Thursday, August 21, 2014

St Augustine On "The Lord Passing By"

The following is excerpted from St Augustine's 349th sermon. At the end I've provided some links to various things by and about St Augustine.

OUR LORD PASSING BY

Be of better comfort. Arise, He calleth thee (Mk 10:47)
Image by Eustache Le Sueur: "Christ Healing the Blind Man"
Circa A.D. 1600
THE blind man cried out as Christ was passing by, for he feared that Christ would pass without curing him. And how did he cry? He cried so that he would not be silenced by the crowd. He triumphed over its opposition and won his Saviour. In spite of the crowd who strove to silence the blind man, Jesus stood still, and called to him, and said, What wilt thou that I do? Lord, he said, that I may see. And Our Lord answered, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath made thee whole. Have a love for Christ; desire the light, which is Christ. If that blind man desired the light of the body, how much more should you desire the light in your heart. Let us cry out to Him, not with our voices, but with our works. Let us live holy lives and despise the world; let all transitory things be as no thing to us. Worldly men, when they see us living in this fashion, will give us, as they deem it, a friendly warning. They love the world and the things of dust without a thought of heaven, and take freely what enjoyment they can find. They will surely censure us if they see us despising these things of earth. They will say, "What mad thing are you doing?" They form the censuring crowd who want to prevent the blind man from crying out. There are some Christians who are against a Christian mode of life, for that crowd itself was walking with Christ, and impeding a blind man who was crying out with all his might for Christ^ and wishing for the light from the succour of Christ. There are some Christians of this kind, but let us conquer them by our holy lives,, and let our life itself cry out to Christ. He will stand for us, because He stands for ever (stabit, quia stat).

For there is a great mystery in this. He was passing by when the blind man cried out, but when He healed He stood still. Let this passing by of Christ make us eager to cry to Him. What is the passing by of Christ? Whatever He bore for us in time constitutes His passing. He was born: in this He has passed, for is He still being born? He grew: in this He has passed, for does He still grow? He was at His mother's breast, and does He still suck? When He was weary He slept; does He still sleep? Last of all, He was taken and loaded with chains, scourged, crowned with thorns, struck, and spit upon, hung upon a tree, put to death, pierced by a lance, and He rose again from the sepulchre; He is still passing. He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father; that is His permanent place. Cry to Him as much as you can; He will now enlighten you; for inasmuch as the Word was with God, He did not pass by, for He was the unchangeable God. And the Word was God, and the Word was made flesh. In His human passing the flesh did and suffered many things; the Word was immutable. The heart is enlightened in that Word itself, because in that Word itself the flesh which he took upon Himself is honoured. Take away the Word, and what is the flesh? Nothing more than the flesh of any ordinary man. But the Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us, that the flesh of Christ might be honoured. Let us therefore cry out to Him and live holy lives. . . .

Pope Benedict on St Augustine:
The City of God. Text at New Advent.
The Confessions of St Augustine. Text at New Advent.
Book 1 & Book 2 of St Augustine's Commentary on the Sermon on the Mount.

A Newer Translation of  On the Sermon on the Mount. Online book. Use the sites zoom feature to increase text size.

Leaves From St Augustine. Online book. Excerpts from his works on many different subjects. Use the site’s zoom feature to increase text size if necessary.

St Augustine, Sex Addict to Saint. By Bishop Alban Goodier, S.J. Excerpted from his book Saints For Sinners. 13 pages.

Explanation of the Rule of St Augustine. By Hugh of St Victor.



Sunday, August 17, 2014

My Notes on Ezekiel 24:15-23

Background~In 603 BC the Kingdom of Judah came under the vassalage of the Babylonian empire.  In 601 BC Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, met Pharaoh  Neco of Egypt in battle; a battle in which both sides suffered heavy losses. Encouraged by this setback to Babylon's military might, the reigning king of Judah, Jehoiakim, decided to rebel. Busy rebuilding his army after the devastating stalemate with Pharaoh Neco the king of Babylon was unable to campaign in 600-599 BC, and throughout much of 598 BC his revitalized forces were busy elsewhere. However, he was able to send small forces of his Babylonian regulars, along with mercenaries, into Judah to harass king and populous. In December 598 he was able to send his army. That same month the rebellious king of Judah, Jehoiakim, died, leaving his 18 year old son, Jehoiachin to deal with the problem. On March 16, 597 BC the young king surrendered and he, along with his family, government official, and leading citizens were taken into exile in Babylon. His uncle, Mattaniah, renamed Zedekiah, was place on the throne as the new vassal king to Babylon (see 1 Kings 23:36-24:17). It was in this deportation that Ezekiel was also taken into Babylon where, on July 31, 593 BC he received his call to prophecy (Ezek 1:1-2). In spite of prophecies to the contrary (i.e., by Jeremiah), the people in exile were under the delusion that Jerusalem and the Kingdom of Judah would continue in existence, and that their exile would soon end. It was one of Ezekiel's primary prophetic duties to disabuse the people of this expectation. Jerusalem would fall; the exile would continue (see Ezek 4:1-11:13; 12:1-28; 15:1-8; 16:1-63, etc.).

On January 15, 587 BC Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, laid siege to Jerusalem (Ezek 24:1-2). On this very day God commanded Ezekiel to declare a parable about a cauldron unto the exiles (see Ezek 24:3-14). To understand the overall point of the passage one has to recall that in Ezek 11:3 the people of Jerusalem had compared their city to a cauldron, and themselves as the meat in it. The point of this comparison seems to be the following: just as a pot protects meat from the fire, so too Jerusalem--the Holy City where God manifested His presence in the Temple--would provide protection for the people.  But because of the blood shed in the city it would not be a protective kettle for the arrogant who placed their hope in its protection (Ezek 11:7-11). The people were unaware that the Divine Presence had already left the Temple and the city, sealing their fate (Ezek 10:18-23).

In the parable of the cauldron (Jerusalem) the people are the choice meat which will be given out indiscriminately, an image of exile (Ezek 24:3-6). But blood has corrupted the cauldron (Jerusalem) and it must be purified. God will heap up a great fire to cook the meat (people) within the pot (Jerusalem), then, with the pot empty, (due to exile) He will heat the pot until its corrupting rust disappears (Ezek 24:9-11). The corrupting rust will not disappear, however (Ezek 24:12). It is implied that a greater cleansing must take place. So too with the people, their willful corruption makes an intense purification by God necessary (Ezek 24:13-14). It is at this point that today's reading begins.

Ezek 24:15  And the word of the Lord came to me, saying:
Ezek 24:16  Son of man, behold I take from thee the desire of thy eyes with a sudden stroke, and thou shall not lament, nor weep; neither shall thy tears run down.
Ezek 24:17  Sigh in silence, make no mourning for the dead: let a fancy covering for thy head be upon thee, and thy shoes on thy feet, and cover not thy lip, nor eat the food of mourners.


On the same day on which Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to Jerusalem, and Ezekiel was told to speak the parable of the cauldron, his wife died. Although she is the desire of his eyes he is not to engage in the usual physical mourning (lament, crying). He is to maintain silence. Then as now in the Middle East loud, public expressions of grief were the norm at the death of a loved one. He is not to divest himself of a head covering-a traditional mourning practice-but rather place an ornate covering upon it. He is not to go barefoot, as was the norm of people mourning. Neither shall he cover his lip (i.e., mustache and beard). He is to abstain from the food of mourners (i. e., food prepared by others since food could not be prepared in the house of a dead person.

Ezek 24:18  So I spoke to the people in the morning, and my wife died in the evening: and I did in the morning as he had commanded me

"The prophet-any prophet-was never a person who could divorce himself from the people to whom the Lord sent him both as a messenger and a representative.  Not even Amos (cf. Am 7:1-6) could do this. It was part of the prophetic vocation and its burden that it had to share in the destiny of its people...So as Ezekiel records, 'I spoke to the people in the morning, and in the evening my wife died.' Apparently he was simply a causality of divine providence, a sign, a symbol. Some faith is necessary. 'And on the next morning I did as I was commanded'" (Father Bruce Vawter and Father Leslie J. Hoppe,  A NEW HEART, page 115).  

Ezek 24:19  And the people said to me: Why dost thou not tell us what these things mean that thou doest?
Ezek 24:20  And I said to them: The word of the Lord came to me, saying:
Ezek 24:21  Speak to the house of Israel: Thus saith the Lord God: Behold I will profane my sanctuary, the glory of your realm, and the thing that your eyes desire, and for which your soul feareth: your sons, and your daughters, whom you have left, shall fall by the sword.
Ezek 24:22  And you shall do as I have done: you shall not cover your faces, nor shall you eat the meat of mourners.
Ezek 24:23  You shall have crowns on your heads, and shoes on your feet: you shall not lament nor weep, but you shall pine away for your iniquities, and every one shall sigh with his brother
.

 The question the people put to the prophet is answered by God through the prophet. Just as he lost the "desire of his eyes," so too will they lose what their eyes desire, the sanctuary (Temple), along with their sons and their daughters. No reason is given as to why the people are forbidden to mourn. Some scholars speculate that the enormity of the event would make the normal rites of mourning inadequate. Other scholars think the fact that since it is the people's corruption and sins that have brought such calamity, any kind of mourning would be out of place, hypocritical.


My Notes on Deuteronomy 32:26-28, 30, 35cd-36ab

Note: The first paragraph is identical to the background material that opened yesterday's post on Deuteronomy 32:18-21. The next two paragraphs summarize the song up to the beginning of today's verses. Other verses and the remainder of the song are summarized in the notes that follow the background material.

Bckground~The "Song of Moses", from which today's responsorial verses are taken, is first introduced in Deut 31:16-22. The people are on the Plains of Moab (Deut 1:1-5), on the verge of entering the Promised Land (Deut 4:1; Deut 27:2), but before this takes place Moses will die (Deut 3:24-27). A successor must be chosen (Deut 3:28 Deut 31:14-15), encouragement given (passim), and a reminder that it is ultimately the Lord who leads the people (Deut 31:1-6). The command to write the song is given in the Tent of Meeting and is closely connected with the commissioning of Joshua to succeed Moses, and with the promise of God's continuing presence. A time will come when both people and leaders will forsake the Lord who is with them (Deut 31:16, 20), and he will hide his presence from them as punishment (Deut 31:17-18), and the song will serve as a witness against them (Deut 31:19, 21) .

The song opens with a call to attention formula (Deut 32:1). Moses wishes that his words will be as beneficial on the people as rain upon grass, for it is the name of the Lord that he will proclaim, and his great deeds that he will recount. (Deut 32:2-3). The staunch, rock-like faithfullness of God and his ways is proclaimed (Deut 32:4), and contrasted with the corruption His people will fall into (Deut 32:5-6), forgetting what their God has done for them (Deut 32:7-14).

The people would allow the very prosperity that God bestowed on them (see Deut 31:20) to lead them to become gross and lazy, turning to other gods (Deut 32:15-18). Having spurned their God He will in turn spurn them, leaving them to their own devices.  Because they have provoked Him with their "no-god," [i.e., alien god] He will provoke them with a "no-people" [alien people]  (Deut 32:19-21). His burning wrath, hurled at them like war arrows, will manifest itself in drought, hunger, burning heat, pestilence, ravaging beasts; and invading enemies who will kill indiscriminately (Deut 32:22-25). It is at this point that today's responsorial verses begin. 

Deut 32:26 I said: Where are they? I will make the memory of them to cease from among men.
Deut 32:27 But for the wrath of the enemies I have deferred it: lest perhaps their enemies might be proud, and should say: Our mighty hand, and not the Lord, hath done all these things
.
Deut 32:28  They are a nation without counsel, and without wisdom

God's complete withdrawal from His people (cf. Deut 32:20) would mean their eventual disappearance. God's enemies (the "no-people in Deut 32:21) would boast that the undoing of the people was the result of their (the "no-people's) own doing. This may sound arrogant and egotistical of God, but one needs to keep in mind God's universal salvific will. It is for their own eventual well-being and salvation that the nations must recognize God's actions. This actions include His bestowing unmerited pity upon His sinful people, as Deut 32:36 will show (see below). A God who will so such pity on a people who have forsaken Him will someday approach the "no-people" nations and make them His own (see Romans 9-11, especially St Paul's quote of Deut 32:21 in Rom 10:19).

At the time of the song's composition however, this "no-people" lacked the wisdom and counsel of God, this being so they lack the insight to see God's doings and its relation to their own end, as Deut 32:29 notes. Because of this they cannot ask the following questions:

Deut 32:30  How should one pursue after a thousand, and two chase ten thousand? Was it not, because their God had sold them, and the Lord had shut them up?


Not only can the "no-people not ask, let alone answer these questions, they cannot come to know that their "rock" (i.e., any false god of their choosing) is not like the Rock of Israel, as Deut 32:31 states. They are like poison grapes from the vineyards of Sodom; like wine made from venom (Deut 32:32-33). Their day of judgement is coming as we read in verses 34-35ab~"Are not these things stored up with me, and sealed up in my treasures? Revenge is mine, and I will repay them in due time, that their foot may slide" Indeed, as verse 35cd states: the day of destruction is at hand, and the time makes haste to come.

Deut 32:36ab  The Lord will judge his people, and will have mercy on his servants

God's punitive judgement is not an end in itself, but leads to mercy and pity, as verse 36cd makes clear this will happen "when he sees that their power is gone, and there is none remaining, bond or free." His punishment and its effects will lead the people who had forsaken Him for false gods to realize that such god's have no power to save (Deut 32:37-39 and recall Deut 32:15-18). God will requite His enemies for the sake of His servants, but he will also purge His people of sin (Deut 32:40-43). Better then to remain faithful to God and enjoy life, which is the basic message of the book (Deut 32:44-47)

Notes on Deuteronomy

The "Song of Moses", from which today's responsorial verses are taken, is first introduced in Deut 31:16-22. The people are on the Plains of Moab (Deut 1:1-5), on the verge of entering the Promised Land (Deut 4:1; Deut 27:2), but before this takes place Moses will die (Deut 3:24-27). A successor must be chosen (Deut 3:28 Deut 31:14-15), encouragement given (passim), and a reminder that it is ultimately the Lord who leads the people (Deut 31:1-6). The command to write the song is given in the Tent of Meeting and is closely connected with the commissioning of Joshua to succeed Moses, and with the promise of God's continuing presence. A time will come when both people and leaders will forsake the Lord who is with them (Deut 31:16, 20), and he will hide his presence from them as punishment (Deut 31:17-18), and the song will serve as a witness against them (Deut 31:19, 21) 

Deut 32:18  Thou hast forsaken the God that begot thee, and hast forgotten the Lord that created thee. 

Thou has forsaken the God that begot thee. The implication that God is Father recalls the words Exodus 4:22-23. See also Hosea 11:1. The songs looks forward to a time when all that the Lord has done for his people has been forgotten, at least in practice if not mentally. His children whom He begot will treat Him perversely: They have sinned against him, and are none of his children in their filth: they are a wicked and perverse generation. Is this the return thou makest to the Lord, O foolish and senseless people? Is not he thy father, that hath possessed thee, and made thee, and created thee? (Deut 32:5-6).The numerous warnings found throughout Deuteronomy have become unheeded (Deut 4; Deut 6:10-19; Deut 8:11-20; Deut 11:26-32; Deut 28:15-68). 

Deut 32:19  The Lord saw, and scorned ( ונאצוני) them: because his own sons and daughters provoked him.

The word scorned connects with the reasons why the song was ordered written: And when they have eaten, and are full and fat, they will turn away after strange gods, and will serve them: and will despise ( ונאצוני) me, and make void my covenant (Deut 31:20). If they scorn God, he will scorn them. 

Deut 32:20  And he said: I will hide my face from them, and will consider what their last end shall be: for it is a perverse generation, and unfaithful children. 

I will hide my face from them. Again pick up on the reasons why the song was ordered written (Deut 31:17-18).  In the Bible the word face is often synonymous with "presence." God's saving presence will disappear, his help and protection (emphasized in Deut 31:-8) will be no more. 

Deut 32:21  They have provoked me with that which was no god, and have angered me with their vanities: and I will provoke them with that which is no people, and will vex them with a foolish nation. 

They provoked me with that which was no god. Another connection to the reasons for the song's composition: this people rising up will go a fornicating after strange gods in the land, to which it goeth in to dwell: there will they forsake me, and will make void the covenant, which I have made with them (31:16). 

And have angered me with their vanities. Parallels the previous part of the verse, i.e., the false gods are their vanities. The Hebrew  בהבליהם refers to something empty, transitory, vacuous. 

I will provoke them with that which is no people. God's chosen people, having provoked God, will in turn be provoked by Him through a no people. God will choose a people not His own to vex the people He chose for His own, because they have forsaken him. The God who in the past preserved His chosen people from enemies (Deut 28:7) will give them over to their enemies, for they have treated their God as if he were an enemy, or at least a stranger (Deut 28:25; Deut 28:29-37; etc.) See also Jeremiah 1:15-16; Isa 10:6; Isa 28:1-4.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Father Callan's Commentary on First Corinthians 4:14-21

EXHORTATION TO THE FAITHFUL
A Summary of First Corinthians 4:14-21

A Summary of 1 Cor 4:14-21. After severely upbraiding the factionists at Corinth the Apostle now gives expression to the tender love which he really bears toward the faithful there. He is their spiritual father, and as such, ought to be an object of imitation for them. Timothy is coming to them; he himself will come later, and when he arrives he will deal with them according to need. 

1Co 4:14  I write not these things to confound you: but I admonish you as my dearest children. 

The severe language of the preceding verses had not for its purpose to humiliate and shame the faithful and their leaders, but to admonish and correct them. As a father out of love may use harsh words to his children, so has St. Paul spoken to his dearest children. 

1Co 4:15  For if you have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet not many fathers. For in Christ Jesus, by the gospel, I have begotten you. 

If the Apostle has spoken harshly to the Corinthians it is because, as their father, he has a right to do so. However many instructors and preachers of the Gospel they may have, there is only one who has founded their Church and begotten them spiritually, and that is himself. 

Ten thousand, i.e., a very great number, an indefinite number. 

Instructors, i.e., tutors, pedagogues (παιδαγωγους) . The pedagogue was a trusted slave who looked after a child during his minority, corrected his faults, and took him to those charged with his education. See on Gal 3:24. By tutors and pedagogues the Apostle means here the different preachers of the Gospel at Corinth who had followed him after he had founded the Church there. 

For in Christ Jesus, etc., i.e., by the power and authority of Christ St. Paul, in leading the Corinthians to the faith, had given them a new and spiritual life. 

1Co 4:16  Wherefore, I beseech you, be ye followers of me as I also am of Christ. 

As a father loves his children more than any pedagogue does, so should children love and imitate their father more than others. The Apostle, by his humility, modesty and patience imitates the example of Christ; the Corinthians should likewise follow the example of their Apostle and founder.

The words, as I also am of Christ are not found here in the best MSS. and many versions; they are doubtless a gloss from 11:1. Therefore their equivalents in the Vulgate should be omitted.

1Co 4:17  For this cause have I sent to you Timothy, who is my dearest son and faithful in the Lord. Who will put you in mind of my ways, which are in Christ Jesus: as I teach every where in every church. 

For this cause, etc., i.e., in order that they may be able the better to imitate him he has sent to them Timothy, his faithful companion, who will remind them of himself. Apparently Timothy had already been sent into Macedonia with instructions to visit Corinth (Acts 16:10-16). 

My dearest son, etc. Timothy had been converted by St. Paul (1 Tim 1:2, 18; 2 Tim 1:2) and had been the Apostle’s companion on his second missionary journey (Acts 16:1 ff.). 

My ways, i.e., my whole manner of life and action (Cornely). Some authors understand “ways” to refer to the Apostle’s doctrine. It is not, however, his doctrine, but his manner of life that is proposed for imitation. 

As I teach everywhere, etc., i.e., I teach in every Church that we Apostles are to be imitated; hence nothing singular is required of you Corinthians (Estius). Others explain thus: Timothy will remind you of my ways, which are uniformly the same in every Church. 

1Co 4:18  As if I would not come to you, so some are puffed up. 1Co 4:19  But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will: and will know, not the speech of them that are puffed up, but the power. 

It seems that some of the Apostle’s adversaries at Corinth had circulated the report that, on account of the greater reputations there of Apollo and others, he would not dare to visit the city again (2 Cor 10:9-1 1). In view of this rumor he announces his coming. 

The power, i.e., the efficacy and fruit of their preaching for the increase and progress of the Church of Christ. Miracles are perhaps not referred to here. 

1Co 4:20  For the kingdom of God is not in speech, but in power.

The kingdom of God, i.e., the Church of God owes neither its existence nor its growth to human eloquence and other natural means, but to the grace of the Holy Ghost working in the hearts of men. 

1Co 4:21  What will you? Shall I come to you with a rod? Or in charity and in the spirit of meekness?

What will you? etc. It is left to the Corinthians to choose whether the Apostle shall come to them as a teacher to chastise his disciples, or as a father to greet them with mildness and love.

Father Boylan's Introduction to Psalm 107

THANKSGIVING OF THE RESCUED

THIS psalm, though it begins a new Book, forms the natural conclusion to the two preceding psalms. Israel appears here as reconciled with the Lord, and as safely returned from the Exile. The prayer in Ps. 104:47 is taken as granted. The Israelites whom the Lord has brought home are called on to thank their Saviour, Yahweh, for His manifold favours, and in particular, for the graces of redemption from captivity and safe home-bringing (Ps 107:1-3).

In four strophes, which are clearly marked off by a peculiarly constructed refrain, four perils, typical of the dangers of human life generally, and typical, in particular, of the dangers and difficulties of the Exile in Babylon and the Return from that Exile are vividly described: (a) Ps 107:4-9, the perils of travellers lost in the desert; (b) Ps 107:10-16, imprisonment; (c) Ps 107:17-22, grievous illness; Ps 10723-32, the terrors of a storm at sea.

In a final strophe (Ps 10733-43) the psalmist deals, in the manner of a Sapiential Writer, with the methods of God's gracious providence as seen in nature and history—especially in the history of Israel. This strophe differs so much in manner and form from the rest of the poem that it has been often treated by critics (sometimes even by Catholic critics) as a separate psalm. It can be shown, however, that in this final section of Psalm 107 also, the redemption of Israel from the captivity of Babylon is kept in view ; hence this strophe, emphasizing, as it does, the might by which God bends all the powers of nature to His purposes and the loving care which He exercises towards His people, forms a fitting conclusion to a poem on the peculiar dangers of the Exile and return from the Exile.

It would appear from a close study of the psalm that it was not composed immediately after the return from the Babylonian Exile, but considerably later. The psalmist has clearly in view, not merely the difficulties of the home-coming from Babylon, but also the perils of all the later home-comings of pious Jews, returning from the Diaspora to join in the celebration of the great feasts in Jerusalem.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Father MacEvilly's Introduction to Psalm 67

A HARVEST SONG

HIS psalm is based on the Priestly Blessing in Numbers 6:24-26 the blessing with which the priests were wont to bless the people gathered for worship in the Temple. The Aaronic Blessing in Numbers 6. runs thus:

May Yahweh bless thee and keep thee!May Yahweh make His face to shine upon thee!
May Yahweh lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace!

It wishes to Israel, and to each individual Israelite, the care and protecting presence of God, and the sense of peace which comes from friendship with God. In many ways Yahweh could reveal His love for His people, and His protecting presence in their midst ; but no revelation of His love and presence could be more obvious to the popular mind than that contained in the blessings of a bounteous harvest. The psalm is a song of thanksgiving for harvest joys. At a harvest festival whether Pasch (Passover), Pentecost or Tabernacles the words of the Aaronic Blessing are thought of as echoed by the multitude, and expanded into a song such as we have here. The Lord has, indeed, been gracious, and therein lies a token that He will be gracious again. The blessing which Yahweh has granted to Israel is a blessing for the heathens also. They will learn thereby what a mighty and what a loving God Yahweh is, and thus, they, too, will be led to know and praise Him. Thus, in the psalm, the natural blessings of harvest are typical of the greater blessings which the Gentiles will enjoy in common with Israel in the Messianic time.

There is no clear indication of date in the Hebrew text of the psalm. The superscription in the Vulgate (following the Greek) ascribes it, in the usual way, to David. It is clear that the psalm is liturgical in character. It is not connected, as far as can be seen, with any definite occasion, and it was, no doubt, used, in a purely formal way, at all kinds of harvest festivals. Modern criticism regards it as postexilic chiefly because of its universalism.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Father Callan's Commentary on Second Corinthians 1:1-11

Text in red, if any, are my additions.

THE APOSTOLIC GREETING

A Summary of 2 Corinthians 1:1-2~As in the previous letter so here, St. Paul begins by an assertion of his Apostolic authority and divine commission. Timothy, his faithful companion and fellow-laborer in preaching the Gospel (1 Cor 16:10; Rom 16:21), is associated in the writing of this Epistle because, since the Apostle is going to speak much of himself and defend his life and actions against his adversaries, he could have no better witness than Timothy, and no one who was more highly esteemed by the Corinthians. Here too, all the faithful, not only of Corinth, but of the whole Roman Province of Achaia, are addressed. 

2 Cor 1:1. Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother: to the church of God that is at Corinth, with all the saints that are in all Achaia: 

Paul, an apostle, etc. See on Rom 1:1. Here is what Fr. Callan wrote in his comments on Rom 1:1~Paul. The Apostle probably assumed this name for the first time in Cyprus when he converted the Proconsul Sergius Paulus (Acts 13:7-12), perhaps, as St. Jerome says (in Philem.), in honor of his victory in making so great a convert. St. Thomas and others, however, think he was called both Paul and Saul from his infancy; the latter being his Jewish, and the former his Latin name. As Tarsus, the Apostle’s birth place, was under the Roman Empire, it seems not improbable that he should have been given a Latin, as well as a Jewish name, from the beginning. It seems unlikely (pace St Jerome) that St Paul would have been so ostentatious as to “honor his victory in making so great a convert” as to adopt the name Paulus from the Proconsul Sergius Paulus Gallio. 

Of Jesus Christ (Vulg., Jesu Christi) is according toA D G K; whereas B M P read, “Of Christ Jesus.” 

Our brother. Literally, “The brother,” i.e., not only a fellow-Christian, but a co-laborer in preaching the Gospel. In five other Epistles (Philip., Col., 1 and 2 Thess. and Philem.) Timothy is similarly associated with St. Paul. 

With all the saints, etc., i.e., this letter is addressed to Corinth, and also to all the other Christian communities of Achaia. Unlike Galatians, however, this was not a circular Epistle. It embraced the outlying Churches of Achaia only so far as they shared the disorders and opinions of the central Church at Corinth. 

Achaia was a distinct Roman Province including the Peloponnesus and north Greece as far as Macedonia. Corinth was its capital. 

2 Cor 1:2. Grace unto you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. 

See on Rom 1:7; 1 Cor 1:3. Concerning grace and peace Fr. Callan wrote this on Rom 1:7~Grace . . . peace, etc. This form of well-wishing, which occurs in nearly all the Epistles of St. Paul, is found nowhere before the Apostle, and therefore seems to have been his own creation (Lagrange). Grace, in its proper sense, is a special gift of God by which one is made holy and agreeable in God’s sight, and is rendered a participant of the divine nature, a brother of Christ, and heir to the glory of the Father in heaven. Peace with God insures interior tranquility of mind and soul, and is one of the most precious effects of grace. St. Paul here speaks of these eminent gifts as coming from God the Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ, thus placing the latter on a level with the former, but not identifying the two as persons. 

At 1 Cor 1:3 he wrote~Cf. 1 Thess 1:1; 3:11, where the Father and the Son stand together as subjects of a verb in the singular, showing the perfect unity of their nature.

THANKSGIVING FOR RECENT BENEFITS

A Summary of 2 Corinthians 1:3-11~The Apostle has lately passed through dire perils, for deliverance from which he now thanks God, especially since his trials and his safe escape from them have been ordained to the ultimate good and comfort of his dear ones in the faith. It was by their prayers that he was assisted in time of danger, and he trusts to their devout cooperation for deliverance from similar circumstances in the future. 

2 Cor 1:3. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort.

The Apostle now thanks God the Father for the mercy and comfort which he, Timothy, and perhaps other fellow-laborers (verse 19) have experienced in their trials and toils.
The God and Father ( ο θεος και πατηρ). The one article for the two names shows that they both refer to the one Divine Person. The Father is called the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, just as the Saviour Himself said: “I ascend to my Father and your Father, my God and your God” (John 20:17). 

The Father of mercies, etc., i.e., the merciful Father who is the source of all consolation (Eph 2:4). 

2 Cor 1:4. Who comforteth us in all our tribulation; that we also may be able to comfort them who are in all distress, by the exhortation wherewith we also are exhorted by God.

God comforts St. Paul, Timothy and their fellow-workers in the ministry, in order that they in turn may comfort the faithful in their afflictions. 

Distress represents the same word in Greek (θλιψει) as tribulation; and likewise comfort and comforteth render the same Greek terms as exhortation and exhorted. The same variation between our version and the Vulgate, on the one hand, and the Greek text, on the other, occurs again in verse 6.

The et . . . et (“also”) of the Vulgate here are not in the Greek. The Vulgate reads: qui consolatur nos in omni tribulatione nostra ut possimus et ipsi consolari eos qui in omni pressura sunt per exhortationem qua exhortamur et ipsi a Deo. 

2 Cor 1:5. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us: so also by Christ doth our comfort abound.

If the sufferings of the Apostles were extraordinary, their consolations were correspondingly great. 

The sufferings of Christ, i.e., the sufferings which Christ bore for the diffusion of the Gospel and the salvation of souls, and which are continued in the members of His mystical body (Col 1:24). There is no thought here of Christ now suffering in glory. 

2 Cor 1:6. Now whether we be in tribulation, it is for your exhortation and salvation: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation: or whether we be exhorted, it is for your exhortation and salvation, which worketh the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer.

The Apostle wishes to say now that whatever happens to him and his fellow workers for Christ—whether it be joy or sorrow, comfort or affliction, it is all ordained for the good of the faithful. Their afflictions beget patience, and their comfort inspires hope in the goodness of God.

The text of this verse causes much confusion. In the first place the Vulgate clause, sive autem tribulamur pro vestra exhortatione et salute must be omitted as a repetition of the last part of the first clause (a case of scribal dittography). The corresponding words in our version, or whether we be exhorted, it is for your exhortation and salvation must likewise be omitted.

This done, there are two principal readings of the verse: (a) “Now whether we be in tribulation, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is wrought out in the endurance of the same sufferings which we also suffer; or whether we be comforted it is for your consolation, knowing that,” etc. [as in verse 7] (see manuscripts B D F G K L); (b) “Now whether we be in tribulation, it is for your comfort and salvation; or whether we be comforted, it is for your comfort, which worketh in the endurance of the same sufferings that we also suffer” (see manuscripts A C M P).

The latter reading is more like the Vulgate and is preferable. 

2 Cor 1:7. That our hope for you may be steadfast: knowing that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so shall you be also of the consolation.

The Apostle expresses his unwavering hope that as the Corinthians bear their afflictions courageously they may also experience much comfort and consolation.

That our hope, etc. ( Vulg., Ut spes nostra, etc.) should be “And our hope,” etc. This clause is transferred by the Vatican MS. and many other authorities to the middle of the preceding verse, but such placing is against the best internal and external evidence. It is true that the participle knowing is without an antecedent, but this is not uncommon in St. Paul.

2 Cor 1:8. For we would not have you ignorant, brethren, of our tribulation, which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure above our strength, so that we were weary even of life.

A particular instance of great suffering endured by St. Paul, and perhaps by Timothy, in Asia is now recalled to the minds of the Corinthians. What was this terrible affliction? Since it seemed to be well known to the Corinthians, it was probably the report of the rebellion in Corinth against the Apostle's authority. It overwhelmed him with grief. Now this could hardly be said of the uproar caused by Demetrius at Ephesus (Acts 19:23), for Timothy was not there at that time (Acts 19:22). Neither could we easily suppose it to have been some mere private distress caused by sickness, shipwreck or the like.  

In Asia, i.e., in the Roman Province of Asia, which consisted of the coastlands of Asia Minor on the Aegean Sea, of which Ephesus was the capital.

That we were pressed, etc., i.e., exceedingly above our strength, so that we were weary, etc., i.e., so that we despaired even of life. The Apostle is saying that his affliction was more than his natural strength could support, but which he was able to bear by the grace of God (1 Cor. 10:13).

2 Cor 1:9. But we had in ourselves the answer of death, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raiseth the dead.

So great was the affliction of St. Paul and Timothy that they felt sure they must die, if left to their own strength. This extremity of suffering was given them that they might learn to trust in God who is able to raise the dead to life, and so, a fortiori, can rescue from death (Rom. 4:17).

But (αλλα = alla) is not adversative here; it confirms what was said before and should be translated, "Nay."

The answer of death, i.e., the sentence, the judgment, the expectation of death (St. Chrys.).

2 Cor 1:10. Who hath delivered and doth deliver us out of so great dangers: in whom we trust that he will yet also deliver us.

So great dangers. More literally, "So great a death." The danger was naturally tantamount to death.

That he will yet also, etc. This shows that the same situation might occur again, which is against the supposition that the affliction in question was caused by the uproar of the silversmiths (Acts 19:23).

And doth deliver (Vulg., et emit with F G K L) would better be "and will deliver," et eruet (B א C).

2 Cor 1:11. You helping withal in prayer for us: that for this gift obtained for us, by the means of many persons, thanks may be given by many in our behalf.

The Apostle is confident that in future the help of God will not be wanting to him, because he trusts in the prayers of all the faithful, and of the Corinthians in particular.

That for this gift, etc. The meaning is : That from many persons (faces) thanks may be given on our behalf for the gift obtained for us through the prayers of many. St. Paul desires many prayers
to be offered for him and his companions, so that when the favor is obtained God may be honored by the thanksgiving of many.

Father Callan's Commentary on First Corinthians 4:7-13

Text in red are my additions.

THE LEADERS OF THE DIFFERENT FACTIONS SHOULD IMITATE THE HUMILITY OF THE APOSTLES
A Summary of 1 Corinthians 4:7-13

When recommending humility to all the Corinthians in the preceding verse, the Apostle doubtless had chiefly in mind the leaders of the factions at Corinth. Now he directly attacks them with bitter irony, placing before them the life of real Apostles (Estius, Comely, etc.). St. Thomas, however, and the Fathers generally believe that the present section continues the thought of verse 6, and that the Apostle consequently is here, as there, addressing the faithful rather than their leaders. We see no reason why both in general cannot be meant. 

1 Cor 4:7. For who distinguisheth thee? Or what hast thou that thou hast not received? And if thou hast received, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?

How foolish it was for the Corinthians to glory in those human leaders, in whom there was nothing whereof to glory; or to glory in themselves as if they were better than their neighbors! If they have anything that distinguisheth them, whether in the natural, or in the supernatural order, this is not due to them, but to God from whom they have received all they possess. Therefore
they have nothing in themselves whereof to glory.

St. Thomas and most of the Fathers have understood this verse to refer to supernatural, as well as natural gifts; and St. Augustine constantly urged it against the Pelagians and Semipelagians to prove that man cannot accomplish, or even begin, a salutary work without the grace of God (MacR.). Using this verse the Second Council of Orange declared: If anyone says that God has mercy upon us when, apart from his grace, we believe, will, desire, strive, labor, pray, watch, study, seek, ask, or knock, but does not confess that it is by the infusion and inspiration of the Holy Spirit within us that we have the faith, the will, or the strength to do all these things as we ought; or if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, “What have you that you did not receive?” (1 Cor. 4:7), and, “But by the grace of God I am what I am” (1 Cor. 15:10). [Source. I've here quoted the text in full, Fr. Callan quoted just the pertinent part in Latin]. 

1 Cor 4:8. You are now full; you are now become rich; you reign without us; and I would to God you did reign, that we also might reign with you.

In their own estimation the Corinthian faithful and leaders of factions are completely sufficient unto themselves. They are full, i.e., they want nothing; they are rich, i.e., they possess all wealth ; they reign, i.e., already arrived at the state of the blessed they reign with Christ triumphantly even in this life,—all this without us, i.e., without the true Apostles, Paul and his companions, who converted them to Christianity and put them on the way to happiness. 

I would to God, etc. Dropping the irony of his remarks, St. Paul says I wish you actually did reign, so that we Apostles, the founders of your Church, might also share in your felicity, being freed from our distresses, trials, labors, and the like. 

1 Cor 4:9. For I think that God hath set forth us apostles, the last, as it were men appointed to death: we are made a spectacle to the world, and to angels, and to men. 

I think that. “That” (Vulg., quod) is omitted by all the best MSS. How different from the apparently glorious condition of the Corinthians is the state of the true Apostles! Far from already reigning in Christ’s kingdom, the Apostles are like men reserved for the beasts in the grand finale of the games; they are the most abject and the last of men. 

God hath set forth, etc. God has made public display of us Apostles

Appointed to death, i.e., doomed to die as gladiators or slaves in the public arena; “they were appointed to fight with beasts” (Tertull.). 

A spectacle to the world, etc. Like men exposed to wild beasts in the theatre, the Apostles became a spectacle to good angels and good men who admired their fortitude, mildness and humility in the midst of sufferings and persecutions, and to bad angels and evil men who rejoiced at their trials and sorrows. 

1 Cor 4:10. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ; we arc
weak, but you are strong; you are honourable, but we without honour.


Continuing ironically to take the Corinthians at their own measure the Apostle further contrasts their fancied state with the condition of the Apostles. 

We are fools, etc., i.e., the Apostles who preached Christ crucified in simple language were regarded as fools by the worldly Corinthians who gloried in eloquence and human wisdom.
We are weak, etc., i.e., the Apostles were regarded as weak, because destitute of human resources; they were without honour, i.e., derided and despised, because wanting in worldly science and eloquence: whereas the Corinthians gloried in their human aids and natural attainments. 

1 Cor 4:11. Even unto this hour we both hunger and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no fixed abode;

The abject and destitute condition of the Apostles was not something of the past that no longer endured; it continued even unto this hour when the Apostle was writing, and throughout his life. At all times Christ’s true Apostles were in want of the things that were necessary for human life, such as food, drink and clothing; and moreover, they were unceasingly pursued by
persecutions from one place to another. 

1 Cor 4:12. And we labour, working with our own hands; we are reviled, and we bless; we are persecuted, and we suffer it.

In order not to be dependent on those for whom he labored preaching the Gospel, St. Paul worked at his trade of tent making to earn his daily bread (Acts 18:3; 20:34; 2 Cor 11:7; 1 Thess 2:9; 2 Thess 3:8). For reviling and persecutions on the part of his enemies he returned blessing, sweetness and resignation. 

1 Cor 4:13. We are blasphemed, and we entreat; we are made as the refuse of this world, the offscouring of all even until now. 

The refuse . . . offscouring, etc. The Apostles were treated as outcasts, as scapegoats (περίψωμα) , as unfit to live in human society. Some think the above words refer to the custom at Athens of reserving certain worthless persons to be cast into the sea as a kind of scapegoat sacrifice against plagues, famines, or other public calamities.
Note: the words περικάθαρμα, refuse, filth, and περίψωμα, offscouring, scum, were sometimes used to denote scapegoats. Because St Paul speaks in this verse of being made refuse and offscouring of this world some see a connection with verse 9: “For I think that God hath set forth us apostles, the last, as it were men appointed to death: we are made a spectacle to the world, and to angels, and to men.” St Paul is expressing a willingness to be a victim on behalf of others, as in 1 Cor 15:31; 2 Cor 4:10-11; Gal 6:17; Phil 2:17.

Father Callan's Commentary on First Corinthians 4:1-6

The Faithful Should Not Judge Their Teachers.
A Summary of 1 Corinthians 4:1-6

Thinking themselves capable of judging their spiritual teachers the Corinthians had made distinctions between them, preferring one to another and glorying in their choice.  after having shown that their glorying was human and vain, the Apostle points out the true norm by which the preachers of the Gospel are to be judged, but at the same time he warns that only the Omniscient God is able to make use of that norm.  The faithful, therefore, must refrain from judging their teachers, not putting one above another, but leaving all things for the final manifestation at the Last Judgment.

1 Cor 4:1 Let a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ, and dispensers of the mysteries of God.

The preachers of the Gospel are not independent workers, each doing what he pleases.  They have been chosen by Christ to do His work, and hence they are dependent upon and accountable to Christ for the discharge of their ministry.  Let everyone, therefore, consider them as ministers, i.e., as servants (ὑπηρέτης=hupēretēs= hoop-ay-ret’-ace) of Christ, doing the will of their Master; and as dispensers, i.e., as stewards (οἰκονόμος=oikonomos=oy-kon-om’-os) of the mysteries of God, i.e., of the doctrines of faith which the Apostles preached, including, of course, the Sacraments, of which the Apostles were the ministers (cf. 2:7 ff.; 3:5 ff.; Rom 11:25; Eph 1:9; Matt 13:11; Conc. Trid., Sess. XXI., De Commun., cap. 2).  The doctrines and Sacraments preached and administered by the Apostles are called “mysteries” because they are beyond human understanding.

1 Cor 4:2  Here now it is required among the dispensers, that a man be found faithful.

Since the Apostles are the servants and stewards of Christ, their Master, they must be judged by the norm which governs all servants and stewards, that is, by their faithfulness in the discharge of their duties.  If the Apostles are faithful in serving Christ and in dispensing the mysteries of God, it makes little difference what otherwise they may possess or lack, whether their natural gifts may be many and great or few and unimportant.

In the Vulgate inter dispensatores should be in dispensatoribus. 

1 Cor 4:3 But to me it is a very small thing to be judged by you, or by man’s day; but neither do I judge my own self.

But as God is the Master whom the Apostles must serve, He alone can judge them.  Hence St Paul says it is of small importance to him how he is considered by men, whether he is preferred to another or not, because men ae not able to judge of his fidelity to God. 

Man’s day means the judgment of men, as opposed to the judgment of God.  That the Apostle is not rejecting the judgment of men out of pride or other unworthy motive is evident from the fact that he says he does not dare to judge himself, so uncertain is he of his precise standing in His Master’s eyes.

1 Cor 4:4 For I am not conscious to myself of anything, yet I am not hereby justified; but he that judgeth me, is the Lord.

Although the testimony of his conscience bears witness to his faithfulness, or at least does not reproach him with fault or neglect, yet so great is human frailty that he would not dare to pronounce himself entirely faithful in the exercise of his ministry.  He that judgeth me is the Lord, because only the Lord can read the secrets of man’s heart with infallible certainty and correctness.  If, presently, the Apostle proceeds to judge the incestuous man, he does so by divine authority and illumination, which was not enjoyed by those to whom he was writing.

What St Paul says about himself is true of every Christian, because no one aside from a special revelation can be absolutely certain that he is in the grace and friendship of God (f. Conc. Trid., Sess. VI., De Justificatione, cap 16).  Of this we can have only moral certainty.

The present text is a refutation of the Protestant doctrine that faith is fiducia, or absolute confidence that one is in the friendship of God (Cornely).

1 Cor 4:5  Therefore judge not before the time; until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts; and then shall every man have praise from God.

From what has just been said the conclusion follows that the Corinthians ought no more to judge their preachers before the time, i.e., until all things are made known to them, which will be when the Lord comes for the General Judgment, to reveal to the light and knowledge of all the secret deeds, thoughts and desires of every man, good and bad. 

Then shall every man have praise, etc.  This shows that the Apostle is speaking directly only of the Corinthian teachers, all of whom are good, and each of whom, consequently, will receive  from Christ on the day of the General Judgment the praise that is due him.  Of course all men on that day will receive from God what they deserve, but all will not be praised.

1 Cor 4:6  But these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollo, for your sakes; that in us you may learn, that one be not puffed up against the other for another, above that which is written.

The Apostle now observes that what he has been saying about Apollo and himself applies equally to all preachers. 

These things, i.e., what he has just been telling them regarding the preachers of the Gospel.   

I have in a figure transferred, etc., i.e., I have by a change of form (μετασχηματίζω=metaschēmatizō=met-askh-ay-mat-id’-zo), i.e., figuratively, applied only to Apollo and myself, for your sakes, i.e., for your benefit, that through us you may learn how to regard all preachers of the Gospel. 

That no one be puffed up, etc.  The meaning is that no one, or class, of the faithful should be considered better than another on account of any particular leader or teacher.  All should learn to practice humility according to “that which is written” in many passages of Holy Scripture.  The allusion is doubtless to such passages as 1 Cor 1:19, 31; 3:19-20; or perhaps to what is said in verses 1-2 of the present chapter; or, as some authors think, to a rabbinical proverb.  Cornely thinks the reference is to the Old Testament as a whole, where throughout man’s proper relation to God and genuine humility are taught.

Father Callan's Commentary on First Corinthians 3:18-23

The Faithful Should Be Careful Not To Prefer One Teacher To Another
1 Corinthians 3:18-23

From the doctrine so far explained against the Corinthian factions St Paul now deduces some practical conclusions.  By preferring one master to another the faithful have laid claim to the right and power of judging their teachers; but the Apostle warns them that this is exercising mere human wisdom, which goes for nothing before God.  It is wrong for them to glory in men, especially since all the good they enjoy, whether from this or that human agent, has been bestowed by God: in God and Christ only should they glory

1 Cor 3:18.  Let no man deceive himself: if any man among you seem to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.

It is disputed whether the admonition of this verse is addressed to the teachers of the faithful, or their followers.  If any man among you, etc., i.e., if any of you Christians thinks himself to be wise and shrewd, or is so regarded by others, judging by the standards of this world, let him renounce this false wisdom, which God despises, and learn from the Gospel to be truly wise.  The admonition seems to be against those who thought themselves capable of judging the respective qualities of their different teachers,-Apollos, Paul and Cephas.

1 Cor 3:19.  For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.  For it is written: I will catch the wise in their own craftiness. 
1 Cor 3:20.  And again: The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. 

That mere human wisdom is foolishness in the sight of God the Apostle now proves from two passages of the Old Testament.  The first is from Job 5:13, agreeing almost perfectly with the Hebrew, and substantially with the Septuagint.  From the words, It is written, we can see that St Paul regarded the quotation as having divine authority. 

I will catch, etc.  Better, “He catches,” etc.  (δράσσομαι-drassomai=dras’-som-ahee), i.e., God turns against the worldly-wise their own craftiness, in which they are caught as in a snare.  For example, Joseph was sold by his brothers into slavery, but their action resulted in his becoming ruler of Egypt (St Thomas Aquinas).

The second quotation is from Psalm 93:11, taken substantially from the LXX.  The Psalmist is speaking of the enemies of Israel, who in their folly thought God did not know their secret designs against the chosen people.

The comprehendam of the Vulgate does not exactly express the Greek or Hebrew of Job 5:13, which literally would be “He who catcheth.”

1 Cor 3:21.  Let no man therefore glory in men.

Since, therefore, the wisdom of the world, separated from God and His grace, is vain and leads its patrons to their own confusion, the Corinthians ought diligently to keep from it, not glorifying in men, i.e., in this or that human leader.

1 Cor 3:22.  For all things are yours, whether it be Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; for all are yours;
1 Cor 3:23.  And you are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.

All the teachers sent to the Corinthians were sent by God for the spiritual benefit of the faithful.  The Christians did not belong to Paul, or to Apollos, or to Cephas, as subjects to a leader, as servants to a master; but on the contrary, all those teachers were but instruments in the hands of God for the sake of the Corinthians.  On account of their dignity as Christians all things-teachers, the visible world around, life and death, things present and things to come-were theirs, to be made use of for their spiritual benefit and advancement.

But neither in these, their own privileges and dignity, should the Corinthians glory, for they were not for themselves; they were for Christ’s; they were the possession and property of Christ who created them (Jn 1:8), who redeemed them with His own blood (1 Cor 6:20; 7:23), and who, therefore, was their only head and only master.  If then they would glory, let them glory in Christ and in God. 

Christ is God’s, i.e., Christ, according to His divine nature, is one in essence with God (Jn 10:30), and, as the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, He proceeds eternally from the Father (Jn 11:3).  Christ’s human nature was created by God, and was ever and in all things subject to the will of God (Jn 15:28).

Saturday, July 26, 2014

My Notes on Jerremiah 18:1-6

BACKGROUND: Here I will primarily be summarizing the content of chapters 2 and 7 for these contain major themes (not the only ones) which recur throughout much of the book.

God's people in Jeremiah's day were under the delusion that God would defend them no matter what. With intense irony the Book of Jeremiah opens with God's threats against the people, indicating that punishment was indeed coming (Jer 1:11-16), and is followed by the promise that He would protect Jeremiah as he delivered this news to them (Jer 1:17-19).

Just as God has it in his power to protect His people in their devotion to him (Jer 2:3), so too He has it in His power to bring punishment upon them for their infidelity and loss of devotion (Jer 2:4-13). It is their sin of forsaking their Lord that has corrupted them and brought trouble upon them (Jer 2:14-17). Human powers cannot save them (Jer 2:18-19). Neither can they cleanse themselves from their wickedness (Jer 2:20-21), and still less can they deny its existence (Jer 2:23-24). They have become helplessly in need of their idols (Jer 2:25-26), yet when these cannot help them in time of trouble, they call to the Lord (Jer 2:27), but He will leave them to their false gods (Jer 2:28). How dare they still plead with Him! (Jer 2:28).

God has not been useless to His people, yet they have moved on; they have forgotten their God (Jer 2:30-32). Steeped in the blood of those they have murdered the pick their way among their lover gods, still pleading their innocence and thinking that God's anger is turned from them; but they are deluded (Jer 2:33-35). The human powers they have relied upon will come to naught, having been rejected by God, and the people will go into exile (Jer 2:36-37).

The people have taken to presuming upon the Lord's presence in the Temple as a safeguard against his punishing them for their sins of oppression and idolatry (Jer 7:1-10). But judgement will come upon the Temple (Jer 7:11-14). The people will be cast away (Jer 7:15). The Temple, the city will bear the wrath of God because of the people's presumptions, idolatries, child sacrifices, disobedience and rejection of prophecy, ( (Jer 7:16-34).

Read Jeremiah 18:1-6.

Jer 18:1 is stock prophetic phrasing employed to introduce prophetic words or actions. What follows in Jer 18:2-3 is a brief command and compliance narrative. The prophet does as he is told and this provides the Lord with an opportunity to instruct the prophet concerning His power, using as his starting point a lesson from a humble, commonplace image: that of a potter working with clay.

Jeremiah observes that when the object the potter is fashioning from a lump of clay turns out badly, he simply begins to refashion the lump into another object as seems right to his professional potter's eye and judgment (Jer 18:4).

The words in Jeremiah 18:5 recall the stock prophetic phrasing of Jer 18:1 which opened the passage and indicates that the point of the command to Jeremiah, along with the observation he made as a result, have come to fruition, i.e., the teaching which follows beginning in Jer 18:5. The Lord can do to Israel as he sees fit, just as the potter can with his lump of clay (Jer 18:6).




Sunday, July 20, 2014

St Thomas Aquinas' Homily Notes on the First Four Fruits of the Holy Spirit as Given in Galatians 5:22

The following homily notes can provide useful points for meditation or further study. I have added some notes and biblical references related to the subject matter treated of in the notes. These additions are in red. Quotations are from the Douay-Rheims Bible, but the scripture links are to the RSVCE for those wanting a more modern translation.

FOUR FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith."

It is certain that man ought to possess these fruits chiefly  for three reasons. Firstly, on account of necessity, " Every  tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and  cast into the fire," S. Matt. 3:10. Secondly, on account of  their sweetness, because they refresh the mind with ineffable  delight, "I sat down under His shadow with great delight,  and His fruit was sweet to my taste," Son 2:3. Thirdly,  on account of profit, because they confer many benefits.

I. The first fruit, Love, has three wonderful virtues. 

(1) Because the man who eats this fruit is made unconquerable: "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution ... in all these  things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved  us," Rom. 8:35-38. It is because of Christ that we are conquerors, see John 16:33; Col 2:4-15; 2 Cor 2:14-16.

(2) Because every good and evil  profits him who is refreshed by this fruit: "We know that  all things work together for good to them that love God, to  them that are called according to His purpose," Rom. 8:28. "All things;" Gloss: things good and evil.

(3) Because he who eats such fruit shall not die eternally: "Charity never faileth," 1 Cor. 13:8. See Song 8:6-7.

II. The second fruit, Joy, has likewise three great virtues. 

(1) Because the eating of this fruit makes men strong to  conquer every evil spirit: "Spiritual joy is one means of  conquering the enemy," S. Anthony. "Be not sad: for the joy of the Lord is our strength" (Neh 8:10). "Hark, glad songs of victory in the tents of the righteous: The right hand of the LORD does valiantly" (Ps 118:15).  See 1 Kings 2:1; Ps 35:9.

(2) Because it makes  men live forever: "No joy above the joy of the heart," Sir 30:16."Thou hast made known to me the ways of life, thou shalt fill me with joy with thy countenance: at thy right hand are delights even to the end" (Ps 16:11).

(3) Because it leads those who eat it to  the glory of the heavenly kingdom: "For the kingdom of  God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace,  and joy in the Holy Ghost," Rom. 14:17. "The kingdom of heaven is like unto a treasure hidden in a field. Which a man having found, hid it, and for joy thereof goeth, and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field" (Mt 13:44). "But if you partake of the sufferings of Christ, rejoice that, when his glory shall be revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy" (1 Pet 4:13).

III. The third fruit, Peace, likewise has three great  virtues. 

(1) Because it protects man from all evil: "The  peace of God which passeth all understanding shall keep  your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus," Philipp. 4:7."Peace I leave with you: my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, do I give unto you. Let not your heart be troubled: nor let it be afraid" (Jn 14:27). Sometimes what we may think is evil-discipline from our heavenly Father-is in reality meant to bring us to the peaceful fruit of righteousness (see Heb 12:1-11, especially verse 11.

(2) Because it causes men to become sons of God: "Blessed  are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of  God," S. Matt. 5:9. Thus we are called upon to imitate Jesus, the Son of God, the Prince of Peace: For a CHILD IS BORN to us, and a son is given to us...and his name shall be called...the Prince of Peace" (Isa 9:6).

(3) Because in the place where the  fruit is found God willingly dwells and rests, "In Salem
[i.e., peace] also is His tabernacle," Ps 76:2 [76:3 NABRE]. "My people shall sit in the beauty of peace, and in the tabernacles of confidence, and in wealthy rest" (Isa 32:18).

IV. The fourth fruit, Long-suffering, or Patience, has  also three great virtues.

(1) Because the eating of it gives  man wisdom: "He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding," Prov. 14:29. Wisdom fosters patience (long-suffering): "She will bring upon him fear and dread and trial: and she will scourge him with the affliction of her discipline, till she try him by her laws, and trust his soul. Then she will strengthen him, and make a straight way to him, and give him joy, and will disclose her secrets to him, and will heap upon him treasures of knowledge and understanding of justice" (Sir 4:19-21).

(2) Because it preserves the soul  of man: " In patience possess ye your souls," S. Luke 21:19. "For patience is necessary for you: that, doing the will of God, you may receive the promise" (Heb 10:36). "For the Spirit himself giveth testimony to our spirit that we are the sons of God.
Rom 8:17  And if sons, heirs also; heirs indeed of God and joint heirs with Christ: yet so, if we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified with him" (Rom 8:16-17)
. "Wherein you shalt greatly rejoice, if now you must be for a little time made sorrowful in divers temptations: that the trial of your faith (much more precious than gold which is tried by the fire) may be found unto praise and glory and honour at the appearing of Jesus Christ" (1 Pet 1:6-7).

(3) Because it makes even bitter things sweet, so great is its sweetness: "My brethren, count it all joy when ye full  into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of  your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her  perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting
nothing," S. James 1:2-4. "Dearly beloved, think not strange the burning heat which is to try you: as if some new thing happened to you.  But if you partake of the sufferings of Christ, rejoice that, when his glory shall be revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you be reproached for the name of Christ, you shall be blessed: for that which is of the honour, glory and power of God, and that which is his Spirit resteth upon you" (1 Pet 4:12-14). "And not only so: but we glory also in tribulation, knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience trial; and trial hope; and hope confoundeth not: because the charity of God is poured forth in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost who is given to us" (Rom 5:3-5).



Father Maas' Commentary on Matthew 13:44-52

Mat 13:44  The kingdom of heaven is like unto a treasure hidden in a field. Which a man having found, hid it, and for joy thereof goeth, and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. 

The kingdom of heaven is like unto a treasure. The treasure, α. As the preceding parables illustrate the efficient force of the kingdom, so do the two following describe its moral power or its desirability [Cajetan]; but there is this difference between them. that in one parable the kingdom is sought, while in the other it is found as if by accident [Cajetan, Jansenius, Sylveira, Schegg, Schanz, Fillion Knabenbauer]; in the one we see its beauty, in the other its many advantages [Chrysostom, Thomas Aquinas].

The “kingdom” is like a treasure, because it incloses countless and numberless goods, as the treasure implies countless and numberless riches [cf. Ps. 19:11; 119:127; Prov. 8:11; Job 28:15–19; Wisd. 7:9]. It is like a “hidden” treasure because its value is not recognized by a soul not illumined by supernatural grace [cf. Acts 9:6; St Bruno]. The finder “hid it,” and thus in the supernatural order the finder must make a careful use of grace [Maldonado]. “For joy thereof” [Vulgate, Chrysostom, Euthymius, Fillion] rather emphasizes “his” joy according to the analogy of “his” fear [cf. Mt. 14:26; Lk. 24:41; Acts 12:14; recent commentators], than the joy over the treasure. But while the treasure and the joy it causes are expressions of the excellency of the kingdom, the sacrifices it demands are indicated by the fact that the finder “selleth all that he hath.” Though according to Rabbinic law [Surenhus. leg. mischn. iv. p. 113] the treasure belongs to the buyer of the field, Jesus does not pronounce his judgment on the manner in which the finder of the treasure acted, just as he employed the parable of the unjust steward without approving of his proceedings [cf. Lk. 16:8].

“The kingdom of heaven” in this parable and the following is Christ himself as the head of the Church [Hilary, Jerome, Paschasius, Thomas Aquinas, Salmeron], or the canon of Sacred Scriptures [Jerome, Origen, Paschasius, Alb.], or the revealed truths of faith in general [Chrysostom, Theophylact, Euthymius], or the desire after heavenly things [Gregory], or charity, or the state of the evangelical counsels [Salmeron, Sylveira Barradas, Lapide, Schegg, etc.]. 

Mat 13:45  Again the kingdom of heaven is like to a merchant seeking good pearls.
Mat 13:46  Who when he had found one pearl of great price, went his way, and sold all that he had, and bought it. 

Again the kingdom of heaven. The pearl. The seeking after the pearl presupposes a general knowledge of its excellency together with an ignorance of the individual object; thus should all men endowed with ordinary intellectual faculties appreciate in general the worth of truth and goodness, though they may doubt, for a time, about what is really true and good. The parable insists on the necessity of being a prudent merchant, of investing all one’s goods in the purchase of the precious pearl [cf. St Bruno, Chrysostom, Theophylact, Gregory hom. xi. in evang.], which is according to the evangelist the “one pearl of great price,” and therefore worthy of notice even among the pearl-kind. The relation of this parable to the foregoing, and the various meanings of “the kingdom” have been considered in the last section.

Mat 13:47 Again the kingdom of heaven is like to a net cast into the sea, and gathering together of all kinds of fishes.  ‎
Mat 13:48 Which, when it was filled, they drew out, and sitting by the shore, they chose out the good into vessels, but the bad they cast forth.  ‎
Mat 13:49 So shall it be at the end of the world. The angels shall go out, and shall separate the wicked from among the just.  ‎
Mat 13:50 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  ‎

Again the kingdom of heaven. The net. This parable refers principally to the state of the Messianic kingdom “at the end of the world” [cf. v. 49], and shows that preaching on the part of the ministers and faith on the part of the hearers are not sufficient for salvation [cf. Chrysostom, Jansenius, Barradas]. The “net” is a drag, or draw-net, which sweeps the bottom of the water and permits nothing to escape it; it represents the teaching and believing Church [Origen, Hilary, Chrysostom], and may be conceived as being woven of the apostolic doctrine, the testimony of miracles, and the predictions of the prophets [Theophylact, Jerome]. The fishermen implied in the parable are the apostles and their successors in the ministry [cf. Mt. 4:19; Mk. 1:17; Lk. 5:10]. “The sea” is the world with its storms, its instability, and its many bitternesses [cf. Jansenius, Chrysologus, serm. 47], and in particular the waters of baptism may be regarded as the waters in which the fish are caught [St Bruno]. The net was “cast into the sea” when our Lord gave his disciples the commission to teach all nations [St Bruno]; it is a “gathering together of all kinds of fishes” because there is no distinction between Jew and Gentile, Greek and barbarian, rich and poor. The net will be “filled,” when after the fulness of the Gentiles has entered, all Israel shall be saved [cf. Rom. 11:25-26], when the gospel shall have been preached to all nations Mt. 24:14]. The gospel does not say that all fish, or men, shall be caught, but that the net shall be full. Then follows the process of separation in the Church as well as in the fisherman’s trade: “they chose out the good into vessels, but the bad [i. e. the putrid and maimed] they cast forth”; there is this difference, however, that in the Church the separation is effected by “the angels” [verse 50], not by the fishermen, and again that the wicked are not merely rejected from the kingdom, but “cast into the furnace of fire, [where] there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” The torment and despair indicated by this expression have been pointed out above; we may add here that Jesus repeats this threat of eternal punishment with a frightful frequency [cf. Mt. 5:20 ff.; 8:12; 10:28; 12:32; 13:42, 50], so that these words must be feared rather than explained [Gregory].

Mat 13:51 Have ye understood all these things? They say to him: Yes.  ‎52 He said unto them: Therefore every scribe instructed in the kingdom of heaven, is like to a man that is a householder, who bringeth forth out of his treasure new things and old. 
Mat 13:52 He said unto them: Therefore every scribe instructed in the kingdom of heaven, is like to a man that is a householder, who bringeth forth out of his treasure new things and old

Have ye understood. Conclusion of the Sermon. As if to show that for the present there is no need of further parables, the evangelist records here our Lord’s question concerning the disciples’ understanding of what has been said, and the disciples’ affirmative answer which is true of their limited knowledge before the coming of the Holy Ghost. Jesus then continues, and draws a practical conclusion regarding the use the apostles must make of their knowledge. “Therefore” is not merely an asseverative particle in the Greek original [cf. Euthymius]; nor does it connect with the parable of the treasure-trove, as if the apostles had to be like the householder because the kingdom of heaven is like a treasure [cf. Augustine, qu. in evang. Mt. 16; Maldonado]; but it connects with the affirmative answer of the apostles [Chrysostom, Jansenius, Sylveira, Barradas, Arnoldi, Schanz, Fillion, Knabenbauer]. “Every scribe” is not every scribe in the Jewish sense, but the scribe “instructed in the kingdom of heaven,” or better “enrolled as a disciple for the kingdom of heaven.” Concerning the Greek word here rendered “instructed,” cf. Mt. 27:57; 28:19; Acts 14:21; in the Greek text the kingdom is construed personally as if it were the teacher of the apostles, so that Euthymius explains it as “the king of heaven.” The “new things and old” represent the revelation of the New and Old Testament [cf. Origen, Hilary, Jerome, Chrysostom, Cyril, Euthymius, Paschasius, Faber Stapulensis, Dionysius the Carthusian, Salmeron, Cajetan, Maldonado], or the teaching of the New Testament confirmed by the authority of the Old [Theophylact], or the Old Testament in the light of the revelations of the New [Thomas], or the truths referring to the old and the new man, i. e. to the unregenerate and the regenerate [Alb. Paschasius, Salmeron], or the truths concerning the horrors of punishment and those referring to the happiness of the kingdom [Gregory], or truths already known and truths as yet unknown, but explained by means of the known [Barradas, Sylveira], or truths in plenty and abundance of all kinds [cf. Jansenius, Maldonado, Barradas, Lapide, Calmet, Lam. Arnoldi, Fillion, Knabenbauer; Cant. 7:13]. According to this last view the expression is proverbial [cf. Maldonado]. The order “new things and old” is either owing to the proverbial character of the expression, or to the importance of the subject [Augustine, civ. dei, xx. 4], or to the order to be observed in teaching, or even to that followed in learning [cf. Knabenbauer].

Father MacEvilly's Commentary on Romans 8:28-30

This post opens with an Analysis of Romans chapter 8 followed by the notes on verses 28-30. Text in purple indicates a paraphrasing of the biblical text being commented on. Text in red, if any, are my additions.

ANALYSIS OF ROMANS CHAPTER 8

In this chapter, after inferring from the foregoing that the baptized have nothing deserving of damnation, except so far as they consent to the motions of concupiscence (Rom 8: 1), the Apostle tells us that we are rescued from the dominion of concupiscence by the grace of the Gospel (Rom 8:2-4.) He shows the different motions and effects of the flesh and of the spirit (Rom 8:4–9). He exhorts us to live according to the spirit, and points out the spiritual and eternal life of both soul and body, resulting from such a course (Rom 8:9–11). He next exhorts us to follow the dictates of the spirit, and to mortify the deeds of the flesh, in order to escape death and obtain life (Rom 8:12-13)—to act up to our calling as sons of God, and to conform to the spirit of charity and love, which we received, unlike to that of the Jews of old, and by thus acting as sons of God, to secure the Heavenly inheritance, which we shall certainly obtain, on condition, however, of suffering (Rom 8:13–17). Lest this condition should dishearten them, he points out the greatness of God’s inheritance,—so great indeed is it, that he personifies inanimate creatures, and represents them as groaning for this glorious consummation. The very Christians themselves, although in the infancy of the Church, they received the sweet pledge of future glory in the choice gifts of the Holy Ghost, were sighing for it (Rom 8:17–24). The Holy Ghost, besides the assurance he gave them of being sons of God, was also relieving their necessities and prompting them to pray with ineffable ardour of spirit (Rom 8:26-27). The Apostle encourages them to patient suffering by pointing out to them that they were predestined for these sufferings as the means of their sanctification and future glorification (Rom 8:28–30), and, finally, he excites them to confidence in God (Rom 8:31–38).

Rom 8:28 And we know that to them that love God all things work together unto good: to such as, according to his purpose, are called to be saints.

 But although out infirmity be so great as not to know what to pray for, or how to pray as we ought; still we should not be disheartened under crosses and sufferings. For, we know that by the disposition of an all-wise Providence, all things work together unto the good of those who love God; of those, I say, who have been, by his gratuitous decree, called by him to the profession and practice of sanctity, and obey his call.

“To such as, according to his purpose, are called to be saints.” The word “saints” is not in the Greek: “called,” as appears from the Greek, τοῖς κατὰ πρόθεσιν κλητοῖς οὖσιν, is not a participle, but a noun.

This passage is intended by the Apostle to stimulate the Romans to the patient endurance of the crosses of this life; for we know that all things, whether prosperity or adversity, nay, even their very sins (as is added by some of the Commentators), which serve the purpose of humiliation, work together unto the good of those who love God. And to show that this love regarded the faithful among the Romans, the Apostle explains it, by saying, “such as according to his purpose,” πρόθεσιν, i.e., his gratuitous decree, “are called to be saints."

Commentators are greatly divided as to the object of this “purpose” or decree in question. Some assert that it regards the decree of giving glory; and even these are divided on this subject; one class of them says, that the decree of giving glory is prior to, and quite independent of, the good works of man. Those hold predestination to glory to be, ante prævisa merita (see note below). On the other hand, a second class maintain that the prevision of man’s future merits is prior, in the divine mind, to the decree of giving glory. These are the advocates of Predestination to glory, post prævisa merita (see note below). Others assert, that this decree in question regards not glory directly, but grace and sanctity (Father MacEvilly will treat of this position in the next paragraph, following my note). The advocates of the former opinion ground their interpretation: 1st, On the words “all things work together,” &c. Now, it is only of those called to glory, this could be true. 2ndly, They say, the word “purpose,” in Greek, πρόθεσιν, signifies a decree or infallible efficacy. 3rdly, The words, “called according to his purpose,” (for the words “to be saints,” are not in the Greek), are restrictive of the preceding. 4thly, The word “glorifies,” (verse 30), shows glory to be the term of the decree. Those who think the decree refers to grace and sanctity have a response to these four points. This response is given in the second paragraph below my note.

NOTE: The two Latin phrases, ante prævisa merita, and post prævisa merita, relate to the question "whether God’s eternal resolve of Predestination has been taken with (post) or without (ante) consideration (praevisa) of the merits (merita) of the man" [Ott, L. (1957). Fundamentals of Catholic dogma. St. Louis: B. Herder Book Company.Text within parentheses are my additions].

The advocates of the interpretation, which makes the decree refer to grace and sanctity, ground it: 1st, On the words, “called to be saints,” which is the term of the decree, and the words mean, called to state and profession of sanctity—the meaning in which the same words are taken in the different introductory salutations in the Epistle of St. Paul, 2ndly, The very object of the Apostle introducing the concurrence of all things towards their good, as a motive to induce them to bear patiently the crosses of this life, would prove the same; since all whom he addresses were called to grace and sanctity, but they could not all regard themselves as called to glory. Finally, the general objects of the Apostle in this Epistle, which regards the gratuitous call to grace of the Romans (for it was regarding this alone there was any controversy), makes it probable that here, too, he refers to the same.

In reply to the arguments of the preceding interpretation (that the decree concerns glory), they say: 1st, That “all things,” may be restricted by the subject matter to mean, all sufferings; and that the words, “work together,” do not necessarily imply actual working together, but only that these sufferings are intended, according to the antecedent will of God, for their sanctification. And even though all sufferings may not work together for the good of such as fall away from justice; still the Apostle, in the fervour of his charity, abstracts from the possible chance of their not persevering, and to draw a line of distinction between those called to glory and those rejected from it, would only injure the object he has in view, by throwing some into despondency. 2ndly, They say the word “purpose,” does not involve absolute infallible efficacy (v.g. Acts, 11:23); and morever, even though it did, no inconvenience would result; because, the grace and sanctity, which, in their opinion, it regards, are infallibly conferred. 3rdly. These words are explanatory, not restrictive. 4thly, Glory is only the reward of justice, and are we to wonder if the great charity of the Apostle made him abstract from the possibility of their not persevering, who were called, and represent all those whom God predestined to sanctity, as receiving the crown of glory which is decreed only for those who persevere? The latter opinion seems far the more probable. Hence, we have nothing to do here with the relative probability or improbability of the opinions regarding the decrees of glory, ante prævisa merita, or post prævisa merita. No doubt, the latter opinion appears far more in accordance with the doctrine of the Apostles, asserting that “God wishes all men to be saved,” and “none to perish;” more in accordance with our ideas of the goodnesss of God manifested in the death of Christ for all, and his tears and labours for the conversion of sinners during his mortal life. It is still free for any Theologian to hold either opinion. It is, however, to be observed, that although we can hold, that in predestinating men to glory, God is actuated by the prevision of the good works of those whom he predestines—post prævisa merita—and this is even, as has been just stated, the more probable opinion; still, no one could hold, without falling into the semi-Pelagian heresy, that in predestining men to grace, God is actuated by the prevision of their correspondence with this grace, as the motive of his conferring it. And although we may hold, negative reprobation, or, the non-predestinating, and selecting men out of the mass of perdition, to be, ante prævisa demerita—no doubt a very improbable opinion—still, no one, without falling into the shocking heresy of Calvin, could hold positive reprobation, or the decree of devoting anyone to eternal punishment, to be, ante prævisa demerita. The reason is, that Predestination ante prævisa merita, being a free gratuitous act of goodness of the part of God, he could exercise it as he pleased; but it would be unjust to inflict a punishment without some fault. Hence, God would be cruel and unjust in marking out men for punishment without some fault, i.e., in reprobating them positively, ante prævisa demerita. Of all the errors of Calvin, this is, perhaps, the most shocking and blasphemous. Concerning the subject matter dealt with in the preceding paragraphs see here.
 
Rom 8:29 For whom he foreknew, he also predestinated to be made conformable to the image of his Son: that he might be the Firstborn amongst many brethren.

Because these are they whom he foreknew, nay, even predestined to a conformity in patience with the model presented by his Son in patient suffering; in order that he who, in his Divine nature, is the only begotten Son of God, would, as Man, be the first begotten among many adopted brethren.

In this verse, the Apostle explains why all things work together unto the good of those “called according to the purpose,” or gratuitous decree of God. The construction of the verse, adopted by the generality of Commentators, is this, “for whom he foreknew (those) he also predestinated.” Such of them as make the passage refer to predestination to glory, by “foreknew,” understand “those whom he foreknew by a knowledge of love and predilection,” i.e., whom he loved from eternity, those he predestined. The others say the words mean, “those whom he foreknew would be conformable to the image of his Son, he predestined to be such.” A’Lapide, whose interpretation has been adopted in the Paraphrase, says that the Apostle in this verse enters on an explanation of the nature of predestination referred to here, and then resumes the word “predestinated,” in next verse (Rom 8:30) in which the sentence suspended is completed. This construction perfectly accords with the style of the Apostle, who, carried away by some idea that occurs to him, sometimes, defers, for a long time, the completion of a sentence (v.g. Rom 5:12; chap. 3. Epistle to the Ephesians). According to this construction, the words of our English version: “For whom he foreknew, he also predestinated,” should be rendered from the Vulgate, quos præscivit et prædestinavit, “whom he foreknew and predestinated;” and, then, a marked difference is clearly perceptible in the text, between the mode in which the words, “he foreknew,” and “predestinated,” in this verse are connected, and the connexion which exists between any of the verbs in next verse. He says here, “whom he foreknew and predestinated.” In the next verse, “whom he predestinated, them he also called—whom he called, them he also justified,” &c. And this interpretation of A’Lapide requires the introduction of no other word in the sentence. Hence, his interpretation is adopted in the Paraphrase, in preference to any other. He connects Rom 8:29 with Rom 8:28, thus: “all things work together, &c.” (verse 28). Because these are they whom God foreknew, and predestinated to be conformable to the image of his Son, or to the model which his Son presents (v. 29). This conformity is to exist in suffering and justice; no doubt, it will extend to glory also. According to A’Lapide, “also” or “and” has the meaning of “because,” “nay even,” as if to say, “he foreknew, because he predestined them to be conformable to the image of his Son,” in justice and suffering. “That he might be the first-born,” &c. This predestination redounds to the glory of Christ, who, as God, is the only begotten, and as Man, is the natural Son of God, and first-born among the others who are only his adopted sons.

Rom 8:30 And whom he predestinated, them he also called. And whom he called, them he also justified. And whom he justified, them he also glorified.

Those (I say), whom he predestined to a conformity in suffering with his Son, he called to these sufferings; and whom he called, he has justified by these sufferings; and whom he justified, he has glorified.

“And whom he predestinated.” Resuming the sentence suspended last verse, he says, “those (I say) whom he predestinated” to a conformity with the Son in suffering, he called to the same; “whom he called, he justified” by these sufferings, “and whom he justified, he glorified” by the same. The Apostle uses the past tense, though some of the events are future in regard to many, to show the certainty of the future events marked out in God’s decrees. We are not to suppose each of the terms which express the order in which the decrees of God are executed to be equally extensive, so that all are glorified, who are called. The words only mean, that out of the “called” are the “justified,” and out of the “justified” the “glorified.”