The Divine Lamp

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

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St augustine’s Homily on 1 John 2:21-28

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 2, 2019

The following is excerpted from Homilies 3 and 4. For all St Augustine’s Homilies on 1 John go here.


6. “I write unto you not because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.”2 Behold, we are admonished how we may know antichrist. What is Christ? Truth. Himself hath said “I am the Truth.”3 But “no lie is of the truth.” Consequently, all who lie are not yet of Christ. He hath not said that some lie is of the truth, and some lie not of the truth. Mark the sentence. Do not fondle yourselves, do not flatter yourselves, do not deceive yourselves, do not cheat yourselves: “No lie is of the truth.” Let us see then how antichrists lie, because there is more than one kind of lying. “Who is a liar, but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ?” One is the meaning of the word “Jesus,” another the meaning of the word “Christ:” though it be one Jesus Christ our Saviour, yet “Jesus” is His proper name. Just as Moses was so called by his proper name, as Elias, as Abraham: so as His proper name our Lord hath the name “Jesus:” but “Christ” is the name of His4 sacred character. As when we say, Prophet, as when we say, Priest; so by the name Christ we are given to understand the Anointed, in whom should be the redemption of the whole people. The coming of this Christ was hoped for by the people of the Jews: and because He came in lowliness, He was not acknowledged; because the stone was small, they stumbled at it and were broken. But “the stone grew, and became a great mountain;”5 and what saith the Scripture? “Whosoever shall stumble at this stone shall be broken;6 and on whomsoever this stone shall come, it will grind him to powder.” We must mark the difference of the words: it saith, he that stumbleth shall be broken; but he on whom it shall come, shall be ground to powder. At the first, because He came lowly, men stumbled at Him: because He shall come lofty to judgment, on whomsoever He shall come, He will grind him to powder. But not that man will He grind to powder at His future coming, whom He broke not when He came. He that stumbled not at the lowly, shall not dread the lofty. Briefly ye have heard it, brethren: he that stumbled not at the lowly. shall not dread the lofty. For to all bad men is Christ a stone of stumbling; whatever Christ saith is bitter to them.

7. For hear and see. Certainly all who go out from the Church, and are cut off from the unity of the Church, are antichrists; let no man doubt it: for the apostle himself hath marked them, “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us.” Therefore, whoso continue not with us, but go out from us, it is manifest that they are antichrists. And how are they proved to be antichrists? By lying. “And who is a liar, but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ?”7 Let us ask the heretics: where do you find a heretic that denies that Jesus is the Christ? See now, my beloved, a great mystery.8 Mark what the Lord God may have inspired us withal, and what I would fain work into your minds. Behold, they went out from us, and turned Donatists: we ask them whether Jesus be the Christ; they instantly confess that Jesus is the Christ. If then that person is an antichrist, who denies that Jesus is the Christ, neither can they call us antichrists, nor we them; therefore, neither they went out from us, nor we from them. If then we have not gone out one from another, we are in unity: if we be in unity, what means it that there are two altars in this city? what, that there are divided houses, divided marriages? that there is a common bed, and a divided Christ? He admonishes us, he would have us confess what is the truth:—either they went out from us, or we from them. But let it not be imagined that we have gone out from them. For we have the testament of the Lord’s inheritance, we recite it, and there we find, “I will give Thee the nations for Thine inheritance, and for Thy possessions the ends of the earth.”9 We hold fast Christ’s inheritance; they hold it not, for they do not communicate with the whole earth, do not communicate with the10 universal body redeemed by the blood of the Lord. We have the Lord Himself rising from the dead, who presented Himself to be felt by the hands of the doubting disciples: and while they yet doubted, He said to them, “It behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name”11—Where? which way? to what persons?—“through all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” Our minds are set at rest concerning the unity of the inheritance! Whoso does not communicate with this inheritance, is gone out.

8. But let us not be made sad: “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us.”1 If then they went out from us, they are antichrists; if they are antichrists, they are liars; if they are liars, they deny that Jesus is the Christ. Once more we come back to the difficulty of the question. Ask them one by one; they confess that Jesus is the Christ. The difficulty that hampers us comes of our taking what is said in the Epistle in too narrow a sense. At any rate ye see the question; this question puts both us and them to a stand, if it be not understood. Either we are antichrists, or they are antichrists; they call us antichrists, and say that we went out from them; we say the like of them. But now this epistle has marked out the antichrists by this cognizance: “Whosoever denies that Jesus is the Christ,” that same “is an antichrist.” Now therefore let us enquire who denies; and let us mark not the tongue, but the deeds. For if all be asked, all with one mouth confess that Jesus is the Christ. Let the tongue keep still for a little while, ask the life. If we shall find this, if the Scripture itself shall tell us that denial is a thing done not only with the tongue, but also with the deeds, then assuredly we find many antichrists, who with the mouth profess Christ, and in their manners dissent from Christ. Where find we this in Scripture? Hear Paul the Apostle; speaking of such, he saith, “For they confess that they know God, but in their deeds deny Him.”2 We find these also to be antichrists: whosoever in his deeds denies Christ, is an antichrist. I listen not to what he says, but I look what life he leads. Works speak, and do we require words? For where is the bad man that does not wish to talk well? But what saith the Lord to such? “Ye hypocrites, how can ye speak good things, while ye are evil?”3 Your voices ye bring into mine ears: I look into your thoughts. I see an evil will there, and ye make a show of false fruits. I know what I must gather, and whence; I do not “gather figs of thistles,” I do not gather “grapes of thorns;” for “every tree is known by its fruit.”4 A more lying antichrist is he who with his mouth professes that Jesus is the Christ, and with his deeds denies Him. A liar in this, that he speaks one thing, and does another.

9. Now therefore, brethren, if deeds are to be questioned, not only do we find many antichrists gone out; but many not yet manifest, who have not gone out at all. For as many as the Church hath within it that are perjured, defrauders,5 addicted to black arts, consulters of fortune-tellers, adulterers, drunkards, usurers, boy-stealers,6 and all the other vices that we are not able to enumerate; these things are contrary to the doctrine of Christ, are contrary to the word of God. Now the Word of God is Christ: whatever is contrary to the Word of God is in Antichrist. For Antichrist means, “contrary to Christ.” And would ye know how openly these resist Christ? Sometimes it happens that they do some evil, and one begins to reprove them; because they dare not blaspheme Christ, they blaspheme His ministers by whom they are reproved: but if thou show them that thou speakest Christ’s words, not thine own, they endeavor all they can to convict thee of speaking thine own words, not Christ’s: if however it is manifest that thou speakest Christ’s words, they go even against Christ, they begin to find fault with Christ: “How,” say they, “and why did He make us such as we are?” Do not persons say this every day, when they are convicted of their deeds? Perverted by a depraved will, they accuse their Maker. Their Maker cries to them from heaven, (for the same made us, who new-made us:) What made I thee? I made man, not avarice; I made man, not robbery; I made man, not adultery. Thou hast heard that my works praise me. Out of the mouth of the Three Children, it was the hymn itself that kept them from the fires.”7 The works of the Lord praise the Lord, the heaven, the earth, the sea, praise Him; praise Him all things that are in the heaven, praise Him angels, praise Him stars, praise Him lights, praise Him whatever swims, whatever flies, whatever walks, whatever creeps; all these praise the Lord. Hast thou heard there that avarice praises the Lord? Hast thou heard that drunkenness praises the Lord? That luxury praises, that frivolity praises Him? Whatever thou hearest not in that hymn give praise to the Lord, the Lord made not that thing. Correct what thou hast made, that what God made in thee may be saved. But if thou wilt not, and lovest and embracest thy sins, thou art contrary to Christ. Be thou within, be thou without, thou art an antichrist; be thou within, be thou without, thou art chaff. But why art thou not without? Because thou hast not fallen in with a wind to carry thee away.

10. These things are now manifest, my brethren. Let no man say, I do not worship Christ, but I worship God His Father. “Every one that denieth the Son, hath neither the Son nor the Father; and he that confesseth the Son, hath both the Son and the Father.”1 He speaks to you that are grain: and let those who were chaff, hear, and become grain. Let each one, looking well to his own conscience, if he be a lover of the world, be changed; let him become a lover of Christ, that he be not an antichrist. If one shall tell him that he is an antichrist, he is wroth, he thinks it a wrong done to him; perchance, if he is told by him that strives with him2 that he is an antichrist, he threatens an action at law.3 Christ saith to him, Be patient; if thou hast been falsely spoken of, rejoice with me, because I also am falsely spoken of by the antichrists: but if thou art truly spoken of, come to an understanding with thine own conscience; and if thou fear to be called this, fear more to be it.

11. “Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall abide in you, ye also shall abide in the Son, and in the Father. And this is the promise that He hath promised us.”4 For haply thou mightest ask about the wages, and say, Behold, “that which I have heard from the beginning I keep safe in me, I comply therewith; perils, labors, temptations, for the sake of this continuance, I bear up against them all: with what fruit? what wages? what will He hereafter give me, since in this world I see that I labor among temptations? I see not here that there is any rest: mere mortality weigheth down the soul, and the corruptible body presseth it down to lower things: but I bear all things, that “that which I have heard from the beginning”5 may “remain” in me; and that I may say to my God, “Because of the words of Thy lips have I kept hard ways.”6 Unto what wages then? Hear, and faint not. If thou wast fainting in the labors, upon the promised wages be strong. Where is the man that shall work in a vineyard, and shall let slip out of his heart the reward he is to receive? Suppose him to have forgotten, his hands fail. The remembrance of the promised wages makes him persevering in the work: and yet he that promised it is a man who can deceive thine expectation. How much more strong oughtest thou to be in God’s field, when He that promised is the Truth, Who can neither have any successor, nor die, nor deceive him to whom the promise was made! And what is the promise? Let us see what He hath promised. Is it gold which men here love much, or silver? Or possessions, for which men lavish gold, however much they love gold? Or pleasant lands, spacious houses, many slaves, numerous beasts? Not these are the wages, so to say, for which he exhorts us to endure in labor. What are these wages called? “eternal life.” Ye have heard, and in your joy ye have cried out: love that which ye have heard, and ye are delivered from your labors into the rest of eternal life. Lo, this is what God promises; “eternal life.”7 Lo, this what God threatens; eternal fire. What to those set on the right hand? “Come, ye blessed of my Father, receive the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world.”8 To those on the left, what? “Go into eternal fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” Thou dost not yet love that: at least fear this.

12. Remember then, my brethren, that Christ hath promised us eternal life: “This,” saith he, “is the promise which He hath promised us, even eternal life. These things have I written to you concerning them which seduce you.”9 Let none seduce you unto death: desire the promise of eternal life. What can the world promise? Let it promise what you will, it makes the promise perchance to one that to-morrow shall die. And with what face wilt thou go hence to Him that abideth for ever? “But a powerful man threatens me, so that I must do some evil.” What does he threaten? Prisons, chains, fires, torments, wild beasts: aye, but not eternal fire? Dread that which One Almighty threatens; love that which One Almighty promises; and all the world becomes vile in our regard, whether it promise or terrify. “These things have I written unto you concerning them which seduce you; that ye may know that ye have an unction, and the unction which we have received from Him may abide in you.”10 In the unction we have the sacramental sign [of a thing unseen], the virtue itself is invisible;11 the invisible unction is the Holy Ghost; the invisible unction is that charity, which, in whomsoever it be, shall be as a root to him: however burning the sun, he cannot wither. All that is rooted is nourished by the sun’s warmth, not withered.

13. “And ye have no need that any man teach you, because His1 unction teacheth you concerning all things.”2 Then to what purpose is it that “we,” my brethren, teach you? If “His unction teacheth you concerning all things,” it seems we labor without a cause. And what mean we, to cry out as we do? Let us leave you to His unction, and let His unction teach you. But this is putting the question only to myself: I put it also to that same apostle: let him deign to hear a babe that asks of him: to John himself I say, Had those the unction to whom thou wast speaking? Thou hast said, “His unction teacheth you concerning all things.” To what purpose hast thou written an Epistle like this? what teaching didst “thou “give them? what instruction? what edification? See here now, brethren, see a mighty mystery.3 The sound of our words strikes the ears, the Master is within. Do not suppose that any man learns ought from man. We can admonish by the sound of our voice; if there be not One within that shall teach, vain is the noise we make. Aye, brethren, have ye a mind to know it? Have ye not all heard this present discourse? and yet how many will go from this place untaught! I, for my part, have spoken to all; but they to whom that Unction within speaketh not, they whom the Holy Ghost within teacheth not, those go back untaught. The teachings of the master from without are a sort of aids and admonitions. He that teacheth the hearts, hath His chair in heaven. Therefore saith He also Himself in the Gospel: “Call no man your master upon earth; One is your Master, even Christ.”4 Let Him therefore Himself speak to you within, when not one of mankind is there: for though there be some one at thy side, there is none in thine heart. Yet let there not be none in thine heart:5 let Christ be in thine heart: let His unction be in the heart, lest it be a heart thirsting in the wilderness, and having no fountains to be watered withal. There is then, I say, a Master within that teacheth: Christ teacheth; His inspiration teacheth. Where His inspiration and His unction is not, in vain do words make a noise from without. So are the words, brethren, which we speak from without, as is the husbandman to the tree: from without he worketh, applieth water and diligence of culture; let him from without apply what he will, does he form the apples? does he clothe the nakedness of the wood with a shady covering of leaves? does he do any thing like this from within? But whose doing is this? Hear the husbandman, the apostle: both see what we are, and hear the Master within: “I have planted, Apollos hath watered; but God gave the increase: neither he that planteth is any thing, neither he that watereth, but He that giveth the increase, even God.”6 This then we say to you: whether we plant, or whether we water, by speaking we are not any thing; but He that giveth the increase, even God: that is, “His unction which teacheth you concerning all things.”


1. Ye remember, brethren, that yesterday’s lesson was brought to a close at this point, that “ye have no need that any man teach you, but the unction itself teacheth you concerning all things.” Now this, as I am sure ye remember, we so expounded to you, that we who from without speak to your ears, are as workmen applying culture from without to a tree, but we cannot give the increase nor form the fruits: but only He that created and redeemed and called you, He, dwelling in you by faith and the Spirit, must speak to you within, else vain is all our noise of words. Whence does this appear? From this: that while many hear, not all are persuaded of that which is said, but only they to whom God speaks within. Now they to whom He speaks within, are those who give place to Him: and those give place to God, who “give not place to the devil.”1 For the devil wishes to inhabit the hearts of men, and speak there the things which are able to seduce. But what saith the Lord Jesus? “The prince of this world is cast out.”2 Whence cast? out of heaven and earth? out of the fabric of the world? Nay, but out of the hearts of the believing. The invader being cast out, let the Redeemer dwell within: because the same redeemed, who created. And the devil now assaults from without, not conquers Him that hath possession within. And he assaults from without, by casting in various temptations: but that person consents not thereto, to whom God speaks within, and the unction of which ye have heard.

2. “And it is true,” namely, this same unction; i. e. the very Spirit of the Lord which teacheth men, cannot lie: “and is not false.3 Even as it hath taught you, abide ye in the same. And now, little children, abide ye in Him, that when He shall be manifested, we may have boldness in His sight, that we be not put to shame by Him at His coming.”4 Ye see, brethren: we believe on Jesus whom we have not seen: they announced Him, that saw, that handled, that heard the word out of His own mouth; and that they might persuade all mankind of the truth thereof, they were sent by Him, not dared to go of themselves. And whither were they sent? Ye heard while the Gospel was read, “Go, preach the Gospel to the whole creation which is under heaven.”5 Consequently, the disciples were sent “every where:” with signs and wonders to attest that what they spake, they had seen. And we believe on Him whom we have not seen, and we look for Him to come. Whose look for Him by faith, shall rejoice when He cometh: those who are without faith, when that which now they see not is come, shall be ashamed. And that confusion of face shall not be for a single day and so pass away, in such sort as those are wont to be confounded, who are found out in some fault, and are scoffed at by their fellow-men. That confusion shall carry them that are confounded to the left hand, that to them it may be said, “Go into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.”6 Let us abide then in His words, that we be not confounded when He cometh. For Himself saith in the Gospel to them that had believed on Him: “If ye shall abide in my word, then are ye verily my disciples.”7 And, as if they had asked, With what fruit? “And,” saith He, “ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” For as yet our salvation is in hope, not in deed: for we do not already possess that which is promised, but we hope for it to come. And “faithful is He that promised;”8 He deceiveth not thee: only do thou not faint, but wait for the promise. For He, the Truth, cannot deceive. Be not thou a liar, to profess one thing and do another; keep thou the faith, and He keeps His promise. But if thou keep not the faith, thine own self, not He that promised, hath defrauded thee.


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Commentary on Ephesians 6:10-20

Posted by Dim Bulb on December 22, 2018

Text in red are my additions. 

A Summary of Ephesians 6:10-20.

After giving particular precepts for the home circle, St. Paul now passes to the outer world and admonishes all Christians to be ready for the warfare which must be waged against the enemies of their salvation. He first exhorts his readers to prepare for the conflict (Eph 6:10-13); then describes the armor of the Christian warrior (Eph 6:14-17); and finally reminds them of the necessity of continual prayer and vigilance as the means of vanquishing Satan and his hosts, and asks in particular that they would pray unceasingly for himself and the spread of the Gospel (Eph 6:18-20).

Eph 6:10. Finally, brethren, be strengthened in the Lord, and in the might of his power.

Finally. Literally, “For the rest,” i.e., as to what remains to be said regarding necessary precepts.

Brethren is wanting in the best MSS., and is probably not authentic, as it does not occur elsewhere as here used in this Epistle.

In the Lord, the one source of spiritual strength.

And in the might of his power, i.e., in His omnipotent power.

Eph 6:11. Put you on the armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil.

The armor of God, i.e., the spiritual panoply which God has provided for our spiritual warfare and by which the necessary strength is given us to win the combat against the secret attacks of the devil.

To stand, i.e., to resist his wiles and temptations.

The devil. See on Eph 2:2. That passage reads: “Wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that now worketh on the children of unbelief.” Commenting on this Fr. Callan wrote:

Wherein, etc., i.e., in which state of moral death you lived and wrought in your pagan past.

According to the course of this world, i.e., according to the evil principles and customs of this present order of things, which is under the sway and influence of Satan, who is “the prince of the power of the air” (i.e., who is the ruler of the authority of the air, or the evil ruler whose sphere of authority is the air, and who exercises his nefarious influence “on the children, etc.,” on those who refuse to believe, or who reject the Gospel). Among the Jews the air was popularly regarded as the abode of evil spirits, as heaven was God’s abode and the earth the place of man’s sojourn. Moreover, Satan’s legitimate sphere of activity is no longer in heaven (Rev 12:9; Luke 1018); nor is it on the earth, which has been reclaimed by the Death and Resurrection of Christ. Hence, the Apostle speaks of it figuratively as being between heaven and earth—in the air. Power is more probably to be taken in an abstract sense for domination, and “spirit,” a genitive in Greek, is governed by “prince,” and means the mind or tendency by which the evil spirit, Satan, is actuated.

Children of unbelief, or better, “sons of disobedience,” is a Hebraism to signify all those who do not accept the Gospel.

Eph 6:12. For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.

It is necessary that our armor be strong, for our struggle “is not against flesh and blood,” i.e., against weak mortal men, “but against principalities, etc.,” i.e., against the evil spirits of darkness; “against the rulers of the world, etc.,” i.e., against the demons who are the leaders of the world of sin and moral darkness; “against the spirits of wickedness,” i.e., evil spiritual beings and forces, “in the high places,” i.e., in the place where these evil spirits dwell and where our battle with them is waged (see on Eph 1:3, 2:2). For other allusions to the Evil One and his mysterious authority over the world of men, see Luke 4:6; John 14:30, 16:11; 2 Cor. 4:4; 1 John 5:18.

Eph 6:13. Therefore take unto you the armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and to stand in all things perfect.

Therefore, i.e., since our fight is so unequal, being against evil spiritual forces and powers, the Apostle urges that we take up “the armor of God,” i.e., that we make use of grace and the spiritual resources at our disposal, so as to be “able to resist in the evil day,” i.e., at the time and moment of temptation and hostile attack, with the result that when the struggle passes we may be able “to stand in all things perfect,” i.e., firm and immovable in grace and virtue, ready for the next attack.

Eph 6:14. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of justice,
The Apostle now begins to describe the various parts of the Christian soldier’s equipment, and his imagery is drawn partly from the dress of the Roman soldiers who in turn had charge of him in prison, and partly from two passages in Isaias where the Messiah is described as a warrior (Isa. 11:4, 49:17). He speaks first (Eph 6:14-17) of defensive and then of offensive arms, giving a spiritual meaning to each of the arms and each article of dress of the Roman soldier. The Christian soldier must “stand” (i.e., be ready for the conflict), having “truth” (i.e., sincerity and moral rectitude) for belt, and “justice” (i.e., loyalty in word and action to the law of God) as breastplate; for shoes he must have readiness and alacrity of soul to affirm “the gospel of peace”; “faith” must be his shield, and the inspired “word of God” his sword. 

Eph 6:15. And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace:

Preparation. The Greek for this word occurs here only in the New Testament, and it most probably means readiness and alacrity of soul to preach the Gospel. Spiritual equipment gives the meaning of the term as well as anything. St. Chrysostom says: “The preparation of the gospel is nothing else than the best life.”

Eph 6:16. In all things taking the shield of faith, wherewith you may be able to extinguish all the fiery darts of the wicked one.

In all things, etc. A lesser reading has “above all things, etc.,” which would mean that, besides all that has been just said, we should take the shield of faith, etc. But “in all things, etc.” is the better reading; and it means that in all the circumstances of our life of warfare faith is our shield, the heavy armor of our souls, by which we can ward off “the fiery darts of the wicked one,” i.e., of Satan.

Eph 6:17. And take unto you the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit (which is the word of God).
“The helmet of salvation” means our salvation, the salvation offered us by Christ (Cajetan), or the hope of salvation (1 Thess. 5:8). The helmet protects the head, and the salvation offered us by our Lord is the pledge of our eternal inheritance. The “sword of the Spirit” is “the word of God,” i.e., the utterance of God; the two phrases are in apposition here, and they explain each other: “The word of God is living and effectual, and more piercing than any two-edged sword” (Heb. 4:12).

Eph 6:18. By all prayer and supplication, praying at all times in the spirit, and in the same watching with all instance and supplication for all the saints:
Here the Apostle admonishes that we must pray at all times, in all places, and for all persons, as a means of making really effectual the foregoing helps in the battle for salvation. All our help comes from God, and prayer opens the door to God’s treasure-house of graces.

Prayer and supplication are perhaps used together here for the sake of emphasis, though the former word can be distinguished from the latter as meaning a general offering of our thoughts and desires, while the latter has reference to our special petitions.

The Spirit. Literally, “in spirit,” i.e., in the fervor of our souls as animated and inspired by the Spirit of God.

For all the saints, as all are members of the same mystical body whose head is Christ.

Eph 6:19. And for me, that speech may be given me, that I may open my mouth with confidence, to make known the mystery of the gospel.
Eph 6:20. For which I am an ambassador in a chain, so that therein I may be bold to speak according as I ought.

The Apostle now asks a part in the prayers of his readers that he may be able courageously and efficaciously to preach “the mystery of the gospel,” i.e., the perfect equality of Jews and Gentiles in the Messianic kingdom, the universality of the salvation of Christ. It was for preaching this equal salvation for all men in Christ that the Apostle was cast into prison ; and this made him, though a prisoner, the representative of Christ the King in the imperial city, “an ambassador in a chain,” i.e., coupled by a chain around his right wrist to the left of a Roman soldier in his hired lodging in Rome.

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Father Callan’s Commentary on 1 Timothy Chapter 6

Posted by Dim Bulb on December 15, 2018

A Summary of 1 Timothy 6:1-2

In Eph. 6:5-9 and Col. 3:22—4:1, St. Paul had already treated at length of the mutual duties and relations of slaves and masters. Here, however, he speaks only of slaves, doubtless because there was somehow more cause for treating only of the one class. He was not in any way approving of slavery, for it was his repeated teaching that in Christ there was “neither bond nor free” (Gal. 3:28) ; like the other Apostles, he was simply taking the existing conditions of society as he found them, and adapting himself to them as the circumstances required. See on Eph. 6:5-9; see also Introduction to Philemon, No. V.

The slaves addressed in both of the present verses were Christians; and St. Paul tells Timothy to instruct those slaves to conduct themselves with all respect and obedience toward their heathen masters, so as to reflect credit on their profession as believers in God and followers of Christ; any failure in their duties as slaves would only cast discredit on their religion.

1 Tim 6:1. Whosoever are servants under the yoke, let them count their masters worthy of all honor; lest the name of God and his doctrine be blasphemed.

The Domini of the Vulgate should be Dei, as in the Greek.

1 Tim 6:2. But they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but serve them the rather, because they are faithful and beloved, who are partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort.

In the second verse the masters also are Christians, and this fact calls for even better service on the part of their slaves.

Because they are faithful and beloved, i.e., because those masters are Christians, and consequently beloved by God, This is the reason why their Christian slaves should render them special service.

Who are partakers of the benefit. This does not mean the benefit of redemption which the masters enjoy by being Christians, nor the benefits which the masters confer on their slaves, but the improved and special service which those masters receive from the fidelity and obedience of their slaves. Therefore, translate the second part of the verse with the Westminster Version as follows: “But serve them all the more, for that they who claim their good service are believing and beloved.”

These things, i.e., the directions just given about slaves, or perhaps all the instructions so far given in this letter, Timothy is to “teach and exhort.”

A Summary of
1 Timothy 6:3-21
In the closing section of his letter (ver. 3-21) St. Paul utters renewed warnings against the false teachers (ver. 3-5), speaks of the vanity and perils of wealth (ver, 6-10), personally exhorts Timothy to the practice of virtue and the preservation of the teachings he has received (ver. 11-16), issues a charge to the rich of Ephesus (ver. 17-19), and terminates by recalling to Timothy the principal thought of the Epistle and imparting his blessing (ver. 20-21).

1 Tim 6:3. If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to that doctrine which is according to goodness,
1 Tim 6:4. He is proud, knowing nothing, but sick about questions and strifes of words; from which arise envies, contentions, blasphemies, evil suspicions,
1 Tim 6:5. Conflicts of men corrupted in mind, and who are destitute of the truth, supposing godliness to be gain.

Teach otherwise, i.e., teach a different doctrine from that taught by St. Paul (see on 1 Tim 1:3). 

And consent not to the sound words, etc., i.e., to the true teaching contained in our Lord’s words. 

And to that doctrine which is according to godliness, i.e., which teaches the true way in which God is to be worshipped. The false teaching the Apostle has in mind, therefore, is out of harmony with that which Timothy is to “teach and exhort” (ver. 2). The false teacher himself and the practical results of his teaching are next described (ver, 4-5), 

He is proud, knowing nothing, about that which he ought to know, and which constitutes the true doctrine; he is “sick” from feeding his mind on unwholesome speculations and disputes which consist only in words, and which resuh in envy of rivals, quarrels with opponents, suspicions of unworthy motives, and the like. Such men, “corrupted in mind,” pervert the Gospel and subordinate piety and the worship of God to material gains.

In the Vulgate of verse 5, quæstum esse pietatem (“supposing gain to be godliness”) should be reversed, pietatem esse quæstum (“supposing godliness to be gain“), as the position of the article and the order of the words in the Greek indicate. 

1 Tim 6:6. But godliness with contentment is great gain.

While “godliness” or piety is not to be prostituted to material gain, there is, nevertheless, great gain in its possession, for it teaches one to be content with what one has, not desiring to have more (Phil. 4:11-13). 

1 Tim 6:7. For we brought nothing into this world, and certainly we can carry
nothing out.

He now explains why man ought to be content with little in this world. Material goods serve only for the present life; we come into the world without them, and we must leave them behind when we die. It is only what a man is in himself—his spiritual attainments, his character, his good or bad habits—that he takes with him into the next world; all else he leaves behind at death. 

1 Tim 6:8. But having food and wherewith to be covered, with these we are

Food and raiment are the chief necessities of our material existence, but we must remember that we are far more than these, and that we are not to be over-anxious about them (Matt. 6:25 ff.). 

1 Tim 6:9. For they that will become rich, fall into temptation, and into a snare, and into many unprofitable and hurtful desires, which drown men into destruction and perdition.

It is the desire for wealth and an inordinate attachment to material things that St. Paul is here condemning, the disastrous consequences of which are clearly attested to by history and experience. Those whose minds are set on wealth are exposed and expose themselves to many perils. 

Destruction, etc. See on Phil. 1:28, 3:19 ; 2 Thess. 1:9.

The diaboli of the Vulgate is not in the best Greek. Some manuscripts read: For they that will become rich, fall into temptation, and into a snare of the devil (see 1 Tim 3:7). 

1 Tim 6:10. For the desire of money is the root of all evils; which some coveting have erred from the faith, and have entangled themselves in many sorrows.

In rhetorical language the Apostle stresses the peril of a love of material wealth. It is “the root,” or, as in the Greek, “a root of all evils,” i.e., of all moral evils, inasmuch as it will induce a person to commit any evil or sin to attain it, when the passion becomes all-absorbing. At all times the love of money is fraught with very dangerous consequences, and if it does not go so far as to lead one away from the faith, it nevertheless chills the spirit of religion, and deadens a person to the appeal of the higher things of the mind and soul. 

1 Tim 6:11. But thou, man of God, fly these things: and pursue justice, godliness, faith, charity, patience, mildness.

St. Paul now exhorts Timothy to flee the love of money and its attendant evils, and to pursue virtue.
Man of God is the regular Old Testament expression for a prophet or ruler of God’s people (1 Sam 9:6; 1Kings 12:22, 13:1 ff.). 

1 Tim 6:12. Fight the good fight of faith; lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art called, and didst make the good confession before many witnesses. 

Fight the good fight. The metaphor is taken from the athletic games, and is frequently employed by St. Paul (1 Cor. 9:24; Phil. 3:12, 14; 2 Tim. 4:7). “Fight” is in the present tense in Greek, showing the constant struggle; while “lay hold” is aorist, to indicate the single act. 

Whereunto thou art called, etc., doubtless refers to Timothy’s baptism, and to the confession then made of the Divinity of Jesus Christ. Some think the confession referred to was at the time of Timothy’s ordination or consecration as bishop.

1 Tim 6:13. I charge thee before God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who gave testimony under Pontius Pilate, a good confession:
1 Tim 6:14. That thou keep the commandment without spot, blameless, unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,

St. Paul now charges Timothy before God, the Creator, “who quickeneth all things” (better, “who preserveth all things in life”) and before His Son Jesus Christ, “who gave testimony, etc.” (i.e., who made the good confession of His divine Kingship and Sonship in the presence or at the time of Pontius Pilate, Matt 27:11; Mark 15:2; Luke 23:3; John 18:33 ff.), to practise, profess, and defend the faith ; it is this divine example of our Lord that will enable Timothy to “keep the commandment without spot,” i.e., the commands and precepts, implied or expressed, which were laid on him at the time of his baptism or ordination (ver. 12). 

Unto the coming, etc., i.e., till the Second Coming of the Lord in glory. The Greek word for “coming” here is found again in the New Testament only in 2 Thess. 2:8; but it occurs often in the LXX. On the other hand, St. Paul uses a great variety of expressions to describe the Second Advent (cf. 1 Thess. 2:2; 1 Cor. 1:8, 5:5; Phil. 1:10; 2 Tim. 1:12, etc.).

1 Tim 6:15. Which in his times he shall shew who is the Blessed and only Mighty, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;
1 Tim 6:16. Who only hath immortality, and inhabiteth light inaccessible, whom no man hath seen, nor can see; to whom be honor and empire everlasting. Amen.

The Second Coming or final manifestation of Jesus Christ will occur “in his times,” i.e., in the season known only to him. 

Who is the Blessed and only Mighty, etc. It is probable that these words and those of verse 16, which constitute a magnificent doxology, belonged to a primitive hymn. The phrase “King of kings arid Lord of lords” is found also in Dan. 4:34 (cf. Deut. 10:17; Ps. 136:3). God alone has essential and underived immortality; He dwells in light because He is light ; and He cannot be seen as He is in Himself by mortal man in this life, nor in the life to come save as the human soul is elevated and strengthened by the light of glory.

1 Tim 6:17. Charge the rich of this world not to be high-minded, nor to trust in the uncertainty of riches, but in God, who giveth us abundantly all things to enjoy,

In verses 17-19 St. Paul returns to the thought of 1 Tim 6:9-10, directing his words, no doubt, to the well-to-do of Ephesus, whose pursuit of wealth he had interfered with years before (Acts 19:25 ff. 

The rich of this world. Better, “those who are rich in the present world,” as contrasted with those who lay up treasure for the world to come (ver. 19 below). They must not put their trust in riches, which are uncertain, but in God, who has given them all they have, to be enjoyed indeed but also to be used for the other good purposes which he proceeds to mention in the following verses.

The vivo of the Vulgate is not in the best MSS., and the brackets are unnecessary.

1 Tim 6:18. To do good, to be rich in good works, to give easily, to communicate to others,
1 Tim 6:19. To lay up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on the true life.

Wealth is not only for the pleasure of its possessor, but it is also to be used for the benefit of others, and thus to enable its owner to become spiritually rich. 

To give easilyto communicate. The two equivalent Greek expressions do not occur elsewhere in the Greek Bible, and they signify a ready hand and a ready heart in giving. Thus, to use wealth for the benefit of others is to lay up treasure for the life to come (Matt. 6:20), the only true life.

1 Tim 6:20. Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding the profane novelties of words, and oppositions of knowledge falsely so called,
1 Tim 6:21. Which some professing, have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with you. Amen.

In conclusion, St. Paul addresses solemn words to Timothy, admonishing him diligently to guard the faith he has received and to pass it on unsullied. This he will be able to do by avoiding in his own teaching, and rebuking in others, vain and useless speculations and subtleties of knowledge, falsely so called, which the false teachers professed to have, and so have erred from the faith. 

Keep that which is committed to thy trust. Better, “guard the deposit,” i.e., the deposit of faith. 

Profane novelties of words. Better, “profane babblings,” i.e., empty, useless talk; the Greek word for “babblings” occurs only here and in 2 Tim. 2:16. The words for “oppositions” and “falsely so called” are not found elsewhere in the Bible, but are common in profane Greek. 

Which some professing, etc., i.e., which empty babblings and subtleties the false teachers have professed to their own spiritual destruction. The Greek for “have erred” is aorist, indicating a definite and final loss.

The Apostle terminates his letter with a brief blessing. The tecum of the Vulgate is vobiscum in the best Greek MSS.

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The ultimate purpose of Creation is, primarily, the glorification of God, secondarily, the beatification of His rational creatures

Posted by Dim Bulb on December 10, 2018

The ultimate purpose of Creation (finis operis) is, primarily, the glorification of God, secondarily, the beatification of His rational creatures

Proof of the First Part of the Thesis (which is de fide). The proposition that the glory of God is the ultimate end of Creation, was denied by Descartes, who insisted that we cannot conceive God as influenced by egoism and vainglory.8 Against this error the Vatican Council defines: “Si quis … mundum ad Dei gloriam conditum esse negaverit; anathema sit—If any one … shall deny that the world was made for the glory of God, let him be anathema.”9

a) The same truth is implicitly taught in all those Scriptural texts which describe God as the absolutely final as well as the highest end and object of all created things. The universe serves its ultimate end by revealing and proclaiming the divine perfections, and thereby glorifying God as the last end of all things. It is in this sense that Sacred Scripture again and again says that God created the universe for Himself. Prov. 16:4: “Universa propter semetipsum operatus est Dominus—The Lord hath made all things for himself.” That propter Deum here means ad gloriam Dei is patent from Rom. 11:36: “Ex ipso et per ipsum et in ipso10 sunt omnia: ipsi gloria in saecula—For of him, and by him, and in him, are all things: to him be glory for ever.” In his letter to the Hebrews (2:10) St. Paul, by an inimitable play upon words, identifies the causa finalis of the world with its causa efficiens: “Propter quem omnia et per quem omnia—διʼ ὃν τὰ πάντα καὶ διʼ οὗ τὰ πάντα.” For this reason Yahweh Himself says: “Omnem, qui invocat nomen meum, in gloriam meam creavi eum, formavi eum et feci eum—And every one that calleth upon my name, I have created him for my glory, I have formed him and made him.”11 The material universe glorifies God by objectively reflecting His majesty. Ps. 18:2: “Coeli enarrant gloriam Dei et opera manuum eius annuntiat firmamentum—The heavens shew forth the glory of God, and the firmament declareth the work of his hands.” Rational creatures have the additional and higher mission of converting the objective glory of the Creator (gloria obiectiva) into a subjective glorification (gloria formalis) by means of knowledge, love, and praise.12 This obligation is solemnly enjoined upon them by divine command. Deut. 10:20 sq.: “Dominum Deum tuum timebis et ei soli servies; ipsi adhaerebis iurabisque in nomine illius. Ipse est laus tua, et Deus tuus—Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve him only: to him thou shalt adhere, and shalt swear by his name. He is thy praise and thy God.” Hence the Christmas hymn of the angelic hosts, “Gloria in excelsis Deo;” hence also the incessant exhortation of the Psalmist, “Laudate Dominum,” and of Daniel, “All ye works of the Lord, bless the Lord.”13

b) The teaching of the Fathers on this point agrees so perfectly with that of Sacred Scripture that we need not rehearse it at length. “What we adore,” says St. Clement of Rome, “is the one God, who has made this whole mass out of nothing and fashioned it as an ornament to His majesty.”14 Tertullian copies this passage word for word in the seventeenth chapter of his Apologeticum.15

c) The Schoolmen draw an important distinction, which is based on the teaching of Scripture, between gloria obiectiva and gloria formalis.16 By gloria obiectiva they understand the objective grandeur of the created universe as a mute manifestation of divine wisdom, benevolence, beauty, etc. Gloria formalis is the subjective glorification of the Creator by His rational creatures, in so far as they are moved by the beauty and grandeur of the physical universe to know, love, and praise Him.17 It is in this manner, and in this manner only, that the ultimate object of Creation (which consists in the glorification rather than in the simple glory of God) can be truly, completely, and perfectly attained. We conclude that, in creating the universe, God aimed principally at being glorified by those of His creatures whom He has endowed with reason. Had He omitted to kindle the light of reason, at least in some of His creatures, the universe would be “a book without a reader, a voice with no one to listen, an altar without a priest, a dwelling without inmates.”18 In view of these considerations it has justly been argued that a purely material world without rational denizens would be repugnant.19

Proof of the Second Part of the Thesis. That the happiness of rational creatures is one of the ultimate objects of Creation, is denied by two classes of opponents. Descartes, King, Stattler, and Kant regard the happiness of the rational creature as the sole object of Creation, irrespective of the glory of God. Others, like Hermes and Günther, hold that the chief end of Creation is the beatification of rational creatures, and that the glory of the Creator must be subordinated to this end. The opinion of the former has already been refuted. It remains to show that the happiness of rational creatures, though one of the chief purposes of Creation, is not its highest end, but essentially subordinate to the glorification of God. In other words, beatitude is merely the secondary object of Creation.20

a) Holy Scripture teaches, (1) that the material universe is subject to man and exists for his benefit and use; (2) that man’s well-being is not an end in itself, but a means to the glorification of God. The former purpose being subordinate to the latter, it follows that the happiness of man (and of the Angels) is the secondary, not the primary end of Creation. Many Scriptural texts could be quoted to show that all irrational creatures are subject to, and destined to serve man,21 and that his eternal happiness is one of the ends of Creation. It is on this truth that theologians base what is known as the voluntas Dei salvifica, that is, the earnest and sincere will of God to free all men from sin and lead them to supernatural happiness. But as He is the Sovereign Good, the Creator must ultimately refer the eternal happiness of His rational creatures to Himself, i. e., He must seek in it His own glorification. Eph. 1:5 sq.: “Qui praedestinavit nos in adoptionem filiorum per Iesum Christum … in laudem gloriae gratiae suae … ut simus in laudem gloriae eius—Who hath predestinated us unto the adoption of children through Jesus Christ unto himself … unto the praise and glory of his grace … that we may be unto the praise of his glory.” Only in this way can those who despise the divine glory be confounded. 1 Kings 2:30: “Quicunque glorificaverit me, glorificabo eum; qui autem contemnunt me, erunt ignobiles—Whosoever shall glorify me, him will I glorify: but they that despise me, shall be despised.” There is no exception to this fundamental rule. Even Christ, the Godman, glorified His Heavenly Father in all things. John 17:4: “Ego te clarificavi super terram, opus consummavi—I have glorified thee on the earth, I have finished the work.” Hence the life of the Elect in Heaven is nothing but an unceasing hymn of praise in honor of the Creator. Apoc. 4:11: “Dignus es, Domine Deus noster, accipere gloriam et honorem et virtutem, quia tu creasti omnia—Thou art worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory, and honor, and power: because thou hast created all things.” Cfr. 1 Cor. 3:22: “Omnia vestra sunt, … vos autem Christi, Christus autem Dei—For all things are yours, … and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.”

b) There is no need of elaborating the argument from Tradition. The Fathers all teach in perfect conformity with Sacred Scripture that the material universe was made for man. “Non quasi indigens Deus hominis plasmavit Adam,” says St. Irenæus,22 “sed ut haberet, in quem collocaret sua beneficia—God formed Adam, not as if He had need of him, but as a subject upon which to confer His benefits.” On the other hand, however, the Fathers insist that man should be constantly mindful of the honor and glory he owes to God, according to the exhortation of St. Paul: “Sive ergo manducatis sive bibitis sive aliud quid facitis, omnia in gloriam Dei facite—Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatsoever else you do, do all to the glory of God.”23 In his commentary on the Psalms24 St. Augustine says: “Quo fine facias, vide. Si eo id facis, ut tu glorificeris, hoc prohibuit Deus; si autem ideo, ut Deus glorificetur, hoc iussit—Look to the end thou hast in view. If thou dost it in order to glorify thyself, thou dost something which God has forbidden; but if thou dost it in order that God be glorified, thou compliest with His command.”

c) The glory of God and the happiness of His creatures are two ends which can never clash, because the one is subordinate to the other, and the two are so intimately bound up that the attainment of either promotes that of the other. In the last analysis, therefore, Creation has but one adequate end, viz., the glory of God, and this is accomplished by the beatification of His rational creatures, which consists in knowing, loving, and praising the Creator. In fact, the higher purpose is attained in direct proportion to the attainment of the lower—the greater the happiness of the creature, the more ardent will be its love, the more intense its glorification of God. And conversely, the more intense the love and praise which the creature renders to God, the greater will be its own beatitude.
It has been objected that, as some of God’s rational creatures are eternally damned, Creation does not attain its last end and purpose. God inevitably obtains that measure of external glory which He wills; and Hell itself is ultimately a revelation and glorification of the divine justice, though, of course, God does not, voluntate antecedente, seek His glory in the tortures of the reprobate sinners, but in the jubilant hymns of the Elect. [Quotation Source POHLE, J. – PREUSS, A., God: The Author of Nature and the Supernatural, Dogmatic Theology, B. Herder, St. Louis, MO 1916.]

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Christ as the Natural and Supernatural Head of all Creatures

Posted by Dim Bulb on December 10, 2018

Christ as the Natural and Supernatural Head of all Creatures

I. By His human origin Christ is like and akin to the sons of Adam; He is a member of the great human corporation (Heb. 2:11 sqq.), and occupies a place in the created universe. But, by reason of His Divine Personality, He is “the image and likeness of God” to a degree unapproached by either man or angel. Moreover, men and angels and all things have been created “in,” that is, “by and for” Him. He, then, “is the first-born of every creature … the head of the body” (Col. 1:15–17; cf. § 183, III. 3). His superiority rests upon His belonging to a higher order than His brethren; whence He ranks above them as they rank above the animal and material creation, and not merely as a king ranks above his subjects.

II. The practical object of Christ’s headship is not only to place the universe, and especially mankind, under a Divine king: it is the intention of God and the will of Christ that the Incarnation should establish between the First-born and His brethren a real kinship or affinity, Christ becoming the Head of the human family, and the human family acquiring a title to participate in the supernatural privileges of their Head. “When the fulness of time was come, God sent His Son, made of a woman, that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Gal. 4:4, 5; cf. Rom. 8:29). When, in the virginal womb of Mary, the Word espoused human flesh, all human flesh became akin to Him; all men acquired affinity to the Man-God and fellowship in His exalted privileges: “we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones” (Eph. 5:30). The idea that Christ by taking flesh “espoused” not only the Church, but all mankind, is often dwelt upon by the Fathers. See St. Augustine, In Joan., ar. 1, ch. 2; St. Gregory the Great, Hom. xxxvii. in Ezechielem; St. Leo the Great, Sermo xvi. in Nativ.; St. Cyril of Alexandria, Comm. in Joan., i. 14, etc.

III. The name “Head,” so frequently given by St. Paul to Christ, is, speaking strictly, but a figure of speech; but, like the name Christ, it has a dogmatic significance. The Apostle connects it with our Lord’s Divinity; the Fathers and theologians with the plenitude of Holiness and Grace, of which He is the fountain. Christ is Head in the moral and in the physical sense: head of the human family, head of the mystical body, the Church. Both senses are used by St. Paul. “God hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings … in Christ.… He hath graced us (ἐχαρίτωσεν) in His beloved Son … that He might make known to us the mystery of His will … to re-establish all things in Christ, which are in heaven and on earth, in Him.… Raising Him up from the dead and setting Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, above all principality, and power, and vrtue, and dominion … and He hath put all things under His feet, and hath made Him head over all the Church, which is His body, and the fulness of Him who is filled all in all” (Eph. 1:3–23). “God hath quickened us together in Christ … and hath raised us up together, and hath made us sit together in the heavenly places through (ἐν) Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:5, 6). “That we may in all things grow up in Him (εἰς αὐτὸν) Who is the head, Christ: from Whom the whole body being compacted and fitly joined together by what every joint supplieth, according to the operation in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in charity” (Eph. 4:15, 16. See also Eph. 2:19–21; 5:22 sqq.; Col. 1:13–20, 23, 24; 2:8–10, 18, 19; 1 Cor. 12:12).

Christ is the Head of mankind as man, yet not by reason of some accidental perfection or external appointment: He heads the race by reason of the substantial perfection imparted to Him through the Logos, just as the head—the seat of reason—is the noblest part of the body. Again, Christ’s headship being founded upon His supernatural excellence, He is our “supersubstantial” Head, to whom all the properties and functions of the natural head belong in an eminently equivalent degree. Whatever dignity accrues to the bodily head from its being the seat of the soul’s chief activity—whatever power of influencing, governing, and unifying the other members is possessed by the head—the same dignity and power belong to Christ as Head in relation to mankind. His Divine Principle works on man in general, and especially on the members of the Church, with a power more perfect than that of the soul in the individual man. “In Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead corporally; and you are filled in Him who is the head of all principality and power” (Col. 2:10; cf. Eph. 1:22, 23).

IV. Adam, the first head of mankind, was a type of the Second Head inasmuch as he was the principle of natural life, the intended transmitter of supernatural life; and, in this respect, he acted on behalf of the whole human race. But, whereas Adam is the earthly, animal, and guilty head of the race, Christ is its heavenly, spiritual, and substantially holy Head. Adam is the principle of the material unity of mankind; Christ is much more the principle of its spiritual unity. Adam was a precarious mediator of supernatural life; Christ is its essential and unchangeable mediator. Hence Christ not only supplements the failings of the first head, but completes and perfects the headship. The first head, then, was, as it were, the material root of the race which was to be incorporated in and brought to perfection by Christ, its real principle and final object (τέλος). Cf. 1 Cor. 15:45 sqq.; Peter Lomb., 3, dist 13; St. Thomas, 3, q. 8. [Quotation Source~WILHELM, J. – SCANNELL, T. B., A Manual of Catholic Theology: Based on Scheeben’s “Dogmatik”, II, Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co. Ltd., London 1908Third Edition, Revised.}

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How Often in Scripture the Preaching of the Kingdom of God is Recommended

Posted by Dim Bulb on December 10, 2018

How often in Scripture the Preaching of the Kingdom of Heaven is recommended

The kingdom of heaven, which we pray for in this second petition, is the great end to which is referred, and in which terminates all the preaching of the gospel. For from it St. John the Baptist commenced his exhortation to penance, when he says: Do penance, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand;q and with it the Saviour of the human kind opens his preaching.r In that salutary discourse on the mount also, in which he pointed out to his disciples the way to everlasting life, having proposed, as it were, the subject-matter of his discourse, he commences with the kingdom of heaven: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven:s nay more, to those who would have detained him with them, he assigned the same cause for his departure: To other cities also I must preach the kingdom of God; for therefore am I sent.t This kingdom he afterwards commanded the apostles to preach;u and to him who expressed a wish to go and bury his father, he replied: Go thou, and preach the kingdom of God;v and after he had risen from the dead, during the forty days on which he appeared to his apostles, he discoursed of the kingdom of God.w Pastors, therefore, will treat this second petition with the greatest attention, that faithful hearers may understand its great importance and necessity.

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The Threefold Personality of God Foreshadowed in the Old Testament

Posted by Dim Bulb on December 10, 2018


1. PRIMITIVE INTIMATIONS OF THE DOGMA.—Some theologians take the plural form of several of the names attributed to YHWH in the Old Testament as an obscure intimation of the dogma of the Trinity.

We are not inclined to press this argument. Neither do we attach much importance to the theory of Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and Augustine, who point to the expression בְּרֵאשׁיח in Gen. 1:1 as a proof for the Logos, explaining “in principio” to mean “in Verbo, i. e., Filio.” Upon close scrutiny this more than doubtful interpretation turns out to be of later origin and exegetically unsupported.3 In Gen. 1:26 sq., however, we come upon what appears to be a definite allusion to the mystery of the Divine Trinity: “Faciamus hominem ad imaginem et similitudinem nostram.… Et creavit Deus hominem ad imaginem suam—Let us make man to our image and likeness.… And God created man to his own image.” The hortatory subjunctive plural which heads verse 26, and is followed by an indicative verb in the singular in verse 27, cannot be taken as a pluralis maiestaticus, nor yet as addressed to the angels; for man was not created to the image of the angels, but to that of God Himself.

There is a similar passage in Gen. 11:7 sq.: “Come ye, therefore, let us go down, and there confound their tongue.… And so the Lord scattered them.”4 Many theologians in this connection recall the liturgical blessing of the priests, Num. 6:24 sqq., which they regard as a parallel to the Christian formula, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” This Old Testament benediction, dictated by Yahweh Himself to Moses, is as follows: “The Lord bless thee and keep thee. The Lord show his face to thee, and have mercy on thee. The Lord turn his countenance to thee and give thee peace.”

The clearest allusion to the mystery of the Blessed Trinity in the Old Testament is probably the so-called Trisagion of Isaias (6:3): “Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God of Hosts, all the earth is full of his glory,” which is rightly made much of by many Fathers and not a few theologians. This triple “Holy” refers to an ecstatic vision of the Godhead, by which Isaias was solemnly called and consecrated as the Prophet of the Incarnate Word, an office which won for him the title of the “Evangelist” among the four major prophets.5

2. THE ANGEL OF JEHOVAH IN THE THEOPHANIES.—The various apparitions commonly known as theophanies, in which Yahweh figures both as sender and messenger, mark the gradual breaking of the dawn in the history of our dogma.

The God who is sent is called מַלְאַךְ יְחוָה, i. e., messenger, Angelus Domini, the word angelus being here employed in its literal sense of ἄγγελος, from ἀγγέλλειν, to send. Since the “Angel of Yahweh” is described as יַהְוֶה, i. e., true God, we have in these theophanies two distinct persons, both of them Yahweh, the one “sending” and the other “sent.” An apparition of this character was the angel who spoke words of comfort to Hagar shortly before the birth of her son Ismael6 in the desert. According to Gen. 18:1 sqq., “the Lord [יַהְוֶה] appeared to [Abraham] in the vale of Mambre,” in order to announce to him the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrha.7

Probably the most familiar of the Old Testament theophanies is the apparition of the Angel of Yahweh in the Burning Bush. Exod. 3:2: “Apparuit ei מַלְאַךְ יְהוֹהָ in flamma ignis de medio rubi—And the Lord appeared to him [Moses] in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush.” It is to be noted that the Lord who appears to Moses is Yahwek Himself. Exod. 3:14: “God said to Moses: I AM WHO AM.” Viewing this apparition in the light of the New Testament Revelation, the appearing God can be none other than the Logos, or Son of God, because the Father cannot be “sent.” True, the Holy Ghost may also be “sent;” but He cannot have appeared in the bush to Moses because the prophets expressly identify the “Angel of Yahweh” with the future Messias (i. e., Christ). Cfr. Is. 9:6 (in the version of the Septuagint): “Μεγάλης βουλῆς ἄγγελος, Magni consilii angelus;” Mal. 3:1: “Angelus testamenti” The interpretation here adopted is common to all the Fathers. Thus St. Hilary teaches: “Deus igitur est, qui et angelus est, quia qui et angelus Dei est, Deus est ex Deo natus. Dei autem angelus ob id dictus, quia magni consilii est angelus. Deus autem idem postea demonstratus est, ne qui Deus est esse angelus [creatus] crederetur.”8

It is quite another question whether in these theophanies the Logos directly appeared as God in visible form, or through the intermediate agency of an angel. In the latter case the apparitions might with equal propriety be styled “angelophanies.” St. Augustine took this view, without, however, denying the theophanic character of such angelophanies. He held that a created angel visibly appeared as the representative of God in such a manner that the words he spoke must be understood as coming not from the actual speaker but from Yahweh himself. This opinion was shared by Athanasius, Basil, Cyril of Alexandria, Eusebius, Chrysostom, Jerome, Gregory the Great, and others.9 The great majority of the Schoolmen espoused it mainly for the reason that the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity had never appeared visibly upon earth prior to His Incarnation.10 The first immediate theophany of the Logos, they argued, coincided with the Incarnation; therefore in the Old Testament theophanies He must have employed angels as His representatives.

3. THE FUTURE MESSIAS AS TRUE GOD.—The Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament were primarily designed to emphasize the Divinity of the future Messias. Hence Christ Himself and His Apostles justly appealed to them to prove not only the divine mission but likewise the Divinity of the Saviour and the fact that He was truly the Son of God.

Among the prophets Isaias speaks most clearly and emphatically. Not only does he refer to the Messias as “the Wonderful, the Counsellor, the Prince of Peace,” but also as “God the Mighty, the Father of the world to come.”11 He styles Him “Emmanuel,” i. e., God with us.12 It is expressly said of Him that “God himself will come and will save you.”13 And again: “Prepare ye the way of the Lord.… Behold, the Lord God shall come with strength.”14 “His name shall be called God.”15 In Zach. 12:10, God prophesies His own crucifixion: “Et adspicient ad me, quem confixerunt et plangent eum—And they shall look upon me, whom they have pierced; and they shall grieve over him.”16

The Messianic Psalms complete the picture outlined by the prophets; nay, they go far beyond the latter both in emphasizing the difference of persons by a contra-position of the pronouns “I” and “thou,” and also by indicating that the relation existing between the First and the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity is a relation of Father to Son, based upon Filiation. At the same time they do not omit to accentuate the undivided nature of both Divine Persons, which they express by the word יְהֹוָה. Thus especially Ps. 2:7: “Dominus [יְהֹוָה] dixit ad me: Filius meus es tu, ego hodie genui te—The Lord hath said to me: Thou art my son, this day I have begotten thee.”17 Similarly Ps. 109:1–3: “Dixit Dominus Domino meo [יְהֹוָה לַאדֹנִי]: sede a dexteris meis; … ex utero ante luciferum genui te—The Lord said to my Lord: Sit thou at my right hand … from the womb before the day star I begot thee.”18 If the future Messias is the “Son of God,” and at the same time Jehovah, it is obvious that there must also be a “Father” who is Yahweh. Consequently, there must be two Divine Persons in one Divine Nature. This notion was so familiar to the Jews that Jesus, in order to prove His Divinity, had merely to advert to the fact that He was the Son of God to provoke them to anger and blasphemy.19 They well knew that to admit His Divine Sonship was tantamount to recognizing His Divinity.20

4. THE TEACHING OF THE SAPIENTIAL BOOKS.—A great step towards the complete unfolding of the mystery is made by the Sapiential Books.21 There we find the notion of Hypostatic Wisdom closely blended with that of Filiation, and are given to understand that the Filiation which takes place within the Godhead is a purely spiritual process, and that He Who is “begotten by God” must be essentially conceived as “Begotten Wisdom” (Logos).

The Sapiential Books speak of Uncreated, Divine Wisdom in a manner which leaves no doubt that they mean more than a personified attribute. The following texts read like parallel passages to certain verses of St. John’s Gospel. Prov. 8:24 sqq. “Nondum erant abyssi et ego [i. e., sapientia] iam concepta eram: … ante colles [i. e., ab aeterno] ego parturiebar.… Cum eo [scil. Deo] eram, cuncta componens et delectabar per singulos dies, ludens coram eo omni tempore, ludens in orbe terrarum, et deliciae meae esse cum filiis hominum—The depths were not as yet, and I [Wisdom] was already conceived … before the hills I was brought forth.… I was with him [God] forming all: and was delighted every day, playing before him at all times: and my delights [were] to be with the children of men.” The subject of this passage is obviously not a divine attribute, but a Divine Person, who is called “Conceived Wisdom.” The expression, “I was with him,”22 has a parallel in John 1:1: “The Word was with God” (Verbum erat apud Deum; πρὸς τὸν Θεόν). The Book of Wisdom,23 in designating Divine Wisdom as “a vapor of the power of God” (vapor virtutis Dei), “a certain pure emanation of glory” (emanatio claritatis), “the brightness of eternal light” (candor lucis), “the unspotted mirror of God’s majesty” (speculum maiestatis), “the image of his goodness” (imago bonitatis), reminds one of the manner in which St. Paul characterizes Christ’s relationship to God the Father,24 i. e., as “the brightness of his glory, and the figure of his substance” (splendor gloriae et figura substantiae eius). The following sentence,25 “And thy wisdom with thee, which knoweth thy works, which then also was present when thou madest the world—Et tecum (μετά σον) sapientia tua, quae novit opera tua, quae et affuit tunc, quum orbem terrarum faceres (πάρουσα ὅτε ἐποίεις τὸν κόσμον),” is again distinctly Johannine in style and sentiment. The same impression is conveyed by Ecclus. 24:5: “I came out of the mouth of the most High [as the Word], the firstborn before all creatures.”26

In view of this striking concordance between the Sapiential Books of the Old Testament and the Gospel of St. John, it is not astonishing that certain learned Jewish rabbis at a later period elaborated an independent theory of the “Word of God,” called Memrah,27 by which they endeavored to explain the Old Testament teaching regarding Wisdom without any reference to Christ.28 It is easy to see, too, why the Fathers of the Nicene epoch appealed to the Sapiential Books of the Old Testament to prove the Consubstantiality and consequent Divinity of Christ. The Arians, on their part, quoted the Sapiential Books in support of their heretical tenet that the Logos was a creature.29

5. THE HOLY GHOST.—The Old Testament references to the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity are neither as plain nor as definite as the texts relating to the Son. “It is natural to expect more references to the Son than to the Holy Ghost in the Old Testament, because it prepares and announces the coming and manifestation of the Son in the Incarnation.”30 The Old Testament references to the Holy Ghost can nearly all of them be explained as personifications. “Spiritus Dei” may merely mean a breath of the Divine Omnipotence,31 or the supernatural effects of the spirit of God, which, according to Ps. 103:30, “renews the face of the earth.” The Fathers in their exegetical works quote a number of Old Testament texts in which they profess to find references to the Holy Spirit as a Person.32 But their interpretation of these and similar passages is inspired by, and owes its impressiveness to the light derived from, the New Testament. It is in this light, too, that we must regard Wisd. 9:1 sqq., the only Old Testament passage in which the Three Divine Persons are mentioned together: “Deus patrum meorum, … qui fecisti omnia Verbo tuo, … da mihi sedium tuarum assistricem sapientiam.… Sensum autem tuum quis sciet, nisi tu dederis sapientiam et miseris Spiritum Sanctum tuum de altissimis?—God of my fathers, … who hast made all things with thy word, … give me wisdom, that sitteth by thy throne … Who shall know thy thought, except thou give wisdom, and send thy Holy Spirit from above?”

It cannot therefore be seriously maintained that the mystery of the Divine Trinity was clearly revealed in the Old Testament. Aside from certain specially enlightened individuals, such as Abraham, Moses, Isaias, and David, the Jews could not, from the more or less enigmatic hints scattered through their sacred books, have obtained a sufficiently distinct knowledge of the Blessed Trinity to make it appear as an article of faith.

Nevertheless it remains true that the Trinity was not announced in the New Testament suddenly and without preparation. On the contrary, the great mystery of the Godhead was foreshadowed from the very beginning of the Jewish Covenant and assumed more definite and luminous proportions during and after the time of David, until at last it stood fully revealed in the mystery of the Incarnation,33 and the mission of the Holy Ghost on Pentecost Day.

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The Progress of Revelation

Posted by Dim Bulb on December 10, 2018

Progress of Revelation

I. Supernatural Revelation was not given at once in all its completeness. From the day of Creation to the day of Judgment God has spoken, and will speak, to mankind at sundry times and in divers manners (Heb. 1:1). Natural and Supernatural Revelation run in parallel lines. Yet, whilst the former is addressed to all men at all times in the same form, the latter is made immediately only to individuals, and is not necessarily meant for all mankind. We are not, however, concerned here with private revelations, but only with those which are public, i.e. destined for all men.
II. Public Revelation may be divided into two portions: the Revelation made to man in his original state of integrity in Paradise, and the Revelation made to fallen man—that is, the Revelation of Redemption.

1. The Revelation in Paradise was public because it was to be handed down to all men as an inseparable complement of Natural Revelation. Holy Scripture mentions as its subject-matter only the law of probation given to Adam, but it connects this law with the supernatural order because the possession of immortality was to be the reward of obedience. It may be inferred, however, that all other necessary elements of the order of grace were clearly revealed, e.g. the Divine adoption of man, and the corresponding moral law, although the Old Testament mentions only the gift of integrity.

2. The Revelation of Redemption, or of the Gospel, was preparatory in the Old Testament and complete in the New. The preparatory stage was begun with the Patriarchs and continued with Moses and the Prophets. The Patriarchal Revelation contained the promise of the coming of the Redeemer, and pointed out the family from which He was to spring; it also enacted some few positive commandments. But as it did not form a complete system of religious truths and morals, and added little to what might be known by the unaided light of reason, it may be called the Law of Nature. The next stage, the Mosaic Revelation, was a closer preparation for the Revelation of the Gospel, and laid the foundation of an organized kingdom of God upon earth. Its object was to secure the worship of the one God and to keep alive the expectation of the Redeemer. Man is considered as a guilty servant of God, not as His child (Gal. 4:1). Nevertheless even this Revelation contains little more than Natural Revelation, except the positive ordinances for safeguarding the Law of Nature, for the institution of public worship, and for the atonement for sin. In the days of the Prophets the Revelation of the Gospel already began to dawn: the supernatural and the Divine began to appear in purer and clearer outline. Finally, the Revelation completed through Christ and the Holy Ghost surpasses all the others in dignity because its Mediator was the Only Begotten Son of God (Heb. 1:1), Who told what He Himself had heard (John 1:18), nay, Who is Himself the Word of God, and in Whom God speaks (John 8:25). The descent of the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles supplemented and completed what Christ had revealed. “When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will teach you all truth,” (John 16:13).

III. The dignity and perfection of Christian Revelation require that no further public Revelation is to be made. The Old Testament dispensation pointed to one that was to follow, but the Christian dispensation is that “which remaineth” (2 Cor. 3:11; cf. Rom. 10:3, sqq.; Gal. 3:23, sqq.); an “immovable kingdom” (Heb. 12:28); perfect and absolutely sufficient (Heb. 7:11, sqq.); not the shadow, but the very image of the things to come (Heb. 10:1). And Christ distinctly says that His doctrine shall be preached until the consummation of the world, and declares “All things whatsoever I have heard from My Father I have made known unto you” (John 15:15), and “when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will teach you all truth,” πᾶσαν τὴν ἀλήθειαν (John 16:13). The Apostles also exhort their disciples to stand by the doctrine which they received, and to listen only to the Church (2 Tim. 2:2, and 3:14). And the epistle ascribed to St. Barnabas contains the well-known formula: “The rule of light is, to keep what thou hast received without adding or taking away.” Moreover, the Church has always rejected the pretension of those who claimed to have received new revelations of a higher order from the Holy Ghost, e.g. the Montanists, Manichæans, Fraticelli, the Anabaptists, Quakers, and Irvingites.

The finality of the present Revelation does not, however, exclude the possibility of minor and subsidiary revelations made in order to throw light upon doctrine or discipline. The Church is the judge of the value of these revelations. We may mention as instances of those which have been approved, the Feast of Corpus Christi and the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

From the above we deduce the existence of a gradual progress, both extensive and intensive, in Revelation. The extensive progress does not start from Adam or Noah, but from Abraham, the patriarch selected among fallen mankind. Patriarchal Revelation was made to a family, Mosaic Revelation to a people, Prophetical Revelation to several peoples, Christian Revelation to the whole world. The intensive progress consists in a higher degree of illumination and a wider range of the revealed truths. The intensive progress likewise begins with Abraham and ascends through Moses and the Prophets to Christ, Who leads us to the bright day of eternity (infra, pp. 71, 105). [Quotation taken from Wilhelm, J. & Scannell, T.B., 1909. A Manual of Catholic Theology: Based on Scheeben’s “Dogmatik” Fourth Edition, Revised., London; New York; Cincinnati; Chicago: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co., Ltd.; Benziger Bros.]

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St Cyril’s 11th Catechetical Lecture

Posted by Dim Bulb on December 9, 2018


On the words, The Only-Begotten Son of God, Begotten of the Father Very God before all ages, By Whom all things were made

Hebrews 1:1

God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in times past unto the Fathers by the Prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son.

1. That we have hope in Jesus Christ has been sufficiently shewn, according to our ability, in what we delivered to you yesterday. But we must not simply believe in Christ Jesus nor receive Him as one of the many who are improperly called Christs1. For they were figurative Christs, but He is the true Christ; not having risen by advancement2 from among men to the Priesthood, but ever having the dignity of the Priesthood from the Father3. And for this cause the Faith guarding us beforehand lest we should suppose Him to be one of the ordinary Christs, adds to the profession of the Faith, that we believe In One Lord Jesus Christ, the Only-Begotten Son of God.

2. And again on hearing of a “Son,” think not of an adopted son but a Son by nature4, an Only-begotten Son, having no brother. For this is the reason why He is called “Only-begotten,” because in the dignity of the Godhead, and His generation from the Father, He has no brother. But we call Him the Son of God, not of ourselves, but because the Father Himself named Christ5 His Son6: and a true name is that which is set by fathers upon their children7.

3. Our Lord Jesus Christ erewhile became Man, but by the many He was unknown. Wishing, therefore, to teach that which was not known, He called together His disciples, and asked them, Whom do men say that I, the Son of Man, am8?—not from vain-glory, but wishing to shew them the truth, lest dwelling with God, the Only-begotten of God9, they should think lightly of Him as if He were some mere man. And when they answered that some said Elias, and some Jeremias, He said to them, They may be excused for not knowing, but ye, My Apostles, who in My name cleanse lepers, and cast out devils, and raise the dead, ought not to be ignorant of Him, through whom ye do these wondrous works. And when they all became silent (for the matter was too high for man to learn), Peter, the foremost of the Apostles and chief herald10 of the Church, neither aided by cunning invention, nor persuaded by human reasoning, but enlightened in his mind from the Father, says to Him, Thou art the Christ, not only so, but the Son of the living God. And there follows a blessing upon his speech (for in truth it was above man), and as a seal upon what he had said, that it was the Father who had revealed it to him. For the Saviour says, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but My father which is in heaven11. He therefore who acknowledges our Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God, partakes of this blessedness; but he who denies the Son of God is a poor and miserable man.

4. Again, I say, on hearing of a Son, understand it not merely in an improper sense, but as a Son in truth, a Son by nature, without beginning1; not as having come out of bondage into a higher state of adoption2, but a Son eternally begotten by an inscrutable and incomprehensible generation. And in like manner on hearing of the First-born3, think not that this is after the manner of men; for the first-born among men have other brothers also. And it is somewhere written, Israel is My son, My first-born4. But Israel is, as Reuben was, a first-born son rejected: for Reuben went up to his father’s couch; and Israel cast his Father’s Son out of the vineyard, and crucified Him.

To others also the Scripture says, Ye are the sons of the Lord your God5: and in another place, I have said, Ye are gods, and ye are all sons of the Most High6. I have said, not, “I have begotten.” They, when God so said, received the sonship, which before they had not: but He was not begotten to be other than He was before; but was begotten from the beginning Son of the Father, being above all beginning and all ages, Son of the Father, in all things like7 to Him who begat Him, eternal of a Father eternal, Life of Life begotten, and Light of Light, and Truth of Truth, and Wisdom of the Wise, and King of King, and God of God, and Power of Power8.

5. If then thou hear the Gospel saying, The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham9, understand “according to the flesh.” For He is the Son of David at the end of the ages10, but the Son of God before all ages, without beginning11. The one, which before He had not, He received; but the other, which He hath, He hath eternally as begotten of the Father. Two fathers He hath: one, David, according to the flesh, and one, God, His Father in a Divine manner12. As the Son of David, He is subject to time, and to handling, and to genealogical descent: but as Son according to the Godhead13, He is subject neither to time nor to place, nor to genealogical descent: for His generation who shall declare14? God is a Spirit15; He who is a Spirit hath spiritually begotten, as being incorporeal, an inscrutable and incomprehensible generation. The Son Himself says of the Father, The Lord said unto Me, Thou art My Son, to-day have I begotten Thee16. Now this to-day is not recent, but eternal: a timeless to-day, before all ages. From the womb, before the morning star, have I begotten Thee17.

6. Believe thou therefore on Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, and a Son Only-Begotten, according to the Gospel which says, For God so loved the world, that He gave His Only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life1. And again, He that believeth on the Son is not judged, but hath passed out of death into life2. But he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him3. And John testified concerning Him, saying, And we beheld His glory, glory as of the only-begotten from the father,—full of grace and truth4: at whom the devils trembled and said, Ah! what have we to do with Thee, Jesus, Thou Son of the living God5.

7. He is then the Son of God by nature and not by adoption6, begotten of the Father. And he that loveth Him that begat, loveth Him also that is begotten of Him7; but he that despiseth Him that is begotten casts back the insult upon Him who begat. And whenever thou hear of God begetting, sink not down in thought to bodily things, nor think of a corruptible generation, lest thou be guilty of impiety. God is a Spirit8, His generation is spiritual: for bodies beget bodies, and for the generation of bodies time needs must intervene; but time intervenes not in the generation of the Son from the Father. And in our case what is begotten is begotten imperfect: but the Son of God was begotten perfect; for what He is now, that is He also from the beginning9, begotten without beginning. We are begotten so as to pass from infantile ignorance to a state of reason: thy generation, O man, is imperfect, for thy growth is progressive. But think not that it is thus in His case, nor impute infirmity to Him who hath begotten. For if that which He begat was imperfect, and acquired its perfection in time, thou art imputing infirmity to Him who hath begotten; if so be, the Father did not bestow from the beginning that which, as thou sayest, time bestowed afterwards10.

8. Think not therefore that this generation is human, nor as Abraham begat Isaac. For in begetting Isaac, Abraham begat not what he would, but what another granted. But in God the Father’s begetting there is neither ignorance nor intermediate deliberation11. For to say that He knew not what He was begetting is the greatest impiety; and it is no less impious to say, that after deliberation in time He then became a Father. For God was not previously without a Son, and afterwards in time became a Father; but hath the Son eternally, having begotten Him not as men beget men, but as Himself only knoweth, who begat Him before all ages Very God.

9. For the Father being Very God begat the Son like unto Himself, Very God12; not as teachers beget disciples, not as Paul says to some, For in Christ Jesus I begat you through the Gospel13. For in this case he who was not a son by nature became a son by discipleship, but in the former case He was a Son by nature, a true Son. Not as ye, who are to be illuminated, are now becoming sons of God: for ye also become sons, but by adoption of grace, as it is written, But as many as received Him, to them gave He the right to become children of God, even to them that believe on His name: which were begotten not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God14. And we indeed are begotten of water and of the Spirit, but not thus was Christ begotten of the Father. For at the time of His Baptism addressing Him, and saying, This is My Son15, He did not say, “This has now become My Son,” but, This is My Son; that He might make manifest, that even before the operation of Baptism He was a Son.

10. The Father begat the Son, not as among men mind begets word. For the mind is substantially existent in us; but the word when spoken is dispersed into the air and comes to an end16. But we know Christ to have been begotten not as a word pronounced17, but as a Word substantially existing18 and living; not spoken by the lips, and dispersed, but begotten of the Father eternally and ineffably, in substance19. For, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God20, sitting at God’s right hand;—the Word understanding the Father’s will, and creating all things at His bidding: the Word, which came down and went up; for the word of utterance when spoken comes not down, nor goes up; the Word speaking and saying, The things which I have seen with My Father, these I speak1: the Word possessed of power, and reigning over all things: for the Father hath committed all things unto the Son2.

11. The Father then begat Him not in such wise as any man could understand, but as Himself only knoweth. For we profess not to tell in what manner He begat Him, but we insist that it was not in this manner. And not we only are ignorant of the generation of the Son from the Father, but so is every created nature. Speak to the earth, if perchance it may teach thee3: and though thou inquire of all things which are upon the earth, they shall not be able to tell thee. For the earth cannot tell the substance of Him who is its own potter and fashioner. Nor is the earth alone ignorant, but the sun also4: for the sun was created on the fourth day, without knowing what had been made in the three days before him; and he who knows not the things made in the three days before him, cannot tell forth the Maker Himself. Heaven will not declare this: for at the Father’s bidding the heaven also was like smoke established5 by Christ. Nor shall the heaven of heavens declare this, nor the waters which are above the heavens6. Why then art thou cast down, O man, at being ignorant of that which even the heavens know not? Nay, not only are the heavens ignorant of this generation, but also every angelic nature. For if any one should ascend, were it possible, into the first heaven, and perceiving the ranks of the Angels there should approach and ask them how God begat His own Son, they would say perhaps, “We have above us beings greater and higher; ask them.” Go up to the second heaven and the third; attain, if thou canst, to Thrones, and Dominions, and Principalities, and Powers: and even if any one should reach them, which is impossible, they also would decline the explanation, for they know it not.

12. For my part, I have ever wondered at the curiosity of the bold men, who by their imagined reverence fall into impiety. For though they know nothing of Thrones, and Dominions, and Principalities, and Powers, the workmanship of Christ, they attempt to scrutinise their Creator Himself. Tell me first, O most daring man, wherein does Throne differ from Dominion, and then scrutinise what pertains to Christ. Tell me what is a Principality, and what a Power, and what a Virtue, and what an Angel: and then search out their Creator, for all things were made by Him7. But thou wilt not, or thou canst not ask Thrones or Dominions. What else is there that knoweth the deep things of God8, save only the Holy Ghost, who spake the Divine Scriptures? But not even the Holy Ghost Himself has spoken in the Scriptures concerning the generation of the Son from the Father. Why then dost thou busy thyself about things which not even the Holy Ghost has written in the Scriptures? Thou that knowest not the things which are written, busiest thou thyself about the things which are not written? There are many questions in the Divine Scriptures; what is written we comprehend not, why do we busy ourselves about what is not written? It is sufficient for us to know that God hath begotten One Only Son.

13. Be not ashamed to confess thine ignorance, since thou sharest ignorance with Angels. Only He who begat knoweth Him who was begotten, and He who is begotten of Him knoweth Him who begat. He who begat knoweth what He begat: and the Scriptures also testify that He who was begotten is God9. For as the Father hath life in Himself, so also hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself10; and, that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father11; and, as the Father quickeneth whom He will, even so the Son quickeneth whom He will12. Neither He who begat suffered any loss, nor is anything lacking to Him who was begotten (I know that I have said these things many times, but it is for your safety that they are said so often): neither has He who begat, a Father, nor He who was begotten, a brother. Neither was He who begat changed into the Son13, nor did He who was begotten become the Father14. Of One Only Father there is One Only-begotten Son: neither two Unbegotten1, nor two Only-begotten; but One Father, Un-begotten (for He is Unbegotten who hath no father); and One Son, eternally begotten of the Father; begotten not in time, but before all ages; not increased by advancement, but begotten that which He now is.

14. We believe then In the Only-Begotten Son of God, who was begotten of the Father Very God. For the True God begetteth not a false god, as we have said, nor did He deliberate and afterwards beget2; but He begat eternally, and much more swiftly than our words or thoughts: for we speaking in time, consume time; but in the case of the Divine Power, the generation is timeless. And as I have often said, He did not bring forth the Son from non existence into being, nor take the non-existent into sonship3: but the Father, being Eternal, eternally and ineffably begat One Only Son, who has no brother. Nor are there two first principles; but the Father is the head of the Son4; the beginning is One. For the Father begat the Son Very God, called Emmanuel; and Emmanuel being interpreted is. God with us5.

15. And wouldest thou know that He who was begotten of the Father, and afterwards became man, is God? Hear the Prophet saying, This is our God, none other shall be accounted of in comparison with Him. He hath found out every way of knowledge, and given it to Jacob His servant, and to Israel His beloved. Afterwards He was seen on earth, and conversed among men6. Seest thou herein God become man, after the giving of the law by Moses? Hear also a second testimony to Christ’s Deity, that which has just now been read, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever7. For lest, because of His presence here in the flesh, He should be thought to have been advanced after this to the Godhead, the Scripture says plainly, Therefore God, even Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows8. Seest thou Christ as God anointed by God the Father?

16. Wouldest thou receive yet a third testimony to Christ’s Godhead? Hear Esaias saying, Egypt hath laboured, and the merchandise of Ethiopia: and soon after, In Thee shall they make supplication, because God is in Thee, and there is no God save Thee. For Thou art God, and we knew it not, the God of Israel, the Saviour9. Thou seest that the Son is God, having in Himself God the Father: saying almost the very same which He has said in the Gospels: The Father is in Me, and I am in the Father10. He says not, I am the Father, but the Father is in Me, and I am in the Father. And again He said not, I and the Father am11 one, but, I and the Father am one, that we should neither separate them, nor make a confusion of Son-Father12. One they are because of the dignity pertaining to the Godhead, since God begat God. One in respect of their kingdom; for the Father reigns not over these, and the Son over those, lifting Himself up against His Father like Absalom: but the kingdom of the Father is likewise the kingdom of the Son. One they are, because there is no discord nor division between them: for what things the Father willeth, the Son willeth the same. One, because the creative works of Christ are no other than the Father’s; for the creation of all things is one, the Father having made them through the Son: For He spake, and they were made; He commanded, and they were created, saith the Psalmist13. For He who speaks, speaks to one who hears; and He who commands, gives His commandment to one who is present with Him.

17. The Son then is Very God, having the Father in Himself, not changed into the Father; for the Father was not made man, but the Son. For let the truth be freely spoken14. The Father suffered not for us, but the Father sent Him who suffered. Neither let us say, There was a time when the Son was not; nor let us admit a Son who is the Father15: but let us walk in the king’s highway; let us turn aside neither on the left hand nor on the right. Neither from thinking to honour the Son, let us call Him the Father; nor from thinking to honour the Father, imagine the Son to be some one of the creatures. But let One Father be worshipped through One Son, and let not their worship be separated. Let One Son be proclaimed, sitting at the right hand of the Father before all ages: sharing His throne not by advancement in time after His Passion, but by eternal possession.

18. He who hath seen the Son, hath seen the Father1: for in all things the Son is like to Him who begat Him2; begotten Life of Life and Light of Light, Power of Power, God of God; and the characteristics of the Godhead are unchangeable3 in the Son; and he who is counted worthy to behold Godhead in the Son, attains to the fruition of the Father. This is not my word, but that of the Only-begotten: Have I been so long time with you, and hast thou not known Me, Philip? He that hath seen Me, hath seen the Father4. And to be brief, let us neither separate them, nor make a confusion5: neither say thou ever that the Son is foreign to the Father, nor admit those who say that the Father is at one time Father, and at another Son: for these are strange and impious statements, and not the doctrines of the Church. But the Father having begotten the Son, remained the Father and is not changed. He begat Wisdom, yet lost not wisdom Himself; and begat Power, yet became not weak: He begat God, but lost not His own Godhead: and neither did He lose anything Himself by diminution or change; nor has He who was begotten any thing wanting. Perfect is He who begat, Perfect that which was begotten: God was He who begat, God He who was begotten; God of all Himself, yet entitling the Father His own God. For He is not ashamed to say, I ascend unto My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God6.

19. But lest thou shouldest think that He is in a like sense Father of the Son and of the creatures, Christ drew a distinction in what follows. For He said not, “I ascend to our Father,” lest the creatures should be made fellows of the Only-begotten; but He said, My Father and your Father; in one way Mine, by nature; in another yours, by adoption. And again, to my God and your God, in one way Mine, as His true and Only-begotten Son, and in another way yours, as His workmanship7. The Son of God then is Very God, ineffably begotten before all ages (for I say the same things often to you, that it may be graven upon your mind). This also believe, that God has a Son: but about the manner be not curious, for by searching thou wilt not find. Exalt not thyself, lest thou fall: think upon those things only which have been commanded thee8. Tell me first what He is who begat, and then learn that which He begat; but if thou canst not conceive the nature of Him who hath begotten, search not curiously into the manner of that which is begotten.

20. For godliness it sufficeth thee to know, as we have said, that God hath One Only Son, One naturally begotten; who began not His being when He was born in Bethlehem, but Before All Ages. For hear the Prophet Micah saying, And thou, Bethlehem, house of Ephrata, art little to be among the thousands of Judah. Out of thee shall come forth unto Me a Ruler, who shall feed My people Israel: and His goings forth are from the beginning, from days of eternity9. Think not then of Him who is now come forth out of Bethlehem10, but worship Him who was eternally begotten of the Father. Suffer none to speak of a beginning of the Son in time, but as a timeless Beginning acknowledge the Father. For the Father is the Beginning of the Son, timeless, incomprehensible, without beginning11. The fountain of the river of righteousness, even of the Only-begotten, is the Father, who begat Him as Himself only knoweth. And wouldest thou know that our Lord Jesus Christ is King Eternal? Hear Him again saying, Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it, and was glad12. And then, when the Jews received this hardly, He says what to them was still harder, Before Abraham was, I am13. And again He saith to the Father, And now, Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self, with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was14. He says plainly, “before the world was, I had the glory which is with Thee.” And again when He says, For Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world1, He plainly declares, “The glory which I have with thee is from eternity.”

21. We believe then In One Lord Jesus Christ, the Only-Begotten Son of God, Begotten of His Father Very God before all worlds, by whom all things were made. For whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers, all things were made through Him2, and of things created none is exempted from His authority. Silenced be every heresy which brings in different creators and makers of the world; silenced the tongue which blasphemes the Christ the Son of God; let them be silenced who say that the sun is the Christ, for He is the sun’s Creator, not the sun which we see3. Silenced be they who say that the world is the workmanship of Angels4, who wish to steal away the dignity of the Only-begotten. For whether visible or invisible, whether thrones or dominions, or anything that is named, all things were made by Christ. He reigns over the things which have been made by Him, not having seized another’s spoils, but reigning over His own workmanship, even as the Evangelist John has said, All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made5. All things were made by Him, the Father working by the Son.

22. I wish to give also a certain illustration of what I am saying, but I know that it is feeble; for of things visible what can be an exact illustration of the Divine Power? But nevertheless as feeble be it spoken by the feeble to the feeble. For just as any king, whose son was a king, if he wished to form a city, might suggest to his son, his partner in the kingdom, the form of the city, and he having received the pattern, brings the design to completion; so, when the Father wished to form all things, the Son created all things at the Father’s bidding, that the act of bidding might secure to the Father His absolute authority6, and yet the Son in turn might have authority over His own workmanship, and neither the Father be separated from the lordship over His own works, nor the Son rule over things created by others, but by Himself. For, as I have said, Angels did not create the world, but the Only-begotten Son, begotten, as I have said, before all ages, By whom all things were made, nothing having been excepted from His creation. And let this suffice to have been spoken by us so far, by the grace of Christ.

23. But let us now recur to our profession of the Faith, and so for the present finish our discourse. Christ made all things, whether thou speak of Angels, or Archangels, of Dominions, or Thrones. Not that the Father wanted strength to create the works Himself, but because He willed that the Son should reign over His own workmanship, God Himself giving Him the design of the things to be made. For honouring His own Father the Only-begotten saith, The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do; for what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise7. And again, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work8, there being no opposition in those who work. For all Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine, saith the Lord in the Gospels9. And this we may certainly know from the Old and New Testaments. For He who said, Let us make man in our image and after our likeness10, was certainly speaking to some one present. But clearest of all are the Psalmist’s words, He spake and they were made; He commanded, and they were created11, as if the Father commanded and spake, and the Son made all things at the Father’s bidding. And this Job said mystically, Which alone spread out the heaven, and walketh upon the sea as on firm ground12; signifying to those who understand that He who when present here walked upon the sea is also He who aforetime made the heavens. And again the Lord saith, Or didst Thou take earth, and fashion clay into a living being13? then afterwards, Are the gates of death opened to Thee through fear, and did the door-keepers of hell shudder at sight of Thee14? thus signifying that He who through loving-kindness descended into hell, also in the beginning made man out of clay.

24. Christ then is the Only-begotten Son of God, and Maker of the world. For He was in the world, and the world was made by Him; and He came unto His own, as the Gospel teaches us15. And not only of the things which are seen, but also of the things which are not seen, is Christ the Maker at the Father’s bidding. For in Him, according to the Apostle, were all things created that are in the heavens, and that are upon the earth, things visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things have been created by Him and for Him; and He is before all, and in Him all things consist1. Even if thou speak of the worlds, of these also Jesus Christ is the Maker by the Father’s bidding. For in these last days God spake unto us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds2. To whom be the glory, honour, might, now and ever, and world without end. Amen.

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St Anthony of Padua’s Moral Concordance on Good Works and Deeds

Posted by Dim Bulb on December 9, 2018

268.      Of the active life as regards good works; or, of the labour of the hands.
Gen. 3:19Job 17:9Ps. 128:2Prov. 6:6 31:17, 27Ecclus. 7:151 Thess. 4:11 lEph. 4:28 | 2 Thess. 3:8, 10.

269.      Of the caution and judgment to be employed in doing good works.
Lev. 2:13Josh. 5:13; 11:9 | 1 Sam. 4:3 Job 13:14Prov. 23:1 | 28:5 | 31:13 ║ Song 5:5; Is. 30:21Ecclus. 17:5 ║ S. Mark 9:50 S. Luke 14:34Rom. 12:1 l1 Cor. 11:311 Tim. 5:23 S. James 3:17 ║ 1 S. John 4:1.

270.      That we must labour before we can rest.
Gen. 26:12; 32:28; 35:28Lev. 23:14; 2 Sam. 7:12 Kings 2:11Ps. 66:11; 110:7; 124:6Ecclus. 24:15 ║ S. Mark 10:38 ║ S. Luke 24:26.

271.      That the understanding of good works is rightly given to those who are pure and humble.
Gen. 18:1; 35:7; 47:16Ex. 19:21Deut. 33:3Judg. 6:11Job 22:23Ps. 45:11; 65:13Prov. 2:3; 3:32; 16:22Eccles. 2:3 5:1Is. 6:1; 8:16; 11:8; 50:4; 55:3 Dan. 1:16, 17Ecclus. 1:26; 5:11 ║ S. Matt. 3:16; 11:25 ║ S. Luke 10:2, 392 Cor. 3:15Rev. 1:12.

272.      That a blessing is given to those who do good deeds.
Gen. 27:27; 28:42 Kings 20:2; Job 29:13; 31:20Judith 10:7 ║ S. Matt. 26:26 ║ S. Luke 22:19.

273.      Of good savour and good fame.
Gen. 8:21 | 27:27 ║ Song 1:2 l | 7:13 Ecclus. 24:15 ║ S. John 12:32 Cor. 2:15.

274.      That we ought to follow good examples, and that the lives of the Saints are our incitements to well-doing.
Gen. 18:6Ex. 12:11; 13:19; 25:30, 38; 26:14; 28:9Deut. 32:7Job 6:19; 8:8; 10:17Ps. 104:13 lProv. 5:16Jer. 6:17 38:121 Macc. 2:51 ║ S. Matt. 5:16; 21:7 Phil. 4:5.

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