oportet quod si tribulatio circumdat, quod innitentes sint circumdantes, scilicet daemones et persecutores: et ideo dicit, A circumdantibus me.  The hope contained in his petition is based on two factors: the first that God is the special refuge of the just, and the second that He is the particular refuge of those who are in tribulation. Therefore he says, Thou art my refuge from the trouble which hath encompassed me. Trouble surrounds us when it presses on us from all sides and no recourse appears: “Evils without number have surrounded me.” (Psalm 39:13) In such trouble, there is no refuge except in God: “(We have not the strength enough to be able to resist this multitude, which cometh violently upon us.) But as we know not what to do, we can only turn our eyes to thee” (2 Chronicles 20:12); “He that dwelleth in the aid of the most high.” (Psalm 90:1) Therefore, the psalmist states, I have one in whom I find refuge, one in whom I am comforted, that he is My joy: “Who comforteth us in all our tribulation” (2 Corinthians 1:4); “According to the multitude of my sorrows in my heart, thy comforts have given joy to my soul.” (Psalm 93:19) And then he states that for which he is seeking: Deliver me from them that surround me, that is, “from all the troubles that surround me.” Since trouble must be caused by someone, it is reasonable that if trouble surrounds one, that it is because those who encircle us press hard upon us, namely our demons and our persecutors. 
g. Secundo, cum dicit, Intellectum, ostendit effectum suae orationis. Deus est qui loquitur, Intellectum tibi dabo etc. quasi dicat Deus, Petis a me ut eruam te, et ego tria tibi faciam: dabo enim tibi donum intellectus, et te instruam et te custodiam. Tria enim sunt necessaria homini a Deo. Primo, ut gratiae donum percipiat, ut per hoc anima hominis perficiatur ad prompte agendum. Sed quia quantumcumque homo haberet donum gratuitum, nisi Deus movet animam ad opus bonum, non sufficit; ideo oportet quod post gratiam praevenientem Deus operetur et moveat ad bonum. Sed gratia et donum recipitur secundum modum naturae nostrae: et non eo modo, quo possit ad omnia vitanda; et ideo necessaria est super hoc protectio Dei et defensio. Et ideo primo ponit donum intellectus, cum dicit, Intellectum tibi dabo: Eccl. 15: Implevit eum Dominus spiritu sapientiae et intellectus. Et hoc necessarium est homini, ut scilicet cognoscat peccatum suum: et quod non possit salvari nisi per Deum. Secundo ponit debitum usum hujus doni, cum dicit, Instruam te: Isa. 54: Ponam filios tuos doctos a Domino. Tertio custodiam, cum dicit, In via hac, scilicet mandatorum, Qua gradieris, firmabo super te oculos meos, idest protegam te: 2 Par. 16: Oculi Domini contemplantur universam terram, et praebent fortitudinem his qui corde perfecto credunt in eum.  (Continuing with the division made at the start of f.) secondly, when he says, Understanding, he shows the effect of his prayer. It is God who says, I will give thee understanding. It is as if God were saying, “You seek that I should rescue you, and I will do three things for you. I will give you the gift of understanding, I will instruct you, and I will protect you.” For man there are three things that are necessary from God. First, he must obtain the gift of grace so that through it the soul of man might be brought to the point of acting promptly. But as much as man has this gift of grace, it does not suffice unless God moves the soul to the performance of some good work. For that reason, it is fitting that God be active in this way, moving the soul to perform good work, following upon the gift of antecedent grace. However, we receive the gift of grace according to the mode of our nature, that is, we do not receive it in such a way as to avoid all suffering. Thus God’s protection and defense are also necessary. And so, first, he sets forth the gift of understanding, when he says I will give thee understanding: “He shall fill him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding.” (Ecclesiasticus 15:5) This is necessary for man so that he might acknowledge his sin and recognize that he cannot be saved, except by God. Secondly, he explains how this gift is to be used when he says, I will instruct thee: “I will make thy children taught of the Lord.” (Isaiah 54:13) Thirdly, His protection, when he says, In this way, namely of His commandments, In which thou shalt go: I will fix my eyes upon thee, that is, I will protect you: “The eyes of the Lord behold all the earth, and give strength to those who with a perfect heart trust in him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9) 
h. Consequenter cum dicit, Nolite, convertit se ad peccatores, ut ad poenitentiam redeant: et circa hoc duo facit. Primo ponit monitionem. Secundo comminationem, ibi, In camo.  Next, when he says, Do not become, he turns toward the sinner in order that they might turn to penitence. Concerning this he does two things. First, he sets forth an admonition, and second, a threat, at With bit. 
Dicit ergo: Deus dat homini intellectum, sed et intellectu excedit animalia. Qui ergo indignum se reddit dono intellectus, comparatur animalibus; et ideo dicit, Nolite fieri sicut equus et mulus etc. Secundum Glossam equus est animal superbum; mulus vero animal pigrum, unde non currit. Illi sunt ergo sicut equi, qui per superbiam extolluntur: Hier. 8: Omnes reversi sunt ad cursum suum quasi equus impetu vadens ad praelium. Illi sunt sicut mulus, qui tarde ad viam Dei veniunt: Prov. 13: Vult et non vult piger. Vel per mulum intelliguntur luxuriosi. Mulus luxuriosus est, tamen non generat: sic peccata luxuriae infructuosa sunt: Rom. 6: Quem ergo fructum habuistis tunc in illis in quibus nunc erubescitis? Vel equus portat sessorem indifferenter, et mulus onus quodcumque: peccatori duo imponuntur, sessor, scilicet diabolus, et onus, scilicet peccatum. Non ergo sitis sicut equus, non discernens inter sessores, an scilicet Christus sit, vel diabolus. Nec sicut mulus, qui quodlibet onus, scilicet peccatum, indifferenter portat.  And so, he says: God gives intelligence to man, and with that intelligence he makes him superior to animals. Therefore, those who show themselves undeserving of the gift of intelligence are compared to the beasts. Thus, he says, Do not become like the horse and the mule, who have no understanding. According to the Gloss, the horse is a proud animal and the mule is a lazy one, which is why it will not run. Those who are like horses are swollen with pride: “They are all turned to their own course, as a horse rushing to the battle.” (Jeremiah 8:6) They are like mules, arriving late and lazy on the path of God: “The sluggard willeth and willeth not.” (Proverbs 13:4) Or by the mule it is voluptuaries who are meant. The mule is a voluptuary; however, it does not procreate, just as the sins of luxuriousness do not bear fruit: “What fruit therefore had you then in those things, of which you are not ashamed?” (Romans 6:21) Or the meaning is that the horse carries all riders indifferently, as the mule bears any load. Two things are borne by the sinner: a rider, namely the devil, and a load, namely sin. Therefore, he says, do not be like the horse, not distinguishing between riders, whether it is Christ who is riding him or the Devil, nor like the mule that carries any load, that is, sin, indifferently. 
i. Deinde cum dicit, In camo, ponitur comminatio. Et primo per modum orationis. Secundo per modum praenunciationis, ibi, Multa.  Then, when he says, With bit, he sets forth the threat, first expressed in a prayerful way, then by means of a prediction at, Many are the scourges. 
Dicit ergo, In camo etc. Sic metaphorice. Si homo se habet sicut homo, Deus tractat eum sicut hominem, monitionibus et doctrinis; sed quando recedit a dignitate hominis, tractatur sicut brutum animal, quod coercetur poenis et violentia, scilicet, In camo et fraeno; quasi dicat, Monui quod non fiant sicut equus et mulus: quod si non acquiescunt, fac eis sicut equo et mulo, scilicet, In camo et fraeno maxillas eorum constringe, comprimendo scilicet loquacitatem, et subtrahendo cibos, quibus utuntur ad voracitatem. Locutioni enim et gustui deservit maxilla: Isa. 37: Ponam circulum in naribus tuis, et fraenum etc. Vel, In camo et fraeno, idest in majori et minori tribulatione.  Therefore he says, With bit and bridle. This is stated metaphorically. If a man conducts himself like a man, God treats him like a man, with admonishment and teaching, but when he falls away from the dignity of man, he is dealt with like a brute animal, which is coerced by means of punishment and violence, i.e. With bit and bridle. It is as if he were saying: “I have warned you not to become like a horse or a mule.” If they do not obey, deal with them like a horse or a mule, namely With bit and bridle bind fast their jaws, by subduing their loquacity, and taking away their food with which they feed their voracity. For jaws are used both for speaking and eating: “I will put a ring in thy nose, and a bit between thy lips.” (Isaiah 37:29) Or With bit and bridle, he means with greater or lesser tribulation. 
j. Secundo cum dicit, Multa, praenunciat; et primo quid paratur malis: quia Multa flagella a Deo: Ps. 49: Arguam te, et statuam contra faciem tuam. A sua conscientia: Prov. 12: Quasi gladio pungitur conscientiae. A potestate: Rom. 13: Vindex est in iram ei qui male agit: Prov. 26: Flagellum equo, et camus asino, et virga in dorso imprudentium. Secundo quid paratur bonis, Sperantem etc. Misericordia potest esse nominativi casus, ut sic intelligatur quod ipsum misericordia circumdabit qui sperat in Domino. Vel potest esse ablativi casus, ut intelligatur quod Dominus misericordia sua circumdabit sperantem in se. Et hoc est quando undique subvenit in miseriis hominum: Ps. 102: Qui coronat te in misericordia etc.  Then, when he says, Many (are the scourges), he sets forth (the threat by means of a) prediction, first, about what lies in store for the evildoer, that (there will be) Many…scourges from God: “I will convict you and stand before you in judgment” (Psalm 49); from his own conscience: “Pricked as it were with a sword of conscience” (Proverbs 12:18); and from one in authority: “(For he is God’s minister:) an avenger to execute wrath upon him that doth evil” (Romans 13:4); “A whip for a horse, and a snaffle for an ass, and a rod for the back of fools” (Proverbs 26:3); and then he speaks of what lies in store for the good at, But mercy shall encompass him that hopeth in the Lord. Here the word “mercy” (misericordia) could either be in the nominative case, meaning “Mercy will surround him whose hope is in the Lord,” or it could be in the ablative, meaning, “The Lord shall encompass with his mercy the one whose hope is in him.” This happens whenever God comes to the assistance of men in their sorrows: “…who crowneth thee with mercy and compassion…” (Psalm 102:4) 
k. Ultimo concluditur Psalmus gratiarum actione, cum dicit Laetamini. Haec est autem consuetudo in Psalmis poenitentialibus, quod incipiunt in luctu, et finiunt in laetitia: quia hoc facit poenitentia. In hac autem conclusione hortatur justos et rectos ad bonam operationem, et rectam intentionem, dicens, Laetamini in Domino et exultate justi; quasi dicat: Duo sunt necessaria homini: scilicet recta operatio: et hoc facit justitia: et recta intentio: et hoc facit laetitia. Dicit ergo, Laetamini justi, et exultate. Secundum Glossam, Laetari est tacita suavitate gaudere; exultare vero est concitati animi fervore gaudere. Unde exultatio provenit ex interiori gaudio. Sed in quo? In Domino, inquit, non in mundo: Phil. 4: Gaudete in Domino, iterum dico gaudete. Sequitur, Et gloriamini omnes recti corde. Recti corde sunt, qui conformant voluntatem suam voluntati divinae: hi habent gloriari in Deo: 2 Cor. 10: Qui gloriatur, in Domino glorietur.  Lastly, the Psalm concludes with thanksgiving when he says Be glad. This is customary in the penitential Psalms, which begin in sorrow and end in joy, since it is penitence that accomplishes this joy. In this conclusion, he exhorts the just and righteous to good works and right intention saying, Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye just. It is as if he were saying that there are two things required of a human being: right action, which justice performs, and right intention, which joyfulness brings. Therefore he says, Be glad and rejoice, ye just. According to the Gloss, “to rejoice is to be joyful with muted delight, but to exult is to rejoice with the fervor of stirred up feeling.” Exultation, then, arises from internal gladness. But joy in what exactly? In the Lord, he says, and not in the world: “Rejoice in the Lord, again, I say, rejoice.” (Philippians 4:4) Finally he says, And glory, all ye right of heart. The righteous of heart conform their own will to that of the divine; these are the ones who glory in the Lord: “He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 10:17) 

© Peter Zerner

The Aquinas Translation Project


1 The traditional numbering of these psalms would be 6, 31, 37, 50, 101, 129 and 142 using the numbering of the Septuagint.


2 For this distinction, see ST. I-II. 3. 1.


3 The third thing is not mentioned.


4 of the two things in which sin consists being treated presently in the context of his reply to the objection presented earlier.


5 The second of three things required for the remission of sins with which the discussion in b. is concerned.


6 The reference to Isaias 26:16 makes no reference to the hand of God, and could possibly refer instead to 14:26.


7 There is a string of conditionals throughout Job 31 that resolve in vs. 40 all of which Job offers to give an honest account of his own virtues. Thus, if all these things that I, Job, say are true, then “let thistles grow up to me instead of wheat, and thorns instead of barley.”


8 Proverbs 28 supplies a list of what happens if one does not confess one’s sins.

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