Thursday, October 30, 2014

Father MacEvilly's Commentary on Romans 5:1-11

This post includes Fr. MacEvilly's brief analysis of Romans 5, followed by his notes on the reading (Rom 5:5-11). Text in purple indicates his paraphrase of the biblical text he is commenting on. Text in red, if any, are my additions.


The Apostle, having proved in the preceding chapters, that our justification comes from faith and not from the works performed by the sole aid of cither the natural law or the law of Moses, now points out the excellence if this justification from its effects and the fruits which it produces. The first effect is, peace and tranquillity of conscience (Rom 5:1). The second is the adoption of us, as sons of God (Rom 5:2). The third is joy in our afflictions, which subserve as means to bring us to the enjoyment of our eternal inheritance (Rom 5:3-5). We have two most consoling and certain grounds for this hope, viz., the diffusion of the Holy Ghost in our hearts, and the death if Christ, than which God could not furnish a greater proof of his boundless love (Rom 5:6–10). The fourth effect of our justification is our glorying in God, as our Father, and in Jesus Christ, as our Mediator (Rom 5:11). In order to show the absolute necessity of this reconciliation on the part of Christ, the Apostle traces matters to the very root of all evil, viz., original sin, of which subject he treats in the remainder of the chapter. 

Rom 5:5  And hope confoundeth not: because the charity of God is poured forth in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost who is given to us. 

5. But this hope of future bliss shall never cause the shame of disappointment, since, as a pledge of the fulfilment of this hope, the charity and liberality of God is poured forth into our hearts by the Holy Ghost who has been given to us. (After giving us this pledge of our future inheritance, what can God deny to us?) 

“And hope confoundeth not.” The Greek for “confoundeth,” καταισχύνει (kataischynei), means shameth, by which is expressed the shame of disappointment resulting from grounding our hopes on vain, delusive promises; but our hopes in God are most certain and infallible, as is seen from two indubitable proofs which he has given us of the fulfilment of his promises. The first proof is the diffusion of the gift of charity, by which we love him through the Holy Ghost, who is given to us, and permanently resides and inheres in our souls by his gifts. The words, “in our hearts” favour this meaning of “charity of God.” “The charity of God” may also refer to the love of God for us manifested by his pouring forth plenteously into our souls the gifts of his Holy Spirit, which permanently reside and inhere in us; and these gifts of sanctifying grace, and the virtues which are inseparable from it, being the seed of future glory, are the surest earnest God could give us of one clay attaining that glory. This latter meaning of “the charity of God,” is rendered probable by verse 8. It may refer to both God’s love for us, and our love for Him. Some Commentators understand the words, “by the Holy Ghost who is given to us,” to refer to a personal union of the Holy Ghost, in a manner peculiar or proper to him, and not common to the Father and Son (see Beelen). From this verse is derived an argument, that sanctifying grace is intrinsic and permanent, as it is “poured forth in our hearts by the Holy Ghost who is given to us,” to reside in us. 

Rom 5:6  For why did Christ, when as yet we were weak, according to the time, die for the ungodly? 

6. In the next place, why should Christ die for us at the prescribed time, when we were yet impious and languishing uder the infirmity of sin, unless it were to display his charity towards us and confirm our hope? 

The second proof of God’s love for us, and a further confirmation of our hope is, the death of Christ for us, “for why did Christ … die for the ungodly?” unless it was by this splendid proof of his love for us to animate and confirm our hope, and give us an assurance, that, one day he would crown his gifts in us. “Why,” is not in the common Greek, which gives the sentence in an affirmative form, ἔτι γὰρ (eti gar). The ancient MSS. have various readings. The Codex Vaticanus, εἴ γε (ei ge). Irenæus and other Fathers support the Vulgate; “weak,” i.e., labouring under the infirmity of infidelity and sin, which is more clearly expressed in the word “ungodly.” The first proof of his great charity which God has given us, is the diffusion of the gifts of his Holy Spirit in our hearts. The second is the death of Christ for us. “According to the time,” i.e., at the precise period, pointed out by the prophets, and fixed on by his heavenly Father. 

Rom 5:7  For scarce for a just man will one die: yet perhaps for a good man some one would dare to die. 

7. Now, scarcely will you find among men an instance of one man dying for another: even though that other be a just man. I say, scarcely, because, perhaps, for the just man, who may be at the same time a benefactor, one may submit to die. 

The Apostle, in order to render the love of charity displayed by God for us in the death of his Son the more conspicuous, contrasts this great act of love on the part of God, with similar manifestations on the part of mankind to one another. “Scarcely will you find one” to carry his love for another to such a degree, as to die for him, even though that one be “a just man.” It may, however, possibly happen that this rare instance of love may be shown in behalf of a just man, who may be, at the same time, beneficent to us. “A good man,” implies, not only that one is just, rendering to every one what is due, but also beneficent to us; and therefore, having some grounds for demanding a sacrifice from us. 

Rom 5:8  But God commendeth his charity towards us: because when as yet we were sinners according to the time.
Rom 5:9  Christ died for us. Much more therefore, being now justified by his blood, shall we be saved from wrath through him. 

8, 9. But in this does God display in a conspicuous manner his charity and love for us, that Christ has died in the plenitude of lime for us, while we were yet his enemies and in the state of sin. Having suffered so much for us while in a state of sin, much more shall we be saved and preserved by him from the eternal punishment, with which we will, in his wrath, visit the impious, now that we have been justified at the price of his precious blood. 

But the charity of God surpasses anything ever heard of, or anything even supposed to be possible among men, by His dying for us, when we were neither “just” nor “good,” but when we were “sinners” and enemies The Greek word for “commends,” συνιστησιν (synestesin), means, to set forth, to display. The words “according to the time,” κατα χαιρον (kata kairon), are not in any Greek copies, and were probably introduced from verse 6. The word “God” is omitted in the Codex Vaticanus, according to which “Christ” is the nominative to “commendeth.” What a lively picture is drawn here by the Apostle of the boundless love of God for man—the Creator dying for us, his wretched creatures, when we were his enemies. How few correspond with this boundless love. How few make a suitable return. Tam amantem quis non redamet? in quantum possumus, amemus, redamemus vulneratum nostrum—(“Who will not return such a love? In so far as we can, let us return love to our lover who was slain” St. Bernard, de Passione). What wonder that the Apostle should invoke the heaviest malediction on the head of him who loves not our Lord Jesus Christ.—(1 Cor. 16:22.) “Let us therefore love God, because God first hath loved us.”—(1 John, 11:19). How frequently should we not meditate on the different circumstances of God’s love for us, as here set forth by the Apostle. 

Rom 5:10  For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son: much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 

10. For, if when we were his enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more now that we are reconciled to him, shall he complete this work of our justification by saving us after having entered on his exalted state of glorious and immortal life. 

In this verse, he repeats with greater emphasis, founded on the contrast between Christ’s ignominious death and glorified life, the idea conveyed in the preceding one. If Christ, in his weak, possible and humiliated state, had, at the expense of his precious blood, performed the more difficult work of reconciling us with God; is it not much more natural to expect, that he will now, in his glorious state of immortal and impassible life, perform in our behalf the complement of the preceding, without which it would be unavailing, viz., bring us to consummate salvation, and thereby perfect the work of our reconciliation? 

Rom 5:11  And not only so: but also we glory in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received reconciliation. 

11. But not only do we glory in the hope of future bliss, and in tribulations as conducing thereto; but, we also glory in God, whose adopted sons we have become, not through any merits of our own, but through those of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have been admitted to the grace of reconciliation with God. 

“And not only so.” Some Commentators, among the rest, Estius, connect these words with the preceding, thus: “and not only have we been reconciled, but we also glory,” &c. The participial form of reconciliati and gloriantes favours this. The connexion in the Paraphrase appears far more probable, and is also well sustained by external authority. The Greek for “we glory” is a participle, καυχωμενοι (kauchomenoi), glorying, but it is equivalent to the indicative. a participle is a verb (“glory”) used as an adjective, (“glorying”). In Greek it can have indicative force, i.e., it indicates something: “we glory.”

Father E.S. Berry's Introduction and Notes to Psalm 25

This psalm is alphabetic in form and closely resembles Psalm 24. In both the Vau verse is lacking, and both have an additional Pe verse at the end. In this psalm the Koph verse is replaced by a second Resh verse. There is nothing in the psalm to indicate the time or occasion of its composition. It is a prayer for aid in time of trouble. The Psalmist is conscious of fidelity to the law of God and expresses firm belief that the godly will be rewarded with peace and prosperity. In the Septuagint (LXX) and the Vulgate the title reads: unto the end, a psalm of David. In Hebrew it is simply A psalm of David. 

Synopsis: David expresses confidence in God (Ps 25:1-4a). He begs for guidance in the path of righteousness and implores forgiveness of his sins (Ps 25:4b-11), for true happiness is found only in the service of God (Ps 25:12-15). He prays to be delivered from his enemies and from his many troubles (Ps 25:16-21). The psalm ends with a chorus (Ps 25:22). 

Psa 25:1  Unto the end, a psalm for David. To thee, O Lord, have I lifted up my soul.
Psa 25:2  In thee, O my God, I put my trust; let me not be ashamed.
Psa 25:3a  Neither let my enemies laugh at me:

Verses 1-3a. “Detached from all earthly desires, I turn to Thee, O Lord, with loving confidence. In Thee do I put my trust. May I never be put to shame by disappointed hopes. May my enemy never have it to say: ‘In vain did he trust in his God for He heard him not.'”

The phrase, I lift up my soul to Thee, implies separation from worldly things and self-surrender to the will of God. 

Psa 25:3bfor none of them that wait on thee shall be confounded.
Psa 25:4a  Let all them be confounded that act unjust things without cause.

Verses 3b-4a. The Psalmist gives the reason for his firm confidence: “No one who has recourse to Thee and seeks Thy aid shall be left unaided. But those who sin maliciously shall be confounded; their hopes shall be frustrated and their prayers unheeded.” 

To wait on God  means to trust Him; to look to Him for help. 

Without cause, i.e., from pure malice; without hope of gain; without provocation. Some understand it to mean “without success,” thus: “let all my enemies be confounded (or, ‘all my enemies shall be confounded’) when they see their evil designs against me prove futile” (Cardinal Bellarmine). 

Psa 25:4b Shew, O Lord, thy ways to me, and teach me thy paths.
Psa 25:5  Direct me in thy truth, and teach me; for thou art God my Saviour; and on thee have I waited all the day long.

Verses 4b, 5. David begs to know the divine will and to be guided in its fulfilment. “Grant, O Lord, that I may know Thy will and fulfil it. Guide me in the way of truth which Thou hast given in the Law; guide me in the observance of Thy precepts, for they are true and just. Teach me lest I stray from the right way. Direct and teach me, for Thou art my Saviour; to Thee do I look for salvation; in Thee do I ever put my trust.” 

Psa 25:6  Remember, O Lord, thy bowels of compassion; and thy mercies that are from the beginning of the world.

Verse 6. To urge his petitions more effectively David reminds God, as it were, of the many favors and mercies shown in times past. The phrase, “which are of old” (from the beginning of the world) clearly indicates that David is not speaking of favors granted to himself personally, but of those granted to the nation to the chosen people of God.

“Remember, O Lord, Thy mercies in times past, when Thou didst choose the people for Thine own; when Thou didst bring them out of Egypt; when Thou didst protect them from all harm through long centuries.” 

Psa 25:7  The sins of my youth and my ignorances do not remember. According to thy mercy remember thou me: for thy goodness’ sake, O Lord.

Verse 7. “Forgive me (remember not) the sins which I committed in my youth and the sins of later life that I have committed through inadvertence or thoughtlessness.” The Hebrew has “transgressions” instead of “ignorance.” Thus the meaning becomes: “Remember not the faults of my youth, into which thoughtlessness and lust have led me; nor the transgressions that I have committed in maturer and more thoughtful years. Regard not my sins, but in Thy mercy and goodness remember me;” or, as St. Augustine puts it: “Remember me not according to Thy anger of which I am worthy, but according to the merciful kindness that is worthy of Thee.”

Some consider this verse as the words of David speaking in the name of the chosen people, and explain the sins of youth as the sins of the people at the beginning of the nation the sins committed by the fathers in Egypt and in the desert. The transgressions would then mean the sins which still prevail amongst the people. 

Psa 25:8  The Lord is sweet and righteous: therefore he will give a law to sinners in the way.
Psa 25:9  He will guide the mild in judgment: he will teach the meek his ways.

Verses 8, 9. “The Lord is good (sweet) and upright; He does not immediately destroy the sinner, but instructs him in the right way; and for the meek and humble He has a special care. He leads them in the path of justice, and teaches them the way that is pleasing to Him.”

A comparison with the Hebrew shows that “sweet” is to be taken in the sense of “good.” 

To give a law means to instruct. Cf. Ps 27:11; Ps 119:33. 

Psa 25:10  All the ways of the Lord are mercy and truth, to them that seek after his covenant and his testimonies.

Verse 10. To those who faithfully observe His covenant and its precepts God deals with mercy and fidelity. His ways are merciful because He will have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim 2:4). His dealings with man kind are truth, i.e., they continually give proof of His fidelity to all His promises. 

Psa 25:11  For thy name’s sake, O Lord, thou wilt pardon my sin: for it is great.

Verse 11. "That Thy mercy may be manifested and Thy name glorified, do Thou pardon my sins,
for they are many." 

Sin is here used in a collective sense. In Hebrew we read: Pardon my iniquity for it is great 

Psa 25:12  Who is the man that feareth the Lord? He hath appointed him a law in the way he hath chosen.
Psa 25:13  His soul shall dwell in good things: and his seed shall inherit the land.

Verses 12, 13. “The God-fearing man shall be greatly blessed. He shall be guided by the Lord in the right way; he shall enjoy lasting prosperity, and his descendants shall inherit his blessings.”

The first blessing is that of divine guidance. God will instruct him in the way that is pleasing to Him, or, as the Hebrew may be rendered: “God will instruct him in the way that he should choose.” The meaning is practically the same. “Among all the blessings which fall to the lot of him who fears God, the first place is given to this, that God raises him above the vacillation and hesitancy of human opinion” (Delitzsch). In the New Law this instruction is provided for by an infallible Church. 

His seed shall inherit the land, i.e., his descendants shall never be deprived of his possessions. They shall always enjoy his happiness and prosperity. Some understand this as a reference to Palestine, the land that God promised to His chosen people. The meaning would be the same, viz.: “Through successive generations those who fear God shall dwell peacefully and securely in the land of promise.”

The words of Christ, Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the land (Matt 5:4), seem to have reference to this verse. It should be noted, however, that earthly happiness promised in the Old Law as a reward for its faithful observance is replaced in the New Law by the happiness of heaven. The land mentioned by Christ in the Beatitude is the Land of Promise par excellence the heavenly fatherland of which Canaan was but a figure. 

Psa 25:14  The Lord is a firmament to them that fear him: and his covenant shall be made manifest to them.

Verse 14. The God-fearing shall also enjoy familiarity with God, and He will make known to them His covenant, or law.

The Hebrew reads: The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him, and His covenant doth He make known to them. The Septuagint reads: κραταιωμα (firmament, foundation) in place of the Hebrew סוד (familiarity, confidential communication, secret), and rendered it: The Lord is the stay of them that fear Him: and His covenant is for their instruction. Or, it may be rendered, His covenant is to instruct them, i.e., “He has bound Himself by covenant.” 

Psa 25:15  My eyes are ever towards the Lord: for he shall pluck my feet out of the snare.

Verse 15. The Psalmist has shown that every perfect gift is from above coming down from God; therefore he turns to Him for deliverance from the machinations of his enemies. “To Thee, O Lord, do I lift my eyes in hope; to Thee do I look for help; I have confidence that Thou wilt deliver me from all dangers.” 

Psa 25:16  Look thou upon me, and have mercy on me; for I am alone and poor.
Psa 25:17  The troubles of my heart are multiplied: deliver me from my necessities.

Verses 16, 17. “Look upon me with favor and be gracious to me, for I am deserted and alone; I am poor and afflicted; the sorrows of my heart are multiplied. Do Thou deliver me from my distress.”
The Hebrew may also be rendered: The straits of my heart do Thou enlarge and bring me out of my distress, i.e., “Quiet my inward sorrows (troubles of the heart) and deliver me from external difficulties (necessities).” 

Psa 25:18  See my abjection and my labour; and forgive me all my sins.
Psa 25:19  Consider my enemies for they are multiplied, and have hated me with an unjust hatred.

Verses 18, 19. “See my affliction and my misery and forgive me my sins lest they stand in the way of my being heard. Mark my enemies, how great their number, and with what hatred they persecute me.” 

Psa 25:20  Deep thou my soul, and deliver me: I shall not be ashamed, for I have hoped in thee.
Psa 25:21  The innocent and the upright have adhered to me: because I have waited on thee.

 Verses 20, 21. “My enemies are many and they persecute me with cruel hatred; therefore, I beseech Thee, guard my life and deliver me from danger. I have hoped in Thee; let me not be put to shame;” or, “I have hoped in Thee, I know that my hopes shall not be vain. Let integrity and uprightness merit Thy aid, for I look to Thee for my defence.”

The Septuagint and Vulgate read: The innocent and upright adhere to me." This seems to contradict verse 16, where the Psalmist complains of being alone, deserted by all. St. Jerome renders it; Single-mindedness and fair dealing shall preserve me.  “And if thou wilt walk before Me… in simplicity of heart and in uprightness … I will establish the throne of thy kingdom over Israel forever” (cf 2 Kings 9:4). 

Psa 25:22  Deliver Israel, O God, from all his tribulations.

Verse 22. “Deliver us (the people of Israel), from all our tribulations.” David prayed not for himself alone, but in the name of the people (cf. verse 6); therefore in this last verse he begs God to deliver the nation from all peril. Many consider this verse a later addition adapting the psalm to liturgical usage.

Father Boylan's Introduction to Psalm 23

Text in red are my additions.


THE Lord’s loving care for the psalmist is described here, first under the symbol of the Good Shepherd (Ps 23:1-4), and then under that of the generous host (Ps 23:5-6). As the shepherd feeds a flock, so the psalmist may be regarded as representing the community (the flock) of Israel. God is the Shepherd of Israel (cf. Exodus 34:11-19), and He is also the master of the house, who entertains Israel in the sacred banquets of the Temple. The singer seems to speak as one who has been through bitter trials (Ps 23:4)—not merely as one who is ready to face with courage the unknown perils of the future. The difficulties of the ancient desert-sojournings, or the trials of the Babylonian Exile may be here referred to. The tone of the psalm reminds one of the “Gradual Psalms.” The “Gradual Psalms are also called the “Songs of Ascent.” In those translation of the Bible that follow the psalm numbering of the Septuagint (e.g., the Douay-Rheims), these psalms are numbered 119-133. In translations following the numbering of the Massoretes (e.g., the NAB) the numbering is 120-134. See the footnote to Psalm 120:1 in the RNAB.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Father MacEvilly's Commentary on 2 Corinthians 5:1, 6-10

This post opens with Fr. MacEvilly's brief summary analysis of 2 Corinthians 5:1-21 and is followed by his notes on today's reading (2 Cor 5:1, 6-10). Text in purple indicates his paraphrasing of the scripture he is commenting on. Text in red, if any, are my additions.

In the first part of this chapter, the Apostle proceeds to account for his own cheerful intrepidity, as well as that of his colleagues, in the midst of dangers and persecutions. It proceeds from the consideration of their future glory, from their firm belief in the future glorification of their bodies (2 Cor 5:1), which glory they are anxious to have imparted to them without bodily dissolution, as nature recoils so strongly from death (2 Cor 5:2-4). But bearing in mind, that it is God who fits them for future glory, of which he has given them a sure earnest, they have great courage and confidence in undergoing all hardships for the Gospel with the hope of arriving at this supreme felicity (2 Cor 5:5–9), to attain which they endeavour, under all circumstances to please God; and keeping before their eyes his tremendous judgement, they so act as to prove to men their sincerity, lest they should be a stumbling-block or a scandal to anyone (2 Cor 5:10-11). He guards against the misconstruction which the false teachers might put upon the circumstance of his praising himself, by an assurance that whether he praises or speaks humbly of his own exploits—he has, in both cases, the glory of God and his neighbour’s good in view (2 Cor 5:12-13). He is moved to pursue this disinterested line of conduct by the example of Christ, whose purchased slaves we are all become by Redemption, who has, therefore, a right to all our services (2 Cor 5:14-1515). Hence, the Apostles, dead to themselves and living only to Christ, regard no one, not even the Redeemer himself, from human considerations; but they regard all from the highest spiritual motives (2 Cor 5:16). This should not be peculiar to the Apostles, as every Christian, after having entered on his new spiritual existence, should do the same (2 Cor 5:17). He refers the merit of all these blessings resulting from our new spiritual existence, to their true source, viz., God, who made us sharers in them by having reconciled us with himself (2 Cor 5:18). He explains the mode in which this reconciliation was effected (2 Cor 5:19). He points out the exalted dignity of the ministers of religion (2 Cor 5:20); and, lastly, assigns a new reason for confidently expecting reconciliation with God, founded on the death of Christ (2 Cor 5:21).

2 Cor 5:1 FOR we know, if our earthly house of this habitation be dissolved, that we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in heaven.

 For, we assuredly know by faith, that when this body of earth, in which the soul dwells for a time, as in a temporary abode or tabernacle, is dissolved by death, we shall have a lasting dwelling from God, viz., a spiritual body given us in the resurrection, unlike the works of art made to last but for a time, this body is not made by human hands, but by the power of God himself.

 “For,” connects the following with the foregoing. The Apostle assigns a reason why he and his colleagues undervalue temporal things, and regard not passing and momentary tribulations. He wishes to point out the future glory that awaits us, both as regards body and soul.

“Of this habitation.” In Greek, τοῦ σκηνους, of this tabernacle, implying that as a tabernacle is only a temporary abode, so the body, in its mortal state, is to be the tenement of the soul only for a time. “A building of God,” in Greek, εκ θεοῦ, Vulgate, ex Deo, “from God,” by which is commonly understood, the body in its glorified state after the resurrection; for it is by the hopes of the glory of the resurrection, the Apostles were encouraged to labour manfully in the work of the gospel, and to it he refers (verse 14) of preceding chapter. This interpretation derives great probability from (verse 3), where the same idea is more fully developed.

2 Cor 5:6 Therefore having always confidence, knowing that while we are in the body we are absent from the Lord.

Having, therefore, this firm faith, and sure earnest of future glory, we cheerfully undergo all sufferings in the cause of the gospel, knowing that as long as we are in the body, we are sojourners from the Lord.

. In consequence of the sure earnest of God’s spirit in our hearts, we always act with courage and cheerfulness under crosses and afflictions—the most secure road of safely arriving at our end—knowing that while we are in this body, we are sojourners from the Lord; we, therefore, hasten towards that country of which we are enrolled as citizens, and in which is our everlasting inheritance.

2 Cor 5:7 (For we walk by faith and not by sight.) 

(For, in this life we are tending towards our heavenly country, guided by the obscure and glimmering light of faith; but we have not yet arrived at the enjoyment of the clear and intuitive vision of God).

 This verse is to be included in a parenthesis—(see Paraphrase).

2 Cor 5:8 But we are confident and have a good will to be absent rather from the body and to be present with the Lord.

We have, I say, courage cheerfully to undergo all sufferings for the gospel, and we regard it as a blessing to be absent from the body, and present with the Lord to enjoy his vision.

 He continues the subject digressed from in the preceding verse: We have courage, I say, under adversity, and we even prefer to be freed from the body to remaining in it, and thus to enjoy God’s beatific vision.

2 Cor 5:9 And therefore we labour, whether absent or present, to please him.

 And therefore, we exert our utmost might, whether absent or present in the body, to be pleasing and acceptable to him.

 If while here “present” in the body, we merit heavenly bliss, and please God, we shall please Him hereafter, when “absent” from the body; we shall be objects always pleasing in His sight, and we shall merit that this happiness be not taken from us for eternity.

2 Cor 5:10 For we must all be manifested before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the proper things of the body, according as he hath done, whether it be good or evil.

For we must all, without exception, stand before the judgment seat of Christ, the Supreme Judge of all, and have our deeds then publicly manifested and exposed, so that each one may receive either the reward or punishment due to him, conformably to the life which he led in the body, according as that life was good or wicked.

 In this verse is given a reason why we should always endeavour to please God; because we must all stand and be examined before the judgment seat of Christ, to whom the Father has transferred all judgment, and whom he has constituted Judge of the living and of the dead. In this judgment, five circumstances are here noticed by the Apostle:—First, it is to be universal—“we all.” Second, inevitable—“we must.” Third, clear and evident, exposing both interior actions and intentions; and hence a source of shame and confusion—“be manifested.” Fourth, irrevocable, as occurring before a supreme Judge, Christ—“before the judgment seat of Christ.” Fifth, most just; being grounded on all the actions, thoughts, &c., of our entire life, “according as he hath done.” What a subject of most serious reflection!

“The proper things of the body.” In Greek, τα δια τοῦ σώματος, the things by the body. The Vulgate interpreters read, ιδια τοῦ σώματος, propria corporis, the reading of Origen. ιδια seems to communicate a stronger or more emphatic meaning: one's own body.

Father McEvilly's Commentary on 2 Corinthians 4:14-5:1

This post opens with Fr. MacEvilly's brief analysis of 2 Corinthians 4:1-18 followed by his comments on today's reading (2 Cor 4:14-5:1). Text in purple represent the author's paraphrasing of the text he is commenting on.


2 Cor 4:14 Knowing that he who raised up Jesus will raise us up also with Jesus and place us with you.

 Firmly impressed with the belief, that he who raised Jesus from the dead, will so raise us, and bestow on us a like glory with Jesus, and give us a place with you in his heavenly kingdom.

“Raised up Jesus.” In the common Greek, raised up the Lord Jesus. (The Codex Vaticanus has not the word Lord). “With Jesus.” (In the common Greek, δια Ιησου, through Jesus). The Codex Vaticanus has, συν ιησου (together with Jesus), the Vulgate reading retained by St. Jerome. This firm belief in their future resurrection animates the Apostles to proclaim it aloud and preach the gospel intrepidly amid the most appalling dangers. “And place us with you.” He uses this form rather than place you with us, to show the great value he attaches to them, so as to prefer them to himself in glory, since he is only to come in for a share of glory of which they will be in possession.

2 Cor 4:15 For all things are for your sakes: that the grace, abounding through many, may abound in thanksgiving unto the glory of God.

 I said, give us a place with you, for all our ministrations are ordained for your salvation, that the grace of the gospel, being diffused amongst many, whilst many are returning thanks for it, may redound to the glory of God.

It is not without cause that he placed them first; for they, or rather their salvation, is the end for which all his labours are designed. From making them sharers in his own glory this good shall result, viz., that the benefits of the gospel being more widely diffused and more extensively communicated, may redound to the glory of God, whilst the many on whom they are conferred will join in returning God thanks for them. Acts of thanksgiving, therefore, contribute much to God’s glory. The Greek, την ευχαριστιαν περισευσση εἰς την δοξαν τοῦ θεοῦ, admits the construction of Erasmus, viz., that the grace abounding through many may abound with thanksgiving unto the glory of God, in which the verb “abound” has a transitive signification, as in 2 Cor 11:8.

2 Cor 4:16 For which cause we faint not: but though our outward man is corrupted, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

Propped up by this hope of future glory (verse 14), we faint not in adversity. For, although our bodies, the exterior portion of our persons, be attenuated by the sufferings we undergo for Christ, and tending to dissolution; still, our interior part, the soul, is daily becoming more and more vigorous and renovated.

 It is the hope of future glory in heaven that animates the just in the midst of sufferings and persecutions. By the “outward man,” is meant the outward and sensible portion of man, viz., his frail and corruptible body. This is attenuated and worn by sufferings. But the “inward man,” the invisible soul, from these same sufferings receives vigour, and is renovated from the oldness of sin to the newness of truth and justice.

2 Cor 4:17 For that which is at present momentary and light of our tribulation worketh for us above measure, exceedingly an eternal weight of glory.

For the fleeting and light afflictions of the body, which we endure at present, shall beget and insure for us hereafter an eternal weight of glory, which ineffably and incomparably exceeds the light and passing afflictions of the present life.

The Greek reading runs thus:—τὸ γὰρ παραυτικα ελαφρὸν τῆς θλιψεως καθʼ ὑπερβολην εἰς ὑπερβολην κατεργαζεται, "for the present lightness of affliction from excess to excess worketh for us above measure," & c.. From excess to excess, or, as we have it, “above measure exceedingly,” means that this weight of eternal glory, which our present light and passing afflictions merit for us, is also ineffable, superlatively immense. This form of expression is common with the Hebrews to express what is ineffably great in its kind; or, the words may mean, that this glory inexpressibly exceeds the sufferings undergone here to gain it. The lightness of our sufferings, and their momentary continuance, are contrasted with the weight and eternal duration of the glory, that shall one day be exchanged for them. “O! our tribulation:” “our” is not in the Codex Vaticanus, as in the above quotation.

2 Cor 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal: but the things which are not seen, are eternal.

Whilst we keep steadily in view, not the goods of the present life, viz., honours, riches, &c., which fill beneath the senses—but the good of the life to come, which are not seen, but only believed. For, the things of this life, which are seen, are fleeting and temporary, while the invisible things of the life to come are eternal and never-ending.

“While we look not at the things which are seen.” The Greek word for “look,” σκοπουντων means keeping steadily in view. Oh! were we, with the eyes of the understanding, and in the light of faith, to consider the nothingness of earthly enjoyments and pleasures, in duration exceedingly brief, and even this very brief enjoyment alloyed with bitterness and remorse and disappointments of all sorts; and on the other hand, were we to contemplate the things of the invisible world, their never-ending duration, their intensity exceeding all human comprehension; were we but to “consider in the heart,” on the awful import of these words, “EVER,” “NEVER;” ever to continue, never to end; what a stimulus to walk in the way of virtue, and keeping God always in view, to look to the remuneration he has in store for us; what a consolation under the crosses and afflictions with which this loving Father may visit us, in order to chasten us with the rod of discipline, and wean us from the nothingness of earthly pleasures. O God! increase in us a spirit of lively faith, so as to view temporal and eternal things, the fleeting affairs of this visible world, and the never-ending concerns of the invisible world, as they are; ever to bear in mind that there are two worlds, the visible and invisible—the one to pass away, as regards us, very soon, nay, sooner than we may imagine; the other never to end, to continue as long as God shall be God—and be influenced in our conduct, with reference to them, according to their relative importance.

2 Cor 5:1 FOR we know, if our earthly house of this habitation be dissolved, that we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in heaven.

 For, we assuredly know by faith, that when this body of earth, in which the soul dwells for a time, as in a temporary abode or tabernacle, is dissolved by death, we shall have a lasting dwelling from God, viz., a spiritual body given us in the resurrection, unlike the works of art made to last but for a time, this body is not made by human hands, but by the power of God himself.

 “For,” connects the following with the foregoing. The Apostle assigns a reason why he and his colleagues undervalue temporal things, and regard not passing and momentary tribulations. He wishes to point out the future glory that awaits us, both as regards body and soul.

“Of this habitation.” In Greek, τοῦ σκηνους, of this tabernacle, implying that as a tabernacle is only a temporary abode, so the body, in its mortal state, is to be the tenement of the soul only for a time. “A building of God,” in Greek, εκ θεοῦ, Vulgate, ex Deo, “from God,” by which is commonly understood, the body in its glorified state after the resurrection; for it is by the hopes of the glory of the resurrection, the Apostles were encouraged to labour manfully in the work of the gospel, and to it he refers in the preceding chapter (2 Cor 4:14). This interpretation derives great probability from (2 Cor 5:3), where the same idea is more fully developed.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Father MacEvilly's Commentary on the Epistle of Jude

This post opens with father's brief analysis of the Epistle of Jude, followed by his commentary. Text in purple indicates his interpretive paraphrase of the scripture he is commenting on


St. Jude commences this Epistle with the usual form of Apostolical salutation (Jude 1:1-2). He next enters on its subject, and says, that to his anxious desire of writing to the faithful, was superadded a sense of duty to do so, in order to exhort them to firmness and perseverance against the machinations of the corrupt teachers, whom he describes, both as to morals and faith (Jude 1:2-3). He then points out some of the instances in which their crimes, and the punishment which is to await these false teachers, were prefigured (Jude 1:5-7); and shows how these heretics followed the pernicious example of the wicked sinners of old (Jude 1:8).

He contrasts their blasphemous conduct with the forbearance exhibited by Michael, the Archangel, towards the devil, when disputing about the body of Moses (Jude 1:9-10); and denounces against them the punishment ofeternal destruction, prefigured in the signal punishment of the wicked of old, whose perverse ways they followed (Jude 1:11).

He next describes their cornpt morals, and the awful doom reserved for them (Jude 1:12-13). He quotes a prophecy of Enoch, to prove the truth of the menaces denounced against those heretics (Jude 14-15). He continues to describe their corrupt morals (Jude 1:16), and cautions the faithful against them, by referring to the words of the other Apostles, graphically describing beforehand their impiety in religion, and corruption of morals (Jude 1:17-18). The Apostle himself gives a further descriptio?i of their disobedience and wicked works (Jude 1:19).

He exhorts the faithful to persevere, and to rear themselves into a spiritual edifice, of which the foundation was to be faith; the superstructure, hope, and charity, joined to earnest prayer (Jude 1:20-21). Hepoints out what line of conduct they should pursue with reference to the heresiarchs and their deluded followers (Jude 1:22-23), and concludes with an appropriate doxology (Jude 1:24-25).

It will be seen by comparing both Epistles, that the 2nd chapter of the Second Epistle of St. Peter and this Epistle of St. Jude, perfectly coincide in their description and denunciation of the early heretics; one Epistle throws great light on the other.

Jud 1:1  Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James: to them that are beloved in God the Father and preserved in Jesus Christ and called.

 Jude, who has been engaged in the service of Jesus Christ, as minister of his gospel, and the brother of James, the lesser (writes), to the called, that is to say, to all Christians, who are beloved and sanctified by God the Father, the author of all sanctity, and are guarded by Jesus Christ, against being led astray by the spirit of error.

“Jude,” (see Introduction), “the servant of Jesus Christ,” refers to the special engagement of preaching the Gospel. Similar is the introduction of the Epistle of St, James, “and brother of James.” This he adds, as well to be distinguished from the traitor, Judas Iscariot, as also to conciliate the good will of those whom he addresses; for, St. James the Lesser was held in the highest esteem by all. “To them that are beloved,” the ordinary Greek is “to them that are sanctified.” The Vatican and Alexandrian MSS. support the Vulgate and our translation: “To them that are beloved,” “in God the Father and preserved and called.” The particle “and,” before “called,” is not in the Greek. Hence “called,” being a noun, is given as a peculiar epithet of all Christians; and the words “beloved of God and preserved,” &c., are predicted of them (as in Paraphrase). The Greek ordinary reading, which for “beloved in God,” has, sanctified in God, is preferred by many, because it conveys to the Christians an exhortation to shun and hold in abhorrence the impurities of the Gnostics, as opposed to the spirit of sanctity which they received. Both readings are employed in the Paraphrase.

Jud 1:2  Mercy unto you and peace: and charity be fulfilled. 

 May the gifts of God’s mercy, and peace, and charity, abound and be multiplied in you.

“Mercy unto you,” i.e., the abundant gifts of God’s grace, which to wretched sinners are a great mercy. Hence the form of salutation here employed by St. Jude, is substantially the same with “grace and peace,” the form usually adopted by the other Apostles. “And charity,” which may mean either the love of God, or of our neighbour. The former is the effect of mercy; the latter, the cause of peace. “Be fulfilled;” the Greek word, πληθυνθειη, also means, to abound and be multiplied.

Jud 1:3  Dearly beloved, taking all care to write unto you concerning your common salvation, I was under a necessity to write unto you: to beseech you to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints.

Dearly beloved, having been heretofore exceedingly anxious to write to you, concerning our common salvation, I felt it has become now a duty of necessity to do so, for the purpose of beseeching and exhorting you to contend earnestly for the unchangeable deposit of the faith once left with the Church.

He introduces in this verse the subject of the Epistle, “taking all care to write to you concerning your common salvation,” (“your,” is not in the ordinary Greek according to which it is, concerning the common salvation. The Vatican and Alexandrian “concerning our common salvation,”) which may either mean—that his desire of writing to them concerning their common salvation, was so great, that he felt himself constrained by this desire, as by a kind of necessity; or, according to others, that he formerly had an anxious desire of writing to them, but, that it now became a matter of duty or necessity to do so, owing to the dangers to which they are exposed, “to beseech you to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints,” i.e., for the integrity of the deposit of faith, “ONCE delivered,” as a deposit in its unchangeable entirety, incapable of increase or diminution; no point of faith can be added to it, or taken from it. Hence, in her Dogmatic Definitions, nothing nezv is defined by the Church. She only formulates revealed doctrines; “to the saints,” i.e., left with the Church, the assembly of the saints.

Jud 1:4  For certain men are secretly entered in (who were written of long ago unto this judgment), ungodly men, turning the grace of our Lord God into riotousness and denying the only sovereign Ruler and our Lord Jesus Christ. 

 (It behoves you earnestly to exert yourselves in the good cause), because, certain men have surreptitiously insinuated themselves amongst you (whose judgment of obduracy here, as well as of eternal punishment hereafter, was long since predicted and prefiured by the punishment of the wicked in the Old Law), impious men, who have no regard for religion; who convert the grace and liberty of the gospel into a licentious system of impurity, and deny the divine nature and Sovereign lordship of the only supreme Lord and God, Jesus Christ.

“For certain men,” &c. The Apostle, in this verse, shows the cause of the necessity, which he was under, of writing to them, viz., because certain men covertly insinuated themselves amongst them; (“who were written of long ago unto this judgment);” these words, which are to be read within a parenthesis, mean, that all the punishment inflicted on the wicked in the Old Law, were so many types and figures of the punishment to be inflicted on the heretics, in the New. Similar is the idea conveyed (Rom. 15:4; Gal. 3:1); “this judgment” refers to their present punishment of obdurarcy and insensibility in this life, as described, verses Jude 1:10-13, of this chapter (for, sin is the most dreadful punishment of sin); and to their eternal punishment hereafter. Similar are the words of St. Peter regarding them (2 Pet 2:3): “ungodly men,” who have no regard for the relations towards God, which religion prescribes; “turning the grace of our Lord God,” i.e., abusing the grace of the gospel and converting it “into riotousness,” i.e., into a system of licentious impurity; thus, looking on the gospel liberty, unto which Christ asserted us, as a perfect freedom from restraint, and a permission to indulge all their corrupt passions. This refers to their errors in morality. He next describes their errors in faith, “and denying the only sovereign ruler, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” The first part is made by some to refer to God the Father; but, it is better refer both members of the sentence to “Jesus Christ.” For, looking to the Greek, τον μονον δεσποτην και κυριον ἡμων, we find the two nouns are preceded by only one article, and followed by the pronoun, and should, therefore, refer to the same subject, viz., “Jesus Christ.” Moreover, the errors of the Ebionites, Simonians, Nicolaites, and Gnostics, regarded the divine nature of Christ, whom they admitted to be the expected Messiah, but denied to be God, this interpretation is confirmed by a reference to 2 Pet 2:1where the idea conveyed is the same as that intended here by St. Jude, and is understood only of Christ. The heretics referred to did not deny one sovereign ruler; they only denied Christ to be such. Of course, when Christ is termed, “the only sovereign ruler,” the Father and the Holy Ghost, who possesses the same Divine nature and essence with him, are not excluded from a participation in the Supreme sovereignty. After “sovereign ruler,” the ordinary Greek adds (“God”), but, it is wanting in the chief MSS.

Jud 1:5  I will therefore admonish you, though ye once knew all things, that Jesus, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, did afterwards destroy them that believed not. 

 I will, therefore, remind you, who have already known all the things necessary for your salvation, that the Lord Jesus, after having rescued the Hebrew people from the Egyptian bondage, did afterwards destroy those amongst them, who were incredulous.

“I will, therefore, admonish you,” i.e., recall to your remembrance, “though ye once knew all things” i.e., you were formerly instructed in all things appertaining to the knowledge of salvation. In the ordinary Greek, we have for “all things,” τουτο, this. The chief MSS. have, παντα, the Vulgate reading. The Apostle now instances a few of the cases in which the heretics, to whom he alludes, “were written of long ago unto this judgment” (verse 4), i.e., in which their condemnation, as well as their crimes were prefigured. The first is, the example of the incredulous Hebrews. “That Jesus having saved the people,” &c.; by “Jesus” (for which in the ordinary Greek we have, κυριος, the Lord; but the Vatican and Alexandrian MSS. have Ιησους, is evidently meant our Lord Jesus Christ); since Josue, to whom, some think, reference to be made, did not save the people out of Egypt, nor did he destroy the unbelievers. “Did afterwards destroy them that believed not.” Caleb and Josue were the only persons, out of 600,000, whose carcasses were not overthrown in the desert (Hebrews 3; Numbers 14 and 26) Reference is made to the same (1 Cor. 14). It was our Lord Jesus, according to his Divine Nature, which existed from eternity, that inflicted those punishments, and effected the deliverance of the Israelites; both acts were common to the Son, with the Father and the Holy Ghost. On this account it may be, that “Lord” was substituted in the ordinary Greek text.

Jud 1:6  And the angels who kept not their principality but forsook their own habitation, he hath reserved under darkness in everlasting chains, unto the judgment of the great day.

And the angels, who, by falling into sin, forfeited their excellence and the primitive state of justice and innocence, in which they were created, and forsook, or rather were forcibly expelled from, their heavenly habitation suited to their former dignity, he hath reserved under darkness, in everlasting chains, unto the judgment of the great and terrible day, when all things shall be brought to a close.

The second example of divine wrath, which, also, prefigured the punishment of the heretics, is that of the fallen angels, whom our Lord, after they “kept not their principality,” i.e., forfeited the original justice and excellence in which they were created; “but forsook their own habitation,” i.e., were hurled from their heavenly habitation, “their own,” alone suited to their former excellence and dignity—“hath reserved under darkness and everlasting chains,” &c. The idea conveyed here, is the same with that expressed in the 2nd Epistle, chap. 2 of St. Peter. Although the words of this passage would appear to afford grounds for the opinion that the devils are confined to hell; it is, however, the far more probable opinion, that they were first hurled into hell; and that some of them were, by divine dispensation, as St. Thomas expresses it, allowed to come forth to tempt and carry on their fiendish war against mankind. Wherever they are, they carry their torments with them. St. Jerome expressly assures us, “omnium Doctorum est opinio, quod aer iste, qui cœlum et terrain medium dividens inane appellatur, contrariis fortitudinibus sit plenus,” (in cap. 6 Ep ad Ephes.; see 2 Pet 2:4).

Jud 1:7  As Sodom and Gomorrha and the neighbouring cities, in like manner, having given themselves to fornication and going after other flesh, were made an example, suffering the punishment of eternal fire. 

As Sodom and Gomorrha, and the neighbouring cities, which, like Sodom and Gomorrha, had committed fornication, and indulged in unnatural lusts, were made an example of the eternal torments of fire, when suffering the dreadful punishment described in the book of Genesis (chap. 19:24).

 The next example (which is also adduced by St. Peter, 2:6), is that of Sodom and Gomorrha, and the neighbouring or surrounding cities, Adama and Seboim “in like manner having given themselves to fornication.” The words, “in like manner,” as appears from the Greek, τον ὁμοιον τουτοις τρόπον, mean, that the other cities gave themselves up, like Sodom and Gomorrha, to fornication, “and going after other flesh.” The words, “other flesh,” are commonly understood to express the unnatural lusts of these sinful cities, to which the Apostle refers (Rom. 1) and which derive their odious name from sinful Sodom; “other,” means contrary to nature; “were made an example, suffering the punishment of eternal fire.” The connexion adopted in the Paraphrase seems the most probable; it is admitted by the Greek, and it connects the words, “eternal fire,” with “example;” they were made an example and clear type of eternal fire, “suffering punishment,” of fire and brimstone, showered down upon them from heaven (Genesis, 19:24).

Jud 1:8  In like manner, these men also defile the flesh and despise dominion and blaspheme majesty.

In the same way, these senseless men (notwithstanding the examples of divine vengeance set before their eyes) defile the flesh by their lusts and impurities; they, moreover, despise all divine and earthly dominion, and blaspheme the celestial majesties.

“In like manner.” In this verse, the Apostle applies to the men in question, the
awful example of the Sodomites. These heretics, like the men of Sodom, “who went after other flesh” (verse 7), “also defile the flesh,” by their impure lusts; and hence, will be involved in the eternal fire, of which the punishment of the Sodomites was an expressive type. In the Greek, we have the words, ομοιως και ουτοι ενυπνιαζομενοι, “in like manner, these dreamers also,” &c., which word, “dreamers,” refers to the delusive, idle fancies of these men, imagining themselves secure, while opposing the holy will of God. “And despise dominion,” understood by some, of the lofty and supreme dominion which God exercises over creation, and which these bring into contempt, by their foolish, ridiculous fables; by others, of ecclesiastical authorities, whom the heretics, in all ages, make it a merit to despise; by others, of civil authority, which the first Christians were accused of undervaluing, owing to the insubordination of the early heretics. “And blaspheme majesty,” (the Greek is plural, “majesties”), this, most probably, refers to the angels, regarding whom the Gnostics held so many disparaging and ridiculous opinions; they are called “majesties” owing to the exalted nature of their office, while assisting before the throne of God. This verse is the same as 2 Pet 2:10. The latter words of the verse, “and despise
dominion,” &c., are not intended as applications of the foregoing examples, they are added to express the crimes of these men; the particle “and” means “Moreover, they despise dominion.”

Jud 1:9  When Michael the archangel, disputing with the devil, contended about the body of Moses, he durst not bring against him the judgment of railing speech, but said: The Lord command thee.

When Michael, the Archangel, disputing with the devil, contended about the body of Moses, he durst not pronounce against him, in reproachful language, the harsh sentence of condemnation, so justly called for; he merely contented himself with saying: May the Lord command, and foil thee in thy attempt.

The Apostle, in this verse, contrasts the blasphemies of these heretics, with the forbearance exhibited by Michael, the Archangel, under circumstances of the greatest provocation, “When Michael the Archangel, &c.” As the circumstance recorded here by St. Jude, is not mentioned in any other part of Scripture, it is likely, he learned it from the tradition of the Jews, as St. Paul learned the names of the Egyptian Magicians, Jannes and Mambres (2 Tim 3:8); or, it may be, that he found it in some of the Apocryphal books, and having been quoted by St Jude, it became a divinely revealed fact of Scripture. Everything in the Apocryphal work need not be untrue. We even find St. Paul quoting some true passages from Pagan authors, and having been quoted by him, they have all the authority of divinely inspired Scriptures (Titus 1:12; 1 Cor 15:33; and Titus, chap. 1.) It is stated in the last chapter of Deuteronomy, that when Moses died, “the Lord,” i.e., Michael, the Archangel, in the name of the Lord, “buried him in the valley of the land of Moab, over against Phogor, and no man hath known of his sepulchre until this present day,” (Deut 34:6). The most probable reasons of this dispute between Michael and the Devil appear to be-first, Because the devil wished to have Moses buried publicly, in order to serve as a rock of offence to the Jews, who, already prone to idolatry, might, at some future day, be tempted to pay him divine honours.  Second, Because the devil would prevent the sepulture of Moses in the land of Moab, in a special manner his own, on account of the gross idolatry of the people; his reason being lest the presence of the saint’s body should obstruct the permanence of his reign, in that land of darkness and idolatry. Michael, on the occasion of the altercation in question, through reverence for a creature, though a fallen creature of God, refrained from cursing him, as he deserved, or from uttering against him maledictory or reproachful language, such as, “Begone into the  infernal abyss, wicked devil, proud, haughty rebel,” or the like. The Tradition, from which the knowledge of this fact has been derived, represents Michael merely as saying, “May the Lord command thee,” i.e., prevent thee from succeeding in thy attempt. This altercation, or rather the reasons assigned for it above, are, by no means opposed to the Catholic worship of images or relics of the saints. The first reason assigned, is not opposed to us, since it supposes that the object of the Archangel was, to guard against paying divine worship to the body of Moses—and Catholics never intend any such worship for images; nor is the second reason—on the contrary, it favours us; for, if the devil feared so much from the presence of the body of Moses, has he not equal reason to fear from the presence of the relics and images of the saints, which are, therefore, entitled to a certain degree of religious respect from us?

Jud 1:10  But these men blaspheme whatever things they know not: and what things soever they naturally know, like dumb beasts, in these they are corrupted.

But these wretched men blaspheme the things, which they neither understand nor know, as they are far above their comprehension; and what things soever they know, like senseless beasts, from mere animal instinct, in these things they are corrupted, by reducing and degrading the dignity of human nature to the level of the brute creation.

“But, these men,” far from following the example set them by the Archangel, “blaspheme whatever things they know not,” which may refer to the ridiculous opinions and idle fables regarding the divine and angelic natures, so far above their comprehension; such opinions are nothing else than blasphemies; or, perhaps he refers to some mysteries of the Christian faith, and certain arduous precepts of Christian morality, which they treat disrespectfully; “and what things soever they naturally know,” i.e., know from the senses and from mere animal instinct, “like dumb beasts,” i.e., senseless beasts, “in these they are corrupted,” i.e., in following and obeying the instincts of carnal concupiscence, they degrade and destroy the dignity of rational nature, reducing it to a level with the beasts.

Jud 1:11  Woe unto them! For they have gone in the way of Cain: and after the error of Balaam they have for reward poured out themselves and have perished in the contradiction of Core. 

An eternal malediction is in store for them, because they have, like the fratricide Cain, murdered the souls of their brethren, by infusing into them the poison of corrupt doctrines. They eagerly rush into the sin committed by Balaam, from the same motives of sordid avarice; and by their disobedience to the divinely constituted authorities, they have become faithful followers of Core, and involved themselves in the like punishment.

“Woe unto them.” He denounces against them the merited sentence of eternal punishment; for, having imitated Cain, Balaam, and Core in their crimes, they shall be involved in their ruin. “For they have gone in the way of Cain,” by becoming spiritual murderers of their brethren, infusing into them the deadly poison of their corrupt doctrines; they have also imitated Cain in his irreligion and impiety, reserving to himself the best gifts of the earth, because they seek after their own advantage, without any regard for the interests of God ; “and, after the error of Balaam, they have for reward poured out themselves,” i.e., they have ardently and eagerly encouraged immorality, to advance their own private ends. Balaam, whose history is given (Numbers 22 & 24.) counselled Balac, King of Moab, as is inferred from Numbers (24:14, 31:16), and Apocalypse (chap. 2 verse 14), and is attested by Josephus (lib. 4, Antiq. chap. 6), to send the beautiful women of Moab and Madian into the Hebrew camp, in order to entice the Hebrews to commit fornication, and afterwards worship Beelphegor; this counsel had the intended effect, as appears from Numbers, chap. 25:1, 2. So, in like manner, the Simonites and Gnostics corrupt the people, from motives of avarice and sensuality. “And have perished in the contradiction of Core,” the punishment of Core is a clear type of the punishment in store for them, on account of murmuring and rebelling hke him and his associates, (Numbers 16) against the authority appointed by God to rule them. Whether Core was swallowed down to hell by the opening of the earth, or was merely destroyed with the two hundred and fifty Levites, by fire from heaven, is disputed. It is quite clear, from Numbers, 16:33, and Deuteronomy 11, and Psalm 105., that Dathan and Abiron were swallowed down in the opening of the earth. In the three examples adduced, St. Jude marks out three leading vices of the heretics, viz. : envy, avarice, and ambition, besides the vice common to them with all sinners of old, viz., hostility towards the true worshippers of God, as in the case of Cain, who hated Abel; of Balaam, who hated God’s people; and of Core, who rejected the authority of Moses and Aaron.

Jud 1:12  These are spots in their banquets, feasting together without fear, feeding themselves: clouds without water, which are carried about by winds: trees of the autumn, unfruitful, twice dead, plucked up by the roots: 

These men are spots, and a disgrace both to religion and humanity in your Agapes or feasts of Christian love, feasting with you in such a way as to show by their excesses that they have neither reverence for God, nor fear of man, seeking their own gain and emolument, while pretending to be concerned for the spiritual progress of others; they are clouds without water, which neither irrigate the earth, nor permit the genial rays of the sun to warm it, changeable as the winds, and inconsistent in their teachings; they are autumnal trees, that never bring fruit to maturity, they are without any fruit whatever; altogether dead, plucked up from the very roots.

The Apostle now describes, in glowing metaphorical language, the immoralities of these bsretics. “These are spots in their banquets ;” the Greek is, εν ταις αγαπαις, in your Agapes. The Apostle, most probably, alludes to their improper conduct at the Agapes, or feasts of charity, so common in the infancy of the Church, as preparatory to the holy communion, and to which the rich and poor were indiscriminately admitted (vide 1 Cor 11) These heretics insinuated themselves into the edifying meetings of the Christians, of which they were the disgrace, owing to their misconduct. The Greek word for “spots,” also signifies ” rocks” of scandal, but the other meaning assigned it accords better with the words of St. Peter (chap. 2verse 13), which St. Jude closely follows in this Epistle.  “Feasting together without fear,” i.e., without reverence for God or fear of man—-“feeding themselves;” while pretending to seek the spiritual good of their people, of whom they constitute themselves teachers, they, in reality, only seek their own gain and emolument. “Clouds without water,” which, far from serving the earth by the wholesome irrigation of the waters of heaven, on the contrary, injure it by intercepting the genial warmth of the sun. ” Which arecarried about by the wind;” these words show the fickleness of heretics, and the ever varying inconsistency of their doctrines. “Trees of the autumn,” i.e., trees which produce leaves and fruit at the close of the autumn, which never come to maturity; “unfruitful,” i.e., it should rather be said they produce no fruit at all. The word “unfruitful,” intensifies the word “autumnal;” “twice” (i.e., altogether) “dead.”  “Twice,” bears this meaning frequently in SS. Scripture (v.g., jeremias, 17, 18; Proverbs, 41:21; Isaias, 60:2). Altogether dead, and without any hope of ever recovering life or vegetation, for they are “plucked up by the roots.” The last words add in intensity to the words “twice dead.” They strongly convey the utter hopelessness, nay, almost impossibility, of deriving any good from an heresiarch.

Jud 1:13  Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own confusion: wandering stars, to whom the storm of darkness is reserved for ever. 

Like raging waves of the sea, they are turbulent and boisterous in their conduct, foaming out, in the obscenity of their acts and language, their own confusion and shame. They are wandering stars, shedding a false light, ever wandering from the true path of the gospel, whose end is to be utterly extinguished in that storm of darkness, whither they are hurrying, reserved in punishment of their iniquities, for ever and ever.

“Raging waves of the sea,” shows the restless, boisterous, turbulent conduct of these heretics, “foaming out their own confusion,” expressive of their impotent rage against the immovable rock of Christ’s Church, and of their obscene, filthy language and conduct. Similar are the words of Isaias, 57:20. “Wandering stars;” pretending to give light to their followers, a false light, however, “wandering” from the unchangeable and fixed course marked out by the gospel.

“To whom the storm of darkness is reserved for ever.” In 2 Peter 2:17, the same Greek words are translated in our English version, “to whom the mist of darkness is reserved.” The Apostle, to express their eternal punishment, employs the words “storm of darkness,” rather than eternal fire, in allusion to the spiritual darkness in which these heretics kept their duped followers, whereof eternal darkness is the appropriate punishment. All the foregoing metaphors represent the corrupt morals of those heretics.

Jud 1:14  Now of these Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying: Behold, the Lord cometh with thousands of his saints: 

Now, of these, Enoch also, the seventh patriarch inclusively in a direct line from Adam, prophesied, when he said: “Behold the Lord cometh with thousands or myriads of his holy angels,”

The Apostle quotes a prophecy of the patriarch Enoch, the seventh in a direct line from Adam inclusively, in proof of this assertion, that these impious men shall be subjected to everlasting punishment. “Behold the Lord cometh,” or, will come (the present is, in a prophetic style, employed for the future, on account of the certainty of the predicted event), “with thousands of his saints.” The Greek reads with his holy myriads. The Vulgate has, with his holy thousands. He refers to the angels who will, at his second coming, to which reference is here made, accompany our Lord to judgment; for, the just men will be rapt up into the air, to meet him at his descent.

Jud 1:15  To execute judgment upon all and to reprove all the ungodly for all the works of their ungodliness, whereby they have done ungodly: and for all the hard things which ungodly sinners have spoken against God.

To execute judgment upon all the reprobate and to convict the impious and ungodly of all their wicked deeds, and of all the blasphemous language, which they uttered against him and his holy mysteries.

“To execute judgment upon all” the reprobate, “and reprove all the ungodly of all the works of their ungodliness.” The Greek is, “and reprove all the impious AMONG THEM of all the works of their impiety” according to which the meaning is, that although judgment would be executed on all the wicked, still against the impious in particular, such as were the heretics whom St. Jude addresses, a special judgment of more severe exposure and scrutiny would be instituted for their impious actions; “among them,” is wanting in the chief MSS.; “and of all the hard things which ungodly sinners have spoken,” i.e., of all the words of unbelief, impiety and blasphemy, which they uttered against God and his precepts, and the truths of his heavenly revelation.  “Against
God,” in Greek, κατ αυτου, “against him.”” This prophecy of Enoch must have been known by St Jude, either from tradition, if it was merely verbally announced by the patriarch, or taken from some writing now lost, which the Apostle, from inspiration, knew to be true, so far as this prophecy is concerned; this, being quoted by St. Jude here, becomes a portion of divine Scripture, and is attested by the authority of the Holy Ghost; and even, though it were quoted from the apocryphal book of Enoch, it furnishes no argument against the inspiration of this Epistle, any more than quoting from Pagan writers (1 Cor 15:23; Titus 1:12), does against the inspiration of these Epistles of St. Paul (Vide verse 9).

Jud 1:16  These are murmurers, full of complaints, walking according to their own desires: and their mouth speaketh proud things, admiring persons, for gain's sake.

These men are always murmuring against authority, always discontented with their own lot, finding fault with their neighbours, and especially their superiors; following their carnal desires, induling in pompous, swelling, and empty words, flattering, and paying court to the wealthy, for the sake of private gain and emolument.

The Apostle continues the description of their corrupt morals: “murmurers,” i.e., passing censure on their superiors.  “Full of complaints,” the Greek, μεμψιμοιρο, means, finding fault with and blaming their lot or condition, probably finding fault with the disposition of Providence and the arrangement of their superiors in their regard; “walking according to their own desires,” i.e.., indulging in passions, or pertinaciously adhering to their own opinions; “and their mouth speaketh proud things,” (vide chap. 2 Pet 2:18, where the same words are employed). “Admiring persons,” i.e., paying court to, and flattering persons in power and influence, “for gain sake,” i.e., from motives of selfish gain and private emolument.

Jud 1:17  But you, my dearly beloved, be mindful of the words which have been spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ:

But do you, dearly beloved keep in mind the words which have been told to you beforehand, by the Apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Apostle now enters on an exhortation to them to continue firm in the faith, by reminding them of the words of the Apostles. Reference is, probably, made to the words of St. Paul to Timothy (2 Tim  chap. 3 and 4), and to St. Peter (2 Epistle, chap. 3), whose words are perfectly the same with the following words of St. Jude himself.

Jud 1:18  Who told you that in the last time there should come mockers, walking according to their own desires in ungodlinesses.

Who told you, that in the last age of the world, on which we have already entered, there would come men whose religion would consist in scoffing at everything sacred; and their morality, in freely indulging their own base and grovelling passions.

The things which they predicted are, “that in the last time there should come mockers,” (similar are the words of St. Peter, 2 Pet 3:3, the Commentary on which see) i.e., men who would mock at everything sacred and hallowed in religion; “walking according to their own desires in ungodliness.” These words point out the corruption of their morals.

Jud 1:19  These are they who separate themselves, sensual men, having not the Spirit.

These are the men, who now are causing separation and exciting schisms, both in their own case and that of others, who lead a sensual and animal life, and are destitute of the spirit of God.

The Apostle gives further marks of the impious and immoral men who were spoken of beforehand by the other Apostles; “who separate themselves,” (“themselves,” is not in the Greek), men who cause schisms in the Church, from which they go out themselves, and influence others to do the same. “Sensual men, having not the spirit;” these words may, also, besides the meaning assigned them in the Paraphrase, have the same signification that the words “sensual man” have in the first Epistle to the Corinthians (1 Cor 2:14), signifying, a man who regulates all his faith by reason, and rejects whatever he cannot see, according to reason. With such men those are contrasted who have the spirit (” spiritual man,”) who, practised in the principles of faith, are always prepared to submit to authority—(see 1 Cor 2:14).

Jud 1:20  But you, my beloved, building yourselves upon your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,

But do you, dearly beloved, rear yourselves into a spiritual edifice, of which the sure foundation will be your most holy faith, and the superstructure, prayer offered up with the proper dispositions, inspired by the Holy Ghost.

In this verse, the Apostle resumes his exhortation; “but you, building yourselves upon your most holy faith,” He exhorts them to rear themselves into a spiritual edifice, of which “our most holy faith” is to be the foundation. He calls faith “most holy,” because it emanates from the Divine mind, which is the fountain of all sanctity, and by saying, “your faith,” he shows they should have no connexion with the impure faith of the Gnostics. The Apostles frequently represent the soul of each Christian in particular, as well as the entire assemblage of Christians in general, under the expressive image of a spiritual edifice (v.g. Eph 2:21; 1Cor 6; 1Peter 2:1).  “Praying in the Holy Ghost,” the first part of the superstructure is prayer, accompanied with the requisite dispositions; “in the Holy Ghost,” since, without it, we cannot obtain the necessary graces, nor above all, the all necessary grace of final perseverance, which if we obtain, we are saved, if we fail to obtain, we are certainly eternally lost; and it can only be obtained by suppliant prayer, “suppiciter emerei potest.”—St. Augustine. We should pray for this necessary gift unceasingly.

Jud 1:21  Keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, unto life everlasting.

Persevere in the love and grace of God and the patient hope in God’s mercy until, through the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ, you shall obtain life everlasting.

The next part of the superstructure in this spiritual edifice is “the love of God,” in which he exhorts them to persevere. “Keep yourselves in the love of God,” which may either mean, the love of God for us, or our love for him, or both; for one follows from the other. Hence, the words mean, persevere in the grace and love of God. “Waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.” This refers to patient, enduring hope, amid the trials and difficulties of life, until the reward of our sufi”erings shall be given us, viz., life everlasting, through the gracious merits of our Lord Jesus Christ. Hence, this spiritual edifice will have faith for its foundation; hope and charity producing the good works which the grace of God, obtained by fervent prayer, will enable them to perform, for its superstructure.

Jud 1:22  And some indeed reprove, being judged:
 And reprove some, who by their pertinacious defence of false doctrines and obstinate perseverance in error, show that they are already condemned, and their conversion morally hopeless; and make manifest to all the absurdity of their tenets.
 Jud 1:23  But others save, pulling them out of the fire. And on others have mercy, in fear, hating also the spotted garment which is carnal.
 But others, who are in the proximate danger of perversion and spiritual ruin, rescue from destruction in the eternal fire which is prepared for them; and on others, who, through weakness have been entangled in the snares of these wicked deceivers, have compassion, by representing beforehand to them the terrors of the divine vengeance, which they have been treasuring, up for themselves; at the same time taking care to hate and detest the errors of these impious men and their sensual and corrupt morals, which defile both soul and body.

“And some indeed reprove, being judged,” i.e., the heresiarchs and others amongst them who obstinately persevere; reprove,” i.e., publicly convict and show the absurdity of their errors, in order to render their teaching innocuous to others. “Being judged.” Such persons are self-condemned by the notoriety and evidence of their perversity, and their conversion morally hopeless. Similar is the idea expressed by St. Paul (Titus 3:11):—”Subversits est, cum sit propria judicio condemnatus.” “But others save, pulling them out of the fire,” i.e., such as are in imminent danger of perversion and ruin, like a thing cast into the fire, and about to burn, these save and rescue from spiritual destruction. “Pulling them out of the fire,” expresses the immediate risk, in which they are placed. “And on others have mercy in fear.” This is a third class, who had been inveigled by false teachers. On this class he recommends them to have compassion, and to show them mercy, “in fear,” i.e., by pointing out the fear of divine judgment, in order that they may avoid it in time, which is the greatest mercy. The words “in fear,” may be also understood to mean, with a spirit of mildness and consideration for their weakness, mindful of your own liability to fall, as is recommended by St. Paul (Gal 6:1). It is to be observed that there is a diversity between our reading and that of the present Greek copies. Instead of three classes of persons, regarding the treatment of whom the Apostle here speaks, and three members of a sentence, as in our Vulgate, the ordinary Greek only treats of two classes of persons, and contains only two members in the sentence. It runs thus: “on some have compassion, making a distinction, but others save in fear, snatching them out of the fire“, in which there is no reference made to the first class of persons mentioned in our Vulgate, viz., “others reprove, being judged.” In some Greek copies, however, instead of “have mercy,” we find “reprove” in the first member of the sentence, as in our Vulgate. Beza testifies that he found the Vulgate reading in three Greek copies, and Œumenius, as appears from his Commentary, evidently found the same reading. In both the ordinary Greek and Latin Vulgate, the second member is the same, except that in the Greek, the words “in fear,” are added to the second member, thus:  “But others save in fear,” &c. The reason, then, why three members are found in our version seems to be, that the Latin interpreter, finding in one Greek copy the word, “reprove,” and in another, the words ” have mercy,” united these several readings ; and thus made out a third member by fusing these distinct readings into one. The reading of the Codex Vaticanus runs thus: And some, indeed, compassioniate, being judged, save, snatchingfrom the fire, but on others have compassion in fear. “Having also the spotted garment which is carnal.” In these words, the Apostle instructs them to observe circumspection and prudence, in their charitable intercourse with the deluded followers of the Gnostics, to shun and detest their errors and their corrupt morals—which is the external garment in which they appear—as they would the garment of one who had been suffering from an infectious distemper. Allusion is probably also made to the command of the Jewish law (Leviticus 15.), prohibiting all contact with the clothes of a person infected with leprosy, &c. Some persons understand the words in their literal signification, as implying the avoidance of all unnecessary communication with the heretics in question.

Jud 1:24  Now to him who is able to preserve you without sin and to present you spotless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, in the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:

  Now to God, who alone is able, and knows how to preserve you unto the end without sin, and bestow on you the great gift of final perseverance, and to present you free from all guilt and stain of sin, when you shall appear with exceeding great exultation before the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, when he shall come to judge the world.

The Apostle closes with a magnificent doxology, opposed to the errors of the Gnostics, in which he shows from what source we are to obtain the graces necessary for a holy life and final perseverance, and in which is also implied a prayer that God would bestow these gifts on us. “To preserve you without sin,” so as to persevere unto the end, “and to present you spotless,” &c., which refers to their being presented to our Lord Jesus Christ, when he comes in his glory to judge the world. “With exceeding joy,” expresses the great exultation and transport of the blessed in meeting their Judge at the last day, when, exempt from all sin, and freed from all liability to temporal punishment, they are about to enter on glory, both as to soul and body. The words, “in the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,” are not in the Greek.

Jud 1:25  To the only God our Saviour through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory and magnificence, empire and power, before all ages, and now, and for all ages of ages. Amen.

To the only true God our Saviour (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost), through Jesus Christ our Lord, are due, glory and magnificence, dominion and power, from all eternity, and now, and unto the never-ending ages of eternity. So be it.

“To the only God, our Saviour.” In the ordinary Greek, to the only wise God, &c. Wise, is, however, wanting in the chief manuscripts, and is rejected by critics generally. The words, most probably, refer to the entire Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. “Through Jesus Christ our Lord.” These words are not in the ordinary Greek; they are, however, found in the chief MSS., and now generally received. “Be glory,” &c., express the majesty and high dominion of God over all creatures, and the consequent glory and honour which are due him.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Father Boylan's Introduction to Psalm 24

Note: the following comes from Father Patrick Boylan’s THE PSALMS: A STUDY OF THE VULGATE PSALTER IN LIGHT OF THE HEBREW TEXT. Because Father Boylan is following the Vulgate text his numbering of the Psalms will probably differ from most modern bibles. What we call Psalm 24 is Psalm 23 in the Vulgate; likewise, his reference to Psalm 14 corresponds to Psalm 15 in most modern translations. Here is a handy reference chart for your convenience.It should be noted that even today there is not agreement as to how the Psalms should be properly divided and, therefore, numbered. Most modern bibles follow the Hebrew numbering merely as a matter of convenience. See footnote 1 to Psalms 9-10 in the NAB.

Ps 24:4-6 answer the question; “Who is the friend and guest of the Lord?”‘ (like Ps 14). The answer is: “He whose thoughts and acts are pure.” In Ps 24:1-2 the majesty of the Lord, the Founder of the universe, is described. The sixth verse would form a very natural ending to what precedes; and a very neat and beautiful poem, similar in theme to Ps 14, might be regarded as completed in Ps 24:1-6.

In Ps 24:7-10 is celebrated a solemn entry of the Lord into His Sanctuary. Thus the second part of Psalm 24 deals, like the first (Ps 24:1-6), with entrance into the Sanctuary, but the first part (Ps 24:1-6) deals with the ethical conditions demanded from Israelites who will sojourn there; while the second (Ps 24:7-10) speaks of the glorious entrance of the Lord into His own shrine. The poetical structure differs in the two parts of the psalm, and the view has often been expressed that we have in this psalm a combination of two poems which had originally nothing to do with each other. It might be well maintained that the second part of the psalm was chanted for the first time when David brought the Ark to Sion, and that it was afterwards sung whenever the Ark was being carried back to its sanctuary at the close of a victorious military campaign, in which the Ark, as the symbol of God, had been carried on the battlefields. The words of the second part of the psalm would find a very natural explanation if they could be regarded as part of the liturgy recited at the return of the Ark from victorious warfare, but there is, unfortunately, no direct evidence that the Ark was carried out to battle during the monarchical period.

Some recent commentators have conjectured that the whole psalm was composed for an annual Feast of Dedication of the Temple at which the Ark was carried out from its shrine, and borne back to it again. But there is no trace of such an annual festival in ancient Israel.

The structure of Ps 24:3-6 and of Ps 24:7-10 is obviously dramatic and liturgical. A procession in both parts approaches the Temple, and voices from without and within are heard in question and reply. The translation suggests the order of speakers or singers (I’ve reproduced this below). Cf. Ps 14 (i.e., Ps 15); Isa 33:14-16 ; Micah 6:8 ff.

Ps 24:1.  On the First day of the week. A psalm of David.

Ps 24:2.  The world is the Lord’s, and all that it holds; The universe and everything that dwells therein. For He hath established it upon the seas; And upon the waters He hath made it firm.

(The procession asks)
Ps 24:3. Who shall ascend the mountain of the Lord? And who shall stand in His holy place? 

(The Priests at the Temple-entrance respond)
Ps 24:4. He that is clean of hands, and pure of heart; He that setteth not his desire on vanity, And sweareth not treacherously to his neighbour.
Ps 24:5. Such a one will receive blessings from the Lord, And graciousness from his God, who is so rich in help.
Ps 24:6. Such are the men who seek Him, Who seek the face of the God of Jacob . 

(The procession with the Ark)
Ps 24:7. Open, O Princes, your gates! And raise yourselves, ye everlasting gates!
That the glorious King may enter in! 

(A voice from within the sanctuary)
Ps 24:8a. Who is this glorious king? 

(The procession)
Ps 24:8b. The Lord, the Mighty and Strong, The Lord who is powerful in battle!
Ps 24:9. Open, O Princes, your gates! And raise yourselves ye everlasting gates! That the glorious King may enter in. 

(Voice within)
Ps 24:10a. Who is this glorious king? 

Ps 24:10b. The Lord of Hosts is the glorious King.