The Divine Lamp

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

Archive for the ‘Notes on 2 Peter’ Category

Bishop MacEvily’s Commentary on 2 Peter 3:12-15, 17-18

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 2, 2012

This post includes the Bishop’s brief analysis of chapter 3, followed by his notes on today’s reading. In addition, I’ve also included the Bishop’s paraphrase of the text he is commenting on. The paraphrasing is in purple text.

Analysis of 2 Peter 3~In this chapter, the Apostle tells the faithful, that this is the second Epistle he addressed to them, in which, as well as in the former, he wished to remind them of the truths of faith, predicted by the prophets, and inculcated by the Apostles. He probably refers, in a particular manner, to the doctrine regarding the coming of Christ, in due time, to judge the world—a doctrine questioned by the false teachers (3:1-2). In order to put them on their guard, he tells them that such persons would come amongst them, and at all times trouble the Church (3:3). The principal error of these men will consist in ridiculing the great doctrine of Christ’s coming to judge the world. This is, indeed, the practical teaching of the impious at all times (3:4).

He refutes the teaching of those men, who probably ridiculed the idea of fire— one of the most active principles or elements of the present world—being made instrumental in its ruin, by showing that an element, which equally entered into the constitution of the present system—viz., water, was employed for its destruction, formerly. He thus refutes their assertion, that things continued in the same tvay from creation (3:5-6). He next refutes their deduction from analogy, that things would continue as they were for ever, by showing, that the world is to be destroyed by fire (3:7). The scoffs of the impious regarding the tardiness of Christ’s coming, he shows to be groundless; since the measure of time with God is quite different from that adopted by us (3:8). And, in truth, this delay is intended by God as a judgment of mercy, to give men time for repentance, and to enable the number of the elect to be filled up (3:9). He again repeats his assertion, that the present system of the world is to be changed and renovated (3:10)- and draws moral conclusions from thence—viz., that we should, by sanctity of life, prepare and fit ourselves for the renovated heavens and earth, the abode of the blessed (3:11-13), and endeavour to be found, in the presence of our Judge, free from spot (3:15).

He refers to the Epistle of St. Paul, as inculcating the same things, and observes regarding them, that they are difficult and hard to be understood; to persons not fit to read them, they are like all other inspired scriptures, a source of spiritual ruin (3:15-16).

In conclusion, he cautions them against being led astray by the erroneous doctrines of the impious scoffers in question, and exhorts them to endeavour to advance in grace and faith.

2Pe 3:12  Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of the Lord, by which the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with the burning heat?

 Firmly hoping for, and hastening on to meet, or anticipating by your diligent preparation, the coming of the day of the Lord, by which the heavens, being set on fire, will be dissolved, and the elements shall melt away with a burning heat?

“Looking for,”‘ that is, by firm hope, looking forward to, “and hastening unto,” or, anticipating, in the fervour and zeal of your preparation, “the coming of the day of the Lord,” acting each day as you would, were the day of the Lord immediately at hand. “By which,” that is, either day, or coming of the Lord. “The heavens being on fire shall be dissolved.” The meaning of this is the same as that of verse 10; here, it is merely added, that the heat by which all things will be dissolved is the heat of fire. “The heavens will be dissolved.” This refers to the lower heavens or regions of the air; although it is most likely that the starry heavens will not be dissolved, it is still very probable, they will be changed or perfected, so as to suit the glorified condition of the children of God. ” The powers of heaven-(the stars) shall be moved,” as the Church sings in her Office, quando cœli movendi sunt et terra.”  “And the elements shall melt away with a burning heat.” They shall melt away like wax, with the form changed, the substance shall remain. “Transit figura hujus mundi” (i.e., “For the fashion of this world passeth away”, 1 Cor 7:31).

2Pe 3:13  But we look for new heavens and a new earth according to his promises, in which justice dwelleth.

 But, although the present system of creation be dissolved, we look for and expect new and renovated heavens, a newly renovated earth, in which perfect justice and immaculate sanctity will dwell.

“But we look for new heavens,” that is, heavens renovated and perfected, into which the present heavens shall be changed, including both the lower air, or atmosphere, and the starry heaven. For, the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days—(Isaiah 30:26).  “And a new earth,” the present earth renovated and changed in its qualities and purified of all the dross and imperfection, which it contracted from the “slavery of corruption.”—(Rom 8) “According to his promises.” The new heavens, &c., are promised (Isaiah 65:17, 66:22); or, the words may refer to the general promises of eternal happiness, made to the saints. ” In which justice dwelleth,” that is, which will be the seat and habitation of the blessed, free from all stains or defilements. “There shall not enter into it anything defiled.”—(Rev 21:27).

2Pe 3:14  Wherefore, dearly beloved, waiting for these things, be diligent that you may be found before him unspotted and blameless in peace.

Wherefore, dearly beloved, as you are firmly hoping for this renovated state of things, this new heaven and new earth, exert all your care and diligence to be found by the Lord, at his coming, free from all gross crimes, particularly such as are practiced by the deceitful scoffers, and, as far as possible, free from lesser defects, in a state of peace both with God and your neighbor, thus calmly prepared to meet your judge.

“Wherefore, dearly beloved, seeing that you look for these things,” seeing that you expect a new heaven and a new earth, and a total renovation of all things, at the coming of Christ to judgment, and that you thus turn a deaf ear to the incredulous, and to the scofiing questions of the impious, asking, “where is his promise or his coming?” verse 4), “be diligent,” exert your utmost care and diligence, “that you may be found undefiled,” that is, free from the grosser crimes, such as the Simonites, Gnostics, and other heretics had fallen into, (“walking after their own lusts,” verse 3); “and undefiled,” free from lesser or venial faults, as far as possible. “To him,” in his presence, “in peace,” by being in peace both with God and your neighbour. Thus you will calmly and peaceably be prepared to meet the judge.

2Pe 3:15a  And account the long-suffering of our Lord, salvation…

And look upon the long-suffering of the Lord, in deferring his coming, as solely intended for your salvation, to give you time for repentance and merit.

“And account the long suffering of our Lord, salvation,” that is to say, regard the long-suffering of God in deferring his coming to judge the world, not in a spirit of captious and deceitful inquiring, “where is his promise or his coming?” (verse 4), but, rather as intended, in the gracious designs of Providence, to secure your salvation, by giving you time for repentance, or for heaping up a treasure of merit.

2Pe 3:17  You therefore, brethren, knowing these things before, take heed, lest being led aside by the error of the unwise, you fall from your own steadfastness.

Do you therefore, beloved brethren, admonished beforehand of these things, be on your guard, lest, forced aside from the path of truth, by the erroneous teaching of these men, you fall away from the steadfast profession of Christian faith, and the practice of Christian virtues, in which the grace of God has established you.

The Apostle concludes this Epistle by cautioning them against being deceived by the erroneous teachings of the false scoffers. “Take heed, lest being led aside,” from the path of truth. The Greek word for “led aside,” συναπαχθεντες, means being carried or forced forward, as if by a crowd. “By the error of the unwise,” in Greek, των αθεσμων, of the lawless. He refers to these scoffers who trample on all laws, human and divine. “You fall from your own steadfastness,” both in the profession of faith and its inward belief, and the practice of virtues. Hence, faith is not inamissible. St. Paul assures us also, that Hymeneus and Philetus had fallen away from it (1 Tim 1:20).

2Pe 3:18  But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and unto the day of eternity, Amen.

But (by the zealous performance of good works), endeavour to increase in grace, both actual and habitual, and in the more perfect faith and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be rendered glory both in this life and during the never ending ages of eternity. Amen.

“But grow in grace,” that is, by advancing from virtue to virtue, endeavour to acquire an increase of grace, both actual and habitual. “And the knowledge of our Lord,” &c. This he says in opposition to those who, from an affectation of superior knowledge, were called Gnostics, though really ignorant and wandering from truth. The Apostle closes the Epistle with words almost the same as those with which he began it. “Grace to you and peace be accomplished in the knowledge of God, and of Christ Jesus our Lord” (2 Pet 1:). “To him be glory both now,” in this world, “and unto the day,” the never-ending moment, “of eternity. Amen.”

Advertisements

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, liturgy, Notes on 2 Peter, Notes on the Lectionary, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on 2 Peter 1:2-7

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 2, 2012

A Summary of 2 Peter 1~The Apostle commences this chapter with the usual form of apostolical salutation (verses 1-2), In the next place, he exhorts the faithful, seeing that God has bestowed on them the most exalted gifts (3-4), to correspond with his gracious designs, by performing, on their part, aided by divine grace, the good works necessary for securing ihe end of salvation, and by practising, in an exalted degree, the Christian virtues, of which he points out, in a beautiful order, a perfect series or gradation. In this chain of virtues, the first link is the virtue offaith; the last, charity (5-7). He points out the good effect of cultivating, in a perfect degree, these exalted virtues (8); and, on the other hand, he shows the great evils which their absence entails on a Christian, who, without them, is blind and groping in the dark (9).

He next exhorts them to insure, by good works, the object of their vocation and election (10). And he points out the end and glorious rewards to which perseverance in good will conduct them (11). He declares his determination to instruct them in these truths; this he considers a matter of duty, during the short time he had to live; that his continuance in life was to be very brief, he knew from revelation (12-14).

He expresses his anxiety to take some steps, whereby they may be enabled, even after his death, to call these truths to mind, probably, by leaving his written Epistles, or, “by commending these things to faithful men,” as did St. Paul (2. Tim 2) No wonder, he should be anxious to impart to them his doctrine; for, he received it not from any false or erroneous source; he only declared concerning Christ’s glory, what he, himself, was an eye-witness of, at the transfiguration, a type of the glory to be displayed at his second coming (16). He refers, also, to the splendid testimony rendered to him by God the Father (17); a testimony which St. Peter, together ivith John and James, heard when they were with him on Mount Thabor (17-18).

He next adduces the testimony of the prophets, which, in the mind of the Jews, carried greater weight with it, than any attestation of the Apostles; and, he commends them for attending to this testimony, until they are firmly established in the faith (19).

He tells them, in attending to the oracles of sacred Scripture, to bear in mind, that the sacred Scriptures are to be interpreted, not by any private exposition; but, to be explained by the same spirit, by which they were originally dictated (20-21).

2Pe 1:2  Grace to you and peace be accomplished in the knowledge of God and of Christ Jesus our Lord.

May the blessings of grace and peace be increased and multiplied for you, along with, or, through your knowledge of God, and of Christ Jesus our Lord, which knowledge is the source of all spiritual blessings.

“Grace” &c.—the apostolical salutation—” be accomplished.” The Greek, πληθυνθειη, means, be multiplied or increased, “in the knowledge,” &c. The particle “in,” is interpreted, with, here, also (vide Paraphrase). Others make “in” the same as by, or through, so as to give the words this meaning: may peace and grace be multiplied for you, through the knowledge you will obtain of God, and of “Jesus Christ” (as man), “our Lord;” for, almost all the fundamental articles of our failh have for object, the divinity and humanity of Christ. “Of Christ Jesus.” The word “Christ” is omitted in the Greek. It is, however, found in the Alexandrian MS. and versions generally.

2Pe 1:3  As all things of his divine power which appertain to life and godliness are given us through the knowledge of him who hath called us by his own proper glory and virtue.

As God has, by his divine power, conferred on us all spiritual life here, and eternal life hereafter, through the knowledge and faith of him, who has called us, by his glorious benignity, or merciful humanity.

Some interpreters connect this verse with the preceding, thus: “may grace and peace be increased for you through the knowledge of God” (verse 2), as it was through the knowledge of him, who called you by his glorious power, that all the gifts of the divine virtue, which conduce to your spiritual and eternal life, were originally conferred on you. According to these, the Apostle prays for an increase of all spiritual blessings, “grace,” and their secure possession, “peace,” through the same medium or channel, through which they were originally imparted, viz., the knowledge of Jesus Christ, “of him who called you, by his own power and virtue.” Others, with greater probability, suspend the sense, until we come to verse 5 (the construction adopted in Paraphrase).

It is to be remarked, that in the Greek, the words, “are given to us,” are read in the past participle passive, agreeing in the genitive case with “of his divine power,” της θειας δυναμεως δεδωρημενης. But in the next verse, the same is rendered actively (“‘he hath given us”—verse 4, in Greek, δεδωρηται), and so it should, most probably, in this also; hence, adhering to the Greek, it ought to run thus: ”as his divine power hath given us all the gifts which appertain to life, &c” “By his own proper glory and virtue;” (“his own” are not in the Greek), “glory and virtue,” means, glorious power. “Virtue,” however, in this latter case, is different in signification from “power,” in the words, “of his divine power” (δυναμεως), where it refers to his attribute of omnipotence; in this (as appears from the Greek, αρετης), “virtue” means, his benignity, goodness, or humanity.

2Pe 1:4  By whom he hath given us most great and precious promises: that by these you may be made partakers of the divine nature: flying the corruption of that concupiscence which is in the world.

Through whom he has bestowed on us the most exalted and precious gifts, promised in the Scriptures of the Old Testament, so that by these gifts you may become, in a certain sense, partakers of the divine nature by imitation, flying the obstacles to this spiritual existence, viz., the corrupt deeds of concupiscence or lust, which reigns in the world.

“By whom;” in the Greek it is ( δι ων) “by which” gifts of his divine power, conducing to spiritual and eternal life; some, however, of the best copies support our Vulgate, “by whom,” viz., Christ; and this accords best with the sacred Scriptures, which exhibit the Father, as bestowing all blessings on us, through Christ; “that by these you may be made partakers of the divine nature,” refers to sanctifying grace, which is a quality that permanently resides in the soul by way of habit, gives to it a new spiritual essence, a supernatural subsistence; makes it the constant abode of the Holy Ghost; and this spiritual, supernatural subsistence, makes us sharers or partakers of the divine nature by imitation, as nearly as a creature can approach the nature of the Creator in this life, and in the next life, when “we are transformed into him.” “Flying the corruption of that concupiscence which is in the world.” The Greek is, αποφυγοντες της εν τω κοσμω εν επιθυμια φθορας, flying the corruption that is in the world, in, or through, concupiscence. The Apostle points out the obstacles to the preservation of this spiritual existence, viz., mortal sin, with which sanctifying grace can never co-exist in the soul; the corrupt deeds of concupiscence or lust, which reigns in the world, are, in a particular way, opposed to the purity of sanctifying grace; he calls these unclean deeds “corruption,” because indulgence in them corrupts and degrades the rational nature of man, blinds his intellect, and perverts his will.

2Pe 1:5  And you, employing all care, minister in your faith, virtue: And in virtue, knowledge:

(As God, then [verse 3], has, on his part, conferred the greatest blessings on you, by thus raising you to a participation in his divine nature, &c.), so do you, on your part, co-operate with him, by employing all diligence and care, for the permanence and perpetuity of these gifts; with faith supply, or join the moral virtues, and performance of good works; with the performance of good works join prudence, or the practical knowledge of the befitting circumstances of each action.

Here, the sentence commencing at verse 3 is now completed, as, God, on his part, has conferred the greatest blessings (verse 3); so, do you, on your part, co-operate with him. The words, αυτο τουτο for this very reason, are added in the Greek; and mean, for the purpose of permanently enjoying those blessings already conferred on you; “employing all care.” The Greek word for “employing,” παρεισενεγκαντες, expresses the subordinate co-operation of our faculties, aided by God’s grace. The Apostle, in a beautiful gradation, now points out the deeds wherein our free will, aided by divine grace, should co-operate, and manifest our gratitude “for the great and precious promises” (4) gratuitously fulfilled for us by God; for, although our co-operation is the effect of divine grace, he still wishes to remind us of the necessity of this co-operation on our part, just as the husbandman should be reminded of the duty of planting and watering, although the increase be the work of God alone. “Minister” (in Greek, επιχορηγησατε, supply) “in your faith, virtue.” “In” signifies, with, the meaning of the Hebrew, beth; with faith supply virtue, that is, to your faith join the moral virtues or good works; since without them, faith is dead; “and in virtue, knowledge,” to the moral virtues, join the practical knowledge commonly termed prudence, which considers all the circumstances of  any moral work to be performed.

2Pe 1:6  And in knowledge, abstinence: and in abstinence, patience: and in patience, godliness:

With prudence, join the government of your passions, and abstinence from illicit indulgence in carnal and sensual pleasures; with abstinence, join patient and persevering endurance of afflictions and mortification; and with patience, join godliness, making the good will and pleasure of God, the pure motive of your virtuous suffering and endurance.

“And in knowledge, abstinence,” to prudence join temperance, or the governing of the passions, together with abstinence from carnal pleasures; for, nothing so much blinds the mind, or obscures the prudent judgment of the intellect, as the inordinate indulgence in sensual pleasures. “And in abstinence, patience,” since, if a man have not patience to bear up against crosses and adversity, he will not long persevere in abstinence; for, as this very abstinence, this mortification and crucifixion of the carnal man, is itself opposed to our corrupt nature, it will require great patience to hold out; without such patience, we will give up this state of suffering, and fall back for solace on carnal pleasures and enjoyment. “And in patience, godliness,” to patience, join piety. The service and good pleasure of God should be the motive of this self-mortification, and of our sufferings. This will distinguish our virtues from that of the Pagan philosophers, whose motive in suffering was pride and vain glory.

2Pe 1:7  And in godliness, love of brotherhood: and in love of brotherhood, charity.

And with piety towards God, join a due regard and love for your neighbor, and with this love of your neighbor, join the motive of charity or loving him for God, and not from any purely natural motive.

“And with godliness (join) a love of brotherhood.” Many who are severe on themselves, and apparently pious and exact in regard to the duties which they owe God, are frequently wanting in a due love and consideration for their brethren. The Apostle corrects this mistaken idea or neglect of duty. “And in love of brotherhood, charity; ” their love of the neighbour should not be grounded on mere natural feelings, nor on motives of interest—such would be mere Pagan virtue, “do not even the publicans and heathens this?”—(Matthew 5:46-47); he must be loved with the love of “charity,” for God’s sake. It is worthy of remark, that in this chain of virtues the first link is “faith,” without which the moral virtues will rarely or never be practised; and the last, “charity,” the queen of virtues, without which all the rest will not secure our salvation.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, liturgy, Notes on 2 Peter, Notes on the Lectionary, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on 2 Peter 3:8-14

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 30, 2011

This post includes the Bishop’s brief analysis of chapter 3, followed by his notes on today’s reading. In addition, I’ve also included the Bishop’s paraphrase of the text he is commenting on. The paraphrasing is in purple text.

Analysis of 2 Peter 3~In this chapter, the Apostle tells the faithful, that this is the second Epistle he addressed to them, in which, as well as in the former, he wished to remind them of the truths of faith, predicted by the prophets, and inculcated by the Apostles. He probably refers, in a particular manner, to the doctrine regarding the coming of Christ, in due time, to judge the world—a doctrine questioned by the false teachers (3:1-2). In order to put them on their guard, he tells them that such persons would come amongst them, and at all times trouble the Church (3:3). The principal error of these men will consist in ridiculing the great doctrine of Christ’s coming to judge the world. This is, indeed, the practical teaching of the impious at all times (3:4).

He refutes the teaching of those men, who probably ridiculed the idea of fire— one of the most active principles or elements of the present world—being made instrumental in its ruin, by showing that an element, which equally entered into the constitution of the present system—viz., water, was employed for its destruction, formerly. He thus refutes their assertion, that things continued in the same tvay from creation (3:5-6). He next refutes their deduction from analogy, that things would continue as they were for ever, by showing, that the world is to be destroyed by fire (3:7). The scoffs of the impious regarding the tardiness of Christ’s coming, he shows to be groundless; since the measure of time with God is quite different from that adopted by us (3:8). And, in truth, this delay is intended by God as a judgment of mercy, to give men time for repentance, and to enable the number of the elect to be filled up (3:9). He again repeats his assertion, that the present system of the world is to be changed and renovated (3:10)- and draws moral conclusions from thence—viz., that we should, by sanctity of life, prepare and fit ourselves for the renovated heavens and earth, the abode of the blessed (3:11-13), and endeavour to be found, in the presence of our Judge, free from spot (3:15).

He refers to the Epistle of St. Paul, as inculcating the same things, and observes regarding them, that they are difficult and hard to be understood; to persons not fit to read them, they are like all other inspired scriptures, a source of spiritual ruin (3:15-16).

Notes on 2 Peter 3:8-14~

2Pe 3:8  But of this one thing be not ignorant, my beloved, that one day with the Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

But as for the railleries of these impious scoffers regarding the tardy performance of God’s promise to come and judge the world, they are to be unheeded; for, if the measure of time in the designs of God be considered, there is no room whatever for objection on this point. With him a thousand years and one day are the same; viewed in comparison with eternity, both are a mere point.

The Apostle now proceeds to point out how devoid of all foundation are the scoffs and railleries of those impious men with regard to the slowness and tardiness of Christ’s coming. With him, who beholds eternity at one glance, the longest and shortest periods of time are all the same; a thousand years as well as a single day compared with eternity are the same, infinitely distant from it; and hence, any delay in the coming of Christ, is, according to their computation of time, but not according to the measure adopted by Him.

2Pe 3:9  The Lord delayeth not his promise, as some imagine, but dealeth patiently for your sake, not willing that any should perish, but that all should return to penance,

The Lord does not put off, beyond the determined time, the execution of his promise, as some persons imagine, but he endures patiently and with long-suffering on your account, not willing that any persons should be lost, but that all should return to penance.

What men are apt to consider a delay on the part of God to fulfil his promise, is not a delay at all; but rather a gracious judgment of his mercy, an exercise of his long-suffering, wishing to give his people time for repentance; “not willing that anyone should perish, but that all should return to penance;” the meaning of which words is, that, by a sincere, antecedent will, God wishes no one to perish, but that all men should be saved; He also gives all men sufficient means of salvation. The words, “the Lord delayeth not his promise,” admit of this construction also, according to the Greek, ου βραδυνει κυριος της επαγγελιας, the Lord of the promise is not slow.  “As some imagine,” are thus read in the Greek, ως τινες βραδυτητα ηγουνται, as some compute slowness.  “For your sake.” In the common Greek, for our sake. The Codex Vaticanus has, εις υμας, the Alexandrian, δí υμας. Both support the Vulgate. How calculated is not the serious meditation on these words of the Apostle, “A thousand years with God is but as a single day,” to raise our thoughts to eternal enjoyments, and make us undervalue all the pleasures and riches and honours of this life, which, be it ever so prolonged, when compared with eternity, is but a mere point. “A thousand years in his sight is but as yesterday which is past and gone.” (Psalm 90:4) With the Psalmist we should frequently, in the day of trial and affliction, “Keep in mind the eternal years” (Psalm 77:6) Our conversation, our thoughts, should be in heaven, whence we are to expect, in his own good time, a deliverer; and we should rest assured, that if he appear tardy in coming to our relief, it is to give us time for penance, and to enable us to hoard up greater treasures of merit.

2Pe 3:10  But the day of the Lord shall come as a thief, in which the heavens shall pass away with great violence and the elements shall be melted with heat and the earth and the works which are in it shall be burnt up.

But the day of the Lord, like the nightly and sudden approach of a thief, shall come unexpectedly; in it the heavens will pass away with a great crash, such as is occasioned by a violent storm of wind or the pealing of thunder, and the elements changing their figure and appearance, shall, all on fire, be dissolved with great heat, and the earth, with all its productions, natural and artificial, as well as the works of mankind shall be burnt up.

The day on which the Lord Jesus is to judge the world, will come unexpectedly, “as a thief,” to which, in the common Greek, is added (in the night). These latter words are not found in either the Alexandrian or Vatican manuscripts, and were, most likely, added here and taken from 1 Thess 5:2, where the day of judgment is described.  “In which the heavens shall pass away,” that is, the regions of the air, in Sacred Scriptures often called “heavens,” shall pass away, and, purged of all their present grossness and imperfection, shall be changed into a more perfect and incorruptible
form. “With great violence.” The Greek word, ροιζηδον, means the hissing or
crashing noise caused by a violent storm of wind or thunder. The fire of conflagration will, most probably, precede the coming of the judge, and causing the death of such men as will have survived the other precursory evils of the day of judgment, viz., famine, the sword, &c., shall continue to pass with great noise from hemisphere to hemisphere, and continue during the holding of the judgment, devouring and purging the elements, until, after the sentence of the judge, increasing in ardour and violence, it shall precipitate the impious into hell.

“And the elements shall be melted with heat.” Some understand these of the four elements, viz., fire, air, earth, and water. They shall be melted away, not in such a way, as to be utterly destroyed, but merely changed, just as melted gold loses its dross and form, while its substance remains. Others say, the “elements” refer only to the earth and water; for,the Apostle treated already of the element of air, when saying “the heavens shall pass away,” and as for the element of fire, they say it is hard to conceive how the fire of conflagration can destroy the elementary fire. To this it might, however, be replied, that it will only dissolve it, and depriving it of all grossness and imperfection, purify and render it a fit ingredient of the new creation, which is to be the dwelling place of the glorified children of God.

“And the earth, and the works which are in it.” He again repeats the burning of “the earth,” though contained under the words, “elements shall be destroyed,” because it has this peculiar to itself, that on its surface, men have made the most valuable improvements, and from its bowels come forth these treasures which worldlings prize most. “And the works which are in it,” that is to say, its animal and vegetable productions, as also the works of art, such as, buildings, gold, &c.; very likely he refers also to the moral works of man, which will be consumed by, and afford fuel to, the fire of conflagration.—(1 Cor 3:15). “If any one’s work burn,” &c. ; and the Apostle wishes to stimulate the faithful to perform works which will stand the test of this devouring fire; such is the moral exhortation clearly expressed in the following verses.

2Pe 3:11  Seeing then that all these things are to be dissolved, what manner of people ought you to be in holy conversation and godliness?

Since, then, all things, heaven, the elements, and the works that are found in creation, are to be dissolved, and a new and perfect order of things to be introduced, how pure and holy should you not be both in the sanctity of your intercourse with your neighbor and in acts of piety towards God.

“What manner of people ought you to be,” that is, how perfectly elevated
above all terrestrial ideas and affections should you not be, to fit you for the new and perfect order of things which is to succeed the present; “in holy conversation,” in your several relations with men, “and godliness,” and your piety, acts of faith, hope, love, religion, &c., towards God. “Conversation and godliness,” are read in the plural in the Greek.

2Pe 3:12  Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of the Lord, by which the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with the burning heat?

Firmly hoping for, and hastening on to meet, or anticipating by your diligent preparation, the coming of the day of the Lord, by which the heavens, being set on fire, will be disolved, and the elements shall melt away with a burning heat?

“Looking for,”‘ that is, by firm hope, looking forward to, “and hastening unto,” or, anticipating, in the fervour and zeal of your preparation, “the coming of the day of the Lord,” acting each day as you would, were the day of the Lord immediately at hand. “By which,” that is, either day, or coming of the Lord. “The heavens being on fire shall be dissolved.” The meaning of this is the same as that of verse 10; here, it is merely added, that the heat by which all things will be dissolved is the heat of fire. “The heavens will be dissolved.” This refers to the lower heavens or regions of the air; although it is most likely that the starry heavens will not be dissolved, it is still very probable, they will be changed or perfected, so as to suit the glorified condition of the children of God. ” The powers of heaven-(the stars) shall be moved,” as the Church sings in her Office, quando cœli movendi sunt et terra.”  “And the elements shall melt away with a burning heat.” They shall melt away like wax, with the form changed, the substance shall remain. “Transit figura hujus mundi” (i.e., “For the fashion of this world passeth away”, 1 Cor 7:31).

2Pe 3:13  But we look for new heavens and a new earth according to his promises, in which justice dwelleth.

But, although the present system of creation be dissolved, we look for and expect new and renovated heavens, a newly renovated earth, in which perfect justice and immaculate sanctity will dwell.

“But we look for new heavens,” that is, heavens renovated and perfected, into which the present heavens shall be changed, including both the lower air, or atmosphere, and the starry heaven. For, the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days—(Isaiah 30:26).  “And a new earth,” the present earth renovated and changed in its qualities and purified of all the dross and imperfection, which it contracted from the “slavery of corruption.”—(Rom 8) “According to his promises.” The new heavens, &c., are promised (Isaiah 65:17, 66:22); or, the words may refer to the general promises of eternal happiness, made to the saints. ” In which justice dwelleth,” that is, which will be the seat and habitation of the blessed, free from all stains or defilements. “There shall not enter into it anything defiled.”—(Rev 21:27).

2Pe 3:14  Wherefore, dearly beloved, waiting for these things, be diligent that you may be found before him unspotted and blameless in peace.

Wherefore, dearly beloved, as you are firmly hoping for this renovated state of things, this new heaven and new earth, exert all your care and diligence to be found by the Lord, at his coming, free from all gross crimes, particularly such as are practiced by the deceitful scoffers, and, as far as possible, free from lesser defects, in a state of peace both with God and your neighbor, thus calmly prepared to meet your judge.

“Wherefore, dearly beloved, seeing that you look for these things,” seeing that you expect a new heaven and a new earth, and a total renovation of all things, at the coming of Christ to judgment, and that you thus turn a deaf ear to the incredulous, and to the scofiing questions of the impious, asking, “where is his promise or his coming?” verse 4), “be diligent,” exert your utmost care and diligence, “that you may be found undefiled,” that is, free from the grosser crimes, such as the Simonites, Gnostics, and other heretics had fallen into, (“walking after their own lusts,” verse 3); “and undefiled,” free from lesser or venial faults, as far as possible. “To him,” in his presence, “in peace,” by being in peace both with God and your neighbour. Thus you will calmly and peaceably be prepared to meet the judge.

 

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, liturgy, Notes on 2 Peter, Notes on the Lectionary, Quotes, Scripture | 1 Comment »

Saturday, August 6: Feast of the Transfiguration~Bishop MacEvily’s Commentary on the Second Reading (2 Pet 2:16-19)

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 31, 2011

Bishop MacEvily provides an analysis of 2 Peter 1 which I have reproduced below. The commentary on today’s second reading follows. The Bishop also gives  an interpretive paraphrase of the scripture he is commenting on. These paraphrases are in purple text. For a somewhat different interpretation of the reading see my notes on this passage (pending, will provide link when finished).

The Apostle commences this chapter with the usual form of apostolical salutation (verses 1, 2), In the first place he exhorts the faithful, seeing that God has bestowed on them the most exalted gifts (3, 4), to correspond with his gracious designs, by performing, on their part, aided by divine grace, the good works necessary for securing the end of salvation, and by practising, in an exalted degree, the Christian virtues, of which he points out, in a beautiful order, a perfect series or gradation. In this chain of virtues, the first link is the virtue of faith; the last, charity (5-7). He points out the good effect of cultivating, in a perfect degree, these exalted virtues (8); and, on the other hand, he shows the great evils which their absence entails on a Christian, who, without them, is blind and groping in the dark (9).

He next exhorts them to insure, by good works, the object of their vocation and election (10). And he points out the end and glorious rewards to which perseverance in good will conduct them (11). He declares his determination to instruct them in these truths; this he considers a matter of duty, during the short time he had to live; that his continuance in life was to be very brief, he knew from revelation (12-14).

He expresses his anxiety to take some steps, whereby they may be enabled, even after his death, to call these truths to mind, probably, by leaving his written Epistles, or, “by commending these things to faithful men,” as did St. Paul (2. Tim 2) No wonder, he should be anxious to impart to them his doctrine; for, he received it not from any false or erroneous source; he only declared concerning Christ’s glory, what he, himself was an eyewitness of, at the transfiguration, a type of the glory to be displayed at his second coming (16). He refers, also, to the splendid testimony rendered to him by God the Father (17); a testimony which St. Peter, together with John and James, heard when they were with him on Mount Thabor (17-18).

He next adduces the testimony of the prophets, which, in the mind of the Jews, carried greater weight with it, than any attestation of the Apostles; and, he commends them for attending to this testimony, until they are firmly established in the faith (19).

He tells them, in attending to the oracles of sacred Scripture, to bear in mind, that the sacred Scriptures are to be interpreted, not by any private exposition; but  to be explained by the same spirit, by which they were origi7ially dictated (20, 21).

2Pe 1:16  For we have not by following artificial fables made known to you the power and presence of our Lord Jesus Christ: but we were eyewitnesses of his greatness.

This doctrine, even now on the point of death, we wish firmly to impress upon your minds; it deserves at all times to be cherished by you; for it was not in following learned and cunningly devised fables, that we have made known to you the powerful and glorious coming of our Lord Jesus Christ to judge the world; but, we have told you that, of which we ourselves have been immediate eye-witnesses. (The glory of his transfiguration was a type of the glory and power, which he will display when he shall come to judge the world).

The connexion is given in the Paraphrase. At the very point of death he is not afraid to inculcate these doctrines, of future punishment, and they are so important, that even after death he would wish to impress them on their minds. For, it was not in following “artificial fables,” such as the false teachers, among the Jews and Gentiles, dealt out for truths, and for which they will one day render a most rigorous account, “made known to you the power and presence,” (in Greek, παρουσιαν, coming) “of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Most likely he refers to the second coming of  Christ, which is to be in “power,” (his first coming was in infirmity); and this second was the coming which was questioned by many, to whom St. Peter refers (chapter 3,) “saying where is he coming?” Of this coming, Christ’s transfiguration, to which the Apostle refers immediately after, was a type and figure. “Having been made eyewitness of his majesty.” The Greek word for “eye-witnesses” εποπται, means immediate lookers-on. He refers to the transfiguration, with the sight of which he himself, and James, and John, were favoured. The Apostle selects this from among the other miracles of our divine Redeemer, in order to silence the injurious suspicions of certain persons, who wished to call in question all that the Apostles had taught regarding Christ’s glorious coming. This he does most effectually, by referring to a splendid manifestation of the Redeemer’s glory, of which he had, himself, been an eye- witness; and this is further strengthened, by the unequivocal testimony of his heavenly Father, as in the following verse.

2Pe 1:17  For he received from God the Father honour and glory, this voice coming down to him from the excellent glory: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear ye him.

For he received from God the Father an honorable and a glorious attestation, a voice having been pronounced over him, after issuing from the bright cloud, in which the majesty and glory of the Father shone resplendent, to the following effect: “This is my well beloved Son, the object of my singular and infinite complacency, hear ye him.”

He received honour and glory, that is, a glorious and honourable testimony, from God the Father; “this voice,” that is, a voice, to the following effect, “this is my beloved Son” &c. “Coming down to him from the excellent glory,” that is, from the bright cloud in which the glory of God the Father shone forth resplendent. “This is my beloved Son.” eternal and con-substantial with me, singularly beloved, “in whom I am well pleased” the object of my infinite good will and eternal complacency. Some understand the words to mean: in whom I have pleased myself with man, and have become reconciled to the world; “hear ye him.” The words are not in the Greek of this passage; they are, however, found invariably in the gospel, whenever allusion is made to the transfiguration, to which St Peter here refers.

2Pe 1:18  And this voice, we heard brought from heaven, when we were with him in the holy mount.

And this voice of the heavenly Father, I myself, James, and John, heard coming  down from the cloud, when we were with him on the holy mountain.

As a proof, that I have not followed fables, I can adduce the testimony of the other Apostles, James and John, to confirm my own; we not only beheld the majesty of our Redeemer, when transfigured, before us, but we heard the voice of the heavenly Father, “brought from heaven,” that is, from the cloud which overhung the mountain; “when we were with him in the holy mount.” It is disputed what mount is referred to. Some say it was Mount Libanus. The common opinion, however, transmitted by tradition, with the authority of St. Jerome and of almost all sacred writers in its favour, is, that the mountain alluded to, is Mount Thabor, situated in the centre of Galilee, and called ”holy” on occount of its having been the theatre of many wonderful manifestations of our divine Redeemer, viz.: his transfiguration, his apparition after his resurrection to five hundred brethren, his sermon commencing with the eight Beatitudes (Matthew, v., &c.)

2Pe 1:19  And we have the more firm prophetical word: whereunto you do well to attend, as to a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn and the day star arise in your hearts.

And we can adduce a testimony in favor of the same, of greater weight with you, to which you attach more value than to any whatsoever coming from us apostles: and this testimony is, that which is borne by the oracles of the ancient prophets, to which you do well to attend, at to a lamp or light, that shineth in a dark place until the more brilliant light of sure and firm faith dawn and illumine you, and Christ, the morning star, arise in your hearts, by the plentiful effusion of the light of perfect and unerring faith. Or (as interpreted by Mauduit):—We have, therefore, a testimony firmer and more certain than the fables of the heretics (verse i6), viz., the testimony or prophetic oracle of God the Father, to which you do well to attend, as to a lamp shining forth dimly, with the light of faith, in this darksome world, until the day of eternity dawns upon you, and the light of glory, like the morning star, shines in your hearts.

“And we have the more firm, prophetical word;” the common interpretation given of this passage is: If you do not attach due weight to this testimony of the Father, as related by us Apostles, although eye-witnesses of the whole event, I can refer, in favour of Christ’s glory and power, to a testimony, which, in your mind, carries with It more weight, than any attestation, furnished by us, viz., the testimony of the ancient prophets. The words, “more firm,” do not mean, according to this interpretation, that the testimony of the ancient prophets carried with it, in reality, more weight and certainty, than that rendered by the Apostles; but it did so relatively to the Jews with whom St. Peter here identifies himself, “we have,” &c. They placed more reliance on the testimony of the prophets, as being of longer date, and more authentic in their minds.

“Whereunto you do well to attend,” for, they will lead to Christ. He exhorts them to the perusal of the prophetic Scriptures; for, they serve to confirm the faith of the believers, and to bring the unbelievers to the faith. Thus, we see that the Bereans are praised “for searching the Scriptures daily with all eagerness” (Acts 17); and the Catholic Church recommends to her children the reading of God’s word, provided it be expedient, and done with proper dispositions; otherwise, as is known from melancholy experience, the indiscriminate reading of the Sacred Scriptures becomes the fertile source of heresies, fanaticism, and errors of all kinds, alike subversive of religion and society. “As to a light that shineth in a dark place.” The oracles of the prophets are compared to the imperfect light, he’d out by a lamp shining in a dark and misty place, contrasted with the perfect light of faith. “Until the day dawn;” by “the day,” in this interpretation is meant, the light of faith in this life; “and the day-star arise in your hearts,” expresses, in other words, the idea conveyed by the words,”the day dawn.” By “theday-star,” is understood Christ, pouring forth the light of faith in our hearts. The obscurity of faith in this life, as contrasted with the full light of glory in the life to come, is well expressed by the shining, of “the day-star,” which precedes the rise of morning; its light weak and feeble, compared with the full splendour of the meridian sun.

Mauduit dissents from the common interpretation, which, in an able dissertation, he undertakes to refute, and he gives a new one of his own [vide Paraphrase). He says, that the phrase, “the more firin propnetical word,” regards not the predictions of the ancient prophets; that it by no means conveys a comparison regarding the value of the testimony of the prophets, even in itself, or in the minds of the Jews; but, that it refers to the testiinony or prophetic oracle of God the Father, alluded to (verse 17); and that it is between this and the fables of the heretics (verse 16), the comparison is instituted, hence called “more firm.” Similar is the comparison instituted by Moses (Deuteronomy 34:31), “for our God is not as their gods.” In this verse is drawn the conclusion, which he announced (verse 16), “that he had not followed fables,” he had a stronger testimony. This he proves in verses 17, 18, and then concludes, “and we have,” that is, we, therefore have a firmer testimony to follow than fables, viz., the prophetic oracles of God the Father. Mauduit says, that the words, “prophetical word,” refer to the inspired word of God, revealed to men. When uttered orally, as here, it is called “a prophetical word;” when written, “a prophecy of Scripture,” as in next verse. He undertakes to show, that the comparison conveyed in the words, ” more firm,” cannot be instituted between the Apostle’s own testimony and that of the prophets; for, to give the oracles of the ancient prophets a preponderance, in any sense, over that furnished by the Apostles, is opposed to the usage of the inspired writers, in the New Testament. To do so would be useless, and would be even perilous to the faith of those whom he addresses. The following words, “as to a light that shineth in a dark place,” refer in this interpretation, to the light of faith; “until the day dawn,” the day of eternity, “and the day-star arise in your hearts,” that is, the light of glory be fully communicated to you. The common interpretation is open to one difficulty; it supposes, that the “day,” and “day-star,” which it understands of faith in this life, had not yet shone for those, whom the Apostle addresses, although he supposes them to have embraced the faith—”that have obtained equal faith with us” (verse 1). The interpretation of Mauduit leaves no room for any such difficulty, and has the advantage, in this respect, over the other.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, liturgy, Notes on 2 Peter, Notes on the Lectionary, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

 
%d bloggers like this: