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Commentaries for the Fifth Week of Lent

Posted by Dim Bulb on March 21, 2015

FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT, YEAR B

Year A: Commentaries and Resources.

Year B: Commentaries and Resources. Please note that the Scrutiny Readings used in Year B are the regular readings used in Year A (see above link).

Year C: Commentaries and Resources.

Last Week’s Posts.

MONDAY OF THE FIFTH WEEK OF LENT

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Navarre Commentary on Today’s 1st Reading Daniel 13:1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62. Please note a shorter reading of verses 41-62 is allowed.

St Jerome’s Notes on Today’s 1st Reading Daniel 13:1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62. The notes do not deal with all the verses of today’s reading. Please note a shorter reading of verses 41-62 is allowed.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 23.

Pope Benedict’s Commentary on Psalm 23.

St Albert the Great’s Commentary on Psalm 23.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Psalm 23.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on John 8:1-11.

Cornelius a Lapide Commentary on John  8:1-11.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on John 8:1-11.

TUESDAY OF THE FIFTH WEEK OF LENT

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Father Maas’ Commentary on Numbers 21:4-9.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Numbers 21:4-9.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 102.

Father McSwiney’s Summary of, and Brief Notes on Psalm 102.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 102.

Fathers Nolan’s and Brown’s Commentary on John 8:21-30.

St Cyril of Alexandria’s Homiletic Commentary on John 8:21-30.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on John 8:21-30.

Navarre Bible Commentary on John 8:21-30.

WEDNESDAY OF THE FIFTH WEEK OF LENT
Please note that in 2015 this day is March 25, the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord. Commentaries and Resources for it can be found here.

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

St Jerome’s Notes on Daniel 3:14-20, 91-92, 95.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Daniel 3:14-20, 91-92, 95.

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary/Meditation on Daniel 3:52-53, 55-56. This post is on verses 52-57.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on John 8:31-42.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary John 8:31-42.

St Cyril of Alexandria’s Homiletic Commentary on John 8:31-42.

Navarre Bible Commentary on John 8:31-42.

St Augustine’s Tractate on John 8:31-42.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Lectures John 8:31-42. Scroll down and read lectures 4 & 5.

THURSDAY OF THE FIFTH WEEK OF LENT

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Genesis 17:3-9.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 105.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 105. Notes on the entire Psalm.

St John Chrysostom’s Homiletic Commentary on John 8:51-59.

St Augustine’s Tractate on John 8:51-59. Actually on verses 48-59.

St Augustine’s Comments on John 8:51-59. Actually, this is on verses 46-59.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on John 8:51-59.

Navarre Bible Commentary on John 8:51-59.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on John 8:51-59. Scroll down and read lecture 8.

FRIDAY OF THE FIFTH WEEK OF LENT

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Jeremiah 20:10-13.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 18.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Psalm 18.

St Cyril of Alexandria’s Commentary on John 10:31-42.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on John 10:31-42.

St Thomas Aquinas Lecture John 10:31-42. Scroll down and read lecture 6.

Navarre Bible Commentary on John 10:31-42.

SATURDAY OF THE FIFTH WEEK OF LENT

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Ezekiel 37:21-28.

Pending (maybe): My Notes on Today’s 1stReading (Ezekiel 37:21-28).

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary on the Respnsorial: Jeremiah 31:10-14.

St Cyril of Alexandria’s Commentary on John 11:45-56.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Lectures on John 11:47-54. Scroll down and read lectures 7 & 8.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on John 11:45-56.

Navarre Bible Commentary on John 11:45-56.

PALM SUNDAY OF THE PASSION OF THE LORD, YEAR B

Commentaries and Resources for Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord, Year B.

 

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Commentaries and Resources for Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord

Posted by Dim Bulb on March 21, 2015

PALM SUNDAY OF THE PASSION OF THE LORD

READINGS AND OFFICE:

Commentary on the Procession with the Palms Reading. One can use either Mark 11:1-10 or John 12:12-16.

On Mark: Navarre Bible Commentary on Mark 11:1-10.

On Mark: Fr. Philip’s Podcast Study of Mark’s Gospel. Study begins at 10:40.

On Mark: EWTN Podcast Study of Mark’s Gospel. Listen to episode 11.

UPDATE on Mark: Speaking of Scripture blog on Mark 11:7-9. An excerpt from Mary Healy’s Commentary on Mark, part of a new Series of books entitled Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture.

On John: Navarre Bible Commentary on John 12:12-16.

On John: Word Sunday on John 12:12-16.

On John: Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on John 12:12-16.

On John: Fathers Nolan’s And Brown’s Commentary on John 12:12-16.

On John: St Cyril of Alexandria’s Commentary on John 12:12-16.

Commentaries on the First Reading: Isaiah 50:4-7.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Isaiah 50: 4-7.

Word Sunday’s Notes on Isaiah 50:4-7.

Commentaries on the Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 22:8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 22.

A Patristic/Medieval Commentary on Psalm 22. Pdf document. The commentary on the text actually begins near the bottom of page 2. What precedes the actual commentary is a presentation of the various uses made of the Psalm in the ancient liturgies and, also, the various antiphons used.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 22.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Psalm 22. Latin and English side by side.

Commentaries on the Second Reading: Philippians 2:6-11.

Father de Piconio’s Commentary on Philippians 2:6-11.

(1) St John Chrysostom’s First Homiletic on Philippians 2:6-11.

(2) St John Chrysostom’s Second Homiletic on Philippians 2:6-11.

Father Callan’s Commentary on Philippians 2:6-11.

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary on Philippians 2:6-11.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Philippians 2:6-11.

Word Sunday’s Notes on Philippians 2:6-11.

Haydock Bible Commentary on Philippians 2:6-11.

Commentaries on the Gospel Reading: Allows for a longer (Mark 14:1-15:47) or shorter (Mark 15:1-39) reading.

Longer Reading: Navarre Bible Commentary on Mark 14:1-15:47.

Pending: Longer Reading: Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Mark 14:1-15:47.

Longer Reading: Father Donald Senior (in six parts).A synopsis of his famous THE PASSION OF JESUS IN THE GOSPEL OF MARK.

Longer Reading: Haydock Bible Commentary on 14:1-15:47.

Longer Reading: Sunday Gospel Scripture Study Podcast. Video.

Shorter Reading: Word Sunday (in three parts):

Homilies, Podcasts, Other Stuff:

John Henry Newman’s Homily on Philippians 2:6-11. Text.

Bishop Bonomelli’s Homily on Philippians 2:6-11. Text.

St Martha’s Podcast. Audio. Usually studies the readings in some detail.

Franciscan Sister’s Bible Study Podcast. Audio. Available later in the week.

Dr. Scott Hahn’s Podcast. Audio (text too). Brief, does good job of highlighting the themes.

Father Robert Barron’s Podcast Homily. Audio.

 

EWTN’s Podcast Study of Mark’s Gospel. Listen to episode 13.

 

 

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Catholic lectionary, Catholic Sunday Lectionary, Notes on the Lectionary, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Commentaries and Resources for the Fifth Sunday of Lent, Year B (With Scrutinies)

Posted by Dim Bulb on March 18, 2015

FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT, YEAR B

READINGS AND OFFICE: The Scrutiny Readings and commentaries are listed further down, just before the section on the Extraordinary Form.

Mass Readings From The NABRE. The translation used in the USA.

Mass Readings From the New Jerusalem Bible. The NJB is used in most other English speaking countries.

Today’s Divine Office.

COMMENTARIES ON THE FIRST READING: Jeremiah 31:31-34.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Jeremiah 31:31-34.

Word Sunday’s Notes on Jeremiah 31:31-34.

Catechism on Jeremiah 31:31-34.

COMMENTARIES ON THE RESPONSORIAL: Psalm 51:3-4, 12-13, 14-15.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 51.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 51.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Psalm 51.

St John Fisher’s Homiletic Commentary on Psalm 51. Psalm number 50 in the Septuagint numbering and in the translation used by Fisher. The commentary in in two parts.

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary on Psalm 51.

Word Sunday’s Notes on Today’s Psalm (51).

COMMENTARIES ON THE SECOND READING: Hebrews 5:7-9.

Father Callan’s Commentary on Hebrew 5:7-9.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Hebrews 5:7-9.

Word Sunday’s Notes on the Second Reading Hebrews 5:7-9.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Hebrews 5:7-9.

Homilist’s Catechism on Hebrews 5:7-9.

COMMENTARIES ON THE GOSPEL READING: John 12:20-33.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on John 12:20-33.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on John 12:20-33.

Word Sunday’s Notes on John 12:20-33.

Navarre Bible Commentary on John 12:20-33.

Homilist’s Catechism on John 12:20-33.

BLOG POSTS, PODCAST AND VIDEO STUDIES,  COMMENTARIES, HOMILIES:

Update: The Sacred Page: A Grain of Wheat Falls and Dies. Comments and reflections by Catholic biblical scholar Dr. Michael Barber.

St Martha’s Podcast. Looks at all the readings in some detail.

Franciscan Sisters Bible Study Podcast. Looks at all the readings. This Sunday’s Study not yet posted.

EWTN’s Podcast Study of John. Listen to episode 10.

St Irenaeus Ministries Podcast on Hebrews. Studies Heb 4:14-5:10.

Dr. Scott Hahn’s Podcast. Very brief, does good job of highlighting the major theme(s).

Fr. Robert Barron’s Podcast Homily. A well known theologian, author, speaker.

TEXT HOMILIES AND PREPARATIONS:

Sacerdos. Gives the theme of the readings, the doctrinal message, and pastoral applications.

Lection Notes. Very brief.

Lector’s Notes. Different from the last link. Gives historical and theological background.

SCRUTINY READINGS:
the Sunday Readings of Year A are used.

COMMENTARIES ON THE FIRST READING: Ezekiel 37:12-14.

Word-Sunday Notes on Ezekiel 37:12-14.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Ezekiel 37:12-14.

Pending: My Notes on Ezekiel 37:12-14.

COMMENTARIES ON THE RESPONSORIAL: Psalm 130.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 130.

Pope Benedict XVI’s Commentary on Psalm 130.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 130.

Word Sunday Notes on Psalm 130.

COMMENTARIES ON THE SECOND READING: Romans 8:8-11.

Father Boylan’s Commentary  on Romans 8:8-11.

Father Callan’s Commentary on Romans 8:8-11.

Father de Piconio’s Commentary on Romans 8:8-11. On 5-11.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Romans 8:8-11. On 8-17.

Word-Sunday Notes on Romans 8:8-11.

Pending: Father Rickaby’s Commentary on Romans 8:8-11.

Pending: Father Boylan’s Commentary on Romans 8:8-11.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Romans 8:8-11.

COMMENTARIES ON THE GOSPEL READING: John 11:1-45 (or 11:3-7, 17, 20-27, 33b-45).

Father MacIntyre’s Commentary on John 11:1-45.

St Cyril of Alexandria’s Commentary on John 11:1-45.

Pending: Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on John 11:1-45.

Pending: Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on John 11:1-45.

Word-Sunday Notes on John 11:3-7, 17, 20-27, 33b-45. Short reading.

Navarre Bible Commentary on John 11:1-45.

Numerous Artwork Depicting the Raising of Lazarus. Depicting the subject of the Gospel reading.

A Structural Outline of John 11.

Life Themes in the Gospel of John.

The Story of the Raising of Lazarus. Interesting article from Catholic biblical scholar Michael Barber.

Lazarus, Resurrection & Restoration. By the same author as the previous link.

I Am the Resurrection and the Life. From the blog Speaking Of Scripture. This blog was started by the editors of the CATHOLIC COMMENTARY ON SACRED SCRIPTURE, a new series of commentaries on the NT. You can find the product page for this series here.

Lazarus’ resuscitation compared to Jesus’ Resurrection. From the New Theological Movement blog.

Sermon Excerpt from St Peter Chrysologus. On the raising of Lazarus.

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St Augustine’s Tractate on John 5:1-18

Posted by Dim Bulb on March 14, 2015

1. IT ought not to be a matter of wonder that a miracle was wrought by God; the wonder would be if man had wrought it. Rather ought we to rejoice than wonder that our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ was made man, than that He performed divine works among men. It is of greater importance to our salvation what He was made for men, than what He did among men: it is more important that He healed the faults of souls, than that He healed the weaknesses of mortal bodies. But as the soul knew not Him by whom it was to be healed, and had eyes in the flesh whereby to see corporeal deeds, but had not yet sound eyes in the heart with which to recognise Him as God concealed in the flesh, He wrought what the soul was able to see, in order to heal that by which it was not able to see.

He entered a place where lay a great multitude of sick folk—of blind, lame, withered; and being the physician both of souls and bodies, and having come to heal all the souls of them that should believe, of those sick folk He chose one for healing, thereby to signify unity. If in doing this we regard Him with a commonplace mind, with the mere human understanding and wit, as regards power it was not a great matter that He performed; and also as regards goodness He performed too little. There lay so many there, and yet only one was healed, whilst He could by a word have raised them all up. What, then, must we understand but that the power and the goodness was doing what souls might, by His deeds, understand for their everlasting salvation, than what bodies might gain for temporal health? For that which is the real health of bodies, and which is looked for from the Lord, will be at the end, in the resurrection of the dead. What shall live then shall no more die; what shall be healed shall no more be sick; what shall be satisfied shall no more hunger and thirst; what shall be made new shall not grow old. But at this time, however, the eyes of the blind, that were opened by those acts of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, were again closed in death; and limbs of the paralytics that received strength were loosened again in death; and whatever was for a time made whole in mortal limbs came to nought in the end: but the soul that believed passed to eternal life. Accordingly, to the soul that should believe, whose sins He had come to forgive, to the healing of whose ailments He had humbled Himself, He gave a significant proof by the healing of this impotent man. Of the profound mystery of this thing and this proof, so far as the Lord deigns to grant us, while you are attentive and aiding our weakness by prayer, I will speak as I shall have ability. And whatever I am not able to do, that will be supplied to you by Him by whose help I do what I can.

2. Of this pool, which was surrounded with five porches, in which lay a great multitude of sick folk, I remember that I have very often treated; and most of you will with me recollect what I am about to say, rather than gain the knowledge of it for the first time. But it is by no means unprofitable to go back upon matters already known, that both they who know not may be instructed, and they who do know may be confirmed. Therefore, as being already known, these things must be touched upon briefly, not leisurely inculcated. That pool and that water seem to me to have signified the Jewish people. For that peoples are signified under the name of waters the Apocalypse of John clearly indicates to us, where, after he had been shown many waters, and he had asked what they were, was answered that they were peoples.1 That water, then—namely, that people—was shut in by the five books of Moses, as by five porches. But those books brought forth the sick, not healed them. For the law convicted, not acquitted sinners. Accordingly the letter, without grace, made men guilty, whom on confessing grace delivered. For this is what the apostle saith: “For if a law had been given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.” Why, then, was the law given? He goes on to say, “But the Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.”2 What more evident? Have not these words expounded to us both the five porches, and also the multitude of sick folk? The five porches are the law. Why did not the five porches heal the sick folk? Because, “if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.” Why, then, did the porches contain those whom they did not heal? Because “the Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.”

3. What was done, then, that they who could not be healed in the porches might be healed in that water after being troubled? For on a sudden the water was seen troubled, and that by which it was troubled was not seen. Thou mayest believe that this was wont to be done by angelic virtue, yet not without some mystery being implied. After the water was troubled, the one who was able cast himself in, and he alone was healed: whoever went in after that one, did so in vain. What, then, is meant by this, unless it be that there came one, even Christ, to the Jewish people; and by doing great things, by teaching profitable things, troubled sinners, troubled the water by His presence, and roused it towards His own death? But He was hidden that troubled. For had they known Him, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory.1 Wherefore, to go down into the troubled water means to believe in the Lord’s death. There only one was healed, signifying unity: whoever came thereafter was not healed, because whoever shall be outside unity cannot be healed.

4. Now let us see what He intended to signify in the case of that one whom He Himself, keeping the mystery of unity, as I said before, deigned to heal out of so many sick folk. He found in the number of this man’s years the number, so to speak, of infirmity: “He was thirty and eight years in infirmity.” How this number refers more to weakness than to health must be somewhat more carefully expounded. I wish you to be attentive; the Lord will aid us, so that I may fitly speak, and that you may sufficiently hear. The number forty is commended to our attention as one consecrated by a kind of perfection. This, I suppose, is well known to you, beloved. The Holy Scriptures very often testify to the fact. Fasting was consecrated by this number, as you are well aware. For Moses fasted forty days, and Elias as many; and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ did Himself fulfill this number of fasting. By Moses is signified the law; by Elias, the prophets; by the Lord, the gospel. It was for this reason that these three appeared on that mountain, where He showed Himself to His disciples in the brightness of His countenance and vesture. For He appeared in the middle, between Moses and Elias, as the gospel had witness from the law and the prophets.2 Whether, therefore, in the law, or in the prophets, or in the gospel, the number forty is commended to our attention in the case of fasting. Now fasting, in its large and general sense, is to abstain from the iniquities and unlawful pleasures of the world, which is perfect fasting: “That, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we may live temperately, and righteously, and godly in this present world.” What reward does the apostle join to this fast? He goes on to say: “Looking for that blessed hope, and the appearing of the glory of the blessed God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ.”3 In this world, then, we celebrate, as it were, the forty days’ abstinence, when we live aright, and abstain from iniquities and from unlawful pleasures. But because this abstinence shall not be without reward, we look for “that blessed hope, and the revelation of the glory of the great God, and of our Saviour Jesus Christ.” In that hope, when the reality of the hope shall have come to pass, we shall receive our wages, a penny (denarius). For the same is the wages given to the workers laboring in the vineyard,4 as I presume you remember; for we are not to repeat everything, as if to persons wholly ignorant and inexperienced. A denarius, then, which takes its name from the number ten, is given, and this joined with the forty makes up fifty; whence it is that before Easter we keep the Quadragesima with labor, but after Easter we keep the Quinquagesima with joy, as having received our wages. Now to this, as if to the wholesome labor of a good work, which belongs to the number forty, there is added the denarius of rest and happiness, that it may be made the number fifty.

5. The Lord Jesus Himself showed this also far more openly, when He companied on earth with His disciples during forty days after His resurrection; and having on the fortieth day ascended into heaven, did at the end of ten days send the wages, the Holy Ghost. These were done in signs, and by a kind of signs were the very realities anticipated. By significant tokens are we fed, that we may be able to come to the enduring realities. We are workmen, and are still laboring in the vineyard: when the day is ended and the work finished, the wages will be paid. But what workman can hold out to the receiving of the wages, unless he be fed while be labors? Even thou thyself wilt not give thy workman only wages; wilt thou not also bestow on him that where with he may repair his strength in his labor? Surely thou feedest him to whom thou art to give wages. In like manner also doth the Lord, in those significant tokens of the Scriptures, feed us while we labor. For if that joy in understanding holy mysteries be withdrawn from us, we faint in labor, and there will be none to come to the reward.

6. How, then, is work perfected in the number forty? The reason, it may be, is, because the law was given in ten precepts, and was to be preached throughout the whole world: which whole world, we are to mark, is made up of four quarters, east and west, south and north, whence the number ten, multiplied by four, comes to forty. Or, it may be, because the law is fulfilled by the gospel, which has four books: for in the gospel it is said, “I came not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it.” Whether, then, it be for this reason or for that, or for some other more probable, which is hid from us, but not from more learned men; certain it is, however, that in the number forty a certain perfection in good works is signified, which good works are most of all practised by a kind of abstinence from unlawful lusts of the world, that is, by fasting in the general sense.

Hear also the apostle when he says, “Love is the fulfilling of the law.”1 Whence the love? By the grace of God, by the Holy Spirit. For we could not have it from ourselves, as if making it for ourselves. It is the gift of God, and a great gift it is: for, saith he, “the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, which is given to us.”2 Wherefore love completes the law, and most truly it is said, “Love is the perfecting of the law.” Let us inquire as to this love, in what manner the Lord doth commend it to our consideration. Remember what I laid down: I want to explain the number thirty-eight of the years of that impotent man, why that number thirty-eight is one of weakness rather than of health. Now, as I was saying, love fulfills the law. The number forty belongs to the perfecting of the law in all works; but in love two precepts are committed to our keeping. Keep before your eyes, I beseech you, and fix in your memory, what I say; be ye not despisers of the word, that your soul may not become a trodden path, where the seed cast cannot sprout, “and the fowls of the air will come and gather it up.” Apprehend it, and lay it up in your hearts. The precepts of love, given to us by the Lord, are two: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind;” and, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”3 With good reason did the widow cast “two mites,” all her substance, into the offerings of God: with good reason did the host take “two” pieces of money, for the poor man that was wounded by the robbers, for his making whole: with good reason did Jesus spent two days with the Samaritans, to establish them in love. Thus, whilst a certain good thing is generally signified by this number two, most especially is love in its twofold character set forth to us thereby. If, therefore, the number forty possesses the perfecting of the law, and the law is fulfilled only in the twin precepts of love, why dost thou wonder that he was weak and sick, who was short of forty by two?

7. Therefore let us now see the sacred mystery whereby this impotent man is healed by the Lord. The Lord Himself came, the Teacher of love, full of love, “shortening,” as it was predicted of Him, “the word upon the earth,”4 and showed that the law and the prophets hang on two precepts of love. Upon these hung Moses with his number forty, upon these Elias with his; and the Lord brought in this number in His testimony. This impotent man is healed by the Lord in person; but before healing him, what does He say to him? “Wilt thou be made whole?” The man answered that he had not a man to put him into the pool. Truly he had need of a “man” to his healing, but that “man” one who is also God. “For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.”5 He came, then, the Man who was needed: why should the healing be delayed? “Arise,” saith He; “take up thy bed, and walk.” He said three things: “Arise, Take up thy bed, and Walk.” But that “Arise” was not a command to do a work, but the operation of healing. And the man, on being made whole, received two commands: “Take up thy bed, and Walk.” I ask you, why was it not enough to say, “Walk?” Or, at any rate, why was it not enough to say, “Arise”? For when the man had arisen whole, he would not have remained in the place. Would it not be for the purpose of going away that he would have arisen? My impression is, that He who found the man lacking two things, gave him these two precepts: for, by ordering him to do two things, it is as if He filled up that which was lacking.

8. How, then, do we find the two precepts of love indicated in these two commands of the Lord? “Take up thy bed,” saith He, “and walk.” What the two precepts are, my brethren, recollect with me. For they ought to be thoroughly familiar to you, and not merely to come into your mind when they are recited by us, but they ought never to be blotted out from your hearts. Let it ever be your supreme thought, that you must love God and your neighbor: “God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.” These must always be pondered, meditated, retained, practised, and fulfilled. The love of God comes first in the order of enjoying; but in the order of doing, the love of our neighbor comes first. For He who commanded thee this love in two precepts did not charge thee to love thy neighbor first, and then God, but first God, afterwards thy neighbor. Thou however, as thou dost not yet see God, dost earn to see Him by loving thy neighbor; by loving thy neighbor thou purgest thine eye for seeing God, as John evidently says, “If thou lovest not thy brother whom thou seest, how canst thou love God, whom thou dost not see?”1 See, thou art told, “Love God.” If thou say to me, “Show me Him, that I may love Him;” what shall I answer, but what the same John saith: “No man hath seen God at any time”? And, that you may not suppose yourself to be wholly estranged from seeing God, he saith, “God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God.”2 Therefore love thy neighbor; look at the source of thy love of thy neighbor; there thou wilt see, as thou mayest, God. Begin, then, to love thy neighbor. “Break thy bread to the hungry, and bring into thy house him that is needy without shelter; if thou seest the naked, clothe him; and despise not those of the household of thy seed.” And in doing this, what wilt thou get in consequence? “Then shall thy light break forth as the morning light.”3 Thy light is thy God, a “morning light” to thee, because He shall come to thee after the night of this world: for He neither rises nor sets, because He is ever abiding. He will be a morning light to thee on thy return, He who had set for thee on thy falling away from Him. Therefore, in this “Take up thy bed,” He seems to me to have said, Love thy neighbor.

9. But why the love of our neighbor is set forth by the taking up of the bed, is still shut up, and, as I suppose, needs to be expounded: unless, perhaps, it offend us that our neighbor should be indicated by means of a bed, a stolid, senseless thing. Let not my neighbor be angry if he be set forth to us by a thing without soul and without feeling. The Lord Himself, even our Saviour Jesus Christ, is called the corner-stone, to build up two in Himself. He is called also a rock, from which water flowed forth: “And that rock was Christ.”4 What wonder, then, if Christ is called rock, that neighbor is called wood? Yet not any kind of wood whatever; as neither that was any kind of rock soever, but one from which water flowed to the thirsty; nor any kind soever of stone, but a corner-stone, which in itself coupled two walls coming from different directions. So neither mayest thou take thy neighbor to be wood of any kind soever, but a bed. Then what is there in a bed, pray? What, but that the impotent man was borne on it; but, when made whole, he carries the bed? What does the apostle say? “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so shall ye fulfill the law of Christ.”5 Now the law of Christ is love, and love is not fulfilled except we bear one another’s burdens. “Forbearing,” saith he, “one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”6 When thou wast weak thy neighbor bore thee; thou art made whole, bear thy neighbor. So wilt thou fill up, O man, that which was lacking to thee. “Take up thy bed, then.” But when thou hast taken it up, stay not in the place; “walk.” By loving thy neighbor, by caring for thy neighbor, dost thou perform thy going. Whither goest thy way, but to the Lord God, whom we ought to love with the whole heart, and with the whole soul, and with the whole mind? For we are not yet come to the Lord, but we have our neighbor with us. Bear him, then, when thou walkest, that thou mayest come to Him with whom thou desirest to abide. Therefore, “take up thy bed, and walk.”

10. The man did this, and the Jews were offended. For they saw a man carrying his bed on the Sabbath-day, and they did not blame the Lord for healing him on the Sabbath, that He should be able to answer them, that if any of them had a beast fallen into a well, he would surely draw it out on the Sabbath-day, and save his beast; and so, now they did not object to Him that a man was made whole on the Sabbath-day, but that the man was carrying his bed. But if the healing was not to be deferred, should a work also have been commanded? “It is not lawful for thee,” say they, to do what thou art doing, “to take up thy bed.” And he, in defence, put the author of his healing before his censors, saying, “He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk.” Should I not take injunction from him from whom I received healing? And they said, “Who is the man that said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk?”

11. “But he that was made whole knew not who it was” that had said this to him. “For Jesus,” when He had done this, and given him this order, “turned away from him in the crowd.” See how this also is fulfilled. We bear our neighbor, and walk towards God; but Him, to whom we are walking, we do not yet see: for that reason also, that man did not yet know Jesus. The mystery herein intimated to us is, that we believe on Him whom we do not yet see; and that He may not be seen, He turns aside in the crowd. It is difficult in a crowd to see Christ: a certain solitude is necessary for our mind; it is by a certain solitude of contemplation that God is seen. A crowd has noise; this seeing requires secrecy. “Take up thy bed”—being thyself borne, bear thy neighbor; “and walk,” that thou mayest come to the goal. Do not seek Christ in a crowd: He is not as one of a crowd; He excels all crowd. That great fish first ascended from the sea, and He sits in heaven making intercession for us: as the great high priest He entered alone into that within the veil; the crowd stands without. Do thou walk, bearing thy neighbor: if thou hast learned to bear, thou, who wast wont to be borne. In a word, even now as yet thou knowest not Jesus, not yet seest Jesus: what follows thereafter? Since that man desisted not from taking up his bed and walking, “Jesus seeth him afterwards in the temple.” He did not see Jesus in the crowd, he saw Him in the temple. The Lord Jesus, indeed, saw him both in the crowd and in the temple; but the impotent man does not know Jesus in the crowd, but he knows Him in the temple. The man came then to the Lord: saw Him in the temple, saw Him in a consecrated, saw Him in a holy place. And what does the Lord say to him? “Behold, thou art made whole; sin no more, lest some worse thing befall thee.”

12. The man, then, after he saw Jesus, and knew Him to be the author of his healing, was not slothful in preaching Him whom he had seen: “He departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus that had made him whole.” He brought them word, and they were mad against him; he preached his own salvation, they sought not their own salvation.

13. The Jews persecuted the Lord Jesus because He did these things on the Sabbath-day. Let us hear what answer the Lord now made to the Jews. I have told you how He is wont to answer concerning the healing of men on the Sabbath-day, that they used not on the Sabbath-day to slight their cattle, either in delivering or in feeding them. What does He answer concerning the carrying of the bed? A manifest corporal work was done before the eyes of the Jews; not a healing of the body, but a bodily work, which appeared not so necessary as the healing. Let the Lord, then, openly declare that the sacrament of the Sabbath, even the sign of keeping one day, was given to the Jews for a time, but that the fulfillment of the sacrament had come in Himself. “My Father,” saith He, “worketh hitherto, and I work.” He sent a great commotion among them: the water is troubled by the coming of the Lord, but yet He that troubles is not seen. Yet one great sick one is to be healed by the troubled water, the whole world by the death of the Lord.

14. Let us see, then, the answer made by the Truth: “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” Is it false, then, which the Scripture has said, that “God rested from all His works on the seventh day”? And does the Lord Jesus speak contrary to this Scripture ministered by Moses, whilst He Himself says to the Jews, “If ye believed Moses, ye would believe me; for He wrote of me”? See, then, whether Moses did not mean it to be significant of something that “God rested on the seventh day.” For God had not become wearied in doing the work of His own creation, and needed rest as a man. How can He have been wearied, who made by a word? Yet is both that true, that “God rested from His works on the seventh day;” and this also is true that Jesus saith, “My Father worketh hitherto.” But who can unfold it in words, man to men, weak to weak, unlearned to them that seek to learn; and if he chance to understand somewhat, unable to bring it forth and unfold it to men, who with difficulty, it may be, receive it, even if what is received can possibly be unfolded? Who, I say, my brethren, can unfold in words how God both works while at rest, and rests while working? I pray you to put this matter off while you are advancing on the way; for this seeing requires the temple of God, requires the holy place. Bear your neighbor, and walk. Ye shall see Him in that place where ye shall not require the words of men.

15. Perhaps we can more appropriately say this, that in the saying, “God rested on the seventh day,” he signified by a great mystery the Lord and our Saviour Jesus Christ Himself, who spoke and said, “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” For the Lord Jesus is, of course, God. For He is the Word of God, and you have heard that “in the beginning was the Word;” and not any word whatsoever, but “the Word was God, and all things were made by Him.” He was perhaps signified as about to rest on the seventh day from all His works. For, read the Gospel, and see what great works Jesus wrought. He wrought our salvation on the cross, that all things foretold by the prophets might be fulfilled in Him. He was crowned with thorns; He hung on the tree; said, “I thirst,” received vinegar on a sponge, that it might be fulfilled which was said, “And in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.”1 And when all His works were completed, on the sixth day of the week, He bowed His head and gave up the ghost, and on the Sabbath-day He rested in the tomb from all His works. Therefore it is as if He said to the Jews, “Why do ye expect that I should not work on the Sabbath? The Sabbath-day was ordained for you for a sign of me. You observe the works of God: I was there when they were made, by me were they all made; I know them. ‘My Father worketh hitherto.’ The Father made the light, but He spoke that there should be light; if He spoke, it was by His Word He made it: His Word I was, I am; by me was the world made in those works, by me the world is ruled in these works. My Father worked when He made the world, and hitherto now worketh while He rules the world: therefore by me He made when He made, and by me He rules while He rules.” This He said, but to whom? To men deaf, blind, lame, impotent, not acknowledging the physician, and as if in a frenzy they had lost their wits, wishing to slay Him.

16. Further, what said the evangelist as he went on? “Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but said also that God was His Father;” not in any ordinary manner, but how? “Making Himself equal with God.” For we all say to God, “Our Father which art in heaven;” we read also that the Jews said, “Seeing Thou art our Father.”2 Therefore it was not for this they were angry, because He said that God was His Father, but because He said it in quite another way than men do. Behold, the Jews understand what the Arians do not understand. The Arians, in fact, say that the Son is not equal with the Father, and hence it is that the heresy was driven from the Church. Lo, the very blind, the very slayers of Christ, still understood the words of Christ. They did not understand Him to be Christ, nor did they understand Him to be the Son of God: but they did nevertheless understand that in these words such a Son of God was intimated to them as should be equal with God. Who He was they knew not; still they did acknowledge such a One to be declared, in that “He said God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.” Was He not therefore equal with God? He did not make Himself equal, but the Father begat Him equal. Were He to make Himself equal, He would fall by robbery. For he who wished to make himself equal with God, whilst he was not so, fell, and of an angel became a devil,3 and administered to man that cup of pride by which himself was cast down. For this fallen said to man, envying his standing, “Taste, and ye shall be as gods;”4 that is, seize to yourselves by usurpation that which ye are not made, for I also have been cast down by robbery. He did not put forth this, but this is what he persuaded to. Christ, however, was begotten equal to the Father, not made; begotten of the substance of the Father. Whence the apostle thus declares Him: “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.” What means “thought it not robbery”? He usurped not equality with God, but was in that equality in which He was begotten. And how were we to come to the equal God? “He emptied Himself, taking upon Him the form of a servant.”5 But He emptied Himself not by losing what He was, but by taking to Him what He was not. The Jews, despising this form of a servant, could not understand the Lord Christ equal to the Father, although they had not the least doubt that He affirmed this of Himself, and therefore were they enraged: and yet He still bore with them, and sought the healing of them, while they raged against Him.

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St John Chrysostom’s Homiletic Commentary on John 4:43-54

Posted by Dim Bulb on March 14, 2015

Ver. 44. “For Jesus Himself testified that a Prophet hath no honor in his own country.”

Wherefore is this added? Because He departed not unto Capernaum, but into Galilee, and thence to Cana. For that thou mayest not enquire why He tarried not with His own people, but tarried with the Samaritans, the Evangelist puts the cause,5 saying that they gave no heed unto Him; on this account He went not thither, that their condemnation might not be the greater. For I suppose that in this place He speaketh of Capernaum as “His country.” Now, to show that there He received no honor, hear Him say, “And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell.” (Matt. 11:23.) He calleth it “His own country,” because there He set forth the Word of the Dispensation, and more especially dwelt upon it. “What then,” saith some one, “do we not see many admired among their kindred?” In the first place such judgments must not be formed from rare instances; and again, if some have been honored in their own, they would have been much more honored in a strange country, for familiarity is wont to make men easily despised.

Ver. 45. “Then when He was come into Galilee, the Galilæans received Him, having seen all the things that He did at Jerusalem at the feast, for they also came unto the feast.”

Seest thou that these men so ill spoken of are found most to come to Him? For one said, “Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?” (c. 1:46), and another, “Search and look, for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.” (c. 7:52.) These things they said insulting Him, because He was supposed by the many to be of Nazareth, and they also reproached Him with being a Samaritan; “Thou art a Samaritan,” said one, “and hast a devil.” (c. 8:48.) Yet behold, both Samaritans and Galilæans believe, to the shame of the Judeans, and Samaritans are found better than Galilæans, for the first received Him through the words of the woman, the second when they had seen the miracles which He did.

Ver. 46. “So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where He made the water wine.”

The Evangelist reminds the hearer of the miracle to exalt the praise of the Samaritans. The men of Cana received Him by reason of the miracles which He had done in Jerusalem and in that place; but not so the Samaritans, they received Him through His teaching alone.

That He came then “to Cana,” the Evangelist has said, but he has not added the cause why He came.6 Into Galilee He had come because of the envy of the Jews; but wherefore to Cana? At first He came, being invited to a marriage; but wherefore now? Methinks to confirm by His presence the faith which had been implanted by His miracle, and to draw them to Him the more by coming to them self-invited, by leaving His own country, and by preferring them.

“And there was a certain nobleman whose son was sick at Capernaum.”

Ver. 47. “When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea into Galilee, he went unto Him and besought Him that He would come down and heal his son.”

This person certainly was of royal race, or possessed some dignity from his office, to which the title “noble” was attached. Some indeed think that this is the man mentioned by Matthew (Matt. 8:5), but he is shown to be a different person, not only from his dignity, but also from his faith. That other, even when Christ was willing to go to him, entreats Him to tarry; this one, when He had made no such offer, draws Him to his house. The one saith, “I am not worthy that Thou shouldest come under my roof”; but this other even urges1 Him, saying, “Come down ere my son die.” In that instance He came down from the mountain, and entered into Capernaum; but here, as He came from Samaria, and went not into Capernaum but into Cana, this person met Him. The servant of the other was possessed by the palsy, this one’s son by a fever.

“And he came and besought Him that He would heal his son: for he was at the point of death.” What saith Christ?

Ver. 48. “Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.”

Yet the very coming and beseeching Him was a mark of faith. And besides, after this the Evangelist witnesses to him,2 declaring that when Jesus said, “Go, thy son liveth,” he believed His word, and went. What then is that which He saith here? Either He useth the words as approving of3 the Samaritans because they believed without signs; or, to touch Capernaum which was thought to be His own city, and of which this person was. Moreover, another man in Luke, who says, “Lord, I believe,” said besides, “help Thou mine unbelief.”4 And so if this ruler also believed, yet he believed not entirely or soundly, as is clear from his enquiring “at what hour the fever left him,” since he desired to know whether it did so of its own accord, or at the bidding of Christ. When therefore he knew that it was “yesterday at the seventh hour,” then “himself believed and his whole house.” Seest thou that he believed when his servants, not when Christ spake? Therefore He rebuketh the state of mind with which he had come to Him, and spoken as he did, (thus too He the more drew him on to belief,) because that before the miracle he had not believed strongly. That he came and entreated was nothing wonderful, for parents in their great affection are also wont to resort not only to physicians in whom they have confidence, but also to talk with those in whom they have no confidence, desiring to omit nothing whatever.5 Indeed, that he came without any strong purpose6 appears from this, that when Christ was come into Galilee, then he saw Him, whereas if he had firmly believed in Him, he would not, when his child was on the point of death, have hesitated to go into Judæa. Or if he was afraid, this is not to be endured either.7 Observe how the very words show the weakness of the man; when he ought, after Christ had rebuked his state of mind, to have imagined something great concerning Him, even if he did not so before, listen how he drags along the ground.

Ver. 49. “Sir,” he saith, “come down ere my child die.”

As though He could not raise him after death, as though He knew not what state the child was in. It is for this that Christ rebuketh him and toucheth his conscience, to show that His miracles were wrought principally for the sake of the soul. For here He healeth the father, sick in mind, no less than the son, in order to persuade us to give heed to Him, not by reason of His miracles, but of His teaching. For miracles are not for the faithful, but for the unbelieving and the grosser sort.

[3.] At that time then, owing to his emotion, the nobleman gave no great heed to the words, or to those only which related to his son,8 yet he would afterwards recollect what had been said, and draw from thence the greatest advantage. As indeed was the case.

But what can be the reason why in the case of the centurion He by a free offer undertook to come, while here though invited, He goeth not? Because in the former case faith had been perfected, and therefore He undertook to go, that we might learn the rightmindedness of the man; but here the nobleman was imperfect. When therefore he continually9 urged Him, saying, “Come down,” and knew not yet clearly that even when absent He could heal, He showeth that even this was possible unto Him in order that this man might gain from Jesus not going, that knowledge which the centurion had of himself.10 And so when He saith, “Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe,” His meaning is, “Ye have not yet the right faith, but still feel towards Me as towards a Prophet.” Therefore to reveal Himself and to show that he ought to have believed even without miracles, He said what He said also to Philip, “Believest thou11 that the Father is in Me and I in the Father?12 Or if not, believe Me for the very works’ sake.” (c. 14:10, 11.)

Ver. 51–53. “And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth. Then enquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. So the father knew that it was at the same hour in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth; and himself believed, and his whole house.”

Seest thou how evident the miracle was? Not simply nor in a common way was the child freed from danger, but all at once, so that what took place was seen to be the consequence not of nature, but the working1 of Christ. For when he had reached the very gates of death, as his father showed by saying, “Come down ere my child die”; he was all at once freed from the disease. A fact which roused the servants also, for they perhaps came to meet their master, not only to bring him the good news, but also deeming that the coming of Jesus was now superfluous, (for they knew that their master was gone there,) and so they met him even in the way. The man released from his fear, thenceforth escaped2 into faith, being desirous to show that what had been done was the result of his journey, and thenceforth he is ambitious of appearing not to have exerted himself3 to no purpose; so he ascertained all things exactly, and “himself believed and his whole house.” For the evidence was after this unquestionable. For they who had not been present nor had heard Christ speak nor known the time, when they had heard from their master that such and such was the time, had incontrovertible demonstration of His power. Wherefore they also believed.

What now are we taught by these things? Not to wait for miracles, nor to seek pledges of the Power of God. I see many persons even now become more pious,4 when during the sufferings of a child or the sickness of a wife they enjoy any comfort, yet they ought even if they obtain it not, to persist just the same in giving thanks, in glorifying God. Because it is the part of right-minded servants, and of those who feel such affection5 and love as they ought for their Master, not only when pardoned, but also when scourged, to run to Him. For these also are effects of the tender care of God; “Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth,” it says, “every son whom He receiveth.” (Heb. 12:6.) When therefore a man serves Him only in the season of ease, he gives proofs of no great love, and loves not Christ purely. And why speak I of health, or abundant riches, or poverty, or disease? Shouldest thou hear of the fiery pit or of any other dreadful thing, not even so must thou cease from speaking good of thy Master, but suffer and do all things because of thy love for Him. For this is the part of right-minded servants and of an unswerving soul; and he who is disposed after this sort will easily endure the present, and obtain good6 things to come, and enjoy much confidence in the presence of7 God; which may it be that we all obtain through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom with the Father and the Holy Ghost be glory, now and ever, and world without end. Amen.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, fathers of the church, Notes on the Gospel of John, Notes on the Lectionary, Scripture, SERMONS, St John Chrysostom | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

St Augustine’s Tractate on John 4:43-54

Posted by Dim Bulb on March 14, 2015

1. THE Gospel Lesson of to-day follows that of yesterday, and this is the subject of our discourse. In this passage the meaning, indeed, is not difficult of investigation, but worthy of preaching, worthy of admiration and praise. Accordingly, in reciting this passage of the Gospel, we must commend it to your attention, rather than laboriously expound it.

Now Jesus, after His stay of two days in Samaria, “departed into Galilee,” where He was brought up. And the evangelist, as he goes on, says, “For Jesus Himself testified that a prophet hath no honor in his own country.” It was not because He had no honor in Samaria that Jesus departed thence after two days; for Samaria was not His own country, but Galilee. Whilst, therefore, He left Samaria so quickly, and came to Galilee, where He had been brought up, how does He testify that “a prophet hath no honor in his own country”? Rather does it seem that He might have testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country, had He disdained to go into Galilee, and had stayed in Samaria.

2. Now mark well, beloved, while the Lord suggests and bestows what I may speak, that here is intimated to us no slight mystery. You know the question before us; seek ye out the solution of it. But, to make the solution desirable, let us repeat the theme. The point that troubles us is, why the evangelist said, “For Jesus Himself testified that a prophet hath no honor in his own country.” Urged by this, we go back to the preceding words, to discover the evangelist’s intention in saying this; and we find him relating, in the preceding words of the narrative, that after two days Jesus departed from Samaria into Galilee. Was it for this, then, thou saidst, O evangelist, that Jesus testified that a prophet hath no honor in his own country, just because He left Samaria after two days, and made haste to come to Galilee? On the contrary, I should have thought it more likely, that if Jesus had no honor in His own country, He should not have hastened to it, and left Samaria. But if I am not mistaken, or rather, because it is true, and I am not mistaken; for the evangelist saw what he was saying better than I can see it, saw the truth better than I do, he who drank it in from the Lord’s bosom: for the evangelist is the same John who, among all the disciples, reclined on the Lord’s breast, and whom the Lord, owing love to all, yet loved above the rest. Is it he, then, that should be mistaken, and I right in my opinion? Rather, if I am piously-minded, let me obediently hear what he said, that I may be worthy of thinking as he thought.

3. Hear then, dearly beloved, what I think in this matter, without prejudice to your own judgment, if you have formed a better. For we have all one Master, and we are fellow-disciples in one school. This, then, is my opinion, and see whether my opinion is not true, or near the truth. In Samaria He spent two days, and the Samaritans believed on Him; many were the days He spent in Galilee, and yet the Galileans did not believe on Him. Look back to the passage, or recall in memory the lesson and the discourse of yesterday. He came into Samaria, where at first He had been preached by that woman with whom He had spoken great mysteries at Jacob’s well. After they had seen and heard Him, the Samaritans believed on Him because of the woman’s word, and believed more firmly because of His own word, even many more believed: thus it is written. After passing two days there (in which number of days is mystically indicated the number of the two precepts on which hang the whole law and the prophets, as you remember we intimated to you yesterday), He goes into Galilee, and comes to the city Cana of Galilee, where He made the water wine. And there, when He turned the water into wine, as John himself writes, His disciples believed on Him; but, of course, the house was full with a crowd of guests. So great a miracle was wrought, and yet only His disciples believed on Him. He has now returned to this city of Galilee. “And, behold, a certain ruler, whose son was sick, came to Him, and began to beseech Him to go down” to that city or house, “and heal his son; for he was at the point of death.” Did he who besought not believe? What dost thou expect to hear from me? Ask the Lord what He thought of him. Having been besought, this is what He answered: “Except ye see signs and wonders, ye believe not;” He shows us a man lukewarm, or cold in faith, or of no faith at all; but eager to try by the healing of his son what manner of person Christ was, who He was, what He could do. The words of the suppliant, indeed, we have heard: we have not seen the heart of the doubter; but He who both heard the words and saw the heart has told us this. In short, the evangelist himself, by the testimony of his narrative, shows us that the man who desired the Lord to come to his house to heal his son, had not yet believed. For after he had been informed that his son was whole, and found that he had been made whole at that hour in which the Lord had said, “Go thy way, thy son liveth;” then he saith, “And himself believed, and all his house.” Now, if the reason why he believed, and all his house, was that he was told that his son was whole, and found the hour they told him agreed with the hour of Christ’s foretelling it, it follows that when he was making the request he did not yet believe. The Samaritans had waited for no sign, they believed simply His word; but His own fellow-citizens deserved to hear this said to them, “Except ye see signs and wonders, ye believe not;” and even there, notwithstanding so great a miracle was wrought, there did not believe but “himself and his house.” At His discourse alone many of the Samaritans believed; at that miracle, in the place where it was wrought, only that house believed. What is it, then, brethren, that the Lord doth show us here? Galilee of Judea was then the Lord’s own country, because He was brought up in it. But now that the circumstance portends something,—for it is not without cause that “prodigies” are so called, but because they portend or presage something: for the word “prodigy” is so termed as if it were porrodicium, quod porro dicat, what betokens something to come, and portends something future,—now all those circumstances portended something, predicted something; let us just now assume the country of our Lord Jesus Christ after the flesh (for He had no country on earth, except after the flesh which He took on earth); let us, I say, assume the Lord’s own country to mean the people of the Jews. Lo, in His own country He hath no honor. Observe at this moment the multitudes of the Jews; observe that nation now scattered over the whole world, and plucked up by the roots; observe the broken branches, cut off, scattered, withered, which being broken off, the wild olive has deserved to be grafted in; look at the multitude of the Jews: what do they say to us even now? “He whom you worship and adore was our brother.” And we reply, “A prophet hath no honor in his own country.” In short, those Jews saw the Lord as He walked on the earth and worked miracles; they saw Him giving sight to the blind, opening the ears of the deaf, loosing the tongues of the dumb, bracing up the limbs of the paralytics, walking on the sea, commanding the winds and waves, raising the dead: they saw Him working such great signs, and after all that scarcely a few believed. I am speaking to God’s people; so many of us have believed, what signs have we seen? It is thus, therefore, that what occurred at that time betokened what is now going on. The Jews were, or rather are, like the Galileans; we, like those Samaritans. We have heard the gospel, have given it our consent, have believed on Christ through the gospel; we have seen no signs, none do we demand.

4. For, though one of the chosen and holy twelve, yet he was an Israelite, of the Lord’s nation, that Thomas who desired to put his fingers into the places of the wounds. The Lord censured him just as He did this ruler. To the ruler He said, “Except ye see signs and wonders, ye believe not;” and to Thomas He said, “Because thou hast seen, thou hast believed.” He had come to the Galileans after the Samaritans, who had believed His word, before whom He wrought no miracles, whom He without anxiety quickly left, strong in faith, because by the presence of His divinity He had not left them. Now, then, when the Lord said to Thomas, “Come, reach hither thy hand, and be not faithless, but believing;” and he, having touched the places of the wounds, exclaimed, and said, “My Lord, and my God;” he is chided, and has it said to him, “Because thou hast seen, thou hast believed.” Why, but “because a prophet has no honor in his own country?” But since this Prophet has honor among strangers, what follows? “Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”1 We are the persons here foretold; and that which the Lord by anticipation praised, He has deigned to fulfill even in us. They saw Him, who crucified Him, and touched Him with their hands, and thus a few believed; we have not seen nor handled Him, we have heard and believed. May it be our lot, that the blessedness which He has promised may be made good in us: both here, because we have been preferred to His own country; and in the world to come, because we have been grafted in instead of the branches that were broken off!

5. For He showed that He would break off these branches, and ingraft this wild olive, when moved by the faith of the centurion, who said to Him, “I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my child shall be healed: for I also am a man put under authority, having soldiers under me; and I say to one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. Jesus turned to those who followed Him, and said, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith in Israel.” Why not found so great faith in Israel? “Because a prophet has no honor in his own country.” Could not the Lord have said to that centurion, what He said to this ruler, “Go, thy child liveth?” See the distinction: this ruler desired the Lord to come down to his house; that centurion declared himself to be unworthy. To the one it was said, “I will come and heal him;” to the other, “Go, thy son liveth.” To the one He promised His presence; the other He healed by His word. The ruler sought His presence by force; the centurion declared himself unworthy of His presence. Here is a ceding to loftiness; there, a conceding to humility. As if He said to the ruler, “Go, thy son liveth;” do not weary me. “Except ye see signs and wonders, ye believe not;” thou desirest my presence in thy house, I am able to command by a word; do not wish to believe in virtue of signs: the centurion, an alien, believed me able to work by a word, and believed before I did it; you, “except ye see signs and wonders, believe not.” Therefore, if it be so, let them be broken off as proud branches, and let the humble wild olive be grafted; nevertheless, let the root remain, while those are cut off and these received in their place. Where does the root remain? In the patriarchs. For the people Israel is Christ’s own country, since it is of them that He came according to the flesh; but the root of this tree is Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the holy patriarchs. And where are they? In rest with God, in great honor; so that it was into Abraham’s bosom that the poor man, on being promoted, was raised after his departure from the body, and in Abraham’s bosom was he seen from afar off by the proud rich man. Wherefore the root remains, the root is praised; but the proud branches deserved to be cut off, and to wither away; and by their cutting off, the humble wild olive has found a place.

6. Hear now how the natural branches are cut off, how the wild olive is grafted in, by means of the centurion himself, whom I have thought proper to mention for the sake of comparison with this ruler. “Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith in Israel; therefore I say unto you, that many shall come from the east and from the west.” How widely the wild olive took possession of the earth! This world was a bitter forest; but because of the humility, because of this “I am not worthy—many shall come from the east and from the west.” And grant that they come, what shall become of them? For if they come, they are cut off from the forest; where are they to be ingrafted, that they may not wither? “And shall sit down,” saith He, “with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob.” At what banquet, in case thou dost not invite to ever living, but to much drinking? Where, “shall sit down? In the kingdom of heaven.” And how will it be with them who came of the stock of Abraham? What will become of the branches with which the tree was full? What but to be cut off, that these may be grafted in? Show us that they shall be cut off: “But the children of the kingdom shall go into outer darkness.”1

7. Therefore let the Prophet have honor among us, because He had no honor in His own country. He had no honor in His country, wherein He was formed; let Him have honor in the country which He has formed. For in that country was He, the Maker of all, made as to the form of a servant. For that city in which He was made, that Zion, that nation of the Jews He Himself made when He was with the Father as the Word of God: for “all things were made by Him, and without Him was nothing made.” Of that man we have to-day heard it said: “One Mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”2 The Psalms also foretold, saying, “My mother is Sion, shall a man say.” A certain man, the Mediator man between God and men, says, “My mother Sion.” Why says, “My mother is Sion”? Because from it He took flesh, from it was the Virgin Mary, of whose womb He took upon Him the form of a servant; in which He deigned to appear most humble. “My mother is Sion,” saith a man; and this man, who says, “My mother is Sion,” was made in her, became man in her. For He was God before her, and became man in her. He who was made man in her, “Himself did found her; the Most High3 was made man in her most low.” Because “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” “He Himself, the Most High, founded her.” Now, because He founded this country, here let Him have honor. The country in which He was born rejected Him; let that country receive Him which He regenerated.

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St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 7

Posted by Dim Bulb on March 14, 2015

A PSALM TO DAVID HIMSELF, WHICH HE SUNG TO THE LORD, FOR THE WORDS OF CHUSI, SON OF JEMINI

1. Now the story which gave occasion to this prophecy may be easily recognised in the second book of Kings.3 For there Chusi, the friend of king David, went over to the side of Abessalon, his son, who was carrying on war against his father, for the purpose of discovering and reporting the designs which he was taking against his father, at the instigation of Achitophel, who had revolted from David’s friendship, and was instructing by his counsel, to the best of his power, the son against the father. But since it is not the story itself which is to be the subject of consideration in this Psalm, from which the prophet hath taken a veil of mysteries, if we have passed over to Christ, let the veil be taken away.4 And first let us inquire into the signification of the very names, what it means. For there have not been wanting interpreters, who investigating these same words, not carnally according to the letter, but spiritually, declare to us that Chusi should be interpreted silence; and Gemini, righthanded; Achitophel, brother’s ruin. Among which interpretations, Judas, that traitor, again meets us, that Abessalon should bear his image, according to that interpretation of it as a father’s peace; in that his father was full of thoughts of peace toward him: although he in his guile had war in his heart, as was treated of in the third Psalm. Now as we find in the Gospels that the disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ are called sons,5 so in the same Gospels we find they are called brethren also. For the Lord on the resurrection saith, “Go and say to My brethren.”6 And the Apostle calls Him “the first begotten among many brethren.” The ruin then of that disciple, who betrayed Him, is rightly understood to be a brother’s ruin, which we said is the interpretation of Achitophel. Now as to Chusi, from the interpretation of silence, it is rightly understood that our Lord contended against that guile in silence, that is, in that most deep secret, whereby “blindness happened in part to Israel,”7 when they were persecuting the Lord, that the fulness of the Gentiles might enter in, and “so all Israel might be saved.” When the Apostle came to this profound secret and deep silence, he exclaimed, as if struck with a kind of awe of its very depth, “O the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out! For who hath known the wind of the Lord, or who hath been His counsellor?”8 Thus that great silence he does not so much discover by explanation, as he sets forth its greatness in admiration. In this silence the Lord, hiding the sacrament of His adorable passion, turns the brother’s voluntary ruin, that is, His betrayer’s impious wickedness, into the order of His mercy and providence: that what he with perverse mind wrought for one Man’s destruction, He might by providential overruling dispose for all men’s salvation. The perfect soul then, which is already worthy to know the secret of God, sings a Psalm unto the Lord, she sings “for the words of Chusi,” because she has attained to know the words of that silence: for among unbelievers and persecutors there is that silence and secret. But among His own, to whom it is said, “Now I call you no more servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard of My Father I have made known unto you:9 among His friends, I say, there is not the silence, but the words of the silence, that is, the meaning of that silence set forth and manifested. Which silence, that is, Chusi, is called the son of Gemini, that is, righthanded. For what was done for the Saints was not to be hidden from them. And yet He saith, “Let not the left hand know what the right hand doeth.”10 The perfect soul then, to which that secret has been made known, sings in prophecy “for the words of Chusi,” that is, for the knowledge of that same secret. Which secret God at her right hand, that is, favourable11 and propitious unto her, has wrought. Wherefore this silence is called the Son of the right hand, which is, “Chusi, the son of Gemini.”

2. “O Lord my God, in Thee have I hoped: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me” (ver. 1). As one to whom, already perfected, all the war and enmity of vice being overcome, there remaineth no enemy but the envious devil, he says, “Save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me (ver. 2): lest at any time he tear my soul as a lion.” The Apostle says, “Your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”1 Therefore when the Psalmist said in the plural number, “Save me from all them that persecute me:” he afterwards introduced the singular, saying, “lest at any time he tear my soul as a lion.” For he does not say, lest at any time they tear: he knew what enemy and violent adversary of the perfect soul remained. “Whilst there be none to redeem, nor to save:” that is, lest he tear me, whilst Thou redeemest not, nor savest. For, if God redeem not, nor save, he tears.2

3. And that it might be clear that the already perfect soul, which is to be on her guard against the most insidious snares of the devil only, says this, see what follows. “O Lord my God, if I have done this” (ver. 3). What is it that he calls “this”? Since he does not mention the sin by name, are we to understand sin generally? If this sense displease us, we may take that to be meant which follows: as if we had asked, what is this that you say, “this”? He answers, “If there be iniquity in my hands.” Now then it is clear that it is said of all sin, “If I have repaid them that recompense me evil” (ver. 4). Which none can say with truth, but the perfect. For so the Lord says, “Be ye perfect, as your Father which is in heaven; who maketh His sun to rise upon the good and the evil, and raineth on the just and the unjust.”3 He then who repayeth not them that recompense evil, is perfect. When therefore the perfect soul prays “for the words of Chusi, the son of Jemini,” that is, for the knowledge of that secret and silence, which the Lord, favourable to us and merciful, wrought for our salvation, so as to endure, and with all patience bear, the guiles of this betrayer: as if He should say to this perfect soul, explaining the design of this secret, For thee ungodly and a sinner, that thine iniquities might be washed away by My blood-shedding, in great silence and great patience I bore with My betrayer; wilt not thou imitate me, that thou too mayest not repay evil for evil? Considering then, and understanding what the Lord has done for him, and by His example going on to perfection, the Psalmist says, “If I have repaid them that recompense me evil:” that is, if I have not done what Thou hast taught me by Thy example: “may I therefore fall by mine enemies empty.” And he says well, not, If I have repaid them that do me evil; but, who “recompense.” For who so recompenseth, had received somewhat already. Now it is an instance of greater patience, not even to repay him evil, who after receiving benefits returns evil for good, than if without receiving any previous benefit he had had a mind to injure. If therefore he says, “I have repaid them that recompense me evil:” that is, If I have not imitated Thee in that silence, that is, in Thy patience, which Thou hast wrought for me, “may I fall by mine enemies empty.” For he is an empty boaster, who, being himself a man, desires to avenge himself on a man; and whilst he openly seeks to overcome a man, is secretly himself overcome by the devil, rendered empty by vain and proud joy, because he could not, as it were, be conquered. The Psalmist knows then where a greater victory may be obtained, and where “the Father which seeth in secret will reward.”4 Lest then he repay them that recompense evil, he overcomes his anger rather than another man, being instructed too by those writings, wherein it is written, “Better is he that overcometh his anger, than he that taketh a city.”5 “If I have repaid them that recompense me evil, may I therefore fall by my enemies empty.” He seems to swear by way of execration, which is the heaviest kind of oath, as when one says, If I have done so and so, may I suffer so and so. But swearing in a swearer’s mouth is one thing, in a prophet’s meaning another. For here he mentions what will really befall men who repay them that recompense evil; not what, as by an oath, he would imprecate on himself or any other.

4. “Let the enemy” therefore “persecute my soul and take it” (ver. 5). By again naming the enemy in the singular number, he more and more clearly points out him whom he spoke of above as a lion. For he persecutes the soul, and if he has deceived it, will take it. For the limit of men’s rage is the destruction of the body; but the soul, after this visible death, they cannot keep in their power: whereas whatever souls the devil shall have taken by his persecutions, he will keep. “And let him tread my life upon the earth:” that is, by treading let him make my life earth, that is to say, his food. For he is not only called a lion, but a serpent too, to whom it was said, “Earth shalt thou eat.”6 And to the sinner was it said, “Earth thou art, and into earth shalt thou go.”1 “And let him bring down my glory to the dust.” This is that dust which “the wind casteth forth from the face of the earth,”2 to wit, vain and silly boasting of the proud, puffed up, not of solid weight, as a cloud of dust carried away by the wind. Justly then has he here spoken of the glory, which he would not have brought down to dust. For he would have it solidly established in conscience before God, where there is no boasting. “He that glorieth,” saith the Apostle, “let him glory in the Lord.”3 This solidity is brought down to the dust if one through pride despising the secrecy of conscience, where God only proves a man, desires to glory before men. Hence comes what the Psalmist elsewhere says, “God shall bruise the bones of them that please men.”4 Now he that has well learnt or experienced the steps in overcoming vices, knows that this vice of empty glory is either alone, or more than all, to be shunned by the perfect. For that by which the soul first fell, she overcomes the last. “For the beginning of all sin is pride:” and again, “The beginning of man’s pride is to depart from God.”5

5. “Arise, O Lord, in Thine anger” (ver. 6). Why yet does he, who we say is perfect, incite God to anger? Must we not see, whether he rather be not perfect, who, when he was being stoned, said, “O Lord, lay not this sin to their charge”?6 Or does the Psalmist pray thus not against men, but against the devil and his angels, whose possession sinners and the ungodly are? He then does not pray against him in wrath, but in mercy, whosoever prays that that possession may be taken from him by that Lord “who justifieth the ungodly.”7 For when the ungodly is justified, from ungodly he is made just, and from being the possession of the devil he passes into the temple of God. And since it is a punishment that a possession, in which one longs to have rule, should be taken away from him: this punishment, that he should cease to possess those whom he now possesses, the Psalmist calls the anger of God against the devil. “Arise, O Lord, in Thine anger.” “Arise” (he has used it as “appear”), in words, that is, human and obscure; as though God sleeps, when He is unrecognised and hidden in His secret workings. “Be exalted in the borders of mine enemies.” He means by borders the possession itself, in which he wishes that God should be exalted, that is, be honoured and glorified, rather than the devil, while the ungodly are justified and praise God. “And arise, O Lord my God, in the commandment that Thou hast given:” that is, since Thou hast enjoined humility, appear in humility; and first fulfil what Thou hast enjoined; that men by Thy example overcoming pride may not be possessed of the devil, who against Thy commandments advised to pride, saying, “Eat, and your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods.”8

6. “And the congregation of the people shall surround Thee.” This may be understood two ways. For the congregation of the people can be taken, either of them that believe, or of them that persecute, both of which took place in the same humiliation of our Lord: in contempt of which the multitude of them that persecute surrounded Him; concerning which it is said, “Why have the heathen raged, and the people meditated vain things?”9 But of them that believe through His humiliation the multitude so surrounded Him, that it could be said with the greatest truth, “blindness in part is happened unto Israel, that the fulness of the Gentiles might come in:”10 and again, “Ask of me, and I will give Thee the Gentiles for Thine inheritance, and the boundaries of the earth for Thy possession.”11 “And for their sakes return Thou on high:” that is, for the sake of this congregation return Thou on high: which He is understood to have done by His resurrection and ascension into heaven. For being thus glorified He gave the Holy Ghost, which before His exaltation could not be given, as it is written in the Gospel, “for the Holy Ghost was not yet given, because that Jesus was not yet glorified.”12 Having then returned on high for the sake of the congregation of the people, He sent the Holy Ghost: by whom the preachers of the Gospel being filled, filled the whole world with Churches.

7. It can be taken also in this sense: “Arise, O Lord, in Thine anger, and be exalted in the borders of mine enemies:” that is, arise in Thine anger, and let not mine enemies understand Thee; so that to “be exalted,” should be this, become high,13 that Thou mayest not be understood; which has reference to the silence spoken of above. For it is of this exaltation thus said in another Psalm, “And He ascended upon Cherubim, and flew:” and, “He made darkness His secret place.”14 In which exaltation, or concealment, when for their sins’ desert they shall not understand Thee, who shall crucify Thee, “the congregation” of believers “shall surround Thee.” For in His very humiliation He was exalted, that is, was not understood. So that, “And arise, O Lord my God, in the commandment that Thou hast given:” may have reference to this, that is, when Thou showest Thyself, be high or deep that mine enemies may not understand Thee. Now sinners are the enemies of the just man, and the ungodly of the godly man. “And the congregation of the people shall surround Thee:” that is, by this very circumstance, that those who crucify Thee understand Thee not, the Gentiles shall believe on Thee, and so “shall the congregation of the people surround Thee.” But what follows, if this be the true meaning, has in it more pain, that it begins already to be perceived, than joy that it is understood. For it follows, “and for their sakes return Thou on high,” that is, and for the sake of this congregation of the human race, wherewith the Churches are crowded, return Thou on high, that is, again cease to be understood. What then is, “and for their sakes,” but that this congregation too will offend Thee, so that Thou mayest most truly foretell and say, “Thinkest Thou when the Son of man shall come, He will find faith on the earth?”1 Again, of the false prophets, who are understood to be heretics, He says, “Because of their iniquity the love of many shall wax cold.”2 Since then even in the Churches, that is, in that congregation of peoples and nations, where the Christian name has most widely spread, there shall be so great abundance of sinners, which is already, in great measure, perceived; is not that famine of the word3 here predicted, which has been threatened by another prophet also? Is it not too for this congregation’s sake, who, by their sins, are estranging from themselves the light of truth, that God returns on high, that is, so that faith, pure and cleansed from the corruption of all perverse opinions, is held and received, either not at all, or by the very few of whom it was said, “Blessed is he that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved”?4 Not without cause then is it said, “and for the sake of this” congregation “return Thou on high:” that is, again withdraw into the depth of Thy secrecy, even for the sake of this congregation of the peoples, that hath Thy name, and doeth not Thy deeds.

8. But whether the former exposition of this place, or this last be the more suitable, without prejudice to any one better, or equal, or as good, it follows very consistently, “the Lord judgeth the people.” For whether He returned on high, when, after the resurrection, He ascended into heaven, well does it follow, “The Lord judgeth the people:” for that He will come from thence to judge the quick and the dead. Or whether He return on high, when the understanding of the truth leaves sinful Christians, for that of His coming it has been said, “Thinkest thou the Son of Man on His coming will find faith on the earth?”5 “The Lord” then “judgeth the people.” What Lord, but Jesus Christ? “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.”6 Wherefore this soul which prayeth perfectly, see how she fears not the day of judgment, and with a truly secure longing says in her prayer, “Thy kingdom come: judge me,” she says, “O Lord, according to my righteousness.” In the former Psalm a weak one was entreating, imploring rather the mercy of God, than mentioning any desert of his own: since the Son of God came “to call sinners to repentance.”7 Therefore he had there said, “Save me, O Lord, for Thy mercy’s sake;”8 that is, not for my desert’s sake. But now, since being called he hath held and kept the commandments which he received, he is bold to say, “Judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness, and according to my harmlessness, that is upon me.” This is true harmlessness, which harms not even an enemy. Accordingly, well does he require to be judged according to his harmlessness, who could say with truth, “If I have repaid them that recompense me evil.” As for what he added, “that is upon me,” it can refer not only to harmlessness, but can be understood also with reference to righteousness; that the sense should be this, Judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness, and according to my harmlessness, which righteousness and harmlessness is upon me. By which addition he shows that this very thing, that the soul is righteous and harmless, she has not by herself, but by God who giveth brightness and light. For of this he says in another Psalm, “Thou, O Lord, wilt light my candle.”9 And of John it is said, that “he was not the light, but bore witness of the light.”10 “He was a burning and shining candle.”11 That light then, whence souls, as candles, are kindled, shines forth not with borrowed, but with original, brightness, which light is truth itself. It is then so said, “According to my righteousness, and according to my harmlessness, that is upon me,” as if a burning and shining candle should say, Judge me according to the flame which is upon me, that is, not that wherewith12 I am myself, but that whereby I shine enkindled of thee.

9. “But let the wickedness of sinners be consummated” (ver. 9). He says, “be consummated,” be completed, according to that in the Apocalypse, “Let the righteous become more righteous, and let the filthy be filthy still.”13 For the wickedness of those men appears consummate, who crucified the Son of God; but greater is theirs who will not live uprightly, and hate the precepts of truth, for whom the Son of God was crucified. “Let the wickedness of sinners,” then he says, “be consummated,” that is, arrive at the height of wickedness, that just judgment may be able to come at once. But since it is not only said, “Let the filthy be filthy still;” but it is said also, “Let the righteous become more righteous;” he joins on the words, “And Thou shalt direct the righteous, O God, who searcheth the hearts and reins.” How then can the righteous be directed but in secret? when even by means of those things which, in the commencement of the Christian ages, when as yet the saints were oppressed by the persecution of the men of this world, appeared marvellous to men, now that the Christian name has begun to be in such high dignity, hypocrisy, that is pretence, has increased; of those, I mean, who by the Christian profession had rather please men than God. How then is the righteous man directed in so great confusion of pretence, save whilst God searcheth the hearts and reins; seeing all men’s thoughts, which are meant by the word heart; and their delights, which are understood by the word reins? For the delight in things temporal and earthly is rightly ascribed to the reins; for that it is both the lower part of man, and that region where the pleasure of carnal generation dwells, through which man’s nature is transferred into this life of care, and deceiving joy, by the succession of the race. God then, searching our heart, and perceiving that it is there where our treasure is, that is, in heaven; searching also the reins, and perceiving that we do not assent to flesh and blood, but delight ourselves in the Lord, directs the righteous man in his inward conscience before Him, where no man seeth, but He alone who perceiveth what each man thinketh, and what delighteth each. For delight is the end of care; because to this end does each man strive by care and thought, that he may attain to his delight. He therefore seeth our cares, who searcheth the heart. He seeth too the ends of cares, that is delights, who narrowly searcheth the reins; that when He shall find that our cares incline neither to the lust of the flesh, nor to the lust of the eyes, nor to the pride of life,1 all which pass away as a shadow, but that they are raised upward to the joys of things eternal, which are spoilt by no change, He may direct the righteous, even He, the God who searcheth the hearts and reins. For our works, which we do in deeds and words, may be known unto men; but with what mind they are done, and to what end we would attain by means of them, He alone knoweth, the God who searcheth the hearts and reins.

10. “My righteous help is from the Lord, who maketh whole the upright in heart” (ver. 10). The offices of medicine are twofold, on the curing infirmity, the other the preserving health. According to the first it was said in the preceding Psalm, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am weak;”2 according to the second it is said in this Psalm, “If there be iniquity in my hands, if I have repaid them that recompense me evil, may I therefore3 fall by my enemies empty.” For there the weak prays that he may be delivered, here one already whole that he may not change for the worse. According to the one it is there said, “Make me whole for Thy mercy’s sake;” according to this other it is here said, “Judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness.” For there he asks for a remedy to escape from disease; but here for protection from falling into disease. According to the former it is said, “Make me whole, O Lord, according to Thy mercy:” according to the latter it is said, “My righteous help is from the Lord, who maketh whole the upright in heart.” Both the one and the other maketh men whole; but the former removes them from sickness into health, the latter preserves them in this health. Therefore there the help is merciful, because the sinner hath no desert, who as yet longeth to be justified, “believing on Him who justifieth the ungodly;”4 but here the help is righteous, because it is given to one already righteous. Let the sinner then who said, “I am weak,” say in the first place, “Make me whole, O Lord, for Thy mercy’s sake;” and here let the righteous man, who said, “If I have repaid them that recompense me evil,” say, “My righteous help is from the Lord, who maketh whole the upright in heart.” For if he sets forth the medicine, by which we may be healed when weak, how much more that by which we may be kept in health. For if “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us, how much more being now justified shall we be kept whole from wrath through Him.”5

11. “My righteous help is from the Lord, who maketh whole the upright in heart.” God, who searcheth the hearts and reins, directeth the righteous; but with righteous help maketh He whole the upright in heart. He doth not as He searcheth the hearts and reins, so make whole the upright in heart and reins; for the thoughts are both bad in a depraved heart, and good in an upright heart; but delights which are not good belong to the reins, for they are more low and earthly; but those that are good not to the reins, but to the heart itself. Wherefore men cannot be so called upright in reins, as they are called upright in heart, since where the thought is, there at once the delight is too; which cannot be, unless when things divine and eternal are thought of. “Thou hast given,” he says, “joy in my heart,” when he had said, “The light of Thy countenance has been stamped on us, O Lord.”1 For although the phantoms of things temporal, which the mind falsely pictures to itself, when tossed by vain and mortal hope, to vain imagination oftentimes bring a delirious and maddened joy; yet this delight must be attributed not to the heart, but to the reins; for all these imaginations have been drawn from lower, that is, earthly and carnal things. Hence it comes, that God, who searcheth he hearts and reins, and perceiveth in the heart upright thoughts, in the reins no delights, affordeth righteous help to the upright in heart, where2 heavenly delights are coupled with clean thoughts. And therefore when in another Psalm he had said, “Moreover even to-night my reins have chided me;” he went on to say as touching help, “I foresaw the Lord alway in my sight, for He is on my right hand, that I should not be moved.”3 Where he shows that he suffered suggestions only from the reins, not delights as well; for he had suffered these, then he would of course be moved. But he said, “The Lord is on my right hand, that I should not be moved;” and then he adds, “Wherefore was my heart delighted;” that the reins should have been able to chide, not delight him. The delight accordingly was produced not in the reins, but there, where against the chiding of the reins God was foreseen to be on the right hand, that is, in the heart.

12. “God the righteous judge, strong4 (in endurance) and long-suffering” (ver. 11). What God is judge, but the Lord, who judgeth the people? He is righteous; who “shall render to every man according to his works.”5 He is strong (in endurance); who, being most powerful, for our salvation bore even with ungodly persecutors. He is long-suffering; who did not immediately, after His resurrection, hurry away to punishment, even those that persecuted Him, but bore with them, that they might at length turn from that ungodliness to salvation: and still He beareth with them, reserving the last penalty for the last judgment, and up to this present time inviting sinners to repentance. “Not bringing in anger every day.” Perhaps “bringing in anger” is a more significant expression than being angry (and so we find it in the Greek6 copies); that the anger, whereby He punisheth, should not be in Him, but in the minds of those ministers who obey the commandments of truth through whom orders are given even to the lower ministries, who are called angels of wrath, to punish sin: whom even now the punishment of men delights not for justice’ sake, in which they have no pleasure, but for malice’ sake. God then doth not “bring in anger every day,” that is, He doth not collect His ministers for vengeance every day. For now the patience of God inviteth to repentance: but in the last time, when men “through their hardness and impenitent heart shall have treasured up for themselves anger in the day of anger, and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,7 then He will brandish His sword.”

13. “Unless ye be converted,” He says, “He will brandish His sword” (ver. 12). The Lord Man Himself may be taken to be God’s double-edged sword, that is, His spear, which at His first coming He will not brandish, but hideth as it were in the sheath of humiliation: but He will brandish it, when at the second coming to judge the quick and dead, in the manifest splendour of His glory, He shall flash light on His righteous ones, and terror on the ungodly. For in other copies, instead of, “He shall brandish His sword,” it has been written, “He shall make bright His spear:” by which word I think the last coming of the Lord’s glory most appropriately signified: seeing that is understood of His person, which another Psalm has, “Deliver, O Lord, my soul from the ungodly,8 Thy spear from the enemies of Thine hand. He hath bent His bow, and made it ready.” The tenses of the words must not be altogether overlooked, how he has spoken of “the sword” in the future, “He will brandish;” of “the bow” in the past, “He hath bent:” and these words of the past tense follow after.9

14. “And in it He hath prepared the instruments of death: He hath wrought His arrows for the burning” (ver. 13). That bow then I would readily take to be the Holy Scripture, in which by the strength of the New Testament, as by a sort of string, the hardness of the Old has been bent and subdued. From thence the Apostles are sent forth like arrows, or divine preachings are shot. Which arrows “He has wrought for the burning,” arrows, that is, whereby being stricken they might be inflamed with heavenly love. For by what other arrows was she stricken, who saith, “Bring me into the house of wine, place me among perfumes, crowd me among honey, for I have been wounded with love”?10 By what other arrows is he kindled, who, desirous of returning to God, and coming back from wandering, asketh for help against crafty tongues, and to whom it is said, “What shall be given thee, or what added to thee against the crafty tongue? Sharp arrows of the mighty, with devastating coals:”11 that is, coals, whereby, when thou art stricken and set on fire, thou mayest burn with so great love of the kingdom of heaven, as to despise the tongues of all that resist thee, and would recall thee from thy purpose, and to deride their persecutions, saying, “Who shall separate me from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? For I am persuaded,” he says, “that neither death, nor life, nor angel, nor principality, nor things present, not things to come, nor power, nor height, nor depth, nor other creature, shall be able to separate me from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”1 Thus for the burning hath He wrought His arrows. For in the Greek copies it is found thus, “He hath wrought His arrows for the burning.” But most of the Latin copies2 have “burning arrows.” But whether the arrows themselves burn, or make others burn, which of course they cannot do unless they burn themselves, the sense is complete.

15. But since he has said that the Lord has prepared not arrows only, but “instruments of death” too, in the bow, it may be asked, what are “instruments of death”? Are they, peradventure, heretics? For they too, out of the same bow, that is, out of the same Scriptures, light upon souls not to be inflamed with love, but destroyed with poison: which does not happen but after their deserts: wherefore even this dispensation is to be assigned to the Divine Providence, not that it makes men sinners, but that it orders them after they have sinned. For through sin reaching them with an ill purpose, they are forced to understand them ill, that this should be itself the punishment of sin: by whose death, nevertheless, the sons of the Catholic Church are, as it were by certain thorns, so to say, aroused from slumber, and make progress toward the understanding of the holy Scriptures. “For there must be also heresies, that they which are approved,” he says, “may be made manifest among you:”3 that is, among men, seeing they are manifest to God. Or has He haply ordained the same arrows to be at once instruments of death for the destruction of unbelievers, and wrought them burning, or for the burning, for the exercising of the faithful? For that is not false that the Apostle says, “To the one we are the savour of life unto life, to the other the savour of death unto death; and who is sufficient for these things?”4 It is no wonder then if the same Apostles be both instruments of death in those from whom they suffered persecution, and fiery arrows to inflame the hearts of believers.

16. Now after this dispensation righteous judgment will come: of which the Psalmist so speaks, as that we may understand that each man’s punishment is wrought out of his own sin, and his iniquity turned into vengeance: that we may not suppose that that tranquillity and ineffable light of God brings forth from Itself the means of punishing sin; but that it so ordereth sins, that what have been delights to man in sinning, should be instruments to the Lord avenging. “Behold,” he says, “he hath travailed with injustice.” Now what had he conceived, that he should travail with injustice? “He hath conceived,” he says, “toil.” Hence then comes that, “In toil shall thou eat thy bread.”5 Hence too that, “Come unto Me all ye that toil and are heavy laden; for My yoke is easy, and My burden light.”6 For toil will never cease, except one love that which cannot be taken away against his will. For when those things are loved which we can lose against our will, we must needs toil for them most miserably; and to obtain them, amid the straitnesses of earthly cares, whilst each desires to snatch them for himself, and to be beforehand with another, or to wrest it from him, must scheme injustice. Duly then, and quite in order, hath he travailed with injustice, who has conceived toil. Now he bringeth forth what, save that with which he hath travailed, although he has not travailed with that which he conceived? For that is not born, which is not conceived; but seed is conceived, that which is formed from the seed is born. Toil is then the seed of iniquity, but sin the conception of toil, that is, that first sin, to “depart from God.”7 He then hath travailed with injustice, who hath conceived toil. “And he hath brought forth iniquity.” “Iniquity” is the same as “injustice:” he hath brought forth then that with which he travailed. What follows next?

17. “He hath opened a ditch, and digged it” (ver. 15). To open a ditch is, in earthly matters, that is, as it were in the earth, to prepare deceit, that another fall therein, whom the unrighteous man wishes to deceive. Now this ditch is opened when consent is given to the evil suggestion of earthly lusts: but it is digged when after consent we press on to actual work of deceit. But how can it be, that iniquity should rather hurt the righteous man against whom it proceeds, than the unrighteous heart whence it proceeds? Accordingly, the stealer of money, for instance, while he desires to inflict painful harm upon another, is himself maimed by the wound of avarice. Now who, even out of his right mind, sees not how great is the difference between these men, when one suffers the loss of money, the other of innocence? “He will fall” then “into the pit which he hath made.” As it is said in another Psalm, “The Lord is known in executing judgments; the sinner is caught in the works of his own hands.”1

18. “His toil shall be turned on his head, and his iniquity shall descend on his pate” (ver. 16). For he had no mind to escape sin: but was brought under sin as a slave, so to say, as the Lord saith, “Whosoever sinneth is a slave.”2 His iniquity then will be upon him, when he is subject to his iniquity; for he could not say to the Lord, what the innocent and upright say, “My glory, and the lifter up of my head.”3 He then will be in such wise below, as that his iniquity may be above, and descend on him; for that it weigheth him down and burdens him, and suffers him not to fly back to the rest of the saints. This occurs, when in an ill regulated man reason is a slave, and lust hath dominion.

19. “I will confess to the Lord according to His justice” (ver. 17). This is not the sinner’s confession: for he says this, who said above most truly, “If there be iniquity in my hands:” but it is a confession of God’s justice, in which we speak thus, Verily, O Lord, Thou art just, in that Thou both so protectest the just, that Thou enlightenest them by Thyself; and so orderest sinners, that they be punished not by Thine, but by their own malice. This confession so praises the Lord, that the blasphemies of the ungodly can avail nothing, who, willing to excuse their evil deeds, are unwilling to attribute to their own fault that they sin, that is, are unwilling to attribute their fault to their fault. Accordingly they find either fortune or fate to accuse, or the devil, to whom He who made us hath willed that it should be in our power to refuse consent: or they bring in another nature, which is not of God: wretched waverers, and erring, rather than confessing to God, that He should pardon them. For it is not fit that any be pardoned, except he says, I have sinned. He, then, that sees the deserts of souls so ordered by God, that while each has his own given him, the fair beauty of the universe is in no part violated, in all things praises God: and this is not the confession of sinners, but of the righteous. For it is not the sinner’s confession when the Lord says, “I confess to Thee, O Lord of heaven and earth, because Thou hast hid these things from the wise, and revealed them to babes.”4 Likewise in Ecclesiasticus it is said, “Confess to the Lord in all His works: and in confession ye shall say this, All the works of the Lord are exceeding good.”5 Which can be seen in this Psalm, if any one with a pious mind, by the Lord’s help, distinguish between the rewards of the righteous and the penalties of the sinners, how that in these two the whole creation, which God made and rules, is adorned with a beauty wondrous and known to few. Thus then he says, “I will confess to the Lord according to His justice,” as one who saw that darkness was not made by God, but ordered nevertheless. For God said, “Let light be made, and light was made.”6 He did not say, Let darkness be made, and darkness was made: and yet He ordered it. And therefore it is said, “God divided between the light, and the darkness: and God called the light day, and the darkness He called night.”7 This is the distinction, He made the one and ordered it: but the other He made not, but yet He ordered this too. But now that sins are signified by darkness, so is it seen in the Prophet, who says, “And thy darkness shall be as the noon day:”8 and in the Apostle, who says, “He that hateth his brother is in darkness:”9 and above all that text, “Let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.”10 Not that there is any nature of darkness. For all nature, in so far as it is nature, is compelled to be. Now being belongs to light: not-being to darkness. He then that leaves Him by whom he was made, and inclines to that whence he was made, that is, to nothing, is in this sin endarkened: and yet he does not utterly perish, but he is ordered among the lowest things. Therefore after the Psalmist said, “I will confess unto the Lord:” that we might not understand it of confession of sins, he adds lastly, “And I will sing to the name of the Lord most high.” Now singing has relation to joy, but repentance of sins to sadness.

20. This Psalm can also be taken in the person of the Lord Man: if only that which is there spoken in humiliation be referred to our weakness, which He bore.11

Posted in Bible, Catholic, fathers of the church, Notes on the Lectionary, NOTES ON THE PSALMS, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 7

Posted by Dim Bulb on March 14, 2015

A CRY FOR HELP

THE psalmist is threatened by many enemies, and begs for help against them from the Lord. He claims that he has given no cause for their hostility. Had he given such cause he would, he says, willingly pay for his offence with death. But, since he is innocent, he begs the Lord to declare his innocence in a public trial a trial like the Last Judgment at which the nations will be gathered to hear the sentence.1 In this trial God will, the singer hopes, take His seat once again as world-judge, and by His sentence put an end to evil, and protect the just. The Psalmist sees his enemies preparing a new attack against him, and warns them that they are devising destruction for themselves when they think of destroying him. For the intervention of the Lord to this end, which the singer now confidently expects, he will sing a hymn of praise.

If we could ascertain the real nature of the charge made against the Psalmist which is referred to in verse 4, we should be able, perhaps, to date the poem with some certainty. But we do not know what is really implied in verse 4. The psalmist is obviously a person of great importance, since a great trial, like the Judgment of the nations, is demanded for his sake. The Davidic authorship claimed by the
superscription, is, therefore, quite possible. We cannot identify the
Benjaminite, Chusi.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Notes on the Lectionary, NOTES ON THE PSALMS, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Commentaries for the Fourth Week of Lent (March 15-22, 2015)

Posted by Dim Bulb on March 14, 2015

FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT, YEAR B

Year A: Commentaries and Resources for the Fourth Sunday of Lent. 2014, 2017, 2020, etc.

Year B: Commentaries and Resources for the Fourth Sunday of Lent. 2015, 2018, 2021, etc.

Year C: Commentaries and Resources for the Fourth Sunday of Lent. 2016, 2019, 2022, etc.

Last Week’s Posts.

MONDAY OF THE FOURTH WEEK OF LENT

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Isaiah 65:17-21.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 30.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 30.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Psalm 30.

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary on Psalm 30.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on John 4:43-54.

St Cyril of Alexandria’s Homiltic Commentary on John 4:43-54.

Update: St Augustine’s Tractate on John 4:43-54.

Update: St John Chrysostom’s Homiletic Commentary on John 4:43-54.

Podcast Study of John 4.

Navarre Bible Commentary on John 4:43-54.

TUESDAY OF THE FOURTH WEEK OF LENT

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

My Notes on Ezekiel 47:1-9, 12.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Ezekiel 47:1-9, 12.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 46.

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary on Psalm 46.

St Cyril of Alexandria’s Homiletic Commentary on John 5:1-16.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on John 5:1-16. On 1-18.

Update: St Augustine’s Tractate on John 5:1-16. On 1-18.

Navarre Bible Commentary on John 5:1-16.

WEDNESDAY OF THE FOURTH WEEK OF LENT

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Isaiah 49:8-15.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 145.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 145.

St Albert the Great’s Commentary on Psalm 145. Attributed to St Albert.

Pope Benedict XVI’s Commentary on Psalm 145.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on John 5:17-30.

St Cyril of Alexandria’s Homiletic Commentary on John 5:17-30.

Navarre Bible Commentary on John 5:17-30.

THURSDAY OF THE FOURTH WEEK OF LENT
Please Note: in 2015 this weekday falls on March 19, the Solemnity of St Joseph. Commentaries for that solemnity can be found here.

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Exodus 32:7-14.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 106.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 106.

A Patristic/Medieval Commentary on Psalm 106:19-23. Covers today’s verses.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on John 5:31-47.

Navarre Bible Commentary on John 5:31-47.

FRIDAY OF THE FOURTH WEEK OF LENT

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

My Notes on Wisdom 2:1, 12-22.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Wisdom 2:1, 12-22.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 34.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 34.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Lectures on Psalm 34.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30.

Father McIntyre’s Commentary on John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30.

Navarre Bible Commentary on John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30.

SATURDAY OF THE FOURTH WEEK OF LENT

Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Jeremiah 11:18-20.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 7.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 7.

My Notes on Psalm 7.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Psalm 7.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on John 7:40-53.

St Cyril of Alexandria’s Homiletic Commentary on John 7:40-53.

Fathers Nolan’s and Brown’s Commentary on John 7:40-53.

Navarre Bible Commentary on John 7:40-53.

FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT, YEAR B

Commentaries and Resources for the Fifth Sunday of Lent, Year B.

Next Week’s Posts. (Includes Palm Sunday).

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Catholic lectionary, Daily Catholic Lectionary, Notes on the Lectionary, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Ephesians 2:4-10

Posted by Dim Bulb on March 10, 2015

This post opens with Father MacEvilly’s brief summary analysis of Ephesians 2 followed by his comments on today’s reading (Eph 2:4-10). Text in purple indicates his paraphrasing of the scripture he is commenting on.

ANALYSIS OF EPHESIANS CHAPTER 2

In this chapter, the Apostle applies to the Ephesians in particular, what he had said in general regarding the power of God exerted in the spiritual resuscitation of sinners (chap. 1 verse 19). He depicts the wretched condition of the Ephesians when dead in sin; and he shows, that the same description applied to the Jews as well as to the Gentiles (1–3). He also shows how, through the infinite mercy of God, they were resuscitated unto a spiritual resurrection—of which the resurrection of Christ was the model—and made sharers in his heavenly kingdom (4–7). He reminds them, that those favours were purely the result of God’s gratuitous goodness, without any merits of theirs; for, their justification was a kind of new creation, and as well might the world glory in its production out of nothing, as they, in their new spiritual existence (8–12). In order to inspire them with due feelings of gratitude, and to stimulate them to serve God with greater fervour, he tells them, in the next place, to keep always in mind, their former spiritual destitution, and wretched state, and their present blessedness secured for them through the merits of Christ; and he explains how Christ brought about such exalted ends (11–19). From all this he concludes, that they are no longer strangers, but domestics of God; and he illustrates the union that subsisted between the Ephesians and the rest of the faithful by the metaphor of a spiritual edifice of which they form a part, having been built on Christ and his Apostles.

Eph 2:4 But God (who is rich in mercy) for his exceeding charity wherewith he loved us

God, who is rich in mercy, owing to the excessive charity with which he loved us,

“But God.” The particle “but,” which breaks the sentence, has been introduced, in the opinion of St. Jerome, by some copyist, or, its introduction may be owing to the ardour of the Apostle. “His exceeding charity.” God’s love for us may be justly termed excessive, and hence his passion is termed “his excess” in the Gospel. The master is humbled for the slave, the Creator for the work of his own hands, an outraged God submits to unparalleled torture to atone for the outrages offered himself by a sinful creature. Good God! how the thought of thy Passion, with all its circumstances, confounds all human reasoning. Ut servum redimeres, Filium tradidisti.

Eph 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together in Christ (by whose grace you are saved)

Even when, like you (verse 1) we were spiritually dead in our sins, bestowed upon us spiritual life, after the example of Christ, by raising us from spiritual death, as he raised him from the grave (by whose grace you have been saved).

From verse 1 to verse 4, should be included in a parenthesis. The Apostle here repeats what he commenced in verse 1, with merely a difference of person, “us” for “you,” (verse 1). “And when we were dead in sins, he quickened us,” (of course the word “you,” is also included). “Together in Christ,” i.e., after the example of Christ. His resurrection was the model of our spiritual resuscitation from the grave of sin. (“By whose grace,” &c.); “whose” is not in the Greek, which runs thus, χαριτι εστε σεσωσμεν οι, by grace, ye are saved.

Eph 2:6 And hath raised us up together and hath made us sit together in the heavenly places, through Christ Jesus.

And rendered us partakers of the new and glorified life of Christ, and made us sit with him in heaven, by the assurance and pledge given us, that our present hopes shall, at a future day, be surely realized.

“And hath raised us up together,” &c., is understood by some of a spiritual resuscitation from sin to a life of justice, thereby causing us to have our conversation with Christ in heaven. Others make it refer to the future resurrection and glorification of our bodies, which, although a future event, is still read in the past tense. “Hath raised us up,” on account of the certainty of its accomplishment. The Apostle here refers to the exercise of the power of which he spoke, verse 19, of preceding chapter. Hence, it includes our spiritual resurrection at present, and the future resurrection of our bodies, and all has been effected “through Christ Jesus.”

Eph 2:7 That he might shew in the ages to come the abundant riches of his grace, in his bounty towards us in Christ Jesus.

And all this he has done for the purpose of manifesting in future ages, unto the end of time, the abundant riches of his grace by the benignity he has shown us in Christ Jesus—that thus he may be glorified in his gifts.

“Ages to come,” are understood by some of the time after the general judgment. They more probably refer, however (as in Paraphrase), to the ages that are to elapse from the coming of Christ to the end of the world. “In his bounty towards us.” He has displayed his superabundant riches in the magnitude and number of the blessings conferred on us through Christ Jesus.

Eph 2:8 For by grace you are saved through faith: and that not of yourselves, for it is the gift of God.

For, it is owing to the gratuitous benefits of Christ, you have obtained initial salvation, or justification through faith; and this faith is not of yourselves, it is to be classed as a grace; for, it is the gift of God.

The Apostle here shows why it is he said in the preceding verse, that the final cause of God’s blessings towards us was to manifest the abundant riches of his grace, “for, by grace you are saved,” which is generally understood of justification, which is initial salvation, and which, if persevered in, will infallibly lead to consummate salvation. It is through faith also we obtain this salvation or justification, which faith, although not absolutely the first grace received by infidels, who receive many actual graces before it: (hence, the proposition, fides est prima gratia, was condemned in the bull, “Auctorem fidei,”) is still the first grace in the order of justification, being, according to the Council of Trent, initium humanæ Salutis, radix et fundamentum omnis justificationis.—(SS. vi. chapter 8). St. Paul, far from supposing faith itself not to be a grace, supposes it to be the first in the order of graces, by which we are justified. “And this not of yourselves, for it is the gift of God.” Some include these words within a parenthesis. They make “this” refer to faith, as if he said: I do not exclude faith from the number of graces to which I ascribe justification, for, “it is a gift of God,” and they connect “not of works,” in the following verse, with “you are saved through faith … not of works,” &c. Others make “this” refer to salvation through faith, but it would be quite a useless tautology in that case; for, by saying “by grace,” he would have sufficiently conveyed that it was “not of yourselves.” From this passage many of the Holy Fathers proved that faith was the gift of God.

Eph 2:9 Not of works, that no man may glory.

By faith, and not by works preceding faith, you have been saved, or justified; that no man may glory as if he was justified through any merit of his own.

He speaks of works performed by their own natural powers, without faith; for, he opposes such works to faith (verse 8), and it is only in such works a “man could glory.” He is here speaking of first justification, which we must all hold to be quite gratuitous, and to which no merits on our part, either actual or foreseen, could give a claim.

Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus in good works, which God hath prepared that we should walk in them.

For, we are his workmanship, having received from him a second creation in our spiritual regeneration in baptism through Christ Jesus, for the purpose of performing the good and holy works which lie prepared, in order that we should perseveringly exercise ourselves in them.

We are, in our justification, his creation, his work, which proves that justification is to be ascribed to God’s grace, and not to our own natural strength. Hence, we have no more cause for glorying in our justification, which is a kind of second creation conferred on us, through the merits of Christ, than would the world have for glorying in its first creation. “In good works,” i.e., for, or, unto good works. The Hebrew idiom often gives, in, the meaning of, unto, for. “Which God has prepared,” &c. God is said to prepare good works, by determining to grant us grace, the seed without which no good works conducing to salvation could exist. There is no argument here against our own free co-operation in the work of justification; because the implied comparison between our justification and creation is introduced merely for the purpose of showing the utter gratuitousness of justification, and how little grounds it leaves for glorying. Qui creavit te sine te, non salvabit te sine te.—St. Augustine.

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