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

Posts Tagged ‘St Thomas Aquinas’

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on John 11:1-46

Posted by Dim Bulb on March 18, 2017

11:1–5

1. Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.

2. (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.)

3. Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.

4. When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.

5. Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.

Bede. (non occ.) After our Lord had departed to the other side of Jordan, it happened that Lazarus fell sick: A certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany. In some copies the copulative conjunction precedes, to mark the connection with the words preceding. (ἢν δέ τις, now a certain man.) Lazarus signifies helped. Of all the dead which our Lord raised, he was most helped, for he had lain dead four days, when our Lord raised him to life.

Augustine. (Tr. xlix. 1.) The resurrection of Lazarus is more spoken of than any of our Lord’s miracles. But if we bear in mind who He was who wrought this miracle, we shall feel not so much of wonder, as of delight. He who made the man, raised the man; and it is a greater thing to create a man, than to revive him. Lazarus was sick at Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. The place was near Jerusalem.

Alcuin. And as there were many women of this name, He distinguishes her by her well-known act: It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.

Chrysostom. (Greg. Hom. lxii. 1.) First we are to observe that this was not the harlot mentioned in Luke, but an honest woman, who treated our Lord with marked reverence.

Augustine. (de Con. Ev. ii. lxxix.) John here confirms the passage in Luke (Luke 7:38), where this is said to have taken place in the house of one Simon a Pharisee: Mary had done this act therefore on a former occasion. That she did it again at Bethany is not mentioned in the narrative of Luke, but is in the other three Gospels.

Augustine. (de Verb. Dom. s. lii) A cruel sickness had seized Lazarus; a wasting fever was eating away the body of the wretched man day by day: his two sisters sat sorrowful at his bedside, grieving for the sick youth continually. They sent to Jesus: Therefore his sisters sent unto Him, saying, Lord, behold he whom Thou lovest is sick.

Augustine. (Tr. xlix. 5.) They did not say, Come and heal; they dared not say, Speak the word there, and it shall be done here; but only, Behold, he whom Thou lovest is sick. As if to say, It is enough that Thou know it, Thou art not one to love and then to desert whom Thou lovest.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lxii. 1.) They hope to excite Christ’s pity by these words, Whom as yet they thought to be a man only. Like the centurion and nobleman, they sent, not went, to Christ; partly from their great faith in Him, for they knew Him intimately, partly because their sorrow kept them at home.

Theophylact. And because they were women, and it did not become them to leave their home if they could help it. Great devotion and faith is expressed in these words, Behold, he whom Thou lovest is sick. Such was their idea of our Lord’s power, that they were surprised, that one, whom He loved, could be seized with sickness.

Augustine. (Tr. xlix. 6.) When Jesus heard that, He said, This sickness is not unto death. For this death itself was not unto death, but to give occasion for a miracle; whereby men might be brought to believe in Christ, and so escape real death. It was for the glory of God, wherein observe that our Lord calls Himself God by implication, thus confounding those heretics who say that the Son of God is not God. For the glory of what God? Hear what follows, That the Son of God might be glorified thereby, i. e. by that sickness.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lxii. 1.) That here signifies not the cause, but the event. The sickness sprang from natural causes, but He turned it to the glory of God.

Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.

Augustine. (Tr. xlix. 7.) He is sick, they sorrowful, all beloved. Wherefore they had hope, for they were beloved by Him Who is the Comforter of the sorrowful, and the Healer of the sick.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lxii non occ. v. lxii. 3.) Wherein the Evangelist instructs us not to be sad, if sickness ever falls upon good men, and friends of God.

11:6–10

6. When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.

7. Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judæa again.

8. His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again?

9. Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world.

10. But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.

Alcuin. Our Lord heard of the sickness of Lazarus, but suffered four days to pass before He cured it; that the recovery might be a more wonderful one. When He had heard therefore that he was sick, He abode two days still in the place where He was.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lxii. 1.) To give time for his death and burial, that they might say, he stinketh, and none doubt that it was death, and not a trance, from which he was raised.

Then after that saith He to His disciples, Let us go into Judæa again.

Augustine. (Tr. xlix. 7.) Where He had just escaped being stoned; for this was the cause of His leaving. He left indeed as man: He left in weakness, but He returns in power.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lxii. 1.) He had not as yet told His disciples where He was going; but now He tells them, in order to prepare them beforehand, for they are in great alarm, when they hear of it: His disciples say unto Him, Master, the Jews sought to stone Thee, and goest Thou thither again? They feared both for Him, and for themselves; for they were not yet confirmed in faith.

Augustine. (Tr. xlix. 8.) When men presumed to give advice to God, disciples to their Master, our Lord rebuked them: Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? He shewed Himself to be the day, by appointing twelve disciples: i. e. reckoning Matthias in the place of Judas, and passing over the latter altogether. The hours are lightened by the day; that by the preaching of the hours, the world may believe on the day. Follow Me then, saith our Lord, if ye wish not to stumble: If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world: But if a man walk in the night he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lxii. 1.) As if to say, The upright need fear no evil: the wicked only have cause to fear. We have done nothing worthy of death, and therefore are in no danger. Or, If any one seeth this world’s light, he is safe; much more he who is with Me.

Theophylact. Some understand the day to be the time preceding the Passion, the night to be the Passion. In this sense, while it is day, would mean, before My Passion; Ye will not stumble before My Passion, because the Jews will not persecute you; but when the night, i. e. My Passion, cometh, then shall ye be beset with darkness and difficulties.

11:11–16

11. These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go that I may awake him out of sleep.

12. Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.

13. Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.

14. Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.

15. And I am glad for your sakes I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him.

16. Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellowdisciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lxii. 1.) After He has comforted His disciples in one way, He comforts them in another, by telling them that they were not going to Jerusalem, but to Bethany: These things saith He: and after that He saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go that I may awake him out of sleep: as if to say, I am not going to dispute again with the Jews, but to awaken our friend. Our friend, He says, to shew how strongly they were bound to go.

Augustine. (Tr. xlix. c. 9.) It was really true that He was sleeping. To our Lord, he was sleeping; to men who could not raise him again, he was dead. Our Lord awoke him with as much ease from his grave, as thou awakest a sleeper from his bed. He calls him then asleep, with reference to His own power, as the Apostle saith, But I would not have you to be ignorant, concerning them which are asleep. (1 Thess. 4:13) Asleep, He says, because He is speaking of their resurrection which was to be. But as it matters to those who sleep and wake again daily, what they see in their sleep, some having pleasant dreams, others painful ones, so it is in death; every one sleeps and rises again with his own account.a

Chrysostom. (Hom. lxii. 1.) The disciples however wished to prevent Him going to Judæa: Then said His disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. Sleep is a good sign in sickness. And therefore if he sleep, say they, what need to go and awake him.

Augustine. (Tr. xlix. 11.) The disciples replied, as they understood Him: Howbeit Jesus spake of his death; but they thought that He had spoken of taking rest in sleep.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lxii. 2.) But if any one say, that the disciples could not but have known that our Lord meant Lazarus’s death, when He said, that I may awake him; because it would have been absurd to have gone such a distance merely to awake Lazarus out of sleep; we answer, that our Lord’s words were a kind of enigma to the disciples, here as elsewhere often.

Augustine. (Tr. xlix. 11.) He then declares His meaning openly: Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lxii. 2.) But He does not add here, I go that I may awake him. He did not wish to anticipate the miracle by talking of it; a hint to us to shun vain glory, and abstain from empty promises.

Augustine. (Tr. xlix. 11.) He had been sent for to restore Lazarus from sickness, not from death. But how could the death be hid from Him, into whose hands the soul of the dead had flown?

And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that ye might believe; i. e. seeing My marvellous power of knowing a thing I have neither seen nor heard. The disciples already believed in Him in consequence of His miracles; so that their faith had not now to begin, but only to increase. That ye might believe, means, believe more deeply, more firmly.

Theophylact. Some have understood this place thus. I rejoice, He says, for your sakes; for if I had been there, I should have only cured a sick man; which is but an inferior sign of power. But since in My absence he has died, ye will now see that I can raise even the dead putrefying body; and your faith will be strengthened.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lxii. 2.) The disciples all dreaded the Jews; and especially Thomas; Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellow-disciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him. But he who was now the most weak and unbelieving of all the disciples, afterwards became stronger than any. And he who dared not go to Bethany, afterwards went over the whole earth, in the midst of those who wished his death, with a spirit indomitable.

Bede. The disciples, checked by our Lord’s answer to them, dared no longer oppose; and Thomas, more forward than the rest, says, Let us also go that we may die with him. What an appearance of firmness! He speaks as if he could really do what he said; unmindful, like Peter, of his frailty.

11:17–27

17. Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already.

18. Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off:

19. And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.

20. Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house.

21. Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.

22. But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.

23. Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.

24. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.

25. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

26. And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

27. She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.

Alcuin. Our Lord delayed His coming for four days, that the resurrection of Lazarus might be the more glorious: Then when Jesus came, He found that He had lain in the grave four days already.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lxii. 2.) Our Lord had stayed two days, and the messenger had come the day before; the very day on which Lazarus died. This brings us to the fourth day.

Augustine. (Tract. xlix. 12.) Of the four days many things may be said. They refer to one thing, but one thing viewed in different ways. There is one day of death which the law of our birth brings upon us. Men transgress the natural law, and this is another day of death. The written law is given to men by the hands of Moses, and that is despised—a third day of death. The Gospel comes, and men transgress it—a fourth day of death. But Christ doth not disdain to awaken even these.

Alcuin. The first sin was elation of heart, the second assent, the third act, the fourth habit.

Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lxii. 2.) Two miles. This is mentioned to account for so many coming from Jerusalem: And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother. But how could the Jews be consoling the beloved of Christ, when they had resolved that whoever confessed Christ should be put out of the synagogue? Perhaps the extreme affliction of the sisters excited their sympathy; or they wished to shew respect for their rank. Or perhaps they who came were of the better sort; as we find many of them believed. Their presence is mentioned to do away with all doubt of the real death of Lazarus.

Bede. Our Lord had not yet entered the town, when Martha met Him: Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met Him: but Mary sat still in the house.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lxii. 2.) Martha does not take her sister with her, because she wants to speak with Christ alone, and tell Him what has happened. When her hopes had been raised by Him, then she went her way, and called Mary.

Theophylact. At first she does not tell her sister, for fear, if she came, the Jews present might accompany her. And she did not wish them to know of our Lord’s coming.

Then saith Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if Thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lxii. 3.) She believed in Christ, but she believed not as she ought. She did not speak as if He were God: If Thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.

Theophylact. She did not know that He could have restored her brother as well absent as present.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lxii. 3.) Nor did she know that He wrought His miracles by His own independent power: But I know that even now, whatsoever Thou will ask of God, God will give it Thee. She only thinks Him some very gifted man.

Augustine. (Tr. xlix. 13.) She does not say to Him, Bring my brother to life again; for how could she know that it would be good for him to come to life again; she says, I know that Thou canst do so, if Thou wilt; but what Thou wilt do is for Thy judgment, not for my presumption to determine.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lxii. 3.) But our Lord taught her the truths which she did not know: Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Observe, He does not say, I will ask God, that he may rise again, nor on the other hand does He say, I want no help, I do all things of Myself; a declaration which would have been too much for the woman; but something between the two, He shall rise again.

Augustine. (Tr. xlix. 14.) Shall rise again, is ambiguous: for He does not say, now. And therefore it follows: Martha saith unto Him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day: of that resurrection I am certain; of this I am doubtful.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lxii.) She had often heard Christ speak of the resurrection. Jesus now declares His power more plainly: Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection and the life. He needed therefore none to help Him; for if He did, how could He be the resurrection. And if He is the life, He is not confined by place, but is every where, and can heal every where.

Alcuin. I am the resurrection, because I am the life; as through Me he will rise at the general resurrection, through Me he may rise now.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lxii.) To Martha’s, Whatsoever Thou shall ask, He replies, He that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: shewing her that He is the Giver of all good, and that we must ask of Him. Thus He leads her to the knowledge of high truths; and whereas she had been enquiring only about the resurrection of Lazarus, tells her of a resurrection in which both she and all present would share.

Augustine. (Tr. xlix. 15.) He that believeth in Me, though he were dead: i. e. though his flesh die, his soul shall live till the flesh rise again, never to die more. For faith is the life of the soul.

And whosoever liveth, in the flesh, and believeth in Me, though he die for a time in the flesh, shall not die eternally.

Alcuin. Because He hath attained to the life of the Spirit, and to an immortal resurrection. Our Lord, from Whom nothing was hid, knew that she believed, but sought from her a confession unto salvation: Believest thou this? She saith unto Him, Yea, Lord, I believe that Thou art the Christ the Son of God, which should come into the world.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lxii. 3.) She seems not to have understood His words; i. e. she saw that He meant something great, but did not see what that was. She is asked one thing, and answers another.

Augustine. (Tr. xlix. 15.) When I believed that Thou wert the Son of God, I believed that Thou wert the resurrection, that Thou wert lifeb; and that he that believeth in Thee, though he were dead, shall live.

11:28–32

28. And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee.

29. And as soon as she heard that, she arose quickly, and came unto him.

30. Now Jesus was not yet come into the town, but was in that place where Martha met him.

31. The Jews then which were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up hastily and went out, followed her, saying, She goeth unto the grave to weep there.

32. Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lxii. 3.) Christ’s words had the effect of stopping Martha’s grief. In her devotion to her Master she had no time to think of her afflictions: And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly.

Augustine. (Tr. xlix. 16.) Silently1, i. e. speaking in a low voice. For she did speak, saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lxii.) She calls her sister secretly, in order not to let the Jews know that Christ was coming. (non occ.). For had they known, they would have gone, and not been witnesses of the miracle.

Augustine. (Tr. xlix. 16.) We may observe that the Evangelist has not said, where, or when, or how, the Lord called Mary, but for brevity’s sake has left it to be gathered from Martha’s words.

Theophylact. Perhaps she thought the presence of Christ in itself a call, as if it were inexcusable, when Christ came, that she should not go out to meet Him.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lxiii. 1.) While the rest sat around her in her sorrow, she did not wait for the Master to come to her, but, not letting her grief detain her, rose immediately to meet Him; As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly, and came unto Him.

Augustine. (Tr. xlix. non occ.) So we see, if she had known of His arrival before, she would not have let Martha go without her.

Now Jesus was not yet come into the town, but was in that place where Martha met Him.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lxiii. 1.) He went slowly, that He might not seem to catch at an occasion of working a miracle, but to have it forced upon Him by others asking. Mary, it is said, arose quickly, and thus anticipated His coming. The Jews accompanied her: The Jews then which were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary that she arose up hastily and went out, followed her, saying, She goeth unto the grave to weep there.

Augustine. (Tr. xlix. 16.) The Evangelist mentions this to shew how it was that so many were present at Lazarus’ resurrection, and witness of that great miracle.

Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lxiii. 1.) She is more fervent than her sister. Forgetful of the crowd around her, and of the Jews, some of whom were enemies to Christ, she threw herself at her Master’s feet. In His presence all earthly things were nought to her; she thought of nothing but giving Him honour.

Theophylact. But her faith seems as yet imperfect: Lord, if Thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.

Alcuin. As if to say, Lord, while Thou wert with us, no disease, no sickness dared to shew itself, amongst those with whom the Life deigned to take up His abode.

Augustine. (de Verb. Dom. s. lii) O faithless assembly! Whilst Thou art yet in the world, Lazarus Thy friend dieth! If the friend dies, what will the enemy suppose? Is it a small thing that they will not serve Thee upon earth? lo, hell hath taken Thy beloved.

Bede. Mary did not say so much as Martha, she could not bring out what she wanted for weeping, as is usual with persons overwhelmed with sorrow.

11:33–41

33. When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled,

34. And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.

35. Jesus wept.

36. Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!

37. And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?

38. Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it.

39. Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.

40. Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?

41. Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lxiii. 1.) Christ did not answer Mary, as He had her sister, on account of the people present. In condescension to them He humbled Himself, and let His human nature be seen, in order to gain them as witnesses to the miracle: When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, He groaned in His spirit, and was troubled.

Augustine. (Tr. xlix.) For who but Himself could trouble Him? Christ was troubled, because it pleased Him to be troubled; He hungered, because it pleased Him to hunger. It was in His own power to be affected in this or that way, or not. The Word took up soul and flesh, and whole man, and fitted it to Himself in unity of person. And thus according to the nod and will of that higher nature in Him, in which the sovereign power resides, He becomes weak and troubled.

Theophylact. To prove His human nature He sometimes gives it free vent, while at other times He commands, and restrains it by the power of the Holy Ghost. Our Lord allows His nature to be affected in these ways, both to prove that He is very Man, not Man in appearance only; and also to teach us by His own example the due measures of joy and grief. For the absence altogether of sympathy and sorrow is brutal, the excess of them is womanly.

Augustine. (de Ver. Dom. s. lii) And said, Where have ye laid him? He knew where, but He asked to try the faith of the people.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lxiii. 1.) He did not wish to thrust the miracle upon them, but to make them ask for it, and thus do away with all suspicions.

Augustine. (lib. 83. Quæst. qu. lxv.) The question has an allusion too to our hidden calling. That predestination by which we are called, is hidden; and the sign of its being so is our Lord asking the question: He being as it were in ignorance, so long as we are ignorant ourselves. Or because our Lord elsewhere shews that He knows not sinners, saying, I know you not, (Matt. 7:23) because in keeping His commandments there is no sin.

They said unto Him, Lord, come and see.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lxiii. 1.) He had not yet raised any one from the dead; and seemed as if He came to weep, not to raise to life. Wherefore they say to Him, Come and see.

Augustine. (Tr. xlix. 20.) The Lord sees when He pities, as we read, Look upon my adversity and misery, and forgive me all my sin. (Ps. 25:18.)

Jesus wept.

Alcuin. Because He was the fountain of pity. He wept in His human nature for him whom He was able to raise again by His divine.

Augustine. (Tr. xlix. non occ.) Wherefore did Christ weep, but to teach men to weep?

Bede. It is customary to mourn over the death of friends; and thus the Jews explained our Lord’s weeping: Then said the Jews, Behold how He loved him.

Augustine. (Tr. xlix. 21.) Loved him. Our Lord came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. And some of them said, Could not this Man which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died? He was about to do more than this, to raise him from death.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lxiii. 1.) It was His enemies who said this. The very works, which should have evidenced His power, they turn against Him, as if He had not really done them. This is the way that they speak of the miracle of opening the eyes of the man that was born blind. They even prejudge Christ before He has come to the grave, and have not the patience to wait for the issue of the matter. Jesus therefore again groaning in Himself, cometh to the grave. That He wept, and He groaned, are mentioned to shew us the reality of His human nature. John who enters into higher statements as to His nature than any of the other Evangelists, also descends lower than any in describing His bodily affections.

Augustine. (Tr. xlix.) And do thou too groan in thyself, if thou wouldest rise to new life. To every man is this said, who is weighed down by any vicious habit. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. The dead under the stone is the guilty under the Law. For the Law, which was given to the Jews, was graven on stone. And all the guilty are under the Law, for the Law was not made for a righteous man.

Bede. A cave is a hollow in a rock. It is called a monument, because it reminds us of the dead.

Jesus said, Take ye away the stone.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lxiii. 2.) But why did He not raise him without taking away the stone? Could not He who moved a dead body by His voice, much more have moved a stone? He purposely did not do so, in order that the miracle might take place in the sight of all; to give no room for saying, as they had said in the case of the blind man, This is not he. Now they might go into the grave, and feel and see that this was the man.

Augustine. (Tr. xlix. c. 22.) Take ye away the stone; mystically, Take away the burden of the law, proclaim grace.

Augustine. (lib. 83. Quæst. qu. 61.) Perhaps those are signified who wished to impose the rite of circumcision on the Gentile converts; or men in the Church of corrupt life, who offend believers.

Augustine. (de Ver. Dom. serm. lii) Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus, though they had often seen Christ raise the dead, did not fully believe that He could raise their brother; Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto Him, Lord, by this time he stinketh, for he hath been dead four days.

Theophylact. Martha said this from weakness of faith, thinking it impossible that Christ could raise her brother, so long after death.

Bede. (non occ. [Nic.]) Or, these are not words of despair, but of wonder.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lxiii. 2.) Thus every thing tends to stop the mouths of the unbelieving. Their hands take away the stone, their ears hear Christ’s voice, their eyes see Lazarus come forth, they perceive the smell of the dead body.

Theophylact. Christ reminds Martha of what He had told her before, which she had forgotten: Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?

Chrysostom. (Hom. lxiii.) She did not remember what He said above, He that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. To the disciples He had said, That the Son of God might be glorified thereby; here it is the glory of the Father He speaks of. The difference is made to suit the different hearers. Our Lord could not rebuke her before such a number, but only says, Thou shalt see the glory of God.

Augustine. (Tr. xlix.) Herein is the glory of God, that he that stinketh and hath been dead four days, is brought to life again.

Then they took away the stone.

Origen. (tom. in Joan. xxviii.) The delay in taking away the stone was caused by the sister of the dead, who said, By this time he stinketh, for he hath been dead four days. If she had not said this, it would not be said, Jesus said, Take away the stone. Some delay had arisen; it is best to let nothing come between the commands of Jesus and doing them.

11:41–46

41. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.

42. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.

43. And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.

44. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.

45. Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him.

46. But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done.

Alcuin. Christ, as man, being inferior to the Father, prays to Him for Lazarus’s resurrection; and declares that He is heard: And Jesus lifted up His eyes, and said, Father, I thank Thee that Thou hast heard Me.

Origen. (tom. xxviii.) He lifted up His eyes; mystically, He lifted up the human mind by prayer to the Father above. We should pray after Christ’s pattern, Lift up the eyes of our heart, and raise them above present things in memory, in thought, in intention. If to them who pray worthily after this fashion is given the promise in Isaiah, Thou shalt cry, and He shall say, Here I am; (Isa. 58:9) what answer, think we, our Lord and Saviour would receive? He was about to pray for the resurrection of Lazarus. He was heard by the Father before He prayed; His request was granted before made. And therefore He begins with giving thanks; I thank Thee, Father, that Thou hast heard Me.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lxiv. 2.) i. e. There is no difference of will between Me and Thee. Thou hast heard Me, does not shew any lack of power in Him, or that He is inferior to the Father. It is a phrase that is used between friends and equals. That the prayer is not really necessary for Him, appears from the words that follow, And I knew that Thou heardest Me always: as if He said, I need not prayer to persuade Thee; for Ours is one will. He hides His meaning on account of the weak faith of His hearers. For God regards not so much His own dignity, as our salvation; and therefore seldom speaks loftily of Himself, and, even when He does, speaks in an obscure way; whereas humble expressions abound in His discourses.

Hilary. (lib. x. de Trin.) He did not therefore need to pray: He prayed for our sakes, that we might know Him to be the Son: But because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that Thou hast sent Me. His prayer did not benefit Himself, but benefited our faith. He did not want help, but we want instruction.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lxiv. 2.) He did not say, That they may believe that I am inferior to Thee, in that I cannot do this without prayer, but, that Thou hast sent Me. He saith not, hast sent Me weak, acknowledging subjection, doing nothing of Myself, but hast sent Me in such sense, as that man may see that I am from God, not contrary to God; and that I do this miracle in accordance with His will.

Augustine. (de Verb. Dom. Serm. lii) Christ went to the grave in which Lazarus slept, as if He were not dead, but alive and able to hear, for He forthwith called him out of his grave: And when He had thus spoken, He cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. He calls him by name, that He may not bring out all the dead.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lxiv. 2.) He does not say, Arise, but, Come forth, speaking to the dead as if he were alive. For which reason also He does not say, Come forth in My Father’s name, or, Father, raise him, but throwing off the whole appearance of one praying, proceeds to shew His power by acts. This is His general way. His words shew humility, His acts power.

Theophylact. The voice which roused Lazarus, is the symbol of that trumpet which will sound at the general resurrection. (He spoke loud, to contradict the Gentile fable, that the soul remained in the tomb. The soul of Lazarus is called to as if it were absent, and a loud voice were necessary to summon it.) And as the general resurrection is to take place in the twinkling of an eye, so did this single one: And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave clothes, and his face was bound about with a napkin. Now is accomplished what was said above, The hour is coming, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live. (5:25)

Origen. (t. xxviii.) His cry and loud voice it was which awoke him, as Christ had said, I go to awake him. The resurrection of Lazarus is the work of the Father also, in that He heard the prayer of the Son. It is the joint work of Father and Son, one praying, the other hearing; for as the Father raiseth up the dead and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom He will. (5:21)

Chrysostom. (Hom. lxiv.) He came forth bound, that none might suspect that he was a mere phantom. Besides, that this very fact, viz. of coming forth bound, was itself a miracle, as great as the resurrection. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, that by going near and touching him they might be certain he was the very person. And let him go. His humility is shewn here; He does not take Lazarus about with Him for the sake of display.

Origen. (t. xxviii. 10.) Our Lord had said above, Because of the people that stand by I said it, that they may believe that Thou hast sent Me. It would have been ignorance of the future, if He had said this, and none believed, after all. Therefore it follows: Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on Him. But some of them went their way to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done. It is doubtful from these words, whether those who went to the Pharisees, were of those many who believed, and meant to conciliate the opponents of Christ; or whether they were of the unbelieving party, and wished to inflame the envy of the Pharisees against Him. The latter seems to me the true supposition; especially as the Evangelist describes those who believed as the larger party. Many believed; whereas it is only a few who go to the Pharisees: Some of them went to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done.

Augustine. (lib. lxxxiii. Quæst. q. 65.) Although according to the Gospel history, we hold that Lazarus was really raised to life, yet I doubt not that his resurrection is an allegory as well. We do not, because we allegorize facts, lose our belief in them as facts.

Augustine. (Tr. super Joan. xlix. 3.) Every one that sinneth, dies; but God, of His great mercy, raises the soul to life again, and does not suffer it to die eternally. The three miraculous resurrections in the Gospels, I understand to testify the resurrection of the soul.

Gregory. (iv. Moral. c. xxix.) The maiden is restored to life in the house, the young man outside the gate, Lazarus in his grave. She that lies dead in the house, is the sinner lying in sin: he that is carried out by the gate is the openly and notoriously wicked.

Augustine. (Tr. xlix. 3.) Or, it is death within; when the evil thought has not come out into action. But if thou actually do the evil thing, thou hast as it were carried the dead outside the gate.

Gregory. (v. Moral.) And one there is who lies dead in his grave, with a load of earth upon him; i. e. who is weighed down by habits of sin. But the Divine grace has regard even unto such, and enlightens them.

Augustine. (lib. lxxxii. Quæst. q. lxv.) Or we may take Lazarus in the grave as the soul laden with earthly sins.

Augustine. (in Joan. Tr. xlix.) And yet our Lord loved Lazarus. For had He not loved sinners, He would never have come down from heaven to save them. Well is it said of one of sinful habits, that He stinketh. He hath a bad report1 already, as it were the foulest odour.

Augustine. (lib. lxxxiii. Quæst. q. 65.) Well may she say, He hath been dead four days. For the earth is the last of the elements. It signifies the pit of earthly sins, i. e. carnal lusts.

Augustine. (Tract. in Joan. xlix. 19.) The Lord groaned, wept, cried with a loud voice. It is hard for Him to arise, who is bowed down with the weight of evil habits. Christ troubleth Himself, to signify to thee that thou shouldest be troubled, when thou art pressed and weighed down with such a mass of sin. Faith groaneth, he that is displeased with himself groaneth, and accuseth his own evil deeds; that so the habit of sin may yield to the violence of repentance. When thou sayest, I have done such a thing, and God has spared me; I have heard the Gospel, and despised it; what shall I do? then Christ groaneth, because faith groaneth; and in the voice of thy groaning appeareth the hope of thy rising again.

Gregory. (xxii. Moral.) Lazarus is bid to come forth, i. e. to come forth and condemn himself with his own mouth, without excuse or reservation: that so he that lies buried in a guilty conscience, may come forth out of himself by confession.

Augustine. (lib. lxxxiii. Quæst. q. 65.) That Lazarus came forth from the grave, signifies the soul’s deliverance from carnal sins. That he came bound up in grave clothes means, that even we who are delivered from carnal things, and serve with the mind the law of God, yet cannot, so long as we are in the body, be free from the besetments of the flesh. That his face was bound about with a napkin means, that we do not attain to full knowledge in this life. And when our Lord says, Loose him, and let him go, we learn that in another world all veils will be removed, and that we shall see face to face.

Augustine. (Tr. xlix.) Or thus: When thou despisest, thou liest dead; when thou confessest, thou comest forth. For what is to come forth, but to go out, as it were, of thy hiding place, and shew thyself? But thou canst not make this confession, except God move thee to it, by crying with a loud voice, i. e. calling thee with great grace. But even after the dead man has come forth, he remains bound for some time, i. e. is as yet only a penitent. Then our Lord says to His ministers, Loose him, and let him go, i. e. remit his sins: Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Matt. 18:18)

Alcuin. Christ awakes, because His power it is which quickens us inwardly: the disciples loose, because by the ministry of the priesthood, they who are quickened are absolved.

Bede. By those who went and told the Pharisees, are meant those who seeing the good works of God’s servants, hate them on that very account, persecute, and calumniate them.

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Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on John 9:1-41

Posted by Dim Bulb on February 26, 2017

1. And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.
2. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
3. Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
4. I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
5. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
6. When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay,
7. And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lvi. 1.) The Jews having rejected Christ’s words, because of their depth, He went out of the temple, and healed the blind man; that His absence might appease their fury, and the miracle soften their hard hearts, and convince their unbelief. And as Jesus passed by, He saw a man which was blind from his birth. It is to be remarked here that, on going out of the temple, He betook Himself intently to this manifestation of His power. He first saw the blind man, not the blind man Him: and so intently did He fix His eye upon him, that His disciples were struck, and asked, Rabbi, who did sin, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?

Bede. Mystically, our Lord, after being banished from the minds of the Jews, passed over to the Gentiles. (non occ.). The passage or journey here is His descent from heaven to earth, where He saw the blind man, i. e. looked with compassion on the human race.

Augustine. (Tr. xliv. 1, 2.) For the blind man here is the human race. Blindness came upon the first man by reason of sin: and from him we all derive it: i. e. man is blind from his birth.

Augustine. (Tr. xliv. 1, 2.) Rabbi is Master. They call Him Master, because they wished to learn: they put their question to our Lord, as to a Master.

Theophylact. This question does not seem a proper one. For the Apostles had not been taught the fond notion of the Gentiles, that the soul has sinned in a previous state of existence. It is difficult to account for their putting it.

Chrysostom. (Hom. liv. 1. c. 5.) They were led to ask this question, by our Lord having said above, on healing the man sick of the palsy, Lo, thou art made whole; sin no more. Thinking from this that the man had been struck with the palsy for his sins, they ask our Lord of the blind man here, whether he did sin, or his parents; neither of which could have been the reason of his blindness; the former, because he had been blind from his birth; the latter, because the son does not suffer for the father.

Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents.

Augustine. (Tr. xliv. 3) Was he then born without original sin, or had he never added to it by actual sin? Both this man and his parents had sinned, but that sin was not the reason why he was born blind. Our Lord gives the reason; viz. That the works of God should be made manifest in him.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lvi. 1, 2.) He is not to be understood as meaning that others had become blind, in consequence of their parents’ sins: for one man cannot be punished for the sin of another. But had the man therefore suffered unjustly? Rather I should say that that blindness was a benefit to him: for by it he was brought to see with the inward eye. At any rate He who brought him into being out of nothing, had the power to make him in the event no loser by it. Some too say, that the that here, is expressive not of the cause, but of the event, as in the passage in Romans, The law entered that sin might abound; (Rom. 5:20) the effect in this case being, that our Lord by opening the closed eye, and healing other natural infirmities, demonstrated His own power.

Gregory. (in Præf. Moral. c. 5.) One stroke falls on the sinner, for punishment only, not conversion; another for correction; another not for correction of past sins, but prevention of future; another neither for correcting past, nor preventing future sins, but by the unexpected deliverance following the blow, to excite more ardent love of the Saviour’s goodness.

Chrysostom. (Hom. liv. 2.) That the glory of God should be made manifest, He saith of Himself, not of the Father; the Father’s glory was manifest already. I must work the works of Him that sent Me: i. e. I must manifest Myself, and shew that I do the same that My Father doeth.

Bede. For when the Son declared that He worked the works of the Father, He proved that His and His Father’s works were the same: which are to heal the sick, to strengthen the weak, and enlighten man.

Augustine. (Tr. xliv. 4.) By His saying, Who sent Me, He gives all the glory to Him from Whom He is. The Father hath a Son Who is from Him, but hath none from whom He Himself is.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lvi. 2.) While it is day, He adds; i. e. while men have the opportunity of believing in Me; while this life lasts; The night cometh, when none can work. Night here means that spoken of in Matthew, Cast him into outer darkness. (Mat. 22:13) Then will there be night, wherein none can work, but only receive for that which he has worked. While thou livest, do that which thou wilt do: for beyond it is neither faith, nor labour, nor repentance.

Augustine. (Tr. xliv. 5.) But if we work now, now is the day time, now is Christ present; as He says, As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. This then is the day. The natural day is completed by the circuit of the sun, and contains only a few hours: the day of Christ’s presence will last to the end of the world: for He Himself has said, Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. (Mat. 28:20)

Chrysostom. (Hom. lvi. 2.) He then confirms His words by deeds: When He had thus spoken, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. He who had brought greater substances into being out of nothing, could much more have given sight without the use of any material: but He wished to shew that He was the Creator, Who in the beginning used clay for the formation of man. (Hom. lvii. 1). He makes the clay with spittle, and not with water, to make it evident that it was not the pool of Siloam, whither He was about to send him, but the virtue proceeding from His mouth, which restored the man’s sight. And then, that the cure might not seem to be the effect of the clay, He ordered the man to wash: And He said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam. The Evangelist gives the meaning of Siloam, which is by interpretation, Sent, to intimate that it was Christ’s power that cured him even there. As the Apostle says of the rock in the wilderness, that that Rock was Christ, (1 Cor. 10:14) so Siloam had a spiritual character: the sudden rise of its water being a silent figure of Christ’s unexpected manifestation in the flesh. But why did He not tell him to wash immediately, instead of sending him to Siloam? That the obstinacy of the Jews might be overcome, when they saw him going there with the clay on his eyes. Besides which, it proved that He was not averse to the Law, and the Old Testament. And there was no fear of the glory of the case being given to Siloam: as many had washed their eyes there, and received no such benefit. And to shew the faith of the blind man, who made no opposition, never argued with himself, that it was the quality of clay rather to darken, than give light, that He had often washed in Siloam, and had never been benefited; that if our Lord had the power, He might have cured him by His word; but simply obeyed: he went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing. (Hom. lvi. 2). Thus our Lord manifested His glory: and no small glory it was, to be proved the Creator of the world, as He was proved to be by this miracle. For on the principle that the greater contains the less, this act of creation included in it every other. Man is the most honourable of all creatures; the eye the most honourable member of man, directing the movements, and giving him sight. The eye is to the body, what the sun is to the universe; and therefore it is placed aloft, as it were, upon a royal eminence.

Theophylact. Some think that the clay was not laid upon the eyes, but made into eyes.

Augustine. (Tr. xlv. 2.) Our Lord spat upon the ground, and made clay of the spittle, because He was the Word made flesh. The man did not see immediately as he was anointed; i. e. was, as it were, only made a catechumen. But he was sent to the pool which is called Siloam, i. e. he was baptized in Christ; and then he was enlightened. The Evangelist then explains to us the name of this pool: which is by interpretation, Sent: for, if He had not been sent, none of us would have been delivered from our sins.

Gregory. (viii. Moral. c. xxx. [49.].) Or thus: By His spittle understand the savour of inward contemplation. It runs down from the head into the mouth, and gives us the taste of revelation from the Divine splendour even in this life. The mixture of His spittle with clay is the mixture of supernatural grace, even the contemplation of Himself with our carnal knowledge, to the soul’s enlightenment, and restoration of the human understanding from its original blindness.

8. The neighbours therefore, and they which before had seen him that he was blind, said, Is not this he that sat and begged?
9. Some said, This is he: others said, He is like him: but he said, I am he.
10. Therefore said they unto him, How were thine eyes opened?
11. He answered and said, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight.
12. Then said they unto him, Where is he? He said, I know not.
13. They brought to the Pharisees him that aforetime was blind.
14. And it was the sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes.
15. Then again the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. He said unto them, He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see.
16. Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the Sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them.
17. They say unto the blind man again, What sayest thou of him, that he hath opened thine eyes? He said, He is a prophet.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lvii. s. 1.) The suddenness of the miracle made men incredulous: The neighbours therefore, and they which had seen him that he was blind, said, Is not this he that sat and begged? Wonderful clemency and condescension of God! Even the beggars He heals with so great considerateness: thus stopping the mouths of the Jews; in that He made not the great, illustrious, and noble, but the poorest and meanest, the objects of His providence. Indeed He had come for the salvation of all. Some said, This is he. The blind man having been clearly recognised in the course of his long walk to the pool; the more so, as people’s attention was drawn by the strangeness of the event; men could no longer say, This is not he; Others said, Nay, but he is like him.

Augustine. (Tr. xliv. 8.) His eyes being opened had altered his look. But he said, I am he. He spoke gratefully; a denial would have convicted Him of ingratitude.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lvii. s. 2.) He was not ashamed of his former blindness, nor afraid of the fury of the people, nor averse to shew himself, and proclaim his Benefactor. Therefore said they unto him, How were thine eyes opened? How they were, neither he nor any one knew: he only knew the fact; he could not explain it. He answered and said, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes. Mark his exactness. He does not say how the clay was made; for he could not see that our Lord spat on the ground; he does not say what he does not know; but that He anointed him he could feel. And said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash. This too he could declare from his own hearing; for he had heard our Lord converse with His disciples, and so knew His voice. Lastly, he shews how strictly he had obeyed our Lord. He adds, And I went, and washed, and received sight.

Augustine. (Tr. xliv. s. 8.) Lo, he is become a proclaimer of grace, an evangelist, and testifies to the Jews. That blind man testified, and the ungodly were vexed at the heart, because they had not in their heart what appeared upon his countenance. Then said they unto him, Where is He?

Chrysostom. (Hom. lvii. 2.) This they said, because they were meditating His death, having already begun to conspire against Him. Christ did not appear in company with those whom He cured; having no desire for glory, or display. He always withdrew, after healing any one; in order that no suspicion might attach to the miracle. His withdrawal proved the absence of all connexion between Him and the healed; and therefore that the latter did not publish a false cure out of favour to Him. He said, I know not.

Augustine. (Tr. xliv. 8.) Here he is like one anointed, but unable yet to see: he preaches, and knows not what he preaches.

Bede. Thus he represents the state of the catechumen, who believes in Jesus, but does not, strictly speaking, know Him, not being yet washed. It fell to the Pharisees to confirm or deny the miracle.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lvii. 2.) The Jews, whom they asked, Where is He? were desirous of finding Him, in order to bring Him to the Pharisees; but, as they could not find Him, they bring the blind man. They brought to the Pharisees him that aforetime was blind; i. e. that they might examine him still more closely. The Evangelist adds, And it was the sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes; in order to expose their real design, which was to accuse Him of a departure from the law, and thus detract from the miracle: as appears from what follows, Then again the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. But mark the firmness of the blind man. To tell the truth to the multitude before, from whom he was in no danger, was not so great a matter: but it is remarkable, now that the danger is so much greater, to find him disavowing nothing, and not contradicting any thing that he said before: He said unto them, He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see. He is more brief this time, as his interrogators were already informed of the matter: not mentioning the name of Jesus, nor His saying, Go, and wash; but simply, He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see; the very contrary answer to what they wanted. They wanted a disavowal, and they receive a confirmation of the story.

Therefore said some of the Pharisees.

Augustine. (Tr. xliv. 9.) Some, not all: for some were already anointed. But they, who neither saw, nor were anointed, said, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Rather He kept it, in that He was without sin; for to observe the sabbath spiritually, is to have no sin. And this God admonishes us of, when He enjoins the sabbath, saying, In it thou shall do no servile work. (Exod. 20:10) What servile work is, our Lord tells us above, Whosoever committeth sin, is the servant of sin. (c. 8:34) They observed the sabbath carnally, transgressed it spiritually.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lvii. 2.) Passing over the miracle in silence, they give all the prominence they can to the supposed transgression; not charging Him with healing on the sabbath, but with not keeping the sabbath. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? They were impressed by His miracles, but only in a weak and unsettled way. For whereas such might have shewn them, that the sabbath was not broken; they had not yet any idea that He was God, and therefore did not know that it was the Lord of the sabbath who had worked the miracle. Nor did any of them dare to say openly what his sentiments were, but spoke ambiguously; one, because he thought the fact itself improbable; another, from his love of station. It follows, And there was a division among them. That is, the people were divided first, and then the rulers.

Augustine. (Tr. xliv. 4, 5) It was Christ, who divided the day into light and darkness.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lviii. 1.) Those who said, Can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? wishing to stop the others’ mouths, make the object of our Lord’s goodness again come forward; but without appearing to take part with Him themselves: They say unto the blind man again, What sayest thou of Him, that He hath opened thine eyes?

Theophylact. See with what good intent they put the question. They do not say, What sayest thou of Him that keepeth not the sabbath, but mention the miracle, that He hath opened thine eyes; meaning it would seem, to draw out the healed man himself; He hath benefited them, they seem to say, and thou oughtest to preach Him.

Augustine. (Tr. xliv. 9.) Or they sought how they could throw reproach upon the man, and cast him out of their synagogue. He declares however openly what he thinks: He said, He is a Prophet. Not being anointed yet in heart, he could not confess the Son of God; nevertheless, he is not wrong in what he says: for our Lord Himself says of Himself, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country. (Luke 4:24)

18. But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind, and received his sight, until they called the parents of him that had received his sight.
19. And they asked them, saying, Is this your son, who ye say was born blind? how then doth he now see?
20. His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind:
21. But by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself.
22. These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.
23. Therefore said his parents, He is of age; ask him.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lviii. 1.) The Pharisees being unable, by intimidation, to deter the blind man from publicly proclaiming his Benefactor, try to nullify the miracle through the parents: But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind, and received his sight, until they had called the parents of him that had received his sight.

Augustine. (Tr. xliv. s. 10.) i. e. had been blind, and now saw.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lviii. 3.) But it is the nature of truth, to be strengthened by the very snares that are laid against it. A lie is its own antagonist, and by its attempts to injure the truth, sets it off to greater advantage: as is the case now. For the argument which might otherwise have been urged, that the neighbours knew nothing for certain, but spoke from a mere resemblance, is cut off by introduction of the parents, who could of course testify to their own son. Having brought these before the assembly, they interrogate them with great sharpness, saying, Is this your son, (they say not, who was born blind, but) who ye say was born blind? Say. Why what father is there, that would say such things of a son, if they were not true? Why not say at once, Whom ye made blind? They try two ways of making them deny the miracle: by saying, Who ye say was born blind, and by adding, How then doth he now see?

Theophylact. Either, say they, it is not true that he now sees, or it is untrue that he was blind before: but it is evident that he now sees; therefore it is not true that he was born blind.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lviii. 2.) Three things then being asked,—if he were their son, if he had been blind and how he saw,—they acknowledge two of them: His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind. But the third they refuse to speak to: But by what means he now seeth, we know not. The enquiry in this way ends in confirming the truth of the miracle, by making it rest upon the incontrovertible evidence of the confession of the healed person himself; He is of age, they say, ask him; he can speak for himself.

Augustine. (Tr. xliv. 10.) As if to say, We might justly be compelled to speak for an infant, that could not speak for itself: but he, though blind from his birth, has been always able to speak.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lvii. 2.) What sort of gratitude is this in the parents; concealing what they knew, from fear of the Jews? as we are next told; These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews. And then the Evangelist mentions again what the intentions and dispositions of the Jews were: For the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that He was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.

Augustine. (Tr. xliv. 10.) It was no disadvantage to be put out of the synagogue: whom they cast out, Christ took in.

Therefore said his parents, He is of age, ask him.

Alcuin. The Evangelist shews that it was not from ignorance, but fear, that they gave this answer.

Theophylact. For they were fainthearted; not like their son, that intrepid witness to the truth, the eyes of whose understanding had been enlightened by God.

24. Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner.
25. He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.
26. Then said they to him again, What did he to thee? how opened he thine eyes?
27. He answered them, I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? will ye also be his disciples?
28. Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses’ disciples.
29. We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is.
30. The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes.
31. Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.
32. Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind.
33. If this man were not of God, he could do nothing.
34. They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lviii. 2.) The parents having referred the Pharisees to the healed man himself, they summon him a second time: Then again called they the man that was blind. They do not openly say now, Deny that Christ has healed thee, but conceal their object under the pretence of religion: Give God the praise, i. e. confess that this man has had nothing to do with the work.

Augustine. (Tr. xliv. s. 11.) Deny that thou hast received the benefit. This is not to give God the glory, but rather to blaspheme Him.

Alcuin. They wished him to give glory to God, by calling Christ a sinner, as they did: We know that this man is a sinner.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lviii. 2.) Why then did ye not convict Him, when He said above, Which of you convinceth Me of sin? (c. 8:46)

Alcuin. The man, that he might neither expose himself to calumny, nor at the same time conceal the truth, answers not that he knew Him to be righteous, but, Whether He be a sinner or no, I know not.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lviii. 2.) But how comes this, whether He be a sinner, I know not, from one who had said, He is a Prophet? did the blind fear? far from it: he only thought that our Lord’s defence lay in the witness of the fact, more than in another’s pleading. And he gives weight to his reply by the mention of the benefit he had received: One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see: as if to say, I say nothing as to whether He is a sinner; but only repeat what I know for certain. So being unable to overturn the fact itself of the miracle, they fall back upon former arguments, and enquire the manner of the cure: just as dogs in hunting pursue wherever the scent takes them: Then said they to him again, What did He do to thee? How opened He thine eyes? i. e. was it by any charm? For they do not say, How didst thou see? but, How opened He thine eyes? to give the man an opportunity of detracting from the operation. So long now as the matter wanted examining, the blind man answers gently and quietly; but, the victory being gained, he grows bolder: He answered them, I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? i. e. Ye do not attend to what is said, and therefore I will no longer answer you vain questions, put for the sake of cavil, not to gain knowledge: Will ye also be His disciples?

Augustine. (Tr. xliv. s. 11.) Will ye also? i. e. I am already, do ye wish to be? I see now, but do not envy (video, non invideo). He says this in indignation at the obstinacy of the Jews; not tolerating blindness, now that he is no longer blind himself.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lviii. 2.) As then truth is strength, so falsehood is weakness: truth elevates and ennobles whomever it takes up, however mean before: falsehood brings even the strong to weakness and contempt.

Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art His disciple.

Augustine. (Tr. xliv. 12.) A malediction only in the intention of the speakers, not in the words themselves. May such a malediction (ἐλοιδόρησαν, maledixerunt, Vulg.) be upon us, and upon our children! It follows: But we are Moses’ disciples. We know that God spake unto Moses. But ye should have known, that our Lord was prophesied of by Moses, after hearing what He said, Had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed Me, for he wrote of Me. (c. 5:46) Do ye follow then a servant, and turn your back on the Lord? Even so, for it follows: As for this fellow, we know not whence He is.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lviii. s. 3.) Ye think sight less evidence than hearing; for what ye say, ye know, is what ye have heard from your fathers. But is not He more worthy of belief, who has certified that He comes from God, by miracles which ye have not heard only, but seen? So argues the blind man: The man answered and said, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not whence He is, and yet He hath opened mine eyes. He brings in the miracle every where, as evidence which they could not invalidate: and, inasmuch as they had said that a man that was a sinner could not do such miracles, he turns their own words against them; Now we know that God heareth not sinners; as if to say, I quite agree with you in this opinion.

Augustine. (Tr. xliv. s. 13.) As yet however He speaks as one but just anointed1, for God hears sinners too. Else in vain would the publican cry, God be merciful to me a sinner. (Luke 18:13) By that confession he obtained2 justification, as the blind man had his sight.

Theophylact. Or, that God heareth not sinners, means, that God does not enable sinners to work miracles. When sinners however implore pardon for their offences, they are translated from the rank of sinners to that of penitents.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lviii. 3.) Observe then, when he said above, Whether He be a sinner, I know not, it was not that he spoke in doubt; for here he not only acquits him of all sin, but holds him up as one well pleasing to God: But if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth His will, him He heareth. It is not enough to know God, we must do His will. Then he extols His deed: Since the world began, was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind: as if to say, If ye confess that God heareth not sinners; and this Man has worked a miracle, such an one, as no other man has; it is manifest that the virtue whereby He has wrought it, is more than human: If this Man were not of God, He could do nothing.

Augustine. (Tr. xliv. 13.) Freely, stedfastly, truly. For how could what our Lord did, be done by any other than God, or by disciples even, except when their Lord dwelt in them?

Chrysostom. (Hom. lviii. 3.) So then because speaking the truth he was in nothing confounded, when they should most have admired, they condemned him: Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us?

Augustine. (Tr. xliv. 14.) What meaneth altogether? That he was quite blind. Yet He who opened his eyes, also saves him altogether.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lviii. 3.) Or, altogether, that is to say, from thy birth thou art in sins. They reproach his blindness, and pronounce his sins to be the cause of it; most unreasonably. So long as they expected him to deny the miracle, they were willing to believe him, but now they cast him out.

Augustine. (Tr. xliv. 14.) It was they themselves who had made him teacher; themselves, who had asked him so many questions; and now they ungratefully cast him out for teaching.

Bede. It is commonly the way with great persons to disdain learning any thing from their inferiors.

35. Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God?
36. He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?
37. And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee.
38. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.
39. And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.
40. And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also?
41. Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see: therefore your sin remaineth.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lix. 1.) Those who suffer for the truth’s sake, and confession of Christ, come to greatest honour; as we see in the instance of the blind man. For the Jews cast him out of the temple, and the Lord of the temple found him; and received him as the judge doth the wrestler after his labours, and crowned him: Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He saith unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? The Evangelist makes it plain that Jesus came in order to say this to him. He asks him, however, not in ignorance, but wishing to reveal Himself to him, and to shew that He appreciated his faith; as if He said, The people have cast reproaches on Me, but I care not for them; one thing only I care for, that thou mayest believe. Better is he that doeth the will of God, than ten thousand of the wicked.

Hilary. (vi. de Trin. circa fin.) If any mere confession whatsoever of Christ were the perfection of faith, it would have been said, Dost thou believe in Christ? But inasmuch as all heretics would have had this name in their mouths, confessing Christ, and yet denying the Son, that which is true of Christ alone, is required of our faith, viz. that we should believe in the Son of God. But what availeth it to believe on the Son of God as being a creature, when we are required to have faith in Christ, not as a creature of God, but as the Son of God.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lix. 1.) But the blind man did not yet know Christ, for before he went to Christ he was blind, and after his cure, he was taken hold of by the Jews: He answered and said, Who is He, Lord, that I might believe on Him? The speech this of a longing and enquiring mind. He knows not who He is for whom he had contended so much; a proof to thee of his love of truth. The Lord however says not to him, I am He who healed thee; but uses a middle way of speaking, Thou hast both seen Him.

Theophylact. This He says to remind him of his cure, which had given him the power to see. And observe, He that speaks is born of Mary, and the Son is the Son of God, not two different Persons, according to the error of Nestorius: And it is He that talketh with thee.

Augustine. (Tr. xliv. 15.) First, He washes the face of his heart. Then, his heart’s face being washed, and his conscience cleansed, he acknowledges Him as not only the Son of man, which he believed before, but as the Son of God, Who had taken flesh upon Him: And he said, Lord, I believe. I believe, is a small thing. Wouldest thou see what he believes of Him? And falling down, he worshipped Him. (Vulgate)

Bede. An example to us, not to pray to God with uplifted neck, but prostrate upon earth, suppliantly to implore His mercy.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lix. 1.) He adds the deed to the word, as a clear acknowledgment of His divine power. The Lord replies in a way to confirm His faith, and at the same time stirs up the minds of His followers: And Jesus said, For judgment have I come into this world.

Augustine. (Tr. xliv. 16, 17.) The day then was divided between light and darkness. So it is rightly added, that they which see not, may see; for He relieved men from darkness. But what is that which follows: And that they which see might he made blind. Hear what comes next. Some of the Pharisees were moved by these words: And some of the Pharisees which were with Him heard these words, and said unto Him, Are we blind also? What had moved them were the words, And that they which see might be made blind. It follows; Jesus saith unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin; i. e. If ye called yourselves blind, and ran to the physician. But now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth: for in that saying, We see, ye seek not a physician, ye shall remain in your blindness. This then which He has just before said, I came, that they that see not might see; i. e. they who confess they cannot see, and seek a physician, in order that they may see: and that they which see not may be made blind; i. e. they which think they can see, and seek not a physician, may remain in their blindness. This act of division He calls judgment, saying, For judgment have I come into this world: not that judgment by which He will judge quick and dead at the end of the world.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lix. 1.) Or, for judgment, He saith; i. e. for greater punishment, shewing that they who condemned Him, were the very ones who were condemned. Respecting what He says, that they which see not might see, and that they which see might be made blind; it is the same which St. Paul says, The Gentiles which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. (Rom. 9:30, 31)

Theophylact. As if to say, Lo, he that saw not from his birth, now sees both in body and soul; whereas they who seem to see, have had their understanding darkened.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lix. 1.) For there is a twofold vision, and a twofold blindness; viz. that of sense, and that of the understanding. But they were intent only on sensible things, and were ashamed only of sensible blindness: wherefore He shews them that it would be better for them to be blind, than seeing so: If ye were blind, ye should have no sin; your punishment would be easier; But now ye say, We see.

Theophylact. Overlooking the miracle wrought on the blind man, ye deserve no pardon; since even visible miracles make no impression on you.

Chrysostom. (Hom. lix. 1, 2.) What then they thought their great praise, He shews would turn to their punishment; and at the same time consoles him who had been afflicted with bodily blindness from his birth. For it is not without reason that the Evangelist says, And some of the Pharisees which were with him, heard these words; but that he may remind us that those were the very persons who had first withstood Christ, and then wished to stone Him. For there were some who only followed in appearance, and were easily changed to the contrary side.

Theophylact. Or, if ye were blind, i. e. ignorant of the Scriptures, your offence would be by no means so heavy a one, as erring out of ignorance: but now, seeing ye call yourselves wise and understanding in the law, your own selves condemn you.

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Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 17:1-9

Posted by Dim Bulb on February 23, 2017

Comments on Matthew 17:1-4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Comments on Matthew 17:5–9

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 19:3-12

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 30, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 4, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Aquinas’ Lecture on Psalm 5

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 29, 2016

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

Psalm 5

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

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


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

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

 

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

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 15, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 15, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Psalm 4

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 9, 2016

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

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

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


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

1version?

2in the verse upon which Thomas is presently commenting.

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

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on John 6:15-21

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 2, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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