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Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 17:1-9

Posted by Dim Bulb on February 23, 2017

Comments on Matthew 17:1-4

Mt 17:1. And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart,
Mt 17:2. And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.
Mt 17:3. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.
Mt 17:4. Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.

Remigius. In this Transfiguration undergone on the mount, the Lord fulfilled within six days the promise made to His disciples, that they should have a sight of His glory; as it is said, And after six days he took Peter, and James, and John his brother.

Jerome. It is made a question how it could be after six days that He took them, when Luke says eight. (Luke 9:28.) The answer is easy, that here one reckoned only the intervening days, there the first and the last are also added.

Chrysostom. He does not take them up immediately upon the promise being made, but six days after, for this reason, that the other disciples might not be touched with any human passion, as a feeling of jealousy; or else that during these days’ space, those disciples who were to be taken up might become kindled with a more eager desire.

Rabanus. (e Bed.) Justly was it after six days that He shewed His glory, because after six ages is to be the resurrectiond.

Origen. Or because in six days this whole visible world was made; so he who is above all the things of this world, may ascend into the high mountain, and there see the glory of the Word of God.

Chrysostom. He took these three because He set them before others. But observe how Matthew does not conceal who were preferred to himself; the like does John also when he records the preeminent praise given to Peter. For the company of Apostles was free from jealousy and vain glory.

Hilary. In the three thus taken up with Him, the election of people out of the three stocks of Sem, Cam, and Japhet is figured.

Rabanus. (e Bed.) Or; He took only three disciples with Him, because many are called but few chosen. Or because they who now hold in incorrupt mind the faith of the Holy Trinity, shall then joy in the everlasting beholding of it.

Remigius. When the Lord was about to shew His disciples the glory of His brightness, He led them into the mountain, as it follows, And he took them up into a high mountain apart. Herein teaching, that it is necessary for all who seek to contemplate God, that they should not grovel in weak pleasures, but by love of things above should be ever raising themselves towards heavenly things; and to shew His disciples that they should not look for the glory of the divine brightness in the gulph of the present world, but in the kingdom of the heavenly blessedness. He leads them apart, because the saints are separated from the wicked by their whole soul and devotion of their faith, and shall be utterly separated in the future; or because many are called, but few chosen, It follows, And he was transfigured before them.

Jerome. Such as He is to be in the time of the Judgment, such was He now seen of the Apostles. Let none suppose that He lost His former form and lineaments, or laid aside His bodily reality, taking upon Him a spiritual or ethereal Body. How His transfiguration was accomplished, the Evangelist shews, saying, And his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment became white as snow, For that His face is said to shine, and His raiment described to become white, does not take away substance, but confer glory. In truth, the Lord was transformed into that glory in which He shall hereafter come in His Kingdom. The transformation enhanced the brightness, but did not destroy the countenance, although the body were spiritual; whence also His raiment was changed and became white to such a degree, as in the expression of another Evangelist, no fuller on earth can whiten them. But all this is the property of matter, and is the subject of the touch, not of spirit and ethereal, an illusion upon the sight only beheld in phantasm.

Remigius. If then the face of the Lord shone as the sun, and the saints shall shine as the sun, are then the brightness of the Lord and the brightness of His servants to be equal? By no means. But forasmuch as nothing is known more bright than the sun, therefore to give some illustration of the future resurrection, it is expressed to us that the brightness of the Lord’s countenance, and the brightness of the righteous, shall be as the sun.

Origen. Mystically; When any one has passed the six days according as we have said, he beholds Jesus transfigured before the eyes of his heart. For the Word of God has various forms, appearing to each man according as He knows that it will be expedient for him; and He shews Himself to none in a manner beyond his capacity; whence he says not simply, He was transfigured, but, before them. For Jesus, in the Gospels, is merely understood by those who do not mount by means of exalting works and words upon the high mountain of wisdom; but to them that do mount up thus, He is no longer known according to the flesh, but is understood to be God the Word. Before these then Jesus is transfigured, and not before those who live sunk in worldly conversation. But these, before whom He is transfigured, have been made sons of God, and He is shewn to them as the Sun of righteousness. His raiment is made white as the light, that is, the words and sayings of the Gospels with which Jesus is clothed according to those things which were spoken of Him by the Apostles.

Gloss. (e Bed. in Luc.) Or; the raiment of Christ shadows out the saints, of whom Esaias says, With all these shalt than clothe thee as with a garment; (Isa. 49:18.) and they are likened to snow because they shall be white with virtues, and all the heat of vices shall be put far away from them. It follows, And there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with them.

Chrysostom. There are many reasons why these should appear. The first it, this; because the multitudes said He was Elias, or Jeremias, or one of the Prophets, He here brings with Him the chief of the Prophets, that hence at least may be seen the difference between the servants and their Lord. Another reason is this; because the Jews were ever charging Jesus with being a transgressor of the Law and blasphemer, and usurping to Himself the glory of the Father, that He might prove Himself guiltless of both charges, He brings forward those who were eminent in both particulars; Moses, who gave the Law, and Elias, who was jealous for the glory of God. Another reason is, that they might learn that He has the power of life and death; by producing Moses, who was dead, and Elias, who had not yet experienced death. A further reason also the Evangelist discovers, that He might shew the glory of His cross, and thus soothe Peter, and the other disciples, who were fearing His death; for they talked, as another Evangelist declares, of His decease which He should accomplish at Jerusalem. Wherefore He brings forward those who had exposed themselves to death for God’s pleasure, and for the people that believed; for both had willingly stood before tyrants, Moses before Pharaoh, Elias before Ahab. Lastly, also, He brings them forward, that the disciples should emulate their privileges, and be meek as Moses, and zealous as Elias.

Hilary. Also that Moses and Elias only out of the whole number of the saints stood with Christ, means, that Christ, in His kingdom, is between the Law and the Prophets; for He shall judge Israel in the presence of the same by whom He was preached to them.

Origen. However, if any man discerns a spiritual sense in the Law agreeing with the teaching of Jesus, and in the Prophets finds the hidden wisdom of Christ, (1 Cor. 2:7.) he beholds Moses and Elias in the same glory with Jesus.

Jerome. It is to be remembered also, that when the Scribes and Pharisees asked signs from heaven, He would not give any; but now, to increase the Apostles’ faith, He gives a sign; Elias descends from heaven, whither he was gone up, and Moses arises from hell; (Is. 7:10.) as Ahaz is bidden by Esaias to ask him a sign in the heaven above, or in the depth beneath.

Chrysostom. Hereupon follows what the warm Peter spake, Peter answered and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here. Because he had heard that He must go up to Jerusalem, he yet fears for Christ; but after his rebuke he dares not again say, Be propitious to thyself, Lord, but suggests the same covertly under other guise. For seeing in this place great quietness and solitude, he thought that this would be a fit place to take up their abode in, saying, Lord, it is good for us to be here. And he sought to remain here ever, therefore he proposes the tabernacles, If thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles. For he concluded if he should, do this, Christ would not go up to Jerusalem, and if He should not go up to Jerusalem, He should not die, for he knew that there the Scribes laid wait for Him.

Remigius. Otherwise; At this view of the majesty of the Lord, and His two servants, Peter was so delighted, that, forgetting every thing else in the world, he would abide here for ever. But if Peter was then so fired with admiration, what ravishment will it not be to behold the King in His proper beauty, and to mingle in the choir of the Angels, and of all the saints? In that Peter says, Lord, if thou wilt, he shews the submission of a dutiful and obedient servant.

Jerome. Yet art thou wrong, Peter, and as another Evangelist says, knowest not what thou sayest. (Luke 9:33.) Think not. of three tabernacles, when there is but one tabernacle of the Gospel in which both Law and Prophets are to be repeated. But if thou wilt have three tabernacles, set not the servants equal with their Lord, but make three tabernacles, yea make one for the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, that They whose divinity is one, may have but one tabernacle, in thy bosom.

Remigius. He was wrong moreover, in desiring that the kingdom of the elect should be set up on earth, when the Lord had promised to give it in heaven. He was wrong also in forgetting that himself and his fellow were mortal, and in desiring to come to eternal felicity without taste of death.

Rabanus. Also in supposing that tabernacles were to be built for conversation in heaven, in which houses are not needed, as it is written in the Apocalypse, I saw not any temple therein. (Rev. 21:22.)

Comments on Matthew 17:5–9

Mt 17:5. While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.
Mt 17:6. And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.
Mt 17:7. And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid.
Mt 17:8. And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.
Mt 17:9. And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.

Jerome. While they thought only of an earthly tabernacle of boughs or tents, they are overshadowed by the covering of a bright cloud; While he yet spake, there came a bright cloud and overshadowed them. (Exod. 19:9, 16.)

Chrysostom. When the Lord threatens, He shews a dark cloud, as on Sinai; but here where He sought not to terrify but to teach, there appeared a bright cloud.

Origen. The bright cloud overshadowing the Saints is the Power of the Father, or perhaps the Holy Spirit; or I may also venture to call the Saviour that bright cloud which overshadows the Gospel, the Law, and the Prophets, as they understand who can behold His light in all these three.

Jerome. Forasmuch as Peter had asked unwisely, he deserves not any answer; but the Father makes answer for the Son, that the Lord’s word might be fulfilled, He that sent me, he beareth witness of me. (John 5:37.)

Chrysostom. Neither Moses, nor Elias speak, but the Father greater than all sends a voice out of the cloud, that the disciples might believe that this voice was from God. For God has ordinarily shewn Himself in a cloud, as it is written, Clouds and darkness are round about Him; (Ps. 97:2.) and this is what is said, Behold, a voice out of the cloud.

Jerome. The voice of the Father is heard speaking from heaven, giving testimony to the Son, and teaching Peter the truth, taking away his error, and through Peter the other disciples also; whence he proceeds, This is my beloved Son. For Him make the tabernacle, Him obey; this is the Son, they are but servants; and they also ought as you to make ready a tabernacle for the Lord in the inmost parts of their heart.

Chrysostom. Fear not then, Peter; for if God is mighty, it is manifest that the Son is also mighty; wherefore if He is loved, fear not thou; for none forsakes Him whom He loves; nor dost thou love Him equally with the Father. Neither does He love Him merely because He begot Him, but because He is of one will with Himself; as it follows, In whom I am well pleased; which is to say, in whom I rest content, whom I accept, for all things of the Father He performs with care, and His will is one with the Father; so if He will to be crucified, do not then speak against it.

Hilary. This is the Son, this the Beloved, this the Accepted; and He it is who is to be heard, as the voice out of the cloud signifies, saying, Hear ye Him. For He is a fit teacher of doing the things He has done, who has given the weight of His own example to the loss of the world, the joy of the cross, the death of the body, and after that the glory of the heavenly kingdom.

Remigius. He says therefore, Hear ye Him, as much as to say, Let the shadow of the Law be past, and the types of the Prophets, and follow ye the one shining light of the Gospel. Or He says, Hear ye Him, to shew that it was He whom Moses had foretold, The Lord your God shall raise up a Prophet unto you of your brethren like unto me, Him shall ye hear. (Deut. 18:18.) Thus the Lord had witnesses on all sides; from heaven the voice of the Father, Elias out of Paradise, Moses out of Hades, the Apostles from among men, that at the name of Jesus every thing should bow the knee, of things in heaven, things on earth, and things beneath.

Origen. The voice out of the cloud speaks either to Moses or Elias, who desired to see the Son of God, and to hear Him; or it is for the teaching of the Apostles.

Gloss. (ap. Anselm.) It is to be observed, that the mystery of the second regeneration, that, to wit, which shall be in the resurrection, when the flesh shall be raised again, agrees well with the mystery of the first which is in baptism, when the soul is raised again. For in the baptism of Christ is shewn the working of the whole Trinity; there was the Son incarnate, the Holy Ghost appealing in the figure of a dove, and the Father made known by the voice. In like manner in the transfiguration, which is the sacrament of the second regeneration, the whole Trinity appeared; the Father in the voice, the Son in the man, and the Holy Spirit in the cloud. It is made a question how the Holy Spirit was shewn there in the dove, here in the cloud. Because it is His manner to mark His gifts by specific outward forms. And the gift of baptism is innocence, which is denoted by the bird of purity. But as in the resurrection, He is to give splendour and refreshment, therefore in the cloud are denoted both the refreshment and the brightness of the rising bodies. It follows, And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces, and feared greatly.

Jerome. Their cause of terror is threefold. Because they knew that they had done amiss; or because the bright cloud had covered them; or because they had heard the voice of God the Father speaking; for human frailty cannot endure to look upon so great glory, and falls to the earth trembling through both soul and body. And by how much higher any one has aimed, by so much lower will be his fall, if he shall be ignorant of his own measure.

Remigius. Whereas the holy Apostles fell upon their faces, that was a proof of their sanctity, for the saints are always described to fall upon their faces, but the wicked to fall backwardsa.

Chrysostom. But when before in Christ’s baptism, such a voice came from heaven, yet none of the multitude then present suffered any thing of this kind, how is it that the disciples on the mount fell prostrate? Because in sooth their solicitude was much, the height and loneliness of the spot great, and the transfiguration itself attended with terrors, the clear light and the spreading cloud; all these things together wrought to terrify them.

Jerome. And whereas they were laid down, and could not raise themselves again, He approaches them, touches them gently, that by His touch their fear might be banished, and their unnerved limbs gain strength; And Jesus drew near, and touched them. But He further added His word to His hand, And said unto them, Arise, fear not. He first banishes their fear, that He may after impart teaching. It follows, And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only; which was done with good reason; for had Moses and Elias continued with the Lord, it might have seemed uncertain to which in particular the witness of the Father was borne. Also they see Jesus standing after the cloud has been removed, and Moses and Elias disappeared, because after the shadow of the Law and Prophets has departed, both are found in the Gospel. It follows; And as they came down from the mount, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell no man this vision, until the Son of Man shall rise from the dead. He will not be preached among the people, lest the marvel of the thing should seem incredible, and lest the cross following after so great glory should cause offence.

Remigius. Or, because if His majesty should be published among the people, they should hinder the dispensation of His passion, by resistance to the chief Priests; and thus the redemption of the human race should suffer impediment.

Hilary. He enjoins silence respecting what they had seen, for this reason, that when they should be filled with the Holy Spirit, they should then become witnesses of these spiritual deeds.

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Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 19:3-12

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 30, 2016

Ver l. And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these sayings, he departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judaea beyond Jordan;2. And great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there.3. The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, “Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?”4. And he answered and said unto them, “Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,5. And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?6. Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”7. They say unto him, “Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?”8. He said unto them, “Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.”

Chrys., Hom., lxii: The Lord had before left Judaea because of their jealousy, but now He keeps Himself more to it, because His passion was near at hand. Yet does He not go up to Judaea itself, but into the borders of Judaea; whence it is said, “And it came to pass when Jesus had ended all these sayings, he departed from Galilee.”

Raban.: Here then He begins to relate what He did, taught, or suffered in Judaea. At first beyond Jordan eastward, afterwards on this side Jordan when He came to Jericho, Bethphage, and Jerusalem; whence it follows, “And He came into the coasts of Judaea beyond the Jordan.”

Pseudo-Chrys., [ed. note: The Latin commentary that goes under the name of Chrysostom’s resumes again at the first verse of this chapter]: As the righteous Lord of all, who loves these servants so as not to despise those.

Raban.: It should be known, that the whole territory of the Israelites was called Judaea, to distinguish it from other nations. But its southern portion, inhabited by the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, was called Judaea proper, to distinguish it from other districts in the same province as Samaria, Galilee, Decapolis, and the rest. It follows, “And great multitudes followed him.”

Pseudo-Chrys.: They were conducting Him forth, as the young children of a father going on a far journey. And He setting forth as a father, left them as pledges of His love the healing of their diseases, as it is said, “And he healed them.”

Chrys.: It should be also observed, that the Lord is not either ever delivering doctrine, or ever working miracles, but one while does this, and again turns to that; that by His miracles faith might be given to what He said, and by His teaching might be shewed the profit of those things which He wrought.

Origen: The Lord healed the multitudes beyond Jordan, where baptism was given. For all are truly healed from spiritual sickness in baptism; and many follow Christ as did these multitudes, but not rising up as Matthew, who arose and followed the Lord.

Hilary: Also He cures the Galileans on the borders of Judaea, that He might admit the sins of the Gentiles to that pardon which was prepared for the Jews.

Chrys.: For indeed Christ so healed men, as to do good both to themselves, and through them to many other. For these men’s healing was to others the occasion of their knowledge of God; but not to the Pharisees, who were only hardened by the miracles.

Whence it follows; “And the Pharisees cause to him, tempting him, and saying, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?”

Jerome: That they might have Him as it were between the horns of a syllogism, so that, whatever answer He should make, it would lie open to cavil. Should He allow a wife to be put away for any cause, and the marriage of another, he would seem to contradict Himself as a preacher of chastity. Should He answer that she may not be put away for any cause whatsoever, He will be judged to have spoken impiously, and to make against the teaching of Moses and of God.

Chrys.: Observe their wickedness even in the way of putting their question. The Lord had above disputed concerning this law, but they now ask Him as though He had spoken nothing thereof, supposing He had forgot what He had before delivered in this matter.

Pseudo-Chrys.: But, as when you see one much pursuing the acquaintance of physicians, you know that he is sick, so, when you see either man or woman enquiring concerning divorce, know that that man is lustful and that woman unchaste. For chastity has pleasure in wedlock, but desire is tormented as though under a slavish bondage therein. And knowing that they had no sufficient cause to allege for their putting away their wives, save their own lewdness, they feigned many divers causes. They feared to ask Him for what cause, lest they should be tied down within the limits of fixed and certain causes; and therefore they asked if it were lawful for every cause; for they knew that appetite knows no limits, and cannot hold itself within the bounds of one marriage, but the more it is indulged the more it is kindled.

Origen: Seeing the Lord thus tempted, let none of His disciples who is set to teach think it hard if he also be by some tempted. Howbeit, He replies to His tempters with the doctrines of piety.

Jerome: But He so frames His answer as to evade their snare. He brings in the testimony of Holy Writ, and the law of nature, and opposing God’s first sentence to this second, “He answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female?”

This is written in the beginning of Genesis. This teaches that second marriages are to be avoided, for He said not male and females, which was what was sought by the putting away of the first, but, male and female, implying only one tie of wedlock.

Raban.: For by the wholesome design of God it was ordained that a man should have in the woman a part of his own body, and should not look upon as separate from himself that which he knew was formed out of himself.

Pseudo-Chrys.: If then God created the male and female out of one, to this end that they should be one, why then henceforth were not they born man and wife at one birth, as it is with certain insects? Because God created male and female for the continuance of the species, yet is He ever a lover of chastity, and promoter of continence. Therefore did He not follow this pattern in all kinds, to the end that, if any man choose to marry, he may know what is, according to the first disposition of the creation, the condition of man and wife; but if he choose not to marry, he shall not be under necessity to marry by the circumstances of his birth, lest he should by his continence be the destruction of the other who was not willing to be continent; for which same cause God forbids that after being joined in wedlock one should separate if the other be unwilling.Chrys.: But not by the law of creation only, but also by the practice of the law, He shews that they ought to be joined one and one, and never put asunder; “And he said, For this cause shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife.”

Jerome: In like manner He says “his wife,” and not wives, and adds expressly, “and they twain shall be one flesh.” For it is the reward of marriage that one flesh, namely in the offspring, is made of two.

Gloss. interlin.: Or, “one flesh,” that is in carnal connexion.

Pseudo-Chrys.: If then because the wife is made of the man, and both one of one flesh, a man shall leave his father and his mother, then there should be yet greater affection between brothers and sisters, for these come of the same parents, but man and wife of different. But this is saying too much, because the ordinance of God is of more force than the law of nature. For God’s precepts are not subject to the law of nature, but nature bends to the precepts of God. Also brethren are born of one, that they shouldst seek out different roads; but the man and the wife are born of different persons, that they should coalesce in one.

The order of nature also follows the appointment of God. For as is the sap in trees, so is affection in man. The sap ascends from the roots into the leaves, and passes forth into the seed. Therefore parents love their children, but are not so loved of them, for the desire of a man is not towards his parents, but towards the sons whom he has begot; and this is what, is said, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife.”

Chrys.: See the wisdom of the Teacher. Being asked, “Is it lawful,” He said not straight, It is not lawful, lest they should be troubled, but establishes it through a proof. For God made them from the beginning male and female, and not merely joined them together, but bade them quit father and mother; and not bade the husband merely approach his wife, but be joined to her, shewing by this manner of speaking the inseparable bond. He even added a still closer union, saying, “And they twain, shall be one flesh.”

Aug., Gen. ad lit., ix. 19: Whereas Scripture witnesses that these words were said by the first man, and the Lord here declares that God spake them, hence we should understand that by reason of the ecstasy which had passed upon Adam, he was enabled to speak this as a prophecy.

Remig.: The Apostle says [margin note: Eph 5:32] that this is a mystery in Christ and the Church; for the Lord Jesus Christ left His Father when He came down from heaven to earth; and He left His mother, that is, the synagogue, because of its unbelief; and clave unto His wife, that is, the Holy Church, and they two are one flesh, that is, Christ and the Church are one body.

Chrys.: When He had brought forward the words and facts of the old law, He then interprets it with authority, and lays down a law, saying, “Therefore they are no more twain, but one flesh.” For as those who love one another spiritually are said to be one soul, “And all they that believed, had one heart and one soul,” [Acts 4:32] so husband and wife who love each other after the flesh, are said to be one flesh. And as it is a wretched thing to cut the flesh, so is it an unjust thing to put away a wife.

Aug., City of God, book xiv, ch. 22: For they are called one, either from their union, or from the derivation of the woman, who was taken out of the side of the man.

Chrys.: He brings in God yet again, saying, “What God has joined, let no man put asunder,” shewing that it is against both nature and God’s law to put away a wife; against nature, because one flesh is therein divided; against law, because God has joined and forbidden to sunder them.

Jerome: God has joined by making man and woman one flesh; this then man may not put asunder, but God only. Man puts asunder, when from desire of a second wife the first is put away; God puts asunder, who also had joined, when by consent for the service of God we so have our wives as though we had them not. [marg. note: 1 Cor 7:29]

Aug., Cont. Faust., xix, 29: Behold now out of the books of Moses it is proved to the Jews that a wife may not be put away. For they thought that they were doing according to the purport of Moses’ law when they did put them away. This also we learn hence by the testimony of Christ Himself, that it was God who made it thus, and joined them male and female; which when the Manichaeans deny, they are condemned, resisting the Gospel of Christ.

Pseudo-Chrys.: This sentence of chastity seemed hard to these adulterers; but they could not make answer to the argument. Howbeit, they will not submit to the truth, but betake themselves for shelter to Moses, as men having a bad cause fly to some powerful personage, that where justice is not, his countenance may prevail; “They say unto him, Why did Moses then command, to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?”

Jerome: Here they reveal the cavil which they had prepared; albeit the Lord had not given sentence of Himself, but had recalled to their minds ancient history, and the commands of God.

Chrys.: Had the Lord been opposed to the Old Testament, He would not thus have contended in Moses’ behalf, nor have gone about to shew that what was his was in agreement with the things of old. But the unspeakable wisdom of Christ made answer and excuse for these in this manner, “He saith unto them, Moses for the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives.” By this He clears Moses from their charge, and retorts it all upon their own head.

Aug.: For how great was that hardness? When not even the intervention of a bill of divorce, which gave room for just and prudent men to endeavour to dissuade, could move them to renew the conjugal affection. And with what wit do the Manichaeans blame Moses, as severing wedlock by a bill of divorce, and commend Christ as, on the contrary, confirming its force? Whereas according to their impious science they should have praised Moses for putting asunder what the devil had joined, and found fault with Christ who riveted the bonds of the devil.

Chrys.: At last, because what He had said was severe, He goes back to the old law, saying, “From the beginning it was not so.”

Jerome: What He says is to this purpose. Is it possible that God should so contradict Himself, as to command one thing at first, and after defeat His own ordinance by a new statute? Think not so; but, whereas Moses saw that through desire of second wives who should be richer, younger, or fairer, that the first were put to death, or treated. ill, he chose rather to suffer separation, than the continuance of hatred and assassination. Observe moreover that He said not God suffered you, but, Moses; shewing that it was, as the Apostle speaks, a counsel of man, not a command of God. [marg. note: 1 Cor 7:12]

Pseudo-Chrys.: Therefore said He well, Moses suffered, not commanded. For what we command, that we ever wish; but when we suffer, we yield against our will, because we have not the power to put full restraint upon the evil wills of men. He therefore suffered you to do evil that you might not do worse; thus in suffering this he was not enforcing the righteousness of God, but taking away its sinfulness from a sin; that while you did it according to His law, your sin should not appear sin.

Ver 9. And I say unto you, “Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.”

Chrys.: Having stopped their mouths, He now set forth the Law with authority, saying, “But I say unto you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, except for fornication, and marrieth another, committeth adultery.

Origen: Perhaps some one will say, that Jesus in thus speaking, suffered wives to be put away for the same cause that Moses suffered them, which He says was for the hardness of the hearts of the Jews. But to this it is to be answered, that if by the Law an adulteress is stoned, that sin is not to be understood as the shameful thing for which Moses suffers a writing of divorcement; [Deu_24:1] for in a cause of adultery it was not lawful to give a writing of divorcement. But Moses perhaps calls every sin in a woman a shameful thing, which if it be found in her, a bill of divorcement is written against her. But we should enquire, If it is lawful to put away a wife for the cause of fornication only, what is it if a woman be not an adulteress, but have done any other heinous crime; have been found a poisoner, or to have murdered her children? The Lord has explained this matter in another place, saying, “Whoso putteth her away, except for the cause of fornication, maketh her to commit adultery,” [Mat_5:32] giving her an opportunity of a second marriage.

Jerome: It is fornication alone which destroys the relationship of the wife; for when she has divided one flesh into two, and has separated herself by fornication from her husband, she is not to be retained, lest she should bring her husband also under the curse, which Scripture has spoken, “He that keepeth an adulteress is a fool and wicked.” [Pro_18:23]

Pseudo-Chrys.: For as he is cruel and unjust that puts away a chaste wife, so is he a fool and unjust that retains an unchaste; for in that he hides the guilt of his wife, he is an encourager of foulness.

Aug., De Conjug. Adult., ii, 9: For a reunion of the wedlock, even after actual commission of adultery, is neither shameful nor difficult, where there is an undoubted remission of sin through the keys of the kingdom of heaven; not that after being divorced from her husband an adulteress should be called back again, but that after her union with Christ she should no longer be called an adulteress.

Pseudo-Chrys.: For every thing by whatsoever causes it is created, by the same is it destroyed. It is not matrimony but the will that makes the union; and therefore it is not a separation of bodies but a separation of wills that dissolves it. He then who puts away his wife and does not take another is still her husband; for though their bodies be not united, their wills are united. But when he takes another, then he manifestly puts his wife away; wherefore the Lord says not, Whoso putteth away his wife, but, “Whoso marrieth another, committeth adultery.”

Raban.: There is then but one carnal cause why a wife should be put away, that is, fornication; and but one spiritual, that is, the fear of God. But there is no cause why while she who has been put away is alive, another should be married.

Jerome: For it might be that a man might falsely charge an innocent wife, and for the sake of another woman might fasten an accusation upon her. Therefore it is commanded so to put away the first, that a second be not married while the first is yet alive. Also because it might happen that by the same law a wife would divorce her husband, it is also provided that she take not another husband; and because one who had become an adulteress would have no further fear of disgrace, it is commanded that she marry not another husband. But if she do marry another, she is in the guilt of adultery; wherefore it follows, “And whoso marrieth her that is put away, committeth adultery.”

Gloss. ord.: He says this to the terror of him that would take her to wife, for the adulteress would have no fear of disgrace.

Ver 10. His disciples say unto him, “If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry.”11. But he said unto them, “All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.12. For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.”

Jerome: A wife is a grievous burden, if it is not permitted to put her away except for the cause of fornication. For what if she be a drunkard, an evil temper, or of evil habits, is she to be kept? The Apostles, perceiving this burdensomeness, express what they feel; “His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry.”

Chrys.: For it is a lighter thing to contend with himself, and his own lust, than with an evil woman.

Pseudo-Chrys.: And the Lord said not, It is good, but rather assented that it is not good. However, He considered the weakness of the flesh; “But he said unto them, All cannot receive this saying;” that is, All are not able to do this.

Jerome: But let none think, that wherein He adds, “save they to whom it is given,” that either fate or fortune is implied, as though they were virgins only whom chance has led to such a fortune. For that is given to those who have sought it of God, who have longed for it, who have striven that they might obtain it.

Pseudo-Chrys.: But all cannot obtain it, because all do not desire to obtain it. The prize is before them; he who desires the honour will not consider the toil. None would ever vanquish, if all shunned the struggle. Because then some have fallen from their purpose of continence, we ought not therefore to faint from that virtue; for they that fall in the battle do not slay the rest.

That He says therefore, “Save they to whom it is given,” shews that unless we receive the aid of grace, we have not strength. But this aid of grace is not denied to such as seek it, for the Lord says above, “Ask; and ye shall receive.”

Chrys.: Then to shew that this is possible, He says, “For there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men;” as much as to say, Consider, had you been so made of others, you would have lost the pleasure without gaining the reward.

Pseudo-Chrys.: For as the deed without the will does not constitute a sin; so a righteous act is not in the deed unless the will go with it. That therefore is honourable continence, not which mutilation of body of necessity enforces, but which the will of holy purpose embraces.

Jerome: He speaks of three kinds of eunuchs, of whom two are carnal, and one spiritual. One, those who are so born of their mother’s womb; another, those whom enemies or courtly luxury has made so; a third, those who have made themselves so for the kingdom of heaven, and who might have been men, but become eunuchs for Christ. To them the reward is promised, for to the others whose continence was involuntary, nothing is due.

Hilary: The cause in one item he assigns nature; in the next violence, and in the last his own choice, in him, namely, that determined to be so from hope of the kingdom of heaven.

Pseudo-Chrys.: For they are born such, just as others are born having six or four fingers. For if God according as He formed our bodies in the beginning, had continued the same order unchangeably, the working of God would have been brought into oblivion among men. The order of nature is therefore changed at times from its nature, that God the framer of nature may be had in remembrance.Jerome, cf Origen in loc.: Or we may say otherwise. The eunuchs from their mothers’ wombs are they whose nature is colder, and not prone to lust. And they that are made so of men are they whom physicians made so, or they whom worship of idols has made effeminate, or who from the influence of heretical teaching pretend to chastity, that they may thereupon claim truth for their tenets.

But none of them obtain the kingdom of heaven, save he only who has become a eunuch for Christ’s sake. Whence it follows, “He that is able to receive it, let him receive it;” let each calculate his own strength, whether he is able to fulfil the rules of virginity and abstinence. For in itself continence is sweet and alluring, but each man must consider his strength, that he only that is able may receive it.

This is the voice of the Lord exhorting and encouraging on His soldiers to the reward of chastity, that he who can fight might fight and conquer and triumph.

Chrys.: When he says, “Who have made themselves eunuchs,” He does not mean cutting off of members, but a putting away of evil thoughts. For he that cuts off a limb is under a curse, for such an one undertakes the deeds of murderers, and opens a door to Manichaeans who depreciate the creature, and cut off the same members as do the Gentiles. For to cut off members is of the temptation of daemons. But by the means of which we have spoken desire is not diminished but made more urgent; for it has its source elsewhere, and chiefly in a weak purpose and an unguarded heart. For if the heart be well governed, there is no danger from the natural motions; nor does the amputation of a member bring such peacefulness and immunity from temptation as does a bridle upon the thoughts.

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Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 7:6, 12-14

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 4, 2016

Mt 7:6. Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

AUGUSTINE. (ubi sup.) Because the simplicity to which He had been directing in the foregoing precepts might lead some wrongly to conclude that it was equally wrong to hide the truth as to utter what was false, He well adds, Give not that which is holy to the dogs, and cast not your pearls before swine.

PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. Otherwise; The Lord had commanded us to love our enemies, and to do good to those that sin against us. That from this Priests might not think themselves obliged to communicate also the things of God to such, He checked any such thought saying, Give not that which is holy to the dogs; as much as to say, I have bid you love your enemies, and do them good out of your temporal goods, but not out of My spiritual goods, without distinction. For they are your brethren by nature but not by faith, and God gives the good things of this life equally to the worthy and the unworthy, but not so spiritual graces.

AUGUSTINE. (Serm. in Mont. ii. 20.) Let us see now what is the holy thing, what are the dogs, what the pearls, what the swine? The holy thing is all that it were impiety to corrupt; a sin which may be committed by the will, though the thing itself be undone. The pearls are all spiritual things that are to be highly esteemed. Thus though one and the same thing may be called both the holy thing and a pearl, yet it is called holy because it is not to be corrupted; and called a pearl because it is not to be contemned.

PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. Otherwise; That which is holy denotes baptism, the grace of Christ’s body, and the like; but the mysteries of the truth are intended by the pearls. For as pearls are inclosed in shells, and such in the deeps of the sea, so the divine mysteries inclosed in words are lodged in the deep meaning of Holy Scripture.

CHRYSOSTOM. And to those that are right-minded and have understanding, when revealed they appear good; but to those without understanding, they seem to be more deserving reverence because they are not understood.

AUGUSTINE. (ubi sup.) The dogs are those that assault the truth; the swine we may not unsuitably take for those that despise the truth. Therefore because dogs leap forth to rend in pieces, and what they rend, suffer not to continue whole, He said, Give not that which is holy to the dogs; because they strive to the utmost of their power to destroy the truth. The swine though they do not assault by biting as dogs, yet do they defile by trampling upon, and therefore He said, Cast not your pearls before swine.

RABANUS. Or; The dogs are returned to their vomit; the swine not yet returned, but wallowing in the mire of vices.

PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. Otherwise; The dog and the swine are unclean animals; the dog indeed in every respect, as he neither chews the cud, nor divides the hoof; but swine in one respect only, seeing they divide the hoof, though they do not chew the cud. Hence I think that we are to understand by the dog, the Gentiles who are altogether unclean, both in their life, and in their faith; but by the swine are to be understood heretics, because they seem to call upon the name of the Lord. Give not therefore that which is holy to the dogs, for that baptism and the other sacraments are not to be given but to them that have the faith. In like manner the mysteries of the truth, that is, the pearls, are not to be given but to such as desire the truth and live with human reason. If then you cast them to the swine, that is, to such as are grovelling in impurity of life, they do not understand their preciousness, but value them like to other worldly fables, and tread them under foot with their carnal life.

AUGUSTINE. (ubi sup.) That which is despised is said to be trodden under foot: hence it is said, Lest perchance they tread them under foot.

GLOSS. (interlin.) He says, Lest perchance, because it may be that they will wisely turn from their uncleannessa.

AUGUSTINE. (ubi sup.) That which follows, Turn again and rend you, He means not the pearls themselves, for these they tread under foot, and when they turn again that they may hear something further, then they rend him by whom the pearls on which they had trode had been cast. For you will not easily find what will please him who has despised things got by great toil. Whoever then undertake to teach such, I see not how they shall not be trode upon and rent by those they teach.

PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. Or; The swine not only trample upon the pearls by their carnal life, but after a little they turn, and by disobedience rend those who offend them. Yea often when offended they bring false accusation against them as sowers of new dogmas. The dogs also having trode upon holy things by their impure actions, by their disputings rend the preacher of truth.

CHRYSOSTOM. Well is that said, Lest they turn; for they feign meekness that they may learn; and when they have learned, they attack.

PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. With good reason He forbade pearls to be given to swine. For if they are not to be set before swine that are the less unclean, how much more are they to be withheld from dogs that are so much more unclean. But respecting the giving that which is holy, we cannot hold the same opinion; seeing we often give the benediction to Christians who live as the brutes; and that not because they deserve to receive it, but lest perchance being more grievously offended they should perish utterly.

AUGUSTINE. (ubi sup.) We must be careful therefore not to explain ought to him who does not receive it; for men the rather seek that which is hidden than that which is opened. He either attacks from ferocity as a dog, or overlooks from stupidity as swine. But it does not follow that if the truth be kept hid, falsehood is uttered. The Lord Himself who never spoke falsely, yet sometimes concealed the truth, as in that, I have yet many things to say unto you, the which ye are not now able to bear. (John 16:12.) But if any is unable to receive these things because of his filthiness, we must first cleanse him as far as lays in our power either by word or deed. But in that the Lord is found to have said some things which many who heard Him did not receive, but either rejected or contemned them, we are not to think that therein He gave the holy thing to the dogs, or cast His pearls before swine. He gave to those who were able to receive, and who were in the company, whom it was not fit should be neglected for the uncleanness of the rest. And though those who tempted Him might perish in those answers which He gave to them, yet those who could receive them by occasion of these inquiries heard many useful things. He therefore who knows what should be answered ought to make answer, for their sakes at least who might fall into despair should they think that the question proposed is one that cannot be answered. But this only in the case of such matters as pertain to instruction of salvation; of things superfluous or harmful nothing should be said; but it should then be explained for what reason we ought not to make answer in such points to the enquirer.

Mt 7:12. Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the Law and the Prophets.

AUGUSTINE. (ubi sup.) Firmness and strength of walking by the way of wisdom in good habits is thus set before us, by which men are brought to purity and simplicity of heart; concerning which having spoken a long time, He thus concludes, All things whatsoever ye would, &c. For there is no man who would that another should act towards him with a double heart.

PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. Otherwise; He had above commanded us in order to sanctify our prayers that men should not judge those who sin against them. Then breaking the thread of his discourse He had introduced various other matters, wherefore now when He returns to the command with which He had begun, He says, All things whatsoever ye would, &c. That is; I not only command that ye judge not, but All things whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye unto them; and then you will be able to pray so as to obtain.

GLOSS. (ord.) Otherwise; The Holy Spirit is the distributor of all spiritual goods, that the deeds of charity may be fulfilled; whence He adds, All things therefore &c.

CHRYSOSTOM. Otherwise; The Lord desires to teach that men ought to seek aid from above, but at the same time to contribute what lays in their power; wherefore when He had said, Ask, seek, and knock, He proceeds to teach openly that men should be at pains for themselves, adding, Whatsoever ye would &c.

AUGUSTINE. (Serm. 61. 7.) Otherwise; The Lord had promised that He would give good things to them that ask Him. But that He may own his petitioners, let us also own ours. For they that beg are in every thing, save having of substance, equal to those of whom they beg. What face can you have of making request to your God, when you do not acknowledge your equal? This is that is said in Proverbs, Whoso stoppeth his ear to the cry of the poor, he shall cry and shall not be heard. (Prov. 21:13.) What we ought to bestow on our neighbour when he asks of us, that we ourselves may be heard of God, we may judge by what we would have others bestow upon us; therefore He says, All things whatsoever ye would.

CHRYSOSTOM. He says not, All things whatsoever, simply, but All things therefore, as though He should say, If ye will be heard, besides those things which I have now said to you, do this also. And He said not, Whatsoever you would have done for you by God, do that for your neighbour; lest you should say, But how can I? but He says, Whatsoever you would have done to you by your fellow-servant, do that also to your neighbour.

AUGUSTINE. (Serm. in Mont. ii. 22.) Some Latin copies add here, good thingsb, which I suppose was inserted to make the sense more plain. For it occurred that one might desire some crime to be committed for his advantage, and should so construe this place, that he ought first to do the like to him by whom he would have it done to him. It were absurd to think that this man had fulfilled this command. Yet the thought is perfect, even though this be not added. For the words, All things whatsoever ye would, are not to be taken in their ordinary and loose signification, but in their exact and proper sense. For there is no will but only in the good; (but vid. Retract. i. 9. n. 4.) in the wicked it is rather named desire, and not will. Not that the Scriptures always observe this propriety; but where need is, there they retain the proper word so that none other need be understood.

CYPRIAN. (Tr. vii.) Since the Word of God, the Lord Jesus Christ came to all men, He summed up all his commands in one precept, Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them; and adds, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. For whatsoever ever the Law and the Prophets contain up and down through the whole Scriptures, is embraced in this one compendious precept, as the innumerable branches of a tree spring from one root.

GREGORY. (Mor. x. 6.) He that thinks he ought to do to another as he expects that others will do to him, considers verily how he may return good things for bad, and better things for good.

CHRYSOSTOM. Whence what we ought to do is clear, as in our own cases we all know what is proper, and so we cannot take refuge in our ignorance.

AUGUSTINE. (Serm. in Mont. ii. 22.) This precept seems to refer to the love of our neighbour, not of God, as in another place He says, there are two commandments on which hang the Law and the Prophets. But as He says not here, The whole Law, as He speaks there, He reserves a place for the other commandment respecting the love of God.

AUGUSTINE. (De Trin. viii. 7.) Otherwise; Scripture does not mention the love of God, where it says, All things whatsoever ye would; because he who loves his neighbour must consequently love Love itself above all things; but God is Love; therefore he loves God above all things.
Mt 7:13. Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
Mt 7:14. Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

AUGUSTINE. (Serm. in Mont. ii. 22.) The Lord had warned us above to have a heart single and pure with which to seek God; but as this belongs to but few, He begins to speak of finding out wisdom. For the searching out and contemplation whereof there has been formed through all the foregoing such an eye as may discern the narrow way and strait gate; whence He adds, Enter ye in at the strait gate.

GLOSS. (ord.) Though it be hard to do to another what you would have done to yourself; yet so must we do, that we may enter the strait gate.

PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. Otherwise; This third precept again is connected with the right method of fasting, and the order of discourse will be this; But thou when thou fastest anoint thy head; and after comes, Enter ye in at the strait gate. For there are three chief passions in our nature, that are most adhering to the flesh; the desire of food and drink; the love of the man towards the woman; and thirdly, sleep. These it is harder to cut off from the fleshly nature than the other passions. And therefore abstinence from no other passion so sanctifies the body as that a man should be chaste, abstinent, and continuing in watchings. On account therefore of all these righteousnesses, but above all on account of the most toilsome fasting, it is that He says, Enter ye in at the strait gate. The gate of perdition is the Devil, through whom we enter into hell; the gate of life is Christ, through whom we enter into the kingdom of Heaven. The Devil is said to be a wide gate, not extended by the mightiness of his power, but made broad by the license of his unbridled pride. Christ is said to be a strait gate not with respect to smallness of power, but to His humility; for He whom the whole world contains not, shut Himself within the limits of the Virgin’s womb. The way of perdition is sin of any kind It is said to be broad, because it is not contained within the rule of any discipline, but they that walk therein follow whatever pleases them. The way of life is all righteousness, and is called narrow for the contrary reasons. It must be considered that unless one walk in the way, he cannot arrive at the gate; so they that walk not in the way of righteousness, it is impossible that they should truly know Christ. Likewise neither does he run into the hands of the Devil, unless he walks in the way of sinners.

GLOSS. (ord.) Though love be wide, yet it leads men from the earth through difficult and steep ways. It is sufficiently difficult to cast aside all other things, and to love One only, not to aim at prosperity, not to fear adversity.

CHRYSOSTOM. But seeing He declares below, My yoke is pleasant, and my burden light, how is it that He says here that the way is strait and narrow? Even here He teaches that it is light and pleasant; for here is a way and a gate as that other, which is called the wide and broad, has also a way and a gate. Of these nothing is to remain; but all pass away. But to pass through toil and sweat, and to arrive at a good end, namely life, is sufficient solace to those who undergo these struggles. For if sailors can make light of storms and soldiers of wounds in hope of perishable rewards, much more when Heaven lies before, and rewards immortal, will none look to the impending dangers. Moreover the very circumstance that He calls it strait contributes to make it easy; by this He warned them to be always watching; this the Lord speaks to rouse our desires. He who strives in a combat, if he sees the prince admiring the efforts of the combatants, gets greater heart. Let us not therefore be sad when many sorrows befal us here, for the way is strait, but not the city; therefore neither need we look for rest here, nor expect any thing of sorrow there. When He says, Few there be that find it, He points to the sluggishness of the many, and instructs His hearers not to look to the prosperity of the many, but to the toils of the few.

JEROME. Attend to the words, for they have an especial force, many walk in the broad way—few find the narrow way. For the broad way needs no search, and is not found, but presents itself readily; it is the way of all who go astray. Whereas the narrow way neither do all find, nor when they have found, do they straightway walk therein. Many, after they have found the way of truth, caught by the pleasures of the world, desert midway.

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Aquinas’ Lecture on Psalm 5

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 29, 2016

The following is under copyright and appears courtesy of Dr. Stephen Loughlin and the Aquinas Translation Project.

Psalm 5

a. In finem, pro ea quae consequitur haereditatemVerba mea auribus percipe Domine: intellige clamorem meum. Intende voci orationis meae, rex meus, et Deus meus. Quoniam ad te orabo Domine. Unto the end. For her that obtaineth the inheritance.Give ear, O Lord, to my words, understand my cry. Hearken to the voice of my prayer, O my King and my God. For to thee will I pray: O Lord,
b. Mane exaudies vocem meam. Mane astabo tibi et videbo, quoniam non Deus volens iniquitatem tu es. Neque habitabit iuxta te malignus, neque permanebunt iniusti ante oculos tuos. in the morning thou shalt hear my voice. In the morning I will stand before thee, and will see: because thou art not a God that willest iniquity. Neither shall the wicked dwell near thee: nor shall the unjust abide before thy eyes.
c. Odisti omnes qui operantur iniquitatem: perdes omnes qui loquuntur mendacium. Virum sanguinum et dolosum abominabitur Dominus. Thou hatest all the workers of iniquity: thou wilt destroy all that speak a lie. The bloody and the deceitful man the Lord will abhor.
d. Ego autem in multitudine misericordiae tuae, introibo in domum tuam, adorabo ad templum sanctum tuum in timore tuo. But as for me in the multitude of thy mercy, I will come into thy house; I will worship towards thy holy temple, in thy fear.
e. Domine deduc me in iustitia tua, propter inimicos meos: dirige in conspectu tuo viam meam. Conduct me, O Lord, in thy justice: because of my enemies, direct my way in thy sight.
f. Quoniam non est in ore eorum veritas: cor eorum vanum est. Sepulcrum patens est guttur eorum, linguis suis dolose agebant. For there is not truth in their mouth: their heart is vain. Their throat is an open sepulcher: they dealt deceitfully with their tongues:
g. Iudica illos Deus. Decidant a cogitationibus suis, secundum multitudinem impietatum eorum expelle eos: quoniam irritaverunt te Domine. judge them, O God. Let them fall from their devices: according to the multitude of their wickednesses cast them out: for they have provoked thee, O Lord.
h. Et laetentur omnes qui sperant in te: in aeternum exultabunt, et habitabis in eis. Et gloriabuntur in te omnes, qui diligunt nomen tuum. But let all them be glad that hope in thee: they shall rejoice for ever, and thou shalt dwell in them. And all they that love thy name shall glory in thee:
i. Quoniam tu benedices iusto. Domine, ut scuto bonae voluntatis tuae coronasti nos. For thou wilt bless the just. O Lord, thou hast crowned us, as with a shield of thy good will.
a. Supra Psalmista orationem proposuit contra persequentes manifeste; hic contra dolosos orat, ne decipiatur. Et circa hoc duo facit. Primo ponit petitionem contra dolosos, ne decipiatur. Secundo, ut lapsus reparetur, ibi, Domine ne in furore etc. Previously, the Psalmist set forth his prayer in no uncertain terms against those who were pursuing him. Here, he prays against those who perpetrate deceptions, that he might not be deceived. Concerning this he does two things. First, he puts forth his petition against these deceivers, that he might not be deceived, and secondly, that he might be restored from a failure on his part, at, O Lord, rebuke me not (Psalm 6:2).
Hic psalmus habet titulum in quo est aliquid novi, qui talis est; In finem pro ea quae consequitur hereditatem. Ubi tangitur figura et mysterium. Figura quidem intelligi potest dupliciter. Primo, secundum quod glossa exponit, et habetur in historia Genesis 21, quod Sara videns ludentem Ismaelem cum Isaac filio suo, turbata est, et dixit ad Abraham: Ejice ancillam hanc et filium ejus: non enim erit heres filius ancillae cum filio meo Isaac. Intellexit quidem Sara ludum illum persecutionem esse contra Isaac; Abraham autem dure accepit quod dixerat Sara de filio suo Ismaele; sed dixit ei Deus: Non tibi videatur asperum super puero et ancilla tua: omnia quae dixerit tibi Sara, audi vocem ejus, quia in Isaac vocabitur tibi semen, etc.: quasi dicat: Isaac tibi haeres erit tuus, non Ismael. Unde infra 25, dicitur: Dedit Abraham cuncta quae possederat filio suo Isaac, filiis autem concubinarum largitus est munera etc. Potest ergo hic psalmus referri ad hoc: quod populus Judaeorum secundum figuram consequebatur hereditatem promissam Abrahae, cujus erat caput David, et rex. Secundum mysterium vero populus Christianus: Gal. 4: Nos autem, fratres, secundum isaac promissionis filii sumus. Ergo psalmus iste tendit In finem, idest in Christum quem laudat Pro ea, scilicet pro ecclesia, Quae consequitur hereditatem, reprobata synagoga. This psalm has in its title something new, namely, Unto the end. For her that obtaineth the inheritance. This can be referred to here in both a literal and mystical way. With regard to the former, this can be understood in two ways. First, as the Gloss explains it and as it is found in history recounted in Genesis 21, namely that Sara, seeing Ismael playing with Isaac her son, was troubled and said to Abraham: Cast out this bondwoman, and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with my son Isaac. (Genesis 12:10) Sara thought that this play was in fact a persecution directed against Isaac. Abraham accepted, with duress, what Sara had said concerning Ismael his son. But God said to him: Let it not seem grievous to thee for the boy, and for thy bondwoman: in all that Sara hath said to thee, hearken to her voice: for in Isaac shall thy seed be called. (Genesis 12:12) It is as if he were saying: “Isaac will be your heir, not Ismael.” Whence it is said at Genesis 25:5-6, that Abraham gave all his possession to Isaac. And to the children of the concubines he gave gifts (and separated them from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, to the east country). Therefore, this psalm can be referred to the foregoing, that, in the literal sense, the Jewish people obtained the inheritance promised to Abraham, whose head and king was David. According to the mystical sense, the foregoing is referred to the Christian people: Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of the promise. (Galatians 4:28) Therefore, this psalm tends Unto the end, that is to say, to Christ whom it praises, For her, namely for the Church, That obtaineth the inheritance, rejected by the synagogue.
Alio modo, secundum litteram Hieronymi, titulus est, Victori pro heredibus canticum David: et sic potest intelligi, quod iste psalmus factus est pro victoria quam David habuit ad litteram. Et sciendum, quod David fugiens haereditatem amisit per Absalonem, sicut habetur 2 Reg. 16. Unde sicut praecedens psalmus fuit pro liberatione et victoria contra Absalonem, ita hunc fecit pro recuperatione hereditatis: quia David reverso in Hierusalem, adhuc malitiose insurrexerant sibi et quidam alii contra eum. Unde 2 Reg. 20, mandavit David Amasae, quod usque in diem tertium convocaret omnes viros Juda, ut persequeretur Siba filium Bochri: quia magis afflicturus est nos filius Bochri quam Absalon. Pertransiverat enim omnes tribus Israel usque Abelam, omnesque electi congregati erant ad eum: quo decapitato regnavit David super omnem Israelem. (We can consider all this) in another way according to Jerome’s version. Its title is For the conquerer on behalf of those receiving inheritances. A song of David. This can be understood in a literal way, namely that this psalm was made for the victory that David had won. It should be understood that David in fleeing lost his inheritance because of Absalom, as recounted at 2 Kings 16. Hence as the preceding psalm was on behalf of the liberation from and victory over Absalom, in like manner he composed this one for the recovery of his inheritance. For although David had returned to Jerusalem, his own still rebelled maliciously, some of them even rising up against him. Thus David (at 2 Kings 20) ordered Amasa to assemble all the men of Juda until the third day so that Seba the son of Bochri might be pursued, for the son of Bochri will do us more harm than did Absalom…He had passed through all tribes of Israel unto Abela…and all the chosen men were gathered together unto him. (2 Kings 20: 4, 5, 14) Upon his decapitation, David ruled over the whole of Israel.
In hoc ergo psalmo secundum litteram tria considerantur. Primo petit exaudiri. Secundo ostendit fiduciam suae exauditionis, ibi, Mane exaudies. Tertio proponit petitionem, ibi, Domine deduc me. Circa primum duo facit. Primo petit exaudiri. Secundo signat rationem exauditionis, ibi, Rex meus. Therefore, in this psalm three things are to be considered according to the literal sense. First, the Psalmist prays to be heard. Second, he shows his confidence in his being heard, at, In the morning. Third, he puts forward his petition, at, Conduct me, O Lord. Concerning the first, he does two things. First, he prays to be heard. Second, he designates the reason for his being heard, at, My king.
Notandum, quod qui vult petere aliquid ab aliquo, sic procedit. Primo desiderat quod vult petere. Secundo meditatur verba proponenda. Tertio proponit ea apud exaudientem. Et e converso auditor. Primo percipit verba auditu. Secundo intellectu capit sensum verborum. Tertio inclinatur ad implendum desiderium petentis. Loquitur ergo David ad Deum, secundum similitudinem hanc. Et primo petit primum, scilicet ut audiat verba ejus exteriori auditu, cum dicit, Verba mea auribus percipe, Domine. Secundo petit sensum, scilicet intellectum verborum, cum dicit, Intellige clamorem meum, non exteriorem, sed interiorem affectum: Ps. 17: Clamor meus in conspectu ejus: Hieronymus: Intellige murmur meum, quod cogitavi proponendum: et consonat illi translationi quae dicit Meditationem. Tertio petit tertium, scilicet exauditionem: Intende voci orationis meae, idest velis exaudire orationem meam: Psal. 69: Deus in adjutorium meum intende. Sed numquid Deus haec seorsum facit, audit, intendit, exaudit? Dicendum, quod metaphorice loquitur: scilicet ut omnia haec approbet, verba exteriora, meditationem interiorem, et quae proponit. It should be noted that he who wishes to ask something from another, proceeds in the following way. First, he desires that for which he wishes to ask. Second, he thinks about the words he is going to use. Third, he sets them before the one listening (to his appeal). On the part of the one listening, the procedure is reversed: First, he hears the words that have been spoken. Second, he grasps intellectually the sense of the words. Third, he is inclined to fulfill the desire of the one asking. Therefore, David speaks to God in this fashion. He begins by asking for the first (of these three), namely that He hear his words with the outer ear when he says, Give ear, O Lord, to my words. Second, he asks for the sense, that is to say, the understanding of his words, when he says, Understand my cry, not made externally, but rather felt within: My cry came before him. (Psalm 17:7) Jerome’s version has: Understand my murmuring which I thought to put forth: and this agrees with that translation which says Meditation. Finally, he asks for the third (of these three), namely that he be heard: Hearken to the voice of my prayer, that is to say, “May you wish to listen to my prayer:” O God, come to my assistance. (Psalm 69:2) But does God do these three separately? Does he hear, consider, and then grant? One ought to say that the Psalmist speaks metaphorically, namely that God approves of all these acts, namely of spoken words, interior meditation, and of what he sets forth.
Secundo ponit rationem exauditionis, cum dicit, Rex meus. Et est hoc principium versus secundum graecum. Ponitur autem triplex ratio exauditionis, scilicet ex parte Dei. Quarum una est Rex meus. Regis enim est gubernare. Ex quo ergo ad Deum pertinet, pertinet ad eum necessaria providere: Hier. 10: Quis non timebit te o rex gentium? Alia ratio est, quia Deus: Deus enim finis est voluntatum nostrarum et conservator: Ps. 27: In Deo speravit cor meum, et adjutus sum etc. Et ideo dicit Deus meus: Isa. 8: Numquid non populus a Deo suo requiret visionem pro vivis et mortuis etc. Tertia ratio sumitur ex parte orantis, cum dicit: Quoniam ad te orabo, Domine; quasi dicat: Conveniens est, quia promisisti orantibus exauditionem. Matth. 7: Omnis qui petit accipit, et qui quaerit invenit, et pulsanti aperietur. Nec refertur quod dicit Hieronymus, Deprecor, et hic dicitur, Orabo: quia hoc designat continuationem orationis sine intermissione: quasi dicat: Ita Orabo, quod tamen semper deprecor: Luc. 18: Oportet semper orare, et non deficere. Secondly, he designates the reason for his being heard when he says, My king. And in the Greek version this is the first verse. He sets forth a three-fold reason for his being heard, namely by God. The first of these is My king. It is the business of a king to govern. For this reason, therefore, this pertains to God, pertains to him to provide for the necessities of life: Who shall not fear thee, O king of nations? (Jeremiah 10:7) Another reason is that that he is God. For God is the end of our willing and is our defender: (The Lord is my helper and my protector:) in him hath my heart confided, and I have been helped. (Psalm 27:7) And so he says My God: Should not the people seek (a sight) of their God, for the living of the dead. (Isaiah 8:19) The third reason is taken from the perspective of the one praying, when he says, For to thee will I pray, O Lord. It is as if he were saying: “It is fitting that you have promised to listen to those who pray: For every one that asketh, receiveth: and he that seeketh, findeth: and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened. (Matthew 7:8) It does not matter that Jerome says “I beseech” (deprecor) and our version says “I will pray” (orabo), since either word designates the continuation of prayer without ceasing, as if to say: “In this manner Will I pray, that in spite of (what may occur) I beseech (the Lord) continuously”: (And he spoke also a parable to them,) that we ought always to pray, and not to faint. (Luke 18:1)
b. Haec est secunda pars psalmi. Ubi primo ostendit fiduciam se habere de exauditione. Secundo fiduciae rationem, ibi, Mane astabo etc. Dicit ergo: Exaudies vocem meam mane: secundum literam, idest celeriter, quasi dicat tempestive. Hoc enim sperare debemus de Deo quod cito exaudiet: Isa. 30: Ad vocem clamoris tui statim ut audierit respondebit tibi. Idem penul. Adhuc illis loquentibus ego audiam. Ratio fiduciae ponitur cum dicit, Mane astabo etc. This is the psalm’s second part where the psalmist shows, first, the confidence he has in being heard, and second the reason for this confidence, at, In the morning, I will stand. Thus he says: Thou shalt hear my voice in the morning, that is to say quickly, as if to say, at the right time. For we ought to hope this of God that he will hearken to us quickly: At the voice of thy cry, as soon as he shall hear, he will answer thee. (Isaiah 30:19). And again: (before they call, I will hear;) as they are yet speaking, I will hear. (Isaiah 65:24) The reason for his confidence he sets forth when he says, In the morning, I will stand.
Nota quod Mane quadrupliciter dicitur: scilicet naturalis diei: Gen. 1: Factus est vespere et mane dies unus. Item vitae humanae; et sic juventus dicitur mane: Psal. 89: Mane floreat et transeat. Item diei gratiae in prima conversione hominis ad deum, quia tunc incipit habere lumen gratiae: Ps. 89: Repleti sumus mane misericordia tua. Item aeternitatis: Ps. 29. Ad vesperam, scilicet in vita praesenti, Demorabitur fletus, et ad matutinum, scilicet aeternitatis, Laetitia. Duplex ergo ratio assignatur confidentiae. Primo, quia mane astat, idest Deo adhaeret, et ad Deum se praeparat; unde Hieronymus habet, Praeparabor: Eccl. 18: Ante orationem praepara animam tuam, et noli esse quasi homo qui tentat Deum. Mane ergo diei, idest in matutinis, Astabo tibi, idest tibi intendam. Et hoc, quia tunc est homo liber a solicitudinibus, et magis habet cor liberum ad cogitandum de Deo: Psal. 62: In matutinis Domine meditabor in te: Isaiae 26: Sed et spiritu meo in praecordiis meis de mane vigilabo ad te, et exaudies vocem meam etc. Quia devotos audit. Mane, scilicet gratiae, propulsis tenebris culpae, Astabo, et Contemplabor, ut habet littera Hieronymi. 2 Reg. 23: Sicut lux aurorae mane absque nubibus rutilat oriente sole etc. Exaudies vocem meam, scilicet liberando a culpa et poena. Vel Mane, scilicet in die aeternitatis: Job 38: Ubi eras cum me laudarent astra matutina etc. Et tunc homo totaliter exauditur. Vel Mane, idest a juventute: Astabo tibi: Thren. 3: Bonum est viro cum portaverit jugum Domini ab adolescentia sua: Eccl. ult. Memento creatoris tui in diebus juventutis tuae etc. Exaudies voces meam, quia Prov. 8: Diligentes me diligo: et qui mane vigilaverint ad me, inveniet me. Secunda ratio fiduciae est, quod videt; unde dicit, Et videbo: et exponit hoc primo quomodo astet, cum dicit: Ego autem in multitudine. Primo dicit quid videt: scilicet qui sunt illi qui impediuntur ab exauditione, et quae sunt hujusmodi impedimenta: et isti sunt mali; unde dicit Videbo, scilicet Quoniam Deus etc. Ubi notanda sunt duo. Primo, quod mali excluduntur ab istis. Secundo quod inducuntur in mala poenae, ibi, Odisti omnes etc. Circa primum loquitur de Deo sicut de aliquo homine qui diligit aliquos seu odit. Ubi triplex gradus potest esse: quia alicui peccatoris placet peccatum, alicui placet persona peccantis, alicui neutrum: sed tamen libenter et sine indignatione videt eum. Hoc autem non est in Deo: quia Deo non placet peccatum, nec respicit ad familiaritatem peccatoris. Item dedignatur eum videre: et ideo dicit quantum ad primum, Videbo quoniam tu non es Deus volens iniquitatem, idest non placet tibi. Quantum ad secundum dicit: Neque habitabit juxta te malignus, idest non habes eum in familiaritate tua: Ps. 100: Non habitabit in medio domus meae etc. Item ibidem 25: Odivi ecclesiam malignantium. Quantum ad tertium dicit, Neque permanebunt injusti, idest peccatores, Ante oculos tuos, scilicet approbationis: Habacuc 1: Mundi sunt oculi tui, et respicere ad iniquitatem non poteris. Note that In the morning can be said in a fourfold way: namely, of the natural day itself: And there was evening and morning one day (Genesis 1:5); secondly, of human life: and so one is said to be in the morning of one’s youth: In the morning man shall grow up like grass (Psalm 89:6); thirdly, of the day of grace in the first conversion of man to God, since at that point he begins to have the light of grace: We are filled in the morning with thy mercy (Psalm 89:14); and fourth, of eternity: In the evening, that is to say, in the present life, Weeping shall have place, and in the morning, that is to say, in eternity, gladness. (Psalm 29:6) A twofold reason is assigned for his confidence. First, because in the morning he stands near, that is to say, he clings to and prepares himself for God. Hence, Jerome’s version has, I will prepare for: Before prayer prepare they soul: and be not as a man that tempteth God. (Ecclesiasticus 18:23) Therefore, In the morning of day, that is, at dawn, I will stand before thee, that is, I will be intent upon you. And this because at that time, man is free from responsibilities, and has a heart more free to meditate upon God: I will meditate on thee in the morning (Psalm 62:7); And with my spirit within me in the morning early I will watch to thee (Isaiah 26:9) because he hears those devoted to him. In the morning, that is (of the day) of grace, having repelled the darkness of guilt, I will stand and I will contemplate, as Jerome’s version renders it: As the light of the morning, when the sun riseth… (2 Kings 23:4) Thou shalt hear my voice, having been freed from blame and punishment. Or, In the morning, namely on the day of eternity: When the morning stars praised me altogether. (Job 38:7) At that time man, man is wholly regarded. Or, In the morning, that is, of his youth: I will stand before thee: It is good for a man, when he hath borne the yoke (of the Lord) from his youth. (Lamentations 3:27); Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth (Ecclesiastes 12:1). Thou shalt hear my voice, for I love them that love me: and they that in the morning early watch for me, shall find me. (Proverbs 8:17) The second reason for his confidence is that he sees. Hence he says, And I will see. And he sets forth first how he will present himself, when he says, But as for me in the multitude of thy mercy. First he says that he sees, namely who those people are that are prevented from being heard, and what these impediments are. These people are evil. Hence he says, I will see, namely, Because thou art not a God that willest iniquity. Two things are to be noted here. First, that the evil are excluded from (the very things that the good enjoy). Second, that they are brought to the evils associated with their punishment, at, Thou hatest. Concerning the first, the psalmist speaks of God as a man who delights in some and hates others. (For a man) there can be a threefold approach to this (situation). First, that he is pleased with the sin of the one sinning, second, that he is pleased with the person of the one sinning, and third, that he does neither of these but gladly and without indignation associates with him. But these approaches are not to be found in God who neither is pleased with sin, nor cares to be familiar with a sinner. Furthermore, he disdains to associate with him. Thus he says, with respect to the first, that I will see because thou art not a God that willest iniquity, that is to say, it is not pleasing to you. With respect to the second, he says, Neither shall the wicked dwell near thee, that is to say, you do not have him in your company: He that worketh pride shall not dwell in the midst of my house (Psalm 100:7); I have hated the assembly of the malignant (and with the wicked I will not sit). (Psalm 25:5) With respect to the third, he says, Nor shall the unjust, that is to say sinners, abide before thy eyes, namely receive your approval: Thy eyes are too pure to behold evil, and thou canst not look on iniquity. (Habacuc 1:13)
c. Hic ostendit quomodo inducuntur ad poenam: et ponit triplicem ordinem. Triplex enim gradus est, quo modo aliquis odit aliquem. Primo habet eum odio, volendo ei malum in corde. Secundo hoc exequitur inferendo poenam. Tertio si quando punivit, tamen reconciliat eum sibi. Sed Deus primo odit; unde dicit, Odisti omnes etc. Sap. 14: Similiter est odio Deo impius et impietas ejus. Sed contra, Sap. 2: Diligis omnia quae sunt etc. Respondeo: quod Deus fecit, non odit; sed quod non fecit, scilicet peccatum. Sed si nos pertinaciter insistamus, peccatorem odit inquantum non revocat, et per poenas ordinat. At this point, he shows how the wicked are brought to punishment. He sets forth a threefold order, for there is a threefold process by which one hates another. First, one carries a hatred directed at the other, wishing evil to the other from one’s heart. Second, this hatred is carried out by inflicting punishment. Lastly, although punished, one nevertheless reconciles oneself to the other. But God hates at the start; hence the Psalmist says, Thou hatest: But to God the wicked and his wickedness are hateful alike. (Wisdom 14:9) However, contrary to this is the following: For thou lovest all things that are, and hatest none of the things which thou hast made. (Wisdom 11:25) I respond to this (seeming contradiction) by saying that God does not hate what he has made. Rather he hates what he did not make, namely sin. And if we insist stubbornly upon our sin, we can say that God hates the sinner insofar as the sinner does not turn away from his sin, and God sets the situation aright through punishments.
Secundo infert poenam; et ideo dicit: Perdes omnes qui loquuntur mendacium: Sap. 1: Os quod mentitur occidit animam. Nota quod triplex est mendacium: scilicet perniciosum, quod fit in nocumentum alterius sive spiritualis sive temporalis rei, puta in doctrina; et hoc est gravissimum. Jocosum, quod dicitur ad delectandum. Officiosum, quo quis loquitur ad proficiendum sive temporaliter sive spiritualiter. Et secundum Augustinum, nullum mendacium officiosum est sine peccato: quia si mentiris ut liberes aliquem, hoc non est bonum: quia Apostolus dicit Rom. 3: Non sunt facienda mala ut veniant bona. Praeterea omne malum posset fieri propter bonum; potest tamen officiosum esse aliquando veniale. Sed jocosum semper est veniale. Perniciosum vero semper est mortale: et de isto hic intelligitur. Next, He inflicts the punishment. And so the Psalmist says, Thou wilt destroy all that speak a lie: The mouth that belieth, killeth the soul. (Wisdom 1:11) Note that a lie is of three kinds. There is the pernicious lie, since it results in the harming of another’s spiritual or temporal things (for example in the area of doctrine), and this is most grave; secondly, there is the humorous lie, since it is said in order to please; lastly, there is the officious lie which is proffered for some temporal or spiritual advantage. According to Augustine, no officious lie is without sin. For if you lie to free another, this is not good, since the Apostle says at Romans 3:8 that Let us not do evil, that there may come good. Besides, all evil could be done for the sake of good. Nevertheless, the officious lie can sometimes be venial. But the humorous lie is always venial. The pernicious lie is always mortal. And it is this last sort of lie that is understood here (in the psalm passage currently under consideration).
Tertio Deus sic odit sicut poenas inferens qui non reconciliatur; unde subdit: Virum sanguinum et dolosum abominabitur Dominus. Illa abominamur quae in cognitione nostra non patimur. Viri sanguinum dicuntur illi quorum affectus est ad effundendum sanguinem: Prov. 1: Pedes eorum ad malum currunt, et festinant ut effundant sanguinem: 2 Reg. 16: Egredere vir sanguinum. Dolosus est qui in dolo loquitur. Sed advertendum, quod ordinate procedit Psalmista: quia primo homo simpliciter operatur malum cogitando; et hos Deus odit. Sed quando addunt malitiam exequendo, provocant Deum ad puniendum. Sed quando perdurant, tunc Deus abominatur: Prov. 15: Abominatio est Deo vita impii etc. Thirdly, God hates as he inflicts punishments upon those who are not reconciled to him; hence he adds, The bloody and the deceitful man the Lord will abhor. We abhor those who in our understanding we cannot bear. “Bloody men” are those whose passion it is to shed blood: For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood. (Proverbs 1:16); Come out, thou man of blood. (2 Kings 16:7) A deceitful man is one who speaks in a fraudulent manner. It should be noted that the Psalmist proceeds in an ordered way, that, first, man effects evil at the start simply by thinking, and these God hates. But when they add malice by carrying out (this evil so thought), they provoke God to punishment (of them). But when they continue in their malice, then God abhors (them): The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord. (Proverbs 15:9)
d. Consequenter cum dicit, Ego, ostendit, quomodo astat Domino: et circa hoc duo facit. Primo ostendit quomodo accedit ad Deum. Secundo, quam orationem porrigit, ibi, Adorabo. Dicet ergo aliquis sibi: tu dicis quod Non habitabit juxta te malignus. Sed numquid non tu es peccator? Quomodo ergo astabis? Et ideo dicit, non secundum merita, sed In multitudine misericordiae tuae introibo, idest appropinquabo tibi, In domum tuam. Vel ad litteram dicitur templum, vel congregatio fidelium: 1 Tim. 3: Quomodo oporteat te in domo dei conversari, quae est ecclesia Dei. Dan. 9: Non enim in justificationibus nostris prosternimus preces ante faciem tuam etc. Sed tu cum sis peccator, idest vir sanguinum, quomodo appropinquas vel adoras? Certe, In timore tuo: Eccl. 1: Qui sine timore est, non poterit justificari; ideo dicit, In timore tuo, scilicet cum reverentia. Consequently, when he says, But as for me, he sets forth how he stands before God. Concerning this he does two things. First, he shows how he approaches God, and secondly, what prayer he makes, at, I will worship. And so, someone might say the following to himself: “You say that Neither shall the wicked dwell near thee. But are you not a sinner? How, therefore, will you stand before Him?” And thus the Psalmist says, “Not according to my own merits, but rather In the multitude of thy mercy, I will come,” that is to say, I will approach you, Into thy house. Or, in the literal sense, (I will come into your) temple, or the congregation of the faithful: (But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know) how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God (1 Timothy 3:15); For it is not for our justifications that we present our prayers before thy face, but for the multitude of thy tender mercies. (Daniel 9:18) “But you, although a sinner, that is to say, a bloody man, how do you approach or adore Him?”; Certainly In thy fear: For he that is without fear, cannot be justified (Ecclesiasticus 1:28), for which reason he says In thy fear, namely with reverence.
e. Supra petivit orationem exaudiri; hic proponit eam. Et primo orat pro se. Secundo pro aliis. Circa primum duo facit. Primo proponit orationem. Secundo ponit ejus rationem, ibi, Quoniam non est. Circa primum duo petit; scilicet deduci et dirigi; et hoc ideo, quia homo in mundo est sicut in via: Isa. 30: Haec est via: ambulabitis in ea. Qui autem vadunt per viam, indigent duobus: quia si via non sit secura, indigent ducatu; vel dirigente, si sit dubia. In mundo undique sunt hostes: Psal. 141: In via hac qua ambulabam, absconderunt laqueum mihi. Item ignota est via: Job 3: Viro cujus abscondita est via etc. Et ideo primo petit, Domine, deduc me in justitia tua, secundum justitiam tuam, vel ut ambulem in tua justitia: et hoc, Propter inimicos meos: Ps. 142: Spiritus tuus bonus deducet me in terram rectam: propter nomen tuum Domine vivificabis me in aequitate tua. Dirige in conspectu tuo viam meam. Alia translatio habet, Dirige in conspectu meo viam tuam: prima concordat cum Hieronymo: secunda cum graeco; sed tamen idem est sensus: quasi dicat: Domine, sum in via occulta: Prov. 14: Est via quae videtur homini recta, novissime autem deducit ad mortem: et ideo, Dirige me in conspectu tuo, idest secundum tuam providentiam, quia tibi nihil est occultum. Vel In conspectu tuo, ut tibi semper placeam. Vel In conspectu meo viam tuam, ut scilicet semper sit in corde meo, ut te semper sequi possim. Previously, the Psalmist asked that his prayer be heard. Here, he sets this prayer forth. First, he prays for himself, and then for others. Concerning the first he does two thing. First, sets forth his prayer, and second, he describes his reason for it, at, For there is not truth. Concerning the first, he seeks two things, namely to be conducted and be directed, and for this reason, that man while in this world is, as it were, on the way: This is the way, walk ye in it. (Isaiah 30:21) Those who walk in this way need two things. For if the way is not safe, they need guidance, or if it is uncertain, then direction. In this world, there are enemies everywhere: In this way wherein I walked, they have hidden a snare for me. (Psalm 141:4) Furthermore, the way is unknown: To a man whose way is hidden. (Job 3:23) For this reason, he first asks, Conduct me, O Lord, in thy justice, according to your justice, or that I may walk in your justice; and this, Because of my enemies: Thy good spirit shall lead me into the right land: for thy name’s sake, O Lord, thou wilt quicken me in thy justice. (Psalm 142:10-11) Direct my way in thy sight. Another translation has Direct thy way in my sight. The first agrees with Jerome’s version, the second with the Greek. Nevertheless, the sense is the same in both. It is as if the Psalmist were saying: “O Lord, I am on a hidden way”: There is a way which seemeth just to a man: but the ends thereof lead to death. (Proverbs 14:12) And for this reason, Direct my way in thy sight, that is, according to your providence, for nothing is hidden from you. Or, In thy sight, so that I may always be pleasing to you. Or, In thy sight direct my way, namely so that it is always in my heart so that I may always be able to follow you.
f. Deinde cum subjungit, Quoniam, assignat rationem petitionis, et describit inimicos, et periculum imminens. Primo ex defectu boni. Secundo ex abundantia mali, ibi, quia cor eorum etc. Then, when he adds, For, he designates the reason for his petition and describes his enemies and the danger that is imminent, first, because of the absence of good, and second, because of the abundance of evil, at, Their heart is vain.
Defectus quidem est, quia si servarent pacem, possem eis pacificari et secure incedere. Sed Non est in ore eorum veritas; quia aliud habent in ore, et aliud in corde: Osee 4: Non est veritas: et ideo non possum secure incedere. Goodness is indeed lacking because if they were keeping the peace, I could be at peace with them and approach them safely. But There is not truth in their mouth, because they have one thing in their mouth and another in their heart: (The Lord shall enter into judgment with the inhabitants of the land: for) there is no truth (and there is no mercy, and their is no knowledge of God in the land). (Hosea 4:1) For this reason, then, I am not able to approach them safely.
Item ex abundantia mali. Et primo quantum ad meditationem, cum dicit: Cor eorum vanum est, idest vana meditantur, ad quae attingere non possunt, scilicet decipere pauperes qui custodiuntur a te: Eccl. 11: Multae insidiae sunt dolosis. Furthermore, because of the abundance of evil. First, as to their meditations, when he says, Their heart is vain, that is to say, they reflect upon vain matters to which they are not able to attain, namely to deceive the poor who are guarded by you: (Bring not every man into thy house:) for many are the snares of the deceitful. (Ecclesiasticus 11:31)
Secundo ex aviditate: quia, Sepulcrum patens est guttur eorum. Guttur servit ad gustum et locutionem. Uno modo potest legi, ut exponatur secundum quod ordinatur ad locutionem; quasi dicat: Guttur eorum est sepulcrum patens: nam sicut sepulcrum est locus mortuorum, et de eo egreditur foetor, ita locutiones eorum mortificant alios, vel spiritualiter vel corporaliter: 1 Cor. 15: Corrumpunt bonos mores colloquia prava. Item foetida sunt eloquia talium, quia turpia loquuntur: Eccl. 11: Eructant praecordia foetentium. Alio modo ut exponatur quantum ad comestionem et aviditatem: et hoc possumus accipere vel ad litteram; et sic sunt Sepulcrum patens, quia sunt voraces. Et propter hoc ut impleant voracitatem suam, adulantur, et inique agunt. Vel figuraliter: et sicut sepulcrum quantum est de se paratum est ad suscipiendum mortuos, sic isti semper sunt parati ad decipiendum: Hier. 5: Pharetra ejus quasi sepulcrum patens. Second, because of their avidity, for Their throat is an open sepulcher. The throat is employed for taste and speech. This can be read in one way, that it is set forth as it is ordered to speech: Their throat is an open sepulcher, for just as a sepulcher is a place for the dead and from which a stench comes, so too does their speech spiritually or corporeally destroy others: Evil communications corrupt good manners. (1 Corinthians 15:33) Furthermore, eloquence of this sort is fetid since they speak of base things: As corrupted bowels send forth stinking breath. (Ecclesiasticus 11:32) It can be read in another way, namely that it is set forth as to their eating of food and their avidity, and we can take this either in a literal way; and so they are An open sepulcher, because they are voracious. On account of this, they flatter and act iniquitously so that they might satisfy their voraciousness; or we can take this figuratively; and so, just as much as a sepulcher is prepared to receive the dead, so too these evil people are always open to deceiving others: Their quiver is as an open sepulcher. (Jeremiah 5:16)
Tertio quantum ad eorum oppressionem, Linguis suis etc.: quasi dicat: Per verba blanda ducunt ad mortem: Rom. 16: Per dulces sermones et blande seducunt corda innocentium: Hier. 9: Sagitta vulnerans lingua eorum etc. Haec potest esse oratio justi et ecclesiae. Third, as to their oppression, They dealt deceitfully with their tongues, as if to say: “Through their flattering words they lead us to death”: By pleasing speeches and good words, seduce the hearts of the innocent. (Romans 16:18); Their tongue is a piercing arrow. (Jeremiah 9:8) This prayer can be of the just and of the Church.
g. Consequenter cum dicit, Judica, orat pro aliis. Et primo contra malos. Secundo pro bonis, ibi, Et laetentur. Circa primum tria facit. Primo petit eorum judicium. Secundo determinat judicii modum, ibi, Decidant etc. Tertio assignat judicii causam, ibi, Quoniam irritaverunt. Then when the Psalmist says, Judge, he prays for others, first against those who are evil, and then, at, Let them all be glad, for those who are good. Concerning the first he does three things. First, he asks for their judgment. Second, he determines the mode of their judgment, at, Let them fall. Third, he indicates the cause of their judgment, at, For they have provoked thee, O Lord.
Dicit ergo, Judica illos, ex quo sunt mali. Sed advertendum, quod duplex est judicium: scilicet discretionis, quo etiam boni judicantur: Psalm. 42: Judica me Deus, et discerne causam meam etc. Secundo condemnationis: Jo. 3: Qui non credit, jam judicatus est. Hic loquitur de judicio condemnationis, quo mali judicabuntur in extremo judicio: unde Hieronymus habet, Condemna eos Deus. And so, he says, Judge them, because they are evil. But it should be noted that judgment is of two kinds, namely, that of discretion, by which the good are also judged: Judge me, O God, and distinguish my cause from the nation (that is not holy: deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man) (Psalm 42:1); and secondly, that of condemnation: He that does not believe is judged. (John 3:18) Here, the Psalmist speaks of the judgment of condemnation with which the evil will be judged at the last judgment. Hence Jerome’s version has, Condemn them, O God.
Sed contra: Matth. 5: Orate pro persequentibus et calumniantibus vos. Respondeo. Dicendum, quod prophetae in sua prophetia non loquebantur voluntate propria: 2 Pet. 1: Non enim voluntate humana allata est aliquando prophetia, sed Spiritu sancto etc. Et ideo quae proferebant, dicebant secundum intellectum divinae justitiae: et ideo haec erant magis praedictiones futurorum quam orationes eorum: unde Iudica, idest scio quod judicabis. However, on the contrary, there is Matthew 5:44: Pray for them that persecute and calumniate you. I respond by saying that the prophets did not speak in accordance with their own will in their prophecies: For prophecy came not by the will of man at any time: but the holy men of God spoke, inspired by the Holy Ghost. (2 Peter 1:21) And it is in this way that they brought forth what they did, that they spoke according to the mind of divine justice. And it is for this reason that what they said was cast more in predictions for the future than in the prayers they made. Hence, Judge, that is, I know that you will judge.
Modus justitiae duplex ponitur. Primo, ut deficiant ab intento. Secundo, ut removeantur a loco. Per primum impediuntur mala quae intendunt: et ideo dicit, Decidant a cogitationibus suis, idest consiliis: Job 5: Qui apprehendit sapientes in astutia eorum, etc. Vel Decidant, idest puniantur propter cogitationes suas: Rom. 2: Cogitationum accusantium etc. Sed per secundum expelluntur a societate bonorum; unde sequitur: Secundum multitudinem etc. Hoc erit tunc quando Matth. 25, dicetur: Ite maledicti etc. Job 18: Expellet eum de luce in tenebras etc. Et dicit Secundum multitudinem impietatum, quia secundum eas erit modus condemnativus: Deut. 25: Pro mensura delicti erit et plagarum modus. A two-fold mode of justice1 is set forth, the first, so that they might cease from their intent, the second, so that they might be removed from their presence. Through the first the evil are prevented from what they intend to do. For this reason he says, Let them fall from their devices, that is to say, from their counsels: Who catcheth the wise in their craftiness, (and disappointeth the counsel of the wicked). (Job 5:13) Or, Let them fall, that is to say, let them be punished according to their own thoughts: (Their conscience bearing witness to them, and) their thoughts between themselves accusing, or also defending one another. (Romans 2:15) But through the second (mode of justice), they are expelled from the society of the good. Hence the Psalmist next says, According to the multitude of their wickednesses cast them out. This will occur at that time when it is said in Matthew 25:41: Depart from me, you cursed (into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels); He shall drive him out of light into darkeness (and shall remove him out of the world). (Job 18:18) And the Psalmist says, According to the multitude of their wickednesses, because it will be according to these that the manner of condemnation will take place: According to the measure of the sin shall the measure also of the stripes be. (Deuteronomy 25:2)
Causa ponitur, Quoniam irritaverunt, idest ad iram provocaverunt. Hoc in Deo non iram, sed voluntatem puniendi ostendit. Alia litera Amaricaverunt te, qui dulcis es, in te pertinaciter peccando. Peccatores primo peccant, post aggravant peccatum suum ex pertinacia, et Deus tunc non parcit, sed irritatur, idest inducitur ad vindictam: Rom. 2: An ignoras quod benignitas Dei ad poenitentiam te adducit? Tu autem secundum duritiam tuam: Deut. 32: Ipsi me provocaverunt in eo qui non est Deus etc. The cause (of their judgment) he sets forth at, For they have provoked thee, O Lord, that is to say, they have roused Him to anger. This does not indicate that there is anger in God, but rather the will to punish. Other versions have They have made you bitter, you who are sweet, in sinning obstinately against you. Sinners aggravate a sin that they have first committed by their obstinacy, and God at that point does not forbear but is angered, that is to say, is lead to vengeance: Knowest thou not that the benignity of God leadeth thee to penance? But according to thy hardness (and impenitent heart, thou treasurest upto thyself wrath, against the day of wrath, and revelation of the just judgment of God. Who will render to every man according to this works. (Romans 2:4-6); They have provoked me with that which was no god etc. (Deuteronomy 32:21)
h. Consequenter cum dicit, Et laetentur, ponit petitionem. Et primo ponit eam. Secundo subdit expositionem, In aeternum. Circa primum duo facit. Primo enim ponit quid petit, quia laetitiam; unde dicit Laetentur: hoc est enim finis bonorum omnium. Ps. 67: Justi epulentur et exultent in conspectu Dei, et delectentur in laetitia. Secundo, quibus petit, quia sperantibus: unde, Qui sperant in te. Consequenter cum dicit, In aeternum exultabunt, exponit primo, et dicit, Laetentur. Secundo, cum dicit, Sperent, ibi, Quoniam tu benedixisti justo. Then when he says, But let them all be glad, he puts forth his petition. He begins by putting it forth and then qualifies it by adding, Forever. Concerning the former he does two things. First, he sets forth that for which he asks, namely gladness. Hence he says, Let them..be glad, for this is the end of all the good: And let the just feast, and rejoice before God: and be delighted with gladness. (Psalm 67:4) Secondly, he puts forth those for whom he prays, namely for those who hope. Hence he says, That hope in thee. Consequently, when he says, They shall rejoice forever, he qualifies the first and says, Let them…be glad, and then the second, when he says, That hope in thee, at, For thou wilt bless the just.
Laetitia namque sanctorum in patria est sempiterna: et ideo dicit, In aeternum: et secura; unde addit, Et habitabis in eis: plena, propter quod subdit, Et gloriabuntur etc. Sempiterna quidem est, non temporalis: Isa. 51: Laetitia sempiterna super capita eorum etc. Secura absque perturbatione: Isa. 32: Sedebit populus meus in pulchritudine pacis, et in tabernaculis fiduciae; et ideo dicit, Et habitabis in eis, sicut protector: unde Hieronymus habet, Et proteges eos: Apoc. 21: Ecce tabernaculum Dei cum hominibus, et habitabit cum eis. Est etiam plena: et hoc patet ex quatuor. Primo ex gloria inde concepta; unde, Gloriabuntur, quia non gloriatur quis de re nisi habeat eam excellenter. Sancti vero excellentissime Deum habent; ideo dicit, Gloriabuntur. Secundo ex materia: quia gloriantur de re plenissima, et de omni bono: Joan. 16: Usque modo non petistis quidquam in nomine meo; petite et accipietis, ut gaudium vestrum sit plenum: Jo. 15: Ut gaudium meum in vobis sit etc. Et ideo dicit In te. Tertio ex societate: quia solus homo non potest bene gaudere de aliquo, sed quando amicos habet secum participes illius boni: et ideo dicit, Omnes. Ps. 86: Sicut laetantium omnium habitatio est in te. Quarto ex perfectione, Qui diligunt: hoc enim proprium est amicorum gaudere de bono amici, nec facile homo dimittit quod diligit. The joy of the saints in their homeland is everlasting. It is for this reason that the Psalmist says, Forever. This joy is secure; hence he adds And thou shalt dwell in them. And it is complete, according to which he adds, They shall glory. This joy is indeed everlasting and not temporal: And joy everlasting shall be upon their heads (they shall obtain joy and gladness, sorrow and mourning shall flee away). (Isaiah 51:11) It is secure without perturbation: And my people shall sit in the beauty of peace, and in the tabernacles of confidence. (Isaiah 32:18) It is for this reason that he says, And thou shalt dwell in them, as a protector. Hence Jerome has, And you will protect them: Behold the tabernacle of God with men, and he will dwell with them. (Apocalypse 21:3) And this joy is complete, something that is clear for four reasons. First, by reason of the glory conceived at that time. Hence, They shall glory, since one does not glory in a thing unless he possesses it excellently. The saints, however, possess God most excellently, for which reason he says, They shall glory. Second, because of the situation, for they glory in a thing most complete, and of every good: Hitherto you have not asked anything in my name. Ask, and you shall receive; that you joy may be full (John 16:24); (These things I have spoken to you) that my joy may be in you, and your joy may be filled. (John 15:11) And for this reason he says, In thee. Third, because of community, for a solitary man cannot rejoice well in something, but when he has friends with him sharing in that good (his enjoyment will be full). For this reason he says, All: The dwelling in thee is as it were of all rejoicing. (Psalm 86:7) Fourth, by reason of perfection, And all they that love. For it is proper for friends to rejoice in the good of a friend, and not easily does a man loose that which he loves.
i. Consequenter cum dicit, Quoniam, ostendit quare sperant. Quia primo de dono gratiae. Secundo ex misericordia praedestinationis etc. Ex dono namque gratiae; unde ait, Quoniam tu benedixisti justo, dando scilicet ei specialem gratiam: Ephes. 1: Benedixit nos omni benedictione spirituali in caelestibus. Et misericordia praedestinationis: Ephe. 1: Praedestinati sumus secundum propositum voluntatis ejus, qui operatur omnia in omnibus: et hoc est quod ait, Scuto bonae voluntatis, scilicet aeterna voluntate misericordiae suae, quae ab aeterno disposuit salvare: Ephes. 1: Elegit nos ante mundi constitutionem, ut essemus sancti et immaculati. Quod autem ait: Ut scuto, innuit quod ipsa voluntas Dei bona est sicut scutum contra omnia mala: 2 Reg. 23: Dominus scutum et robur meum etc. Vel est hic ut scutum protegens, in patria vero ut scutum coronans. Consuetudo namque fuit romanis antiquitus uti scutis rotundis, et in illis habebant spem victoriae; et quando triumphabant, illomet scuto utebantur ut corona. Et inde sancti pinguntur cum scuto rotundo in capite: quia de hostibus adepti triumphum, scutum rotundum ad instar Romanorum gerunt in capite pro corona. Dicit ergo: Scuto bonae voluntatis tuae coronasti nos; quasi dicat, Pro scuto coronationis nostrae habemus bonam voluntatem tuam, quae nos hic defendit, et ibi coronat. Then when he says, For, he declares why they hope, first because of the gift of grace, and second because of the mercy of predestination. Hence, because of the gift of grace, he says, For thou wilt bless the just, namely by giving him a particular grace: (Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ) who hath blessed us with spiritual blessings in heavenly places. (Ephesians 1:3) And because of the mercy of predestination (In whom we also are called by lot) being predestined according to the purpose of him who worketh all things according to the counsel of his will (Ephesians 1:11), he thus says, As with a shield of thy good will, that is to say, with the everlasting will of his mercy by which he ordained from eternity to save: As he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and unspotted (in his sight in charity). (Ephesians 1:4) But when he says, As with a shield, he announces that the will of God itself is like a good shield against all manner of evil: The Lord is (my rock, and) my strength and (my savior. God is my strong one, in him will I trust:) my shield (and the horn of my salvation: he lifteth me up, and is my refuge: my savior, thou wilt deliver me from iniquity.) (2 Kings 22:2-3) Or, he is here as a protecting shield, but in heaven as a crowning shield. For it was the custom of ancient Romans to use a round shield and to place in these their hope for victory. And when they were triumphant, they used the same shield as a crown. And for this reason the saints are represented with a round shield about their heads; for having won a victory over their enemies, they bear upon their heads a round shield for a crown just like the Romans. Therefore he says, Thou hast crowned us, as with a shield of thy good will. It is as if he were saying, “For the shield of our coronation we have your good will which defended us in this world, and crowns us in the next.”

© Dr. Stephen Loughlin
(stephen.loughlin@desales.edu)


The Aquinas Translation Project
(http://www4.desales.edu/~philtheo/loughlin/ATP/index.html)
Endnotes

1 or judgment, as indicated earlier at the beginning of g.

 

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Different Kinds of Knowledge, Part 3: Abstract and General Knowledge

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 15, 2016

III. Abstract and general knowledge. Introspection shows us that we possess another kind of knowledge with characteristics quite different from those we have found in sense knowledge. Intellectual knowledge, instead of being concrete and particularized, is abstract and general. Let us consider this twofold character.

The act of vision of an oak tree, localized in a particular spot, is spontaneously accompanied by notions such as ‘height,’ ‘cylindrical form,’ ‘local motion,’ ‘color,’ ‘vital activity,’ ‘cell,’ ‘matter,’ ‘being.’ These notions are indeed derived from this oak tree, but the aspects of reality which we grasp by them are no longer bound up with this particular individual: they reveal to me the whatness or essence (essentia, qnidditas), or in what height, local motion, life activity, combustion, etc., consist. We confine our attention to certain elements of the thing under consideration, shutting out all the other elements, and stripping them of all particularizing determinations. Abstraction consists precisely in this function and in nothing else. In what height consists is considered apart from everything else, and this selected aspect of reality is no longer related to this oak tree. So that the term abstraction has its etymological meaning (trahere ab), to select from, to draw from; abstraction is sometimes called (praecisio mentalis). I possess a treasure-house of abstract notions which relate to all kinds and classes of reality.

It is precisely because this representative content, or object 2 of thought (id quod menti objicitur) , is no longer bound up entirely with the sight of any particular oak tree, or of a particular human being, etc., that it is seen upon reflection to be applicable to an indefinite number of beings which move, which are cylindrical in form, which manifest vital activities, which are material in nature, etc. This applicability is indefinite — it is ‘universal’ or general, and extends to possible realities as well as existent ones. Universality, therefore, follows upon abstraction, as Thomas remarks.

An abstract notion of mankind seizes what mankind is, as distinct from the whatness of an elephant or a particle of radium. A universal or general notion of mankind implies that such a reality is represented as being able to belong to an endless multitude of men. An abstract notion is thus not necessarily universal, but it may become so. If we bear this in mind, we shall be able to understand better the scholastic solution of the problem of Universals.

We said above that there is no such thing as a general image. Here we say that there is such a thing as a general idea — in fact, that all ideas are general. There is no contradiction here. But those who are unaccustomed to introspection are often unconscious of the vital distinction between image and idea which underlies our two statements. The average man labels his mental content as ‘images’ and ‘ideas’ indiscriminately. Yet reflection will show that they are quite different, and that the one is general while the other is not. This will be made clear from the example of a geometrical theorem— for instance, that the angles of a triangle are together equal to two right angles. We go on at once to picture a triangle, and we say, “Let ABC be a triangle,” and so on. But this image of a triangle is a particular one, whereas our reasoning applies to any and all triangles, existent or only possible. It is thus obvious that the idea or concept triangle is abstract and general, whereas the image is not. The image is here simply a help to our mental consideration and reflection.

The knowledge of reality by means of abstract and universal notions is quite distinct from the particular, individualized knowledge of the external and internal senses. The Schoolmen emphasize this difference by attributing abstract knowledge to the intelligence (intellectus) or reason (ratio). The prominent place occupied in scholasticism by this doctrine of abstract and general knowledge, which we may describe as ‘Psychological Spiritualism’ or better still as Intellectualism, gives the system a definite place in the brilliant group to which belong Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Plotinus, and in later times, Descartes, Leibnitz, Kant.

Abstraction is the privilege and the distinctive act of man. It is likewise the central activity of our conscious life. The intellectualism, which results from this theory, has an influence over all the branches of philosophy, and we shall see that the rights of human reason are proclaimed and defended at every stage of thought.

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Different Kinds of Knowledge, Part 2: Two Irreducible Types of Knowledge. Knowledge of Particular Objects and its Forms.

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 15, 2016

II. Two irreducible types of knowledge. Knowledge of particular objects and its forms. It is of great importance to note that scholasticism distinguishes between two quite different kinds of knowledge: sense knowledge, and intellectual knowledge. In the case of the first — the perception by sight of an oak tree, for instance — everything that I grasp is particularized or individualized, and intimately bound up with conditions of space and time. What I see is this oak tree, with a trunk of this particular form, with a bark of this degree of roughness, with these particular branches and these leaves, in this particular spot in the forest, and which came from a particular acorn at a particular moment of time. If I touch the tree with my hand, the resistance which I encounter is this resistance, just as the sound which I hear in striking the bark is this sound. Our external senses (sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch) put us in contact either with something which is a proper and peculiar object of one sense and which each sense perceives to the exclusion of all the others (sensibile proprium), for instance, color in the case of sight; or else the common object (sensibile commune) of more than one sense, for instance, shape in the case of sight and touch. But in every case the reality perceived by sense is always endowed with individuality.

The same is true of those sensations which are called internal, and which originate, in the scholastic system of classification, from sense-memory (a), from sense nconsciousness (b), from instinct (c), or from imagination (d). These are simply so many labels attached to psychological facts which have been duly observed and noted. A few examples will make this clear.

(a) Sense-memory. When I have ceased to look at the oak tree, there remains in me an after-image, which is said to be ‘preserved’ in memory, since I am able to ‘reproduce’ it. We thus possess in ourselves a storehouse of after-images received through the senses, which can be reproduced either spontaneously, or else at the command of the will. It is clear that these vestiges of past sensations, retained and reproduced in this way, are individualized just as the original sensation. If I picture to myself an oak tree, it will always be a picture of one individual oak tree. In the same way, when we realize that a sense perception, or a conscious act of our physiological life, has a certain duration, or takes place after another activity, this realization, which itself involves sense-memory, is once more individual and singular, and presents us with this particular time. The recognition of past time involves reference to particular psychological events, following each other.

(b) Sense-consciousness. Moreover, when I look at an oak tree, something in me tells me that I see. I am aware that I am seeing. My sense perception is followed by ‘sense-consciousness,’ and the content of this sense-consciousness is particularized. Again, the complex sense cognition of this oak as an object is the result of the coordination of many sense perceptions coming from different senses: the height of the tree, the roughness of its bark, the hollow sound which its trunk gives when struck. There is reason to attribute to the higher animals and to man a central sense, which combines the external sense perceptions, compares them, and discriminates between them. But in this case also, the result of these operations is individualized, and if we compare for instance two complex sense perceptions of oak trees, each is itself and not the other.

(c) Instinct. We can apply the same to the way in which we recognize that a certain situation is dangerous for us or otherwise. We possess a discriminating power which estimates certain concrete connections between things. We naturally flee from fire, and a shipwrecked man clutches instinctively at a plank, much in the same way as a lamb looks upon a wolf as dangerous, and a bird considers a particular branch of a tree as a suitable resting-place for its nest. This act of sense knowledge always relates to a particular, concrete situation.^

(d) Imagination. Again, the constructive imagination, which takes the materials supplied by sense memory and combines them into all sorts of fantastic images—when I imagine, for instance, oak trees as high as mountains, and monstrosities half lion half man — deals with what is particularized. What modern psychologists might call a composite image is to the Schoolmen simply a particular image, made up of characters derived from other particular images.

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St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Psalm 4

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 9, 2016

This post contains Latin and English texts side by side. The content appears here courtesy of The Aquinas Translation Project.

a. In finem. Psalmus cantici David.Cum invocarem, exaudivit me Deus iustitiae meae: in tribulatione dilatasti mihi. Miserere mei, et exaudi orationem meam. Unto the end. A psalm in song of David.When I called upon him, the God of my justice heard me: when I was in distress, thou hast enlarged me. Have mercy on me: and hear my prayer.
b. Filii hominum usquequo gravi corde? ut quid diligitis vanitatem, et quaeritis mendacium. O ye sons of men, how long will you be dull of heart? why do you love vanity, and seek after lying?
c. Et scitote quoniam mirificavit Dominus sanctum suum: Dominus exaudiet me, cum clamavero ad eum. And know ye also that the Lord hath made his holy one wonderful: the Lord will hear me when I shall cry unto him.
d. Irascimini et nolite peccare: quae dicitis in cordibus vestris, et in cubilibus vestris compungimini. Sacrificate sacrificium iustitiae, et sperate in Domino. Be ye angry, and sin not: the things you say in your hearts, be sorry for them upon your beds. Offer up the sacrifice of justice, and trust in the Lord.
e. Multi dicunt, Quis ostendit nobis bona? Signatum est super nos lumen vultus tui Domine. Many say, Who sheweth us good things? The light of thy countenance O Lord, is signed upon us.
f. Dedisti laetitiam in corde meo. A fructu frumenti, vini, et olei sui multiplicati sunt. Thou hast given gladness in my heart. By the fruit of their corn, their wine, and oil, they are multiplied.
g. In pace in idipsum, dormiam, et requiescam. Quoniam tu Domine singulariter in spe, constituisti me. In peace in the selfsame I will sleep, and I will rest: For thou, O Lord, singularly hast settled me in hope.
a. In praecedenti psalmo David imploravit auxilium Dei contra tribulationes orando, et sentiens se exauditum hortatur alios ut in Deo confidant. Et exprimit psalmus iste affectus hominis qui expertus divinam misericordiam et beneficia et justitiam, hortatur alios ut non desperent. Titulus ejus est In finem. Psalmus cantici David. In hoc titulo duo consideranda sunt pro toto libro: scilicet quod dicit psalmus cantici. Secundo quod dicit, In finem. In the preceding psalm, David invoked God’s help with his prayer against the troubles (he faced), and, understanding that he has been heard, he now exhorts others to trust in God. This psalm expresses the sentiment of a man who, having experienced divine mercy, kindness and justice, exhorts others not to despair. Its title is “Unto the end. A psalm in song of David.” In this title, two things are to be considered that occur throughout the psalter, namely what he means by “A psalm in song,” and “Unto the end.”
Quo ad primum ergo nota, quod David sicut legitur 2 Reg. 6, faciebat psalmum metrice, et cantabat ante arcam cum psalterio. Ergo psalmus dicitur quod cantatur ad psalterium, sed non absque psalterio. In quibusdam autem psalmis describitur psalmus David, ubi intelligitur quod est factus ad psalterium. In aliquibus praescribitur canticum David, quia cantabatur sine instrumento. In aliquibus, psalmus cantici David, vel e converso: eo quod ille psalmus cantabatur simul voce humana, et ad psalterium. Sed in aliquibus incipiebat unus vel multi voce humana sine instrumento, et unus respondebat cum psalterio; et hi intitulantur canticum psalmi. In aliquibus vero unus cantabat psalmum cum psalterio, et alii respondebant sine psalterio: et hi intitulantur psalmus cantici. Et haec est differentia litteralis; sed mystice et secundum glossam, psalmus significat bonam operationem; canticum vero exultationem mentis de aeternis. Quando vero simul utrumque ponitur in uno psalmo, significatur quod de utroque agitur. With respect to the first of these, one should understand that David, as it is read in 2 Kings 6, used to compose metrical psalms and sang before the ark of the covenant upon the harp. Therefore, a “psalm” in this sense is what is sung to the harp, but not without it. In some of the psalms described as “A psalm of David,” it is understood that they are accompanied by the harp. Others are described as “A song of David” because they are sung without an instrument. Those entitled “A psalm in song of David” (or the converse of this), indicate a psalm that is both sung and accompanied by the harp. Some of these began with one or many human voices singing without accompaniment, and one person responding with the harp. These are entitled “A song in psalm.” In others, one person used to sing a psalm with the harp and others would respond without the harp. And these are entitled “A psalm in song.” This difference is of a literal sort. However, mystically and according to the Gloss, “psalm” signifies a good activity, while “song” indicates the exaltation of the mind concerned with eternal matters. But when both are placed together in one psalm, this signifies that both (good activity and exaltation) occur.
Quod vero dicit In finem, si consideretur hoc quantum ad rem per psalmum figuratam, manifestum est quia in finem intelligitur, idest in Christum; Rom. 10: Finis legis Christus ad justitiam omni credenti. Sed si consideretur in finem secundum figuram; datur intelligi, quod cantabatur pro consumptione operis vel negotii, sicut hic psalmus pro consummata liberatione David a persecutione Absalonis factus fuit, quasi pro victoria. Alii dicunt Victori, scilicet David, In psalmis, quia omnes in psalmis faciendis vincebat sed hoc verum non videtur. When he says Unto the end, if one were to consider this with respect to that which is represented by the psalm, it is clear that the phrase is to understood in an ultimate way, that is to say, in Christ: For the end of the law is Christ unto justice to every one that believeth. (Romans 10:4) But if one were to consider the phrase figuratively, it can be understood that it was sung upon the completion of work or of some business, just as this psalm was composed upon the completion of David’s liberation from the persecution brought about by Absalon, as if upon David’s victory. Some entitle the psalm For the victor, namely, David, Innpsalms, since he was superior among all of those who composed psalms. But this interpretation does not seem to be accurate.
Dividitur autem psalmus iste in duas partes: nam primo incipit a gratiarum actione pro receptis beneficiis; unde ait: Cum invocarem etc. Secundo finitur in exhortatione aliorum ut convertantur ad Deum, ibi, Filii hominum etc. Circa primum duo facit. Primo enim agit gratias de praeteritis. Secundo orat pro futuris, ibi, Miserere mei etc. Circa primum duo facit. Primo agit gratias quod est exauditus. Secundo ostendit qualiter est exauditus, ibi, In tribulationeetc. This psalm is divided into two parts. The first begins with thanksgiving for kindnesses received. Thus he says: When I called upon him. The second finds him finishing (his thanksgiving) with an exhortation of others to turn to God, at, O ye sons of men. Concerning the first of these, he does two things. First, he gives thanks for past events. Second, he prays for future ones, at, Have mercy on me. Concerning the former of these two, he does two things. First, he gives thanks that he was heard, and second he demonstrates how he was heard, at, When I was in distress.
Sed notandum quod hic est duplex littera: una dicit: Exaudivit: alia habet Exaudisti; et huic concordat Hieronymus dicens, Exaudisti; in hoc tamen non est vis. Dicit ergo: Cum invocarem, exaudisti etc. Ubi quatuor consideranda sunt. Primo ponit orationem et exauditionem: unde dicit: Exaudisti. Sed non exaudivit, non clamantem; unde dicit: Cum invocarem; quod est implorare auxilium in necessitate. Ps. 119: Ad Dominum, cum tribularer, clamavi, et exaudivit me. Item requiritur, quod sit justus: quia si audit peccatores, est ex misericordia, non est ex justitia; et ideo dicit: Justitiae meae: ibi glossa: idest dator justitiae, vel justificationis meae. Ps. 33: Oculi Domini super justos. Aliud quod est primum, quod justitiam suam homo attribuat Deo, et non sibi; et ideo dicit: Deus. Contra quod Rom. 10: Ignorantes Dei justitiam, et suam volentes statuere etc. Primo ergo debet bonum suum attribuere Deo; secundo habere justitiam; tertio clamare; quarto exaudiri. It should be noted that there are two versions of this verse. One says, He heard me, while the other has, You heard me, the latter of which agrees with Jerome’s version. But this is not the (correct) sense of the phrase. Therefore, the psalmist says, When I called upon him, He heard me, wherein four things are to be considered. First, the psalmist describes his prayer and the fact that he was listened to: whence he says, He heard me. But he was not heard without crying out. Hence he says, When I called upon him, which means to pray earnestly for help in dire need: In my trouble, I cried to the Lord, and he heard me. (Psalm 119:1) In like manner it is required that he (the one calling upon the Lord) be just. For if he listens to sinners, this is by reason of his mercy and not his justice. And so he says, Of my justice, that is to say, according to the Gloss, the giver of justice, or of my justification: The eyes of the Lord are upon the just. (Psalm 33:16) Another1 says that this is first, namely that man attribute his justice to God and not to himself. Thus he says God.2 But against (this, St. Paul at) Romans 10:3 (writes): For they, not knowing the justice of God, and seeking to establish their own, have not submitted themselves to the justice of God. Therefore, one ought first to attribute his own good to God, second, be just, third, cry out, and fourth, be heard.
Modus autem exauditionis describitur cum dicit, In tribulatione. Dicit Exaudivit et Dilatasti vel quia forte metrice factus est psalmus ubi oportuit mutari constructionem propter metrum; vel quia per modum orantis, ubi ex diversis affectibus mutat homo loquendi modum. Dicit autem, In tribulatione dilatasti mihi, quia plus est dilatasti quam liberasti; quasi dicat, non solum liberasti, sed in ipsa tribulatione cordis latitudinem tribuisti. Psal. 17: Dilatasti gressus meos subtus me, et non sunt infirmata vestigia mea. Vel latitudinem animi ad patienter sustinendum, vel latitudinem potestatis de qua dicitur Gen. 9: Dilatet Deus Japhet. Deinde cum dicit, Miserere mei, removendo scilicet quidquid remansit miseriae praeteritae: Et exaudi me, orantem pro futuris bonis. The way in which he was heard is described when he says, When I was in distress. He says, He heard me and Thou hast enlarged me, either because the psalm was composed in a strong meter where it was fitting to change the construction on account of the meter, or because of the manner of prayer, where, by reason of diverse emotions, a person changes his manner of expression. But he says, When I was in distress, thou hast enlarged me, because you have enlarged more than you have freed. It is as if he were saying, “You have not only freed me, but in tribulation itself you have enlarged the extent of my heart”: Thou hast enlarged my steps under me; and my feet are not weakened.” (Psalm 17:36) Or (you have enlarged) the extent of my soul to suffer patiently, or the extent of my power, concerning which Genesis 9:27 speaks: May God enlarge Japheth. Then he says, Have mercy on me, namely by removing whatever remains of my past suffering, And hear me praying for good things to come.
b. Deinde cum dicit, Filii etc., convertit se ad aliorum exhortationem: et circa hoc duo facit. Primo redarguit peccatores; secundo exhortatur eos ad emendam, ibi, Et scitote etc. Circa primum duo facit. Primo commemorat conditionem; secundo arguit culpam, ibi, Ut quid diligitis; Next, when he says O ye sons of men, he turns to the exhortation of others, concerning which he does two things. First, he finds fault with sinners, and second, exhorts them to make emends, at, And know ye also. Concerning the former, he does two things. First, he mentions their condition, and second, he asserts their blame, at, Why do you love vanity.
conditionem commemorat dicens, Filii hominum: quod dupliciter potest intelligi. Primo in malo, sic, Filii hominum, quasi homines secundum naturam inferiorem corruptibiles et proni ad peccandum. Gen. 6: Non permanebit spiritus meus in homine in aeternum quia caro est. Et iterum 8 cap.: Sensus et cogitatio hominum in malum proni sunt ab adolescentia sua. Filii ergo hominum; quasi dicat, Ostenditis vos esse filios hominum, idest peccatorum, scilicet Evae et Adae: Usquequo gravi corde? Isa. 1: Vae genti peccatrici, populo gravi iniquitate etc. Secundo in bono: quia homo inquantum homo, est imago Dei: unde Filii hominum, non bestiarum. Psal. 48: Homo cum in honore esset non intellexit, etc. Et, o Gravi corde, idest quia debetis habere cor grave et stabile, Usquequo non convertimini ad Deum; et hoc est quod Hieronymus habet, Filii viri, usquequo inclyti mei ignominiose diligitis vanitatem, quaerentes mendacium; et sic convenienter arguit culpam, Ut quid diligitis etc. In peccato namque sunt duo consideranda, scilicet voluntas inhaerens rei, et intentio inordinata. Primo ergo tangit inordinatam amorem cum dicit, Ut quid diligitis etc. idest aliquid vanum, non solidum, temporalia quippe vana sunt, quia non continent solidum, sed pertransiens bonum. Eccl. 1: Vanitas vanitatum, et omnia vanitas. Ut quid ergo diligitis etc. quasi dicat, ut quid diligitis temporalia. Secundo tangit pravam intentionem cum dicit: Et quaeritis mendacium, idest quare amatis divitias, ut habeatis sufficientiam? Nam Eccl. 5: Avarus non implebitur pecunia. Hier. 5: Aspexi terram etc. Vel Mendacium, idest idolum, 1 Cor. 8: Idolum nihil est. Usquequo ergo diligitis, et quaeritis hoc, et non convertimini ad Deum? He mentions their condition saying, O ye sons of men. This can be understood in two ways. First, in an evil way. And so, Sons of men, as men who are corruptible and prone to sin according to their lower nature: (And God said:) My spirit shall not remain in man for ever, because he is flesh. (Genesis 6:3) And again at 8:21: The imagination and thought of man’s heart are prone to evil from his youth. Thus, Sons of men, as if he were saying, “You have shown yourselves to be sons of men,” that is to say, of sinners, namely of Eve and Adam. How long will you be dull of heart?: Woe to the sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity… (Isaiah 1:4) Secondly, (Sons of men) can be taken in a good way, because man, insofar as he is man, is the image of God. Hence, Sons of men, and not of the beasts: And man when he was in honor did not understand; (he is compared to senseless beasts and is become like to them). (Psalm 48:13) And, O ye…dull of heart, that is because you ought to have a serious and stable heart, How long will you not be turned toward God? And this is what Jerome has: Ye sons of men, how long will you, my renowned children, desire vanity shamelessly, seeking after lies? And thus he suitably asserts their blame, at, Why do you love vanity? For with regard to sin, there are two things to be considered, namely the will that clings to the thing, and one’s disordered intention. He touches first upon disordered love when he says, Why do you love vanity, that is to say, something vane, not solid — temporal things to be sure are vane because they do not contain anything solid, but are goods that are passing: Vanity of vanities…all is vanity. (Ecclesiastes 1:2) Why do you love vanity, as if the psalmist were saying “Why do you love temporal things?” He touches, secondly, upon their perverse intention when he says, And seek after lying, that is to say, “Why do you love riches so as to find your contentment?” For A covetous man shall not be satisfied with money. (Ecclesiastes 5:9); I beheld the earth, and lo it was void, and nothing (Jeremiah 4:23). Or, Lying, that is to day, an idol: An idol is nothing. (I Cor. 8:4) Therefore, why do you love and seek after this, and not turn towards God?
c. Secundo cum dicit, Et scitote, hortatur peccatores ad emendam: et circa hoc tria facit. Primo commemorat beneficia sibi exhibita. Secundo hortatur ut ad Deum redeant, ibi, Irascimini etc. Tertio ostendit praeeminentiam sui ad illos in bonis, ibi, Dedisti laetitiam etc. (Having found fault with sinners,) the psalmist, at, And know ye also, now exhorts them to make emends. Concerning this he does three things. First, he calls to mind the kindnesses shown to him. He then exhorts (sinners) so that they might return to God, at, Be ye angry. Lastly, he shows his own pre-eminence over them in the goods (they respectively enjoy), at, Thou hast given gladness.
Dicit ergo, Et scitote etc. Sed notandum est, quod hic in Graeco est Diapsalma, in Hebraeo vero est Sela, quod Hieronymus transtulit, Feliciter, vel Semper. Diapsalma ergo divisio psalmi est: qui quando cantabant, fiebant aliqua intervalla in psalmo, ut ostenderetur quod sequentia ad aliam materiam pertinebant secundum Augustinum. Sed contra hoc est, quia secundum hoc, Diapsalma nunquam inveniretur in fine psalmi; sed in psalterio Hieronymi Sela invenitur in fine psalmi. Et ideo sumptum est Sela ex ly Salon, idest Pacifice. Et concordat cum Hieronymo qui interpretatus est Feliciter. Sic ergo melius Pacifice, quasi Semper, et hoc Sela importat. And so he says And know ye also. One should note here that the Greek word here is Diapsalma, while in Hebrew it is Sela, which Jerome translates as Happily, or Always. Diapsalma therefore acts as a divider of a psalm, which when it was sung by the Hebrews, indicated an interval in the psalm so that it might show that what followed pertained to other material, according to Augustine. But contrary to this interpretation is that according to this line of reasoning, Diapslam should never be found at the end of a psalm, while in Jerome’s Psalter, Sela is found at the end of a psalm. And for this reason, Sela is named after the word Salon, that is to say, Peacefully. This agrees with Jerome who interprets it as Happily. Hence it is better to use Happily as Always, and this is how we understand Sela.
Beneficium autem quod commemorat est duplex: unum de praeterito, et aliud de futuro, ibi, Dominus exaudiet. Quantum ad primum dicit, Et scitote etc.; et cum sit principium sententiae continuatur cordi prophetae, sicut illud in principio Ezech.: Et factum est in trigesimo anno etc. Nam sela quod interpretatum est Diapsalma, ponitur hic: quod notat interruptionem. Vel continuatur ad praecedentia; quasi dicat: Nolite diligere vanitatem, et scitote quare? Quoniam mirificavit Dominus etc. Ecce quot bona mihi fecit: quia scilicet Mirificavit etc., idest mirabilem reddidit. Potest etiam aliter continuari secundum glossam; quasi dicat: Quia vana scitote, et scitote quid sequamini: Quoniam mirificavit Dominus etc., idest Christum per figuram principaliter intellectum, qui est sanctus sanctorum, de quo Dan. 9. Hunc Deus ostendit mirabilem suscitando, et ad dexteram ejus eum collocando. Quilibet etiam justus mirabilis est; quia majora sunt opera justitiae, quam miracula exteriora. Ps. 67: Mirabilis Deus in sanctis suis. Sed Christus est maxime mirabilis. Isa. 9: Et vocabitur nomen ejus admirabilis. Quantum ad secundum dicit, Dominus exaudiet. Isa. 65: Antequam clament, ego exaudiam etc. The kindnesses that he calls to mind are twofold, those received in the past, and those to be received in the future, at, The Lord will hear. With respect to the former, he says, And know ye also. Since And is at the beginning of the verse, it is connected with the heart of the prophet as to the beginning of the book of Ezechiel: And now it came to pass in the thirtieth year (…when I was in the midst of the captives…the heavens were opened, and I saw the visions of God). For Sela, which is interpreted as Diapsalma, is found here, which indicates an interruption. Or, it continues what had preceded it, as if the psalmist were saying: “Do not love vanity.” And know ye also. What? That the Lord hath made his holy one wonderful. Look at how many good things he has done for me: for he has made his holy one wonderful, that is to say, has given wonderful things to me. This can also be continued otherwise according to the Gloss, as if he were saying: “And know ye also that these things are vain, and know ye also what you have pursued,” that the Lord hath made his holy one wonderful, that is to say, Christ figured principally through the intellect, who is the holy of holies of which Daniel 9:24 speaks. God makes this one wonderful by raising him from the dead, and by seating him at his right hand. Anyone at all who is just is wonderful because the works of justice are greater than outward miracles: God is wonderful in his saints. (Psalm 67:36) But Christ is wonderful in the highest degree: And his name shall be called Wonderful. (Isaiah 9:6) Concerning (the kindnesses that he will receive in the future), he says, The Lord will hear: Before they call, I will hear. (Isaiah 65:24)
d. Deinde cum dicit, Irascimini, exhortatur eos ad emendationem vitae: et circa hoc tria facit. Primo exhortatur ut recedant a malo; secundo ut tendant in bonum, ibi, Sacrificate sacrificium; tertio movet quaestionem, ibi, Multi dicuntetc. Next, when he says Be ye angry, he exhorts them to the emendation of their life. Concerning this, he does three things. First, he exhorts them that they might withdraw from evil, secondly, that they might tend to good, at, Offer up the sacrifice, and third, he poses a question, at Many say.
Circa primum considerandum est, quod peccatum in nobis ut plurimum ex tribus consurgit: scilicet ex corruptione irascibilis, rationalis et concupiscibilis. Primo ergo prohibet peccatum quod consurgit ex primo; unde dicit, Irascimini etc. Hoc autem intelligitur tribus modis. Primo de ira inordinata; quasi dicat: Permittitur nobis quod motus iracundiae surgat in nobis: non tamen perducatis iracundiam ad actum peccati. Ephes. 4: Sol non occidat super iracundiam vestram. Secundo sic: Irascimini, idest contra vestra peccata. Isa. 63: Indignatio mea ipsa auxiliata est mihi etc. Et nolite peccare, scilicet iterum; quasi dicat: Sic irascimini contra peccata praeterita ut non committatis alia. Tertio de ira per zelum sic exponitur: Irascimini contra vitia aliorum; et tamen Nolite peccare, eos inordinate corrigendo, quia debet ira dirigi per rationem. Secundo prohibet vitium rationalis, scilicet simulationem, dicens: Quae dicitis in cordibus vestris, supple sint in vobis; quasi dicat: Non aliud sitis in corde, et aliud praetendatis extra. Tertio prohibet quod surgit ex concupiscibili. Compungimini, scilicet de peccatis quae fecistis: In cubilibus vestris. Rom. 13: Non in cubilibus et impudicitiis etc. Concerning the first of these, it should be considered that sin arises in us mostly by reason of three things, namely from the corruption of the irascible, rational and concupiscible (aspects). Therefore, first, the psalmist forbids that sin which arises from the first of these three, whence he says, Be ye angry. This can be understood in three ways. First, concerning inordinate anger, as if he were saying: “It is permitted for the movement of anger to surge up in us. However, it is not permitted for you to follow anger into an act of sin: (Be angry and sin not.) Let not the sun go down upon your anger. (Ephesians 4:26) Second, in this fashion: Be ye angry, that is to say, with your sins: My indignation itself hath helped me. (Isaiah 63:5), And sin not, that is to say, again. It is as if he were saying: “Be angry with your past sins so that you will not commit others.” Third, concerning anger as it is displayed through zeal: Be ye angry with the sins of others, but nevertheless Sin not by correcting them inordinately, because anger must be directed by reason. The psalmist forbids the second of these three corruptions, that pertaining to reason, namely of hypocrisy, saying, The things you say in your hearts, let them be in you, as if to say: “Let not there be one thing in your heart, and another simulated outside of it.” He prohibits the third, that of sin arising out of the concupiscible, (saying) Be sorry for them, namely for the sins that you have committed, Upon your beds: (Let us walk honestly, as in the day: not in rioting and drunkenness,) not in chambering and impurities, (not in contention and envy. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh in concupiscences.) (Romans 13:13-14)
Vel dicendum, quod tangit duplex peccatum: scilicet irae, sicut dictum est, Irascimini de ira per zelum. Secundo concupiscentiae, Compungimini quae dicitis in cordibus vestris, idest male cogitatis, In cubilibus vestris, idest de occultis, vel in occultis. Et hoc magis sonat littera Hieronymi, qui dicit, Loquimini et tacete, idest non publicetis inordinate exequendo. Vel de ira per vitium, quam prohibet non procedere ad opus, quod pejus est. Vel de ira contra peccata. Or it must be said that he treats of a twofold sin, namely of anger, as it is said, Be ye angry with the anger of zeal, and secondly of concupiscence, Be sorry for the things you say in your hearts, that is to say, your evil thoughts, Upon your beds, that is to say, concerning secret things, or things done in secret. And this agrees better with Jerome’s version which says, Speak and keep your peace, that is to say, do not disclose an inordinate way of acting by punishing. Or (Be ye angry) with the anger of vice, which he holds back so as not to go forth into act which is worse. Or (Be ye angry) with sins.
Consequenter hortatur eos ut faciant bonum. Et primo dirigit eos circa principium boni, quia Sacrificate sacrificium justitiae; quasi dicat scilicet Compungimini. Levit. 4, mandatur quod offerunt sacrificium pro peccatis. Sed Dominus de hujusmodi non multum curat. Psalm. 39: Sacrificium et oblationem noluisti: aures autem perfecisti mihi; unde et vos, sacrificate sacrificium justitiae et sperate in Domino: multi dicunt quis ostendit etc. idest satisfactionis et poenitentiae. Rom. 12: Exhibeatis corpora vestra Deo, hostiam viventem, sanctam, Deo placentem etc. Secundo dirigit eos circa finem boni, dicens: Et sperate in Domino etc.: quasi dicat: Sitis sperantes in Domino qui dedit vobis haec operari. Following upon this, he urges them to do good. First, he instructs them concerning the beginning of good (works), that (they) Offer up the sacrifice of justice, as if he were saying Be sorry for them. In Leviticus 4, it is commanded that they offer sacrifices for their sins. But the Lord does not care much for these: Sacrifice and oblation thou didst not desire; but thou hast pierced ears for me. (Psalm 39:7) And so, Offer up the sacrifice of justice, and trust in the Lord. Many say, Who sheweth, that is, of satisfaction and contrition: Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing unto God. (Romans 12:1) Secondly, he instructs them concerning the end of good (work), saying And trust in the Lord, as if to say: “Be filled with hope in the Lord who gave to you these (sacrifices) to be performed.”
e. Deinde cum dicit, Multi, movet quaestionem quam dicunt, Multi, idest stulti: Dicunt autem, quis ostendit nobis bona; quasi dicat: Quomodo scire possumus quae sunt haec sacrificia Deo acceptabilia? Hanc autem quaestionem solvit cum dicit: Signatum est super nos lumen vultus tui, Domine; quasi dicat: Ratio naturalis indita nobis docet discernere bonum a malo; et ideo dicit: Signatum est super nos lumen vultus tui, Domine etc. Vultus Dei est id per quod Deus cognoscitur; sicut homo cognoscitur per vultum suum, hoc est veritas Dei. Ab hac veritate Dei refulget similitudo lucis suae in animabus nostris. Et hoc est quasi lumen, et est signatum super nos, quia est superior in nobis, et est quasi quoddam signum super facies nostras, et hoc lumine cognoscere possumus bonum. Ps. 88: In lumine vultus tui ambulabunt etc. Super hoc autem signamur signo Spiritus. Eph. 4: Nolite contristare Spiritum sanctum in quo signati estis. Et iterum signo crucis, cujus signaculum nobis impressum est in baptismo, et quotidie debemus imprimere. Cant. 8: Pone me ut signaculum super cor tuum. Next, when he says, Many, he poses a question which they, the Many, that is to say, the foolish, ask, namely Who sheweth us good things? as if to say, “How can we know what sort of sacrifices are acceptable to God?” He answer this question when he says, The light of thy countenance O Lord, is signed upon us, as if to say: “Natural reason, innate to us, teaches us to discern good from evil.” For this reason he says The light of thy countenance O Lord, is signed upon us. The countenance of God is that through which God is known, as a man is known through his countenance. This is the truth of God. By this truth of God, a likeness of His light shines forth from our own souls. And this is a sort of light, and it is signed upon us, because it is highest in us, and is as it were a sort of sign upon our faces, and by this light, we are able to know good: They shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance. (Psalm 88:16) In addition to this, we are signed with the sign of the Spirit: And grieve not the holy Spirit of God: whereby you are sealed unto the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30); and with the sign of the cross, the mark of which is impressed upon us in baptism, and which we ought to impress daily: Put me as a seal upon thy heart. (Song of Songs 8:6)
f. Deinde cum dicit, Dedisti, ponit praeeminentiam ejus ad illos peccatores in bonis: quasi dicerent ei: Tu nos exhortaris ad beneficia tua, sed nos habemus omnia; ideo comparat temporalia spiritualibus. Et primo ponit spiritualia; secundo temporalia, ibi, A fructu etc. Tertio praeeminentiam spiritualium, ibi, In paceetc. Next, when he says, Thou hast given, he describes his pre-eminence over those sinners (whom he has just exhorted to turn away from sin and return to God) in the goods (they respectively enjoy). It is as if they are saying to him: “You exhort us to seek your kindnesses, but we have everything (that we want).” For this reason, he compares temporal with spiritual goods. First, he sets forth the spiritual goods, then secondly the temporal at By the fruit, and lastly the pre-eminence of the spiritual goods at, In peace.
Dicit ergo: Verum est quod omnes habent lumen vultus desuper se: sed, o Domine, sanctis et mihi Dedisti laetitiam, scilicet spiritualem, In corde meo, ut scilicet de te gaudeam. Rom. 14: Non est regnum Dei esca et potus; sed justitia et pax, et gaudium in Spiritu sancto: et hoc est beneficium spirituale. Mali autem habent abundantiam temporalium; et ideo dicit: A fructu frumenti, vini et olei sui, multiplicati sunt, idest dilatati. Et per omnia ista temporalia intelliguntur omnia alia: quia omnia referuntur ad necessitatem vivendi: et sic frumentum pro cibo, et vinum pro potu, oleum vero pro condimento accipitur. Alia littera habet, A tempore frumenti; ubi duplex bonorum istorum defectus innuitur, quia temporalia dicuntur a tempore. Sap. 2: Umbrae enim transitus est tempus nostrum. Et quia unum non sufficit, oportet quod sint multa; ideo dicit: Multiplicati sunt. And so he say: It is true that all things have the light of your countenance (shining upon) them from on high. But Thou, O Lord, Hast given gladness, that is to say, a spiritual one, In my heart, namely so that I might rejoice in you: The kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but justice, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17) And this is a kind of spiritual beneficence. The evil, however, have an abundance of temporal things, for which reason he says, By the fruit of their corn, their wine, and oil, they are multiplied, that is to say, they are swollen. By these temporal things are to be understood all the rest, for they are all related to the necessity of living. Thus, corn stands for food, wine for drink, and oil for seasoning. Another version has, By the time of your fruit, where a two-fold defect of their own goods is observed, since temporal things are designated in relation to time: For our time is as the passing of a shadow. (Wisdom 2:5) And since one (such temporal good) does not satisfy, it is fit there they be many, hence he says, They are multiplied.
g. Deinde cum dicit, In pace, ponit praeeminentiam spiritualium; quasi dicat, Quid inter haec excedit? Certa laetitia cordis. Et hoc patet duplici ratione. Primo, quia hoc bonum erit aeternum, illud vero temporale; secundo quia est unum et simplex, illud est multiplex. Secundum ponit ibi, Quoniam tu, Domine singulariter etc. Next, when he says, In peace, he sets forth the pre-eminence of spiritual things. It is as if he were saying: “What excels among these (spiritual goods)?” Certainly joy of heart. And this is plain for two reasons. First, that this good will be eternal, while that which they enjoy is temporal, and second, that the former is one and simple, while that latter has many parts. The second reason he sets forth at, For thou, O Lord, singularly hast settled me in hope.
Dicit ergo, In pace etc.: quasi dicat: Alii in tempore, sed ego non, immo In idipsum. Nota ergo, quod etiam in praesenti vita dicitur justus stare in bono, propter quatuor. Primo, quia non impeditur exterius: et ideo dicit: In pace. Isai. 31: Sedebit populus meus in pulchritudine pacis etc. Secundo ex immutatione rerum habitarum, quia hoc semper idem manet; unde In idipsum. Psalm. 121: Hierusalem quae aedificatur ut civitas, cujus participatio ejus in idipsum. Tertio, quia sine solicitudine: unde, Dormiam. Cant. 2: Ego dormio etc. Quarto ex quiete a labore conquirendi; unde dicit, Et requiescam. Et hoc potest esse etiam hic in praesenti vita secundum inchoationem; quia sancti omnia ista habent hic aliqualiter in Deo; sed haec omnia perfecte erunt in patria. Et hoc ideo habeo, dicit David, quia unum habeo in quo sunt omnia haec: et hoc est quod ait, Quoniam tu Domine etc.: quasi dicat: Uno modo in quadam spe singulari; Constituisti me, scilicet vita aeterna, de qua infra dicitur Psal. 26: Unam petii a Domino etc. Et hoc respondet contra id quod dicit, Multiplicati sunt: ut Quoniam tu Domine etc. quasi dicat, In te singulariter spero. Et hoc magis sonat littera Hieronymi, quae dicit: Quia tu Domine specialiter securum habitare me fecisti. Ps. 117: Bonum est confidere vel sperare in Domino etc. And so, he says, In peace. It is as if he were saying: “Others rest in the temporal, but not I. Instead, I rest In the selfsame.” Note, therefore, that even in this present life, the just man is said to stand steadfast with respect to (temporal) goods in four ways. First, that he is not hindered by external things: And my people shall sit in the beauty of peace, and in the tabernacles of confidence, and in wealthy rest (Isaiah 32:18); second, on account of (his) stability in things possessed, that this always remains the same: hence In the selfsame: Jerusalem, which is built as a city, which is compact together (Psalm 121:3); third, that he is without solicitude, hence he states, I will sleep: I sleep, and my heart watcheth (Song of Songs 5:2); and fourth, by having attained rest from his labor, hence he says And I will rest. And this can even be achieved here in this present life imperfectly, for all the saints have this here with God after a fashion. But everyone will have this perfectly in heaven. And for this reason David says “I have this, because I have one good in which are found all these (other goods).” And this is what he says: For thou, O Lord, singularly hast settled me in hope. It is as if he were saying: “In one way, in a particular hope, Thou hast settled me, namely in life eternal, concerning which Psalm 26:4 speaks: One thing I have asked of the Lord, this will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life. It is as if he were saying: “I hope in one thing in particular.” And this agrees better with Jerome’s version which says: For you, O Lord, have made me to dwell especially secure. It is good to confide in the Lord, rather than to have confidence in man (Psalm 117:8)

© Dr. Stephen Loughlin
(stephen.loughlin@desales.edu)


The Aquinas Translation Project
(http://www4.desales.edu/~philtheo/loughlin/ATP/index.html)
Endnotes

1version?

2in the verse upon which Thomas is presently commenting.

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

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on John 6:15-21

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 2, 2016

Ver 15. When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.16. And when even was now come, his disciples went down to the sea,17. And entered into a ship, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was now dark, and Jesus was not come to them.18. And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew.19. So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh to the ship: and they were afraid.20. But he said to them, It is I; be not afraid.21. Then they willingly received him into the ship: and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went

BEDE. The multitude concluding, from so great a miracle, that He was merciful and powerful, wished to make Him a king. For men like having a merciful king to rule over them, and a powerful one to protect them. Our Lord knowing this, retired to the mountain: When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take Him by force to make Him a king, He departed again into a mountain Himself alone. From this we gather, that our Lord went down from the mountain before, where He was sitting with His disciples, when He saw the multitude coming, and had fed them on the plain below. For how could He go up to the mountain again, unless He had come down from it.

AUG. This is not at all inconsistent with what we read, that He went up into a mountain apart to pray: the object of escape being quite compatible with that of prayer. Indeed our Lord teaches us here, that whenever escape is necessary, there is great necessity for prayer.

AUG. Yet He who feared to be made a king, was a king; not made king by men, (for He ever reigns with the Father, in that He is the Son of God,) but making men kings: which kingdom of His the Prophets had foretold. Christ by being made man, made the believers in Him Christians, i.e. members of His kingdom, incorporated and purchased by His Word. And this kingdom will be made manifest, after the judgment; when the brightness of His saints shall be revealed. The disciples however, and the multitude who believed in Him thought that He had come to reign now; and so would have taken Him by force, to make Him a king, wishing to anticipate His time, which He kept secret.

CHRYS. See what the belly can do. They care no more for the violation of the Sabbath; all their zeal for God is fled, now that their bellies are filled: Christ has become a Prophet, and they wish to enthrone Him as king. But Christ makes His escape; to teach us to despise the dignities of the world. He dismisses His disciples, and goes up into the mountain. – These, when their Master had left them went down in the evening to the sea; as we read; And when even was now come, His disciples went down to the sea. They waited till evening, thinking He would come to them; and then, as He did not come, delayed no longer searching for Him, but in the ardor of love, entered into a ship, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. They went to Capernaum thinking they should find Him there.

AUG. The Evangelist now returns to explain why they went, and relate what happened to them while they were crossing the lake: And it was dark, he says, and Jesus was not come to them.

CHRYS. The mention of the time is not accidental, but meant to show the strength of their love. They did not make excuses, and say, It is evening now, and night is coming on, but in the warmth of their love went into the ship. And now many things alarm them: the time, And it was now dark; and the weather, as we read next, And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew; their distance from land, So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs.

BEDE. The way of speaking we use, when we are in doubt; about five and twenty, we say, or thirty.

CHRYS. And at last He appears quite unexpectedly: They see Jesus walking upon the sea, drawing nigh. He reappears after His retirement, teaching them what it is to be forsaken, and stirring them to greater love; His reappearance manifesting His power. They were disturbed, were afraid, it is said. Our Lord comforts them: But He said to them, It is I, be not afraid.

BEDE. He does not say, I am Jesus, but only I am. He trusts to their easily recognizing a c voice, which was so familiar to them, or, as is more probable, He shows that He was the same who said to Moses, I am that I am.

CHRYS. He appeared to them in this way, to show His power; for He immediately calmed the tempest: Then they wished to receive Him into tile ship; and immediately the ship was at the land, whither they went. So great was the calm, He did not even enter the ship, in order to work a greater miracle, and to show his Divinity more clearly.

THEOPHYL. Observe the three miracles here; the first, His walking on the sea; the second, His stilling the waves; the third, His putting them immediately on shore, which they were some distance off, when our Lord appeared.

CHRYS Jesus does not show Himself to the crowd walking on the sea, such a miracle being too much for them to hear. Nor even to the disciples did He show Himself long, but disappeared immediately.

AUG. Mark’s account does not contradict this. He says indeed that our Lord told the disciples first to enter the ship, and go before Him over the sea, while He dismissed the crowds, and that when the crowd was dismissed, He went up alone into the mountain to pray: while John places His going up alone in the mountain first, and then says, And when even was now come, His disciples went down to the sea. But it is easy to see that John relates that as done afterwards by the disciples, which our Lord had ordered before His departure to the mountain.

CHRYS. Or take another explanation. This miracle seems to me to be a different one, from the one given in Matthew: for there they do not receive Him into the ship immediately, whereas here they do: and there the storm lasts for some time, whereas here as soon as He speaks, there is a calm. He often repeats the same miracle in order to impress it on men’s minds.

AUG. There is a mystical meaning in our Lord’s feeding the multitude, and ascending the mountain: for thus was it prophesied of Him, So shall the congregation of the people come about You: for their sake therefore lift up Yourself again: i.e. that the congregation of the people may come about You, lift up Yourself again. But why is it fled; for they could not have detained Him against His wild? This fleeing has a meaning; viz. that His flight is above our comprehension; just as, when you do not understand a thing, you see, It escapes me. He fled alone to the mountain, because He is ascended from above all heavens. But on His ascension aloft a storm came upon the disciples in the ship, i.e. the Church, and it became dark, the light, i.e. Jesus, having gone. As the end of the world draws nigh, error increases, iniquity abounds. Light again is love, according to John, He that hates his brother is in darkness. The waves and storms and winds then that agitate the ship, are the clamors of the evil speaking, and love waxing cold. Nevertheless the wind, and storm, and waves, and darkness were not able to stop, and sink the vessel; For be that endures to the end, the same shall be saved. As the number five has reference to the Law, the books of Moses being five, the number five and twenty, being made up of five pieces, has the same meaning. And this law was imperfect, before the Gospel came. Now the number of perfection is six, so therefore five is multiplied by six, which makes thirty: i.e. the law is fulfilled by the Gospel. To those then who fulfill the law Jesus comes treading on the waves, i.e. trampling under foot all the swellings of the world, all the loftiness of men: and yet such tribulations remain, that even they who believe on Jesus, fear lest they should be lost.

THEOPHYL. When either men or devils try to terrify us, let us hear Christ saying, It is I, be not afraid, i.e. I am ever near you, God unchangeable, immovable; let not any false fears destroy your faith in Me. Observe too our Lord did not come when the danger was beginning, but when it was ending. He suffers us to remain in the midst of dangers and tribulations, that we may be proved thereby, and flee for succor to Him Who is able to give us deliverance when we least expect it. When man’s understanding can no longer help him, then the Divine deliverance comes. If we are willing also to receive Christ into the ship, i.e. to live in our hearts, we shall find ourselves immediately in the place, where we wish to be, i.e. heaven.

BEDE. This ship, however, does not carry an idle crew; they are all stout rowers; i.e. in the Church not the idle and effeminate, but the strenuous and persevering in good works, attain to the harbor of everlasting salvation.

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Aquinas’ Homily Notes on Matthew 9:9

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 19, 2015

THE SAINT AND THE PHARISEES.
He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the receipt of custom

IN this Gospel three things are to be noted. Firstly,  the compassion of our Lord Jesus Christ. Secondly,  the holiness of S. Matthew. Thirdly, the blindness of  the Pharisees.

I. On the first head the compassion of our Lord is to  be noted in five particulars.

Firstly, in the sanctification of S. Matthew. He saw that  God saw him with a fourfold eye by infusing grace. ” There  is another that is slow and hath need of help, wanting ability; yet the eye of the Lord looked upon him for  good, and set him up from his low estate” (Sirach 11:12).  All of which can be well applied to the call of S. Mat-
thew.

Secondly, in calling S. Matthew to the Apostolate. ” He  saith unto him, Follow Me;” ” I have called thee” (Isa. 41:9).

Thirdly, in eating familiarly with him and with other  publicans. ” Jesus sat at meat, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with Him” (S. Matt. 9:10).

Fourthly, in His confutation of the sins of the Pharisees. “They that be whole need not a physician, but they that  are sick;” as if He said, Ye do need Me, since ye repute  yourselves to be whole.

Fifthly, in the recommendation of His compassion. “Go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy  and not sacrifice.” Our Lord’s compassion was so great  that as He had justified and sanctified a great sinner, so  also He ate familiarly with him, by doing which He  silenced the Pharisees, who eschewed sinners, and commended His own divine pity and compassion.

II. On the second head, the holiness of S. Matthew is  to be noted in five particulars.

Firstly, in his desertion of all things. “He left all, rose  up and followed Him” (S. Luke 5:28).

Secondly, in the readiness of his obedience. “He rose up” (S. Luke 5:28), obeying directly the Lord called him. “As soon as they hear of me they shall obey me” (Ps. 18:45).

Thirdly, in the imitation of Christ. “He followed Him,” imitating His life thereby. “Be ye therefore followers of God” (Eph. 5:1). S. Augustine says that the  whole good of man consists in imitating Christ; in his  avoiding that which Christ despises, and choosing that  which Christ approves of.

Fourthly , in shewing hospitality. “Levi made Him a  great feast in his own house” (S. Luke 5:29); “Be not  forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have  entertained angels unawares” (Heb. 13:2). If God be  pleased by His angel being entertained, how much more  is He pleased when He Himself is the guest.

Fifthly, by the exhibition of all his sins. He calls himself “Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom,” by the  name by which he was the better known, that so might also be better known his sin. The other Evangelists call him by his name of Levi.

III. On the third head, the blindness of the Pharisees is  learned from five particulars.

Firstly, they did not see their own sins.

Secondly, they judged the lesser sins of others to be  grievous, whilst they had pride in their own hearts, which is  the greatest sin of all, whilst they condemned in others the  lesser sins of envy, avarice, and the like. “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye, and then  shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy  brother’s eye ” (S. Matt. 7:4).

Thirdly, they vituperated Him, Whom they ought to  have praised. He Who ought to be praised for His mercy and compassion to the body, these condemned. ” A righteous man” (that is, Jesus Christ) “regardeth the life of his  beast” (of those souls who by predestination are bearing his yoke), “but the tender mercies of the wicked” (of the  Pharisees) “are cruel” (Prov. 12:10).

Fourthly, they envied that in which they ought to have  rejoiced; they envied the compassionate God. “I will sing  of the mercies of the Lord for ever ” (Ps. 89:2).

Fifthly, when they ought to be enlightened they became  darkened, since they detracted from the mercifulness of God. “Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?” “Have mercy upon us, O Lord God of all,  and behold us” (Sirach 36:1).

May we avoid the blindness of the Pharisees, and imitate the holiness of S. Matthew, and love and praise the  mercy and compassion of God.

 

Posted in Catholic, Catholic lectionary, Notes on the Gospel of Matthew, Scripture, SERMONS, St Thomas Aquinas | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 6:43-49

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 29, 2015

Ver 43. For a good tree brings not forth corrupt fruit; neither does a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.44. For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes.45. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

THEOPHYL; Our Lord continues the words which He had begun against the hypocrites, saying, For a good tree brings not forth corrupt fruit; i.e. as if He says, If you would have a true and unfeigned righteousness, what you set forth in words make up also in works, for the hypocrite though he pretends to be good is not good, who does evil works; and the innocent though he be blamed, is not therefore evil, who does good works.

TITUS BOS. But take not these words to thyself as an encouragement to idleness, for the tree is moved conformably to its nature but you have the exercise of free will; and every barren tree has been ordained for some good, but you were created to the good work of virtue.

ISIDORE PELEUS; He does not then exclude repentance, but a continuance in evil, which as long as it is evil cannot bring forth good fruit, but being converted to virtue, will yield abundance. But what nature is to the tree, our affections are to us. If then a corrupt tree cannot bring forth good fruit, how shall a corrupt heart?

CHRYS. But although the fruit is caused by the tree, yet, it brings to us the knowledge of the tree, because the distinctive nature of the tree is made evident by the fruit, as it follows, For every tree is know by its fruit.

CYRIL; Each man’s life also will be a criterion of his character. For not by extrinsic ornaments and pretended humility is the beauty of true happiness discovered, but by those things which a man does; of which he gives an illustration, adding, For of thorns men do not gather figs.

AMBROSE; On the thorns of this world the fig cannot be found, which as being better in its second fruit, is well fitted to be a similitude of the resurrection. Either because, as you read, The fig trees have put forth their green figs, that is, the unripe and worthless fruit came first in the Synagogue. Or because our life is imperfect in the flesh, perfect in the resurrection, and therefore we ought to cast far from us worldly cares, which eat into the mind and scorch up the soul, that by diligent culture we may obtain the perfect fruits. This therefore has reference to the world and the resurrection, the next to the soul and the body, as it follows, Nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes. Either because no one living in sin obtains fruit to his soul, which like the grape nearest the ground is rotten, on the higher branches becomes ripe. Or because no one can escape the condemnations of the flesh, but he whom Christ has redeemed, Who as a grape hung on the tree.

THEOPHYL; Or, I think the thorns and bramble are the cares of the world and the prickings of sin, but the figs and the grapes are the sweetness of a new life and the warmth of love, but the fig is not gathered from the thorns nor the grape from the bramble, because the mind still debased by the habits of the old man may pretend to, but cannot bring forth the fruits of the new man. But we must know, that as the fruitful palm tree is enclosed and supported by a hedge, and the thorn bearing fruit not its own, preserves it for the use of man, so the words and acts of the wicked wherein they serve the good are not done by the wicked themselves, but by the wisdom of God working upon them.

CYRIL; But having shown that the good and the bad man may be discerned by their works as a tree by its fruits, he now sets forth the same thing by another figure, saying, A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth that which is good, and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth that which is evil.

THEOPHYL; The treasure of the heart is the same as the root of the tree. He therefore who has in his heart the treasure of patience and perfect love, brings forth the best fruits, loving his enemy, and doing the other things which have been taught above. But he who keeps a bad treasure in his heart does the contrary to this.

BASIL; The quality of the words shows the heart from which they proceed, plainly manifesting the inclination of our thoughts. Hence it follows, For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

CHRYS. For it is a natural consequence when wickedness abounds within, that wicked words are breathed as far as the mouth; and therefore when you hear of a man uttering abominable things, do not suppose that there lies only so much wickedness in him as is expressed in his words, but believe the fountain to be more copious than the stream.

THEOPHYL; By the speaking of the mouth the Lord signifies all things, which by word, or deed, or thought, we bring forth from the heart. For it is the manner of the Scripture to put words for deeds.

Ver 46. And why call you me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?47. Whosoever comes to me, and hears my sayings, and does them, I will show you to whom he is like:48. He is like a man which built a house, and dug deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.49. But he that hears, and does not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth: against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.

THEOPHYL; Lest any one should vainly flatter himself with the words, Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks, as if words only and not rather works were required of a Christian, our Lord adds the following, But why call you me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? As if He said, Why do you boast of sending forth the leaves of a right confession, and show forth no fruit of good works.

CYRIL; But Lordship both in name and reality belongs only to the Highest Nature.

ATHAN. This is not then the word of man, but the Word of God, manifesting His own birth from the Father, for He is the Lord Who is born of the Lord alone. But fear not the duality of Persons, for they are not separate in nature.

CYRIL; But the advantage which arises from the keeping of the commandments, or the loss from disobedience, he shows as follows; Whosoever comes to me, and hears my sayings, he is like to a man who built his house upon a rock, &c.

THEOPHYL; The rock is Christ. He digs deep; by the precepts of humility He plucks out all earthly things from the hearts of the faithful, lest they should serve God from regard to their temporal good.

BASIL; But lay your foundations upon , a rock, that is, lean upon the faith of Christ, so as to persevere immovable in adversity, whether it come from man or God.

THEOPHYL; Or the foundation of the house is the resolution to live a good life, which the perfect hearer firmly lays in fulfilling the commandments of God.

AMBROSE; Or, He teaches that the obedience to heavenly precepts is the foundation of all virtue, by means of which this our house can be moved neither by the torrent of pleasures, nor by the violence of spiritual wickedness, neither by the storms of this world, nor by the cloudy disputations of heretics; hence it follows, But the flood came, &c.

THEOPHYL; A flood comes in three ways, either by unclean spirits, or wicked men, or the very restlessness of mind or body; and as far as men trust in their own strength they fall away, but as long as they cling to the immovable rock they cannot even be shaken.

CHRYS. The Lord also shows us that faith profits a man nothing, if his manner of life be corrupt. Hence it follows, But he that hears and does not, is like a man, that without a foundation built an house upon the earth, &c.

THEOPHYL; The house of the devil is the world which lies in wickedness, which he builds upon the earth, because those who obey him he drags down from heaven to earth; he builds without foundation, for sin has no foundation, standing not by its own nature, for evil is without substance, which yet whatever it is, grows up in the nature of good. But because the foundation is called so from fundus, we may not unfitly understand that fundamentum is placed here for fundus. As then he who is fallen into a well is kept at the bottom of the well, so the soul falling away remains stationary, as it were, at the very bottom, as long as it continues in any measure of sin. But not content with the sin into which it is fallen, while daily sinking into worse, it can find no bottom, as it were, in the well to which it may fix itself. But every kind of temptation increasing, both the really bad and the feignedly good become worse, until at last they come to everlasting punishment Hence it follows, Against which the stream did beat vehemently. By the force of the stream may be understood the trial of the last judgment, when both houses being finished, the wicked shall go into everlasting punishment but the righteous into life eternal.

CYRIL; Or they build upon the earth without foundation, who upon the quicksand of doubt, which relates to opinion, lay the foundation of their spiritual building, which a few drops of temptation wash away.

AUG. Now this long discourse of our Lord, Luke begins in the same way as Matthew; for each says, Blessed are the poor. Then many things which follow in the narration of each are like, and finally the conclusion of the discourse is found to be altogether the same, I mean with respect to the men who build upon the rock and the sand. It might then easily be supposed that Luke has inserted the same discourse of our Lord, and yet has left out some sentences which Matthew has kept, and likewise put in others which Matthew has not; were it not that Matthew says the discourse was spoken by our Lord on the mountain, but Luke on the plain by our Lord standing. It is not however thought likely from this that these two discourses are separated by a long course of time, because both before and after both have related some things like or the same. It may however have happened that our Lord was at first on a higher part of the mountain with His disciples alone, and that then he descended with them from the mount, that is, from the summit of the mountain to the flat place, that is, to some level ground, which was on the side of the mountain, and was able to hold large multitudes, and that there He stood until the crowds were gathered together to Him, and afterwards when He sat down His disciples came nearer, and to them, and the rest of the multitude who were present, He held the same discourse.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, fathers of the church, Notes on Luke's Gospel, Notes on the Lectionary, Scripture, St Thomas Aquinas | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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