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BY W. F. COBB, D.D. 

orK *TJT:I 

- A T T -: I 







3 The apostle encourageth them against troubles, by the comforts and deliverances 
which God had given him, as in all his afflictions, 8 so particularly in his 
late danger in Asia. 12 And calling loth his own conscience and theirs to 
witness of his sincere manner of preaching the immutable truth of the gospel, 
15 he excuseth his not coming to them, as proceeding not of lightness, but of 
his lenity towards them. 

PAUL, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our 
brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints 
which are in all Achaia : 

2 Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus 


3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of 

mercies, and the God of all comfort ; 

4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort 
them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are com 
forted of God. 

5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth 

by Christ. 

6 And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which 
is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer : or whether 
we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. 

7 And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the 
sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation. 

8 For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to 
us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that 
we despaired even of life : 

9 But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in 
ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead : 

10 Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver : in whom we 
trust that he will yet deliver tis ; 

11 Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon 
us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our 



12 For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity 
and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have 
had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward. 

13 For we write none other things unto you, than what ye read or acknow 
ledge ; and I trust ye shall acknowledge even to the end ; 

14 As also ye have acknowledged us in part, that we are your rejoicing, even 
as ye also are ours in the day of the Lord Jesus. 

15 And in this confidence I was minded to come unto you before, that ye 
might have a second benefit ; 

1 6 And to pass by you into Macedonia, and to come again out of Macedonia 
unto you, and of you to be brought on my way toward Judrea. 

17 When I therefore was thus minded, did I use lightness? or the things that 
I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be yea 
yea, and nay nay? 

1 8 But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay. 

19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even 
by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea. 

20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the 
glory of God by us. 

21 Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, 
is God ; 

, 22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. 

23 Moreover I call God for a record upon my soul, that to spare you I came 
not as yet unto Corinth. 

24 Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy : 
for by faith ye stand. 


He consoles the Corinthians, whom in the First Epistle he had sharply rebuked, 
and absolves the excommunicated fornicator, who was now penitent. He 
then proceeds to treat of true repentence, of the dignity of the ministers 
of the New Testament, of the duty of avoiding the company of unbelievers, 
of patience, of almsgiving for the poor saints at Jerusalem, of the duty of 
rejecting the false Apostles who set themselves up as rivals to S. Paul among 
the Corinthians, and depreciated him, and rendered it necessary for him to 
sing his own praises in self-defence. Then he threatens some of the Corin 
thians who still refused to submit to his apostolic authority. The whole 
Epistle may be said to be a defence and laudation of his apostleship. The 
Greek MSS., the Syriac, and the Latin Complutensian have a note at the 
end that it was written at Philippi in Macedonia, and sent by Titus and 
Luke. Baronius, however, thinks that it was written at Nicopolis, A.D. 58, 
when the Apostle, after being forced to leave Ephesus, where he wrote hi-, 
First Epistle, after the uproar raised by Demetrius, left Timothy as Bishop 
of Ephesus, and came to Troas ; then, not finding Titus there, he proceeded 
into Macedonia, and from thence into Greece ; thence he sailed by the 
/Egean Sea and touched at Crete, where he left Titus. At length he 


came to Greece again, to Nicopolis, where he had determined to winter 
(Tit. iii. 12). Cf. Baronius, vol. i. p. 575. It is likely that he wrote this 
Epistle there in quietness, but the point cannot be decided certainly ; for 
S. Paul, while travelling up and down through Asia, might have gone to and 
returned from Philippi, and might have stayed there long enough to write 
it. S. Luke, as is well known, does not record all the stoppages or all the 
journeyings of the Apostle. Cf. Acts xx. 


L Paul shows, in order that he might console others, from what great tribu 
lations in Asia the Lord had delivered him. 

ii. He commends himself to the Corinthians (ver. 12), by a declaration of 
the sincerity of his heart and of his doctrine. 

iii. He clears himself (ver. 17) from the charge of lightness and inconstancy 
induced by his not coming to them as he had promised, and at the 
same time affirms the sure and constant truth of his preaching. 

Ver. i. Timothy our brother. That is our co- Apostle ; so the 
Pope calls Bishops his brethren, a Bishop his canons, an abbot his 

Ver. 3. The Father of mercies. A Hebraism for "most merciful." 
See note to Rom. xv. 5. 

S. Bernard says learnedly and piously (Serm. 5 de Natali Dom.} : 
" He is rightly called the Father of mercies, not the Father of judgments 
or vengeances, not only because it is more the nature of a father to pity 
than to be angry, even as a father pitieth his children that fear him, 
but rather because it is from Himself that He draws the cause and 
origin of His mercy, but from us, that is, from our sins, draws the 
cause and origin of His judgment and vengeance. ut if if is because 
of this that He is the Father of mercy, why is He called the Father of 
mercies ? The Apostle in one Word, in one Son, brings before us a 
double mercy in the words f Father of mercies] not merely Father of a 
single mercy, in speaking of the God not of comfort merely, but of all 
comfort] who comforteth us, not in this or that tribulation, but in all. 
1 Many are the mercies of the Lord] says a certain person, meaning 
that many are the tribulations of the righteous, and the Lord will 
deliver them out of all. There is one Son of God, one Word ; but our 


manifold misery calls for, not only great pity, but a multitude of mercies. 
Perhaps, however, because of the double sub stance which is to be found in 
our human nature,both of which are miserable, the misery of man may not 
unsuitably be said to be t-ivofold, althotigh in both it be of manifold forms. 
Truly the tribulations of our body and soul are increased exceedingly, but 
He who saves man wholly rescues him from the troubles of both." 

Notice that S. Bernard seems to refer the phrase "Father of 
mercies " to the Son ; and rightly enough, but it is not the intention 
of the Apostle to do so. S. Paul plainly means the same Person by 
" the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Father of mercies." 

Ver. 5. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our con 
solation also aboundeth in Christ. " The sufferings of Christ " are, 
(i.) as S. Ambrose takes it, those which we suffer for Christ; (2.) 
such as Christ suffered; (3.) those which Christ regards as His own, 
in accordance with S. Matt. xxv. 40 and Acts ix. 4, as GEcumenius 
understands the words. Theophylact adds that the word " abound." 
is used to point to the fact that Christ suffered more in His members 
than in Himself. This is true by way of extension, but not in the 
way of intension. In S. Laurence Christ suffered the fire, in S. 
Stephen the stones, in Ignatius the wild beasts ; but His suffering and 
sorrow in Himself were greater and more intense than what all these 
suffered. The meaning, therefore, is this, according to Theophy 
lact : Do not be downcast whoever of you suffers from afflictions and 
various ills, because, however great your sufferings may be, so great 
is your consolation. 

But here observe, (i.) as Theophylact does, that S. Paul does 
not merely say that the comfort equals the sufferings, but that it 
abounds and is greater than they are ; and, therefore, whoever is 
afflicted may bear his troubles patiently, nay, joyfully and gladly, 
and so may gain the victory over them. (2.) The sufferings of Christ 
have this characteristic, that Christ gives consolation in proportion to 
them, and the greater the suffering the greater the comfort. On the 
other hand the sufferings of the world are vinegar without honey, 
and as they increase, so do desolation and mourning and woe. (3.) 
It follows from this that the suffering of the Cross is not to be fled 


from but embraced, as the mother of so much Divine comfort and 
joy. So S. Andrew, Ignatius, Xavier embraced it, and prayed daily 
for the Cross, and would not be set free from it unless God would 
give them a heavier one. 

Ver. 6. And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation. We 
suffer tribulations that we may console and save you, and may ani 
mate you, by our patience and hope in God and His comfort, to 
bravely bear, as we do, afflictions on behalf of the faith. So Ambrose. 
Cf. Chrysostom (Horn, i de Spe et Fort, in Tentat. Serv.). 

Which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings. This 
salvation, as the wished for end, produces patience. Others, as 
Theophylact, take it, "Salvation is wrought in patience." Ambrose 
takes it to mean that patience is the meritorious cause of salvation, 
and that salvation, therefore, produces patience as its final cause, 
for the efficient and final causes have a mutual relation. Salvation 
as the final cause, orders and works patience, and in turn patience, as 
the efficient cause, works out salvation. The meaning, then, is that 
your consolation and salvation alike effectually produce patience, 
our exhortation animates you to hope for salvation, and to bear 
bravely on its behalf whatever sufferings arise from obedience to 
the faith. My exhortation or consolation, therefore, works effectually 
endurance by stirring you up to it ; the salvation thence hoped for 
works endurance objectively. Just so the resolution to attain some 
end makes us lay hold of and employ means. 

Ver. 8. Which came to us in Asia. From the tumult raised by 
Demetrius, recorded in Acts xix. 29. So S. Thomas understands 
this passage, as do all other interpreters except Cajetan, who thinks 
that there is a reference here to some persecution not mentioned in 

We were pressed out of measure, above strength. Above the strength 
of nature, not of grace more than the body could bear, not the mind; 
for by the help of grace Paul bore this tribulation undauntedly and 
overcame it. "God is faithful," he says, in i Cor. x. 13, "who will 
not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able " to bear by the 
help of grace. Moreover, he does not say that he was tempted, but 


pressed or afflicted above his strength, inasmuch as the body is a 
heavy burden, though the soul preserve her fortitude, and fortitude 
overcome temptation. 

Insomuch that we despaired even of life. Nature would have pre 
ferred death to suffering such afflictions. But there was no despair 
when the chanty and grace of God were considered, by which 
Paul was enabled to bear any afflictions whatever in God s service. 
This despair or weariness was felt by many saints. Cf. Job x. i 
and i Kings xix. 4. The Greek word denotes also anxiety and 
perplexity. Hence Chrysostom renders it, "We were in doubt," 
and Vatablus as in the text. Hence follows (ver. 9), "But we had 
the answer of death in ourselves." The Latin version gives tasdium, 
or weariness. 

Ver. 9. But we had the sentence of death in ourselves. " But," 
here, has the meaning of "moreover." Nature and inclination pre 
saged and expected nothing but death ; and when I thought of the 
state of my life, my mind answered that I must die if God did not 
. lend miraculous aid. So Ambrose and Theophylact. 

The Greek word here rendered "sentence" means, (i.) answer. 
(2.) According to Photius, it denotes the crisis of an illness. The 
meaning, then, would be: We were so afflicted that our life was 
despaired of by nature and by experienced men, who, looking at 
our case as doctors might, judged it beyond recovery. (3.) It denotes 
sentence, as in the text. We seemed to have received our sentence, 
and to be destined accordingly to inevitable death. 

Ver. lo. W/io delivered us from so great a death. "From so 
great dangers," according to the Latin. The meaning is the same. 
Ambrose reads " from so great deaths." The Hebrews are wont to 
apply the name of death to great dangers, violent persecutions, grief, 
and agony, that are akin to death, and that seem to threaten a speedy 
death. So Chrysostom. Cf. Ps. xviii. 5, and 2 Cor xi. 23. 

Ver. ii. That by the means of many persons. Primasius reads 
this, " By a company of many persons," that is, children, youths, and 
old men. S. Paul s meaning is, that through many people in g, 
great concourse of men, thanks may be publicly given to God for 


S. Paul s deliverance and safe return, as the common father and 
Apostle of all. 

For the gift bestowed upon us. That thanks may be given, says 
Vatablus, by many, on our behalf, for the gift of grace that was given 
to us. As gratitude demands that thanks be given, in proportion to 
the benefit bestowed* to the great Giver for our creation, redemption, 
justification, education, and growth, so also should thanks be given 
for the gift of deliverance. 

Ver. 12. For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience. 
" For " introduces the reason why the Corinthians should give 
thanks and pray for Paul. It is because he was their Apostle, 
who, with great grace and efficacy, preached to them the Gospel 
and converted them ; and in proof of this he calls upon his own 
conscience and theirs. 

Observe here the force and quiet that come from a good con 
science. " No theatre," says Cicero, for virtue is so great as that 
of conscience." Juvenal, too (Sat. xiii.), says : " The summit of happi 
ness is to have a mind conscious of its own integrity." S. Augustine 
again (contra Secund. Munich, c. i.) says : " Think of Augustine what 
you like, my conscience shall not be my accuser in the presence of 
God." See notes to i Tim. i. 5. 

Not with fleshly wisdom. I have not preached with human 
philosophy or eloquence, but with grace, zeal, efficacy, and the 
Holy Spirit. 

Ver. 14. We are your rejoicing, even as ye also are ours. We are 
the object of your rejoicing as your teachers; ye, as good disciples, 
are the object of our rejoicing ; and this rejoicing will chiefly be seen 
in the day when the Lord will come to judge all men. 

Ver. 15. I was minded to come unto you before, that ye might have 
a second benefit. The first benefit was that of his First Epistle ; his 
second would have been his visit to them in person. So Theophylact. 
Or else the first benefit was his first visit, when he converted them ; 
his second would be his second visit, to confirm them in the faith. 

Ver. 1 6. And to pass by you into Macedonia. To pay them a 
flying visit, and then return from Macedonia to them again, so as to 


stay longer with them. This is what he means in i Cor. xvi. 5, 
where he says that he would come to them after he had passed 
through Macedonia. Here he adds further to this that he also 
wished to see them on his way to Macedonia. So the Greek Fathers 
harmonise the passages ; but Lyranus and S. Thomas reconcile them 
differently, but not so probably. 

Ver. !;._ When I therefore was thus minded, did I use lightness! 
That is, when I proposed to come to you and did not. The Greek 
word for lightness is derived from the word for a stag. In a like 
way we speak of the wisdom of the serpent, the innocence of the 
dove, the stubbornness of the ass, the headiness of the elephant. 

Or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh 1 
S. Paul did not form his determinations relying on human pru 
dence and lightness, which readily change men s designs, through 
worldly advantage or convenience, or the influence of superiors, nay, 
through the mere fickleness and changeability of natural inclination. 
So Ambrose. 

That with me there should be yea yea, and nay nay. I was not 
so unstable and purposeless as at one time to promise to come and 
at another to refuse, as boys often do. So Anselm. 

Ver. \%.But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and 
nay. I call the true God to witness, who is a faithful and true wit 
ness, that in teaching you I did not deceive you, and, therefore, that 
it was not my intention to fail you when I promised to come to you. 

This teaches the preacher to beware of lightness and fickleness of 
life, lest the people infer from it that the truth which he preaches is 
equally unfixed and uncertain. 

Ver. ig.For the Son of God . . . was not yea and nay, but in 
Him was yea. My preaching and teaching about Christ was not 
variable, inconstant, and contradictory, but was a constant, uniform 
statement, for I always said and taught the same of Christ. 

Ver. 20. For all the promises of God in Him are yea. All the 
promises of God in the Old Testament relating to the Messiah were 
constant and true, and have been fulfilled in Him. 

The yea yea here, and in S. Matt. v. 47, have a threefold signi- 


fication : (i.) constant asseveration, as opposed to inconstancy and 
deceit; (2.) truth or reality, as opposed to falsity or unreality; (3.) 
simple affirmation, as opposed to an oath. Cf. S. James v. 12. 

And in Him Amen. "And therefore we say, Amen" is the 
Latin rendering ; that is, we affirm that those promises were true. 
So Chrysostom and Ambrose. For further notes on "Amen/ see 
i Cor. xiv. 1 6. 

Add to this that Amen is usually an adverb denoting truly, firmly, 
faithfully, and thence came to be the name of the abstract qualities 
of truth, firmness, and faithfulness. Cf. Isa. Ixv. 16; Jer. xi. 5; 
Isa. xxv. i; Rev. iii. 14, vii. 12. The meaning, therefore, here is: 
Through Him, Christ, the Amen, i.e., truth, faithfulness, and con 
stancy, we give glory to God, saying : All that God promised con 
cerning Christ is Amen, i.e., most true, and has been most truly 
fulfilled by God. 

Ver. 21. Now He which stablisheth us. Some think that this is 
an ellipse, and we must understand the meaning to be, He which 
stablisheth us prevented the execution of my purpose. But it is 
far better to refer these words, as others do, to what immediately 
precedes them. The promises of God have been fulfilled in Christ ; 
but He who by His power and authority fulfils them is God Him 
self: as He promised, so in fact does He stablish us, anoint us, and 
seal us in Christ. In the third place, it would not be amiss to refer 
these words to what was said in ver. 18, " Our word toward you was 
not yea and nay." In other words I am not fickle and inconstant 
in my speech, my preaching, and promises. It is God who gives me 
this constancy, and therefore let r.o one think that I am arrogant 
enough to ascribe it to my own strength and fortitude, since I 
profess that I have it, not from myself but from God. As God in 
Himself and in His promises is yea, that is, is ever constant, firm, 
and unchangeable, so does He strengthen us, and make us firm and 
constant in the faith and in what we promise. 

And hath anointed us in God, who also hath sealed us, and given 
the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. This seal, says Calvin, is that 
special Divine faith by which each has a certain knowledge that he 


is predestinated. But this seal is uncertain and unreliable, and this 
faith is false and foolish presumption. For the Apostle, who had as 
great faith as possible, fears reprobation in i Cor. ix. 27. His Divine 
faith, therefore, did not give him certain assurance of his predestina 
tion. Moreover, he frequently impresses on all the faithful that they 
carefully work out their own salvation with fear and trembling, and 
by so doing he takes from them all ground for assurance of their sal 
vation. Add to this that no one is certain that he has this Divine 
faith, or that he will always have it ; nay, many have fallen away 
from this faith of Calvin s who before believed with him that they 
were of the number of the predestinate. 

I say, then, i. that God hath sealed means, lie has confirmed His 
promises as though He had stamped them with His seal, by giving, 
according to them, as a pledge of our future inheritance, His grace, 
by which He has sealed and anointed us to be the sons of God, sepa 
rated off from the sons of the devil. So Chrysostom, Theodoret, 
CEcumenius. This seal is altogether certainly known to God, but to 
us is only a matter of probability. This establishing, anointing, and 
sealing take place through one and the self-same grace. Similarly, 
in Eph. i. 13 he says that we have been sealed with the Holy Spirit 
of promise. 

2. This passage may be referred to baptism ; for (a) in baptism 
God anointed us with the oil of His grace ; (l>) He gave the earnest 
of the Spirit in the testimony of a good conscience; (c} He sealed us 
with the character of baptism, Cf. Bellarmine (de Effedu. Sacr. 
lib. ii. c. 20). The exposition of Theophylact and Chrysostom is to 
be referred to this. They say : " He hath anointed us and sealed us 
to be prophets, priests, and kings." Cf. Chrysostom (Horn. 3) on these 
words, who points out how Christians who govern their passions are 
kings anointed by God. 

3. It is the best explanation which refers these words to the 
sacrament of Confirmation, which, in olden times, was received by 
all the faithful to strengthen them against persecution. S. Paul has 
expressly distinguished, "He hath established us," "He hath given 
the earnest of the Spirit," "hath anointed us," "hath sealed us." 


But these four things cannot be distinguished anywhere save in 
the sacrament of Confirmation. 

These words point to four effects of the sacrament of Confirma 
tion: (i.) The gift of faith, by which we are strengthened in Christ 
Hence, as was said in ver. 18, S. Paul s faithful preaching of Christ 
was firm and constant, because God had strengthened him for it 
in Christ by means of the sacrament of Confirmation, i.e., through 
Christ and His merits. (2.) The second effect is the grace of charity, 
with which we are abundantly anointed, as with a spiritual chrism. 
The Greek, indeed, for anointed is the very word whence come 
" Christ " and " Christians/ so that " Christians " are " the anointed 
ones." Hence S. Augustine (Sent. 342) says: " The word Christ 
is from chrism, i.e., anointing. Every Christian, therefore, is sancti 
fied, in order that he may understand that he not only is made a 
partaker of the priestly and royal dignity, but also an adversary of 
the devil." (3.) The third fruit is the earnest of the Spirit, which is 
the testimony of a good conscience given by the Holy Spirit, and 
which is as the earnest of the future glory promised, and to be given 
by the Holy Spirit. For the sense in which the Holy Spirit is the 
pledge or earnest, see notes to Eph. i. 14. (4.) The fourth fruit is 
the seal and sign of the Cross on the forehead, signifying the " char 
acter " imprinted on the soul, by which we are sealed as His servants, 
or rather His soldiers and leaders. Cf. Ambrose (de his qui Mysteriis 
Initiantur, c. vii.), Suarez (pt. iii. qu. 63, art. i and 4). 

Ver. 23. Moreover, I call God for a record upon my soul. From 
this it is lawful for a Christian to take an oath, says S. Augustine 
(qu. 5, inter. 83); for the Apostle here takes an oath, and that 
one of execration. If I lie, he says, may God be my Judge and 
condemn my soul. 

That to spare you I came not as yet unto Corinth. Lest I should 
be forced to exert my apostolic authority against the vices of the 
offenders among you : it was to spare you from being grieved by 
my coming to correct you. So Anselm. Cf. also chap. ii. i. S. 
Paul here gives the real reason why he had not kept his promise, or 
his purpose of visiting Corinth, which was that the Corinthians had 


not yet given up the vices of which he had admonished them in his 
First Epistle, and deserved therefore to be rebuked still more sharply 
and punished. But he deals gently with them, and by his absence 
he wished tacitly, and by his Epistle openly to remind them once 
more of their duty, and so correct them with gentleness. 

Let prelates learn from this not to be ever chiding and rebuking 
those under them for their faults, lest they make them hard and 
callous. And more than this, the faults of some people, especially 
those that are more high-minded and sensitive, are more effectually 
corrected if they are pointed out patiently and indirectly than if 
they are rebuked openly, or actually visited with punishment. Cf. 
S. Gregory (Pastor, pt. iii. c. 8 and 9). 

As yet. That is, after his first visit, or after the First Epistle. 

Ver. 24. Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are 
helpers of your joy. This is a well-known rhetorical figure of speech, 
by which he tones down what had been said before of his power. 
He means : I said that I was unwilling to punish, and wished you of 
your own accord to correct yourselves ; but I said this not from love 
of power, or as though I wished to act arbitrarily, but to improve 
you, that when you were so corrected you might rejoice both on 
earth and in heaven. This rebuke of mine, therefore, is not so 
much a rebuke as a support and help to your joy. So Anselm. 

For by faith ye stand. " Which," says S. Anselm, " works by love 
and is not forced by dominion." In your faith I have nothing to 
correct, but only in your actions ; and, since you are of the faith 
ful, I will not imperiously scold you, but gently admonish you by 
this letter, that so you may all rejoice with me. Since you are of 
the faith, I have little doubt but that you will at once listen to my 


I Having showed the reason why he came not to them, 6 he requireth them to 
forgive and to comfort that excomunmicated person, IO even as himself also 
upon his true repentance had forgiven him, 12 declaring withal why he de 
parted from Troas to Macedonia, 14 and the happy success which God gave to 
his preaching in all places, 

BUT I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in 

2 For if I make you sorry, who is he then that maketh me glad, but the same 
which is made sorry by me ? 

3 And I wrote this same unto you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from 
them of whom I ought to rejoice ; having confidence in you all, that my joy is 
the joy of you all. 

4 For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many 
tears ; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I 
have more abundantly unto you. 

5 But if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part : that I 
may not overcharge you all. 

6 Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of 

7 So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest 
perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. 

8 Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him. 

9 For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether 
ye be obedient in all things. 

10 To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also : for if I forgave any thing, to 
whom I forgave it, for your sskzs forgave / it in the person of Christ ; 

1 1 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us : for we are not ignorant of his 

12 Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ s gospel, and a door 
was opened unto me of the Lord, 

13 I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother : but taking 
my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia. 

14 Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, 
and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. 

15 For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and 
in them that perish : 

16 To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the 
savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things ? 

17 For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God : but as of sin 
cerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ. 




i. He declares that he had not come to them through fear of causing sad 
ness to himself and to them. 

ii. He exhorts them (ver. 6) to re-admit the fornicator, on his repentance, 
who had been excommunicated by him (i Cor. v.), and (ver. 10) he 
absolves him from the sentence of excommunication and from his 

iii. He tells them (ver. 14) that he sheds everywhere a good odour of 
Christ, which is life to the good and faithful, and death to the evil 
and unbelieving. 

Ver. i. But I determined this with myself. I determined not to 
come to you from a desire to spare you. Cf. chap. i. 23. 

Ver. 2. For if I make you sorry. Although I made you sorry by 
rebuking you in my First Epistle, yet I am now made glad with you 
in seeing the repentance and sorrow, both of yourselves and the for 
nicator. The "for if" is not causal but explanatory. 

Who is he then that maketh me glad, but the same which is made 
sorry by me ? He who is grieved and made penitent by my reproof 
is the one who most makes me glad, i.e., the incestuous person whom 
I excommunicated (i Cor. i. 5). 

Ver. 3. Lest when 1 came I should have sorrow. I wished by send 
ing you a letter first to rebuke and correct your evil ways, lest I should 
be forced to do so in person, which would be very painful to me. 

Having confidence in you all. I had complete confidence that you 
would at once take away whatever might displease me, because you 
regard my joy as yours, and my grief therefore as yours also. I knew, 
therefore, that what displeased me would displease you. S. Paul says 
ail this to prepare the Corinthians for his arrival, and to induce them 
to amend themselves, lest he should be deeply grieved at seeing them 
not yet amended. 

Ver. 5. He hath not grieved me. The fornicator did not grieve 
me only. 

But in part. He grieved, says Anselm, many other good men as 
well as me ; those, viz., who banished from their society with ignominy 
the man that I had already excommunicated. 


That I may not overcharge you all. Overcharge you by putting 
on you the suspicion that there are not many who are grieved on 
account of the incestuous person. In the First Epistle (v. 2) he 
seems to have charged them all with consenting to, or with treating 
lightly, the sin of incest. 

Ver. 6. Sufficient to such a man is this punishment. The public 
separation and shame of excommunication. Hence it follows that 
the man repented after his excommunication, and is here absolved 
by the Apostle. 

Ver. 7. So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him. For 
give him the rest of his term of penance by admitting him to your 
fellowship again. Cf. ver. 10. 

Ver. 8. That ye would confirm your love toward him. By declaring 
in public assembly of the Church that you once more embrace him 
as a brother. There is an allusion in the Greek verb to the fixed 
days of assembly for legal trials or elections, and the Apostle there 
fore alludes to the fixed days of assembly in the Church, and bids 
the Corinthians confirm their love then toward the incestuous person 
by re-admitting him. 

Ver. 9. For to this end also did I write. Viz., this Epistle, to the 
end that I might induce you to confirm your love toward him. 

That 1 might know the proof of you. A proof of your obedience. 

Ver. 10. To whom ye forgive anything, I forgive also. You have 
asked through Titus that he may be forgiven, and I make the same 
request of you. So Theodoret explains these words. Cf. also chap. 
vii. 7. It is clear from ver. 7 that this forgiveness had not yet taken 
place, and the meaning therefore is : As, when you were gathered 
together and my spirit I excommunicated him (i Cor. v.), so now 
do I join with you in forgiving him, as you will forgive him at my 

Observe against Luther that this Epistle was written to the rulers 
of the Church, or rather to the Church itself, that it might exercise 
this power of absolving, not corporately, but by the prelates. Yet out 
of courtesy he wishes even the laity to co-operate in the absolution, 
and by their consent, prayers, desire, and compassion to forgive this 


scandal which had been given to them and the Church, and to remit 
the due canonical penance or punishment. Cf. i Cor. v. 4. Hence 
he goes on to say, " For your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ." 
S. Paul here asserts that he forgave in the exercise of his power and 
jurisdiction as the vicar of Christ ; and he orders his sentence to be 
publicly proclaimed in the Corinthian Church, by the bishop or some 
other officer, and implies that the Corinthians forgave merely through 
their prayers, consent, and execution of the sentence of absolution. 
S. Chrysostom lays this down clearly when he says : " As when he 
ordered the man to be cut off he did not allow that with them was any 
authority to forgive, since he said, I have judged to deliver such an 
one to Satan, so again did he admit them into partnership with him 
when he said, When ye are gathered together to deliver him. He was 
aiming at two ends, one that the sentence might be passed, and the other 
that it should not be carried out without them, lest he should seem to 
do them an injury by so acting. Neither does he pass sentence alone, lest 
the Apostle should seem to be isolated and to despise them." 

If I forgave anything, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave 
I it in the person of Christ. I forgave it, i.e., I determined to forgive 
it (ver. 7), and now by this letter and by the bearer, whether Titus or 
some other, I forgive it. This is a Hebraism, by which the past is 
put for the present. 

It may be asked, What was it that the Apostle forgave ? I reply, 
i. that this forgiveness consisted in giving absolution from excom 
munication, and at the same time, or rather still more, in giving full 
indulgence for the incest, i.e., remission of all the penalty due because 
of it. It is evident from i Cor. v. that the punishment inflicted was 
excommunication, and with it the penalty of ignominious exclusion 
from the Church, and the handing over of his body to be afflicted by 
Satan. Here, however, he absolves him from every chain by which 
he had been bound. 

2. To forgive, properly speaking, refers to guilt or punishment. 
Of excommunication alone is it strictly said, " I absolve." 

3. He re-admits him to grace, both on account of the zeal of the 
Corinthians and the contrition of the incestuous person, and relaxes 


his punishment and shame and rebuke, lest from too much sorrow 
he should despair. This indulgence is referred to by the word any 
thing. Whatever part of the punishment you have asked may be 
forgiven him, I forgive him. 

4. He remits the punishment not merely, as Calvin thinks, before 
the Church, but in God s judgment : this is expressed by the phrase 
in the person of Christ, otherwise there would not have been any 
indulgence or mercy shown here to the fornicator. It is better to be 
visited on earth with infamy and corporal punishment than before 
the tribunal of God to be handed over to the fire, either of purgatory 
or of hell. 

Hence S. Thomas and others rightly lay down that the Apostle 
and the Church give indulgences. So, in olden times, martyrs, when 
in prison, sent to the Bishops men who had lapsed, praying them to 
relax their punishment, as appears from Tertullian (ad Martyr, c. i), 
Cyprian (Epp. n, 21, 22); and the Council of Nice (c. xi. and xii.) 
grants to those that have lapsed that, according to the willingness 
with which they bore the punishment inflicted on them, might the 
Bishop give indulgence. Cf. Baronius, vol. i. p. 592. Observe that 
the reason for giving indulgence was the fear that the penitent might 
despair. Hence, formerly, indulgence was not given unless a good 
part of the penalty had been paid, and that lest the vigour of disci 
pline and of satisfaction, which is the third part of repentance, should 
be relaxed. Cf. S. Cyprian (ad Martyr, lib. iii. Epp. 6). The Council 
of Trent (sess. xxv.), in its decree on indulgences, orders that modera 
tion should be shown in giving indulgences, according to the ancient 
practice of the Church, lest ecclesiastical discipline should, by exces 
sive leniency, be rendered lax. 

If I forgave anything. He speaks modestly of his generosity. 
Hence he adds that he did it in the Person of Christ. 

In the person of Christ. This may be understood (i.) in the 
presence of Christ. So Theodoret and Vatablus. This rendering 
is eagerly adopted by Calvin and Beza, and read as if it meant, I 
forgive him ex animo, really and not feignedly. (2.) Properly it 
means, " I forgive him by the authority of Christ entrusted to me, 



who said, Whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in 
heaven." So Theophylact renders it: "I forgive him just as if 
Christ had forgiven him : just as a regent acts with the authority 
of a king, and orders, passes laws, and pardons in his stead." As 
S. Paul, in i Cor. v., had excommunicated the fornicator in the name 
of Christ, so here, by the same authority, he sets him free, just as 
any one who might have been condemned by the regent could not 
be pardoned but by the regent himself. 

Ver. ii. Lest Satan should get an advantage over us. Lest we be 
deceived, and lest that fornicator be, by excessive severity, driven by 
Satan to despair. The Greek verb means, lest we be seized unjustly, 
and taken possession of by Satan, just as misers, usurers, and tyrants 
defraud, and rob, and oppress. Hence Ambrose renders it, "Lest 
we be possessed by Satan." For, as Theophylact says, when Satan 
catches and deceives souls, he does not seize what is his own but 
what is ours and Christ s. Hence Tertullian (de Pudidt. c. xiii.) 
reads for the following clause : " We are not ignorant of his devices," 
"We are not ignorant of his robberies." 

For we are ?iot ignorant of his devices. Plutarch relates an excel 
lent saying of Chabrias, that " he is the best commander who knows 
intimately the plans of the enemy." In like manner he is the best 
Christian soldier and captain who knows thoroughly the devices and 
machinations of Satan. He transforms himself into an angel of light, 
that that which is a suggestion of our enemy the devil may seem to be 
the counsel of a friendly angel. We often experience suggestions of 
evil surmisings, bitterness of soul, anger, moroseness, cowardice, and 
we think that we are moved by some good cause and by reason, and 
that these things come forth from our own minds, when all the time 
they proceed from the devil, who suggests them to our ruin. The 
Christian, therefore, should, in such cases, reflect whether these 
suggestions are in accordance with charity, humility, patience, grace, 
and the law of Christ, and if he finds them to be opposed, let him 
be sure that they are of the devil : if he is in doubt, let him take 
counsel with his confessor, his superior, or some prudent man. 
S. Anthony, by long experience, learnt this and taught it : he was 


in the habit of constantly laying bare and explaining to his disciples, 
the arts and devices of the devil, and of pointing out the way to defeat 
them, as we read in the life of him by Athanasius. S. Francis, too, 
frequently did the same thing, and so freed many of his followers from 
the devil s temptations, as S. Bonaventura relates (Vita, lib. i. c. u). 

In this way, then, Satan was instigating the leaders of the Corin 
thian Church to show anger and indignation against this fornicator for 
having so foully stained the first purity of his Church, to the end that, 
being deprived of all comfort and hope, he might lose all heart and 
become desperate. Paul saw through this intent of Satan, and here 
exposes it, and bids them receive the fornicator once more into 
grace, and give him, on his penitence, pardon and remission. 

Vers. 12, 13. Furthermore, when I came to Troas . . . I had no 
rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother. S. Jerome (ad 
Hedibiani) says that Titus was S. Paul s interpreter, and explained the 
sublime truths taught by him in Greek worthy of the subject. There 
was, too, another reason why Paul went to Troas to meet Titus, viz., 
that he was anxious to hear from Titus, whom he had sent to Corinth, 
the state of the Church there, before he himself fulfilled his promise 
of returning thither. Hence, in chap. vii. 6, he says that he had been 
comforted in Macedonia by the arrival of Titus, who brought him 
word of the sorrow of the Corinthians and of their desire to see him. 
Titus, however, seems to have reported to Paul that the time was not 
yet ripe for his return to Corinth. Paul, therefore, postponed his 
visit to Corinth, and sent on this letter to pave the way for him, and 
to correct the failings of the Corinthians. 

Ver. 14. Now thanks be unto God which always causeth us to tri 
umph in Christ. The Syriac and Theophylact render this "triumphs 
in us," i.e., makes us conspicuous to all. A triumph is the procession 
of a victorious commander through the midst of the city with his 
trophies and other signs of victory. But those things which seem to 
us to be suffering and shame are our glory and triumph, says Theo 
phylact. Secondly, Anselm understands it of God triumphing over 
the devil in us or through us. Cf. Col. ii. 15. 

The Apostle seems to have had to bear sharp persecution in 


Macedonia, and, indeed, in vii. 5 he says that he had suffered there 
every kind of tribulation : without were fightings, within were fears ; 
but God s grace gloriously and triumphantly overcame them all. S. 
Jerome (Ep. 150 adHedibiam, qu. xi.) says beautifully that the Apostle 
here gives thanks to God for counting him worthy to be the subject of 
the triumph of His Son over so many persecutions and evils, which 
he underwent in his task of converting the Gentiles to Christ. " For 
the triumph of God," says S. Jerome, " is the suffering of the martyrs 
for the name of Christ, the shedding of their blood, and their joy in the 
midst of torture. For when any one saw the martyrs stand firm, and so 
perseveringly endure tortures, and glory in their sufferings, the odour of 
the knowledge of Christ was shed abroad among the Gentiles, and the 
half unconscious thought would arise that if the Gospel were not true 
it would never be proof against death." The preaching of the Gospel 
therefore triumphs in the Apostles, inasmuch as in it faith overcomes 
unbelief, truth falsehood, the love of Christ the hatred of the scornful, 
patience every kind of suffering and persecution, and even death itself. 
Ver. 15. We are unto God a sweet savour of Christ. Or, accord- 
to the Latin, a sweet odour. We scatter by word and example a good 
report of Christ to the honour of God. A good odour is exhaled from 
special kinds of herbs and such things as sweet spices. Such was the 
fame of the Apostles and of their preaching, such was the glory and 
honour that sprang from their virtues and was due to their merits. 
Hence the bride, i.e., the Church, in Cant. vii. i, compares herself 
to a garden of sweet spices in which there is to be seen the beauty, 
pleasantness, and fair order of the growing herbs and sweetly scented 
flowers which exhale their delicious fragrance. This is what Christ 
orders in S. Matt. v. 16, where by another metaphor glory and good 
name are called the splendour that flows forth from the light of 
good works. 

S. Bernard (Serm. xii. in Cantic.} says excellently: " Paul was a 
chosen vessel, truly a sweet-smelling vessel, filled with pleasant odours 
and with every fair colour for the painter, for he was a good odour of 
Christ in every place. Truly, far and wide was the fragrance of his 
abundant sweetness scattered from that breast which so anxiously cared 


for all the Churches. For see what spices and aromas he had stored 
up within : 1 die daily] he says, for your glory, and, Who is weak 
and I am not weak ? 

Observe again that, as the more spices are crushed the greater 
is the fragrance they exhale, so is it with Christ, His Apostles and 
Martyrs, and all the Saints : the greater the persecutions and tribu 
lations that pressed them and, as it were, crushed them, the sweeter 
was the odour that their virtue gave forth. 

Cf. Ambrose and Anselm, and S. Bernard (Serm. 71 in Cantic.}, 
who discourses of the spiritual colour and odour of virtues from the 
text, " I am the Rose of Sharon and the Lily of the valley." He says : 
" The character has its colours and its odours ; odour in the good re 
port it bears, colour in the conscience within. The good intention of 
your heart gives its colour to your work ; the example of your modesty 
and virtue gives it its odour. The righteous is in himself a fair lily, 
to his neighbour he is full of sweet odours. To our neighbour we owe 
it that we maintain a good reputation, to ourselves that we are careful 
to have a conscience void of offence." S. Jerome also, alluding to the 
same passage, says : " The life and conversation of a Bishop, pastor, or 
teacher ought to be such that all his goings out and comings in, and all 
his works should be redolent of heavenly grace" 

Heathen writers also employ this image of odour in rebuking evil 
livers. Martial, e.g., says that "he smells not sweet who always 
smells sweet," implying that that man s chastity was to be suspected 
who was always endeavouring to overwhelm the foulness of his own 
shameful disease by some artificial scent. Certainly we read of the 
virgin Catherine of Sienna, that she was wont to close her nostrils 
when she met any one that was impure, as though the smell of his 
wickedness was grievous to her, God giving this most chaste virgin 
perception of such things. S. Basil (Ef. 175) relates that some bird- 
catchers were wont to dip the wings of tame doves in some sweet 
liquid which was pleasant to other doves, so as to allure them and 
catch them. So must the Christian do : by the sweet odour of his 
virtues he must allure the lost and bring them to Christ. So did 
the virgin Cecilia win to Christ her spouse Valerianus, by causing 


him, on the first night of their marriage life, to smell the most 
fragrant odour of her chastity, as though it were the scent of spring 

Ver. 1 6. To the one we are the savour of death unto death, and to 
the other the savour of life unto life. " We are," says Theophylact, 
" a royal censer, and wherever we go we carry with us the odour of 
the spiritual ointment, i.e., in every place we scatter the good fumes of 
the knowledge of God." Again says CEcumenius : "As the fragrance of 
ointment nourishes the dove and destroys the beetle, and as the light 
of the sun gladdens the eyes that are healthy and hurts those that are 
weak, as fire purifies gold and destroys straw, so is Christ ruin to the 
evil, resurrection to the good." Observe the Hebraism, an odour of 
death unto death, i.e., a deadly odour bringing death. The fragrance 
of the fame of the life, preaching, and conversion of the Apostles 
breathed life into the good, death into the evil ; for the wicked, un 
able to bear the splendour of such holiness, hardened themselves 
the more in their wickedness, envy, or hatred. But Clement of 
Alexandria (Pad. lib. ii.) reads, "odour from death" and "odour 
from life," which means : The preaching of the Cross and death of 
Christ is an odour to the unbelievers arising from the death of 
Christ, and tends to the ruin of those who regard that death merely 
as a death, and find it accordingly foolishness or a stumbling-block : 
but to them that believe it is an odour from life, inasmuch as they 
embrace the life offered to them in this death. For the death of 
Christ was the cause of his resurrection to a glorious life, and in us 
it is the cause of our resurrection to the life of grace in this world, 
and the life of glory in the world to come. 

And who is sufficient for these things ? The ministers, says Am 
brose, who are in every place a good odour of Christ are as few as 
they are insufficient. 

Ver. 17. For we are not as many which corrupt the word of God. 
The particle for denotes that Paul, with the few other Apostles, was 
by God s grace a fitting minister of Christ, and scattered wherever he 
went the good odour of the Gospel, while many others were unfitting 
preachers of the Gospel, of evil odour and of bad report. 


The Latin for corrupt is "adulterate," which, Salmeron says, de 
notes the act of one who has connection with a woman that is not his 
wife ; so does he who mingles truth and falsehood adulterate the word 
of God. S. Gregory (Morals, lib. xxii. c. 12) says : " To adulterate 
the word of God is either to think of it otherwise than it is, or to seek 
from it, not spiritual fruit but the corrupt offspring of human praise. 
To speak in sincerity is to say nothing but what one ought, i.e., to seek 
always the glory of the Creator." Again (Morals^ lib. xvi. c. 25) he 
says: "An adulterer seeks not offspring but carnal delight; and 
whoever perversely serves vain-glory is rightly said to adulterate the 
word of God, because it is not his aim to beget children to God by 
sacred eloquence but to display his own knowledge. WJiosoever there 
fore is drawn to speak by the desire of vain-glory spends his labour 
rather on pleasure than generation." 

But the Greek word used here is not the word for committing 
adultery, but one that denotes to traffic as an inn-keeper, and S. 
Paul contrasts with this sincere dealing. They make the word of 
God a matter of traffic, who, like inn-keepers, preach the Gospel for 
gain, and look at it entirely from the point of view of their own 
profit. Still the Latin accurately translates the passage, because, as 
inn-keepers often adulterate the wine that they sell to increase 
their profits, so do greedy and false preachers of the Gospel mingle 
with it their own gain, and so adulterate that Gospel which should 
be pure, and be purely referred to God s glory. " War is not a 
matter of traffic," said King Pyrrhus, " but of fighting." Cowardly 
captains, from dread of battle, stave it off by payment of money ; 
others sell the loyalty they owe to their leader, and, like inn-keepers, 
arrange with the enemy the price of the cities and fortresses en 
trusted to their charge. 

Again, these same false preachers, in order to add to their gain 
and to win the applause of men, often teach and preach what they 
see is pleasing to great men or to the people, and tickle their ears, 
and so corrupt the Gospel with false and empty doctrines. The 
Apostle seems to be here censuring incidentally his enemies the 
false Apostles, who were adulterating Christianity with Judaism, 


and who are severely reproved by him in chaps, x. and xi. Hence, 
in chap. iv. 2, he explains " corrupt " to mean " handle the word of 
God deceitfully," and he contrasts himself and other sincere teachers 
of the Gospel with these deceitful dealers in chap. iii. 

But as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in 
Christ. I am not an inn-keeper, as are the false apostles, but a 
sincere preacher of the word of God, preaching nothing but what I 
have learned from God and have received at His mouth as His 
ambassador. I know too, and constantly keep in mind and reflect 
that I stand and preach in the presence of God, and that all that I 
do or say is noted by Him and will have to be accounted for by me 
in the hour of death. 

In Christ, says S. Jerome (adHedibiam), is the same as>r Christ; 
or it may mean of Christ and His religion." The sense then is : I 
preach the doctrine of Christ alone, I spread the honour and glory 
of Christ alone. Or in Christ may again be taken to mean that he 
speaks and preaches in the truth, faithfulness, and sincerity of Christ. 
S. Chrysostom once more takes it to mean through Christ and His 


I Lest their false teachers should charge him with vainglory , he sheweth the faith 
and graces of the Corinthians to be a sufficient commendation of his ministry. 
6 Whereupon entering a comparison between the ministers of the law and of 
the gospel, 12 he proveth that his ministry is so far the more excellent, as the 
gospel of life and liberty is more glorious than the law of condemnation. 

DO we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, 
epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you ? 

2 Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men : 

3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered 
by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God ; not in tables 
of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. 

4 And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward : 

5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves ; 
but our sufficiency is of God ; 

6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament ; not of the 
letter, but of the spirit : for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. 

7 But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, 
so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the 
glory of his countenance ; which glory was to be done away : 

8 How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? 

9 For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the minis 
tration of righteousness exceed in glory. 

10 For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by 
reason of the glory that excelleth. 

n For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which re- 
maineth is glorious. 

12 Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech : 

13 And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel 
could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished : 

14 But their minds were blinded : for until this day remaineth the same vail 
untaken away in the reading of the old testament ; which vail is done away in 

15 But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. 

1 6 Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. 

17 Now the Lord is that Spirit : and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is 

18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, 
are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of 
the Lord. 




i. Paul asserts that he does not seek or need the praise of men, as the 
Judaising false apostles sought it : the fruit of his preaching is, he 
says, his sufficient commendation. 

ii. He states (ver. 6) the cause of this to be that the Apostles and other 
ministers of the New Testament and of the Spirit were adorned by 
God with more honour and glory than were Moses and the other mini 
sters of the Old Testament and of the letter. 

iii. He points out (ver. 13) that the Jews have still a veil over their heart 
in reading the Old Testament, and so do not see Christ in it ; but that 
they will see Him when this veil shall be taken away by Christ at 
the end of the world. 

Ver. i. Do we begin again to commend ourselves ? At the end of 
the last chapter the Apostle had seemed to praise himself and seek 
the favour of the Corinthians, hence he meets here any suspicion 
of vain-glory. 

Or need we . . . epistles of commendation to you . . . or from you ? 
From you, i.e., written by you to commend me to others. 

Ver. 2. Ye are our epistle. You, O Corinthians, converted by my 
efforts, are to me like an epistle of commendation read and under 
stood by all, which I can show as my credentials to whom I like. 
As the work recommends the workman, and the seal faithfully is re 
presented by its image, so do you commend me as though you were 
a commendatory letter, sealed by yourselves. For all know what 
you were before your conversion drunken, gluttonous, given up to 
impurity and other evil lusts. Corinth was then an emporium, as 
famous for its vices as its wares. But now all men see that you 
have been completely changed, through my preaching, into diffe 
rent men temperate, chaste, meek, humble, devout, liberal. This 
your conversion, therefore, is my commendatory letter, i.e., the public 
testimony of my preaching before all people. 

Written in our hearts. You have been converted by me, and 
indelibly written and engraven on my heart. This "epistle" was 
twice written by S. Paul, (i.) He wrote it actually when he instilled 
into the mind of the Corinthians the faith and Spirit of Christ. (2.) 


He wrote it and imprinted it on his own heart by his care and love 
of them. (3.) Christ again was inscribed on their hearts by Paul s 
ministry, as if by a pen ; and Christ Himself, by Paul s preaching, 
imprinted on them his faith, hope, charity, and other graces, not 
with ink, but by the inspiration of the Spirit of the living God, who 
filled their hearts with charity and all virtues. 

Ver. 3. In fleshy tables of the heart. Not in hard stone, as was 
the law of Moses, but in a heart tender, soft, and teachable. There 
is an allusion to Jer. xxxi. 33. The Apostle, we should notice, makes 
a distinction between crap/avo?, used here, and vapKiKos: the first 
denotes the natural condition of flesh its softness, c.; the other that 
which has the vices and corruptions of flesh. Cf. Rom. vii. 14 and 
i Cor. iii. 3. Other writers, however, do not observe this distinction. 
Nazianzen, e.g., applies the latter of these terms to the incarnation and 
manhood of Christ. 

Ver. 4. And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward. 
The Greek word 7re7roi#rjo-is, used here, denotes that confident con 
viction which makes the mind strive to attain some difficult end that 
it longs for, as though it were certain of success. Such is the con 
fidence which is inspired into the Saints by the Holy Spirit enabling 
them to work miracles or other heroic works of virtue. This con 
fidence God is wont to demand as a fitting disposition, and to 
give beforehand, both in him who performs and in him who receives 
the benefit of the miracle or other Divine gift, in order that the soul 
may, by this gift, expand and exalt itself, and become capable of 
receiving Divine power. S. Paul says in effect : " This confident 
persuasion that you are our epistle, written by the Spirit of the living 
God, we have before God through the grace of Christ; we have 
hope and sure confidence in God that, as He has begun, so will 
He finish this epistle by His Spirit." In the second place this trust 
is the confidence S. Paul had before God, which enabled him to 
glory confidently in God of this epistle of his and of God, and of 
the dignity of his ministry, and of its fruit, when compared with the 
ministry of Moses and of other Old Testament ministers. 

Ver. 5. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything 


as of ourselves. To think anything that is good and is ordained 
to faith, grace, merit, and eternal salvation, so as to make a man 
an able minister of the New Testament. But if no one is able to 
think any such thing, he is still less able to do it. Cf. Council of 
Arausica (can. 7) and S. Augustine (de Prcedest. Sanct. c. ii.). 

1. From this passage S. Augustine lays down, in opposition to 
the semi-Pelagians, in which he is followed by the Schoolmen, that 
the will to believe and the beginning of faith and salvation, and 
every desire for it, come, not from free-will but from prevenient 
grace. Hence Beza wrongly charges the Schoolmen with teaching 
that the beginning of good is from ourselves, though weakly and 
insufficiently ; for they all alike teach that the beginning of a good 
and holy life, of good thoughts and actions, and salvation in general 
is supernatural, and has its origin in the grace of God, not in nature 
or the goodness of our will. 

2. Calvin is mistaken in inferring from this passage that there 
is no power in free-will which may be exerted in the works of grace, 
but that the whole strength and every attempt and act spring from 
grace. The Apostle says only that free-will is in itself insufficient, 
not that it has no power whatever. Just as an infirm man has a cer 
tain amount of strength, but not enough for walking, and has enough 
for walking if any one else help him, and give him a start and support, 
so too free-will is of itself insufficient for good works, but is sufficient 
if it be urged on, strengthened, and helped by prevenient grace. 

It may be said that the sufficiency Paul speaks of here may be, 
as Theophylact and the Syriac render it, power, strength, or might. 
I answer that this is true ; for the power and strength of free-will 
for a supernatural work, and of grace, which makes it supernatural, 
pleasing, to God, and worthy and meritorious of eternal life, are 
not from free-will, but from exciting and co-operating grace. When 
free-will has this, it is sufficiently able to believe freely, to love, and 
to work any supernatural work whatever. For free-will has for every 
work natural strength able to produce a free work ; therefore these 
two causes concur here in the same work, one natural, viz., free-will, 
the other supernatural, viz., grace. Each, too, has its corresponding 


effect : the effect of grace is that it is a supernatural work, of free-will 
that it is free and the work of man. In the same way an infirm 
man is not only not strong enough, but wholly unable to walk, 
because it is a task beyond his strength ; but he becomes able if 
he is given strength by a friend, or from some other source, and 
then he unites his own strength, however little it be, with that lent 
to him, and is able to walk. Still the strength that comes from 
without has to start him and begin his walking, and the whole force 
and energy with which he walks is to be found in the strength that 
is given him. That he tries to walk beyond his strength is not from 
himself but from without; but when it is once given, he puts forth 
his own strength and co-operates with it, and produces an effect 
commensurate to his efforts. In the same way free-will co-operates 
with exciting grace, and acts as a companion to it in every super 
natural work, in such way as its strength enables it. 

We learn from this passage to recognise in every good work our 
own weakness, and to ascribe to Christ s grace all the goodness and 
worth of what we do. S. Gregory (Morals, lib. xxii. c. 19), says : "Let 
no one think himself to have any virtue, even when he can do anything 
successfully ; for if he be abandoned by the strength that comethfrom 
above he will be suddenly overthrown helplessly on the very ground 
where he was boasting of his firm standing." S. Augustine (contra 
Julian, lib. ii, c. 8) commends the refutation of the Pelagians by S. 
Cyprian in the words : " They trust in their strength and exclaim that 
the perfection of their virtue is from themselves ; but you, O Cyprian, 
reply that no one in his own strength is strong, but is safe only under 
the merciful indulgence of God" The Psalmist, too, says the same 
thing (Ps. lix. 9) : " My strength will I guard unto Thee," meaning 
that he would lay it up in safety under his ward, hoping to over 
come his enemies in God s strength and not in his own, because 
God is the Fount of all virtue and strength. Cf. Ezek. xxix. 3, 5, 
where Pharaoh is forewarned of his fate for ascribing his power and 
success to himself. 

Again, this passage teaches us to pray to God constantly that He 
would direct our thoughts, and inspire us with heavenly thoughts 


and desires, for such are the fount and beginning of all good works. 
This is beautifully expressed in the Collect for the Ninth Sunday after 
Trinity. S. Bernard (Serm. 32 in Cantic.} says learnedly and piously : 
" Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything good as of 
ourselves ; but our sufficiency is of God. When, therefore, we find evil 
thoughts in our heart, they are our own ; if we find a good thought, it 
is the word of God : Our heart utters the former and hears the latter. 
I will hear, it says, what the Lord God will say in me, for He 
shall speak peace to His people. So, then, he speaks in us peace, righteous 
ness, godliness ; we do not think such things of ourselves, but we hear 
them within ourselves ; but murders, adulteries, thefts, blasphemies, and 
such things proceed from the heart: we do not hear them, we say them," 
or at all events they are suggested to us by the devil. 

Ver. 6. Not of the letter but of the spirit. Not of the law, but of 
grace. I am a minister of the New Testament, but not in such a 
way that I bring tables of the law and of the covenant and its words, 
as did Moses in the Old Testament, but so that God may by my 
words inspire into you heavenly thoughts and desires. Cf. Augustine 
(de Spirit, et Lit. c. iii.X 

For the letter killeth. (i.) Chrysostom, Ambrose, Augustine (de 
Doctr. Christ, lib. iii. c. 4) explain this to be that the letter of the law 
convicts and condemns them to death who do not obey this letter, 
i.e., the precepts of the law relating to righteousness and charity. For 
this letter of the law enacts that whosoever breaketh the law is to 
die the death. (2.) S. Augustine gives another explanation : If you 
abuse the literal meaning, and neglect the sense of Scripture, and fall 
into error, as Jews and heretics do, then the letter killeth. (3.) When 
metaphorical sayings are taken literally (S. Augustine, ibid. c. v., vi.). 
(4.) When types of the new law contained in the old are understood 
to be still binding in their literal meaning (ibid. Cf. also Origen, contra 
Celsum, lib. iii. ; Didymus, de Spirit. Sanct. lib. iii.). The Fathers in 
general frequently say that the letter, i.e., the literal meaning of the 
law killeth, but the spirit, i.e., the spiritual and allegorical meaning, 
giveth life. This is because it is not now lawful to Christians to ob 
serve the ceremonies and ritual precepts of the old law literally under 


penalty of death ; but they are bound to do what those ceremonies 
allegorically signified if they wish to attain the life of grace and glory. 
(5.) S. Augustine again in the same place says that the letter, both of 
the old and new law, killeth if separated from the spirit; but that this 
passage refers to the old law alone, because Moses, when he gave the 
law, gave only the letter, but Christ gave the spirit and the letter, 
and from this he lays down that the law cannot be fulfilled by the 
strength of nature alone, but requires the grace of Christ. (6.) S. 
Augustine once more and Anselm say that the letter killeth by giving 
occasion to sin for the law is the occasion by which concupiscence 
is kindled and sin produced which kills the soul. This sense and 
the first are the most literal. 

But the Spirit giveth life, (i.) The Spirit gives to the soul the 
supernatural life of grace and charity. (2.) He gives motives and 
strength for good works and for fulfilling the law. (3.) He guides 
us towards that eternaUife promised by the law to them that keep it. 
Of this life and Spirit the Apostles were sent by Christ as ministers. 

Ver. 7. If the ministration of death . . . was glorious. If the 
ministration and promulgation of the old law, which threatened and 
brought death and condemnation, were glorious, i.e., accompanied 
by thundering and the sound of the heavenly trumpet, by an earth 
quake and the splendour of Moses countenance : if the old law, 
engraven on tables of stone, was so gloriously promulgated, how 
much more glorious is the Gospel? 

Paul here calls the old law the attendant and lictor of death, 
because it could indeed slay them that broke it, but not give life to 
them that kept it. From this we may gather that S. Paul is writing 
against the false apostles, and that they were Jews who were en 
deavouring to blend the old and the new law. He therefore 
silences the Jews by depreciating the old law as the law of con 
demnation, and by extolling himself and his fellow-apostles as the 
ministers of the evangelical law of righteousness and the life of the 
Spirit. Cf. in this connection chaps, x. and xi. 

Ver. 8. How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glo 
rious 1 This glory of the evangelical law of righteousness was seen in 


the mighty wind and the different tongues of fire which, when the 
new law was promulgated, glorified the Apostles before all nations. 
It was seen too in the gifts of tongues, of prophecy, &c., which used 
to descend visibly on Christians, as appears from i Cor. xiv. 26 ; 
even as now the graces, gifts and virtues of the Holy Spirit are 
received invisibly. 

So that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of 
Moses for the glory of his countenance. God as a sun so brilliantly 
shone on the face of Moses on the mount that his face shone as a 
second sun. The Vulgate rendering of Exod. xxxiv. 29 is that "he 
wist not that his face was horned while He talked with him," where 
the " horns " of course refer to the appearance of rays of light. 

Which glory was to be done away. This bright glory left Moses 
when he was dying, to signify that the old law would fade away with 
its glory when the new came. 

Ver. 10. For even that which was made glorious, &c. For, by 
a common Hebraism, is here assertive, not causal. The glory of 
Moses cannot be called glory when compared with that of the 
Apostolic office, which far excels it. "As" says Theodoret, "the 
light of a lantern shines at night, but is at noonday overpowered by 
the sun, so was the glory of Moses overshadowed by Christ." This is 
the bearing of the phrase " by reason of the glory that excelleth." 

Ver. 12. Seeing then that we have such hope. Since the Lord 
diffuses the spirit of grace by us His Apostles, we have hope that 
He will hereafter give us glory far beyond that of Moses. 

We use great plainness of speech. We preach the Gospel boldly, 
freely, frankly, openly. 

Ver. 1 3. And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face. Moses 
veiled his face, but we do not veil the face of Christ, but with great 
freedom bid all gaze upon it. From Exod. xxxiv. 33 we gather 
that Moses in his first interview with the people spoke to them with 
unveiled face because of the reverence due to the majesty of the 
law, but that he afterwards veiled his face that he might with the 
greater freedom speak to them. But when he entered the tabernacle 
^Exod. xxxiii. 8), to converse with God, he took away the veil. In 


this and the next three verses, S. Paul gives the allegorical meaning 
of this veiling ; for to the Jews the Old Testament is covered with 
a veil, so that they do not see the light of the New Testament, and 
Christ contained in it. From us, however, Christ has taken away 
the veil, and will take it away from the Jews when they are con 
verted at the end of the world. 

S. Gregory (Pastor, pt. iii. c. 5) says tropologically : " The 
preacher should, like Moses, suit himself to his hearers: what is 
deep ought to be concealed from many that hear, and be opened out 
io very few" 

That the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end. 
This is the reading of the Greek MSS., the Syriac, and the older 
Latin authors, as Ambrose, but the Latin reads to the face. The end 
is Christ, mystically signified by the unveiled brightness of the face 
of Moses, as Ambrose and Theodoret say. Others take it more 
literally : they could not look on the perfect splendour of the face 
of Moses, or again, they could not look on the extremity of the 
surface of his face. Theophylact again explains it : " The ignorant 
Israelites could not see that the law was to have an end and be 
abolished." But this is a mystical meaning; the second is the 
literal meaning. 

Which is abolished. The splendour of Moses was to be abolished, 
or the brightness of his face. These words may refer either to the 
face or to the veil, but it is better to understand them of the veil, 
especially as the following verses refer to the removal of the veil of 
Moses by the light of the law of the New Testament. 

Theodoret observes that the sun-like splendour of the face of 
Moses typified the glorious brightness of the law of Christ, while 
the veil typified the shadow under which the dumb ceremonies of 
Moses lay. The Jews have not even yet been able to see the face 
of Moses without the veil, because they unbelievingly insist on the 
reality of their shadowy ceremonies, and have no eyes for the light 
of the Gospel. 

Ver. 14. But their minds were blinded. They were blinded by 

the brightness of the face of Moses, and, allegorically, blinded by 
VOL. n. c 


the Gospel light. As this clause is the antithesis to the preceding, 
both meanings are included. 

Until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading 
of the Old Testament. The Apostle is still continuing the allegorical 
sense. Moses and the Old Testament till to-day are veiled to the 
Jews, so that they cannot see that Christ is signified by so many 
figures, prophecies, ceremonies, and sacrifices. Again, the Old 
Testament is veiled to them, because they read it but do not under 
stand its meaning nor see its end and intent, its light and splendour, 
which is Christ : the eyes of their mind are dull and heavy, as 
formerly were the eyes of their body when they could not gaze on 
the shining face of Moses. 

Which vail is done away in Christ. This veil, by the grace and 
faith of Christ, is removed, so that we can clearly see Christ fore 
shadowed in the Old Testament. 

Ver. 15. The vail is upon their heart. This veil is the foolish 
pertinacity with which the Jews still stubbornly cling to the carnal 
sacrifices and rites of the Old Law, and so are blinded that they 
cannot see Christ typified by them 

Ver. 17. Now the Lord is that Spirit, (i.) The Father, Son, 
and Holy Spirit are not body but spirit. Spirit in this explanation 
is taken essentially for what is common to the Three Persons. So S. 
Ambrose. (2.) Spirit here may stand for the Holy Spirit : the 
Greek MSS. have the definite article, and Roman Bibles and others 
spell it with a capital; for the Jews acknowledge one Lord and 
God, but deny that there is a plurality of Persons, and that the Holy 
Spirit is God. When the Jews shall have the veil taken away and 
shall be converted to the Lord and to belief in the Blessed Trinity, 
then will they serve the Lord their God, not in the letter, with dumb 
corporeal ceremonies, but in the spirit. The God to whom they 
shall be converted is Spirit, and the Holy Spirit will give them the 
law of the Spirit of liberty, that with the eyes of their spirit they 
may see Christ veiled, under the law, and may worship Him in spirit 
and in truth. Cf. S. John iv. 23. S. Augustine (ad Serapiori) 
thus explains this last passage : " We must worship the Father in 


truth> i.e., in the Son and Holy Spirit, We must worship the Three 
Persons of the Holy Trinity, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" But 
this is the mystical meaning. 

Literally, Christ said this against the Samaritans and Jews; for 
the Samaritans worshipped God with worship that was false and 
devised by themselves, and so worshipped God together with idols ; 
consequently the God of their worship was not the true God, but a 
created god of their imaginations, and the companion of idols. The 
Jews worshipped the true God indeed, but under fixed corporeal 
signs, which were shadows of things to come. To both of these 
Christ opposes Christians, who worship God in spirit and not in 
corporeal signs, and in truth instead of in shadows, falsehood, and 
ignorance. God is an incorporeal and pure Spirit. Spirit, therefore, 
in this passage denotes the spiritual worship of faith, hope, charity, 
and other virtues, by which God is worshipped in truth, i.e., most 
truly, rightly, and properly, and not by shadows. Wherefore the 
sacraments and ceremonies of the New Law, since they are not 
shadows of the Old Law, but ornaments and helps of the Spirit, belong 
to the Spirit. Theophylact, Theodoret, Chrysostom thus explain 
the passage, and prove from it against Macedonius that the Holy 
Spirit is God. 

It may be said that the same Spirit is afterwards called "the 
Spirit of the Lord." How, then, is He the Lord? The answer 
is : He is " the Lord " because He is God ; He is " of the Lord " 
because He proceeds from the Father and the Son. 

And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. Liberty 
denotes a spontaneous, frank, free, and clearly illuminated will. 
Now that the veil of Moses has been taken away, we can, with 
clear and spontaneous will, walk according to the law of God. So 

Notice that liberty is not here opposed to the obligation of law, 
Divine or human, as heretics think, but both to the veil of Moses, 
or the obscurity of the Old La\v r and to the letter, or to the servile 
compulsion, fear, and deadness of the law. This liberty, therefore, 
is twofold. See notes to ver. 6. 


1. Liberty is, says Chrysostom, an understanding and clear know 
ledge of the mystery of the Trinity, of the incarnation, and other 
things that are obscure to the Jews. It is also a knowledge of true 
religion and of Divine worship, which the Jews supposed to con 
sist in the sacrifice of bulls and goats, though God wills to be 
worshipped in spirit and in truth. Just as heaviness, dulness, per 
plexity, and ignorance of the understanding, which hold the mind 
as it were fast bound in chains, are rightly called slavery, so 
on the other hand illumination of the intellect and clear know 
ledge are rightly called liberty, because the mind, set free from 
ignorance, error, and crass conceptions, is able to freely devote 
itself to truth, to God, to things spiritual and Divine. Hence 
Aristotle, Plutarch, Seneca, and others used to say that the wise 
man alone was free. 

2. Liberty, as S. Augustine says, is to be found in the affections 
and in the love of righteousness, in freedom from fear of punish 
ment, in the spontaneous fulfilling of the law from love of virtue, 
and not from fear of punishment. This free spirit of Christian love 
is contrasted with the slavery of Jewish fear. This is evident from 
the context. The Begardi, three hundred years ago, and the 
Suencfeldiani and Libertines of the present day, are therefore as 
impious, as ignorant, and foolish (a) in rejecting, on the supposed 
authority of ver. 6, the written word of God, as though it were a 
sun that had set, and in holding that the light within is sufficient 
for our guidance; () in teaching that a holy and perfect man is 
set free from the law and does not sin, even if he commit fornication. 
(c) They are followed by many others, who deduce the invalidity of 
all human laws. Cf. Bellarmine (de Justific. lib. iv. c. 3 and 4), 
and Belliolanus, in the fifteen books he wrote on Christian Liberty. 
S. Augustine (de Continentia, c. iii.) says excellently : " We are not 
under a law which orders good and does not give it, but we are under 
grace, which makes us love what the law orders, and which can, there 
fore, give orders to free men." Cf. the same Father (de Spirit, et Lit. 
c. x., and de Natura et Graf. c. 57). 

Ver. 1 8. But we all with open face. The open face is that of 


Christ incarnate or of the mysteries of the faith. We, looking on 
them, see the glorious Godhead of the Lord and His grace, and 
the work of our redemption foreshadowed in Moses and the Old 

Beholding as in a glass. "Seeing as in a mirror, not beholding 
as from a watch-tower," says S. Augustine (de Trin. lib. xv. c. 8) ; 
but Erasmus renders the passage, "representing in a mirror," 
because he says this is the image of the glory of God. But the 
Greek verb is clearly to see, not represent in a mirror, and besides 
the representation is spoken of in the next phrase, "are changed 
into the same image." Since we see the glory of God in Christ 
and His Gospel, as though in a mirror, we are by this transformed 
into the same image of God, and we represent in ourselves this 
glory. This mirror, therefore, is the cause of the image, not the 
image itself. 

The Apostle here means by mirror the Word clothed in flesh, 
and made visible, and whatever is put before our eyes in the Gospel 
and in the Church, and he contrasts all this with Moses veiled. 
Hence, in the next chapter, he speaks of the image of God ; for 
Christ as God is the Word and image of the Father, as Man He 
is the mirror of the Deity and His grace and glory; consequently 
the Gospel of Christ is nothing but a most clearly polished mirror 
of the glory of God. Hence S. Augustine calls his " Sentences " a 

"Mirror" may also be taken here to mean the faith through 
which, as through a mirror darkly, we behold God and the things of 
God. Cf. notes to i Cor. xiii. 12. 

Are changed into the same image. Not essentially, as though our 
essence were changed into the Divine Essence, or into its archetypal 
being, which it had in God from eternity before it was created, of 
which S. John speaks when he says, " That which was made was in 
Him life." This is the error of Almaric and other fanatics, which 
is refuted by Gerson in his two epistles written against Ruisbroch, 
and of Ruisbroch himself (de Vera Contempt). But we are changed 
per accidens, i.e., by the rays of the light of Christ being reflected 


on us as from a mirror, we become bright with the light of the faith 
and grace of Christ, and so we become like mirrors flashing out the 
light of heaven, and like suns illuminating others, as Chrysostom 
and Theophylact say. Nay, we become as gods, sharing in the 
Divine Nature, as S. Peter says. " God foreknew and predestinated 
us to be conformed to the image of His Son," says S. Paul. He 
alludes to Moses, who, beholding God and conversing with Him, 
received the rays of light reflected from God, as was said in the 
note to ver. 7. Moses did not see God Himself, but in a glori 
ous, assumed body which acted as a mirror. Tertullian (contra 
Martian, lib. v.) reads here, we are transfigured, as though Paul 
was alluding to the transfiguration of Christ on Mount Tabor, when 
Christ, brilliant with the light of His glory, shed it over Moses and 
Elias and the Apostles, and as it were transfigured them. In the 
same way, by the Gospel and the grace and faith of Christ, we are 
transformed and transfigured, inasmuch as we are made partakers 
of the truth, brightness, and glory of God, so that we are able to 
communicate them to others, and at last we reflect them on God 
Himself, from whom they first came. 

"The whole life of Christ," says S. Augustine, "which was spent 
as man on earth, was a mirror giving us a pattern of good living." 
How wise are they who gaze constantly into this mirror, and do all 
they can to conform their lives to it, and so are transformed into 
different men, into heavenly, angelic, and Divine beings ! 

From glory to glory, (i.) From the glory of Christ into our own 
glory, so that we become clear and bright with grace and wisdom, 
even as Christ. (2.) From the brightness of faith into the bright 
ness of sight. (3.) From the brightness of creation into the bright 
ness of justification, according to Anselm. (4.) Daily growing 
more and more glorious, till we come to the glory of the Beatific 
Vision. Cf. notes to Rom. i. 17. Maldonatus (No fee mss.) gives 
a further explanation : " Progressing from the glory of the Old 
Testament to the glory of the New." So it is said in Rom. i. 17, 
"from faith to faith." 

Even as by the Spirit of the Lord. This change is through the 


Spirit of the Lord. Even as denotes the cause that is suitable to, 
and worthy of, so great a change, such, i.e., as it becomes the Holy 
Spirit to work. S. Basil and S. Chrysostom argue from these words 
against Macedonius that the Holy Spirit is God, and that it is He 
that taketh away the veil and gives understanding of the Scriptures. 
Tertullian finally (contra Marcion, lib. v. c. n) reads here: "Even 
as by the Lord of Spirits." 


I He dedareth how he hath used all sincerity and fait hf til diligence in preaching 
the gospel, 7 and how the troubles and persecutions which he daily endured for 
the same did redound to the praise of God s power, \2to the benefit of the church, 
1 6 and to the apostle s own eternal glory. 

I IIEREFORE seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we 
JL faint not : 

2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in 
craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully ; but by manifestation of 
the truth commending ourselves to every man s conscience in the sight of 

3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost : 

4 In whom the God of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe 
not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, wLo is the image of God, should 
shine unto them. 

5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord ; and ourselves your 
servants for Jesus sake. 

6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in 
our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of 
Jesus Christ. 

7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power 
may be of God, and not of us. 

8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed ; we are perplexed, but 
not in despair ; 

9 Persecuted, but not forsaken ; cast down, but not destroyed ; 

10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life 
also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. 

1 1 For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus sake, that the 
life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. 

12 So then death worketh in us, but life in you. 

13 We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, 
and therefore have I spoken ; we also believe, and therefore speak ; 

14 Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by 
Jesus, and shall present us with you. 

1 15 For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the 
thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. 

1 6 For which cause we faint not ; but though our outward man perish, yet the 

inward man is renewed day by day. 



17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far 
more exceeding and eternal weight of glory ; 

1 8 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. 


i. From what was said in the last chapter of the glory and honour 
belonging to the office of a preacher of the Gospel, S. Paul proceeds 
to assert that he discharges that office holily, sincerely, and blame 
lessly. He declares this to be a fact plainly known to all except to 
those whose minds were blinded. 

ii. lie declares (ver. 7) that he and the other Apostles undergo many 
sufferings on behalf of the Gospel without flinching, and that they 
with fortitude always bear about in their bodies the mortification of 
Jesus, on account of the hope of resurrection to a better life. 

iii. He points out (ver. 17) that this our tribulation is but light and short 
lived, and works an eternal weight of glory. 

Ver. i. Therefore seeing we have this ministry. The ministry of 
the New Testament, the excellency of which has been dwelt on 
in the preceding chapter. To this God in His mercy has called 
us, His unworthy Apostles. 

We faint not. We do not yield, are not daunted by dangers and 
difficulties, are not wearied, as Erasmus turns it. 

Ver. 2. But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty. All 
hidden and disgraceful wickedness. What is vile loves darkness, 
and those who seek for what is impure have ever in their mouth, 
" If not chastely, yet cautiously." S. Paul means : I do nothing, not 
even in secret, with which fault can be found : I am no hypocrite, 
like many false apostles. S. Ambrose (Offic. lib. ii. c. 3), alluding 
to the ring of Gyges, which enabled him to see all and be seen by 
none, and so led him to deflower the queen and slay the king, and 
get possession of the throne of Lydia, says beautifully : " Give this 
ring to a wise man, that by its power he may be hid from the eyes of 
all if he does wrong: he will none the less flee from the stain of sin, 
though he be seen by none. The wise maris hiding-place is not to be 
found in fear of punishment, but in hope of keeping innocency . Law 
is not laid doivn for the righteous, but for the unrighteous ; for the 


righteous man is a law to himself in the uprightness of his heart, and 
has his rule of righteousness within" To the same effect is the 
golden sentence of Seneca : "Even if I were sure that no man would 
know, and that God would forgive, yet the hatefulness of sin would 
prevent me from sinning." Add to this that even if we escape the 
notice of men when we sin, yet we cannot escape from the all-seeing 
eye of God, who will judge and punish. Therefore let every one 
renounce with S. Paul the hidden things of dishonesty, and live 
chastely, and keep his heart pure, just as if he were standing in the 
presence of God. 

Not walking in craftiness. Professing to be one thing and 
secretly doing another. The words are aimed at the lust of the false 
apostles, and their secret evil-living. Cf. Eph. v. 1 2. 

Nor handling the word of God deceitfully. As the false apostles 
do, who mix it up with the law of Moses, or fashion their teaching 
after the needs of time, place, and persons. These three were 
excellently performed by Luther, (i.) He falsified Rom. iii. 28, 
"We conclude that a man is justified by faith," by adding the word 
" only " to faith ; and also 2 Pet. i. 10 : " Give diligence by good works 
to make your calling and election sure," by omitting the words 
"by good works." (2.) He wrested the word of God to his own 
lusts when he tried to persuade a certain woman that it was lawful 
for her to lie with him whilst her husband was asleep, on the autho 
rity of i Cor. vii. 39 : " If her husband sleep, she is at liberty." (3.) 
To suit different places, times, and persons, he gave different expo 
sitions of the words of consecration. Caspar Querhamer Saxo has 
published thirty-six contradictory explanations of his on the sub 
ject of the Eucharist alone, collected from his writings during his 

Commending ourselves to every man s conscience. Those who follow 
their conscience and form their judgments by it see that what I say 
is true, and if they would say what they think, they cannot deny that 
I preach with sincerity, as in the presence of God, seeing and fearing 
God everywhere as my witness and judge. 

Ver. 3. But if our Gospel be hid. So as not to be understood and 


hence not believed. He alludes to the veil of Moses (iii. 13), and 
anticipates the objection : " If you, O Paul, manifest, as you say, the 
word of God in truth, and commend yourself to every man s con 
science, how comes it that this word of God of yours is not manifest 
to all? Why do not all believe it?" He replies that it is plain 
enough to the good and faithful, but to the wicked and unbelieving it 
is hidden and unknown, because they are reprobate. He is not speak 
ing of the written Gospel, as heretics suppose, as though that were 
clear to all the elect, but of the mysteries of the Gospel, or the articles 
of the faith that are open and obvious to every Christian, such as 
the birth, Passion, and resurrection of Christ. These truths were 
preached by Paul and the Apostles before the Gospels were com 
mitted to writing ; and when this letter was written, all the Gospels 
were not yet written. 

To them that are lost. It is the proof and cause of their reprobation 
that they have a veil of blindness and unbelief over their heart, which 
prevents them from seeing and believing Christ and His mysteries, 
which are so clearly set forth in the Gospel and the New Testament. 

Ver. 4. In whom the god of this world hatk blinded the minds of 
them which believe not. Who is meant by the " god of this world ? " 
(i.) Marcion, according to Chrysostom, inferred that there is a certain 
god, just but not good, who was the creator of the world. (2.) The 
Manicheans reply that it is the devil, and that he was the creator of 
the world and of matter in general. (3) Chrysostom, Anselm, Theo- 
doret, and Theophylact make the sentence run : God, i.e., the true 
God, hath blinded the minds of the unbelievers of this world ; or 
God, the true God, the author and maker of the world, hath blinded 
the minds of them that believe not. (4.) CEcumenius and S. Thomas 
say : The God of this world is the devil, who is the god of worldly 
men, not by having created them, but in the way of wickedness, 
example, power, and suggestion. This seems the simplest explana 
tion ; for S. Paul does not call him God simply, but the God of this 
world,./".!?., of worldly men, who prefer the perishing things of time to 
the realities of eternity. Cf. Eph. vi. 12. (5.) S. Thomas also says: 
"The God of this world is mammon, or the power and pomp that men 


of the world make their chief good and set up as their god. Cf. 
Phil. iii. 19. 

Them which believe not. The construction is a Hebraism. The 
Gospel is hidden in the case of unbelievers who perish, in whom i.e., 
of whom, the God of this world hath blinded the minds. 

Lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ . . . should shine unto 
them. The Greek word avyrj, from which the verb here is derived, 
denotes, say Chrysostom and Theophylact, a faint light and foreshine 
of clear light, i.e., of the brightness of the Divine glory which will 
be revealed in heaven. As the dawn and the morning star precede 
the sun, so does faith in this life, like a morning star, go before the 
brightness of the sight of the Beatific Vision. Cf. 2 Pet. i. 19. The 
Gospel is called the " Gospel of the glory of Christ," or the "glorious 
Gospel of Christ," because by it Christ is glorified. 

Who is the image of God. (i.) This is strictly true of the Son, who 
proceeds from the Father as His image. (2.) The Son is called the 
image of the Father, because He is begotten by Him in such a way 
that He is most like to the Father, and most perfectly represents 
Him. He is the Word of God or the Wisdom of God, in whom the 
Father beholds His own Wisdom mirrored. "Word," however, stands 
for a concept of the mind, and is an image of the thought of the 
mind, and so He is distinguished from the Holy Spirit, who, though 
He perfectly resembles the Father, yet is not this by the mere fact 
of His procession ; for by that He is merely the bond of union in will 
and love between the Father and the Son. (3.) The Son is the image 
of the Father by reason of His Divine Essence, inasmuch as He has 
received It from the Father. For, since He has received It from the 
Father, He is in reality diverse in Person, just as an image is diverse 
from its original. Moreover, since He has received His Essence from 
the Father, He is most like to Him, and in all things represents Him. 

Observe the depth of the Apostle s statements. The world re 
ceives the light of faith from the Apostles, they from Christ, in the 
same way that Moses received it from an angel representing Christ ; 
Christ from the Father, in the same way that light proceeds from light, 
and a ray from the sun. 


Ver. 5. Ourselves your servants for fesus sake. Supply "we 
show," or " we preach." 

Ver. 6. For God , . . hath shined in our hearts. In the account 
of the creation of the world given in Genesis, light is said to have 
been created first of all, because light is a quality most splendid, pleas 
ant, gladdening, useful, efficacious, and powerful. Cf. Dionysius (de 
Divin. Nomin. c. iv.), who enumerates thirty-four properties of light 
and of fire wonderfully adapted to set forth God and the things 
belonging to Him. Cf. note to Gen. i. 2. 

Hugo (de Sacram. pag. i. c. 10) and others point out, by way of 
allegory, that on the first day, when light was created and divided 
from darkness, the good angels were established in good and the 
evil in evil, and were separated each from other. What, therefore, 
was done in the world of sense was an image of what was being 
done in the unseen world. Nay, S. Augustine frequently maintains 
that the literal sense is that which refers to the angels. 

The Apostle here explains this light tropologically. As God 
formerly produced light out of darkness, so now has He made 
unbelievers into believers, and has enlightened them with the light 
of faith. So, too, S. Augustine (contra Advers, Leg. lib. i. c. 8) lays 
down that by light and day succeeding the pre-existing darkness, 
and being again succeeded by darkness, is signified what spiritually 
takes place in man, viz., grace succeeding sin, and sin again grace. 

2o give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face 
of Jesus Christ. To illuminate us, that we in turn may illuminate 
others with that clear and glorious knowledge which shines forth 
from God in the face of Christ, or else by means of our clear 
knowledge of Christ and His redemption. It is commonly said that 
a man is known by his face ; hence to know " in the face "signifies 
to know clearly and openly. Just as at night a lighted torch throws 
light on the surrounding darkness, and is carried before travellers 
to show them the way clearly, so does Christ lighten us in the 
night of this world, so that we know God surely and plainly, and go 
on our way to see Him in the life of bliss in heaven. Hence the 
Glossa symbolically explains these words to mean : by Jesus Christ, 


who is the Face of the Father ; for without Him the Father is not 
known. There is still kept up an allusion to the veil over Moses 
face contrasted with the open face of Christ (iii. 15). The word 
face maybe, with theSyriac, translated the person, i.e., we illuminate, 
others in the name, place, and authority of Christ. S. Cyril (de Fide 
ad Theodor. Imp.} says : " He hath shined in our hearts to give 
the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus 
Christ. .See how openly and plainly the light of the knowledge of 
God the Father has shone forth in the person of Christ." 

Ver. 7. But we have this treasure. The treasure is the ministry 
and preaching of the Gospel entrusted to him by God. Cf. ver. i 
and vers. 5 and 6. 

In earthen vessels, (i.) In a body of dust frail and fragile. Our 
body is as an earthenware vessel; for as an earthen vessel is 
nothing but clay baked in the fire, so is our body nothing but 
earth made solid by the heat of the soul. Take away the soul, and 
the body returns to the dust whence it came. Cf. Ps. ciii. 14. 
Or, (2.) in earthen vessels means in ourselves ; for though we are 
Apostles, still we are men, frail and fashioned from the dust, and, 
like earthen vessels, are worthless, weak, and contemptible, exposed 
to injuries at the hands of all. This explanation is favoured by the 
words that follow : " We are troubled on every side," &c. So in 
i Cor. i. 27, it was said that God had chosen the Apostles as the 
foolish, and weak, and base things of the world ; and also in i Cor. 
ii. i, Paul said that he had come to the Corinthians, not with 
excellency of speech or of wisdom, but in weakness, and fear, and 
trembling ; and again, in i Cor. iv. 9, he expresses the same idea. 

Origen (Horn, in Numer.} symbolically interprets this treasure 
as the grace of the Holy Spirit hidden in earthen vessels, i.e., in the 
rude, unpolished, and unadorned words of the law and the Gospel. 

That the excellency of the power may be of God and not of -us. God 
wills me to have this treasure in an earthen vessel, in order that the 
excellency which is in me, and the fruit that I gather in the conver 
sion of the heathen, may not be ascribed to me, but to the power 
of God and the grace of Christ. 


Ver. 8. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed. Not 
made anxious. Physically he was distressed, hemmed in, and 
pressed down, but in the midst of adversity the Apostle s mind was 
serene and lofty. So, in Ps. iv. i, David says : "Thou hast enlarged 
me when I was in distress." 

We are perplexed, but not in despair. The Latin Version gives : 
" We are in want, but not destitute," or, as Ambrose, Theophylact, 
Erasmus, and Cajetan explain it : We are pressed with want, but not 
oppressed. There is a similar play on words in the Greek. Poverty 
gives sufficiency, nay, plenty, to a soul that is patient, wise, serene, 
and fixed on God. To say nothing of Christian writers, this was 
taught by Favorinus, who says : " It is true what wise men have 
said as the result of their experience, that they who have much 
want much, and that indigence takes its rise from abundance, and 
not from want. Much more is desired in order to guard the 
abundance you already have. Whoever, therefore, has great riches, 
and wishes to take forethought and guard against need or loss, 
needs loss, not gain, and should have less, that less may be lost." 

The Greek may also be rendered : We are without guidance, and 
are perplexed in the midst of our evils and difficulties ; still we 
are not overcome by them, nor by our anxiety and weariness. We 
do not despair, but we hope for, and we find counsel, help, and 
deliverance in God, and so we are conquerors. This explanation 
is nearer to the Greek az-o/Dia, which denotes, not only bodily 
distress, but mental, viz., want of counsel, doubt, and perplexity, 
when the mind, seeing itself surrounded by difficulties, is at a stand 
still, and knows not what to do. But God succours the Apostles 
and their successors in these straits, and points out a way of escape. 
S. Xavier and Caspar Barzseus found this true in their work among 
the Indians, and testified that in every difficulty the Holy Spirit 
taught them more than all doctors or wise men could have done. 

Ver. 9. Persecuted, but not forsaken. S. Gregory of Nyssa (de 
JSeatitud.}, explaining the last of the Beatitudes, "Blessed are they 
that suffer persecution," acutely and piously weighs the meaning of 
the word persecution, which etymologically points to some running, 


or rather running before. He puts before our eyes a holy man and 
tribulation, like two runners running side by side. When the saint 
does not give place to tribulation, he says that he goes before it, as 
victorious over it, and that tribulation follows hard after him, and 
is, therefore, called persecution, not consecution, for it follows after 
but does not reach the holy man. He says that this word points out 
that the saints, through patience, run with great swiftness for the 
prize of glory, display their vigour and strength most brightly in 
the midst of persecutions. He goes on : " Martyrdom shoivs us 
the arena, and marks out the course to be run by faith ; for perse 
cution denotes an ardent desire for swiftness, nay, it even indicates the 
winning of the prize ; for who can be "victor in the race save he who 
leaves his competitor behind ? Since, therefore, he that has an enemy 
behind, seeking to deprive him of the prize, has one persecuting him, 
and such are they who finish the course of martyrdom on behalf of 
their holy religion, who are persecuted by their enemies, but not over 
taken. Christ seems in these last words to put before us the most 
glorious crown of bliss, when He says, Blessed are they that 
suffer persecution for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom 
of heaven. " 

Cast down, but not destroyed. There is here an allusion to the 
earthen vessels of ver. 7. Though, he seems to say, we are earthen 
vessels, and cast down, as it were, from the most lofty towers of 
persecutions, yet are we not shattered. We are so hardened by 
the fire of charity that we cannot break. Some add, "We are 
humiliated, but not confounded," but the words are wanting in the 
Greek and Latin copies. 

Ver. 10. Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord 
Jesus. The death of Jesus, according to S. Ambrose, but the Greek is 
rather dying or mortification. The dying meant is the suffering of 
death like to the suffering of Jesus Christ, which is the road to and 
the beginning of death, a long and living death. This is the suffering 
spoken in vers. 8 and 9, suffering inflicted from without, though it 
may be extended also to any voluntary mortification of mind and 
body. It is called " the dying of Jesus," (i.) because it is borne by 


His example ; (2.) because it is undergone for His faith ; (3.) because 
we, His servants, bear about in our body, by a kind of representa 
tion, the very death and Passion of Christ, just as slaves carry the 
badge and token of their master. Cf. Gal. vi. 17. So in Heb. xi. 26, it 
is said that Moses bore the reproach of Christ, and preferred it to the 
riches of Egypt (see note there). " There is no doubt" says Ambrose, 
"that in His martyrs Christ is slain, and that in them that suffer 
chains or scourgings for the faith, Christ suffers the same." Paul gives 
here the cause why, in the midst of trouble and distress, he is not 
crushed and destroyed, but is instead raised up and quickened. It 
is because by tribulation he is made like Christ crucified and smit 
ten, and then raised and quickened ; and, therefore, he rejoices in 

Salvianus (de Vero Jud. et Provid. Dei, lib. i.) says that no one is 
miserable who is content in the midst of misery, rather he is happy, 
because it is of his own devotion that he lives in misery. Toil, 
fasting, poverty, humility, weakness, persecution are not grievous to 
those that endure them, but to those that kick at them. Among 
the heathen, Fabricius, Fabius, Regulus, Camillus found poverty 
and affliction no burden. " No one" he says, "is made miserable by 
other people s opinion but by his own, and therefore false judgment 
cannot make them miserable whose conscience approves them. . . . 
None, I think, are happier than they who act according to their own 
knowledge and wish. Religious are of low estate, but they wish it so ; 
they are poor, but pleased with poverty ; they have no ambition, for 
they scorn it ; they mourn, but they rejoice to mourn ; they are weak, 
but they delight in weakness. When I am weak says the Apostle, 
then am I strong. And so, no matter what may happen to those 
that are religious indeed, they are to be called happy. None are more 
joyous in the midst of all kinds of adversity than those who are in a 
state of their own choosing." 

That the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal 
flesh. This is that future life when we shall rise with Christ to 
glory (ver. 14); and also the present life, when, after the pattern of 

the risen body of Christ, our afflicted bodies become more lively 
VOL. n. D 


through the operation of the Spirit, on account of our hope of the 
resurrection and through the power of God, which delivers us from 
so many dangers every day and strengthens us against them. 

Ver. ii. For we which live are alway delivered unto death. In 
the midst of a life such as ours, we are exposed to constant danger 
of death and to every kind of trouble. 

The thought, then, that in all our tribulation we are made like to 
Christ in His Passion and resurrection is what animates, comforts, 
and strengthens us. As in our afflicted and mortified body the 
death of Christ is visibly set forth, so in its deliverance, salvation, 
and strengthening do we see the life and resurrection of Christ. 
When we are thrown to the lions and other wild beasts, to be, as all 
expect, surely devoured by them, they spare us and fawn upon us ; 
when we are cast into the fire it shrinks from us, nay, with genial 
warmth refreshes us; when we are thrown into the sea to be 
drowned, the sea bears us up and preserves us from all hurt ; when 
I was stoned at Lystra and left for dead, I was soon after found to 
be alive. In all these and similar persecutions and afflictions I have 
fellowship with, I am made like, and I set forth the suffering, death, 
and burial of Christ, which by the power of God, were but the glo 
rious prelude to the life of bliss. And for this reason I am strong, nay, 
I rejoice and glory in all my tribulations ; for they give me a 
sure and certain hope of an eternal life of glory. " Therefore" says 
CEcumenius, " was Christ permitted by God to be delivered to death, 
that His resurrection might be made manifest to all. He who daily 
raises us certainly raised tip Himself also, and will in good time raise 
us up to eternal life." 

Ver. 12. So then death worketh in us, but life in you. Your 
spiritual life, your salvation is produced through faith and grace, 
but ours by the death of our body. The passion and death of 
the Apostles has been the life of the Church. " The blood of the 
martyrs is the seed of the Church," says Tertullian. Chrysostom 
gives a different explanation : " You live in peace and suffer no 
such persecutions for the faith as I do ; and so you seem to live, 
and I seem to die daily." 


We, having the same spirit of faith. As David was hemmed in 
with dangers, and yet was delivered by God alone from them all, 
and said: "I believed," i.e., I believe that God will always be true 
to His promises and deliver me, so too do we believe and hope, 
and boldly profess that our help and strength, our deliverance and 
resurrection have been promised by God, and will most surely be 
wrought out. 

Ps. cxvi., alluded to here by S. Paul, is a Eucharistic psalm, in 
which David gives God thanks for his safe deliverance. Hence it 
begins with, " I believed." In other words : I, David, in the midst 
of dangers and adversity, when hunted by Saul and his men, when 
my life was sought by Achish and the Philistines, when I was so 
placed that I seemed to be deprived of all human help, and to 
be in desperate straits, yet put my trust in God, who had promised 
me safety, and moreover the kingdom, by the mouth of Samuel. 
Wherefore, I said boldly that I believed, without doubting that 
God would deliver me from all these evils, and would bring me to 
His promised kingdom, as, in fact, He has delivered me, and has 
set me on the throne. " Right dear in the sight of the Lord is the 
death of His Saints." My death is of great account and great 
price in the sight of the Lord. God, therefore, carefully watches 
that my death, or that of His other Saints may not be allowed, 
except for good cause and great gain, and He wonderfully guards 
us and delivers us. This, I, David, found in the cave and at 
other times when I was shut in by the bands of Saul and of my 
other enemies, and therefore with praise and thanksgiving do I 
exclaim, What return shall I make unto the Lord for all the benefits 
that He hath done unto me ? I will receive the cup of salvation, 
of my many safe deliverances that cup which is a witness and 
public profession of God s goodness to me, and of my frequent 
escapes from danger of God s salvation will I take. 

Observe here that (i.) the Jews had three kinds of sacrifices, the 
whole burnt-offering, the sin-offering, and the peace-offering. This 
last was a sacrifice of salvation, offered for the peace and salva 
tion of any individual or family, or of the whole people, whether 


already obtained or to be obtained. (2.) In every sacrifice a 
libation was made to God, just as if the sacrifice were God s 
feast. The cup, therefore, of salvation is the cup of wine which 
was offered to God, poured out and drunk by the offerers. (3.) 
This cup was a figure of the Eucharistic chalice, which makes us 
not only mindful of the salvation wrought by Christ, but also par 
takers of it. 

Tropologically this "cup" is martyrdom and affliction, and the 
obstinate resistance that we make to sin, even unto death, says S. 
Basil, in his comments on Ps. cxvi. For Paul eagerly longed for 
martyrdom, and hence he speaks not of the cross, but of the cup of 
salvation, as though he should say : I will readily drink whatever the 
Lord may have given to me, even though it be the martyr s death ; 
and therefore knowing, says S. Augustine, that martyrdom is not 
within my own power, but depends on the grace of God, I will call 
upon that grace, and will publicly preach and celebrate the name 
of the Lord. Similarly, Christ speaks of His Passion as a cup, and 
bids His Apostles and martyrs and all His members drink of it 
(S. Matt. xx. 22, and xxvi. 42). As, then, every Christian offers to 
Christ, His Deliverer, the Eucharistic cup and sacrifice as a thanks 
giving, so does Paul offer his sufferings, his afflictions, and death to 
Christ, as a most pleasing cup. So, too, have all the martyrs, by 
openly professing their faith and dying for it, offered to Christ the 
cup of their martyrdom. 

I believed. I believed, and I still believe. This is a continuous 
act of belief, and not merely one that is inchoate, especially so 
since David speaks of the person of Paul and of us all, and puts 
his own belief forward as one deserving our imitation. 

Ver. 14. Shall raise up us also . . . and shall present us with 
you. Shall present us with you in glory. He says out of modesty, 
"shall present us with you," not "you with us," because the Corin 
thians were the cause and object of his preaching, and so also 

of his glory. 

Ver. -L^.That the abundant grace might . . . redound to the glory 
of God. I.e , through many giving thanks. The Syriac renders it, 


"that since grace abounds through many, thanksgiving may be 
proportionately multiplied to the glory of God." 

Ver. 1 6. But though our outward man perish. Though the 
body be corrupted through persecutions, afflictions, hunger, thirst, 
cold, nakedness, scourgings, and diseases, yet the spirit within is 
renewed, and advances in faith, hope, charity, readiness of mind, 
and, like gold from the fire, comes out stronger and brighter, says 

This verse differs from Rom. vii. 22. There the outward man 
is concupiscence, or the man governed by concupiscence ; the inward 
man is charity, or the man renewed by the spirit. But here the 
outward man is the body, the inward is the soul; or, more ap 
positely, the outward man is the man regarded as corporeal, or 
in so far as through his body he is visible, tangible, passible, and 
susceptible of injuries from without ; the inward man is the same man 
regarded as possessed of a soul, or in so far as through his soul 
he is invisible, and bravely and cheerfully bears bodily afflictions. 
Since man consists of two so dissimilar parts, the body without 
and the soul within, and since the soul itself seems to have two 
sides, one which animates the body, and shows itself outwardly in 
the body by its working and passions, and so seems in a sense 
outward, animal, and embodied; one self-contained, concerned only 
with the operations of the mind, and so seems inward and invis 
ible, hence man, consisting of these two parts, is called outward in 
the first respect, and inward in the second. 

Hence it is evident, against Illyricus, that original sin and con 
cupiscence are not an evil substance formed from man by the devil, 
and united to man s substance as its form ; for this form would be 
the inward man, and that so corrupt as to be incapable of renewal, 
opposed to what the Apostle says here. 

Tertullian was wrong, says S. Thomas, in gathering from this 
passage that the soul is corporeal, and has its figure and members 
like the body, so that the inward man is but a copy of the outward. 
In the same way John Huart, a physician, in his Examen Ingeniorum, 
lately published, has maintained that the souls of the lost are tortured 


by fire, because, he says, they have their members or images of 
members, they have their senses and sensations, in the same way 
that Dives said that his tongue was tormented, in S. Luke xvi. 

But this opinion is baseless. As the soul is not corporeal, it has 
no members strictly speaking; but what is said of its senses and 
sensations may be true. For the rational soul, being also sensitive, 
has within itself a root of sense and sensation, e.g., touch, by which 
it feels heat and fire, and the pain they cause. Although this 
sensation cannot be exercised naturally apart from the body, yet 
God can supernaturally produce it in a soul separated from the 
body; for such a soul has and retains the root of sensation within 
itself. This is the opinion of many subtle philosophers, and they 
find it easy in this way to explain how fire affects the soul. Reason, 
too, is in their favour; for sensation wholly consists in the soul. 
When, e.g., we see with the eye, or hear with the ear, or touch with 
the hand, the sight, or hearing, or perception of touch is not in 
the eye, or ear, or hand, but in the soul. It is not the body but 
the soul which sees by the eye, hears by the ear, and touches by 
the hand ; why, then, cannot God, by His omnipotence, produce the 
same sensation in a soul separated from the body? The natural 
use of the organs of the body, which has been lost at death, may 
be supernaturally replaced, as He can and does sometimes supply 
the object of sensation ; as, e.g., he may enable a man to see through 
a wall what is being done in a closed bedroom, or see what is taking 
place in distant countries. We read of such things in the life of 
Anselm and other Saints, 

Day by day. As the outward, i.e., the body daily is weakened 
and aged by affliction, so the inward man, i.e., the mind, is daily 
renewed and gifted with youth through the hope of resurrection. 
We read of Abbot Barnabas in Sophronius (Prat. Spir. c. x.), that 
he drove a thorn into his foot and refused to have it taken out, and 
so caused his foot to fester ; and when some expressed their wonder, 
he said: "The more the outward man suffers, the more does the 
inward flourish." In the same work, in chap, viii., we read of Myro- 
genes, a man afflicted with dropsy, saying : " Pray for me, fathers, 


that the inward man may not grow dropsical, for my prayer to God 
is that I may live a long time in this weakness." No doubt these 
Saints applied this general declaration of the Apostle to their own 
particular diseases. 

So that admirable martyr, Clement of Ancyra, when tortured by 
Agathangelus, under the Emperor Diocletian, with every possible 
kind of torture, though broken in body, yet became daily stronger, 
so much so as to long for fresh tortures, and to pray God that 
his life might be prolonged for them, and obtained his request. 
He lived for twenty-eight years, during which he was constantly 
tortured. At length Diocletian and the judges, amazed at his 
constancy, asked him how he could bear such tortures, and he 
answered in these words of Paul : "Though our outward man perish, 
yet the inward man is renewed day by day." 

Ver. 17. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment. All 
our tribulation is light and short-lived when compared with the 
exceeding weight of eternal glory, and is to it as a single feather is 
to all the lead in the universe. 

S. Augustine (Enarr. in Ps. Ixx.), when explaining the words of 
Christ, " For My yoke is easy, and My burden light," says beautifully : 
" The one burden is oppressive and wearisome, but that of Christ 
sustains thee. One pulls thee down, the other lends thee wings. Jf 
you take away its wings from a bird, you take away, indeed, a weight, 
but by removing the weight you force it to remain on the ground. 
Restore the weight, and it will soar aloft. Of this kind is the burden 
of Christ: 

S. John Chrysostom had this in his mind when he was being led 
to Cucusus into exile. And then when, in extreme bodily weakness 
and fever-stricken, he was forced by his guards to travel from there 
for seventy days continuously, with the hope that he would succumb 
to the hardships of the journey, and so rid the Empress Eudoxia of 
one she hated bitterly (as indeed happened), when oppressed with 
hunger, thirst, poverty, heat, and attacks by the Isaurians, he cheer 
fully and bravely overcame them all, and, forgetful of himself, con 
soled and animated the noble matrons, Olympias and Pentadia, 


and his other friends, bidding them be ready te bear bravely 
imprisonment and other sufferings for Christ. It was then that he 
wrote that Divine treatise on the theme, " No one is injured but 
by himself," in which he surpasses himself. By solid arguments 
he showed that the whole cause and matter of real pain arise from 
ourselves, and not from any one else. " Sin alone," he says, " is 
the only evil, and the only one to be grieved for, and it cannot 
find lodgment in the breast by one s own free-will. But all other 
evils and pains, when compared with sin, are not real, but only 
painted shadows, being light, short-lived, and of little account; 
but sin brings in its train an innumerable number of grievous and 
eternal pains." 

A far more exceeding. The Greek is, "from excellence to 
excellence," i.e., says Theophylact, a weight of glory that is above 
measure wonderfully sublime and great. The Latin version gives, 
"above measure excellent." The sense, of course, is the weight 
of future glory is incomparably greater and more sublime than the 
tribulation we suffer here. 

Chrysostom and Theodoret remark on the beautiful contrast 
drawn between the eternal and the momentary, the weight and the 
lightness, the rest, nay, the glory and the tribulation. So in the 
next verse we have a contrast drawn between the things which are 
seen and the things which are not seen, between things temporal 
and things eternal. So to the Maccabees, to Vincent, Laurence, 
Stephen, stones, gridirons, and racks, and all tortures, when com 
pared with the glory of heaven, were but as a moment in respect of 
eternity, as a feather or a bubble in respect of heaven, as a point in 
respect of the whole world. 

S. Augustine (Enarr. in Ps. xciv.) says beautifully that " God says 
1 1 have somewhat for sale I What is it, Lord ? The Kingdom 
of heaven? With what price is it bought V Thy kingdom is bought 
with poverty, joy with grief, rest with toil, glory with shame, life 
with death?" For it is written, "Blessed are the poor, for theirs is 
the kingdom of heaven ; blessed are they that mourn, for they shall 
be comforted, &c. S. Paul therefore aptly assigns to glory, weight ; 


to tribulation, lightness ; a moment s duration to this, eternity to 
that ; to this, present time and place ; to that, an exalted perman 
ence j to this, tribulation, that it is ours as a thing we can contain 
within the hand ; to that that it ever works within us, beyond all 
conception and all measure. 

Eternal weight of glory. The Syriac is " an infinite glory for 
ever and ever." This is " worked for us," not physically or 
efficiently, but morally and meritoriously. Hence appears the 
merit of good works. Calvin, however, denies that this follows, 
and in this he is followed by Beza; he says that all that is here 
signified is the order and road by which we attain to glory, viz., 
through tribulations. But this is too cold an exposition. A road 
or way is not said to work the end of the journey, unless you 
understand the road to mean, not the way itself by which you go, 
but the act of travelling or journeying ; this, indeed, is the cause of 
the end of the journey, and not merely the moral cause, but the 
physical and efficient cause. But if Calvin assign this to good 
works and merits in respect of the eternal reward, he assigns more 
to them than Catholics do. Again, the Greek word KarepydfcTai 
shows that more than the order of going is meant, for it signifies, 
" works out," " finishes," " perfects ; " i.e., it denotes a cause, not of 
any kind, but one that is powerful and efficacious. So say Ambrose 
and also Chrysostom in these words : "God, the Just Judge, renders 
bliss to the just, in the same way that He renders hell to the 
wicked." But to the wicked He assigns hell as the merited punish 
ment of their wickedness, therefore to the just also He assigns 
bliss as the reward they merit for their good works. 

S. Bernard (Serm 17 in Ps. xci.) says: "He did not say, Shall 
be rewarded, but, Worketh in us an eternal weight of glory. Glory, 
my brethren, lies hidden in our tribulation ; in this momentary act 
eternity is involved, in this imponderable there is an exceeding weight." 
One is contained in the other, as the harvest is contained in the 
seed. When the seed puts forth its strength it is already producing 
the harvest. S. Bernard goes on to say : " Meanwhile let us hasten 
then to buy for ourseh es that field, that treasure hidden in the field ; 


let us count it all joy when we fall into divers tribulations. Let us 
learn to say with all our heart, It is better to go to the house of 
mourning than to the house of feasting. " 

It may be asked, How can these sufferings be called light, when 
in another place they are said to be not worthy to be compared? 
I answer that they are not worthy so far as they are sufferings, 
or natural penal works, because in this sense they have no propor 
tion to so great glory ; yet they are " worthy " in so far as they are 
borne from grace or charity. They then become works of grace, 
\vhich is the seed whence glory springs. As the seed has a certain 
worthy proportion to the harvest, so has grace to glory. Again, 
they are "worthy" in so far as they are sufferings of Christ, 
springing from His merits and subordinated to them. For Christ 
merited for us this endurance of sufferings and afflictions, and also 
merited that we should merit eternal glory by this suffering of ours, 
as though it were His own, flowing from Him and His merits. 

S. Bernard (Serm. i de Diversis} presses well each word of the 
Apostle here; he says : " Go on, then ; murmur and say, l It is too 
long, it is too heavy : I cannot endure sufferings so great and pro 
tracted. The Apostle declares that what He suffered was light and 
but for a moment. Certainly you have not yet received of the Jews 
five times forty stripes save one ; you have not yet laboured more than 
all ; you have not yet resisted unto blood. Let us see, then, if suffer 
ings are not vuorthy to be compared with glory, (i.) Why do you 
iincertainly count up days and hours ? The hour flieth by and with 
it punishment : they do not attach themselves to you, nay, they give 
place and are succeeded by others. It is not so with glory, it is not so 
with our reward, with the recompense of our toil. It knows no 
change, no end ; we enjoy it ivholly and all at once, and it abides for 
ever. (2.) Punishment is sipped drop by drop, it is easily swalloived, 
and soon done with. But in our reward there is a torrent of plea 
sure, and an overpowering current, an overflowing torrent of joy, a 
river of glory and of peace. (3. ) It is not a glorious robe, or a glorious 
abode, but glory itself that is promised us. In truth, the expectation 
of the just is not of something joyful but of joy itself. It is not the 


honeycomb, but the most pure, liquid honey, that God has laid up for 
zfs ; if is very joy, life, glory, peace, pleasure, delight, felicity , happiness, 
and exultation that the Lord our God has treasured up for us ; and 
all these things are one, that Jerusalem may share it equally in all 
her citizens. And this one Thing is nothing save Himself, according 
to the -words of the Apostle, God shall be all in all. This is our 
reward, this is our crown and prize. Would God that ive may so 
run that we may obtain." 

The author (perhaps Hugh of S. Victor) of the treatise, de Anima 
et Spiritu, which is found in the works of S. Augustine (but evidently 
not his, for it quotes Boethius), graphically describes this weight 
of glory and these joys of the Blessed (c. Ivii. et seq.\ (i.) He 
describes the mutual love of all the Blessed, and their consequent 
mutual joy ; for no one rejoices in his own glory alone, but in that 
of every one else, and hence he is not once blessed, but a hundred 
thousand times. (2.) He describes the rapture of the Blessed 
flowing from the Beatific Vision. (3.) He sets before our eyes their 
perfect peace and happiness. (4.) He vividly describes (c. Ixiv.) 
the greatness of their wealth, which is God Himself. (5.) He 
relates the abundant fulness of the beauty, good health, wisdom, 
melody, honour, riches, and of all good things more than we can 
taste here, or even conceive of. "/ heaven" he says, "is whatever 
you love, whatever you desire. If you are delighted with beauty, the 
just shall shine as the sun ; if swiftness or strength, they shall be as 
the angels of God ; if a long and healthy life, there is eternal health 
and a healthy eternity ; if it is fulness, they shall be filled when the 
glory of the Lord shall appear ; if it is intoxication, they shall be 
intoxicated from the richness of the house of God ; if it is melody, 
there the angels endlessly sing sweet strains to God ; if any worldly 
pleasure, the Lord shall give them lo drink of the torrent of His God 
head ; if wisdom, they shall be all taught of God ; if concord, their 
food will be the will of God ; if power, they will enter into the power 
of God, and they will be all-powerful over their own will, as God is 
over His. As God can do what He will by Himself, so by Him will 
they be able to do what they will. If honour and riches, God will set 


His good and faithful servants over many things ; if true security, 
they will have sure certainty that their good will never fail them, for 
they will know that of their own accord they will not lose it, and that 
God, who loves them, will not take it against their will from them 
that love Him." From all which Gregory (Ilom. 32 in Evang.} 
rightly infers that "no one can come to great rewards but by great 
labours. Hence that excellent preacher, Paul, said that no one is 
crowned except he strive lawfully. Let, then, the mind be delighted at 
the greatness of the prize, but not terrified by the laborious conflict. 1 
The present time, as one of the Saints says, is a time of penitence 
and toil ; the future will be a time of rest and gladness. 

Ver. 1 8. The things wliich are seen are temporal ; but the things 
which are not seen are eternal. S. Augustine (Sentent. No. 270) 
says well : " There is this difference between things temporal and things 
eternal, that the former are loved more before they are obtained, but 
seem worthless when they arrive. Nothing satisfies the mind but a 
true and certain eternity of incorruptible joy. But eternal joy is more 
ardently loved when obtained than when longed for. No one can 
value it above its true worth, so that when he attains it it seems vile 
in his eyes throiigh having been too ardently longed for. But so 
great is the excellency of heaven that charity will obtain far more than 
faith has believed or hope desired.^ See also S. Gregory, Horn. 36 
in Evang., where he draws out at length this distinction between 
carnal and spiritual pleasures. 


I That in his assured hope of immortal glory, 9 and in expectance of it, and of 
the general judgment, he laboureth to keep a good conscience, 12 not that he 
may herein boast of himself, 14 but as one that, having received life from 
Christ, endeavoureth to live as a new creature to Christ only, 18 and by his 
ministry of reconciliation to reconcile others also in Christ to God. 

FOR we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, 
we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the 

2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house 
which is from heaven, 

3 If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. 

4 For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened : not for that 
we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed 

up of life. 

5 Now he that hath wrought us for the self-same thing is God, who also hath 
given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. 

6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the 
body, we are absent from the Lord : 

7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight :) 

8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and 
to be present with the Lord. 

9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted 
of him. 

10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ ; that every one 
may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether 
it be good or bad. 

11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men ; but we are 
made manifest unto God ; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences. 

12 For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to 
glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to answer them which glory in 
appearance, and not in heart. 

n For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God : or whether we be sober, 


it is for your cause. 

14 For the love of Christ constraineth us ; because we thus judge, that if one 
died for all, then were all dead : 

15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live 
unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. 

16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh : yea, though we have 

known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. 



17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are 
passed away ; behold, all things are become new. 

1 8 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus 
Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation ; 

19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not 
imputing their trespasses unto them ; and hath committed unto us the word of 

20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you 
by us : we prayjjw* in Christ s stead, be ye reconciled to God. 

21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin ; that we might be 
made the righteousness of God in him. 


i. The Apostle goes on to remind the Corinthians of the glories of heaven, 
saying that in exile here and in the tabernacle of the flesh he longs 
for them, and wishes to be absent from the body and present with the 

ii. He shows (ver. 9) that it is his endeavour to please not men but Christ 
alone, who shall come to judgment. 

iii. He declares (ver. 14) that he is constrained to do this by the love of 
Christ, who has reconciled us by His death ; and therefore that he 
no longer knows any one according to the flesh, but only him who is 
a new creature in Christ. 

iv. He professes himself (ver. 18) to be a minister and ambassador of 
Christ, and he prays them to be reconciled to God for Christ s 

Ver. i. For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle 
were dissolved. If this mortal body, which is as it were a tent in which 
we tarry for a brief space while travelling here, be dissolved, we 
have a firm and lasting house in the glory of the soul and eternal 
life. This is the interpretation of Photius, Anselm, S. Thomas, 
Lyranus, and it is supported by vers. 6 and 8. From this and 
the explanation of the Fathers, and especially from ver. 8, we gather, 
against Tertullian, the Greeks, Armenians, Luther, and Calvin, that 
souls immediately at death are beatified, and do not sleep under the 
altar till the resurrection. 

Secondly and more fitly we may say that this house is the body 
glorified by the resurrection, and this body we have, i.e., shall surely 
have at the resurrection. And this meaning is more in harmony 
with ver. 4 and the last chapter ; for the Apostle is urging them to 


endure, in hope of the resurrection when we shall receive our 
glorified body, bodily mortification and suffering. So, in i Cor. 
xv. 43, he says that the body is sown in dishonour, it is raised in 
glory, i.e., glorified. Such a body is properly the home of a beatified 
soul, as a mortal body is the home of a soul living and suffering 
here. So S. Chrysostom, Theodoret, Theophylact, Ambrose. 

It may be said that the glory itself into which the beatified soul 
enters is the house of the soul, even as Christ says : " Enter thou 
into the joy of thy Lord." I answer that "enter into joy" does 
not mean that that joy is a house into which the soul enters, as 
some seem to think, but by metonymy the place of joy is called joy, 
and the meaning is: "Enter into the heavenly nuptials, enter into 
heaven, where is the place of the most perfect joy for ever." It is 
less accurate to speak of that glory or joy as a house into which the 
Blessed shall enter. 

Chrysostom (Horn. 5 in Ep. ad Heb.} says that "we ought to 
put off our body with as much ease as we should a coat, or as 
Joseph left his cloak with the Egyptian woman;" and Aloysius 
Gonzaga, on his death-bed, spoke of his death as a mere change 
from one house to another. 

Ver. 2. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon 
with our house which is from heaven. That is, (i.) we long to be 
free, as the Syriac takes it, from the earthly house of our natural 
body, and receive the heavenly home of our glorified body. (2.) 
But a better meaning is : We groan because of the death which 
must intervene between this life and the life of eternity ; for death is 
a violence done to nature. We should wish to be clothed upon with 
glory, not to be deprived of life, as appears from ver. 4. S. Gregory 
(Morals, lib. xxxi. c. 26) says: " Lo ! Paul longs to die and yet 
shrinks from death. Why is this ? Because, though victory is for 
ever joyous, yet pain for the present is grievous. For, as a brave man 
who is girt ready for battle with one that is close at hand is both 
nervous and ardent, trembling and resolute ; as his pallor bewrays 
his fears, while his wrath urges him forward ; so is a holy man, 
when he sees his su/ering near, both distressed by the weakness of his 


nature and strengthened by the certainty of his hope : he trembles at 
the prospect of a speedy death, and yet rejoices that by dying he will 
more truly live. No one, however, can enter the Kingdom but through 
death, and, therefore, in all, confidence is mingled with wavering, and 
wavering with confidence ; joy with fear, and fear with joy" 

It may be asked how the metaphor of a house and tabernacle 
agrees with that of a garment which is put over all. I answer that 
the Apostle uses here two metaphors, one taken from a house, one 
from a garment. The Hebrews are wont, and in this they are here 
copied by S. Paul, to mingle many metaphors at once. We may 
see this repeatedly in the Prophecies and the Psalms, and also in 
the parables of Christ. 

Ver. 3. If so that being clothed we shall not be found naked. 
Instead of clothed, some read unclothed, through a difference of a 
letter in the Greek compound verb. This reading is followed by 
Augustine and Bede, Ambrose, Tertullian, and Paulinus; and 
Augustine thus gives the sense : " We shall be clothed upon with 
heavenly glory, when once we are stripped of this body and clothed 
with Christ." 

We should observe that the Apostle here distinguishes three things, 
(i.) the being unclothed and naked, (2.) the being clothed, (3.) the 
being clothed upon. As in the last verse he called our heavenly 
glory a house, so here by another metaphor he calls it a robe. 
Now some explain this passage thus : We long to be clothed upon 
with our heavenly home, the heavenly and incorruptible body, in 
such a way, however, that we may be gifted with immortality and 
glory, and be found not bare, but clothed with glory. For, as the 
Apostle says in i Cor. xv. 51 : " We shall all rise indeed to immor 
tality, but we shall not all be changed into glory." But this is true 
of the reprobate alone. Although they will have an immortal body, 
yet it cannot be said that they will have a celestial body ; this will 
be the endowment of the Blessed only. A celestial body, then, is 
one that is both immortal and glorious, and consequently they that 
have this are necessarily clothed and not found naked. This is the 
distinction pointed out here by the Apostle in the conditional 


statement, " If so be that, being clothed, we shall not be found 

Secondly, S. Chrysostom, Theophylact, Theodoret, Ambrose 
explain the passage differently. They say: This house, i.e., this 
celestial glory will be our portion if we be found worthy of it. and 
are placed among the elect and not the reprobate : in other words, if 
we are found clothed with grace, charity, and good works, and not 
naked without them. This is the sentence of S. Paulinus (Ep. 8 ad 
Sever. Sulpit.\ He says : " If, when you are stripped of your body, 
you be not found naked of good works." If we be clothed with 
them, then God will super-clothe us with the new robe of eternal 
glory. But since in the next verse he explains this nakedness to 
be the separation of the soul from the body, in the words not for 
that we would be unclothed, i.e., of the body, so that the soul alone 
be beatified in nakedness, but clothed upon, it seems better, with 
Tertullian (re Resurr. Carnis. c. 42), to say that we are called 
naked and unclothed when we are dead, and when the soul has lost 
the body; and consequently that we are clothed when the soul 
regains the body, and puts it on as her robe, and are clothed upon 
when the body is clad and adorned with heavenly glory as its robe. 
As the soul s dress will be the body, so the body s will be glory ; 
and thus the soul will be clothed with the body, and clothed upon 
with glory. Therefore, we long to be clothed upon with it, " if so 
be that, being clothed, we shall not be found naked." 

We should notice again that the word z/" points to something that 
is peculiar and not common to all the elect, but proper to those 
only who shall be found at the end of the world alive and clothed 
with the body, and who so live, or so die, as quickly to rise again, 
and seem to be not dead but alive, clothed upon with immortality. 
As Cajetan rightly points out, the sense therefore is : It will not 
be our lot to be dissolved in death, from which we naturally shrink, 
and on account of which we groan, but to be clothed upon with 
glory, which we so ardently long for ; that is to say, if at the end 
of the world we be found remaining and not yet dead, but clad 
with the body, and so not be made naked ; or if so, at all events 



for so short a time that we may be said to pass from this life 
to eternity. 

Ver. 4. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being 
burdened. Being burdened, as the Syriac takes it, through the 
weight and load of the body. Yet we may say with S. Gregory 
Nazianzen : " Take from me, O Lord, this heavy robe " (this earthly, 
burdensome, and troublesome body), "but give me another, one 
that is lighter." 

Not for that we would be unclothed but clothed upon. We would 
not be deprived of the body, but we would be clothed upon with 
glory, if nevertheless being clothed with a body of flesh we be 
not found stripped of it by death. The Apostle is in the habit 
of speaking of the resurrection and the day of judgment as if they 
were close at hand, and as if he with the others then alive would 
behold them. Cf. i Thess. iv. 17. Since the Apostle says that 
we would not be stripped of our body, Plato was wrong in identi 
fying crw/za and o-??/m, as though the body were a tomb. In this he 
was followed by Origen, who supposed souls to be enclosed in 
bodies as in prisons in punishment of their sins. But the soul 
does not long to be set free from the body, as it would if this 
theory were true. The body is therefore the friend, companion, 
and colleague of the soul, and the soul demands its body as form 
requires matter, and vice versa. The Apostle would seem to be 
here condemning this error of Plato and his followers, which was 
commonly taught in the schools of Corinth. 

That mortality might be swallowed up of life. Mortality by 

Ver. 5. J\ 7 ow He that hath wrought us for the self-same thing is God. 
He that wrought, perfected, and formed us, i.e., (i.) He that created 
us for this eternal life of bliss, is God. (2.) He who by His eternal 
decree prepared and predestinated us for this same bliss, is God. 
(3.) Best of all, He who by His grace so forms and prepares the 
will and understanding of man and his whole nature, and who 
makes him so live as to be worthy of being beatified with this 
immortality, is God. 


Who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. I.e., as 
Ambrose says, the Spirit Himself. God has not given us a pledge 
of gold or of silver, i.e., gold or silver as a pledge, but He has given 
us His Holy Spirit, inasmuch as He has infused into us His charity, 
and the virtues of the Spirit of holiness, whereby as sons we cry 
"Abba, Father," in full trust in God as our Father. For this Spirit 
is a pledge of our heavenly inheritance of glory laid up for us, 
and God has given us this Spirit to assure us through Him, as a 
pledge and earnest, that we shall attain our future inheritance if 
only we imitate our Father, and call upon Him as sons, and obey 
Him, and retain inviolate His Spirit as a pledge. 

Ver. 6. Therefore we are always confident. We confidently and 
boldly endure, nay, long for dangers and death for the sake of Christ 
and His Gospel. So Theophylact. The word, therefore, points to 
this daring confidence as the result of hope for this eternal inherit 
ance, and of the possession of a pledge of it in the Holy Spirit. 

Knowing that whilst we are at home in the body we are absent 
from the Lord. As long as we are in the body here, so long are we 
absent in banishment from the sight of the Lord God, our Father, 
and from our inheritance ; we are living like foreigners in a strange 
land, as long as we are in this mortal body. Because we are 
enrolled as citizens of heaven and heirs of God, we are pilgrims 
here; therefore we hasten to be free from this pilgrimage and to 
attain our heavenly country, to enter into the inheritance of God, 
our Father. Therefore we boldly meet dangers and death, and enter 
upon them as the road to heaven. S. Bernard (de Prcecep. et Dispens. 
c. xxvii.) says : " What is all care for the body but absence from the 
Lord ? And what is absence but exile ? Therefore ive are in exile 
away from the Lord, and live in exile in the body, while our endeavour 
after God is hampered by the burdens laid upon it by the body, and 
while charity is wearied with its cares." 

Ver. 7. For we walk by faith, not by sight. For we do not yet 
behold the nature and beauty of God face to face. So Chrysostom, 
Theodoret, Theophylact, and (Ecumenius. Therefore they are wrong, 
whoever they be, that say that the Blessed see God, not directly in 


His Essence, but by means of some appearance which represents His 
Essence, in the same way that the appearance of colour received 
on the retina represents to the eye the colour of the wall. It is no 
such kind of sight that the Apostle here means, but that by which 
an object is plainly seen in itself. For faith is opposed to sight ; 
but by faith we do not see, but darkly believe what is future and 

Ver. 8. Willing rather to be absent from the body. "Having a 
good will" (the Latin version); "greatly desiring" (the Syriac) ; 
" wishing with all our heart " (Chrysostom). We choose rather to 
be absent from the body, that we may come to appear before the 
presence of God and enjoy the sight of His countenance. 

Hence it is proved that souls behold God immediately after 
death ; for the reason given for preferring to be absent from the 
body is that we may be present with the Lord, or, as Erasmus and 
Vatablus rightly translate the words, " that we may be at home with 
the Lord." But if we shall be still exiles when separated from the 
body, and do not at once reach the home of our Father, but must 
still linger on the way and live still in exile, then we should not 
desire to be absent from the body, nay, we should prefer to spend 
our exile in it, as the natural abode of our soul, rather than in some 
unknown place. 

Ver. 9. Wherefore we labour. We vie with each other in our 
zeal, our ministry, our endeavours to please God ; we strive not to 
be surpassed by any one in this contest. 

Whether present or absent These are mutually opposed. If we are 
absent from God we are present with the body, and vice versa. 

We should notice that the Greek word here used strictly means 
to live at home amongst one s own people ; and the opposite de 
notes living out of one s country and in exile. Hence Erasmus 
and Vatablus translate, " whether present at home, or living in exile 
abroad." But the Apostle seems to use the words in a more 
extended sense ; for he applies the words which we have translated 
"present or absent" to life in the body and also to life with God. 
But we cannot properly speaking be said both to be at home in the 


body, and, when separated from the body, with God; and, again, we 
cannot be said both to be in exile both in the body and with God ; 
and, therefore, we take the meaning to be to dwell or to be present, 
and in the other case, to leave, to be absent. For as long as we 
live in this body we are absent from the Lord ; and, on the other 
hand, as long as we inhabit heaven we are present with the Lord 
and absent from the body. But still there is no reason why the 
Apostle should not mean to be at home and to be in exile. 

Observe that the Apostle said in ver. i, that we have two houses, 
one earthly and the other heavenly, and that in both we are at 
home ; for the body is our natural home, and heaven our super 
natural. Consequently, our exile is two-fold. While in the body 
we are exiles from heaven, and, when separated by death from the 
body, we pass to another land and are exiles from the body. The 
Apostle s meaning then is : In whatever state we may be, whether 
absent from God and present with the body, or vice versa, we 
endeavour to please God, that we may be able to appear before 
His presence and enjoy the light of His countenance. For unless 
we please God, neither shall we be able, while present in the body 
and absent from the Lord, to come into His presence, nor while 
absent from the body and present with the Lord, shall we be able to 
abide in His presence and enjoy it in bliss. We strive, then, while 
here to attain both ; we endeavour both to come into His presence, 
and to merit to remain in it for ever. " He who pleases God 
here," say Ambrose and Anselm, "will not be displeasing to Him 

Others take the clause to mean, " whether living here or depart 
ing from the body to go to the Lord," &c. In other words, we do 
all that we can to please God down to the very last breath of life, 
when the soul leaves the body. This is adopted by Tertullian (de 
Resurr. Carnis, c. xliii.) ; but since these words of the Apostle, as I 
have said, have a more extended meaning, the former sense is more 
probable. This last restricts them too closely to the body. 

Ver. 10. For we must all appear. The particle for gives the 
reason of what has just been said. We strive to please the Lord in 


all our works, in order that, at the tribunal of Christ, before which 
we all must stand, we may be gifted with a glorious body, and with 
the blissful presence of God and the Beatific Vision. We would 
not be deprived of it with those who, by their evil works, have dis 
pleased God. 

Before the judgment seat of Christ. We must all be made mani 
fest to Christ the Judge and to all men before the dread tribunal, 
that each may see the good and evil deeds of every one. Hence it 
follows that Paul and the other Apostles must also be judged, but in 
such a way that at the same time they may be judges of others, and 
condemn those who have refused to believe (S. Matt. xix. 28). 

That every one may receive the things done in his body, &c. Glory 
or punishment will be awarded in proportion to each one s merits 
or demerits. Observe i. that the deeds of the body are also 
deeds of the soul ; for the soul in this life does nothing and can 
do nothing without the body; so much so, that for thought itself it 
needs the help of images drawn from corporeal things. In this way 
what the soul does by the instrumentality of the body is done by 
the body. 

2. Chrysostom points out that each one s own deeds are here 
spoken of, because the merits of others, as, e.g., of our parents, 
will not avail us before the judgment-seat of Christ. Cf. Ezek. xiv. 
14, 20. If we would think of this tribunal when we are tempted 
by our companions, by lust, by pride, by gluttony, we should easily 
overcome them all, and should not suffer ourselves to be drawn 
away by fear or lust from obedience to the law of God. Cf. Chry 
sostom (Horn. 10 Moral?). 

The Pelagians inferred from this verse that infants have no sin, 
and that there is no such thing as original sin ; for it is said here 
that Christ, when He comes to judgment, will only call into ques 
tion the sins that each has committed in his body. But infants 
have done nothing, nor could do anything of their own ; and, there 
fore, they conclude that they have no sin on which Christ can pass 

S. Augustine (Ep. 107) answers that this sentence of the Apostle s 


reaches even to infants ; for, he says, original sin as a habit is 
theirs individually and inheres in them, but the actual sin of Adam, 
viz., the eating of the forbidden fruit, which was his own and physi 
cally inherent in him, from which original sin as a habit was derived 
to every one born from him, may be said to morally belong to each 
infant, and be regarded as its own proper act; and in this sense 
they committed this sin, not directly but in Adam ; for the will of 
Adam was regarded as the will of all his descendants, including even 

But a better answer can be given, and one more in harmony with 
the Apostle s meaning, viz., that the Apostle is not speaking of 
infants but of adults. For he is exhorting them to do all that they 
can to please God in all things, that each may receive a reward from 
God proportioned to their deeds. Infants, though they will have to 
appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, yet will not need to have 
their works examined nor their demerits, but will receive the pun 
ishment due to original sin, as S. Augustine says (Serm. de Omnibus 
Sanct.\ and also Nazianzen (Orat. 60). 

Ver. ii. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord. Knowing 
what I have just said of Christ s judgment-seat, when each will 
receive the reward of his deeds ; or, knowing that the Lord is to be 
feared as a Judge and Avenger, we therefore persuade men to fear 
Him also. 

Fear has a twofold meaning (i.) actively of the fear we feel 
because of the Lord ; (2.) passively of that which the Lord is, viz., 
a terrible Judge. Jacob, e.g., calls God " the fear of his father 
Isaac," or the Object that Isaac feared (Gen. xxxi. 42). So here 
fear is put for the object of fear a fearful thing, a terror. The 
meaning, therefore, is : Knowing that God is to be feared, we persuade 
men. Cf. Isa. viii. 13. 

But we are made manifest unto God. God knows that I sincerely 
fear Him, and try to make others fear Him also. Paul, by speaking 
of this fear and desire of pleasing God, might seem to some, and 
especially to his rivals the false apostles, who were only too glad to 
find an occasion of reproach against him, to be praising himself as 


holy ; hence by these words and what follows he clears himself from 
any charge of vain-glory and love of praise. 

Ver. 12. That ye may have somewhat. Some occasion of glory 
ing about me, some answer to give to my opponents. 

Which glory in appearance and not in heart. Who boast of their 
piety, but know in their conscience that they are hypocrites and 
false apostles. 

Ver. 13. For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or 
whether we be sober, it is for your cause. The Greek verb translated 
beside ourselves denotes a rapt state, when the mind is carried out of 
itself, whether by some strong influence of nature, of disease, of mel 
ancholy, or of apprehension of new and unwonted objects ; or when 
God throws it into deep contemplation and ecstasy, or when frenzy 
and insanity drive it into delirious folly. All these senses are 
applicable here; nay, the Syriac, Chrysostom, Theophylact, Vata- 
blus, and Erasmus render it " whether we be mad." S. Paul opposes 
" whether we be beside ourselves " to " whether we be sober," as if he 
meant whether we be foolish or wise. The same contrast is found 
in Acts xxvi. 25. The same word is applied by His relations to 
Christ in S. Mark iii. 21. 

Again, this rapture and folly may be understood either of self- 
praise or of the love and contemplation of God. The Apostle 
seems to be speaking primarily of self-praise, according to Ambrose 
and Chrysostom, and this is supported by what has just gone before. 
But since this praise has for its object the excellence of the ministry 
of the New Testament, and the height of love and clear knowledge 
of God attained under it, the word may be equally well referred to 
this latter. He seems indeed to be alluding to the vision of Moses, 
when he saw the glory of God on Mount Sinai at the reception of 
the law. Cf. 2 Cor. iii. 7, 18, where a comparison is drawn 
between Moses and S. Paul. Hence, in chaps, iv. and v., S. Paul 
praises himself for the tribulations and labours he had undergone 
for the sake of the Gospel, by which he was striving after the 
glorious presence of God. 

The meaning, therefore, is (i.) If, forgetful of ourselves, we are 


carried away by the vehemence of our zeal, which the world regards 
as folly, so that, like fools, we give way to praising our ministry 5 
and speak of ourselves too highly and too boastfully (for to praise 
one s self, as S. Ambrose says, is pride, and boasting, and folly), 
it is to God s glory that we do it. If we are sober in our words 
and praises of ourselves, it is to teach you modesty. Hence 
(2.) follows the explanation of S. Augustine, Anselm, Theophylact, 
and others. If we are hurried into excess or ecstasy of love, 
knowledge, and speech of God, as, e.g., in iii. 18, v. 8, 9, so that we 
seem to boast and sing our own praises, or, as Chrysostom renders 
it, if we seem drunken and foolish with love and contemplation 
(as in Acts ii. 13 ; xxvi. 24), it is to God s glory that we do it. 

Plato in Pha;drus says that frenzy or folly is fourfold that of 
poets, of mystics, of seers, of lovers and that the fourth is the best 
and most blessed. " Of Divine frenzy or madness there are," he 
says, "four kinds laid down, over which as many gods preside. The 
inspiration of the seer is attributed to Apollo, of the mystic to Liber, 
of the poet to the Muses, while the frenzy of lovers comes from Venus 
and Cupid. We hold that the last of these is the best and most 
excellent." Theophylact says that this last kind of frenzy was 
S. Paul s, inasmuch as he was one who lived not in himself, but 
was carried out of himself and lost in Christ, his Beloved, and 
wished to be anathema from Christ for his brethren s sake. The 
soul of one who loves is not where it lives but where it loves. 
Theophylact says : " If we are beside ourselves because of God, it is 
that we may bring you to Him. So S. Paul loved God with a lover s 
frenzy, and lived for Him alone, and by Him he loved was carried 
out of himself and wholly given to God. The life that he lived was 
not his own but the life of Him that he loved, beloved and precious for 
His sake only." 

But S. Augustine, Bede, and Anselm understand this verse, not 
of frenzy, but of S. Paul s being carried up to the third heaven, and 
their explanation is this : " What is that whether we be beside our 
selves, it is to God, but seeing things which it is not lawful for a man 
to utter ? What is that whether we be sober, it is for your cause, 


but what he says elsewhere, I determined not to know anything 
among you save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified ? " S. Augustine 
again (Enarr. in Ps. civ.) says : " What is meant by whether we 
be beside ourselves, it is to God] but leaving all carnal things, and 
being unable to speak of ivhat we have seen ? What is meant by 
whether we be sober, it is for your cause, but we speak so as you can 
understand ? For Christ by His birth and Passion made Himself 
such that men might be able to speak of Him." 

The being out of one s mind is, says S. Anselm, the having it 
fixed on things above, so that things below slip from the memory. 
In this state were all the Saints to whom the secrets of God that 
pass this world s understanding were revealed. So here the Apostle, 
being mentally set free from all human frailty and from all the 
perishing and changeable things of this world, lived in heart in an 
ineffable contemplation of those things, of which he says that he had 
heard unspeakable things which it was not lawful for a man to utter. 
But for the sake of others he descends, and says : " Whether we be 
sober, it is for your cause " although we may contemplate high 
things, yet we speak soberly of them, that you may be able to take 
them in. This is Anselm s explanation. 

S. Bernard (de Nat. et Dignit. Amoris, c. iii.) describes beautifully 
this frenzy of S. Paul s. He says: "Hear this holy frenzy: 
1 Whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: whether we be sober, it 
is for your cause. 1 Do you wish to hear further frenzy ? Yet now 
if thou wilt forgive their sin and if not, blot me, I pray Thee, out 
of Thy Book of Life. Do you wish for more ? Listen to the Apostle 
himself: I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my 
brethren. Does not this sound like the ivholesome frenzy of a mind 
well affected, viz., that he is firmly affected to what cannot possibly be 
effected, viz., to be anathema from Christ for Christ s sake ? This 
was the drunkenness of the Apostles at the coming of the Holy Ghost ; 
this was the madness of Paul when Festus said to him : Paul, thou 
art beside thyself. The reason follows : Was it wonderful that he 
should be pronounced mad, who, when in danger of death, was 
endeavouring to convert to Christ his judges, by whom he was being 


judged for Christ s sake ? It was not much learning that gave this 
madness, as the king said, concealing the truth that he perceived ; but, 
as was said, it was the Holy Spirit, with which he was drunken, 
who made him wish to make those who were judging him like himself 
in all things. And, to pass over all other instances, what greater 
madness could be conceived than that a man who had left the world 
from an ardent desire to cling closely to Christ should again lay hold 
of the world at the call of obedience and brotherly love, and descend 
from the sky to the sty 1 I speak of our young friend, Benjamin, who 
in his madness thinks nothing of himself, but only of Him who has 
made him wholly beside himself. With this same madness were the 
martyrs afflicted who smiled amid their tortures. So do we delight 
to be beside ourselves." 

Again (Serm. 85 in Cantic.} he says : " Perchance one may ask me 
what it is to enjoy the Word. Hear one who has had that experience, 
as he says, Whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God, or whether 
we be sober, it is for your cause. 1 By the mere will of God my rela 
tions with Him are one thing, my relations with you another. It was 
allowed me to experience that ecstasy but not to speak of it ; in my 
soberness I so condescend to you that you may be able to understand 
what I say. Whoever thou art that art anxious to know what enjoy 
ment of the Word is, prepare for It thy mind and not thy ear. It is 
taught by grace and not by the tongue. It is hidden from the wise and 
prudent, and revealed unto babes." 

Ver. 14. For the love of Christ constraineth us. This love of 
Christ by which He loved us, and gave Himself for us, compels us 
to follow His example, and give ourselves for all men to save them 
from death. And hence, as occasion requires, we are at one time 
beside ourselves, at another, sober. It is better to understand the 
love of Christ objectively, rather than subjectively. 

That if one died for all then were all dead. The bearing of this 
verse is explained by the next, which also gives its connection with 
the preceding. So great was the love of Christ that He died for 
all. Hence it follows that we were dead ; for He died to set us 
free (by taking it on Himself) from death, bodily and spiritual, 


which sin had brought on us. Hence plainly appears Christ s 
compassion and love ; and they constrain us to love Christ in 
return, and to work in every way for the salvation of our neighbour ; 
to exclude no one, but to labour for all, whether rich or poor, even 
as Christ did. S. Thomas explains it otherwise : " All ought to be 
dead to the old life, and account themselves dead, that they may 
live, not to themselves, but to Christ." But this is somewhat ob 
scure and far fetched, and is identical with what is said in the next 
verse, which yet is distinct from this. 

Were all dead. Except, says S. Anselm, the Blessed Virgin, who 
never incurred original sin and spiritual death. Secondly and 
better, all died in Adam because in him all came under the neces 
sity of sin and of death, even the Mother of God herself, so that 
she and all others without exception needed to be redeemed by the 
death of Christ. In Adam, therefore, the Blessed Virgin sinned 
and died, but in herself she incurred neither sin nor spiritual death, 
because she was kept from them by God s prevenient grace, as was 
said in the notes to Rom. v. 12. 

Ver. 15. And that He died for all, &c. We judge also that He 
died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live for their 
own glory, or pleasure, or their desires, but for Christ, who by right 
of redemption has made us His servants ; and as a servant does not 
labour and live for himself but for his lord, so should each of us be 
able to say : "I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me;" and, "My 
soul shall live to Him." Anselm says : " The soul of man should 
fail in itself to avail in Christ, who died that we should die to our 
sins, and who rose that we should rise to works of righteousness. 
What else is living not for themselves but for Him but living not 
according to the flesh in the hope of earthly vanities, but according to 
the Spirit, in hope of the resurrection which has already taken place in 
themselves in Christ ? " 

Ver. 1 6. Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh. 
Because the love of Christ for us is so great, and constrains us, 
therefore we regard carnal things, that is things external and 
temporal, such as fame, health, friendships, kindred, of no account 


out of Christ. So Chrysostom takes no one to stand for "nothing," 
as does Vatablus ; and S. Augustine (contra Faust, lib. ix. c. 7) 
takes it in the same way. But by \\\z flesh he understands the cor 
ruption and mortality of the flesh to be meant; and the sense then 
would be : We no longer know this carnal and mortal life, be 
cause, filled with a sure hope, we meditate on and seek for a future 
life, that blissful spiritual life awaiting us after the resurrection, in 
which Christ is even now preparing us a place. This meaning is 
suitable but somewhat far-fetched, for the Apostle is here setting in 
opposition to the flesh, or the carnal man, the new creature which 
is in this life, and which lives through faith and grace in Christ ; 
therefore he adds : "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature." 

In the third place, then, we may more simply and properly explain 
the verse thus : We henceforth know none of those outward relation 
ships of kindred, friendship, nationality, rank, breeding, or learning, 
for we are dead to these natural affections, and having been regene 
rated in Christ, we live to Him alone, and love Him alone, and all 
others in Him, according to the spirit of charity, and not according 
to the flesh. In other words, we seek not to please men, or the praise 
and glory of men, but of God only. S. Paul s rivals, the Judaising 
false apostles, as we shall see in chap, xi., were wont to boast that they 
were Hebrews and of the seed of Abraham, and this boasting he 
calls, in xi. 18, "glorying after the flesh." Hence this verse is a tacit 
rebuke to them, where he says that he knows no one in the way of 
earthly love or boasting, or because of relationship and friendship 
according to the flesh, not even in Abraham himself. Similarly, in 
Phil. iii. 3, he says, "We rejoice in Christ Jesus and have no con 
fidence in the flesh ; " i.e., we once rejoiced that we were Hebrews 
and nobly born according to the flesh, but now we are dead to those 
affections, for all our praise and rejoicing is Christ. So Gagneius. 

Yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh. If at any time 
we, whether I, Paul, myself, or the other Apostles, regarded and saw 
Christ present with us in a mortal body and subject, like us, to bodily 
sufferings, such as hunger and thirst and cold, now we know Him not 
save as immortal and passible. So Chrysostcm, Theodore:, and the 


Seventh General Synod. This interpretation too is supported by 
what follows. 

Secondly, and better, Gagneius takes the meaning to be : If we 
formerly knew, i.e., thought of great account, and made our boast of 
Christ after the flesh, that Christ by birth was a Jew and of our nation, 
so that we Hebrews were relations of Christ after the flesh, as the 
false apostles boast ; and if we were proud of having lived with Christ 
on terms of intimacy, then are we now dead to all such feelings, and, 
being re-created by Christ, we think more highly of Him, and now 
know Him only according to the Spirit, i.e., as the God-man, the 
Redeemer of the world, our Teacher, the Author of grace and salva 
tion ; and as we live and labour for such an one, so do we preach Him 
throughout the whole world. 

Thirdly, others with great probability think that Paul is referring 
to that time in his own life when he was a persecutor of Christ. 
Although once, he would seem to say, I had an unworthy opinion of 
Christ, thinking that He was to be a mere temporal king, such as 
the Jews expect the Messiah to be, yet I no longer know Him or 
regard Him as such. 

Hence, fourthly, we may see the error of Faustus the Manichean, 
in explaining S. Paul to mean that in the beginning he thought Christ 
to have had a real body, but afterwards saw his error, and that he 
means the same in Phil. ii. 7, when he says that Christ was made 
in the likeness of men, as if He had a fantastical and apparent body, 
but not one that was real and substantial. Eutyches again twisted 
this passage to suit his heresy. He said that " we know not Christ ac 
cording to the flesh " means that, by the Incarnation the flesh and 
human nature of Christ were swallowed up by His Divinity ; and he 
laid down that in Christ was one nature as well as one person, and 
that that one was Divine. 

We may see here how heretics twist and wrest aside the Scripture 
to suit their own fancies, just as if it were a nose of wax. So did the 
Iconoclasts of olden times, and lately Calvin (de Reliquiis) twist these 
words of the Apostle against the veneration of relics and of images 
of Christ and the Saints ; just as though the Apostle had said : Now 


after the resurrection we know not Christ after the flesh ; whatever 
in Him was carnal must be consigned to oblivion and sent about its 
business, that we may devote all our energies to seeking Him and 
possessing Him according to the spirit. But it is most evident that 
this is not the Apostle s meaning ; for if it were, he would have us 
forget the flesh, the death, and Passion of Christ, and be unmindful 
of it and unthankful for it, the very opposite of which Christ com 
manded when He instituted the Eucharist as the perpetual memorial 
of His death. Whence S. Paul himself says (i Cor. xi. 26): "As 
often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup ye do show the Lord s 
death till He come." Therefore the Apostle s meaning here is not 
Calvin s, but the one I have given above. Cf. Second Council of 
Nice, act 6, following Epiphanius and Cyril. 

Ver. 17. Therefore if any man be in Christ , he is a new creature. 
If any one is with me regenerate in Christ, and re-created and 
changed, as it were, into a new creature, even as I am not what 
I was, Saul being changed into Paul, then the old rites of Judaism, 
the old former affections and judgments, such as knowing any one 
according to the flesh, have all passed away. In such an one all 
is made new : he has new affections, new thoughts about the realities 
and hopes of Christianity, a new life, a new hope of the resurrection, 
new grace, sanctification, and justification. On this newness, cf. 
S. Anselm and S. Augustine (de Cantic. Novo. vol. ix.). 

S. Bernard (de Assumpt. B. Maries) assigns its cause. He says : 
" All things are made new, i.e., the old fortress is overturned, a 
new one raised. Lust having been banished, the heart expands with 
a mighty longing ; and after its arrival the mind yearns far more 
for heavenly things than it had ever before longed for earthly. Now 
is the wall of continence raised up, the bulwark of patience. But 
this work rises on the foundation of faith, and grows by love of ones 
neighbour till it reaches even to the lore of God" 

Ver. 1 8. And all things are of God. All these new things were 
created and given by the gift and grace of God, who hath reconciled 
us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of 
reconciliation, in order that through our preaching we may persuade 


men to repent and receive the faith of Christ, that so we may 
reconcile them to God. 

Ver. i<). God was in Christ. I.e., as the Son by oneness of 
Essence. So Ambrose and Primasius. Hence S. Ambrose (de Fide 
ad Gratian, lib. iii. c. 5) says that God, i.e., everlasting Divinity, 
was in Christ, and Christ reconciled the world because He was 
God. Secondly and better: "God was in Christ," i.e., through 
Christ, reconciling the world to Himself. Thirdly, Cajetan takes it : 
God reconciled to Himself the world in Christ, or the world that 
believes in Christ. But this seems forced and harsh. 

Not imputing their trespasses unto them. Not imputing but 
freely forgiving their trespasses, not by imputation of the righteous 
ness of Christ, as the heretics think, but by a real infusion of it. 
So Chrysostom and Anselm. 

Observe the Hebraism, (i.) When the Scripture says that God 
imputes or does not impute sin, it does not mean that He acts 
against the reality of things, for so would God be false, but rather, 
since the judgment of God is most pure, He regards things and sins 
as they truly are. (2.) The same appears from the fact that the whole 
law, and consequently every sin against the law, depends on the judg 
ment of God, i.e., on the eternal law which is in the Mind of God. 
(3.) And the chief reason is that all remission of sins depends on 
the forgiveness of God : but to forgive is not to impute ; for sin, 
belonging to the sphere of morals as an offence against God, is 
removed by forgiveness, which equally belongs to the moral world. 
But the generous goodness of God infuses, together with this forgive 
ness, grace, charity, and all virtues, that we may be adorned with 
them as real gifts of God, may be justified and become worthy of 
the friendship of God. 

And hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. He hath 
given us the duty of preaching the word of God, by which we are 
to reconcile men to God, as was said at the last verse. By meto 
nymy, word may be put for the reality as sign for the thing signi 
fied. In this way the word of reconciliation would be reconciliation 
itself, or the power and ministry of reconciling men to God. 


Ver. 20. We pray you in Chrisfs stead, be ye reconciled to God. 

As Christ s ambassadors, even as if Christ were entreating you by 

us, we implore you to give up your wills to be reconciled to God. 

See what diligence, what energy, what zeal the Apostle displays in 

his endeavours to convert the Corinthians. 

Ver. 2i. Him who knew no sin. Experimentally, says S. 

Thomas, Christ knew no sin, though by simple knowledge He 

did, for He did no sin. 

Hath made Him to be sin for us. For us, says Illyricus, who 

were sin ; because, he says, sin is the substance and form of our 

soul. But to say this of ourselves is folly, of Christ blasphemy. 

(r.) The meaning is that God made Christ to be the victim offered 
for our sin, to prevent us from atoning for our sins by eternal 
death and fire. The Apostle plays on the word sin, for when he 
?ays, "Him who knew no sin," he means sin strictly speaking; 
but when he says, " He made Him to be sin for us," he employs 
a metonymy. So Ambrose, Theophylact, and Anselm. In Ps. 
xl. 12, Christ calls our sins His. (2.) Sin here denotes, says S. 
Thomas, the likeness of sinful flesh which He took, that He might 
be passible, just as sinners who are descended from Adam are 
liable to suffering. (3.) Sin, in the sense of being regarded by 
men as a noteworthy sinner, and being crucified as a malefactor. So 
the Greek Fathers. 

Of these three interpretations the first is the more full, signifi 
cant, and vigorous, and the one more consonant with the usage of 
Scripture, which frequently speaks of an expiatory victim as sin. 
Cf. Hosea iv. 8; Lev. iv. 24 and 21 ; Ezek. xliv. 29. The reason 
of this metonymy is that all the punishment and guilt of the sin 
were transferred to the expiatory victim, and so the sin itself might 
seem to be also transferred to it. In token of this the priest 
was accustomed to lay his hands on the victim, and call down 
on it the sins of the people ; for by the hands are signified sinful 
actions, which are for the most part executed by the hands, as 
Theodoret says in his notes on Leviticus i. Therefore the laying 
of hands on the victim was both a symbol of oblation and I 



testimony of the transference of guilt to the victim, showing that 
it was expiatory, and that it bore the sin itself, with all its burden 
of guilt and punishment In this way the high-priest on the 
great Day of Atonement turned a goat into the wilderness, having 
imprecated on it the sins of the whole people. Cf. Lev. xvi. 20. 

That we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. (i.) That 
we might be made righteous before God, with the righteousness 
infused by God through the merits of Christ. So Chrysostom. 
He says righteousness and not righteous, says Theophylact, to 
signify the excellency of the grace, which effects that in the 
righteous there is no deformity, no stain of sin, but that there is 
complete grace and righteousness throughout. (2.) The righteous 
ness of God was Christ made, in order that its effects, or the 
likeness of the uncreated righteousness of God, might be com 
municated to us by His created and infused righteousness. So 
Cyril (Thesaur. lib. xii. c. 3). (3.) Christ is so called because God 
owes not to us, but to Christ and His merits, the infusion of 
righteousness and the remission of our sins. Cf. Augustine 
(Enchirid. c. 41). Cf. also i Cor. i. 30. Heretics raise the objection 
that Christ was made for us sin, in the sense that our sin was 
imputed to Him and was punished in Him; therefore we are 
made the righteousness of God, because it is imputed to us. I 
answer that the two things are not parallel; for Christ could not 
really be a sinner as we can really be righteous, nor does the 
Apostle press the analogy. He only says that Christ bore our 
sins, that we through Him might be justified. Moreover, Christ 
actually was made sin, i.e., a victim for sin (this is the meaning 
of "sin" here), and therefore we truly become the righteousness 
of God. So easily and completely can we turn the tables on 
these Protestant objectors. 


I That he hath approved himself a faithful minister of Christ, both by his exhorta. 
tions, 3 and by integrity of life, 4 and by patient enduring all kinds of afflic 
tion and disgraces for the gospel. 10 Of which he speaketh the more boldly 
amongst them, because his heart is open to them, 13 and he expecteth the like 
affection from them again, 14 exhorting to flee the society and pollutions of 
idolaters, as being themselves temples of the living God. 

~\ ~\7"E- then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not 
the grace of God in vain. 

2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salva 
tion have I succoured thee : behold, now is the accepted time ; behold, now is the 
day of salvation.) 

3 Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed : 

4 But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, 
in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, 

5 In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in 
fastings ; 

6 By pureness, by knowledge, by long suffering, by kindness, by the Holy 
Ghost, by love unfeigned, 

7 By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness 
on the right hand and on the left, 

8 By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report : as deceivers, and 
yet true ; 

9 As unknown, and yet well known ; as dying, and, behold, we live ; as chastened, 
and not killed ; 

10 As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as 
having nothing, and yet possessing all things. 

11 O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged. 

12 Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own 

13 Now for a recompence in the same, (I speak as unto my children,) be ye 
also enlarged. 

14 Be yet not unequally yoked together with unbelievers : for what fellowship 
hath righteousness with unrighteousness ? and what communion hath light with 
darkness ? 

15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that 
believeth with an infidel? 

16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols ? for ye are the 
temple of the living God ; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in 

them ; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 



17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, 
and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 

18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith 
the Lord Almighty. 


i. He exhorts them not to neglect the proffered grace of reconciliation 
spoken of at the end of the last chapter. 

ii. He points out (ver. 4) the qualities required in ministers, especially in 
Apostles and preachers of the Gospel. 

iii. He declares (ver. n) how his heart was filled with love of the Corin 
thians, and he strives to stir them up to like love. 

iv. He warns them (ver. 14) by many contrasts carefully to avoid holding 
intercourse or intermarrying with unbelievers. 

Ver. i. We then, as workers together with Him. We, as workers 
together with God, beseech you to accept this proffered reconcilia 
tion, spoken of in vers. 18, 19, and 20, of the preceding chapter. 

Beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. He 
receives grace into a vacuum, says Anselm, who does not work 
with it, who does not give it his heart, and who, through sloth, 
makes that grace ineffectual, by not doing all that he can to express 
it in good works. In other words, do not suppose that faith alone 
is reconciliation, for a good life and good works are also indis- 

pensable. So Theophylact, following Chrysostom. 

Observe that the Apostle applies the word grace to the general 
benefit of reconciliation of the world through Christ s redemption ; 
for it was of this that he had just been treating. Nevertheless, 
under that he comprehends that particular grace which Christ has 
merited for each one, and which God gives to each one, to enable 
each one to become a partaker of the general redemption wrought 
by Christ. 

Ver. 2. For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted 
(Isa. xlix. 8). The Apostle proves that now is the time of grace and 
reconciliation, in order that we may not receive this grace in vain, 
from the fact that Isaiah had foretold that this would be the time 
of grace. He is anticipating an objection which might be raised. 
It might be said by some one : " It is not in my power to receive 


the grace of God; for to give it or not to give it depends on the 
will of God. How, then, can you exhort me to receive it?" Paul 
replies : Now is the time accepted, now is the time of salvation, now 
is the time of grace, when, as Isaiah foretold, God offers His grace 
to all, and hears the desires and petitions of all. 

In a time accepted. This time is the period of the law of grace, 
or the present life of Christians, during which they have the 
opportunity of doing good works and obtaining merit. But after 
this life it is not called "a time accepted;" for in this time only 
has God been pleased to offer to all men, through Christ, His 
grace of reconciliation, loving-kindness, and salvation. It is called 
accepted and acceptable, i.e., most welcome, and worthy of being 
received with the greatest possible rejoicing and praise, since it 
brings salvation to the world through Christ. 

These words are addressed by the Father to the Son. / have 
heard, i.e., since the prophetic eye sees the future as already present, 
/ will hear Thee, My Son, making request for Thy members, and 
in Thy faithful members, and asking for help, and grace, and 
salvation. And in the day of salvation, in the time of grace, when 
I will call all men to eternal salvation by Thee, O Christ, have I 
succoured Thee, i.e., I will succour Thee, so that you shall obtain in 
Christians, as Thy members, the salvation that is offered them by 
Thee. So Ambrose, Chrysostom, Anselm. Cf. Isa. Ixi. 2, where 
Christ says that He is sent to preach the acceptable year of the 
Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all that 
mourn. This acceptable year was typified by the year of Jubilee. 
The whole time, therefore, that Christ preached, and after that the 
whole time of the New Law, was, and is, to them that obey Christ 
and accept His free gift, a year of jubilee, of mercy, peace, forgive 
ness, salvation, and freedom. In this year, after the long-standing 
wrath of God against us, we are restored to His grace, good-will, to 
our glorious inheritance, and all the original good things which we 
had in the state of innocence in Paradise. The same time, the same 
year, was the day of vengeance on our foes, when God avenged the 
human race on its enemies by delivering them from their tyranny. 


Ver. 3. Giving no offence in anything. When we speak of the 
day on which all are called by Christ to be saved, let us be careful 
that we put no stumbling-block in any one s way, and by our self- 
indulgence, or gloominess, or cowardice cause him to refuse to 
accept, or advance in the way of, salvation ; else we Apostles, who 
do all that we can by our preaching and living to induce all to 
accept salvation, will be blamed. 

Ver. 4. Approving ourselves. " Commending ourselves " (Eras 
mus), "declaring ourselves," as others render it; but "showing our 
selves " (Syriac) is the best. The Latin version, however, takes it in 
the Optative, "let us show ourselves." Paul is here again defending 
himself and praising himself because of his rivals, the false apostles ; 
and he exhorts all Christians, and especially all preachers of the 
Gospel, of whom there were many at Corinth, to live up to the 
Evangelical and Apostolical life. At the same time he tacitly 
describes his own life, his sufferings, fortitude, and virtues, that 
others may imitate him, and may in their own lives offer a contrast 
to the pride, self-indulgence, cowardice, and other vices of the false 
apostles. As we shall see in chap, xi., he is forced in this Epistle to 
praise himself in self-defence. 

S. Paul here puts forward a living picture of a true and genuine 
Apostle and preacher of the Gospel, by which any one may examine 
teachers whose faith and uprightness are suspected. This picture 
is also a model for all teachers and pastors to copy. S. Paul wishes 
the Corinthians to see the injustice of preferring their false apostles 
and blatant demagogues before himself and his fellow-Apostles, in 
whom all the marks of a true Apostle will easily be found. These 
marks he now proceeds to enumerate. 

As the ministers of God in much patience. The exhibition of 
suffering endured not once but often is a plain proof of apostleship. 
The word "patience " is to be referred to what follows. Let us show 
ourselves, says S. Paul, as ministers of God, by suffering many tri 
bulations, necessities, distresses, stripes, and other afflictions. For 
men admire this patience as a higher philosophy, they themselves 
being accustomed when they are injured to be angry, indignant, and 


to avenge themselves by blows and angry words, and thus they are 
led to infer the truth of Christian doctrine and to recognise the 
Spirit of God. For example, S. Xavier and his companion Juan 
Fernandez made no progress in Japan until a man one day spat in 
the face of one of them ; whereupon the Saint gently wiped his face 
and proceeded with his sermon as though he had suffered nothing, 
and bore with most exemplary patience their scoffs and insults. 
The keen-witted Japanese so admired this fortitude that they at 
once proceeded to honour them as men descended from heaven, 
and to vie with each other in embracing the faith they taught. The 
heathen Epictetus also saw the power of constancy and long-suffering, 
and taught his followers to show the wisdom he had taught them, not 
so much by words as by deeds of endurance. In his Enchiridion 
(c. 29), he says : "Be not in a hurry to utter thy words to the un 
skilful ; but rather let thy words act as fuel to the flames of thy deeds ; 
for sheep do not ask us to prove by reasonings how much they may 
have eaten, but they quietly digest their food, and show its results in 
wool and milk. " So Christ (S. Matt. vii. 16) says of false prophets, 
"by their fruits ye shall know them;" and again, in S. Luke viii. 
15, speaking of the seed of the Gospel which falls into good ground, 
He says " these are they which in an honest and good heart having 
heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience." 

In necessities. In want of food, drink, and clothing. Theophylact 
takes the word in a more general sense, as denoting the intensity 
and seventy of his tribulations, when they become so overwhelming 
that escape seems impossible, and drive a man into extreme neces 
sity, and as it were stifle him. 

Ver. 5. In tumults. Being constantly hunted from one city to 
another, so that I have no place to abide in, but am forced to 
be always going hither and thither. The word may, however, also 
denote popular outbreaks or tumults, as in S. Luke xxi. 9. 

Ver. 6. By pureness. Being pure in all things, not only inasmuch 
as Paul was guiltless of bribery, and forbade his disciples to yield to 
it, but also because he preached not at others expense, as Theophy 
lact says. The Latin version gives the word a narrower meaning, as 


denoting pure and perfect chastity, abstinence from every lustful 
action, the cultivation of angelic purity, such as was seen in Paul 
and the other Apostles. Every infidel and heretic looks upon this 
as a token that a man is a true minister of God ; and he rightly 
thinks that chastity with himself is impossible. It is possible among 
Catholics alone, inasmuch as they are sharers in the true faith and 
in the grace of God. Hence you will not find among heretics 
virgins or houses of virgins, or monks or monasteries, no, nor even 
celibate priests. These are to be found in every age in the Roman 
Catholic Church alone, which has followed, and taught her members 
to follow, Paul and the other Apostles as her guides and teachers. 

By knowledge. Let us see that we do not appear to some to 
be unskilled and untaught as to what things Christians are to do 
and avoid. Let us rather show that we know such things, by 
teaching others the good they are to do, and the evil that they are 
to avoid, that so they may attain salvation, and that all may know 
us to be God s ministers, preachers, and Apostles. So Ambrose. 
Anselm, not amiss, thinks that knowledge here denotes acquaintance 
with the Holy Scriptures. 

By kindness. Let us not be rancorously bitter against those 
who trouble us, but let us be gentle and kindly disposed to them, 
in thought, word, and deed, that all may say that we are God s 
ministers. It is evidently a sign of adamantine fortitude, says 
Theophylact, when any one, being harassed and attacked on 
every side, is not only long-suffering, but also gentle and kind. 
It is superhuman, Christ-like, God-like. 

Such was S. Athanasius, of whom Nazianzen says in his oration 
in his praise : "Athanasius was in his life high and lifted up, in his 
mind filled with humility; of such urbanity that all might easily 
approach him; forgiving, free from all anger, compassionate, pleasant 
in speech, pleasanter still in his life, in shape like an angel, in mind 
still more angelic, calm when rebuking others, able to instruct when 
he gave praise, as far removed from easy-going carelessness as from 
harsh severity ; in short, he was adamant to those that struck against 
him, a magnet to those that stood apart from him." 


By the Holy Ghost. By the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and by the 
works we do by His help and guidance. Let us do everything 
with so pious, kind, sincere, and fervent spirit, that it may be 
apparent that we are not moved by vanity or pride, but by the 
Holy Spirit. So Anselm, Theophylact, Chrysostom. 

Ver. 7. By the word of truth. By purely and sincerely preaching 
Gospel truth, let us show ourselves ministers of God. 

By the power of God. By working miracles, or rather, with 
Chrysostom, by Christian constancy and fortitude displaying itself 
in so many adversities, so many labours, such vehemence of word, 
and so effectual preaching. All such things come to us through 
the power of God, and prove us to be powerful ministers of Him, 
worthy of all admiration. 

By the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left. 
Both in prosperity and adversity let us take as our arms works of 
righteousness, i.e., of virtuous deeds springing from a righteous and 
holy life, that we may neither be lifted up by prosperity nor cast 
down by adversity. So Anselm. But Chrysostom and Theophylact 
say that the left hand denotes adversity, and the right prosperity, 
which two things, by alternate action, fortify the servants of God 
like armour, so that they are neither exalted to pride nor cast 
down into despondency. 

Ver. 8. By honour and dishonour. Whether we are honoured 
and praised, or dishonoured and abused, as, e.g., when the Lycao- 
nians wished to worship Paul as God, and directly afterwards to 
stone him as an impostor. The preposition by is here equivalent to 
in. See note to i Tim. ii. 15. 

By evil report and good report. Whether we are spoken evil of, 
or are in great repute. 

As deceivers. Regarded as such, says Ambrose, when yet we 
are true. 

As unknown, and yet well known. Looked upon by unbelievers 
and heretics as unknown and obscure, but yet well known to God 
and our own consciences (Ambrose). 

Ver. 9. As dying. We may seem to be always dying through 


our daily dangers, persecutions, and trials, but God preserves us 
alive and unharmed. 

As chastened and not killed. Let us show ourselves as ministers 
of God (ver. 4), by being chastened and not killed. 

Ver. 10. As poor, yet making many rich. By enriching them 
with earthly goods as well as with things Divine and heavenly. S. 
Paul was collecting alms for the poor Saints, and especially those of 

As having nothing, and yet possessing all things, (i.) I have all 
things necessary, and I want no more ; nay, what is more, I despise 
them as vile and beneath me, whence I am as though I possessed 
all things. (2.) Though we Apostles are poor, yet are we the head 
of the faithful, the richest of whom bring all their goods and lay 
them at our feet (Ambrose and Anselm). Cf. Chrysostom here and 
Homily (in Moral.). (3.) Possessing all things may also be under 
stood to mean, having books, garments, and all other necessary 
things, all meaning "some out of all," and being "distributed" 
according to classes of individuals, and not according to the indi 
viduals of classes. Others say that all things refers to God, and 
they who possess Him possess all things. But this last sense is 
mystical and symbolical. 

Anselm remarks that as though is here prefixed to what is painful, 
but not to what is joyful, because all the sadness of the Saints is but 
apparent. It is short-lived, and passes away as a dream, and seems 
but a shadow, and is not sorrow, but a mere semblance of it. . The 
joy of the Saints, however, has no as though, because it is founded 
on the sure and certain hope of eternal bliss. On the other hand, 
the joy of the wicked has here the prefix as though, because it is 
brief and shadowy as a dream, while their sorrow will have no as, 
because it will be eternally bitter. 

Observe the nature of the life of Paul and the other Apostles. 

It was such a life as is led by religious, whose fathers were the 
Apostles. Nazianzen (Or at. i de Pace}, in describing this life, says : 
" Their life is one of wealth in the midst of need, of great possessions 
while but pilgrims, of glory amid scorn, patience in weakness, a noble 


offspring in celibacy : instead of riches they have contempt of riches ; 
for the kingdom of heaven s sake they embrace humility ; they have 
nothing in the world, and yet they are superior to the world ; they are 
in the flesh, and yet live out of the flesh ; they have God for their 
portion ; their hope of the Kingdom makes them labour in want, and 
through want they reign." Such was the life of Bishops and apos 
tolic men. Sulpitius praises S. Martin for fulfilling the dignified 
duties of a Bishop without abandoning his purpose as a monk. 
Posidonius relates of S. Augustine that he lived so frugally as to be 
content with bread and vegetables, seldom providing flesh except for 
his guests ; he says also that when he was at the point of death he 
left no will, because, as he said, Christ s poor had nothing to leave. 
Still he was able to refute Arians, Manichees, Donatists, and Pela 
gians, and became one of the first columns and doctors of the 
Churches. Of Exuperius, Bishop of Toulouse, S. Jerome says: 
"When hungry himself he fed others, and showed by his face, 
wasted and wan with constant fasting, that he was consumed by 
hunger after other things." 

This, therefore, is the norm and form of the apostolic life pre 
scribed by S. Paul to all who are desirous of perfection and the 
salvation of their souls. From this was drawn the short rule of the 
Institute of our Order, a printed copy of which each of us is wont 
to carry about with him, and to apply to it his eyes and mind, 
regarding it as his private monitor, and a keen spur to zeal for 
virtue, nay, as a living mirror of our vocation and profession. It 
says as follows : " The nature of our life demands that we be men 
crucified to the world, and to whom the world itself is crucified ; new men, 
who have put off their affections to put on Christ ; dead to themselves, 
to live to righteousness ; men who, as S. Paul says, show themselves to 
be ministers of Christ in labours, in watchings, in fastings, in pureness, 
in knowledge, hi long-suffering, in kindness, in the Holy Ghost, in love 
unfeigned, in the word of truth ; men who by the armour of righteous 
ness on the right hand and on the left, by honoiir and dishonour, by 
evil report and good report, in prosperity and adversity, are themselves 
hastening by forced marches to their heavenly country, and with all 


zealous labour compelling others also, always aiming at the greatest 
glory of God. This is the summary, this one tiling the aim and object 
of our constitutions, viz., Jesus." 

Ver. ii. -O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you. My 
mouth is open, it longs to say more to you, and to express all my 
affection for you, and it cannot. No matter what and how much 
I may say, it is less than my affection. The Apostle says this to 
show that what he had said of his patience, tribulations, and virtues 
was not from self-love, but from friendship, trust, and love towards 
the Corinthians. Friends are in the habit of interchanging their 

O O 

secret joys and sorrows, and thus showing their love for each other. 
When this is great they more and more try to express it, but find 
themselves unable to do justice to their feelings. This is what Paul 
does here. 

The two ideas of "straitening" and "enlarging" are frequently 
contrasted by the Hebrews, to denote on the one hand sadness, 
timidity, suspicion, and avarice, and on the other joyfulness and 
generosity of heart As sadness and .avarice contract the heart, the 
brow, and the hands, so joy, cheerfulness, and charity expand them. 
Cf. Ps. cxix. 32, and i Kings iv. 29. 

Ver. 12. Ye are not straitened in us. You dwell fully and 
spaciously in my heart as in your home. My love builds for you 
a spacious house. 

Ye are straitened in your own bowels. The love of your hearts 
for me is so small that it contracts them, and barely gives me place 
there. Your love and good-will do not equal mine. The Corinthians 
would seem to have been alienated from Paul by the calumnies of 
the false apostles ; he, therefore, declares the greatness of his love 
for them, that he may kindle theirs in return. 

Moreover, Paul seemed to have in his First Epistle straitened the 
Corinthians by prohibiting them from idolatry, from going to law 
before unbelieving judges, from their love-feasts and sumptuous 
banquets; and in ver. 14 he is about to straiten them by for 
bidding a believer to marry with an unbeliever. He here paves the 
way by urging them to receive, with the large-hearted love of 


Christ, his apparently straitening precepts, which are not his but 
Christ s. 

Ver. 13. Now for a recompence in the same . . . be ye also 
enlarged. S. Paul is speaking of a return of love, and not, as 
some think, of the heavenly reward. These latter take the meaning 
to be, that since the Corinthians were to have the same reward in 
heaven, they should enlarge their love for S. Paul. But the sense 
clearly is that they should repay S. Paul s for them with an equal 
measure of love on their part. 

Ver. 14. Be ye not unequally yoked together ivith itnbelievers. 
Do not have so close fellowship with them in matters of religion 
as to be gradually led away to share in their unbelief, as, e.g., in 
marriage. Separate yourselves from the unbelievers assemblies, 
temples, sacrifices, feasts ; do not intermarry with them, for all 
commerce with them is either wicked and unrighteous in itself, 
or is dangerous to those who hold it, and a cause of offence to 
others. Do not imitate the Jews, whose laxity is recorded in 
Ps. cvi. 35 (Chrysostom, Ambrose, Theophylact). S. Jerome 
(contra Jovin. lib. i.) understands S. Paul to warn against inter 
marriage with unbelievers. There seems to be an allusion to Ps. 
cvi. 28, "They joined themselves unto Baal-peor," which refers 
to the fornication committed by the Israelites in honour of Baal- 
peor. So, whoever marries with an unbeliever may be said to 
join himself to Baal-peor, i.e., the devil, the ruler of unbelievers. 
Anselm again supposes that by " unbelievers " is meant the Juda- 
ising false apostles, who were attempting to eviscerate the faith of 
Christ by making the ceremonies of the law of Moses binding on 
Christians. Such men are more dangerous to Christians, and more to 
be shunned than unbelieving Gentiles, and therefore S. Paul warns his 
readers against them. This sense is good but defective, for the Apostle 
wishes the fellowship of all unbelievers whatsoever to be avoided. 

The Apostle is here passing on, as is usual in letters, to discuss 
another point of importance just then to the Corinthians, viz., the 
duty of avoiding unbelievers. It is in vain, therefore, for any one 
to seek for connecting links with what has gone before. 


Erasmus observes that the Latin version is happy in its transla 
tion here; it renders the passage : " Do not be joined in the same 
yoke with unbelievers." For if a Christian marry a heathen wife, 
or a Christian magistrate have a Gentile as colleague, he is called 
frepogvyuv. Marriages of this kind S. Jerome calls unequal. 

Observe upon this that ere/so? signifies sometimes one of two, some 
times an object that is diverse, whether from some one other or from 
several others. Thus the word occurs in a compound word, to denote 
one who lacks an eye, and again to denote one who is of a different 
opinion (erepo^^aA/ios and erepoSo^os). And hence it is uncertain 
whether S. Paul here means one who bears one-half of a yoke, or one 
who bears a yoke in company with one of a different condition. 

Budseus takes the former of these two, and understands S. Paul 
to exhort the Corinthians not to bear one part of a yoke with 
unbelievers, just as in Campania two oxen bear the same yoke, 
one on each side. 

Others more properly take the latter meaning, and understand 
the warning to be against such an alliance as that of an ox and an 
ass would be in the same yoke (Deut. xxii. 10). This interpretation 
is rendered more probable from the words that follow "what 
fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?" 

Theophylact again thinks that the warning is against accommodat 
ing one s principles to those of our partner in wedlock. He says that 
the allusion here is not to a yoke but to the beam of a balance, and 
one especially that is unequally weighted, so that one side is lower 
than the other. We are not to be like such a balance, and lean 
towards an unrighteous or unbelieving partner. 

For what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness ? The 
unjust with the unjust, believers with unbelievers. 

It was hard for the Corinthians, while Christians were so few, to 
be forbidden to have commerce and intermarriage with unbelievers. 
Many amongst them would find a difficulty in obtaining partners of 
equal rank, or wealth, or position ; and hence they would either 
be obliged to abstain from marriage, or else marry an inferior. 
Moreover, by natural and Divine law there was nothing simply and 


absolutely to prohibit them from allying themselves with unbelievers ; 
still such alliance would be unbecoming and full of danger, and 
hence it is forbidden by the Apostle. But to reconcile them to so 
severe a precept he puts before them five contrasts drawn from the 
inherent opposition between Christianity and heathenism. 

(i.) Unequal wedlock is a heavy yoke, burdensome to both parties, 
even as it would be if a horse and an ox were yoked together. (2.) 
Light and darkness cannot cohere in the same subject or be in the 
same place at once ; therefore one of the faithful, who has the light of 
faith, cannot well enter into the same yoke with one who is full of 
the darkness of unbelief. (3.) There is no concord between Christ 
and Belial : believers belong to Christ, unbelievers to Belial ; there 
fore they cannot agree. (4.) The believer has no part or communion 
with the unbeliever, but differs from him as widely as belief from 
unbelief, heaven from hell ; therefore they cannot be joined together. 
(5.) The temple of God cannot be associated with the idols and 
temples of devils; neither, therefore, can a believer with an un 
believer. For each of the faithful is a temple of God, and the 
unbeliever is a temple and image of the devil. 

Ver. 15. What concord hath Christ with Beliall What har 
mony can there be between Him who is the Author of all 
knowledge, obedience, and righteousness and the devil with his 
followers ? 

The Hebrew Belial denotes (i.) disobedience, rebellion, ungodli 
ness; (2.) those who have these qualities; and (3.) the devil, 
as the first apostate, the first to shake off the yoke of obedience 
to God and His law. Hence apostates are called " sons of Belial," 
i.e., children of the devil, or children of disobedience, rebellion 

What part hath he that believeth with an infidel? What is there 
common to both, to be shared by both? So, in i Kings xii. 16, we 
find : " What portion have we in David ? neither have we inheritance 
in the son of Jesse." This antithesis explains the three preceding 
ones. It is not right for a believer to be joined with an unbe 
liever, even as it is not possible for righteousness to be joined to 


ununrighteousness, light to darkness, Christ to Belial, the temple of 
God with idols. 

Ver. 1 6. Ye are the temple of the living God. Fy faith, grace, 
and holiness. S. Cyprian (de Orat. Doming says beautifully : " Let us 
show ourselves in our lives as the temples of God., that all may see that 
God indwells within us, so that we ivho have begun to be heavenly 
and spiritual, may think and do nothing but what is spiritual and 
heavenly." The Hebrew word for "temple" connotes power and 
majesty. Hence Chrysostom (Horn. 17 in Ep. ad Heb.} says that 
God ordered Solomon s Temple to be made exceeding magnifical, 
that the Jews, who were naturally attracted by outward things, 
might be led to know something of the majesty of God. Why, then, 
should not Christians ornament their temples, as the houses of God, 
and show honour to God, and especially to the body of Christ 
present with them, and so excite others to reverence and love God ? 
Such a temple, such a royal, nay, such a Divine palace, is the Church 
allegorically, and each faithful soul tropologically, as the Apostle 
here declares. In this temple God shows His great glory and 
majesty, by His exceeding great grace, by magnificent and glorious 
works of virtue, and by the power of His sacraments. 

Villalpando (in Ezek. vol. ii. p. 256) sees a furiher reference in 
the Hebrew word for temple to motion or walking. The tabernacle 
was a movable temple in which God dwelt and walked with the 
Hebrews through the wilderness into their promised land. It is 
to this that S. Paul alludes in the words that follow. 

I will walk in them. I will be their guardian, and will spiritually 
walk in them through the powers and virtues of the soul. 

Anselm .points out that S. Paul quotes Ezek. xxxvii. 27 literally, 
and Lev. xxvi. 12 tropologically. What is said in the latter pas 
sage of the literal tabernacle of witness is to be understood of God s 
protecting presence in each one of the faithful. 

Allegorically this tabernacle signified the Church of Christ, as is 
explained in Ezek. xxvii. 27, and tropologically each holy soul, which 
is a temple of God moving through the wilderness of this world to 
its resting-place in heaven. 


(i.) God walks in the soul as in His tabernacle when, through 
acts of faith, hope, and charity, He passes from the memory to the 
understanding, and thence to the will. For the faithful soul is as 
the temple of heaven : its sun is the understanding, or zeal for 
righteousness ; its moon is faith and continence ; its stars the other 
virtues, as S. Bernard says (Serin. 27 in Cantic.}. (2.) God walks in 
the soul, inasmuch as He makes it by His grace go from virtue to 
virtue (Anselm and Theophylact). In the same way that in the 
tabernacle the way to the Holy of Holies through the Holy Place 
was by the altar of incense, the table of shew-bread, and the candle 
stick, does God enable us to pass into heaven through holiness of life 
by prayer, almsgiving, chastity, and purity of soul. The altar of in 
cense was a symbol of prayer, the table of almsgiving, the candle 
stick of purity and brightness of life. (3.) God walks in the soul by 
way of contemplation. He causes us to follow in our minds His 
temples, as He passed from the temple of heaven to that of the 
Virgin s womb, thence to that of Calvary, thence to hell, and finally 
back again to heaven. (4.) God walks in us corporally, says 
S. Ambrose, for the Word was made flesh and dwelt and walked 
amongst us, and daily by Holy Communion He dwells in us and 
walks with us. 

Ver. 17. Come out from among them. Isa. lii. n, which is 
here quoted, taken literally ordered the Apostles and the faithful 
generally to come out, not from the unbelieving and unclean city of 
Babylon, but from Jerusalem, to be laid waste by Titus. But the 
Apostle, either tropologically or by parity of reasoning, applies it 
as an injunction to the faithful to avoid too great intimacy with 
unbelievers, and not to touch the unclean thing, that is unclean 
unbelievers ; not to live with them, lest they stain themselves with 
their uncleannesses, such as drunkenness, lust, pride, ungodli 
ness, and unrighteousness (Jerome, Cyril in Isa. lii., Chrysostom, 
Ambrose, Anselm), 



I He proceedeth in exhorting them to purity of life, 2 and to bear him like affec 
tion as he doth to them. 3 Whereof lest he might seem to doubt, he declnreth 
what comfort he took in his afflictions, by the report which Titus gave of their 
godly sorrow, which his former epistle had wrought in them, 13 and of their 
lovingkindness and obedience towards Titus, answerable to his former boastings 
of them. 

TTAVING therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves 
from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of 

2 Receive us ; we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have 
defrauded no man. 

3 I speak not this to condemn you : for I have said before, that ye are in our 
hearts to die and live with you. 

4 Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you : I 
am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation. 

5 For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were 
troubled on every side ; without were fightings, within were fears. 

6 Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by 
the coming of Titus ; 

7 And not by his coming only, but by the consolation wherewith he was com 
forted in you, when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent 
mind toward me ; so that I rejoiced the more. 

8 For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did 
repent : for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were 
but for a season. 

9 Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to re 
pentance : for ye were made sorry, after a godly manner, that ye might receive 
damage by us in nothing. 

10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of : 
but the sorrow of the world worketh death. 

1 1 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what 
carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indig 
nation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what 
revenge ! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter. 

12 Wherefore, though I wrote unto you, / did it not for his cause that had 
done the wrong, nor for his cause that suffered wrong, but that our care for you 
in the sight of God might appear unto you. 

13 Therefore we were comforted in your comfort: yea, and exceedingly the 

more joyed we for the joy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all. 



14 For if I have boasted anything to him of you, I am not ashamed ; but as 
we spake all things to you in truth, even so our boasting, which / made before 
Titus, is found a truth. 

15 And his inward affection is more abundant toward you, whilst he remem- 
bereth the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling ye received him. 

16 I rejoice therefore that I have confidence in you in all things. 


i. He declares his love, sincerity, and his confidence in the Corinthians, 
ii. He declares (ver. 6) his joy at their repentance and amendment, 
iii. He states (ver. 10) the signs and acts of true repentance, 
iv. He names (ver. 13) Titus as his witness for the repentance, love, and 
obedience of the Corinthians. 

Ver. i. Having tJierefore these promises. The promises that 
Christians should be the temples of God, should be His sons and 
daughters, and should have God dwelling in them and walking in 

Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit. 
From this passage theologians draw the division of sin into that 
which is fleshly and that which is spiritual. The first has to do with 
a carnal object, and makes man like a beast, as, e.g., gluttony, lust, 
and drunkenness. The second has to do with a spiritual object, 
and makes man like a devil, as, e.g., anger, pride, envy. 

S. Basil (Reg. 53) says appropriately that "filthiness of the flesh 
denotes carnal actions, and filthiness of the spirit is having inter 
course with them that do such things, as, e.g., the Corinthians 
had with the fornicator whom the Apostle bade them wholly to 

Perfecting holiness. So that the mind, purged from all filthiness 
of flesh and spirit, may be perfectly holy and pure, given in the fear 
of God to good works. The fear of God is both the beginning 
and perfecting of true wisdom and holiness (Ecclus i. 16, 19, and 
v. 1 8). The more the fear of God increases, the more does holiness 
increase, and so the perfect fear of God is perfect holiness. S. Basil 
(Reg. 53) says beautifully: "Holiness consists in being dedicated to 
God, and thenceforward wholly clinging to Him, in eagerly seeking 


after and earnestly maintaining such tilings as are pleasing to Him. 
Even in things offered to God as gifts those are rejected as unp leasing 
to Him which are maimed or defective ; and to resume for human uses 
ivhat has been once dedicated as a gift to God is infamous and accursed. " 

Ver. 2. Receive us. Embrace us with the arms of love, as with 
all our heart we do you (Theophylact). Cf. vi. 11-13. Strictly, the 
Greek denotes "make a place for us"- a large place in your hearts. 
Maldonatus (Not. Manusc.} renders the words : " Bear with me if I 
have praised myself over-much." 

We have defrauded no man. We have obtained no man s goods, 
either by violence or fraud. Cf. ii. n. 

Ver. 3. I speak not this to condemn you. I do not mean to accuse 
you of suspecting me of such things. 

Ye are in our hearts to die and live with you. So great is my 
love for you that with you and for you I am ready both to die and 
to live. How this harmonises with the preceding will be seen in 
ver. 4. S. Paul alludes to lovers, whose love is commonly so 
ardent as to make them of one life, to hold all things in common, 
and to involve one in the death of the other. Cf. Nilus and 
Euryalus in Virgil, Ai,n. ix. 427-445 ; the Soldurii, mentioned by 
Caesar in lib. iii. de Bella Gallico, and the sacred cohort of the 
Thebans, described by Plutarch. Erasmus and others add that 
the Apostle is referring to that ancient kind of friendship in 
which on the death of one friend the other also killed himself, 
as Csesar records that the Soldurii were in the habit of doing. 
Such was the friendship Horace says that he had with Maecenas 
In Peru and Mexico wives and the better-loved servants, when the 
husband or master dies, throw themselves upon the funeral pyre, 
or are buried alive with the dead body. In Japan, too, when 
noblemen are condemned to death, they in company with their 
nearest friends inflict death on themselves by ripping themselves up. 
Such suicide the Apostle condemns, but praises and embraces the 
friendship. He seems to say : " As they love each other even to 
death, so do I, O Corinthians, love you, and long to live with you 
and die with you ; but I do not, as they, long to inflict on myself 


death." But there is no need to suppose that the Apostle finds a 
model for his love in illicit and parricidal friendships. They chiefly 
manifested themselves in simultaneous death and self-murder, and 
were, therefore, wickednesses, and deserving blame rather than praise 

Ver. 4. Great is my boldness of speech toward you. My boldness 
is great because my love is so great. Hence comes my " glorying 
of you " (Theophylact and Ambrose). Paul says all this to banish 
all suspicion of his good faith, and to gain credence to his declara 
tion, " We have wronged no roan," &c. " I have not said this," he 
seems to say, "out of any distrust of your good opinion of me, but 
out of the boldness engendered by my great love for you ; hence 
it is that I am wont to glory of you." Let superiors learn of S. 
Paul, to beware lest those under them distrust them, from a belief 
that their superiors do not believe them, do not trust in them, and 
do not therefore confidently entrust themselves and their goods to 
their superior ; let them rather endeavour to deal openly with them, 
and let them know that they are loved; let them show that they 
have a good opinion of their inferiors, and by so doing they will 
bind their hearts to themselves, and turn them wherever they please. 

/ am exceeding joyftil in all our tribulation. Viz., because you 
have corrected what in my First Epistle I condemned. You have 
so comforted me that I not only am filled with comfort, but more 
than filled. This exuberance of joy drowns all feeling of my afflic 
tions, even as floods of water put out a small fire. 

Observe here that friendship produces four affections in the souls 
of friends. The first affection is one of trust, of which Paul says : 
"Great is my confidence in you;" the second is one of glorying, 
of which he says : " Great is my glorying of you ; " the third is one 
of comfort, of which he says : " I am filled with comfort ; " the fourth 
is one of superabundant joy, of which he says : " I am exceeding 
joyful in all our tribulation." 

Ver. 5. Without ivere fightings. Unbelievers were openly hostile. 

Within were fears. I was inwardly anxious, both because of false 
brethren and of weak Christians, lest they should be led to fall away 
through our persecutions (Anselm and Ambrose). 


Ver. 7. When he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your 
fervent mind toward me ; so that I rejoiced the more. I was before 
saddened through your divisions and other sins, but when I saw 
and heard of your desire to amend, your penitence for your sins, 
and your zeal to protect me against all detractors, I rejoiced. 

Ver. 8. For though I made you sorry with a letter. Although in 
my First Epistle I made you sorry by rebuking your vices, never 
theless it was good for us, and it stirred you to repentance, which 
brought you at once peace and joy. 

Though it were but for a season. My Epistle saddened you but 
for a short time, and it led you to repentance; therefore I rejoice 
both over my letter and your repentance. 

Ver. 9. Ye sorrowed to repentance. This sorrow led you to 
repentance, to mourning (ver. 7), to indignation and revenge 
(ver. u). Repentance, therefore, is not merely a coming to one s 
self again, as I will show directly by several proofs. 

Ver. 10. For godly sorrow worketh repentance. Observe i. that 
the Apostle here distinguishes two kinds of sorrow, one according 
to God, and one of the world. The sorrow of the world, or carnal 
sorrow, is that which springs from loss of excessively loved worldly 
goods as when wealth or pleasures are lost, when friends or great 
men are offended. This sorrow often works death to the soul, by 
bidding us recover our goods and offend God. Not unseldom it 
even works diseases and death to the body, for many pine away 
and die through excessive grief. " Sorrow slays many," says Ecclus. 
xxx. 25, "and there is no use in it." But godly or Divine sorrow 
is that which follows on the thought of having offended God, and 
is called contrition ; it produces penance, or self-punishment ; so 
leading to salvation, it is firm, sure, and not to be repented of. 
Hence Chrysostom and Erasmus refer not to be repented of to 
penance, not to salvation. 

2. The Apostle distinguishes this sorrow from penance as the 
cause from the effect ; for sorrow, that is contrition, works penance, 
that is self-punishment. Hence it is evident that this sorrow and 
this penance are not merely a return to one s sense and a new life, 


as heretics think ; nor mere leaving off one s past sins, as Erasmus 
says, but are contrition and self-discipline. It is evident in the 
second place that sinners are justified and attain salvation, not by 
faith alone, but also by penance; and thirdly, that repentance 
includes this contrition, confession, and satisfaction, and that these 
are the three parts of repentance. So in ver. 1 1 the Apostle, ex 
plaining repentance, says that it works carefulness, i.e., to appease 
and satisfy God, revenge, &c. 

Here we should take note of the golden saying of S. Chrysostom 
(Horn. 5 ad Pop. \ on the use, end, and fruit of sorrow. He says : 
" Sorrow zvas given us, not that we should mourn over death or other 
ills, but to blot out sin, and to be a remedy against it. Just as the 
remedy for blear eyes takes away that particular disease and no 
others, so does sorrow banish sin, but not other ailments. For 
example, a man loses his money he grieves, but does not mend his 
case ; one loses his son he grieves, but does not thereby raise the dead. 
He meets with scorn and contempt he grieves, but the insult remains ; 
he falls sick he grieves, but does not thereby banish his sickness, nay, 
he makes it worse. But when a man sins and grieves for it, he blots 
out his sin, for godly sorrow works repentance powerful for salvation. 
Sorrow, therefore, was made because of sin alone, and from it takes 
its birth, and, like a moth, eats it up and destroys it." 

Cassian, following his master S. Chrysostom, thus describes 
(lib. ix. c. i o) godly sorrow : " Sorrow can be said to be useful to us 
only when it is enkindled within us by repentance for our sins, or by 
a longing after perfection, springing from the contemplation of our 
future bliss. . . . This sorrow, which worketh repentance powerful 
to salvation, is obedient, affable, Jmmble, meek, tender, and long-suffer 
ing, as descending from the love of God, and unweariedly extending 
itself through its longing after perfection to all bodily mortification, 
and to complete spiritual contrition. It is at times joyful, and feeds 
itself on hope of progress ; it retains all the pleasantness of affability 
and long-suffering, having in it all the fruits of the Holy Spirit love, 
joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temper 
ance." He proceeds to give the marks of worldly sorrow: "// is 


harsh, impatient, hard, full of bitterness and unfruitful grief, and 
guilty despair. It breaks off from diligence and saving grief any 
one that it may have laid hold of; it is void of reason, and not only 
hinders prayer from being efficacious, but destroys all the aforesaid 
fruits of the Spirit conferred by godly sorrow." 

Ver. it. For behold this self-same thing, &c. The Apostle here, 
as Calvin admits, names seven effects of godly sorrow and true 
repentance, (i.) Carefulness to expiate the offence against God 
and to regain His favour. (2.) Defence (rendered by Ambrose, 
"excusing;" by Erasmus, "satisfaction;" by Maldonatus, "clearing 
of the accusation"), not by words but by deeds by a good life. 
Here the defence may be the defence of S. Paul against his 
detractors and the false apostles. (3.) Indignation that now, 
recognising your divisions, your passing over the act of incest and 
the other sins rebuked in my First Epistle, you were grieved 
and penitent, you were indignant with yourselves. (4.) Fear, not 
only of man, but fear of offending God. (5.) Desire to correct se 1 ^ 
and to satisfy man and still more God. (6.) Zeal to honour God 
and to cast the notorious sinner out of the Church (Anselm and 
Chrysostom). (7.) Revenge, or purpose to punish sin by grief and 
tears, by bodily and spiritual mortification (Theodoret, Theophylact, 
Ambrose, S. Thomas). Calvin himself says (Tnst. lib. iii. c. 13, 
1 6) : " Last of all is revenge. The more severe we are against our 
selves, the keener our condemnation of our sins, the more hope ought we 
to have that God will be propitious and merciful to us. And surely 
the soul that is smitten with fear of God s judgment cannot but antici 
pate part of His punishment by inflicting punishment on itself." 

In these seven effects and fruits of repentance there is a grada 
tion ; for the Apostle rises by steps from the less to the greater, as 
is expressed by the repeated, "yea, what." This sorrow for having 
offended God has not only brought on carefulness to be reconciled 
to Him, but also defence of me, Paul ; not only that, but indignation 
against sin, holy fear of guarding against sin for the future, desire of 
making satisfaction, zeal against sinners, and, lastly, revenge on sin, 
which is the last step and fruit of repentance. 


This passage plainly shows us, therefore, that repentance is not 
merely a change of life and a purpose of better living, but is also 
detestation of the old life, mortification, and satisfaction. Hence 
the Council of Trent (sess. xiv. c. 8), following the ancient usage of 
the Church, bids confessors, in enjoining satisfaction, to regard not 
only the needs of the new life, but also the revenge due to the sin 
committed, although its guilt by absolution is remitted. 

Tertullian, one of the earliest of the Fathers, says the same (de 
Penit. c. ix.). His words are : " Public confession is a discipline 
which lays low and humiliates man, and acts as an allurement to 
mercy. As to dress and food, it bids us lie in sackcloth and ashes, 
defile the body with sordid clothing, tame the mind with sorrow, with 
stern treatment change what is sinful, to use food and drink for the 
sake of the life only, not for the pleasure of the belly, to cherish prayer 
by fastings, to weep and cry to God day and night, to attend ChurcJi 
services, and to kneel with those that are pleasing to God, to add 
supplications to those of all the bretJiren." 

Climacus, too (de Penit. Gradu. 5), says: "Repentance is thought 
condemning itself, a perpetual repudiation of bodily delight, a "vol 
untary endurance of all afflictions, a constant deviser of sufferings 
for itself, a severe mortifier of the pleasures of appetite, a condemner 
of the physical life also in its keenest sensual delight, an abyss of 

How different is all this from the easy system of Luther and Calvin, 
who enjoin no other penance than faith for every sin, no matter 
how frequent or how heinous. I believe, say they, that God has 
pardoned thee thy sins through the merits of Christ, and therefore 
He will pardon thee all thy punishment and guilt. In other words, 
believe yourself to be in the Elysian Fields, believe yourself a king, 
and straightway you are such ; at all events, if not really, certainly 
in imagination. Surely all this is but like the fond dreams of lovers. 
Let him believe this who lacks, not so much faith, as brains and 
sound sense, and who, at his own risk, desires and intends to enter 
on the broad way of the many, which leads to perdition, and not the 
narrow way of the few, which leads to life. As the Sibyl said to 


^Eneas : " Easy is the descent to Avernus, but to retrace one s steps, 
and to emerge into the upper air this is labour, this is toil; the 
few God-born ones, beloved by Jupiter, or raised by their virtues to 
the heavens, have alone availed to do it." 

Let the Protestants listen to S. Jerome, or the author of the 
Epistle to Susanna after lapsing, (whoever he may be, he is certainly 
of weight and of early times, nay, Erasmus and Marianus think from 
the style that he is S. Augustine himself). Prescribing to her or any 
other penitent the form of lamentation and repentance, he says : 
" Who shall comfort thee, O virgin-daughter of Zion, for thy contri 
tion is made vast as the sea ? Pour out thy heart as water before the 
face of the Lord, raise to Him thy hands as a remedy against thy sins. 
Take thy lamentation, and chiefly on no day omit to say the $\st 
Psalm, which is always used for this purpose, and with groaning and 
tears go through each verse, as far as that one, A broken and contrite 
heart, O God, shalt Thou not despise? Moreover, pour out this lament, 
not without compunction of heart, in the sight of God, thy Judge. 
Who will give water to my head and a fount of tears to my eyes, that I 
may bewail the wounds of my soul 1 } Woe is me ! for I am become as 
Sodom, and am burnt even as Gomorrha. Who will have pity on my 
ashes ? I have sinned worse than Sodom, for she sinned in ignorance 
of the law, but I have received grace and sinned. If a man sin against 
a man there will be one to plead for him, but I have sinned against 
the Lord, and whom shall I find to atone for me ? How bitter is 
the fruit of concupiscence more bitter than gall, more cruel than the 
sword! How am I become desolate I Suddenly have I fallen away 
and perished through my iniquity, like as a dream when one awaketh. 
Therefore has my image become vile in the city of the Lord, my name 
has been blotted out. Cursed be the day when the womb bare me, and 
the cruel light saw me. Better for me if I had not been born than 
become thus a proverb amongst the Gentiles. Through me confusion 
and reproach have come on the servants of the Lord, and on them that 
worthily worship Him. Mourn for me, ye mountains and rivers, for 
J am the daughter of weeping. My sin and my iniquity are not like 
to the offences of men. This wickedness is horrible, to pollute with flesh 


a virgin who has professed chastity. I have lied against the Lord 
Most High, but still I will call to the Lord: Lord, rebuke me not in 
Thy anger, neither chasten me in Thy heavy displeasure. 1 " S. Ambrose 
gives the same directions to a lapsed virgin. Cf. Cyprian (Serm. de 
Lapsis), Chrysostom (Horn. 41 ad Prop. ). 

Climacus, in the passage already cited, relating examples and 
describing the disposition of penitents, has the following remarks, 
which may worthily act as goads of compunction to the sinner : 
" When I came to the monastery of penitents, nay, to the religion of 
them that flee from sin, I saw and heard things which may well take 
God by storm. I saw some of those guilty ones standing and watch 
ing through whole nights till daybreak, standing motionless, resisting 
sleep, applying force to nature, giving themselves no rest, but chiding 
themselves. Others I saw in prayer, with their hands bound behind 
their backs after the fashion of criminals, turning their sorrowful faces 
to the earth, saying that they were unworthy to see the heavens, asking 
for nothing, but offering to God a mind silent and mute and filled with 
confusion. Some I saw sitting on the ground that was strewn with 
sackcloth and ashes, covering their faces with their knees, and bruising 
their foreheads against the earth. Others were smiting their breasts, 
and with deep sighs recalling their past life ; others were weeping, and 
others lamenting their inability to do the like. I saw some as though 
turned into stone by grief, and insensible to everything. Oihers, with 
looks fixed on the ground, were constantly moving their heads and roar 
ing like lions. . . . I saw too some with their thirsty tongues protruding 
from their month as dogs. Some of these tortured themselves under 
the heat of a burning sun, others submitted to the most bitter cold ; 
some drank a little water, that they might not be altogether parched 
with thirst, and so gained relief. Some would eat a little bread and 
then throw away the rest, as if they were unworthy of it. What 
place was there among them for laughter, for gossip, for anger, for 
enjoyment of wine or fruits ? They all alike cried to God, and nought 
was heard save the voice of prayer." If any one desire more he will 
find much of the same kind, and enough to make him dumb. He 
ends by saying : "7 saw them, and I counted them who so mourn after 


falling Jiafpier than they who have never fatten, and do not so bewail 

Lastly, listen to the repentance and sorrow of S. Paula for some 
slight sins, as recorded by S. Jerome : " She had not, even when 
stricken with violent fever, any soft bed-clothing, but lay on sackcloth, 
spread on the bare hard ground, and so took her rest, if that is to be 
called rest which mingled night and day with never-ceasing prayers, 
according to the words of the Psalmist, Every night will I wash my 
bed, and water my couch with my tears. You might suppose that in 
her were fountains of tears, so bitterly did she bewail the slightest sins ; 
and you might have thought her guilty of the most heinous crimes. 
When she was bidden by us, as often was the case, to spare her eyes, and 
save them for reading the Gospel, she would say, Defiled must that 
face be which, against the commandment of God, I have often painted 
with red dyes, and antimony, and different cosmetics. Afflicted nmst 
be the body which has been devoted to many delights. Long laughter 
must be atoned for by long mourning. Soft clothing and dainty silks 
must be exchanged for rough sackcloth. I, who once lived for my hus 
band and the world, now desire to please Christ." 

In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter. 
Free from the sin of the fornicator. Although at first you neglected 
to punish it, yet you have shown your detestation of it by punishing 
it, and by your repentance (Anselm and Theophylact). 

Ver. 12. Though I wrote unto you, I did it not, &c. He who 
suffered wrong was the father whose wife the incestuous man had 
taken to himself. Hence it is evident that the father was alive. The 
Apostle says in effect : In the former Epistle I wrote somewhat 
sharply, but I did not mean to avenge the private injuries done by 
the incestuous person and suffered by the father ; but I wished to 
show the care that I have for the common salvation of your Church, 
by expelling from it this public scandal. 

Ver. 13. Therefore we were comforted. By your repentance, zeal, 
&c., as was said (vers. 6, 7, 9, n). The Latin version points this 
verse as follows : " Before God, therefore, we were comforted. But 
in our comfort we joyed the more," &c. If with some Greek copies 


we read "in your comfort," S. Paul refers to the good news that 
he had heard of their repentance. " The tears of penitents," says 
S. Bernard, "are the wine of angels," nay, they are the wine of peni 
tents, for nothing so makes glad the heart as compunction. How 
sweet to the penitent is it with the Magdalene to weep at the feet 
of Jesus, to bathe them with tears, to wipe them, to kiss them, and 
then to hear : " Thy sins are forgiven thee." None but one who has 
tried it knows this sweetness. 

Ver. 14. Even so our boasting which I made before Titus is found 
a truth. I am accustomed to boast to him of you as good disciples, 
and you have proved my boasting true. 

Ver. 1 6. I have confidence in you in all things. I dare to speak 
and act boldly with you, whether in the way of praise or blame. 
You are always obedient to me, and, therefore, I am bold, and am 
able to boast of you and think well of you (Chrysostom, Theophy* 
lact, Ambrose). Anselm remarks on the prudence of Paul, as of a 
physician, in curing with the pleasant medicines of consolation and 
praise the wounds now nearly healed, so that the burning inflicted 
by his former rebuke might be wholly healed. 


I He stirreth them up to a liberal contribution for the poor saints at Jerusalem, 
by the example of the Macedonians, 7 by commendation of their former for 
wardness, 9 by the example of Christ, 14 and by the spiritual profit that shall 
redound to themselves thereby : 16 commending to thejn the integrity and willing 
ness of Tittis, and those other brethren, who upon his request, exhortation, and 
commendation, -were purposely come to them for this business, 

MOREOVER, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on 
the churches of Macedonia ; 

2 How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep 
poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. 

3 For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were 
willing of themselves ; 

4 Praying us with much entreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon 
us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. 

5 And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the 
Lord, and unto us by the will of God. 

6 Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also 
finish in you the same grace also. 

7 Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and know 
ledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this 
grace also. 

8 I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, 
and to prove the sincerity of your love. 

9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet 
for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. 

10 And herein I give my advice : for this is expedient for you, who have begun 
before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago. 

1 1 Now therefore perform the doing of it ; that as there "was a readiness to will, 
so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have. 

12 For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man 
hath, and not according to that he hath not. 

13 For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened : 

14 But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply 
for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want : that 
there may be equality : 

15 As it is written, He that had gathered much, had nothing over ; and he that 
had gathered little had no lack. 

1 6 But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of 
Titus for you. 



17 For indeed he accepted the exhortation ; but being more forward, of his own 
accord he went unto you. 

18 And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel 
throughout all the churches ; 

19 And not that only, but who was also chosen of the churches to travel with 
us with this grace, which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord, 
and declaration 0/"your ready mind : 

20 Avoiding this, that no man should blame us in this abundance which is 
administered by us : 

21 Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the 
sight of men. 

22 And we have sent with them our brother, whom we have oftentimes proved 
diligent in many things, but now much more diligent, upon the great confidence 
which I have in you. 

23 Whether any do inqtiire of Titus, he is my partner and fellowhelper con 
cerning you : or our brethren be inquired of, they are the messengers of the churches, 
and the glory of Christ. 

24 Wherefore shew ye to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love, 
and of our boasting on your behalf. 


i. He exhorts the Corinthians to imitate the generosity of the Macedonian 
Christians in sending alms to the poor at Jerusalem. 

ii. He points (ver. 9) to the example of Christ, who for our sakes was 
made poor, that through His poverty we might be rich. 

iii. He urges them (ver. 10) to fulfil their purpose and half-promise, and 
bids each one give according to his means. 

iv. He says (ver. 13) that by so doing rich and poor will be equalised, 
through the former giving their temporal goods in return for spiritual 

v. He reminds them (ver. 16) that he had sent Titus and other Apostles 
to make this collection, and warns them that if they put His mes 
sengers to shame they themselves will also be put to shame before 

The first example of the almsgiving referred to in this and the 
next chapters is related by S. Luke (Acts xi. 28). This famine 
under Claudius is referred by many to his fourth year, by Baronius 
to his second, i.e., A.D. 44. From S. Luke s narrative it appears 
that the Christians of Antioch zealously met the famine beforehand 
by sending alms by the hands of Barnabas and Paul. Many years 
afterwards, in A.D. 58, the collection spoken of in this chapter was 
made in Corinth and the neighbouring places. Further, a greater 
and more lasting cause of the poverty of the Christians of Jerusalem 


was the constant persecution suffered by them at the hands of the 
Jews since the death of Stephen, frequently taking the form of 
banishment and confiscation of their goods (Acts viii. i, and Heb. 
x. 34). From that time forward the Jews were sworn foes to Christ, 
and bitterly persecuted the Christians ; and since the Church of 
Jerusalem was the mother of all others, the custom prevailed 
amongst Christians in all parts of the world of sending help to 
the poor of that Church. When Vigilantius found fault with this 
custom in the time of Theodosius, S. Jerome, writing against him, 
testifies to its prevalence with approbation. He says : " This custom 
down to the present time remains, not only among us, but also among 
the Jews, that they who meditate in the law of the Lord day and 
night, and have no lot in the earth save God only, be supported by 
the ministry of the synagogues, and of the whole earth." 

In this chapter, then, the Apostle is urging the Corinthians, as 
being rich, to the duty of almsgiving. Corinth was the most frequented 
emporium of Greece, and in it were many wealthy merchants. 

Ver. i. Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God. 
God has given to the Macedonian Christians great patience, libera 
lity, and pity for others. 

y er< 2 . How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of 
their joy. When greatly tried by sundry tribulations, they were very 

And their deep poverty abounded. Having sounded the depths 
of poverty, the Macedonians, as it were, broke out into plentiful 
and abundant kindness and almsgiving. 

Liberality is given in the Latin version simplicity, and denotes 
a pure, liberal, and ready will to give. Liberality is measured not 
by the greatness of the gift, but by the promptitude of the mind, 
as Chrysostom and Theophylact say. " Simplicity," says Ambrose 
(Ep. 10), "weighs not pros and cons, has no mean suspicions or dis 
honest thoughts, but overflows with pure affection." Cf. Rom. xii. 8. 

Ver. 3. For to their power . . . thy were willing. Of their 
own free will, without being solicited, they came forward and con 
tributed as much as and more than they were able to afford. 


Ver. 4. Praying us. Begging us to undertake the gracious work 
of collection, and take our part in it. The Apostle often applies 
the- word x< ts (gift) to what is gratuitous and munificent. Here 
he applies it to the work of collection. In ver. 7 and elsewhere he 
applies it to the alms itself. 

Ver. 5. Not as we hoped. They gave much more than we 

But first gave their own selves to the Lord and unto us. They 
first surrendered themselves to the will of God and then to ours, 
to do and give whatever I wished. 

Observe here that they who give alms ought, if they are to do 
it properly, first to give their hearts to God, and in token that they 
have so surrendered themselves to Him, they ought then to give 
alms, as tribute paid to Him. 

By the will of God. God wishes people to follow our directions, 
and regard our wish as His, and us as the interpreters of His will, 
so what we will God also wills to be done by those under us. He 
Himself says: "He that heareth. you heareth Me" (Anselm and 

Ver. 6. Insomuch that we desired Titus. We asked Titus to col 
lect these alms, just as we had collected them in Macedonia. We 
doubted not for a moment that the liberality of the rich Corinthians 
would not be outshone in readiness and amount by the poverty of 
the Macedonians. This is to stimulate the Corinthians to liberality 
by the example of the Macedonians. 

Ver. 7. See that ye abound in this grace also. See that, as ye 
abound in faith, care, and love towards me, so ye abound in alms 
giving to the poor (Anselm). 

Ver. 8. By occasion of the forwardness of others. I do not com 
mand, but seek to move you by the example of the Macedonians, 
who were so anxious to help the poor. 

And to prove the sincerity of your love. I say this to make test of 
your love, sincerity, and goodness, and to stimulate you by others 
example. The Latin ingenium, which is the rendering of the Greek 
does not here denote the good disposition of charity, as 



Anselm thinks, in which case the meaning would be : I say this, not 
to test and show that your charity has a good disposition, by its 
suggesting, dictating, and advising that you do this good deed without 
any order from me ; but yv/jo-ioi/ denotes, not ingenium, but ingenuum, 
or an innate disposition. Again, the word for prove has the double 
idea of testing and then demonstrating. Maldonatus, indeed (Nota 
Manusc.), renders it, "longing to prove to others;" for, as he says, 
the Greek verb here denotes not the effect but the affection. 

Ver. 9. For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. This 
is a fresh stimulus to almsgiving. Christ, the King of kings, for 
your sakes became poor when He was born in the stable, because 
there was no room for Him in the inn. Instead of His royal throne 
He had a manger ; for bedding, hay ; for fire, the breath of ox and 
ass ; for curtains, spiders webs ; for sweet perfumes, stable ordure ; for 
purple, filthy rags ; for His stud, ox and ass ; for a crowd of nobles, 
Joseph and Mary. So, too, His whole after-life was stamped with 
poverty, or, as Erasmus renders the Greek here, with beggary. From 
this it appears that Christ was not merely poor, but was also an 
actual beggar. 

That ye through His poverty might be rich. Rich with spiritual 
riches, with lessons of godliness, with forgiveness of sins, righteous 
ness, holiness, and other virtues. The Corinthians are tacitly bidden, 
if they wish to imitate Christ closely, to enrich the poor with their 
alms, to impoverish themselves so as to enrich others. Cf. Anselm 
on the riches and poverty of Christ, and Chrysostom (Horn. 17), 
who points out how the Christian should not be ashamed of or 
shrink from poverty. 

S. Gregory Nazianzen (Orat. i in Pascha) beautifully contrasts 
our benefits and Christ s loving-kindness. He says : " Christ was 
made poor that we through His poverty might be rich. He took the 
form of a servant that we might regain liberty. He descended that 
we might be exalted. He was tempted that we might overcome. He 
was despised that He might fill us with glory. He died that we 
might be saved. He ascended , to draw to Himself those lying prostrate 
on the ground through sin s stumblingblock." S. Augustine again 


says beautifully : " What will His riches do if His poverty made 
us rich ? " Lastly, from these words of the Apostle, Bede infers : 
" All good faithful souls are rich : let none despise himself. The 
poor in his cell, being rich in his conscience, sleeps more quietly on the 
hard ground than he that is rich in gold sleeps in purple." 

Ver. 10. And herein I give my advice. Bede takes this : "Herein 
I give my opinion," but wrongly ; for advice is here contrasted 
with precept. 

Not only to do but also to be forward. Or " to be willing," i.e., 
of your own accord, no one forcing you. This, as S. Paul hints, 
is more than to do it when asked (Anselm). Gregory (Horn, 18 
in Ezek.} says : " This very exhortation contains a reproach. A 
year agff, he says. They did well, then, but slowly. Their teacher, 
therefore, while he praises, chides. He is a physician who applies 
to the wound a remedy which both soothes what has been already 
cleansed, and bites the parts that are found unsound." 

Ver. n. So there may be a performance. Lucian s lines are 

well known : 

" Sweeter is grace that is prompt ; 
If slow is the hand that bestows, 
Its grace becomes empty and vain 
And title to grace must resign." 

And again : 

" He double gives who promptly gives." 

Ver. 12. // is accepted according to that a man hath. In other 
words, " Give what you can " (Ambrose, Chrysostom, Anselm). Ob 
serve here i. that the perfection and merit of almsgiving and of every 
virtue consists in the readiness of the will and not in the greatness 
or the number of the gifts ; and, therefore, before God, when this 
readiness is greater then the virtue is greater, even if, on account 
of poverty or some other cause, the wish is unable to issue in the 
external act of giving. Hence S. Paul says that the willing mind 
is accepted, not the gift. Cf. S. Mark xii. 43. 

2. Notwithstanding, in order that this readiness be accepted 
before God, says S. Thomas, as true, earnest, and efficacious, it 
must issue in act according to what it has, i.e., give of what it 


has according to its power ; otherwise it would be merely a wish, 
not an earnest and ready will. It is not expected to give what 
it has not, as S. Paul says. " Let him who has," says Theophylact, 
" carry out his work ; he who has not has already carried out his 
work by willing it." S. Leo (Serm. 4 de Jej. Dec. Mensis] says : 
" Unequal expenditure may give equal merits ; for the intention 
may be the same, though the incomes be widely different \ " and 
Anselm says : " Here all, whether poor or rich, give equally, if each 
gives in proportion to what he has." 

3. It follows that amongst those who are equally rich or 
equally poor that one is the more liberal and has more merit 
who gives more. Amongst those, however, whose wealth is un 
equal, that one merits more who gives the more in proportion 
to his means, although absolutely he may give less than his 
richer neighbour. Cf. Tob. iv. 9. S. Augustine (Enarr. in Ps. 
civ.) says: " If you can give, give. If you cannot, give courtesy. 
God crowns the goodness within when He finds not means with 
out. Let no one say, I have not. Charity is not paid from the 

Ver. 13. For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye 
burdened. I do not enjoin on you such liberal almsgiving as to 
enable the poor to live in luxury and you in need, but I wish 
every one to think of the necessities of others according to his 
power, without neglecting his own (Theophylact). S. Paul does 
not enjoin this, but he counsels it. It is, say S. Thomas and 
Anselm, an evangelical counsel, and, therefore, a sign of greater 
perfection, to give all your goods to the poor and become wholly 
poor yourself. " If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast 
and give to the poor," said Christ (S. Matt. xix. 21). This can 
be done not only by those who are going to devote themselves 
to the religious life, but even by those who remain in the world, 
as, e.g., by the poor widow (S. Mark xii. 43). Do not mistake 
me : any one may do this provided he do not bring himself into 
extreme necessity, and if he has no family, for whom he is bound 
to provide. Theophylact adds that in the next verse the Apostle 


exhorts the Corinthians to give beyond their strength, when he 
says "that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for 
their want," meaning : If you wish for a great reward, give liberally ; 
if for the whole reward, give your all. He takes abundance to 
mean profuse almsgiving, abounding beyond their strength, such 
as S. Paul praised in the Macedonians. The reason is this, that 
such an act is one of supreme, heroic almsgiving, poverty, fortitude, 
and hope in God. 

We have a striking example of this in S. Paulinus, Bishop of 
Nola, who, after spending all his goods on the poor, at last gave 
himself up to the Vandals to be enslaved in the place of the son of a 
widow. His self-abnegation is praised by S. Augustine (de Civ. Dei, 
lib. i. c. 10). The event showed that his action was pleasing to 
God, for, when he was living as a slave, he was recognised by the 
Vandals under the inspiration of God, and was honourably treated 
and sent back home. S. Paula, again, was so liberal to the poor 
that her frequent prayer was heard, and, according to her wish, she 
had to be buried at the expense of others, and in another s garments. 
S. Jerome, in his Life of her, praises her warmly for this. S. Martin, 
S. John the Almoner, and many others are examples of the same 
liberality. But abundance in this verse more properly denotes the 
abundant wealth of the Corinthians; for S. Paul contrasts it with 
the poverty of the Christians of Jerusalem, and desires that one may 
relieve the other. 

Ver. 14. But by an equality. I do not command so large alms 
giving that your homes be pauperised while the poor have ample, 
but of your superfluity, which supplies the proper matter of alms 
giving, I beg you to communicate with the poor, and supply their 
want, so that you may both have the necessities of life, and may 
each hold the mean between the two extremes of poverty and 
abundance. Let there be nothing superfluous in the means of 
them that give, and nothing deficient in the way of the necessaries 
of life to them that receive (Theophylact). 

That their abundance also may be a supply for your want. So 
their abundant supply of faith and hope and all graces will, by their 


prayers and merits before God, assist your spiritual poverty in this 
life, and in the other life they will, when you die, receive you into 
everlasting habitations. The kingdom of heaven is the possession 
of Christ s poor (Anselm). 

That there may be equality. By an interchange of spiritual goods 
as well as temporal. 

Ver. i$.As if is written. Exod. xvi. 18. Paul applies what is 
said of the gathering and eating of manna, to show that God wishes 
men to strive after equality in communion of goods. 

He that had gathered much. He that gathered much had no 
more than he that gathered little, and -vice versa. The passage 
quoted from Exodus declares that by a continuous miracle God 
rained down manna for forty years in the wilderness on so many 
hundreds of thousands of Jews, in such a way that the greedy who 
gathered much, and the idle who gathered little, both found, when 
they returned home and measured what they had got, that they 
had but an homer full, or enough for a day s food for each. If 
they collected either more or less, God or an angel subtracted 
from it or added to it invisibly, to bring all to an equality. So, 
then, an homer was the measure for men, women, and children, 
and it contained as much only as a man would ordinarily eat in 
a day (Nyssen, de Vita Moysis, Chrysostom, Anselm, Vatablus, 

The reason for this was (i.) that God would in this way restrain 
the greediness and gluttony of the Jews, and their excessive love of 
earthly things (Chrysostom and Theophylact). (2.) By this con 
tinuous miracle God would remind us that in all our necessity we 
should look to His Providence, and recollect that He provides for 
each all that is needful for his life ; therefore, as we sit at table, let 
us regard God as raining down manna upon us from heaven. So 
now God supplies, not only to the rich but the poor also, and 
those that have bad health or are burdened with a large family, their 
daily portion, which is enough to maintain the life of all. This will 
seem to any one who considers the matter, and compares the small 
gain made with the great expenditure of so many heads of families, 


a wonderful and incredible thing ; and by this test alone any one 
may see God s sweet and wondrous care for all. Let not the poor, 
therefore, bewail their lot, nor desire great riches ; " For since we 
all" says S. Chrysostom, " have but one belly to fill, and one time to 
live in, and one body to cover, the rich man has no more from his 
abundance, nor the poor man less from his poverty ; but both have food 
and clothing, and in this they are equal. " 

Observe, again, the beautiful application S. Paul makes of the 
symbolic manna. As God gave of it an equal measure to all, so 
is it right that Christians should cultivate an equality : those who 
have abundant wealth should distribute to the poor, and make 
them equal to themselves, so far as the necessaries of life go, that 
all may be content, and, having what is necessary, live equally 
(Theophylact and Chrysostom). Observe, however, that as the 
rich, by giving of their superfluous wealth to the poor, make them 
equal to themselves, so too do the poor, by a fellowship of merits, 
make the rich equal to them, not altogether absolutely, but by way 
of proportion, in such a way that neither has any lack of either 
kind of benefits, or has an excessive supply when compared with 
others; for otherwise the rich would not by giving to the poor 
make them as rich as themselves, nor would the poor by giving in 
return his prayers and other spiritual goods give an equal gift, but 
rather a far more valuable gift than he received. Nor again does 
he give of his spiritual goods as much as he has (S. Thomas). 

Analogically, S. Chrysostom and Anselm refer this passage to 
the glory of heaven, which all will share equally. But this must be 
understood of the objective bliss; for all will see the same God, 
and in Him will be satisfied and blessed ; but in this vision, and 
consequently in joy and glory, there will be degrees, and a disparity 
proportioned to merit. It was so in the case of the manna : an 
equal share was given to each, satisfying all equally, yet it tasted 
differently to different people. 

Ver. 1 6. Biit thanks be to God. For having made Titus anxious 
for you and for your spiritual progress and gain, whereby he was 
led to exhort you to liberality towards the poor. " The same earnest 


care " refers to the fact that S. Paul as well as Titus was exhorting 
them to this liberality. 

Ver. 17. For indeed he accepted the exhortation. The duty of 
exhorting you to almsgiving (Anselm). 

Of his own accord. Without being bidden by me, he took on 
himself this task of exhorting you to this pious work. 

Ver. 1 8. And we have sent with him the brother whose praise is 
in the Gospel. Barnabas, whose praise is in the preaching of the 
Gospel. He was ordained as S. Paul s companion (Acts xiii. 3) 
(Theodoret, Chrysostom, CEcumenius) ; but since Barnabas and 
Paul were now separated, and Silas had taken S. Barnabas place 
at S. Paul s side (Acts xv. 40), it is better with Baronius to take 
the reference as being to Silas, or, with Anselm and Jerome, to 
Luke. S. Paul calls him brotlier, not Apostle, and this applies 
better to S. Luke, who wrote a Gospel, and was the inseparable 
companion of S. Paul. S. Ignatius, writing to the Ephesians, 
assigned this eulogy to Luke in the words: "As Luke testifies, 
whose praise is in the Gospel." 

Ver. 19. But who was also chosen of the churches. For this work 
of grace of collecting the alms of the Church. The word rendered 
here chosen is x^oTovT^ei?, i.e., ordained by imposition of hands- 
consecrated either deacon or priest. It was the deacon s office to 
have care of the poor, and to distribute the alms to them ; but the 
priest s to help the Apostle on his journeys in preaching and 
administration of the sacraments. The sacrament of Order is 
called by the Greeks x ei P OTOV ^ a , from the imposition of the Bishop s 
hands on the ordinands. Cf. i Tim. iv. 14; v. 22 ; Acts xiv. 22. 
From this it is evident that to lay hands on presbyters is to ordain 
them, and by ordaining to make them presbyters. 

Which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord. The 
Latin version reads, in the last clause of this verse, "to our destined 
mind;" the meaning of this is, to show the readiness of our mind in 
this pious service to God and the poor. The Greek is irpodv^ia. 
" Destined," therefore, as S. Thomas remarks, does not here mean 
"predestinated by God," but ready, prompt, and cheerful. But the 


Greek MSS. give your, not our. We have received, says S. Paul, 
this grace, this ministry of almsgiving, to glorify God by it, and to 
make you more ready for it by the exhortations of Titus and Luke 

Ver. 20. Avoiding this. I have sent Titus and Luke to collect 
such large alms that no one may suspect me of collecting for my 
own private use (Anselm). The possession of large sums of money 
is wont to expose a man to suspicion of fraud, because it is easy to 
abstract a little secretly from a large amount without any one being 
aware of it. 

Ver. 21. Providing for honest things. I endeavour to act honour 
ably, not only before God but also before men, lest suspicious persons 
should have some occasion for suspecting me of some wrongdoing. 
Wherefore, to show that I administer this collection honestly, I 
make Titus and Luke my witnesses, I make them the treasurers of 
it, and refrain from handling it myself. Hence learn this practical 
rule: We owe a good conscience to God, a good report to our 
neighbour : he who neglects good report acts cruelly towards his 
neighbour s salvation (Anselm). 

Ver. 22. And we have sent with them our brother. Who this is 
is uncertain. Some, says Anselm, think that it is Apollos; but they 
suspect only, for S. Paul neither names him nor describes him, but 
leaves the Corinthians to their personal knowledge of him. 

Upon the great confidence which I have in you. Having great 
confidence and hope that, as is right, they will be received honour 
ably and lovingly by you, and also partly out of love and respect for 
Titus, who is my companion and fellow-helper. Hence Titus was 
now at Corinth, having been sent there by S. Paul to collect these 
alms and to transact other business. 

Maldonatus supplies the verb show, and makes the sentence 
run : " Upon the great confidence that whatever love you show to 
Titus you will show to me, for he is my partner." But there is 
no need to supply anything the sense given above is clear enough 
without it. 

Ver. 23. Or our brethren. I trust that you will, as is right, 


receive them worthily, partly because of the brethren sent with Titus, 
and partly because of Titus himself. 

The glory of Christ. The Apostles are the glory of Christ, inasmuch 
as they spread and make known His glory. " Whether, therefore," 
says Chrysostom, "you will receive them as brethren, or as the 
Apostles of the Churches, or as those who promote the glory of 
Christ, you will have many reasons for showing them kindness." 
By metonymy, glory is put for the cause and care of Christ s glory. 

Ver. 24. Wherefore shew ye to them. Show to Titus and his 
companions that signal love which becomes you and your generous 
love, as well as my boasting of you. 


I He yieldeth the reason why, though he knew their forwardness, yet he sent Titus 
and his brethren beforehand. 6 And he proceedeth in stirring them tip to a. 
bountiful alms, as being but a kind of sowing of seed, 10 which shall rettcrn a 
great increase to them, 13 and occasion a great sacrcifice of thanksgivings unto 

FOR as touching the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write 
to you : 

2 For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them 
of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago ; and your zeal hath provoked 
very many. 

3 Yet have I sent the brethren, lest our boasting of you should be in vain in this 
behalf; that, as I said, ye may be ready : 

4 Lest haply if they of Macedonia come with me, and find you unprepared, 
we (that we say not, ye) should be ashamed in this same confident boasting. 

5 Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that they would go 
before unto you, and make up beforehand your bounty, whereof ye had notice 
before, that the same might be ready, as a matter 0/ bounty, and not as of 

6 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he 
which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 

7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; net 
grudgingly, or of necessity : for God loveth a cheerful giver. 

8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you ; that ye, always 
having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work : 

9 (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad ; he hath given to the poor : his 
righteousness remaineth for ever. 

10 Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for 
your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your 
righteousness ;) 

11 Being enriched in everything to all bountifulness, which causeth through 
us thanksgiving to God. 

12 For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the 
saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God ; 

13 Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your pro 
fessed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto 
them, and unto all men ; 

14 And by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of 
God in you. 

15 Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift. 




i. He proceeds to stimulate the Corinthians to almsgiving by motives of 

human shame and praise ; he bids them not to be put to shame before 

the liberality of the Macedonians. 
ii. He dwells (ver. 6) on the fruits of almsgiving, how it enriches those 

that give with good things, now and hereafter, 
iii. He points (ver. Ii) to the thanksgiving that flows from it to God, and 

the joy of the poor Christians, who are the recipients, and who will 

pray for their benefactors the Corinthians. 

Ver. i. For as touching the ministering to the saints. At the 
end of the last chapter, Paul had commended to them Titus and 
his companions, but not their errand of collecting alms ; for, as he 
says, it was superfluous for him to write about this, since they were 
of their own accord ready for it (Anselm). It is a politic device on 
the part of those that ask for alms to praise the liberality of ihe givers. 
Public beggars in the streets and churches are experts at this. 

Ver. 2. Achaia -was ready a year ago. I boast to the Mace 
donians that you, O Corinthians, and the rest of Achaia, have been 
long ready for this almsgiving ; and this zeal of yours, being pro 
claimed by me, has stimulated others. See, then, by your action 
that my boasting of you be not in vain, lest we both be put to 

Ver. 5. As a matter of bounty. As a blessing (Latin version). 
That your beneficence may seem spontaneous and generous, not 
extorted from greedy persons (Anselm, Theophylact, Chrysostom). 
Why bounty is called a blessing is explained in the note to ver. 6. 
The Greek, evAoyi a, denotes both blessing and a good and fruitful 
contribution or almsgiving (Erasmus). In i Cor. xvi. i, the Apostle 
called these contributions or collections evAoyioi. Both meanings 
have place here. S. Paul is urging the Corinthians to spontaneous 
and cheerful (denoted by blessing), as well as to fruitful and liberal, 
contribution. He is engaged in describing the spirit that should 
animate the giver, viz., one ready and cheerful, unforced, uncon 
strained, unstained by covetousness or meanness. 

Ver. 6. He which sowdh bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 


Literally, he which soweth in blessings, /.<?., liberally scatters, as it 
were, seeds among the poor, shall reap of them again. For God, 
who reckons that to be done to Himself which is done to the 
poor, does not suffer Himself to be surpassed in liberality, but to 
the liberal is far more liberal, and repays them in greater abund 
ance, both corporal and spiritual gifts. For parallel expressions, cf. 
Josh. xv. 19; i Sam. xxv. 27; Gen. xlix. 25. In this last passage, 
Jacob hints at the reason why the Hebrew calls beneficence blessing. 
It is because, by a pious form of speech, they wish to point out that 
the beneficence of God, which is the fount and origin of all ours, 
flows from His benediction. With God to bless is to do, and is the 
same as to benefit, and therefore God by His word alone bestows on 
us all good things. (2.) Another reason is that the Patriarchs and 
early Christians, such as the hermits and other Saints of the New 
Testament, were wont to distribute the gifts with solemn prayer and 
blessing, and for this reason to call them by the name of euAoyta. 
(3.) A third reason is that it is pleasanter, both to giver and receiver, 
to call the gift an act of benediction rather than of beneficence. 
Hence poor honest men, when asking for alms, call them benedic 
tions, extenuating their importance, and rich givers in their turn do 
the same. Theophylact adds that S. Paul by this word stimulates 
them to cheerful giving, reminding them by it that what they give 
is a blessing to him that gives and him that takes. No one is 
saddened by giving such a blessing, but cheerfully imparts it. Cf. 
also Prov. xxii. 9 ; Eccles. xi. 1-3. 

Notice also the use of the words " sow " and " reap." Almsgiving, 
like other good works, is a seed which produces a harvest of grace, 
and even of temporal good things, as is explained in vers. 8 and 10. 
Hence you may infer against Calvin that good works effect and 
merit a reward, for seed, by its natural powers, produces its proper 
fruit at harvest-time ; therefore almsgiving produces truly its reward, 
not physically, as is evident, but meritoriously. 

Ver. 7. Not grudgingly or of necessity. Avarice makes reluctance, 
and regard for one s reputation induces constraint. Let each man 
give what he likes, not influenced or compelled by my authority or 


that of Titus, and not because regard for his honour makes him 
ashamed of giving less than others. 

For God loveth a cheerful giver. Quoted from Prov. xxii. 9, LXX. 
On cheerfulness in giving, see Rom. xii. 8. S. Augustine (Enarr. 
in Ps. xliii.) says beautifully : " If you give your bread grudgingly, you 
lose both your bread and your reward." And again (Serm. 45) : "If 
good works are good seeds, why are they sown in tears ? " S. Chrysostom 
(Horn, on i Cor. xi. 19) says : " If we give cheerfully, our reward will 
be twofold, one for giving and one for giving cheerfully." S. Gregory 
(Morals, 2 1, c. 1 1, on Job xxxi. 16) says : "fob thus acted that he might 
increase his merits, not only by giving but also by the promptitude with 
which he gave his good things." Cf. Prov. iii. 28; Ecclus. xxxv. n. 
Alms then should be given with cheerful mind, not sadly, reluctantly, 
and tardily. Thus shall we imitate God, who cheerfully distributes 
His gifts. 

The heathen depict the Graces as three sisters, embracing one 
another but looking in different directions. They meant by this to 
signify how gifts should be distributed. The first, named Aglaia, 
denotes generosity, it being better to give than to receive. "For 
he who receives a kindness sells his freedom," says the jester of 
P. Syrus. The second is called Thalia, i.e., flourishing in the midst of 
the course. The third is called Euphrosyne, or joy ; for both he 
that gives and he that receives rejoice in the kindness done God 
loveth a cheerful giver. Cf. Seneca (de Beneficiis). 

Ver. 8. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you. 
This is an answer to an objection : You will say to me, If I give 
much, I shall become poor, I shall be unable for the future to help 
my servants and others who are in more need (Theophylact). To 
this the Apostle answers: Do not be afraid of that; believe and 
hope in God, who is able to make all grace (or beneficence Syriac) 
abound toward you, so that you shall always have a sufficiency of 
goods, out of which you may abound in every good work. God can 
and does enrich those that give alms, so that they have always means 
to spend, and so can abound in works of charity. 

God is able denotes not only the power but also the act of 


God. The phrase is a meiosis. Similarly, a king might say to his 
commander-in-chief : "Go, end the war, spare no expense: I am 
able to bear it, and to enrich you as well." 

In the Greek there is a beautiful use of the word all, which is 
three times repeated in the last clause of this verse, " always having 
all sufficiency in all things." Not in some particular necessity, but 
in all ; not at one time, but always ; not some sufficiency but all 
sufficiency will God give you, to enable you to succour others. 

Again, S. Paul does not here speak of abundance, says Theo- 
phylact, but sufficiency, enough for one s self and one s own. Perhaps 
he means to imply that he who is content with his lot, and has 
enough for himself and his familv, desires no more. God alone is 

O ^ * 

properly said to be self-sufficient, being One who has no need of any 
one, and rests wholly in Himself. An almsgiver partakes of the same 
character. An avaricious man, on the other hand, is never satisfied 
" the more that waters are drunk the more are they thirsted for ; " 
and so it is with riches. Hence the avaricious man is always in need. 
But self-sufficiency, as Clement (Pczdag. lib. ii. c. 12) says, is a virtue 
which makes us contented ; or it is a habit of mind that is content 
with such things as are needful, and which by itself acquires those 
things which belong to the life of bliss. Hippias (Suidas, sub Verbo 
Hippias) made self-sufficency or a contented mind the end of all 
good. Moreover, Epicurus used to say that " sufficiency is the richest 
possession" (Clement, Strom, lib. vi.). In the same sense Cicero 
said {Paradox i) that "to live happily, contentment was virtue 
enough." Socrates, too (apud Plat. Dial 3 de Legibus\ thus prays : 
"Let me have as much gold as a temperate man can bear." For 
further notes on this subject, cf. i Tim. vi. 6, and Phil. iv. n. 

Ver. 9. As it is written. He hath dispersed abroad (Ps. cxii. 9). 
In all necessities, in all places, and at all times, a merciful man, 
such as S. Laurence, of whom the Church sings, distributes his goods 
and his alms ; in the same way he who sows scatters his seed. The 
Apostle wishes to prove that God makes all grace to abound to 
wards almsgivers, and gives them full sufficiency for that grace 
(beneficence). He proves this from the fact that the giver of alms 


of his sufficiency distributes his alms, disperses them as seed on 
every side, not among his boon-companions or free-lovers, but 
among the poor. GEcumenius says that the word "dispersed" denotes 
the largeness of the alms given. It also implies that these alms are 
not wasted or thrown away. 

His righteousness remaineth for ever. Remains in God s memory 
and in its eternal reward, as in its harvest. So, too, when the 
husbandman scatters his seed he does not lose it, but entrusts it to 
the ground, that he may receive a hundred-fold in return. Alms 
giving, therefore, is everlasting, and blesses the giver with everlasting 
glory. Hence the Psalmist also says : " The righteous shall be in 
everlasting remembrance ; he shall not be afraid of evil tidings ; his 
horn" (his dignity, strength, and, as Theodoret says, his power) 
" shall be exalted with honour ; " in other words, it shall daily in 
crease until it be exalted in the highest in celestial glory. 

His righteousness or his beneficence does not perish, but remains 
before God to be rewarded here and hereafter. S. Chrysostom 
(Horn 9 de Ptznit.} says: "Heaven is to be gained by merchandise 
and trafficking. Give bread and you will receive paradise ; give a 
little and gain much ; give what is mortal and you will receive what 
is immortal." 

Observe that in Scripture almsgiving, which is an act of mercy, is 
called righteousness, both because it forms a large part of right 
eousness in general, which embraces all virtues, as also because it 
is a mark of righteousness and holiness. The Saints are merciful, 
"but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel" (Prov. xii. 10). 
A third reason is that it disposes to righteousness, and merits it, 
firstly, de congruo, and secondly, de condigno, as increasing righteous 
ness. Hence, it is to the merciful alone that Christ gives the crown 
of righteousness (S. Matt. xxv. 35). Hence, too, those that are 
hardened in evil must be exhorted as a last remedy to give alms, 
as Daniel did Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. iv. 24). 

Ver. 10. Now he that ministereth seed to the sower. This again is 

an answer to an objection which might be urged from the Psalm 
quoted. It might be said: You prove clearly enough, Paul, that 


alms remain in their heavenly reward, but I do not yet see how you 
prove from that that we ought not to impoverish ourselves. You have, 
therefore, given no answer to my first objection that if, I give alms 
liberally I shall make myself poor, and be unable for the future to 
give help to others. S. Paul s answer to this is, that the contrary is 
implied in the verse of the Psalm he has just quoted. As a master 
who supplies his husbandman with seed to sow his field, provides 
him also with bread to eat, and multiplies his seed, that is the grain 
sown, at harvest times, so that for one bushel he receives three, 
which he can sow again, and receives still more at the next harvest, 
and so on from year to year so much more shall God, who gives 
to almsgivers goods to disperse to the poor, give them bread and 
all other necessaries of life ; nay, more, He shall multiply their seed 
or goods to sow again and disperse to the poor. For God is our 
Master ; we are His husbandmen : His field is the poor, and alms are 
the seed. God, then, wishes us as His husbandmen, to scatter His 
seed (alms) over His field (the poor). Much more, if we do that, will 
He give us nourishment and a harvest of goods to sow again. Let 
rich men remember that their riches are given them as seed to dis 
perse to the poor, not to store up in their coffers or to be spent on 
costly clothing or luxurious living. " It is," says Cicero, " a work 
of liberality to sow seeds of kindness, so as to be able to reap a 
harvest from them." 

Gregory of Tours (Hist. Gallic, lib. v. c. 38) highly praises the 
Christian Emperor Tiberius for his almsgiving, and says that he 
uttered the following words, worthy of an emperor : " There will be 
no deficiency in our treasury so long as the poor receive alms, and cap 
tives are redeemed. For if we do these things, great will be our treasure, 
according to the words of the Lord, Lay up for yourselves treasures in 
heaven. Let us then lay up in store in heaven by the hands of the 
poor from what God has given us, that the Lord may vouchsafe to in 
crease our goods on earth." No wonder that God increased his wealth. 
He saw one day a cross engraved on the pavement, and when, out of 
veneration for it, he ordered the stone to be taken up, he found under 
it a vast treasure, containing more than 100,000 pieces of gold. Then, 

VOL. II. ! 


when, according to his wont, he distributed of it largely to the poor, 
God gave him another treasure already amassed for him by Narsetes, 
Duke of Italy. This was found in a cistern, in which, when they 
opened it, they found so much gold and silver that it took several 
days to carry it away. Cf. Baronius (Annals, A.D. 582). 

Both minister. The Latin version with the Syriac gives the future, 
shall minister, instead of the optative. Theophylact, Erasmus, and 
Vatablus read the optative. The future is better, because, as I said, 
Paul is endeavouring to banish from their minds all fear of poverty. 
But this is not to be done by wishing, but by making assertions and 
promising bread, seed, and fruits. 

Multiply your seed sown. Your temporal goods. S. Basil (Horn. 13 
de Eleemos?) says : " As seed cast into the ground brings forth fruit an 
hundredfold, so do alms given to the poor. If you have then but 
one loaf, and it be asked for at the door, take it and lift up your hands 
to heaven and say, Of my little I give to my brother, and do Thou, O 
Lord, supply my want. Then doubt not that the bread given out of your 
poverty will abundantly minister you seed for sowing." And again, 
commenting on S. Luke xii. 18, he says: "As wells that are con 
tinuously drawn from send forth a sweeter and more copious supply 
of water, while if neglected and undisturbed they soon grow foul, so 
are riches when stored up useless, but when transferred to the poor they 
bring forth fruit" Clement of Alexandria (Pcedag. lib. iii. c. 7) uses 
this same simile of a well, and adds another. He says: "As milk 
commonly flows into those breasts that are sucked, so does wealth flow 
to those who spend it." S. Cyprian says the same (Tract, de Of ere et 
Eleemos.}, and adds that the best inheritance that parents can leave 
their children is alms given, and the more children there are the 
more liberal should the almsgiving be. He proves this by the ex 
ample of the widow of Sarepta (i Kings xvii.) and from Tob. iv. 7. 
Cf. Prov. xxviii. 27, and Ps. xxxvii. 26. 

Very many remarkable examples are given by Leontius, in his "Life 
of John the Almoner," who, like the Emperor Titus, bewailed that he 
had lost a day because he had given no alms. " Even if the world," 
he said, " were to come into Alexandria, it would not narrow my 


liberality and wealth." This he learnt from a vision he saw of a 
certain virgin named Mercy, who, standing before God, seemed to 
obtain from Him all that she asked for. Hence this holy man John, 
when he had nothing to spend, would frequently, in his love of alms 
giving, change miraculously tin or honey into gold. The more he gave 
the more was brought to him to spend ; and so he seemed to strive 
with God and God with him which should be the most bountiful. 
When he at length died, he had half a piece of money left, and he 
ordered this to be given to his brethren and masters, the poor, that 
all he had might be restored to Christ. 

Sophronius, in his Pratum Spirituale, a work mentioned with 
approval by the Second Council of Nice (Gen. Act. iv. c. 185), narrates 
that a wife gave to her husband, who wished to increase his wealth, 
the advice to sell what he had and give it to the poor, and he would 
find that he would receive it again with interest. He did so, and dis 
tributed his whole estate to the poor, and for fifty he received three 

Sophronius has a still more beautiful example (c. 195) in the 
philosopher Evagrius, who, having heard in church that almsgiving 
was rewarded a hundredfold in heaven, gave 60 to the Bishop, 
Synesius, to be distributed among the poor, and received from him 
a written promise that for each he should receive a hundred in 
heaven. When he was dying, he ordered his sons to place this 
writing in his hand when he was buried. This having been done, 
Evagrius, on the third day after death, appeared to the Bishop in a 
dream, and said : " Go to my tomb and take back your handwriting, 
for I have received a hundredfold what I gave, according to Christ s 
promise and yours." In the morning the Bishop went with his clergy 
to the tomb, and took from the hand of Evagrius a letter, of which 
this was the tenor : " Evagrius the philosopher to his Bishop. I 
am unwilling for you, my father, to be ignorant that I have received 
according to your promise the money that I gave you in my life 
time, and received for it a hundredfold ; therefore you are not bound 
to me by any debt." 

Similar examples are found in the life of S. Liduina and 


other Saints. Hence Chrysostom says that "alms have the name 
of seed, because they are not so much expended as returned." 
S. Deusdedit well understood this, for, as the Roman Martyro- 
logy records (Aug. loth), although he was a poor man yet he gave 
to the poor every Saturday all that he had earned during the week, 
looking only to obtain the heavenly reward. 

" If you have any care for your children, leave them a written deed 
in which you have God as your debtor," says S. Chrysostom, refer 
ring to money left for the poor by will. A famous example of this 
occurs in Sophronius (c. 201), in the case of a nobleman of Con 
stantinople, who, when dying, left all his goods to the poor and his 
son to the care of Christ. Nor was he disappointed of his hope ; 
for Christ gave his son a wife, who was at once noble, rich, and 
pious. S. Chrysostom wrote at the head of his Thirty-third Homily 
to the people, " that almsgiving is the most profitable of all occupa 
tions." Cf. Prov. xix. 17. 

And increase the fruits of your righteousness. God will increase 
the outgoings of your righteousness and charity, i.e., He will give an 
increase of grace here and of glory hereafter (Theophylact). " By 
fruits" says Anselm, " he means God s eternal reward." The 
Apostle seems here to speak of three fruits of almsgiving : (i.) 
when he says, "Shall minister seed to the sower;" (2.) when he 
says, "And multiply your seed sown ;" (3.) when he says, "And 
increase the fruits of your righteousness." In this sense S. Anselm, 
as related by Edinerus in his Life, when he entered Canterbury on a 
visit to Archbishop Lanfranc and was honourably and lovingly re 
ceived by the citizens, said, when he was explaining to them the 
glory and merit of charity, that "those who do works of charity have 
something greater than those who are the recipients of charity. For the 
one receives a temporal benefit only, but the other spiritual ; and they 
look besides for eternal thanks from God." Christ said the same thing 
in His paradox on the rich of this world : " It is more blessed to give 
than to receive " (Acts xx. 35). 

Anselm again understands this passage to refer simply to the fruits 
of temporal goods. God will make your fruits and riches to increase, 


that you may have ever more and more to give in alms, and He will 
increase the fruits of your righteousness. In other words, He will 
give much more abundant increase to those fruits of yours which your 
righteousness gains for you ; for it is only just that, since God 
gives to man all that he has, man should from it give to him who is 
in need. If we do this, our fruits will be increased by God. Hence 
almsgiving is rightly called seed, because he who sows once will reap 
twice, once in earth and once in heaven. This is Anselm s comment, 
and he seems to be right; for the Apostle is explaining the words, 
"shall multiply your seed," and is impressing on the Corinthians 
that alms do not impoverish but enrich the giver, that so he may 
remove from their minds and from the minds of all Christians all 
fear of poverty, which so frequently deters men from almsgiving, and 
which is given as an objection so often to the admonitions of those 
who urge the duty. 

Nevertheless, it is simpler to understand fruits of your righteous 
ness of the wealth which God gives to the beneficent as a harvest 
for what they have sown. The increase of these fruits is nothing 
else but the harvest that follows on the seed. Since, therefore, it 
is evident that when the Apostle said, "shall multiply your seed 
sown," he meant by seed the money spent on the poor, it is 
also evident that here he means the same thing. As is the seed, 
so is the harvest. The one is correlative with the other, as 
are merit and reward. This, then, seems to be the drift of the 
Apostle s words. 

Lastly, we should observe that he alludes to the fields and estates 
of the rich. Beneficence, he says, is like a field, or a very fertile 
farm, which brings forth to the almsgiver plentiful and never-fail 
ing fruits from the seed of his alms (i.) It gives bread or food. 
(2.) It multiplies his seed, or money to be dispersed again among the 
poor. (3.) It also increases his fruits, and enriches his family. These 
three things a temporal lord gives to his husbandman if he is faithful 
and diligent ; much more will God do the same. 

Ver. ii. To all bountifulness. Or simplicity, or liberality. This 
simplicity or liberality of yours brings it to pass that I and all my 


companions, nay, all Christians amongst whom I speak of it, give 
thanks to God for having instilled into you such feelings of piety 
and mercy. 

Ver. 12. For the administration of this service not only supplieth 
the want of the saints. C H Sia/covia -ny? Xetrovpytas, literally, " the 
ministry of this liturgy." In this collection of alms there is, as 
it were, a liturgy, a mystic sacrifice of the Mass, in which the 
Corinthians, as offering the victim of alms, are the priests ; the poor 
make the altar ; the sacrifice is the alms. Paul may be the deacon, 
the minister exhorting, collecting, and distributing the alms, through 
whom the poor who receive and the rich who give, seeing and 
rejoicing at the grace of Christ, are stirred up to give thanks unto 
the Lord. S. Cyprian says (Tract, de Of ere et Eleemos.}: "Since 
thanksgiving is directed to God in the prayers of the poor for our 
alms and good deeds, the total is increased by the reward given by God, 
who ivorks in us." S. Chrysostom (Horn. 20) says : " When you 
see a poor man, think that you see the body of Christ, the altar of 
Christ, and do reverence, and offer the sacrifice of alms, that from it 
there may ascend, like incense, to God glory and thanksgiving." Thus 
almsgiving is an Eucharist or thanksgiving, and an Eucharistic 
sacrifice, not properly, but metaphorically speaking. So, too, in 
Rom. xv. 1 6, the preaching of the Gospel and the conversion of 
the Gentiles are called a sacrifice. Nazianzen says beautifully (Orat. 
de Cura Paup.} : " Out of all things none so honours God as mercy ; 
for nothing is so peculiar to God as this is, before whose Face go 
mercy and truth. . . . Nothing is so Divine in a man as to do good. 
Learn, then, to open your heart to the needy. If you have nothing 
else to give, give your tears readily. Pity is a great solace to the 

Ver. 13. By the experiment of this ministration. This alms 
giving of yours will induce men to glorify God in Christ, and to 
give thanks to Him for the law of grace which has stirred you up to 
this liberality. They will glorify Him first for your obedience to 
the Gospel, and then that you so obey its precepts as to show such 
charity and mercy. 


Ver. 14. And by their prayer for you. The poor Saints of 
Jerusalem who receive your alms, while praying for you, will also 
glorify God. This clause is to be connected with "they glorify 

Ver. 15. Thanks be unto God for His tinspeakable gift. For 
the gift of your charity and almsgiving, from which flow so many 
good things and so many praises of God, that it may be well called 


Against the false apostles, -who disgraced the weakness of his pirson and bodily 
presence, he setteth out the spiritual might and authority, with which he is armed 
against all adversary powers, 7 assuring them that at his coming he will be 
found as mighty in word, as he is now in writing being absent, 12 and withal 
taxing them for reaching out themselves beyond their compass, and vaunting 
themselves into other men s labours. 

"\^ OW I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, 
who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you : 

2 But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that 
confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we 
walked according to the flesh. 

3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh : 

4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to 
the pulling down of strong holds ;) 

5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against 
the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience 
of Christ ; 

6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience 
is fulfilled. 

7 Do ye look on things after the outward appearance ? If any man trust 
to himself that he is Christ s, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is 
Christ s, even so are we Christ s. 

8 For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord 
hath given us for edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be 
ashamed : 

9 That I may not seem as if I would terrify you by letters. 

10 For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful ; but his bodily presence 
is weak, and his speech contemptible. 

1 1 Let such an one think this, that, such as we are in word by letters when we 
are absent, such will we be also in deed when we are present. 

12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with 
some that commend themselves : but they measuring themselves by themselves, 
and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. 

13 But we will not boast of things without our measure, but according to the 
measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us, a measure to reach even 
unto you. 

14 For we stretch not ourselves beyond our measure, as though we reached not 
unto you : for we are come as far as to you also in preaching the gospel of Christ : 

15 Not boasting of things without our measure, that is, of other men s labours ; 



but having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall be enlarged by you 
according to our rule abundantly, 

16 To preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another 
man s line of things made ready to our hand. 

17 But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. 

1 8 For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord 


i. In this and the two next chapters Paul defends his apostleship against 
the false apostles, who held him up to contempt as vile and de 
spicable, and accused him of over-harshness, audacity, and insolence. 
Paul here points out that his arms are not carnal but spiritual, and 
therefore all the more powerful, because it is theirs to cast down all 
the strongholds, counsels, and wisdom of the world, as well as to 
inflict punishment on all disobedience. 

ii. He contrasts (ver. 12) the boast of the false apostles of the provinces 
traversed and converted by them with the actual journeyings and 

conversions wrought by himself. 


Observe that these false apostles envied the glory of Paul, and 
wished to destroy it by their own eloquence, boasting, and calum 
nies. It appears, from xi. 22, that they were Jews, and were greedy 
of gain and glory, braggarts, and self-assertive. From xi. 4 it also 
appears that they preached Christ in appearance, but were en 
deavouring to gradually subvert the Gospel by Judaism and its 
errors (xi. 3 ; xii. 13). Of this class were Cerinthus, Ebion, and 
other Judaisers, who bitterly persecuted S. Paul as an apostate from 
their law. i Cor. xv. was an exposition of the resurrection against 
the teaching of Cerinthus. 

Ver. i. Now I Paid myself beseech you. Hitherto I have pleaded 
the cause of others, the poor ; now I am going to speak for myself. 
I beseech you to observe my admonitions and the precepts which, as 
your Apostle, I have given you concerning a true Christian life. 

By the gentleness of Christ. He beseeches them, says Theophylact, 
by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, that reverencing them 
they may lovingly hear, receive, and obey the entreaty of Paul. In 
the second place, he does it to signify that he imitates the meekness 
of Christ, not His severity. I do not order you, he seems to say, 
although by virtue of my apostleship I might, but I beseech you by 


the gentleness of Christ, which I imitate and ever keep before 
me. For Christ in rebuking, teaching, and guiding men, showed 
wondrous patience, kindness, and gentleness, as when He received 
into grace Matthew, the Magdalene, and other sinners, and most 
lovingly forgave them all their guilt and punishment without harsh 
words or blows. 

In presence am base among you. When I am with you, I seem in 
outward appearance mean and base (cf. ver. 10); but when away 
from you, I am bold and confident. He speaks ironically ; for, as the 
next verse tells us, the false apostles, who held him up to execration, 
used to say : " Why do you make so much of Paul ? He is a base 
and worthless fellow. Apollos and others have far more grace and 
eloquence ; there is no comparison between them. By the side of 
them he is ignorant and unpolished. Why, then, does he take upon 
himself, why does he presume, when away from you, to send you 
such threatening letters, rebuking you, ordering, scolding, excom 
municating you ? " S. Paul imitates the false apostles, and repeats 
their words, as much as to say : " I am not the domineering, inso 
lent, severe, threatening man, when absent, that my detractors make 
me, but I beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ." 
Cf. vers. 9, 10 (Chrysostom). 

Ver. 2. But I beseech you that I may not be bold. I beseech you 
to lovingly receive my admonitions, lest when I come to you and 
see your disobedience, rebellion, and contumacy, I use my boldness 
and power to inflict excommunication and other spiritual punish 
ment, which I am thought to have already inflicted arbitrarily 
(Anselm). The Latin version reads the passive, / am thought, but 
Theophylact takes it actively I think, I propose to boldly punish 
some evil-disposed persons. 

Which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. As 
though we lived a carnal life, or better, as though we used carnal 
means, such as fleshly, human, and political wisdom, in doing by 
letter what I dare not do in person. 

The Apostle says that they walk, fight, and glory according to the 
flesh, who, after the manner of carnal and crafty men, walk and boast 


in outward gifts, such as birth, prudence, eloquence, good looks, 
sagacity, and by means of these seek to gain the applause of men, 
and so win them to their side and overthrow their enemies. That 
this is his meaning is evident from the contrast drawn between 
these arms and spiritual arms in ver. 4. So, in xt. 18, he says that 
the false apostles boast according to the flesh, i.e., of external gifts. 
In v. 15, 1 6, again, he says that he knows no one, not even Christ, 
according to the flesh. In 2 Cor. i., he contrasts the natural and 
carnal wisdom of philosophers and orators with the spiritual wisdom 
of Christians, and especially of Apostles. Cf. also Gal. iii. 3. 

Ver. 4. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal. Carnal 
weapons are such as serve for carnal and bodily warfare and life, as 
the honours, pleasures, and power of this world. This the Apostles 
did not use in their task of subduing the world to Christ. Or 
rather, as said above, carnal weapons are human arts, sciences, 
reasonings, systems, eloquence, flatteries, boasting, hypocrisies, 
affected gravity and prudence, all of which are used by men of the 
world to gain influence and respect ; while true and solid autho 
rity, such as Paul and the other Apostles had, is the gift of God, and 
is not to be obtained by external gifts or by assumed gravity, but 
rather by the display of virtue, wisdom, and holiness. 

But mighty through God. Or, are the power of God. Through 
them God works powerfully in the minds of the hearers converts 
them to the faith, makes them accept our preaching, brings them 
under subjection to Christ, so that we gain credence to what we say, 
and obtain what we want. These weapons are, says Anselm, (i.) 
Vehement spiritual zeal; (2.) Efficacious preaching, through God 
seeming to lend weight and force to our words ; (3.) Wisdom ; 
(4.) Courtesy; (5.) Holiness; (6.) Miracles; (7.) Frequent prayer; 
(8.) Purity of intention; (9.) Patience; (10.) Charity. When they 
see us men of the most blameless life, seeking not their wealth or 
honours, but their salvation only, and that by many labours, sacri 
fices, afflictions, daily death and martyrdom, and preaching to 
them with such zeal and ardour that all acknowledge Christ, and 
glorify Him and His Father by all these things, as though by a 


most powerful dart, they are struck and wounded in their con 
sciences, they yield, and believe our words and our doctrines. By 
these weapons do we Apostles destroy the vices and storm the 
kingdom of the devil, even the whole world. Hence apostleship 
and preaching of the Gospel are rightly called a warfare. Cf. 
i Tim. i. 1 8. 

To the pulling down of strong holds. All reasonings, syllogisms, 
sophisms, eloquence, philosophic virtues, worldly power, grace, 
friendship, and all that the Gentiles and devils opposed to the 
preaching of the Gospel by the Apostles (Chrysostom and 

Ver. 5. Casting down imaginations. Or, with Theophylact 
reasonings. The Syriac and Erasmus give imaginations ; the Latin 
version, counsels. By our weapons we destroy all the counsels of 
the prudent of this world, by which they strive to overthrow the 
Gospel, to strengthen against it their heathenism, and to put their 
philosophers before Christ and us. 

And every high thing. Every height, both of human and philo 
sophic wisdom, as well as of diabolic magic, such as of Simon Magus 
and others, and of royal and imperial power. Imaginations and 
heights were the two towers set up by the Gentiles against the 
Apostles, one of which seemed impregnable through its intricate 
wiles, and the other by its height and strength. Yet both yielded 
to the weapons of the Apostles. 

Thai exalteth itself against the knowledge of God. That knowledge 
of God given to us by Christ, and which we, His Apostles, teach 
throughout the world ; faith, that is, in the Three in One, in the 
Son of God, in His Incarnation and death, in the Cross and its 

And bringing into captivity. Every thought, every intellect, how 
ever full of resources, however exalted in wisdom, must surrender 
as a conquered foe, and obey the Gospel of Christ. 

When S. Paul says " every thought " or " every intellect," he does 
not mean to imply that all the philosophers and mighty men of the 
world who heard the Gospel preached were converted, but that the 


weapons of the Apostles were so powerful that they were able to 
subdue to the faith of Christ any thoughts and reasonings of the 
human intellect, however full of wiles, however highly exalted. As 
a matter of fact, they did subdue these powers in those who took 
these weapons, and admitted them into their soul, and so were 
converted. Many of all classes of philosophers and orators, illus 
trious for their learning and wisdom, were subdued by the wea 
pons of the Apostles, and brought to believe in Christ. Such were 
Dionysius the Areopagite, Clement of Rome, Paul the proconsul, 
Justin the philosopher, Athenagoras, and others. 

Ver. 6. And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience. 
Paul had said that his weapons were powerful to subdue any Gen 
tiles or heathen wise men. He now goes on to say that this same 
power is able to punish all disobedience on the part of the faithful, 
or amongst heretics. I am ready, he says, and it is easy for me, to 
punish the disobedience of the false Apostles who depreciate me, 
by excommunicating them. 

When your obedience is fulfilled. For I am unwilling to involve 
you in the same punishment. I would rather that you yourselves 
correct what needs correction, and I am waiting until you fulfil what 
you have been ordered. Then when you have done that, I will un 
sheathe the sword of excommunication against those contumacious 
detractors. From this doctors lay down that this sword should not 
be drawn except against the disobedient, and those who, after having 
been warned, are still rebellious and obstinate. 

Ver. 7. Do ye look on things after the outward appearance ? The 
Latin version takes this in the indicative. Ye see how openly and 
manifestly the truth has been set before your eyes, that I am not 
only a disciple of Christ, but also an Apostle endowed with such 
spiritual power as you see with your own eyes (Anselm). 

Ver. 8. Of our authority , which the Lord hath given us for edifica 
tion. The Council of Trent (sess. xxv. c. 3) lays down from these 
words that the sword of excommunication should be soberly 
and cautiously drawn for edification; otherwise we see that it is 
rather despised than dreaded, and produces ruin rather than salva- 


tion, not only to the excommunicated, but also to the whole 

Ver. 10. For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful. My 
detractors, the false apostles, say that my letters are hard and bitter, 
severe and threatening, but my appearance is mean, contemptible, 
and puny. Nicephorus (lib. ii. c. 37) thus describes the stature and 
form of S. Paul from tradition and early representations : " Paul 
was small of stature, spare inform, round-shouldered, and somewhat 
inclined to stoop. His face was pale, and shoivcd the marks of years. 
His head was small, and his eyes shone with a pleasant light. He had 
bushy eyebrows, a nose beautifully curved and somewhat long, and a 
thick and long beard, which, like his hair, was plentifully interspersed 
with white." S. Chrysostom (Horn, de Princip. Apost^) says that 
"Paul was but three cubits high, and yet he touched the heavens. 
Lucian again, in his Philopater, laughs at Paul for having a head bald 
in front. 

And his speech contemptible. Unlearned, inelegant, unadorned. 
Cf. i Cor. ii. i, 2. 

Ver. 12. For we dare not make ourselves of the number. I do 
not, like the false Apostles, boast of what I do not possess. I 
measure myself by my own foot, by the gifts of God, and by the 
things God s grace has done for me, says Photius, and so I do not 
arrogate to myself more than God has given me. 

Paul speaks ironically. The false Apostles were in the habit of 
disparaging Paul s words and deeds, as though in him there was 
nothing great but his letters, which were high-flown enough, but 
were not borne out by his presence, than which nothing was more 
despicable. They would boast that in this they far excelled him. 
Therefore, says Paul, in scorn of their pride, I, a mere dwarf, do not 
dare to class myself with these giants, or to compare myself with 
them. None the less their boast of their greatness is baseless ; 
while whatever I declare is true, and I measure myself by my own 
greatness, the grace I have received, and the things that I have 
really done. 

The Latin version omits the last clause, "are not wise." The 


Syriac, Vatablus and others apply it to the false apostles, not to 
Paul. They commend themselves, but they do not see that they 
measure themselves by themselves, and compare themselves among 
themselves. They do foolishly in thus exalting themselves and 
making themselves giants. They act like a man who should mea 
sure his height by himself, instead of by a yard-measure, like a 
pigmy who boasts of his gigantic size : they have no other cause for 
their boasting than their self-delusion. Photius supplies after "they 
do not understand," that they are ridiculous to all, or, as S. Augus 
tine says, in Ps. xxxv., they do not understand what they say and 
what they boast of. 

Ver. 13. But we will not boast of things without our measure. 
This is the second charge brought by S. Paul against the false 
Apostles. They boast so largely that one would think they have 
preached the Gospel in every part of the world (Theophylact). I, 
however, boast not falsely, or beyond my measure ; I measure myself 
by the true measure of the gifts and provinces that God has marked 
out for me. This measure reaches from Judasa through the inter 
vening countries to Corinth. Just as kings glory in having extended 
their realms far and wide, so do I, as a doctor sent by Christ, glory 
in having extended His sway, and I hope to extend it still further. 

Rule here denotes the measuring-line used by surveyors to fix 
the boundaries of fields and other grounds (cf. ver. 16). Measure 
denotes (i.) that by which anything is measured, as a yard-measure 
or a foot-measure; (2.) it denotes the quantity of the measuring-line ; 
and (3.) the act of measuring ; (4.) it stands for the thing measured, 
a bushel of wheat or an acre of land; i.e., corn to the amount of 
a bushel, land to the amount of an acre. In any of these last three 
senses the word may be used here, but best of all in the second. 

Ver. 14. For we stretch not ourselves beyond our measure. This 
is his third scornful charge against the false apostles. They stretch 
out themselves and more than that by their boastful words, but let 
us see what good as a matter of fact they do. Whom have they 
converted ? What cities or countries have they visited ? They have 
never left their own home. Did they bring you into the Church ? 


Ye are not their work, but mine in the Lord. It is I who have taken 
you and subdued you : you are my lot, the possession assigned me 
by the Lord. I can triumph over you and other provinces reaching 
to Judaea that I have subdued. And just as P. Scipio was called 
Africanus, and L. Scipio, Asiaticus, from the provinces they con 
quered, so might S. Paul have the agnomen of Corinthiacus, Achaicus, 
Macedonicus, Thracicus, Asiaticus, &c. 

Ver. 15. Without our measure. The provinces not assigned us 
by God. This is again a blow aimed at the false apostles, who 
were in the habit of boasting groundlessly of the many regions they 
had visited and converted. 

Not boasting . . . of other men s labours. A fourth charge against 
the false apostles, who had entered into his labours at Corinth, where 
he had laid the foundations of the faith (Chrysostom). Doctors 
remark that heretics never go to unbelievers from zeal for the 
Gospel and for martyrdom, and convert them first of all to Chris 
tianity, but content themselves with endeavouring to attract the 
faithful. It may be said : Surely the Emperor Valens, when the 
Goths were anxious to be converted to Christianity, sent Arian 
Bishops, who made them Arians (Freculfhus, lib. iv. c. 20). I 
reply : This is true ; but the Arians did not themselves take the 
initiative and go to the barbarous Goths from zeal for the faith, 
to plant among them the true faith, after the Apostolic manner, 
in hunger, thirst, persecutions, and deaths. The Goths invited them, 
and Valens consented. There is no difficulty in instilling poison 
into those who wish for it. Moreover, most of the Goths had 
previously been of the orthodox faith ; but Ulphilas their Apostle, 
having been deceived by the Arians, deceived them in his turn 
and made them Arians, as Theodoret expressly says (Hist. lib. iv. 
cap. ulf.}. 

But having hope when your faith is increased. I hope that when 
your faith is increased you will have no need of me ; then I 
shall be able to go on to other nations to preach the Gospel 

That we shall be enlarged by you. Or magnified in you. (i.) I 


hope that in those more distant regions I shall preach and bring 
back great glory. The teacher, says Theophylact, is magnified 
when his disciples grow in wisdom. (2.) It is better to refer the 
words magnified in you to what follows according to our ride 
abundantly. I hope, as you increase in the faith, to be magnified 
through you according to our rule, i.e., to extend our rule, the 
bounds of my apostolate, to the regions beyond you, so that they, 
seeing your faith, holiness, and grace, may be provoked by your 
example, and eagerly await me and receive the Gospel. 

As the Holy Land was divided by lot among the twelve tribes 
by fixed boundaries (Ps. Ixxviii. 54), so was the whole earth divided 
as by a measuring-line among their antitypes, the twelve Apostles, 
that they might bring it under subjection to Christ. Thomas, e.g., 
evangelised India ; Andrew, Achaia ; John, Asia. 

Abundantly. That my lot may be increased and spread further 
and further. I have not yet fixed any certain bounds to my pro 
vince, nor has God, but I am always looking for and striving after 
its extension. 

Ver. 1 6. Not to boast in another man s line. I do not meddle 
with the bounds, the provinces, and districts measured out and 
assigned, or occupied by other Apostles, so as to enter into things 
got ready by others, and to boast of other men s labours as if they 
were mine. He calls " made ready to his hand " those regions which 
had already received the Gospel from others ; he refuses to 
seize upon the tilled fields of others, but rather chooses to be the 
first to plant the faith in any place he goes to. Cf. Rom. xv. 20. 

The Greek /cavwv denotes the measuring-line of surveyors. Here 
the Apostle calls all those regions measured out to him, as it were, 
by God his rule. This "rule" he was daily extending, from his 
desire to preach everywhere; "as though," says Chrysostom, "he 
had come into possession of the earth and a fat inheritance." " Paul 
was," says Theophylact, " like a builder of the world, measuring it 
by his rule and building accordingly." The Greek KO.VWV stands also 
for the builder s measuring-rod, but seems by S. Paul to be referred 
rather to the surveyor s. 



Ver. 17. But he that glorieth let him glory in the Lord. Let 
him glory in truth as before the Lord. Secondly, and better, to 
glory in the Lord is to glory with the glory given by the Lord, which 
alone commends a man, and vouches for him by the wonders which 
it works through him. This is the genuine meaning, for S. Paul 
contrasts glorying in one s self with glorying in the Lord. To glory 
in self is to commend self; to glory in the Lord is to be commended 
by the Lord, and to glory in that commendation. Still it follows 
from this, thirdly, that he who truly glories should glory not in 
himself but in the Lord, by referring all that has been received to 
Him, whose gifts they are, by giving to Him all the glory, and direct 
ing everything to His praise and glory (Chrysostom). 

By these words the Apostle shows where, when, and in what we 
should glory, and at the same time clears himself of all charge of 
ostentation and desire of vain-glory. He says implicitly: These 
great and fine things I say about myself, not because I wish to glory 
in myself, but because I wish to give the praise to the Lord, from 
whom I have received all my glory, and the ground of my glorying. 
Cf. i Cor. i. 31, note. 

Learn from this that true praise and glory come from God alone, 
and far excel all human glory; for, (i.) man s praise is but small 
and poor, men being but worms of earth; but God s glory is, as 
He is, boundless. (2.) Man s glory is outward and apparent only 
within it is empty and ready to vanish away; but God s glory 
is inward and substantial; hence it fills and satisfies the soul. 
(3.) Man s glory is untrustworthy, feigned, and hypocritical many 
laugh at you behind your back while praising you to your face; 
but God s glory is faithful and true. (4.) Man s glory is unstable, 
and, like a reed, is shaken by the slightest breath of rumour they 
who praise you to-day will rail at you to-morrow ; but God s glory 
is stable and constant. (5.) Man s glory is short-lived: mortals 
to die to-morrow praise you, and your praise will die with them. 
Where now are the praises of Caesar, Pompey, Augustus ? They 
have passed away they are gone like smoke; but the praise of 
God is eternal. God will praise thee for ever before the angels 


and blessed ones, because thou didst despise the world s glory, and 
sought for that true glory which lasts for ever with God. (6.) Man s 
glory is imperfect, maimed, and alloyed ; a man is praised by some, 
blamed by others ; as many men as there are, so many opinions 
and judgments are there. God s glory is entire and perfect, for 
whoever God praises is praised also by the inhabitants of heaven. 
(7.) Man s glory is erroneous and groundless. Men glorify the 
high-born, the rich, the powerful, even if they be villains, crime- 
stained, and tyrants. God s glory is most true and most certain, 
for He praises none but those endowed with virtue and true wisdom. 
Again, men glory in themselves, in their sagacity, virtue, fortitude 
all things of naught ; and therefore they glory in what is false, in 
nothing, in what is not. God s glory is to glory in God, of whom 
is all good and from whom flow all things to us, and to say, " Not 
unto us, not unto us, O Lord, but unto Thy name give the praise." 
(8.) Man s glory stands in the mouth of them that praise, confers 
no benefit on thee, impresses on thee no good. Therefore it is 
not in thee, but in Him that glorifies thee ; just as honour is not 
in him that is honoured, but in him that confers it. But God s 
glory is both in God and in thee, for it is efficacious and fruitful. 
God does not merely beatify thee in thy soul with the light of 
glory, and in thy body with glorious gifts, but He communicates 
to the Blessed His own very Divine and uncreated glory, to be 
possessed and enjoyed. Oh, blind and insensate children of Adam, 
by nature greedy of praise, created and born to glory ! Why do ye 
not seek after glory instead of its smoke and shadows ? Why strive 
for what is false and fallacious and leave the true ? Why seek for 
glory where it is not ? You seek it on earth : it is not there, but 
in heaven. You seek it among men : it dwells among the angels 
and before God. You seek it in time : it is found in eternity. 
Thou, then, O Lord, art my glory; Thou art the joy of my heart. 
In thee will I glory and exalt all the day long. For myself I will 
glory in nothing save my infirmities. Let Jews, let worldly men 
seek glory from one another. I will require that which is from God 
alone. All human glory, all worldly honour, all temporal heights, 


when compared with Thy eternal glory are but vanity, foolish 
ness, and reproach. O my Truth, my Mercy, my Glory, my God, 
O Blessed Trinity, to Thee alone be praise, honour, and glory; 
to Thee alone be blessing, wisdom, and thanksgiving ; to Thee, our 
God, be honour, virtue, and strength for ever and ever. Amen. 

Ver. 1 8. For not he that commendeth himself is approved. How is 
it, then, that Saints have sometimes commended themselves, as, e.g., 
Hezekiah, in Isa. xxxviii. 3, and S. Paul in the next chapter, and in 
2 Tim. iv. ? I answer, They do indeed commend themselves, but at 
the same time they tacitly refer all their praise to God s grace as 
its first cause, and say : " By the grace of God I am what I am." 
Again, this self-commendation came not from themselves, but was 
inspired into them by the Holy Spirit, who spoke by their mouth. 
The Holy Spirit suggested to each writer of the Holy Scriptures 
what he should write. 


I Out of his jealousy over the Corinthians, ivho seemed to make more account of the 
false apostles than of him, he enter eth into a forced commendation of himself, 
5 of his equality -with the chief apostles, 7 of his preaching the gospel to them 
freely, and without any their charge, 13 shewing that he was not inferior to 
those deceitful workers in any legal prerogative, 23 and in the service of Christ, 
and in all kind of sufferings for his ministry, far superior. 

\ ~\ 7OULD to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly : and indeed bear 
with me. 

2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy : for I have espoused you to 
one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 

3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his 
subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 

4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, 
or z/"ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, 
which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. 

5 For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles. 

6 But though / be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge ; but we have been 
thoroughly made manifest among you in all things. 

7 Have I committed an offence in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, 
because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely ? 

8 I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service. 

9 And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man : 
for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia 
supplied : and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you 
and so will I keep myself. 

10 As the truth of Christ is in me, no man shall stop me of this boasting in the 
regions of Achaia. 

1 1 Wherefore ? because I love you not ? God knoweth. 

12 But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which 
desire occasion ; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we. 

13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into 
the apostles of Christ. 

14 And no marvel ; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 

15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the 
ministers of righteousness ; whose end shall be according to their works. 

1 6 I say again, Let no man think me a fool ; if otherwise, yet as a fool receive 
me, that I may boast myself a little. 

17 That which I speak, I speak it not after the Lord, but as it were foolishly, 

in this confidence of boasting. 



18 Seeing that many glory after the flesh, I will glory also. 

19 For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise. 

20 For ye suffer, if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a 
man take of you, if a man exalt himself, if a man smite you on the face. 

21 I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak. Howbeit 
whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly,) I am bold also. 

22 Are they Hebrews ? so am I. Are they Israelites ? so am I. Are they the 
seed of Abraham ? so am I. 

23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours 
more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. 

24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. 

25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered ship 
wreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep-; 

26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by 
mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in 
the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren ; 

27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in 
fastings often, in cold and nakedness. 

28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, 
the care of all the churches. 

29 Who is weak, and I am not weak ? who is offended, and I burn not ? 

30 If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine in 

31 The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for ever 
more, knoweth that I lie not. 

32 In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the 
Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me : 

33 And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped 
his hands. 


i. After declaring his love for the Corinthians, he proceeds (ver. 4) to 
defend his apostleship against the false apostles, pointing out that 
they had bestowed no more of the Spirit, nor given more Christian 
doctrine than S. Paul. 

ii. He says, moreover (ver. 7), that they preached the Gospel for the sake 
of gain, but he freely. 

iii. He insists (ver. 22) on his being equally with them a Hebrew, and 
what they were not, a minister of Christ. He then enumerates the 
marks of his apostleship, his labours for Christ, his persecutions, 
scourgings, sufferings, anxieties, and the care of all the Churches, and 
in them all he glories. 

Ver. i. Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly. In 
my boasting, which sounds like folly. It is, however, a mark of the 
highest wisdom on my part, for I do it out of zeal to protect the faith 


of the Gospel against the false apostles (Chrysostom and Anselm). 
S. Paul anticipates an objection : he is about to praise himself, and 
he meets beforehand any charge of vain-glory or self-seeking. The 
last clause, "and indeed bear with me," may be also indicative, and 
then it is a correction to his request for forbearance : " I need hardly 
make such a request : you do indeed bear with me." 

At the commencement of his self-praise he thrice excuses himself: 
(i.) by saying, "Would ye could bear with me ;" (2.) by calling him 
self foolish ; (3.) when he says : " I am jealous over you" he takes 
such pains to excuse himself that the Corinthians may see the violence 
he does to his feelings when he descends to self-praise. Chrysostom 
says : "Just as a horse, when about to leap some deep and precipitous 
ravine, collects its strength, as though it would cross it at a bound, but 
when it looks down on the yawning gulf refuses the leap ; then, under 
the spur of the rider, approaches again and admits its ability to leap 
and the necessity of it by standing still for a time, till at last it takes 
courage, and of its own accord boldly makes the attempt ; so too S. Paul, 
like one about to throw himself over a precipice, when going to sing his 
own praises, retreats once, twice, and thrice, and at length falls to the 
task of praising himself" 

Ver. 2. For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy. I cannot 
endure any rivals, such as these false apostles, who seek to seduce 
you. Paul calls his great and unbounded love "jealousy," implying 
that he seeks to be first in the affections of the Corinthians. S. 
Chrysostom remarks on this jealousy being a jealousy of God, which 
implies that Paul does not seek the bride for himself but for Christ 
and God not for his own glory, pleasure, or gain. Christ is the 
Bridegroom ; he is but the paranymph. 

For I have espoused you to one husband. " I have fitted you " 
(Augustine, contra Manich. lib. ii.); "I have prepared you" (Am 
brose) ; " I have united you" (Theophylact). The Greek verb may 
well bear the three meanings of, " I have invited you," " I have be 
trothed you," " I have united you in wedlock." The three duties 
of the paranymph are : (i.) to gain the maiden s affections for the 
bridegroom, and to do all he can to get her to be the wife of his friend ; 


(2.) to see that she is espoused to him; and, (3.) when betrothed, to 
unite them in marriage. S. Paul says in effect : I, as the paranymph 
of a spiritual marriage, have by my preaching betrothed you to one 
husband, Christ, and by betrothing you I have persuaded you to 
present yourselves to Christ as His espoused bride. Or better still, 
with Anselm and Theophylact : I have now espoused you to Christ 
through baptizing you into the Christian faith, that I may show you, 
or present you in the day of judgment, as virgins, i.e., pure in faith, 
hope, and charity, fitted for the nuptial couch of the glory of Christ. 
Chrysostom remarks that the betrothal takes place in this life, the 
union in the next, when the espoused Church, i.e., all the elect, shall 
be brought to the marriage of the Lamb and the eternal kingdom 
(Rev. xxi. 2). 

The Church of Corinth is described by S. Paul as the virgin spouse 
of Christ, whose paranymph he is. Then he transfers to himself the 
jealous love of the Bridegroom, and protests against Christ s bride 
being stolen by false apostles, and handed over to the tender mercies 
of heretics. Just as true Apostles and preachers are paranymphs of 
Christ and His Church (S. John. iii. 29), so, on the other hand, false 
preachers are Satan s panders. 

This passage of the espousal of the Church and each faithful soul is 
famous and full of consolation. It has been commented on beautifully 
by most of the Fathers, and still is frequently treated in pulpits and 
elsewhere. That it may be clearly and fully understood, let us then 
dwell on it a little more at length. 

Observe, then, firstly, that this espousal takes place by faith and 
hope and other virtues. For, as S. Augustine says (Tract, xiii. in 
Johan.}, " the mind s virginity consists in perfect faith, well-grounded 
hope, and unfeigned love: On the other hand, the soul becomes an 
adulteress or prostitute when she consents to unbelief, to sin, to the 
suggestions and wiles of the devil. " If, therefore," says Origen (Horn. 
12 in Lev. ii.), "you have admitted an adulterous devil into the cham 
ber of your soul, then your soul has committed fornication with the 
devil. If there has entered there the spirit of anger, envy, pride, un- 
deanness, and you have welcomed it, and listened to its words, and 


taken pleasure in its suggestions, then you have committed fornication 
with him" 

Secondly, this betrothal makes the goods of each common to 
both, and therefore endows the Church and each faithful soul with 
the abundant riches of Christ. Hence, since the Bridegroom is a 
King, He makes His bride, even if she be a slave, however lowly 
and poor she be, a queen. S. Basil (de Vita Virgin.} says, quoting 
Ps. xlv. 9 : "Upon thy right hand did stand the queen, in a vesture 
of gold wrong /it about with divers colours. Wherefore, she who now 
is counted vile for her sordid dress and servile habit, is ennobled by 
her station at the King s hand, and found in the kingdom of heaven 
to be a queen. Let her, then, despise all visible things, and with open 
face beholding her Spouse, let her be filled with His love, and make 
all her faculties His handmaidens. In no respect should a virgin be 
an adulteress, not i?i tongue, in ears, eyes, or any other sense, no, nor 
yet in thought ; but let her keep her body as a temple, or bride chamber 
ready for her Spouse. No unfaithfulness can escape the eye of Him 
of whom it is said, He that planted the ear, shall He not hear ; or He 
that made the eye, shall He not see ? " 

S. Bernard (Serm. 2, Domin. i, post Epiph.) thus describes the 
election, dignity, and glory of this bride : " For the sake of that 
Ethiopian woman, the Son of God came from afar to espouse her to 
Himself. Moses, indeed, married an Ethiopian wife, but her colour 
he could not change ; but Christ, loving the Church, who till then was 
contemptible and foul, presented her to Himself, not having spot or 
wrinkle, or any such thing. Whence, O human soul, whence conies 
this to thee ? Whence is the inestimable glory of meriting to be Ills 
spouse on whom the angels desire to gaze ? Whence is it to thee that 
thou art the spouse of Him, whose beauty sun and moon wonder at, 
at whose will all things are changed? . . . What reward, then, will 
you give unto the Lord for all the benefits that He hath done unto 
you, in making you a sharer of His table, of His Kingdom, of His 
chamber ? See with what arms of love should He be in turn lovingly 
embraced, who has thought so much of you, and made you so great. 
Leave all carnal affections, forget all worldly ways, undo all evil 


habits. For what thinkest thou ? Does not the angel of the Lord 
stand ready to cut thee asunder, if perchance, which may He prevent, 
thou admittest any other lover V Then he goes on to describe the 
nuptial feast : " Now thou art espoused to Him, now the wedding feast 
is being celebrated, for the banquet is prepared in heaven. There the 
wine will not fail, for we shall be inebriated with the fulness of the house 
of God, and shall drink of the torrent of His pleasure. For that 
marriage, truly, there is got ready a river of wine, which maketh glad 
the heart, an impetuous stream, which maketh glad the city of God." 

Thirdly, be it observed that from this betrothal and union of 
the soul to God, the fairest offspring are born. Origen (Horn. 20 
in Num. xxv.) thus describes them : " When the soul, therefore, 
clings to her Spouse, and listens to His voice, and embraces Him, she 
doubtless receives from Him seed, even as He said: Of Thy fear, 
O Lord, have I conceived in the womb, and brought forth, and caused 
on the earth the spirit of Thy salvation. Thence will proceed a noble 
offspring thence will be born chastity, righteousness, patience, meekness, 
and charity, and a fair family of all the virtues. . . . But if the 
unhappy soul forsakes the chaste embraces of the Divine Word, and 
surrenders herself to the devil s adulterous endearments, without a 
doubt she will bring forth children, but they will be such as those of 
whom it is written : The adulterous children shall be imperfect, and 
the seed of the wicked bed shall be destroyed. All sins, therefore, are 
children of adultery and fornication." 

Fourthly, although this espousal is brought about by any virtues, 
yel the chief agent among them is charity. Charity carries with it 
towards God all the powers and affections of the soul, so much so 
that the more charity increases in a soul, the more closely is that 
soul united to God. Hence those whose souls are on fire with 
charity, and who are ever exercising themselves in it, enjoy the bliss 
of betrothal to God and the possession of His nuptial gifts of Divine 
joys. For charity is a marriage-union, the welding of two wills, the 
Divine and human, into one, whereby God and man mutually agree 
in all things. Hence springs familiar intercourse between the soul 
and God, hence spring peace and a wondrous delight of the soul. 


So great becomes the thirst for the Divine love that all other affections 
of the soul are absorbed in it and lost in God. S. Bernard (Serm. 38 
in Cantic.} says : " Such conformity weds the soul to the Word, that, 
though naturally like Him, she none the less exhibits that likeness in 
the will, by loving as she has been loved. If, then, she loves perfectly, 
she is wedded to Him. What is more pleasant than this conformity ? 
what more to be longed for than this charity ? By it it comes to pass 
that you are not content, O my soul, to rest on human teaching, but you 
boldly approach the Word, and cling closely to Him, hang lovingly on 
His lips, and consult Him on everything. You are as bold in your 
longings as your understanding ivill allow. Surely this is a holy and 
spiritual wedding contract. Contract, do I say ? nay, it is an embrace ; 
for where the same will to have or not have is, where one spirit is 
made out of tivo, there there must have been an embrace. Nor need 
we fear that the disparity of the persons can make this union of wills 
imperfect, for love knows no fear. Love is self-sufficient : wherever he 
comes he draws to himself and makes prisoners all the other affections. 
Therefore she loves what he loves, and knows nought else. There is a 
bride and there is a bridegroom. What other relation or connection do 
you seek between them that are wedded than that of loving and being 
loved ?" 

If you say that the soul is so far inferior to God in its nature and 
love as to make it impossible for friendship to exist between them, 
and much less betrothal and marriage union, all of which can only 
be between equals, then S. Bernard replies : "77 is true that there is 
not the same copious Jlow in the soul that Loves as in Love Himself, in 
the soul as in the Word, and in the bride as in the Bridegroom, in the 
creature as in the Creator, any more than there is the same in him 
that is athirst and the spring that quenches his thirst. But what of 
that ? Are we therefore to lose and see destroyed utterly the devotion 
of her that is about to wed, the desire of the longing soul the eagerness 
of the lover, the confidence of one that boldly draws near just because a 
dwarf cannot r:m on equal terms with a giant, because sweetness 
cannot rival honey, gentleness cannot compare with a lamb, white 
ness with the lily, brightness with the sun, charity with Him who is 


charity ? No, for though the creature s love is less because it is itself 
less, yet if it loves with all its might, it withholds nothing, and its love 
is entire. Therefore have 1 said, So to lore is to be wedded already, 
unless any one doubt that the soul is first loved and more loved by the 
Word. But truly He prevents and surpasses the soul in love. Happy 
the soul that has merited to be prevented with the blessings of goodness." 
Fifthly, it follows that this espousal is most perfectly brought about 
by virginity and vows of chastity and religion. S. Augustine (Tract. 
9 in Johan.} says : " They who vow to Gcd virginity, although they 
may hold a higher position of honour and dignity in the Church, yet 
are they not without nuptials ; for they belong to those nuptials in 
which the whole Church is united to Christ as her Bridegroom." 
And the reason is, that as a bride gives her heart and all her goods to 
her husband, so does a virgin, or a religious, consecrate herself and 
all that she has to Christ. Hence religion is called and is a state of 
perfection, or of perfect charity. Moreover, as a bride in contract 
ing matrimony says : " I take thee for mine," so does a religious 
say : " I vow to God poverty, chastity, obedience," and by these 
she is bound to Christ as a wife to her husband. Hence Tertullian 
(de Veland. Virgin, c. 16) says: " Thou hast been wedded to 
Christ, thou hast committed to Him thy body ; thou hast betrothed 
to Him the bloom of thy life ; walk, therefore, according to the will 
of thy Spouse." For this reason S. Jerome (Ep. 27) dared to call 
the mother of a virgin consecrated to God, " God s mother-in-law," 
and for this he was found fault with hypercritically by Ruffinus. A 
ring used to be given to virgins, in token that by it they were 
betrothed to Christ. " He gave me a ring," says S. Agnes (Ambrose, 
Serm. 90), "as an earnest of my betrothal to His faith." For this 
virgins were given veils, even as those who are married to husbands, 
and that solemnly, by priests, on appointed days alone, as Gelasius 
says (ad Episc. Lucanitz, c. 14), and Optatus Milevit. (lib. 6). He 
says : " Spiritual ivedlock is of this kind. In will and profession they 
had already come to be betrothed to their spouse ; and to show that they 
had abjured all secular nuptials, they had cut off their hair for their spiri 
tual Bridegroom, and had already celebrated their heavenly nuptials." 


Ambrose (ad Virg. Lapsam} says: She who has betrothed herself 
to Christ, and received the sacred veil, is already wedded, is already 
united to an immortal husband ; and if she noiv wishes to marry under 
the common law, she commits adultery, and is made the handmaiden of 
death." S. Cyprian too (Ep. 62) calls such lapsed virgins adulteresses. 
From all this it is evident, whatever Marloratus may say, that the 
Church applies this passage of the Apostle to virgins, and reads it as 
the Epistle in the Mass of Holy Virgins. 

Let these virgins ponder this, and recognise their dignity, so as 
to religiously keep these nuptials pure, and give themselves wholly 
to their one Bridegroom, Christ. S. Jerome says to Eustochius : 
"Hear, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear ; forget also 
thine own people and thy fathers house, and then shall the King take 
pleasure in thy beauty. It is not enough for thee to leave thy land, 
unless thou also forget thy own people and thy father s house, and, 
despising the flesh, yield thyself to the embraces of thy spouse. You 
will say perhaps : / have gone from the house of my shame ; I have 
forgotten the house of my father ; I am born again in Christ. What 
reward for this am I to receive ? It tells you : So shall the King 
have pleasure in thy beauty? This then is a great sacrament : there 
fore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cling to his 
wife, and they twain shall be not one flesh but one spirit. Thy Spouse 
is not haughty ; He has married an Ethiopian woman. As soon as 
you desire to hear the wisdom of the true Solomon and come to Him, 
He will tell you all that He knows ; He will as a King lead you 
into His chamber, and thy colour being wondrously changed, the words 
will apply to you, Who is this that cometh up all white ? . . . The bride 
of Christ is, like the Ark of the Covenant, covered within and without 
with gold, the guardian of the law of the Lord. As in it there was 
nothing save the tables of the law, so in thee let there be no other 
thought. Over this mercy-seat, as upon the cherubim, the Lord wills 
to sit. The Lord wishes to set you free from earthly cares, that leaving 
the bricks and straw of Egypt, you may follow Moses in the wilderness 
and enter the Promised Land. Whenever in your virgin breast there 
rages anxiety about earthly business, immediately the veil of the temple 


is rent in twain, your Bridegroom rises in ivrath and says : Your 
house is left unto you desolate. . . . Do thou once for all cast aside 
every burden of the world, sit at the feet of thy Lord, and say : I 
have found Him in whom my soul delighteth ; I have held Him fast ; 
I will not let Him go He will answer : My dove, my undefiled, is 
but one Let the secret places of thy chamber ever keep thee, let thy 
Spouse ever play with thee within. When thou prayest thou speakest 
to thy Spouse. When thou readest He speaks to thee ; and when 
sleep oppresses thee, He will come behind the wall ; and when thou 
art awakened thou wilt say : / am sick with love, and in return thou 
wilt hear Him say : A garden enclosed is My sister, My spouse. 

That I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. There is 
something strange in such a marriage. " In the world," says 
Theophylact after Chrysostom, " brides do not remain virgins after 
marriage. But Christ s brides, as before marriage they were not 
virgins, so after marriage they become virgins most pure in faith, 
whole, and uncorrupt in life. So is the whole Church a virgin." 
" The virginity of the flesh" says S. Augustine (in Senten. 79), "is an 
undefiled body ; the virginity of the soul is uncorruptcd faith." 

S. Paul converted to Christ at Iconium that most illustrious 
virgin Thecla : he drew her from marriage and espoused her to 
Christ. S. Gregory of Nyssa is our authority for this. He says 
(Horn. 4 in Cantic.}: "Such myrrh did Paul once pour from his 
mouth, mingled with the pure lily of chastity, into the ears of a holy 
virgin. That virgin was Thecla, who, as the drops fell from the lily 
into her soul, to her salvation put to death the outward man and 
quenched the heat of lust within S. Epiphanius too (Hares. 78) 
says : " Thecla fell in with S. Paul, and was by him set free from 
wedlock, though she had a husband at once surpassingly handsome, 
rich, nobly-born, and famous." S. Augustine (contra Faustum, lib. 
xxx. c. 4) says : " This Saint in her lifetime despised all earthly 
things, that she might gain possession of things heavenly, and, though 
bound in wedlock, she was kindled by the eloquence of S. Paul with 
love of life-long virginity." Through this Thecla overcame fire, 
lions, bulls, and serpents, and when thrown for her virginity into 


the midst of flames, she, like asbestos, remained unharmed. So 
did S. Paul arm the harlot Poppasa and virgins against the blandish 
ments of Nero, to despise his embraces and dedicate themselves 
to Christ. For this he was condemned by Nero to the sword, and 
obtained the martyr s and virgin s crown, and therefore from his 
neck there flowed, when his head was cut off, a stream of white 
milk instead of red blood. 

Ver. 3. But I fear lest by any means . . . your minds should be 
corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. Beware of the false 
apostles, who are panders of Satan, adulterers of the genuine doctrine 
of Christ, and therefore of the Church and of your souls. 

Ver. 4. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus. Christ is 
here put for Christianity and its perfection. If the false apostles 
should preach any other doctrine concerning Christ than that which 
I have preached, as though my preaching were insufficient for salva 
tion and Christian perfection, then, &c. He speaks a few words 
further on of the same thing as another Gospel. But, in Gal. i. 8, 
he orders that any one who should preach another Gospel was not 
only not to be tolerated, but was even not to be listened to, and was 
to be anathematised. Hence by the phrase here another Gospel, he 
means a clear and more spiritual explanation of the Gospel. 

Or if ye receive another Spirit. If you should receive other gifts 
of the Holy Spirit from the false apostles besides those that you 
received from me, you might well suffer them. He is censuring the 
pride of the false apostles, who boasted that they had more to give 
than S. Paul (Theophylact). Where, he asks, is that other Spirit, or 
those other gifts of which they boast? They do not appear. I call 
you then to -witness that you have received from them nothing but 
empty words. 

Ver. 5. For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chief est 
Apostles. Beza says : If Paul was in no way inferior to the chiefest 
Apostles, therefore Peter was not his superior in power and authority, 
and consequently he is not the Prince of the Apostles and of the 
Church." I answer that Paul yielded to none in any of the things 
just mentioned, such as in preaching Christ, in the gifts of the Spirit, 


in the genuineness of his Gospel, in the labours he bore, and in 
apostolical gifts in general. The question of power and primacy, 
therefore has no place here. Were he here to claim it for himself, it 
would be a sign of the most foolish ambition. Moreover, although 
by the phrase the very chiefest Apostles, Chrysostom, Theopylact, 
(Ecumenius, understand Peterjames, and John, and this interpreta 
tion seems more simple and true, yet very many later writers under 
stand it to refer to the false apostles, who boasted of their greatness. 
In this case S. Paul is speaking ironically. 

Ver. 6. Rude in speech. Unskilled in the polished and rhetorical 
eloquence of the Greeks, such as we find in Isocrates, Demosthenes, 
Lucian. Hence we find in S. Paul so many sudden transitions, 
ellipses, and solecisms (Chrysostom and Theophylact). S. Jerome 
(Ef. 151 ad Algas. qu. 10) says: " I have frequently said and I repeat 
it now, that when S. Paul spoke of himself as being rude in speech 
yet not in knowledge] he was not merely using the language of humility, 
but was speaking from a consciousness of the truth. For in his writ 
ings there are many profound passages unexplained in words, dealing 
with truths evident enough to himself, but incapable of being conveyed to 
others" He says the same in his epistle to Hedibia, where he adds 
that for this reason Paul kept Titus by him, who was a Greek scholar, 
just as S. Peter had S. Mark. Cf. i Cor. ii. i, 4, notes. On the 
other hand, S. Augustine (de Doct. Christ, lib. iv. c. 7) thinks that 
Paul calls himself here rude in speech, not as giving his own opinion 
but that of his detractors. S. Augustine there dwells at length on 
the eloquence of the Apostle, and shows that he has his own lively 
and nervous style, and an orderly arrangement of his materials. 
This is true. The Apostle s rhetoric was not mere wordiness, but 
was earnest, persuasive, manly, Divine, and therefore he was " rude," 
not so much in rhetoric as in grammatical niceties. It was evident 
to all that the Apostle by his eloquence stirred the hearts of all who 
heard him, smote them with the fear of God, and with wonderful 
skill almost drove them to faith, godliness, and mercy, and whereso 
ever he wished to lead them. 

S. Augustine (Senten. No. 266) says beautifully : " It is an evident 


token of a good disposition when the truth contained in the words of 
controversialists is loved, and not the mere words themselves. For what 
is the use of a golden key if it cannot accomplish our desire and open 
the door, or why should we think less of a key because it is of wood 1 
All that -we want is to have that opened which was shut" 

Ver. 7. Have I committed an offence ? Do you find fault with 
that very thing which is a cause of glory to me and an instance 
of large-heartedness, that I humiliated myself to the manual labour 
of tent-making to support myself and not be a burden to you? 
(Anselm). This is the language of sarcasm. He charges the 
Corinthians to their face with ingratitude, in that while he might 
have claimed from them the means to support himself, he did not 
do so, but, while preaching and working at Corinth, preferred to be 
supported by poorer churches. In spite of this, however, as he 
says, the Corinthians undervalued the kindness of S. Paul, and lent 
an ear more readily to his rivals, the false apostles, who drained 
their purses. 

Ver. 8. / robbed other churches. He uses a strong expression, 
in order to make a strong impression on them. You see my con 
tinence and charity. I have, as it were, despoiled other churches 
that were poor, in order to spare you and to enrich you, that you 
might not think, as rich merchants like you Corinthians are apt to 
think, that I was seeking yours instead of you, and also that I 
might shut the mouths of the false apostles. Acknowledge me, then, 
as your true and genuine Apostle. 

Ver. 9. I was chargeable to no man. The Greek word for charge 
able is derived from a word denoting torpor and inactivity, which 
are apt to be burdensome to others. The ray-fish called torpedo 
derived its Greek name from the same word. S. Paul says that he 
did not by his inactivity depend on another for support, but he 
worked hard with his hands without neglecting his duty of preaching. 
He gave himself to the work of teaching, warning, and advising, just 
as diligently as if he were under no necessity of supporting himself. 

Ver. 10. As the truth of Christ is in me. I speak in the truth 
of Christ ; I call His truth to witness ; I swear to you in truth and 



holiness by Christ ("under the testimony of Christ," Ambrose) that I 
will take nothing from you for my support (Theophylact). 

No man shall stop me of this boasting. Or, this boasting shall not 
be stopped in me. This liberty and liberality of mine shall not be 
stopped, nor therefore my boasting of it. It is a metaphor, taken 
from springs and rivers, which no barriers can stop. 

Secondly, it is better to suppose that S. Paul, following a Hebrew 
usage, employs the simple verb denoting to seal up for the compound 
verb unseal (0<$pay for dvao-<paytw). " I have determined," he 
then would say, " to receive nothing from you ; and I have so con 
firmed that determination by the strong seal of my oath, that I shall 
not open this seal, or break my purpose, whatever need or necessity 
may lay upon me." 

Ver. 12. Which desire occasion. Of finding fault with me for 
not bringing anything peculiar to myself more than others. 

That wherein they glory they may be found even as we. They 
boast that in their preaching they are equal to me, when they are 
inferior ; for I preach freely, they for the sake of gain. Cf. ver. 2 1 
(Anselm, Chrysostom, Theophylact). 

Ver. 13. Transforming themselves into the Apostles of Christ. 
From this it appears that these detractors of Paul were not believers 
who were impelled by mere vanity or by envy of Paul, but were 
heretics; for, in ver. 15, he calls them false apostles and ministers 
of Satan. 

Secondly, he censures their hypocrisy in that, in order that they 
might impose on the Christians, they took to themselves the ap 
pearance and name of the Apostles of Christ, as though they were 
of Christ, and preachers of the Christian faith. The Calvinists of 
the present day are of the same kind, for they deform and profane 
everything sacred our rites, sacraments, churches, monasteries, 
sanctuaries, altars, all true worship, religion, and godliness and yet 
wish to be looked upon and spoken of as reformers. 

Ver. 14. For Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 
He says of light, because good angels, being blessed, are wont, when 
they show themselves to men, to appear full of light and glory. 


Secondly, of light refers to the light of truth, righteousness, and 
godliness. Satan assumes these virtues, promises them to those 
men before whose eyes he appears in visible form, or into whose 
imagination he insinuates himself and his counsels, when really he 
is an angel of darkness, inasmuch as he suggests nothing but what 
is sinful, erroneous, and false. To unmask him and recognise his 
wiles there is nothing better, as the Fathers, and holy men, and expe 
rience itself teach, than to disclose your thoughts and suggestions to 
some prudent, pious, and learned man, preferably your Superior or 
Confessor, and to follow his advice. But Satan hates the light, and 
therefore dissuades and prevents his followers from doing this. 
From neglecting this counsel many, even hermits, have been by 
him most terribly deceived. In the lives of the Fathers there are 
extant many sad instances of this, e.g., in the case of that monk 
whom the devil persuaded to throw himself headlong into a well, by 
declaring that he would find that God, for his merits, would most 
gloriously deliver him. S. Epiphanius, Irenasus, and Augustine 
tell us the dreadful and abominable delusions instilled by the 
devil into such heretics as the Ophites, the Artotyritse, and the 

Under the form of a good angel the devil attempted to deceive 
the hermit S. Abraham, as S. Ephrem records in his Life. While 
he was singing psalms at midnight, a light like that of the sun 
suddenly shone in his cell, and a voice was heard saying : " Blessed 
art thou, Abraham : none is like thee in fulfilling all my will." But 
the humility of the Saint recognised the fraud of the devil, and 
exclaimed : " Thy darkness perish with thee, thou full of all fraud 
and falsehood; for I am a sinful man; but the name of my 
Lord, Jesus Christ, whom I have loved and do love, is a wall to 
me, and in it I rebuke thee, thou unclean dog." And then the 
devil vanished from his sight as smoke. 

Similarly, the devil appeared in splendour, with horses of fire and 
a chariot of fire, near the column on which was S. Symeon Stylites, 
and said to him : " The Lord hath sent me, His angel, to carry thee 
off as I carried Elijah. Ascend, therefore, with me into the chariot, 


and let us go into heaven. The holy angels, the Apostles, martyrs, 
and prophets, and Mary the Mother of the Lord long to see thee." 
When S. Symeon was lifting his right foot to get into the chariot he 
made the sign of the Cross, on which the devil disappeared. This 
is recorded by Antony, his disciple, in his Life. 

Another, on hearing from the devil, " I am Christ," shut his eyes 
and said : " I would not see Christ in this life but in the next." 
Hence the Fathers used to warn people, saying : " Even if an angel 
really appear to you, do not readily receive him, but humble your 
self and say : I am not worthy, while I live in my sins, to see an 
angel. " 

S. John, who foretold to the Emperor Theodosius his victory 
over the tyrants, saw devils like an army and chariots of fire, say 
ing to him : " In all things, O man, you have borne yourself well. 
Now worship me, and I will take you up like Elias." John an 
swered : " God is my Lord and King : Him I ever worship ; thou 
art not my King." Then the devil vanished. Palladius gives this 
(Lausiac. c. 46). 

The devil appeared to Pachomius in the form of Christ, saying : 
" Pachomius, I am Christ, and I come to thee, my faithful friend." 
Pachomius knew by Divine inspiration the fraud, and thought within 
himself: "The coming of Christ gives tranquillity; but I am now 
fiercely assailed by conflicting thoughts." Then, making the sign 
of the Cross, and breathing on him, he said : " Depart from me, O 
devil, for accursed art thou with thy vision and treacherous wiles ; 
there is no place for you among the servants of God." Then, leaving 
a horrible stench, he departed, saying : " I should have gained thee, 
had not the surpassing power of Christ hindered me. Neverthe 
less, so far as I can, I will not cease to trouble thee." Cf. Dionysius, 
in Vita PachomiL 

The monk Valens was frequently deceived by the devil under the 
form of an angel. From this Valens became swollen with pride, 
because of his intimacy with angels. At length the devil appeared 
to him, feigning that he was Christ, accompanied by a thousand 
angels holding lights and a fiery wheel. One of them said to him : 


" Christ has loved thy free and confident life, and has come to see 
thee; come out, therefore, and worship Him." Then he went out 
and worshipped the devil as Christ. This so unhinged his mind 

that he went into the church and said : " I have no need of com 
munion. I have seen Christ to-day." The Fathers, therefore, 
bound him and threw him into fetters. Cf. Palladius, c. 31 

Ver. 1 6. If otherwise, yet as a fool receive me. If I can obtain 
from you nothing else, then receive me as a fool, only that I may 
have license to glory somewhat. As Cato says : " Neither praise 
nor blame thyself; leave this to fools, whom empty glory vexes." 
Notice how S. Paul hesitates, and paves the way for self-praise, to 
show how unwillingly he was driven to it (Chrysostom). 

Ver. 17. That which I speak. The praises of myself, that I 
propose to utter directly. 

I speak it not after the Lord. If regarded by itself. But it will 
be after God if charity and necessity be taken into account, the 
necessity, that is, of preventing you from despising me, and glorify 
ing the false apostles. 

In this confidence of boasting. In this substance (Latin version). 
In this subject-matter of boasting, i.e., my works, of which I am 
now going to speak. 

Ver. 1 8. Seeing- that many glory after the flesh. In things 
merely outward and carnal, as, e.g., in birth, riches, wisdom, cir 
cumcision, having Hebrew parents of all which these false 
apostles boast. Hence I too will glory in them (Chrysostom). 
Cf. x. 2, note. 

Ver. 19. For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise. 
Irony. You have foolishly suffered the boastings of these vain 
glorious false apostles ; I hope that you will suffer me to glory wisely 
and usefully among them that are wise. Theophylact, however, and 
Anselm think that this is said seriously, in the way of exaggerated 
rebuke. Since you are wise in Christ, you ought to have exploded 
the folly of the false apostles. Why, then, do you gladly suffer 

Ver. 20. For ye suffer if a man bring you into bondage. This is 


aimed at the insatiable arrogance, avarice, and tyranny of the false 
apostles. You suffer false apostles, who imperiously treat you as 
slaves, who devour you by extorting from you your goods, who are 
exalted by their self-praise, who smite you in the face, not with the 
palms of their hands, but with insults. Hence he adds : " I speak as 
concerning reproach." These words, therefore, contain a sharp 
rebuke. These men squander your money, take away your freedom 
and honour, load you with taunts, as though you were slaves ; but 
I have borne myself humbly, have lived at my own expense, have 
wished to put upon you the easy yoke of Christ. Yet you prefer 
them to me, as though, when compared with these, your imperious 
lords, nay, tyrants, I was not sufficiently well-born, or powerful, or 
eloquent. S. Bernard (de Consid. lib. i. c. 3) says : " When you may 
be free there is no virtue in the patience which lets you become a slave. 
Do not conceal the slavery into which you are being daily led, while 
you know it not. It is the mark of a dull and heavy heart not to fed 
its own continual trouble. Trouble gives to the hearing understanding, 
provided it be not excessive. If it is, it gives not understanding, but 

Let superiors and prelates console themselves by the example of 
S. Paul, when they duly do their duty, and are despised by those 
under them, and see others preferred before them. It has ever 
been the custom of the world, and ever will be till the end, as 
Salmeron notices here, to obstinately resist the servants of God, to 
murmur, and, meeting rebuke, on the least occasion, to complain of 
even moderate severity ; to spurn all discipline ; to submit servilely 
to impostors, libertines, and false apostles; to entrust everything 
to them ; to bear patiently whatever burden they may choose to 
impose. The Israelites, e.g., despised the holy and gentle Samuel, 
and preferred to bear the yoke of a self-willed and tyrannical king 
(i Sam. viii.). 

Ver. 21. / speak as concerning reproach This belongs to the 
preceding. The "smiting on the face" spoken of is here ex 
plained to be mental, not physical consisting in the ignominy and 
revilings cast, as it were, in their faces by the false apostles. This 


" smiting " is no less wrong than if they had been beaten like slaves. 
Others, however, interpret these words to mean : " I say this to your 
shame." This, however, would require TT/DOS instead of Kara. 

As though we had been weak Refer this to the words, ye suffer. 
You suffer these bold and imperious false apostles ; me you do not, 
but rather despise me as weak and timid, as though I could not 
have acted more imperiously than I have done. I could, indeed, 
have done so, but I would not, through humility, modesty, and 
abounding charity (Chrysostom). 

Whereinsoever any is bold. If any one ventures to boast foolishly, 
I too can do the same. 

Ver. 22. Are they Hebrews } so am I. The word Hebrew is 
derived either (i.) from a Hebrew word denoting "across the 
stream," in allusion to their descent from Abraham, who crossed the 
Euphrates from Chaldasa to dwell in Palestine. Hebrews in this 
sense would mean (to coin a word) transamnine, as we speak of 
transmarine or transalpine. Abraham, after crossing the Euphrates, 
is the first to be called Hebrew (Gen. xiv. 13). The LXX and 
Aquila render the word there "crosser ; " S. Augustine (qu. 29 in Gen.} 
renders it " transfluvial." So Chrysostom, Origen, Theodoret under 
stand the word. (2.) Or the Jews were called Hebrews as being 
descended from Heber, Abraham s forefather, the only man who 
with his family, after the confusion of tongues at Babel, retained the 
primeval Hebrew tongue, together with true faith, religion, and 
piety. (Cf. Gen. x. 21, and xi. i, et seq.} Those, then, are wrong 
who suppose that Hebraei is derived from Abrahasi. S. Augustine, it 
is true, at one time held this opinion (de Consens. Evang. lib. i. c. 14), 
but in his Retractations (lib. ii. c. 14) he gave it up. The meaning 
of the Apostle, at all events, is this : These false apostles glory in 
their birth in their being, as Hebrews, descendants of Heber, 
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; in their possession of the holy religion 
of their ancestors, and the primeval tongue. But I also am a 
Hebrew and descendant of Abraham like him in stock, tongue, 
faith, and religion. 

Ver. 23. Are they ministers of Christ ? The Latin version takes 


this in the indicative, and supposes S. Paul to concede, for the sake 
of argument, that the false apostles were ministers of Christ. Be it 
so, but I am much more truly such than they. 

In labours more abundant. Let prelates and doctors take notice 
from this, that they should base their influence, as S. Paul did, not 
on external show, but on labours and mode of life. The Fourth 
Council of Carthage (c. 5) says : "Let a bishop have a sordid dress, 
a scanty table, and poor living, and let him seek to have his high office 
revered through his faith and the merits of his life. " 

S. Bernard, quoting this passage in his work, De Consideration, ad 
dressed to Pope Eugenius, says, (lib. ii. c. 6) : " How excellent a ministry 
is this ! What king holds a more glorious office ? If you must needs 
glory, the life of the Saints is put before your eyes, the glorying of the 
Apostles is set forth. Seems that to you a little matter ? Would that 
one would give to me to be like the Saints in their glorying! The 
Apostle exclaims : God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of 
our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Recognise thy heritage in the cross of Christ, 
in abundant labours. Happy the man who could say : / have 
laboured more than they all. This is glorying indeed, but there is 
nothing in it empty, slothful, or effeminate. Jf labour terrifies, the 
reward beckons us onward. Though he laboured more than all, yet 
he did not elaborate the whole work, and yet there is room. Go into 
the field of thy Lord, and notice carefully how the ancient curse holds 
sway in an abundant crop of thorns and thistles. Go forth, I say, into 
the world ; for the field is the world, and it has been entrusted to you. 
Go into it, not as a lord but as a steward, who will one day be called 
on to give an account" 

In stripes above measure. More than can be told or believed. 

In deaths oft. In dangers of death, when my companions, or 
others, were wounded or slain, as, e.g., by robbers, or in popular out 
breaks. Cf. 2 Cor. i. 10, and i Cor. xv. 31. 

Ver. 24. Forty stripes save one. The Lord had ordered, in Deut. 
xxv. 3, that the number of stripes should not exceed forty. The 
Jews, to make sure of obedience to this precept, used to inflict on 
criminals one less. 


Ver. 25. / have been in the deep. The Greek word for the deep 
may refer to a well or a prison, as well as the sea. Hence (i.) some 
think, says Theophylact, that that well is meant in which Paul is 
said to have lain concealed after escaping from the attack made on 
him by the people of Lystra (Acts xiv. 18). (2.) Baronius (Annals, 
A.D. 58), following Bede and Theodoret, thinks that the Cyzicenum, 
that deep and loathsome dungeon, like the Barathrum at Athens 
and the Tullianum at Rome, into which Paul was thrown, is here 
meant. (3.) It is better to understand the deep to be the sea, and to 
be an explanation of the hardships of his shipwreck : " A night and a 
day I have been in the deep." In other words, he says : I was tossed 
about by so violent a tempest that I seemed to be days and nights 
in the depths of the sea (Maldonatus Not. Manusc.}. Or it may be 
that he means to say that after his shipwreck he spent a day and 
a night tossed by the waves, not in a boat or on a raft, but swim 
ming in the deep, i.e., on the open sea (Theophylact, Ambrose, 
S. Thomas). Haymo says that this latter explanation of S. Paul s 
rescue alive from the belly of the deep, like another Jonah, is the 
tradition of the Fathers. 

Of these scourgings and this shipwreck there is no record in the 
Acts of the Apostles. The shipwreck at Melita, narrated in Acts 
xxvii., happened long after this, when Paul was sent a prisoner to 
Rome. Only one scourging is mentioned, that in Acts xvi., and 
only one stoning, that in Acts xiv. S. Luke, it is evident, therefore, 
is silent on many details of S. Paul s life. 

Ver. 26. In perils by my own countrymen. Through the plots 
that the Jews often entered into against him (Anselm). 

In painfulness. sErumna (Latin version), which, says Cicero, 
is laborious toil, as, e.g., when one that is tired out is forced, for the 
sake of rest, to undertake fresh toils. 

The things in which the Apostle glories are those that not only 
many Christians now-a-days but many clergy would be ashamed of, 
as S. Bernard laments when commenting on the words, "Lo, we 
have left all." Whither have we drifted ? Where has the apostolic 
Spirit gone? Whither are fled the humility, labours, sufferings, and 


zeal of the primitive Church? The Apostles, the princes of the 
Church, Christ s lieutenants, do not rejoice in their palaces, their 
carriages, their silken robes, in an attending crowd of noblemen, 
domestics, soldiers, horses, and hounds ; in banquets and dinners ; in 
fat benefices; in an effeminate, luxurious, and sumptuous life; but 
they exult and glory in hunger, thirst, painfulness, and weariness ; 
cold and nakedness ; in continual journeying to barbarous nations ; 
in persecution, preaching, scourgings, beatings, stonings, death, 
martyrdom, fatigues by day and night ; they are made all things to 
all men ; they scorn no one ; they are fathers of the poor and the 
afflicted ; those that are barbarous, ignorant, and poor they teach : 
they preach to them the Gospel, comfort them, give them alms. 
This was the calling of the Apostles ; this was the high dignity of 
the princes of the Church, of which Paul here boasts ; this was the 
spirit of the early Christians, both clergy and people. Nor has this 
spirit, God be thanked, died out in this age. Our age has had, and 
still has its Borrome o, Pius, Xavier, Menesius, Caspar, Hosius, and 
others like minded. 

Be not ashamed then, O Bishop, or prior, or doctor, or pastor, 
to imitate these men to visit the poor after their example, to enter 
hospitals and prisons, to hear the confessions of peasants, to give 
counsel to the unhappy, to instruct the simple and ignorant, to 
be made all things to all men, to zealously seek the salvation of 
all In these works do not shrink from toil, fatigue, and sorrow, 
even unto death; in this cause be pleased and delighted to suffer 
scoffs and even blows. So Christ did and suffered, so did S. 
Paul, so did the Apostles in general. In this consisted their virtue, 
holiness, and apostleship. In that last day of the world, when 
the Chief Shepherd and great Doctor shall sit as Judge, to examine 
the deeds of each one and to pass on each one sentence of an 
eternity of bliss or an eternity of woe, He will not ask you how 
many benefices, what wealth, or servants, or knowledge you had, 
but how you used them how many by them you converted, how 
many poor you fed or gave drink to, how many you visited in 
prison, how far you spread His Gospel and extended His glory; 


what labours, dangers, ridicule, and persecutions you bore for Him ; 
what hunger, and thirst, and weariness. These things God has 
done ; and, while we have time, let us think on these things, let 
us do these things, that we may stir up in ourselves and in all 
men the spirit of the primitive Church and of the Apostles, that 
we may follow Christ our Leader, and the Apostles His princes, 
and so by our zeal and burning charity, set on fire a world now 
growing old and stiffening with cold. Then shall we in due time 
hear with the Apostles : " Verily I say unto you, that ye who have 
followed Me, in the regeneration, when the Son of Man shall sit 
on the throne of His glory, then shall ye also sit on twelve thrones, 
judging the twelve tribes of Israel." 

Listen to what S. Chrysostom has to say of these sufferings 
and victories, and the courage of S. Paul (Horn. 25, 26): "Paul, 
as a champion athlete, against the world contends in every kind of 
contest, and conquers in all. This -was his apostolic character, and 
by these contests he spread the Gospel. Just as a flame of inex 
tinguishable fire, if it falls into the ocean and is swallowed by the 
waves, emerges again as bright as ever so too S. Paul, though pressed 
on all sides, was not oppressed ; not knowing how to yield. Suffering 
but left him the more glorious victor and martyr a thousand times 


S. Chrysostom (Horn. 2) says again : " Paul, through the abun 
dance of his devotion, somehow did not feel the sufferings that he 
underwent in the cause of virtue ; nay, he thought virtue itself its 
own reward. Daily, he rose higher and more ardent ; in erery 
attack he rejoiced and gained the victory ; when suffering under 
blows and injuries he counted it triumph. He sought death before 
life, poverty before riches ; he longed for toil more than others 
rest ; he counted cities, nations, provinces, and power as of as little 
account as the sand. He regarded nothing bitter and nothing sweet, 
as men commonly regard things. He looked on tyrants as moths ; 
on death, tortures, a thousand sufferings as mere child s play, provided 
that he might endure something for Christ. He was as adamant, 
nay. harder and stronger than adamant. Like a bird he flew over 


the ivhole world to teach it, and, as though hampered by no body, he 
despised all sufferings and dangers. So thoroughly did he despise 
all earthly things that heaven might seem already his." 

Ver. 28. Beside those things that are without, that which comet h 
upon me daily. The weight of business that daily presses upon 
me. The Greek word here used denotes, says Budseus, to collect 
a band, to call together a meeting, as, e.g., when the mob assembles 
and makes an attack on the aristocracy and the magistrates. So 
the Apostle here uses the word to denote those manifold cares 
which, as it were, formed a band and rushed upon him from 
every side, and almost overwhelmed him, and this not once only 
but continuously. Chrysostom, Theophylact, and Ephrem under 
stand it to mean that factious conspiracies, seditions, tumults, 
popular outbreaks, and plots were being always set in motion 
against him. This is, indeed, the literal meaning of the Greek ; 
but S. Paul has already mentioned those troubles in ver. 26. The 
former meaning is, therefore, the better. Then next clause, "the 
care of all the churches," is explanatory of this. Anselm and 
Theophylact say beautifully: "Everywhere Paul teaches, but he 
also suffers greatly. He endures his own sufferings, and at the 
same time bears the sufferings of others. He bears the infirmities 
of individuals, and at the same time is anxious about the salvation 
of all." 

S. Chrysostom here (Horn. 18) teaches us beautifully, by his ex 
ample, that nothing is sweeter than this anxiety, thought, labour, 
and grief of a good pastor for the Church. " A mother too," he says, 
"/# the midst of deep grief for her child has pleasure ; in the midst of 
anxiety she has joy. Though her anxiety be a source of bitterness, 
yet her devotion gives her great happiness" Let great men, and 
those that are ministers of Christ, desire to be ever in motion as 
the heart is, or like the heavens, and, as Suetonius says of Vespasian, 
to die standing. Pacatus says, in his Panegyric of Theodosius : 
"Divine things delight in continual motion, and at the same time 
eternity feeds itself on movement, and your nature delights too in 
what we men call labour. As the heavens revolve with unfailing 


rotation, and the waves of the sea are ever in motion, and the sun 
never stands still, so are you, Emperor, always engaged in matters 
of business that seem to return in a regular cycle." 

Ver. 29. Who is weak and I am not weak? Who is weak, 
or grieves, or is afflicted, and I am not with him weak, grieved, or 
afflicted ? Who is offended and I am not on fire, both with grief, 
because the evil that my neighbour suffers when he is scandalised 
is mine, and with zeal also, to remedy his trouble and remove the 
cause of offence ? 

S. Gregory (Horn. 12 in Ezek. iv. 3), on the words, "Take thou 
unto thee an iron pan," thinks that by the pan is meant the mind of 
Ezekiel, who, on seeing the overthrow of Jerusalem, was, as it were, 
roasted in a pan with compassion. Of this God puts him in mind 
by ordering him to place a pan between himself and the city. Such, 
too, was S. Paul when he said : "Who is offended and I burn not?" 
"Paul had set on fire his heart" says S. Gregory, "with zeal for 
souls, a ?id so had made it a pan in which, from love of virtue, he flamed 
against vice." 

Ver. 30. Of the things which concern mine infirmities. I will 
glory of the afflictions, blows, persecutions, and sufferings that I 
have borne for Christ. Through them I seem weak, i.e., despicable, 
mean, and worthless (Chrysostom). Observe that Paul glories 
not in his miracles but his infirmities, because in them there 
shines forth the effectual power of God s grace, and also because 
in these he surpassed the false apostles, and thirdly, because they 
are the tokens of real virtue and of an Apostle. 

Ver. 32. The governor under Aretas the king. This satrap of 
King Aretas was, says Theophylact, the father-in-law of Herod. 
Josephus says that Herod Antipas, who put to death John the 
Baptist, married the daughter of Aretas. 

Ver. 33. And through a -window in a basket was I let down. 
This escape of S. Paul from Damascus happened in the year 39 (Acts 
ix. 25), when, as Josephus says, Aretas, King of Arabia and of the 
country near Damascus, waged war against Herod, because Herod 
had repudiated his wife, the daughter of Aretas, for the purpose of 


marrying Herodias. In this war Herod was worsted, and slain by 
Aretas. This brought on Aretas the vengeance of Tiberius Caesar, 
who sent Vitellius, governor of Syria, to take or slay Aretas (Josephus, 
Ant. lib. x. c. 7). Using the opportunity, the Jews, enraged with 
S. Paul, seem to have accused him before the prefect of Aretas of 
disturbing the people under a pretext of preaching the Gospel, and 
so drawing them away from heathenism, and consequently from 
Aretas. They wished to show that this would end in his betraying 
Damascus to the Jews and to Vitellius. Hence the prefect sought 
to take Paul, but he, being warned, escaped by being let down by the 
wall in a basket. Of. Baronius (Annals, vol. i. p. 34>. 


1 For commending of his apostleship, though he might glory of his wonderful 
revelations, 9 yet he rather chooseth to glory of his infirmities, 1 1 blaming 
them for forcing him to this -vain boasting. 14 He promiseth to come to them 
again: but yet altogether in the affection of a father, 20 although hefeareth he 
shall to his grief find many offenders, and public disorders there. 

T T is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and reve- 
lations of the Lord. 

2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I 
cannot tell ; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell : God knoweth ;) such an 
one caught up to the third heaven. 

3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot 
tell : God knoweth ;) 

4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, 
which it is not lawful for a man to utter. 

5 Of such an one will I glory : yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine in 

6 For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool ; for I will say the 
truth : but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he 
seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me. 

7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the 
revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan 
to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 

8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 

9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee : for my strength is 
made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my in 
firmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 

10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in 
persecutions, in distresses for Christ s sake : for when I am weak, then am I 

Ill am become a fool in glorying ; ye have compelled me : for I ought to 
have been commended of you : for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest 
apostles, though I be nothing. 

12 Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in 
signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds. 

13 For what is it wherein ye were inferior to other churches, except it be that 
I myself was not burdensome to you ? forgive me this wrong. 

14 Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you ; and I will not be 
burdensome to you : for I seek not yours, but you : for the children ought not to 

lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children. 



15 And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more 
abundantly I love you, the less I be loved. 

1 6 But be it so, I did not burden you : nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you 
with guile. 

1 7 Did I make a gain of you by any of them whom I sent unto you ? 

1 8 I desired Titus, and with him I sent a brother, Did Titus make a gain of 
you ? walked we not in the same spirit? walked we not in the same steps? 

19 Again, think ye that we excuse ourselves unto you? we speak before God 
in Christ : but we do all things, dearly beloved, for your edifying. 

20 For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and 
that I shall be found unto you such as ye would not : lest there be debates, envy- 
ings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults : 

21 And lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and 
that I shall bewail many which have sinned already, and have not repented of 
the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness which they have committed. 


i. That the Corinthians may esteem him above the false apostles, he 
describes his being carried up into the third heaven. 

ii. He goes on to say (ver. 7) that to prevent his being puffed up a thorn 
in the flesh was given him ; for strength is made perfect in weakness. 

iii. He clears himself (ver. n) from any charge of self-love, by pointing 
out that it was they who had compelled him to praise himself, instead 
of commending him, as they ought to have done, for his long-suffering, 
miracles, preaching without charge, charity, and care for them. 

iv. He refutes the calumny (ver. 17) brought against him, that he collected 
money from them craftily, not personally, but by means of Titus. 

v. He expresses a fear (ver. 21) lest, when he should come to them, he 
might find some of them involved in dissensions and other sins ; and 
thus he tacitly warns them that he may with grief be compelled to 
castigate them. 

Ver. 2. / knew a man in Christ. A Christian. He thus 
describes him, says Theophylact, that it may be clear that Paul 
was taken up by the grace of Christ, and not, like Simon Magus, by 
the power of the devil. 

Above fourteen years ago. Hence we conclude that this rapture 
of S. Paul took place about nine years after his conversion, which 
took place A.D. 36 ; Paul, therefore, was taken up A.D. 44, which 
was the ninth year from his conversion. It was in this year that, 
by the direction of the Holy Spirit, he was ordained, with Barnabas, 
Apostle and Doctor of the Gentiles (Acts xiii. 2), that is to say, a 


little before he began this apostleship. This is evident, because, 
as I said at the beginning of this Epistle, S. Paul wrote this A.D. 
58, in the second year of Nero. This rapture of S. Paul did 
not take place, therefore, in the year of his conversion (Acts ix. 
12), i.e., A.D. 36, though some join S. Thomas in assigning it to 
that year. 

Theophylact remarks on the modesty of the Apostle in having 
kept this silent for fourteen years. Secondly, he points out that 
Paul, fourteen years before, was privileged to contemplate such 
deep things, how much more did he merit it now, after the labours 
of so many years ? 

Whether in the body I cannot tell. Although the Apostle says 
that he knows nothing for certain about this rapture, yet S. Thomas 
(ii. ii. qu. 175, art. 5), and others think it probable that his soul 
remained united to his body as its form, otherwise Paul would have 
died and then risen again. Moreover, it does not beseem God, when 
He throws men into an ecstasy, to kill them ; nay, such a process 
would not be one of rapture and ecstasy, but a putting to death. 
This, too, would involve the multiplication of many miracles. But 
it is a principle that we should not multiply miracles; therefore 
it is easier and more natural to suppose that, like other Saints, Paul 
was carried up while remaining in the body. 

Caught up. " To be caught up is" says S. Thomas, "to be raised 
from what is natural to what is supernatural by the power of the 
higher nature." Hence angels and the Blessed are not caught up 
when they see God. Although they are raised above nature, yet 
they are not cut off from nature, i.e., from the power man has of 
naturally having consciousness of objects by means of his bodily 
senses and his re-presentative powers. But when " caught up," the 
soul is deprived of the use of its senses and imagination, and Paul, 
therefore, was so deprived, or he would have known that he was in 
the body. Moreover, such abstraction, as S. Thomas says, may 
take place under the influence of disease, as when a man is 
delirious, or even by the power of devils, as when they carry off a 
man. It is not, however, called rapture or ecstasy, unless wrought 



by Divine power, which withdraws the mind from the senses, and 
lifts it up to the contemplation of things supernatural. 

To the third heaven. What is this heaven? i. S. Basil (Horn. i. 
in Jfexem.) infers from this that there is not merely one heaven, as 
Chrysostom thought, nor two, as Theophylact held, but at least 
three. Some add that there are three only, and that the third is 
the highest. But all the astronomers of olden times will dispute 
this, for they reckoned eight at least, as will moderns, who count 
at least eleven. 

2. S. Thomas says (ii. ii. qu. 175, art. 3, ad. 4): "By the third 
heaven may be understood any supernatural vision, and in three ways 
it may be called the third heaven. First, with relation to man s 
cognitive powers. Then the first heaven will be any supernatural, 
corporal vision, seen by the bodily eye, such as that of the handwriting 
on the wall, described in Daniel v. The second heaven will be any 
vision presented to the imagination, such as that of Isaiah, and of 
S. John in the Apocalypse. The third heaven will be any intellectual 
vision, such as is explained by S. Augustine (super Gen. ad Lift. 12). 

" Secondly, the distinction may be made according to the different 
orders of the objects of consciousness. Then the first heaven will be 
the knowledge of celestial bodies ; the second, the knowledge of celestial 
spirits ; the third, the knowledge of God Himself. 

" Thirdly, the three heavens may be the different steps of the knowledge 
by which God is seen. The first will then belong to the angels of the 
lowest hierarchy ; the second to the angels of the middle hierarchy ; the 
third to the angels of the highest." According to this test, S. Paul 
would have been caught up to the third and highest hierarchy of 
angels, and standing there with the seraphim, have seen most clearly 
the essence of God, and from thence have been enkindled with that 
burning fire of charity with which he afterwards set on fire the whole 

But I should say that the third heaven is the highest, or the 
empyrean, where the Blessed dwell. Hence, in ver. 4, it is called 
Paradise. It is called the third by a Hebraism. The number 
three denotes completion, being the first number to which the word 


all may be applied. We do not speak of " all two," but we may 
and do say "all three." Hence the poet says : "Oh, thrice and four 
times blessed they," &c., i.e., completely blessed. Again (in Amos 
i. 3) we read, " for three transgressions of Damascus, " meaning, for 
all. In ver. 8 of this chapter again, we have, "I besought the Lord 
thrice," or, very often, till I could ask no more, until the answer 
came : " My grace is sufficient for thee." 

3. It is simplest of all to say with S. Thomas, in the passage 
above quoted, that " the first heaven is the sidereal, the second the 
crystalline, the third the empyrean ; " or, rather, that " the first is the 
aerial, the second the sidereal, the third the empyrean," as Theophy- 
lact gives them. With him agree Julian Pomerius, and Damascene 
(de Fide, lib. ii. c. 6), and many others. " The air " in Scripture is 
commonly called " the heaven ; " hence we get " the birds of heaven." 
The air, therefore, is the first heaven, and is called the aerial one. 
All the heavenly orbs are the second heaven, or the etherial, and 
the third is the empyrean. Hence Cajetan is wrong in rejecting 
the empyrean, in which the Blessed dwell, and supposing that the 
third is the crystalline. In this latter are the waters which, in 
Gen. i. and elsewhere, are said to be above the firmament. 

Mystically, S. Bernard says that the three heavens are the Three 
Persons of the Holy Trinity, and also the three virtues and gifts 
by which we ascend to them and to the highest pinnacle of 
grace and glory, viz., humility, charity, and perfect union. He says 
(Tract, de Grad. Humil.) : " Those whom, by His word and example, 
the Son has first taught humility, on whom the Holy Spirit has then 
poured the gift of charity, these the Father at length receives in glory. 
The Son makes them disciples, the Paraclete comforts them as friends, 
the Father exalts them as sons. Firstly, He instructs them as a 
Master; secondly, He comforts them as a Friend or a Brother ; 
thirdly, He embraces them as sons. From the first union of the 
Word and reason is born humility ; from the second union of the 
Spirit of God with the will of man comes charity ; then at last the 
Father unites to Himself His glorious bride. And thus reason is not 
suffered to think of itself or of the will of its neighbour, but the beatified 


soul delights to say this alone : The King hath brought me into His 
chamber: These steps were not surpassed by S. Paul, who declares 
that he was caught up to the third heaven" 

A second question arises : Was Paul truly and really caught up 
into the empyrean, so as to be in it as in a place, or was he there 
only by way of imagination or of understanding, so that he seemed 
to himself in his imagination to be in heaven, and saw what was 
being done there, while his body and soul remained on earth? 
Some think with probability that he was not caught up actually and 
truly, but only imaginarily, because he includes this rapture in vers. 
i and 7, under the head of visions and revelations of the Lord. 
God can bring it to pass that I in Belgium can see what is going on 
in India, and even what is passing in heaven. This may be brought 
about either through the imagination or the understanding, or even 
by the eyes of the body ; for God can so raise these above them 
selves, so co-operate with them above nature, so strengthen and 
extend the visual powers as to make them reach even to heaven. 
If that power may be increased beyond what is natural by spectacles 
or medicaments, why may not God extend this power yet further 
and further? Thus it happened to S. Anselm, that he was able to 
see through a wall what was going on on the other side, by God 
imprinting the proper images on his retina. So Bede says that 
S. Diethelmus and others saw in imagination the pains of purgatory. 
Why, then, should not Paul have seen in the Same way the empyrean, 
and what was passing in it ? 

Others, with perhaps greater probability on their side, think that 
he was actually and truly caught up into the empyrean. They give 
as their reasons : (i.) That the Greek verb used is not the technical 
term for casting into an ecstasy, but a word which denotes an actual 
rapture (^777). (2.) That Paul is doubtful whether his soul was 
caught up with his body or without his body ; therefore he pre 
supposes that his soul was truly and really caught up ; for in a 
vision that is merely imaginary there is no doubt that the soul alone 
and not the body is caught up by the imagination. (3.) That there 
he actually heard mysterious words, so that, as the destined teacher 


of the world, he seemed to go forth from heaven, and to com 
municate to men what he had there seen and heard as God 
willed him, and so brought to men as from heaven heavenly 
wisdom. Cf. ver. 4, note. 

Now if the soul was really caught up, and yet remained united 
to the body (as I said in the opening note on this verse), then the 
body of Paul seems to have been caught up into paradise; and 
indeed this is as easy with God as taking up the soul only. This 
would be fitting to S. Paul s office, who was to be the teacher and 
Apostle, not, like Moses, of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles, 
and so should wholly come forth, like another Moses, from inter 
course with God in heaven. 

Ver. 3. Whether in the body or out of the body I cannot tell. S. 
Athanasius (Serm. 4 contra Arian.) thinks that Paul knew the mode 
in which he was caught up, yet says : " I do not know," or, " I cannot 
tell ; " because he could not reveal it to others, in the same way that 
Christ, in S. Mark xiii. 32, says that He did not know the day of 
judgment. For though in himself he knew, yet as far as others 
were concerned he did not know, for he could not explain it. But 
others do better in understanding him simply to mean: "I do not 
know," and his simple recital of the event seems to require this. 

Ver. 4. Into paradise. Ambrose, CEcumenius, Haymo, Anselm, 
and Theophylact think that Paul was twice caught up : (i.) into the 
third heaven, and (2.) then higher still into paradise. If so, the 
third heaven would be the heaven of sun, moon, and stars ; but what 
would Paul have done there? Hence others hold that the events 
are one and the same, and that the third heaven and paradise are 

It may be asked : Why, after saying that he was caught up into 
the third heaven, does Paul say that he was caught up into paradise, 
as though it were a place higher still ? I reply that of the vast em 
pyrean paradise is one particular part where the Blessed are, and 
a more glorious part than the rest. S. Paul would imply that not 
only did he see deepest mysteries by his understanding, but also in 
his will drank in ineffable happiness. He signifies this by the term 


paradise, which, both in Greek and Latin, denotes a place of 

Paradise is not a Greek word meaning, as Suidas thinks, a well- 
watered garden, nor yet a herb-garden, as others suppose, but, as 
Pollux says, it is a Persian word, or rather Hebrew, denoting a garden 
planted with pleasant trees and fruits. Cf. Eccles. ii. 5 ; Neh. ii. 8 ; 
Cant. iv. ii. It is derived from two Hebrew words, denoting to 
bring forth myrtles. Then, because myrtle is of a pleasant smell, 
and does best in gardens, the name has been transferred to plea 
sure-gardens, plantations, and glades, and then again to any pleasant 
place. Here the third heaven is called paradise. 

Did Paul see there the Divine Essence? S. Augustine (Ep. 112, 
c. 13), Clement (Stromata, c. 5), Anselm, and S. Thomas (ii. ii. 
qu. 175, art. 5) say that he did, and their opinion is probable; for 
he was for this purpose caught up into paradise, or the place where 
the Blessed see God. Again, he heard secret things of which it 
is not lawful for man to speak : but men may speak of everything 
except the Divine Essence. 

It may be objected that in that case he ought to have said that he 
saw things, not heard words. I reply that, by a common Hebraism, 
" to hear words " means " to see things " (Theodoret) ; as, e.g., with 
the prophets vision and hearing are the same, so is it in the minds 
of the Blessed. 

But the contrary seems more probable, (i.) For even with a 
separated soul, to hear does not mean to behold a thing clearly, but 
to take in the words of God, or of an angel, or of man ; otherwise 
he would have said without ambiguity, I saw ineffable things, even 
God Himself. (2.) S. Paul says, in i Tim. vi. 16, speaking of God, 
"Whom no man hath seen." (3.) If he saw God he must have 
seen also his own state, whether he was in the body or not. But he 
says that he did not. (4.) But he gives a scanty account of his 
visions here, and says that, cut of humility, he passes over greater 
things. Cf. Gregory (Morals, lib. xviii. c. 5), Jerome, Cyril, Chry- 
sostom, and the Fathers and Schoolmen in general, and also Lud. 
Molina (pt. i. qu. xii. art. n, disp. 2). (5.) Scripture says more 


plainly of Moses that he saw the Essence of God, and yet I have 
shown clearly enough, in the notes to Exod. xxxiii., that Moses did 
not seek to see the Essence of God, and would not have obtained 
such a request if he had made it. In Exod. xxxiii. 20 the Lord dis 
tinctly replies to him in the negative : " Thou canst not see My face, 
for no man shall see Me and live." It was only conceded to him 
that he should see the back parts of God, that is, the back of the 
body assumed by the Angel who represented God. Moses, how 
ever, sought that God, or the angel, who behind a cloud stood in the 
place of God, and spoke with him from the cloud, should unfold 
Himself, that he might see Him clearly and converse with Him face 
to face. The angel answered him that the eyes of man cannot see 
His face, but only His back ; because the face assumed by the 
angel was so shining and so gloriously bright and majestic that it 
shone to a certain extent with the glory of God. It surpassed, 
therefore, the splendour of the sun, which man cannot look on 
directly with unveiled eyes, nay, rather man is blinded by the 
splendour. If follows from this that much less could this far more 
splendid face of the angel be seen by Moses ; nay, he would have 
been blinded by it. But in the back of the body that the angel had 
assumed the light was so toned down that Moses could look upon 
it Moses looking upon this was so covered as it were with light 
that his face shone, and seemed to emit two horns of rays of light. 
This vision of Moses was a bodily vision, for with the eyes of his 
body he saw the back of the angel s body. He was, therefore, far from 
seeing the Divine Essence ; and if he did not see it, much less did 
S. Paul, who speaks more obscurely and more humbly of his vision. 
And heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man 
to utter. What were these mysteries that Paul heard or saw in 
paradise ? They are related indeed in the book which is styled " the 
Apocalypse of S. Paul," but this book is not genuine, and is full 
of mythical stories, and is scouted by S. Augustine (Tract. 98 in 
Johan.}, Bede, Theophylact. Epiphanius attributes it to the sect of 
Cainites. I should reply that no certain answer can be given where 
Paul kept silence. Still it is natural to suppose that Paul saw and 


heard wonderful things of the nature, gifts, grace, glory, and orders 
of the angels, as S. Gregory says (in Ezech., Horn. 4). Hence S. 
Dionysius, in his " Celestial Hierarchy," so describes the orders of 
the angels from what he heard from S. Paul, that you might think he 
saw them with his eyes. Again, he may have heard wondrous things 
about some Divine attributes not known to us here ; he may have 
seen too the glory of Christ, for he was taught the Gospel by Christ 
(Gal. i. 12). He was caught up that he might receive authority, and 
not be inferior to the other Apostles, who had seen Christ in the flesh 
and been taught thoroughly by Him (Chrysostom). Theodoret adds 
that he saw the beauty of paradise, the choirs and joys of the Saints, 
and heard the tuneful harmony of the heavenly hymns. This caused 
his exclamation of admiration : " Eye hath not seen nor ear heard, 
neither have entered into heart of man the things which God hath 
prepared for them that love Him." 

Secondly, it is better to suppose that he heard the mysteries of 
the reason, mode, and order of the Divine reprobation and pre 
destination, and the call of men, especially of the heathen pro 
vinces to be converted by himself. Of this mystery Paul frequently 
expresses his admiration, as in Rom. xi. 33, and it had special refer 
ence to his mission (Baronius). 

Thirdly, he may have heard mysteries concerning the Gospel 
of our redemption by Christ; for he says (Gal. i. 12) that he had 
received this Gospel by revelation, viz., when he was caught up. 
Lastly, he heard, as it might seem, mysteries of the government 
and progress of the Church in his time and afterwards. This, 
too, would affect his office, as he had already been singled out 
as the Church s teacher and guide. He calls them " unspeakable 
words," both because he was forbidden to utter them, and also 
because we are unable either to speak of them or to understand 

Ver. 4. Of such an one will 1 glory ; yet of myself I will not 
glory. He speaks of himself when caught up and in his ordinary 
state as two different persons, so as not to be thought vain-glorious 


But in mine infirmities. My calamities, my sufferings. By a 
common Hebrew metonymy - infirmity" is here put for "grief." 
They are related as cause and effect or effect and cause. Cf. 
ver. 9; Micah iv. 10. In Isa. liii. 3, we read of Christ that He 
should be "a Man of sorrows and acquainted with infirmity" 
(Vulg.). Cf. also Ps. xvi. 4 (Vulg.). 

Ver. 6. But now I forbear lest any man should think of me 
above that which he seeth me to be. Lest he should think me an 
angel or some god, as the Lycaonians did (Acts xiv. 10). He 
could have related more wonderful things about himself, but 
modesty and humility cause him to conceal them. "All the 
Saints," says Anselm, " not only do not seek at all for glory above 
their measure, but they even shrink from that which they have 
merited." S. Bernard says beautifully (Ep. 18 ad Pet.}: " We 
praise others hypocritically, and delight in vanity ourselves ; and thus 
they who are praised are vain, and those who praise are false. 
Some flatter and are crafty ; others praise as they think and are 
false ; others glory in the words of both and are vain. He alone 
is wise who says with the Apostle, I forbear, lest any man should 
think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth 
of me?" 

Ver. 7. And lest I should be exalted above measure. From 
this it appears that Paul, as the heavenly teacher of the world, had 
many great revelations, and was accustomed to them, and, as it 
were, at home among them. Some of these are narrated by S. 
Luke. Cf. Acts ix. 3; xviii. 9; xxii. 17; xxvii. 23. S. Augustine 
(Enarr. in Ps. Ixxviii. 68, Vulg.), on the words, " Benjamin in the 
excess of his mind," understands S. Paul to be referred to as being 
of the tribe of Benjamin. 

There was given me a thorn in the flesh. Not by the devil, but 
by God. Not that God is the author of temptation, but He 
allowed the devil, who was ready beforehand, to tempt Paul, and 
that only in appearance, and in the matter of lust to humble 
him. Cf. Augustine (de Nat. et Graf. c. 27). " This monitor," says 
Jerome (P.p. 25 ad Faulam, on the death of Blesilla), * was given 


to Paul to repress pride, just as in the car of the victor, as he 
enjoys his triumph, there stands a monitor whispering to him, 
Recollect that you are a man. 1 So, too, at the installation of a 
Pontiff, tow is lighted and extinguished, while the words are sung : 
" Holy Father, thus passes the glory of the world." Hence the 
best preservative against the temptations of the flesh is humility. 
If you are rooted and grounded so deeply in that as God exalts 
you by His gifts and graces, there will be no need for Him to 
apply this thorn to keep you humble. Cf. Rom. i. 24, note. 

What was this thorn, and how did it buffet S. Paul? How was 
it a messenger of Satan? Augustine (de Nat et Graf. c. 16) replies 
that he does not know what it was. But two things are certain : 
(i.) that he was vexed by Satan, and (2.) that this vexation was like 
a thorn fixed in his flesh, and continually paining him. 

But it is not certain what its particular nature was. Anselm, 
Bede, Sedulius, and Jerome (in Gal. iv. 13) think it was bodily 
illness, as constant headache (S. Jerome), or colic (S. Thomas), or 
costiveness, or gout (Nicetas, commenting on Orat. 30 of S. Gregory 
Nazianzen), or some internal disorder. S. Basil (in Reg. cap. ult.) 
and S. Augustine (in Ps. cxxxi.) think that this goad was some disease 
sent upon Paul, just as on Job, by the devil. The Apostle, however, 
nowhere else complains of any diseases. Moreover, they would have 
been a great hindrance to him in the preaching of the Gospel. 

Secondly, Chrysostom, Theophylact, Theodoret, CEcumenius, 
Ambrose, Erasmus think that this thorn refers to the persecutions 
Paul endured from his adversaries, and of which he speaks in ver. 10. 
But these were external goads, not thorns in the flesh, and of these 
he is wont to boast, not complain. 

Thirdly, others, with more probability, think that this thorn in the 
flesh consisted in blows and beatings, often given to Paul by Satan, 
as to Antony and others, so that pain remained in his body, as 
a thorn, from the blows he had received. This is the literal mean 
ing of the words used no doubt ; but if this be so, Paul would surely 
have said more plainly: "There was given me the messenger of 
Satan to buffet me." Nor would the generous mind of S. Paul 


have complained of this : he was but raised higher by the attacks 
of devils and men, and found in them matter for glorying. 

Fourthly, others think, therefore, that this thorn in the flesh was 
the motions of concupiscence and the temptations of lust. This con 
cupiscence, like a thorn or a dart, is so deeply fixed in the flesh that 
while life lasts it cannot be taken out. Hence it is called in Greek, 
o-KoAoi/ , a stake, a sharpened stick, a thorn, a javelin, or sting. 

It may be asked : " Why, then, does he call this thorn the 
messenger of Satan, or the minister of Lucifer?" I reply that he 
means by the messenger of Satan, Satan himself, as the exciting cause 
of this thorn of concupiscence ; or even he calls the thorn sent by 
Satan, the adversary of his chastity, by the name of Satan. This 
would be a metonymy, where the cause is put for the effect, the agent 
for his work. For the devil, by stirring up the humours, by kindling 
the blood, by inflaming the feelings that subserve generation, by put 
ting foul images before S. Paul s mind, gave life to that concupis 
cence which had been as it were put to sleep, and mortified by 
his numerous labours, fastings, and troubles. Thus he stirred up 
S. Paul to obey the foul motions of lust. 

Secondly, it is proved, from Rom. vii., that this concupiscence 
was in S. Paul, for there he bewails it more than he does here. 
Hence, too, as he said i (Cor. ix. 27), he was in the habit of casti 
gating his body. 

Thirdly, had it been anything else he would have said so clearly ; 
but as it is, modesty and shame bid him conceal it, and call it meta 
phorically a thorn. 

Fourthly, this thorn was given him to humiliate him. But noth 
ing so humiliates those who are chaste and lovers of virtue, as this 
temptation of the flesh, and nothing is so great a check on them, 
and makes them so work out their own salvation with fear and trem 
bling. Through the frailty of their flesh they are always in fear of 
lapsing in the midst of temptations so dangerous and well calcu 
lated to make them yield consent. And, therefore, they rather glory 
in illness, blows, persecutions, and other evils, especially if, like 
S. Paul, they suffer for Christ and His faith. 


Fifthly, these temptations of the flesh, properly speaking, do not 
hurt the Saints, but buffet them, that is strike them with shame and 
sorrow. A man, when struck by his friend, is suffused with shame 
rather than overcome with pain. 

Sixthly, Paul prays repeatedly and earnestly to be set free from 
this thorn ; in other things he would have sought not liberation, 
but fortitude and constancy. But concupiscence is overcome, not 
so much by courageous endurance as by instant flight. He asks, 
therefore, to be set free from it, and hears, " My grace is suffi 
cient for thee." It is this grace which in this case is especially 
necessary, and should be always sought for by those that are tempted, 
that they may resist and overcome this civil foe lurking within and 
always striving to stir up war. 

Lastly, this is the opinion of S. Augustine (Enarr. 2 in Ps. lix.), 
S. Jerome (ad Eustoch. de Custod. Virgin?), Salvianus (Serm. de 
Circumas., wrongly attributed to Cyprian), Haymo, Theophylact, 
Anselm, Bede, S. Thomas, Lyranus, and others. It seems, too, the 
common belief of the faithful, who from this passage speak of the 
temptation of lust as a thorn in the flesh. The voice of the people 
is the voice of God. 

But, what Cardinal Hugo adds, viz., that this temptation found a 
place in Paul, owing to his familiar converse with a beautiful virgin, 
S. Thecla, whom he had baptized, and afterwards kept with him 
in his journeyings, is false, and merely conjecture. Paul took no 
woman about with him, as he says in i Cor. ix. 5. And even if he 
had, he would have been bound, under penalty of incurring guilt, 
to send her away if he found her to be an occasion of so much 
troublous temptation. Moreover, what need would there have been 
for S. Paul to pray to God so instantly that this thorn might be 
taken from him, when he might easily have got rid of it himself? 
Add to this that this story is taken from a book entitled, "The 
Journeys of Paul and Thecla," which is rejected as apocryphal by 
S. Jerome, Tertullian, and Gelasius. 

Erasmus and Faber object to this, firstly, that the thorn of lust 
was unbecoming and unworthy of so great an Apostle, and he now 


an old man. I answer that in our lapsed state it is not only not 
unworthy, but is also beneficial. See S. Gregory (Moral, lib. xix., 
c. 5 and 6) and Anselm, who point out how useful it is to the 
Elect to be now caught up into ecstasy, and now depressed by weak 
ness, so that they may never be puffed up with pride or cast down 
into despair, but may always keep the narrow way that lies midway 
between the two, and which leads to heaven. Rom. vii. 23 shows 
that this concupiscence existed in S. Paul, and experience tells us 
that it has been, and now is, in the Saints, even when they are old 
men. S. Gregory Nazianzen, for instance, often complains of the 
evils of his flesh, as in Ep. 96, and in his hymn on his flesh 
and the burden of his soul. Moreover, Paul was not an old man, 
for he was a young man when converted perhaps twenty-five or 
twenty-seven (Acts vii. 58). This Epistle was written twenty-two 
years after his conversion, when he would, therefore, be about fifty 
years old. 

Secondly, the objection is raised that the Apostle immediately 
adds : "Most gladly, therefore, will I rather glory in my infirmities." 
But we may not glory in concupiscence, and therefore he must 
mean some other infirmity and thorn. To this I reply that the 
Apostle is not referring in these words to the thorn in the flesh 
that he had just mentioned, but also, and more properly, to all 
the sufferings that he had borne for the faith, and which he had 
recounted in the last chapter. In them, he says, he glories always. 
He uses the word infirmity in its widest meaning, and plays on it, 
as I will point out at ver. 10. Moreover, it is lawful to glory in 
this temptation of the flesh, not in itself, so far as it excites to evil, 
but as it is an affliction put upon us by the devil, and as in it the 
strength of Christ is made perfect. In this way Julius Csesar used 
to glory, and desire most powerful foes, that he might show against 
them his power and warlike courage. So, too, many Saints have 
prayed to God, and asked to have temptations, and have gloried in 
them. Hence, S. James says (i. 2) : " My brethren, count it all joy 
when ye fall into divers temptations." Cf. also S. James i. 12. 

Morally, it should be observed that temptation is not to the 


righteous a cause of falling, but a spur to virtue. For, as high- 
spirited horses, when urged by the spur, quicken their pace, and 
show their spirit more, so are Saints spurred on by temptation to 
walk more diligently in virtue, lest they give way and perish. 
Hence, some of the Saints of great earnestness were not saddened, 
but gladdened, by temptations. In the "Lives of the Fathers" 
(lib. iii. c. 8) we read of an aged man who, on seeing one of his 
disciples grievously tempted to commit fornication, said to him : 
" If you wish it, my son, I will pray the Lord to remove this attack 
from you." The disciple replied : " / see, my father, that I am 
undergoing a laborious task, yet I feel that it will bring forth in me 
good fruit ; because, through this temptation I fast the more, and spend 
more time in vigils and prayers. But I beseech you to pray God of 
His mercy to give me strength, that I may be able to bear it, and fight 
lawfully" Then the old man rejoined: " Now I perceive, my son, 
that you faithfully understand that this spiritual struggle may, through 
patience, help on your soul towards eternal salvation. For so said 
the Apostle, / have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I 
have kept the faith ; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of 
righteousness. 1 " 

S. Dorotheus relates of a certain holy monk that he grieved at 
being freed from temptation, and exclaimed : " Am I not then 
worthy, O Lord, of suffering, and being a little afflicted for Thy 
love?" Climacus (Grad. 29) relates of S. Ephrem, that seeing him 
self possessed of deep peace and tranquillity, which he himself calls 
impassibility, and an earthly heaven, he besought God to restore 
to him his former temptations and struggles, so that he might not 
lose the material for meriting and adding to his crown. Palladius 
relates that Abbot Pastor, on some one saying to him, "I have 
prayed to God, and He has set me free from all temptation," replied : 
" Pray God to restore you your temptations, lest you become sloth 
ful and careless." 

Ver. 8. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice . . . and He said 
unto me. Three is the number symbolic of multitude and universality. 
The answer meant that though he was weak in himself, yet in God 


be might be strong enough to overcome this temptation. It, hence 
appears that Paul was not heard, and was not freed from his thorn. 
S. Augustine gives the reason (Enarr. in Ps. cxxxi.). He says : 
" As when some disagreeable medicine is brought to one that is sick, 
and he asks the physician to take it away ; whereupon the physician 
comforts him and urges him to have patience, because he knows 
that the medicine is good for him, so does God here deal with 
Paul." As a physician from vipers flesh makes a conserve against 
vipers poison, so does God, out of our weakness, form a medicine 
against weakness, and makes one lust of the flesh a remedy against 
another, as, e.g., this thorn of the flesh was a preservative against 

Ver. 9. for my strength is made perfect in weakness. This is 
a general proposition, a moral axiom applying to any weakness, but 
properly and primarily to that thorn of concupiscence just mentioned. 
These are the words of God in answer to the prayers of S. Paul. 
The greater the temptation of the flesh is, the greater is the strength 
supplied by Christ. This explains the paradox that follows : " When 
I am weak then am I strong." 

The strength is both Paul s and God s Paul s as the receiver, 
God s as the Giver. Therefore, the Divine power is best manifested 
in weakness when, (i.) in those that are weak it works fortitude, 
patience, and other superhuman works. (2.) When he by whom 
anything is done, conscious of his own weakness, claims nothing 
for himself, but gives all the praise to God. Observe here the 
difference between the power of God and the power of the world. 
One is seen in force and violence, the other in endurance. (3.) In 
firmity is the object of patience, fortitude, and temperance, in the 
same way that those who are infirm are more sober when they 
are ill. (4.) Infirm people keep the most careful watch over them 
selves, and prudently refuse whatever is noxious, and so become more 
self-controlled by habit (S. Thomas). Certainly, virtue feeds on 
opposition, and, therefore, by temptation, chastity becomes constant, 
and every virtue more robust, as we see in the lives of Joseph, 
Susannah, Paul, and others. (5.) S. Augustine says mystically (de 


Gratia Christ, c. 12), as does Anselm : "Fortitude is a true know 
ledge and humble confession of our infirmity." And S. Jerome 
says, writing to Ctesiphon : " The one perfection to be found in this 
life is to recognise our imperfection." By this you learn not to 
trust to your own strength, but to cast yourself wholly with perfect 
confidence on the power of God, who strengthens the humble and 
those that hope in Him, and makes them as it were almighty, as S. 
Bernard says (Serm. 85 in Cantic.}, able to pass unscathed through 
all temptations, labours, and dangers. 

S. Augustine gives us an instance of this in his own life (cf. lib. 
viii. c. n). He says: " When habit that seemed to me irresistible 
said to me, Can you live withotit them ? " (the concubines that he 
had been accustomed to have), " there appeared to me in the direction 
to which I had turned my face, while shrinking from setting out that 
way, the pure dignity of continence, with dignified mien, inviting me to 
come without hesitation, holding out, to welcome and embrace me, holy 
hands filled with hosts of good examples. There were multitudes of 
boys and girls, and many a youth ; all ages were there, sober widows 
and aged virgins. She smiled encouragingly upon me, as much as to 
say, Can you not do what these men and women have done ? They 
did it not in their own strength, but in the Lord their God. He 
gave me to them. Why do you stand in yourself and fall 1 Cast 
yourself upon Him ; fear not. He will not withdraw and cause you to 
fall. Boldly trust yourself to Him : He will receive you and will 
heal you." 

Lastly, virtue is made perfect in weakness, because, as S. Bernard 
(Ep. 254) says, in a robust and vigorous body the mind lies effemi 
nate and lukewarm, and again in a weak and sickly body the spirit 
grows stronger and more vigilant. As one to whom nature has 
denied strength excels in intellect, so where God withholds health 
He gives robustness and vigour of mind, so that the mind afflicted 
with a feeble body sighs after its resurrection and after heaven; 
spurns whatever is transient, troubled, and exposed to decay; lives 
for the future life, not the present ; thinks with Plato that this life is 
death s mediator ; in short, gives itself wholly to God and heavenly 


things. " The mind that is allied to disease is close to God," says 
Nazianzen. Listen to what a famous old man said to one of his 
disciples who enjoyed bad health ( Vita Patrum, lib. iii. n. 157) : " Be 
not sad, my son, at your sickness and bodily ills. It is the highest 
duty of religion to give God thanks in weakness, ff you are iron you 
lose your rust by fire ; if you are gold you are tried by the fire and 
proceed from great to greater. Be not distressed, then, my brother. 
If God wishes you to be tormented in the body, who are you that you 
should be angry with Him ? Bear up, then, and ask Him to give 
you what He sees Jit." 

S. Theophanes, Abbot of Sigrianum, a man who never had good 
health, A.D. 816, gave the following answer to the iconoclastic 
emperor, Leo the Armenian, who threatened him with dreadful 
tortures if he did not condemn the worship of images : " If you 
hope to terrify me with your threatenings, a man already worn out 
with disease and old age, as teachers threaten with a beating boys of 
no generous spirit, then let the pyre be kindled, let the instruments of 
torture be got ready, together with every engine of malicious cruelty, 
that you may know most clearly that the strength of Christ is made 
perfect in my weaknesses. I, who cannot walk on the ground, shall 
find my weakness changed into strength, and will leap upon the fire." 
And he was as good as his word ; for after many temptations he was 
shut up in prison, and all access to him was forbidden; and so, 
being gradually weakened by hunger, filth, and disease, he offered up 
his soul in two years time to God, as a sweet-smelling sacrifice, and 
after his death became illustrious for his miracles. The Church 
commemorates him on March i2th. Cf. Baronius {Annals, A.D. 816). 
Cf. also S. Thomas and S. Chrysostom (Horn. 26), on the benefit of 
infirmities and tribulations. 

Lastly, S. Bernard (Tract, de Grad. Humil.} says : " Virtue is made 
perfect in weakness? What virtue 1 Let the Apostle tell us : Gladly 
will I glory in my infirmities, that the virtue of Christ may rest upon 
me} But perhaps you do not yet understand what special virtue he 
meant, since Christ had all virtues. But though all were found in 
Him, yet one in particular shone above all, viz., humility. This He 



commended to us in the words, Learn of Me, for T am meek and 
lowly of heart: Gladly, then, O Lord Jesu, will I glory if I can in 
my infirmity, in my bodily illness, that Thy virtue, humility, may be 
made perfect in me ; for when my virtue fails, Thy grace avails: 

Most gladly, therefore, will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the 
power of Christ may rest upon me. Humility makes him glory not 
in his strength but in his infirmity; and so he calls upon Christ 
to give him strength, and tacitly says that he throws himself upon 
Him. Hence, by infirmity he means every kind of suffering, tribu 
lation, temptation, humiliation, as is explained in the next verse. 
Infirmity, then, is a generic term, including anything that causes pain 
to mind or body. Hence (i.) it may embrace sicknesses, which, 
S. Basil says, formed Paul s thorn in the flesh ; (2.) labours, such 
as are described in the preceding chapter; (3.) temptations of the 
flesh (ver. 7), or any other temptations; (4.) watchings, fastings, 
and other acts of mortification of the body, by which the body is 
weakened and made subject to the spirit; (5.) insults, persecutions, 
dangers, blows, and all afflictions borne for the sake of the faith of 

the Gospel. 

Let them that are infirm console themselves amidst their infirmi 
ties by the thought that the power of Christ tabernacles in them as 
in its proper home. The power of God shows itself most where 
there is most need for it, and gives the greatest help when necessity 
is greatest. "To Thee," says the prophet, "the poor is left : Thou 
wilt be a helper of the fatherless." For although naturally "bodily 
weakness involves also mental," as S. Jerome says (Pref. lib. ii. 
Comment, in Amos}, and " the body which is corrupted weighs down 
the soul" (Wisd. ix. 15), yet supernaturally it is otherwise; for the 
soul that is strengthened with grace strengthens also the body. S. 
Francis, for instance, increased in mental vigour as his body grew 
more feeble, so much so that in giving thanks to God he prayed 
that his sicknesses might be increased a hundredfold. To fulfil 
Thy will, O Lord," he said, " is my exceeding comfort." See his 
Life by S. Bonaventura. 

S. Bernard (Serm. 34 in Cantic.) says: " ffe does not say that he 


bears his infirmities patiently, but that he glories in them, and glories 
in them most gladly, proving that it was good for him to be humbled ; 
for God loveth a cheerful giver. Humility alone which is joyous and 
unconstrained merits the grace which it receives." Again, in Sermon 25, 
he says : " We should wish for infirmity, which is supplemented by the 
power of Christ. Would that / might be not only weak, but destitute, 
and wholly wanting in anything of my own, that I might be strengthened 
by the might of the Lord of might ; for strength is made perfect in 
weakness. And since this is the case, the bride beautifully turns it to 
her glory that she is held tip to scorn by her rivals, and she glories, not 
only that she is comely but also that she is black. She thinks nothing 
more glorious than to bear the reproach of Christ. The ignominy of 
the Cross is pleasing to him who is not unflleasing to the Crucified" 

Ver. 10. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities. Not because 
they are desirable in themselves, but in so far as through them the 
power of Christ is perfected. He then goes on, as I said before, to 
mention what is included under the generic term infirmity. 

For when I am weak then am I strong. When I am afflicted then 
do I gain strength by the power of God s grace, long-suffering, forti 
tude, humility, and hope, which virtues are then implanted by God 
(Chrysostom). QEcumenius thinks, however, that he means that he 
then becomes strong to work miracles, S. Basil too (in Ps. xxxiii.) 
says, that "great bodily power is an impediment to the salvation of 
the soul." S, Bernard says beautifully and truly (Serm. 29 in Cantic.} : 
" Do you see that the weakness of the flesh adds strength to the spirit ? 
so, on the other hand, be assured that the strength of the flesh works 
spiritual weakness. What wonder is it if you become stronger when 
the enemy is weakened ? unless perchance you are insane enough to 
suppose that the flesh, which is always lusting against the spirit, is your 
friend. . . . The saint who prudently keeps his eye fixed on his salva 
tion prays to be shot at and attacked. Pierce my heart with Thy fear. 
That fear is the best of arrows, for it pierces and slays the lusts of the 
flesh, that the spirit may be saved. But does not he that castigates his 
body and brings it into subjection seem to you to himself help the hand 
of him that fights against him ? 


Ver. ii. / am become a fool in glorying. I seem to have done 
foolishly in praising myself, but you, who had of me a lower opinion 
than you ought, and who gave more credence to the false apostles 
than to me, have compelled me to recover my influence over you by 
thus praising myself. 

Though I be nothing. That I am an Apostle is not my doing, it 
is of the grace of Christ (Anselm). Cf. xi. 5, note. 

Ver. 12. Truly the signs of an apostle. The genuine tokens of 
an Apostle were : (i.) patience under contempt, poverty, persecutions, 
dangers (Anselm). (2.) Miracles. He calls these signs of the true 
faith, of heavenly doctrine, or signs given by God working super- 
naturally and ail-powerfully, and consequently bearing witness to 
the truth of Paul s doctrine and to his Divine mission. He calls 
them also wonders, from the effect they were calculated to produce 
on the mind, and also mighty deeds or works of God s omnipotence, 
of which he was the instrument. 

It was incumbent on the Apostles, as the bearers of a new 
Gospel to the world, to prove their doctrine and apostleship by 
miracles, otherwise they would have exacted a credulous assent, 
and could not have been distinguished from impostors, like the false 
apostles. This should be observed by Protestants and their new 
apostles, Calvin and Luther, who are bringing in a reformed 
doctrine : this, being new, demands to be supported by miracles. 
Since they do not produce these credentials unless they think it 
to be a miracle that when they promise to raise a dead man they 
put to death a living one (but from such miracles and such apostles, 
good Lord, deliver us) they practically confess that they are no 
apostles, but impostors. 

Ver. 13. For what is it wherein ye were inferior to other churches ! 
I.e., other churches founded by me and other Apostles. I was no 
burden to you, but worked day and night to support myself. Then 
he ironically adds : " Forgive me this wrong." For this notable and 
generous act of beneficence, the Apostle should have been more 
highly esteemed and loved, not reckoned as one that had inflicted 
an injury. 

s. PAUL S GUILE 197 

Ver. 14. Behold the third time. The first visit was when he 
converted them ; the second time he was ready to start, but post 
poned his visit for good reasons ; the third occasion was at the time 
of his writing, and took place actually afterwards (S. Thomas and 

For the children ought not to lay up for the parents. A euphemism. 
Earthly parents lay up treasure for their children ; spiritual fathers, on 
the other hand, should be supported by their children, i.e., by the 
catechumens and the faithful. I am to you, says S. Paul, such a 
spiritual father, that I wish to be also an earthly one, and expend 
upon you myself and all that I have. He thus gently chides them, 
that they may see how great an Apostle he is, how high-minded, of 
how great charity, and be confounded for not returning his love, and 
for preferring the false apostles, who thought only of themselves and 
their own gain. 

Ver. 15. And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you. I will 
spend all my goods, and then gladly give for you my blood, my 
spirit, my life (Anselm). 

Ver. 1 6. Being crafty , I caught you with guile. S. Thomas (ii. 
ii. qu. 55, art. 4, ad. i) thinks that craftiness and guile are here 
used in a good sense, as much as to say, with cunning, skill, and 
prudent caution did I convert you from heathenism to Christianity. 
But I should say that these are words used by his detractors, and 
appropriated by S. Paul. They carp at me, saying that Paul does 
not directly ask for anything for his support, but he catches you with 
guile, by sending Titus and others to drain your purses (Chrysostom). 
S. Paul then goes on to answer this charge. 

Ver. 17. Did I make a gain of you ? Did I defraud you, and 
extort your money from you ? Or, with Vatablus, Did I fleece you ? 
Or, with Ambrose, Was I covetous towards you? 

Ver. 19. Again, think ye that we excuse ourselves unto you ? For 
again the Latin version has "of old time." There are some among you 
who have for a long time thought that I have said so much as I have 
said as an excuse for my avarice and double-dealing, or that I craftily 
excuse myself and refuse your gifts, to induce you to give more. 


We speak before God in Christ. We speak sincerely, truly, and 
without any reservation, as it is right for one to speak who professes 
to be in Christ, i.e., to be His disciple and member. Or "in Christ " 
may mean, with Christian sincerity, Christ being put for His attri 
butes, the concrete for the abstract. Or, again, the sentence may 
mean : Before God we sincerely speak the truth, and I call Christ as 
my witness to my truth. As we say when taking an oath, " By God," 
or, " By Christ," so do the Hebrews say, " In God," or, " In Christ." 
So Vatablus takes it. Cf. also Rom. ix. i. Anselm, however, under 
stands " We speak in Christ " to mean, " According to Christ and 
His doctrine," which bids us speak with sincerity and truth. Or, 
" in Christ " may mean " by Christ, who speaks in me and through 
me ; " but the first meaning is the simplest and best. 

Ver. 20. I fear . . . lest there be -wraths. Qvpk is with the Greeks 
that part of the mind which is called the irascible faculty, placed 
by Plato in the heart, and opposed to reason, which has for its seat 
the brain. Thence the word is applied to angry quarrellings, auda 
cious arrogance, irascible conduct, when a man will not give up 
his opinion, but clings to it obstinately, and hotly opposes others, to 
show his spirit. Such actions spring from the irascible faculty when 
it is unchecked. 

Whisperings. Secret and hidden attacks made by the malevolent 
on those they wish to bring into odium, or when they wish to sever 
friendships. Such a "whisperer" was Antipater, the son of Herod, 
who, that he might succeed his father, tried to make his elder 
brothers suspected by their father, that he might put them to death ; 
but a just Nemesis overtook him, for he was himself put to death 
by Herod, as Josephus relates at length. 

Swellings. Pride and arrogance, which, as it were, puff up those 
they take possession of. 

Ver. 21. Lest my God will humble me among you. Lest He 
sadden me, and cause me to sorrowfully punish many of you, viz., 
those who persist in their sins. The Apostle s words point to the 
public penance inflicted on those who were strictly called penitents. 
Cf. Augustine (p. ad Salvinam, 108). 


Just as the Apostle and every preacher rejoice chiefly in the 
progress of their disciples, and to be able to say, "Ye are my joy 
and crown," so do they mourn most to see them fall away into sin, 
and make no return for all their exhortations and labour. Again, 
such an one is forced to punish against his will and with grief. 
The words of Nero at the beginning of his rule are well known : 
when obliged to sign a sentence of capital punishment against some 
criminals, he exclaimed : " Would that I knew not letters." 

And have not repented of the undeanness. Of their effeminacy 
and other lusts, which make them sin against nature, and subject 
her to violence. The Apostle draws a distinction between unclean- 
ness and fornication. 

Lasciviousness. Wanton delight in lustful kissing and touch. 


r He threateneth severity, and the poiver of his apostleship against obstinate 
sinners. 5 And advising them to a trial of their faith, 7 and to a reforma 
tion of their sins before his coming, II he concludeth his epistle with a general 
exhortation and a prayer. 

"PHIS is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three 
witnesses shall every word be established. 

2 I told you before, and foretell you, as if I were present, the second time ; and 
being absent now I write to them which heretofore have sinned, and to all other, 
that, if I come again, I will not spare : 

3 Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, which to you-ward is not 
weak, but is mighty in you. 

4 For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power 
of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of 
God toward you. 

5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith ; prove your own selves. Know 
ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? 

6 But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates. 

7 Now I pray to God that ye do no evil ; not that we should appear approved, 
but that ye should do that which is honest, though we be as reprobates. 

8 For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth. 

9 For we are glad, when we are weak, and ye are strong : and this also we 
wish, even your perfection. 

10 Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use 
sharpness, according to the power which the Lord hath given me to edification, 
and not to destruction. 

11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, 
live in peace ; and the God of love and peace shall be with you. 

12 Greet one another with an holy kiss. 

13 All the saints salute you. 

14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the com 
munion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen. 


i. There were some at Corinth who had abandoned themselves to impurity, 
others who were proud and contentious (xi. 20, 21), others given to 
other sins, and disposed to regard S. Paul s admonitions cheaply. 
He threatens such in this chapter, that he may provoke them to 



ii. He bids them (ver. 3) keep in mind and reverence the effectual grace 

given him by Christ, and the wonderful works it had enabled him 

to perform, 
iii. He beseeches them (ver. 7) to do no evil, lest he be forced to use 

against them his power to punish, 
iv. He exhorts them (ver. n) to perfection, to love one another, to live 

at peace, to greet one another, and sends them his own salutation. 

Ver. i. This is the third time I am coming to you. Or the third 
that I have purposed to come; and when I come it will be to 
punish those who are convicted, on the testimony of two or three 
witnesses, of having sinned, and of not having done penance. 

In the mouth of two or three witnesses. Every accusation, every 
cause shall be settled on the deposition of two or three witnesses, 
so that the guilt that I shall punish may be sufficiently established. 
Others explain this to mean that the two or three witnesses are his 
three visits to Corinth, and they point to the reference to his three 
visits which immediately precedes this clause. I am one, he would 
then say; but coming to you a third time (xii. 14, note), I shall have 
the authority of two or three witnesses (Maldonatus, JVotce, MSS.}. 
But this interpretation is too jejune. The lofty mind of the Apostle 
has in view something wider and higher than this ; moreover, it 
seems foreign to his drift. He is quoting Deut. xix. 15, the plain 
meaning of which, as applied here, is that when he comes to judge, 
each accused person shall be condemned or acquitted on the evi 
dence of two or three witnesses. 

Although this law, in so far as it is part of the judicial law of the 
Old Testament, has been abrogated by Christ, yet in so far as it is 
part of the law of nature, it is still in force, and has been admitted 
by both Civil and Canon Law; for common-sense has taught all 
nations that it is only fair and fitting that no one should be con 
demned but on the testimony of two or three witnesses at least. 
One witness may easily be suborned or be deceived, but not so well 
two. S. Paul then accepts and follows this law in its literal mean 
ing, as does Christ in S. Matt, xviii. 16. 

Ver. 2. I told you before, and foretell you, as if 1 were present, . . . 
and being absent. As I declared when I was present with you, so 


do I still say when absent. The Greek copies add after present, 
the second time, but the meaning is unaltered. His writing from a 
distance is, as it were, a second personal address. 

Ver. 3. Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me. Do you 
mean to disregard my injunctions, in order to see whether I dare 
and have power to punish the disobedient by the power given me 
by Christ? So may a teacher say to his rebellious pupil, " Do you 
wish to feel the weight of my arm, and to try the birch?" 

Which to you-ward is not weak. Christ has already shown Him 
self not weak but powerful, by powerfully working through me so 
many wonderful miracles, and by so recently punishing the forni- 
cator by my excommunication, and handing him over to Satan as 
his tormentor. He refers principally to this power of punishing 
possessed by him. 

Ver. 4. For though He was crucified. Through the weakness 
of His humanity, yet by the power of His Godhead He rose and 

For we also are weak in Him. With Him and for Him we are 
weak, we suffer, and are afflicted. According to this the for denotes 
not cause but likeness, and is put for so, by a usual Hebrew usage, 
which expresses similitude by doubling the conjunction. 

We shall live with Him by the power of God toward you. Through 
Him and with Him we will show the power of Christ, i.e., the 
spiritual vigour of the Gospel, and in particular the power of punish 
ing the contumacious amongst you (Theophylact). Anselm and 
Theodoret explain it : We with you shall rise by the power of God 
to eternal bliss. But the first sense is more in harmony with the 
context. This is supported by the phrase toward you (not merely 
in you\ as well as by the fact that he is concerned with showing 
the power of Christ lodged in himself, to punish the contumacious. 
His argument is : As Christ, though weak in Himself, yet rose with 
power to a life of unending bliss, so equally does He work in us 
Apostles, and by us, weak though we be, and will continue to work 
powerfully in producing unearthly virtue?, conversions, miracles, and 


Ver. 5. Examine yourselves ivhether ye be in the faith. A stern 
rebuke. See, O Corinthians, that ye do not foolishly put faith in the 
false apostles, and so be out of the faith. Try yourselves, and see 
whether you believe or not. If you hold fast the faith, and continue 
in it, you will believe, nay, you will see Christ to be powerful in you, 
and also in me, by the mighty works He does through me, and thus 
you will be led to acknowledge my apostleship and evangelical 

Theophylact and Gagneius take it otherwise : Make trial of your 
selves, and see if you are powerful through Christ indwelling within 
you, so that through Him you work miracles. In the primitive 
Church the faithful laity even had the power of working miracles. 
These two writers, therefore, understand S. Paul here to refer to that 
faith which works miracles united to the gift of prophecy and of 
tongues, which faith is a sign of the indwelling of Christ in that 
congregation in which it flourishes. 

Others, thirdly, explain it thus : Try yourselves, and see if you 
have faith which worketh by love, whether you have the love of 
Christ abiding in you. But the first meaning is the true one, and 
the one that suits best the context. 

Observe here that this precept shows that the faithful do not 
know for certain, and therefore should not, and cannot, believe that 
they have faith, and consequently cannot be assured of their 

It may be retorted that S. Paul adds : "Know ye not your own selves, 
how that Jesus Christ is in you ? " I answer that he does not mean 
that Christ was in their hearts, or in their faith which justified them, 
or in them individually, but in them collectively as a church. The 
proof of this was that they saw so many miracles, so many gifts and 
graces conferred upon their church, that they had no doubt about 
the presence and working of Christ among them. His conclusion 
is that the Corinthians ought to hold fast to this Church and to 
Christ by faith, and therefore to Paul as His vicar (Theophylact). 

This appears, secondly, from the fact that the object of faith is 
not " that I am just," but that " Christ Jesus is among us," i.e. t in our 


Church, and working powerfully in it through the Apostles; con 
sequently we are the true Church of Christ, and the Apostles and 
their descendants are true teachers. 

It may be urged here that S. Augustine (de Trin. lib. iii. c. i) and 
S. Thomas here say that we may have certain knowledge that we 
possess faith. I answer : We know certainly that we believe and 
cling to Christ, but whether we do this by Divine or human faith, 
whether so earnestly, firmly, divinely as our righteousness and salva 
tion require, we know not, but can only conjecture. 

Except ye be reprobates. "A reprobate" says Anselm, " is one who 
either knows not, or has deserted the upright faith and honest heart 
that he received in his baptism" Theophylact hence says that 
S. Paul hints that the Corinthians were corrupt in life and character. 
You do not, he seems to say, recognise that Christ is in you, because 
you are wicked and of evil life. Evil living is the beginning and the 
cause of apostasy and heresy. It was lust and pride that caused 
Luther, Calvin, Bucer, Ochino, and all the Protestant leaders, 
whether priests or monks, to throw off the habit of the Catholic 
faith and the Roman Church, and to throw themselves into for 
bidden nuptials, apostasies, and heresies. 

Secondly, it is better to take reprobates, as in ver. 7, in the 
sense of despicable. From the signs of grace and of the miracles 
wrought among you by Christ, you know that Christ is in you, unless 
perchance you have been rejected by Christ, and deprived of the 
light He gives, and so reduced to your former darkness and abject 
state. Hence I said : " Examine yourselves whether ye be in the 
faith ; " see if your faith is honest : if it is, you know that Christ 
is in you; if you do not know, it is a sign that your faith is 
useless, that you have been rejected by Christ, and are no longer 

Ver. 6. But I trust that ye shall know that we are not repro 
bates. Not rejected by Christ, and deprived of His grace, and 
so mean and inglorious. You see indeed the opposite : you see 
Christ working powerfully in me, converting the Gentiles, punishing 
the rebellious, approving all that I do, co-operating with me, and 


giving me a successful issue in all things, so making me well known 
through all Achaia, nay through all the world. 

Ver. 7. Now I pray to God that ye do no evil. S. Augustine 
from this lays down, in opposition to the Pelagians, that grace is 
required not only to do good works, but to abstain from evil, to 
resist temptations, to keep ourselves unspotted from the world and 
the flesh. To overcome the more grievous temptations is impossible 
for nature unassisted by the grace of God. 

Not that we should appear approved. I am not labouring to have 
my fame and power approved by you, and to manifest to you the 
power I have to effectually punish those among you who do wrong : 
for all this I care little. One thing I do care for, and that is, that 
ye should do that which is honest, though we be as reprobates. 
Reprobates may mean, as Gagneius thinks, "esteemed wicked." 
Or better still, it means regarded as rejected, as abjects deprived 
of power, inglorious, without authority to punish. If they were 
obedient, this authority would not be exercised, and so might, by 
those so disposed, be denied. It is clear, therefore, that reprobate 
is not here used as the opposite of predestinated, or of devout or 
holy, but of approved and highly thought of (Theophylact and 
Anselm). Cf. i Sam. xv. 9; Ps. cxviii. 22. 

Ver. 8. For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the 
truth. Truth, not mental or verbal, but that truth of life which is 
righteousness and equity. We cannot, he says, do anything against 
those who live as Christians righteously, against those who do what 
is good ; we cannot show against them our power to punish. But, 
on behalf of truth or righteousness, we can both punish those who 
violate it, and praise and reward those who follow after it. 

Secondly, Theophylact explains it to mean : We cannot pass any 
sentence against the truth, so as to punish a man who does not 
merit punishment ; but we can, and ought to pass sentence for the 
truth, and punish the guilty. This meaning follows from the first, 
and is plainer and easier. 

Others take the passage thus : As we cannot pass it over if you 
do anything against the truth, i.e., against righteousness and your 


Christian calling ; so, if you act according to righteousness, we 
cannot punish you, because we can do nothing against the truth. 
All our power is to be jealously guarded, and used on behalf of 
truth and righteousness. 

Ver. 9. For we are glad when we are weak. I rejoice to be 
looked upon as weak, owing to my not being called upon to display 
my power to punish you, through your abounding grace and virtues, 
and freedom from guilt (Theodoret, Theophylact, Anselm). 

The innocent are called, and are, strong, as here, because they 
have no reason to fear Apostle, or devil, or angel, or death, or hell, 
or anything in the word. The Latin Version reads " because " for 
when we are glad because we are weak. The meaning is the 
same. S. Paul is speaking conditionally : he does not say that he 
actually is weak and they strong, but that if it is so, if at any time 
it so happen, then he is glad. 

Ver. ii. Be perfect. The Greek word used here denotes to 
mend a torn garment. S. Paul is alluding to the vices, evil habits, 
and especially the lukewarmness of the Corinthians. He says in 
effect : Make yourselves whole again, correct your old faults, curb 
the license of your lives, re-knit your severed friendship, union, and 
concord, so that you may have nothing to correct, nothing calling 
for punishment at my hands. Or, again, the word used is one 
bidding them agree amongst themselves and with their head, even 
as members in a body agree with each other under a common head. 
Cf. i Cor. xii. 16, note. 

Be of good comfort. Exhort one another to better things (Latin 
version). Have consolation in mutual agreement (Vatablus). 

Be of one mind. Have the same convictions, the same will : be 
of one mind and one soul. 

Live in peace, and the God of love and peace shall be with you. 
God is the author and giver of peace, and is well pleased with peace : 
as its guardian, He will be with you (Anselm). Ediner, in his Life 
of Anselm, relates that he was wont to say that those who in this 
life conform their wills to the will of others, so far as righteousness 
allows, merit at God s hands to have Him conform Himself after this 


life to their will, and live at peace with them. On the other, those 
who quarrel here with the wills of others will hereafter find no one 
to conform his will to theirs. It is the just rule of God s justice, 
that with whatever measure we mete it shall be measured to us 
again. God acts in the same way in rewarding other virtues and 
punishing other sins. 

Ver. 12. Greet one another with an holy kiss. What was this 
kiss? Xenophon (Cyropredia, lib. i.) and Herodotus (Clio) testify 
that it was a heathen custom to salute one another with a kiss at 
meeting, in token of friendship. Suetonius says that Tiberius tried 
in vain to put an end to the practice. The Jews had the same 
custom. Cf. 2 Sam. xx. 9. Judas, too, was but conforming to 
what was usual when he beirayed Christ with a kiss. It was a still 
more solemn and common custom with the early Christians, both 
on other occasions, and especially when they met for Holy Com 
munion, to salute one another with a kiss, or other familiar salutation, 
saying, "Peace be with you." This was a symbol of goodwill 
towards those about to communicate, of the forgiveness of all injury, 
and of pure charity. Cf. Cyril (Cat. Myst. 5). Tertullian (de Orat.} 
calls this kiss " the symbol of prayer." 

S. Chrysostom gives the mystical meaning to be, that through our 
mouth enters the body of Christ. We, therefore, kiss it, just as the 
early Christians, out of reverence for the sacred building, used to 
kiss the doors of the church. He gives directions how to guard 
this mouth against all that defiles, and to consecrate it to the praises 
of God. In some churches, even now, it is the custom for the 
canons to give this kiss before the Holy Communion. When some 
men, though the sexes sat apart, secretly crept in among the women 
and kissed them, the kissing the tablet of peace, as it is called, took 
the place of the kiss of peace. 

A holy kiss, therefore, is not one that is heathen, carnal, fraudu 
lent, but one that is devout, pure, and sincere, as a Christian s should 
be (Chrysostom). Cf. S. Augustine (Serm. 83 de Diversis} and 
Baronius (Annals, A.D. 45). The author of the work " on Friendship," 
included among the writings of S. Augustine, gives four reasons why 


this holy kiss is given : (i.) as a sign of reconciliation between those 
who have been enemies; (2.) in sign of peace, as in the sacrifice of 
the Mass ; (3.) in sign of joy and of renewed love, as when a friend 
returns after a long absence; (4.) in sign of Catholic communion, 
as when a guest is welcomed with a kiss. But in all such matters 
the custom of the place is to be followed, and care must be taken 
that this kiss do not degenerate into a merely sensual delight. 

Ver. 13. The grace of the Lord, &c. Chrysostom, Ambrose, and 
Theodoret point out that this passage proves that the Holy Trinity 
is consubstantial, or of the same nature, power, and operation, 
especially in the work of our redemption, which is more particularly 
in the Apostle s mind. Ambrose says : " In the Trinity there is a 
unity of power, perfecting the whole of our salvation. For the love of 
God sent His Son to save us, by whose grace we are saved ; and that 
we might possess this saving grace, He makes us sharers of His Holy 

Observe i. that by the phrase " the love of God," the name of 
God is appropriated to the Father. For the Father is the fount of 
Godhead, and the Origin of the other Persons of the Blessed 

2. Love is fitly attributed to the Father, grace to the Son, and 
fellowship to the Holy Spirit : for from the Father and His love our 
redemption took its rise. " The Father so loved the world that He 
gave His Only-Begotten Son " to die for us. By the Son came 
grace, inasmuch as, when we merited nothing but evil, He redeemed 
us by His death, and merited all grace for us. By the Holy Spirit 
we are made partakers of grace and of the gifts of grace. Anselm 
explains "the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ" to mean that our sins 
are freely forgiven, and salvation given us ; " the love of God " to 
be the love of the Father in freely giving His Son for us ; " the 
fellowship of the Holy Spirit " to be the co-operation of the Holy 
Spirit with the Father and the Son in the work of man s salvation. 

3. Fellowship may be taken actively or passively. Passively, 
it is identical with participation, and the meaning would then be : 
May the Holy Spirit be given to you, that you may be partakers 


of His grace and its gifts, may be changed into the Holy Spirit 
not essentially but participatively (Theophylact). Actively^ the 
meaning is : May the Holy Spirit, who has fellowship with the 
Father and the Son in essence, in love, in power, and working, also 
have fellowship with them in communicating to you His gracious 
love, and the gifts attached to it. Especially may He cause you 
to lay aside all divisions, and be joined together in mutual love, 
inasmuch as He is the bond of union between the Father and the 
Son, and therefore between all the faithful, who partake of the same 
Spirit and are united in His love. S. Paul, therefore, wishes for 
them the gift of fellowship, to take away all divisions. 

4. Grace, love, fellowship may be either created or uncreated. 
Grace and love uncreate are the loving-kindness of the Father and 
the Son towards us. Thus we are said to find grace, i.e., goodwill, 
favour, in the eyes of God. -E.g., in Titus ii. 1 1, we read : " The grace 
of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared," viz., when out of His 
love for us He condescended to assume flesh for us. Similarly, the 
uncreated fellowship of the Holy Spirit is that communion or fellow 
ship which He has with the Father and the Son, or that partici 
pation of Godhead, and of all the Divine attributes which the Father 
and the Son communicate to the Holy Spirit, and He in him to 
us. Created grace is that which is infused into us to make us 
pleasing to God ; created charity is that by which we love God ; 
created fellowship of the Holy Spirit is the participation of His gifts 
given to us. 

If, then, firstly we take this verse of uncreated grace, love, and 
fellowship of the Holy Ghost, the sense is this : May the grace, or 
the loving-kindness of Christ, and the love that the Father has for 
us, and the fellowship, or that bond of love by which the Holy 
Spirit shares all the Divine attributes with the Father and the Son, 
and then communicates them to us, be and remain with you, to give 
you, and ever give you, fellowship in that love and all other good 
gifts of God. 

If, secondly, we take it of created grace, love, and fellowship of 
the Holy Spirit, all of which flow from their uncreated originals, then 



the sense will be : May the grace which Christ gives, and the love 
bestowed by the Father, and the gifts communicated by the Holy 
Spirit be and remain always with you ; and especially that mutual 
and brotherly love, which of all things is the brightest, the most 
pleasing to God, and the most necessary to you, O Corinthians, viz., 
the fellowship of the Holy Ghost. Similarly, in Rom. v. 5 love has 
both meanings. 

Give us ever Thy grace, O Jesu Christ, our Redeemer ; give us 
ever thy love, O Father, our Creator and Glorifier; give us ever 
fellowship with Thee, O Holy Ghost, our Justifier; that in time 
and eternity we may love Thee and glorify Thee, God the Father, 
God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, One God, Divine Trinity, 
Triune Eternity. What have I in heaven but Thee, and what is 
there that I can desire on earth in comparison of Thee ? God is 
the Strength of my heart and my Portion for ever. 






6 He wondereth that they have so soon left him and the gospel, 8 and accurseth 
those that preach any other gospel than he did. 1 1 He learned the gospel not 
of men, but of God: 14 and shewetfi -what he was before his calling, 17 and 
ivhat he did presently after it. 

PAUL, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God 
the Father, who raised him from the dead ;) 

2 And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia : 

3 Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus 

4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil 
world, according to the will of God and our Father : 

5 To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. 

6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace 
of Christ unto another gospel : 

7 Which is not another ; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert 
the gospel of Christ. 

8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you 
than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 

9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel 
unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. 

10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if 
I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. 

1 1 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not 
after man. 

12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revela 
tion of Jesus Christ. 

13 For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews religion, 
how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it : 

14 And profited in the Jews religion above many my equals in mine own 
nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. 

15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother s womb, and 

called me by his grace, 



16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen ; 
immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood : 

17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; 
but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. 

1 8 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with 
him fifteen days. 

19 But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord s brother. 

20 Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not. 

21 Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. 

22 And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ : 

23 But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now 
preacheth the faith which once he destroyed. 

24 And they glorified God in me. 


The Galatians were Gentiles who emigrated from Gaul into Greece, and so were 
called Gallo-Greeks. Suidas thinks that these Gauls were Sennonians, who, 
under the leadership of Brennus, invaded Rome, but being repulsed by 
Camillus, crossed over into Greece, and were there overthrown by a storm 
of rain and hail while they were attempting to plunder Delphi the few, he 
says, who escaped were called Gallo-Greeks or Galatians. However, Justin 
(lib. 25), S. Jerome, and others give a different account of them. The Gala 
tians were bounded by Cappadocia on the east, Bithynia on the west, Pam- 
phylia on the south, and the Black Sea on the north. According to Pliny 
(lib. v. c. ?<//.), their chief cities were Tanium, Pessinuntis, and Ancyra. Of 
their language, S. Jerome, in his commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians 
(Proem, lib. 2, in fine], says : "Apart from the Greek used by the whole of 
the East, their proper language is the same as that of the Treviri " that is, 
German. Since, then, the Galatians derived their tongue together with their 
origin from the Gauls, some think that German was the language of these 
latter, and they add that the Franks proceeded from German Franconia and 
thence obtained their name. Moreover, Clovis, the first Christian king of 
the Prankish Gauls, is styled Sicambrian. So did S. Remigius address him 
when coming to be baptized: "Meekly bow thy neck, O Sicambrian; 
adore what once thou didst burn ; burn what thou once didst adore " (Greg. 
Tur. de Gestis Franc, lib. 31). Now it is certain that the Sicambrians 
were Germans. In short, S. Jerome, Josephus, and Isidore lay down that 
the Galatians were descendants of Gomer, sprung from the Gomari or Cimbri, 
who were either Germans, or else closely akin to the Germans. 

These Galatians some converted Jews had induced to accept a Judaised Gospel, 
by quoting the example of Peter and other Apostles, who observed the 
Mosaic Law. Accordingly, S. Paul sharply rebukes them, and calls them 
back, pointing out that Christians are free from the Old Law, and cannot be 
subjected to it. Although, he says, the Jews might keep it for a time, so 
as to give it an honourable burial, yet Gentiles and such the Galatians were 
had not this reason, or any other, for embracing the law of Moses. If, 


therefore, they had embraced it, they must be supposed to have done so under 
the belief inculcated by the Judaising Christians, that the law as well as the 
Gospel was necessary to salvation. This error the Apostle condemns^ by his 
declaration, that the profession of Judaism is the overthrowing of Christianity ; 
for the Christian religion holds that Judaism has been done away, and that 
there is room for no religion save that of Christ, which alone is necessary 
and sufficient for salvation. This is the error that the Apostle so sharply 

The argument of this Epistle, accordingly, is the same as that of the Epistle to 
the Romans, of which this may be considered an epitome, and with which it 
has many ideas and expressions in common, as is pointed out by Jerome, 
Anselm, Theophylact, and Chrysostom. There is, however, this difference 
between the two, that in the Epistle to the Romans he opposes both Jews 
and Gentiles, here Jews only ; there he rejects the works of the law as well 
as the works of nature, here those of the law only, that he may establish the 
faith of Christ and the works of faith. This, then, occupies the first part of 
the Epistle, viz., chap. i. to v. 12 ; chap. v. 13 to the end is concerned with 
moral instruction. 

Ephrem Syrus, Jerome, Athanasius, Theodoret, and others think that the Epistle 
was written at Rome ; but Chrysostom and Baronius reject this opinion, on 
the ground that mention of his imprisonment, customary in his other letters 
from Rome, is wanting in this. They think, therefore, that it was written 
before the Epistle to the Romans, and at Ephesus, or some other city of 
Greece. But the time and place of writing can be determined neither from 
the Epistle itself nor from any external authority ; and in this respect it is 
the most obscure of all S. Paul s Epistles. S. Jerome and Augustine wrote 
elaborate commentaries on it, which are still extant. 


i. He chides the Galatians for suffering themselves to be seduced to 
Judaism, from the Gospel preached by him, by innovators and false 
teachers, against whom he pronounces an anathema. 

ii. He shows (ver. 11) the certitude of his Gospel, from the fact that he 
received it directly from Christ. 

iii. He describes (ver. 13) how, from the Judaism which he was vigorously 
defending, he was converted to Christ, and set apart for the preach 
ing of the Gospel, and how he traversed Arabia, Damascus, Syria, and 

y en L Paul, an apostle, not of men. That is, because the other 
Apostles were sent by Christ while still mortal, Paul by Christ 
when wholly deified, and therefore in every way immortal So says 
S. Augustine. But the simpler explanation is to take not of men 
to mean, not of mere men, but of Christ, man and God. 


There is a fourfold mission, says S. Jerome. Some are sent by 
God alone, as Paul; some by God through man s instrumentality, 
as Joshua was through Moses ; some by man alone, as those who 
are promoted by their friends to be abbot, dean, or bishop ; some 
by themselves, as heretics. The preposition "of" (al>) therefore, 
used here, denotes the principal cause, while "by" (per) denotes the 
instrumental; for the meaning is that he was not called by man, 
nor by God by means of man, but immediately by God Himself. 

Ver. 4. Who gave Himself- to be an expiatory victim for an 
atonement, and to the death of the Cross, that He might pay the 
price of our redemption. 

for our sins. "Righteousness Himself" says S. Jerome, "gave 
Himself, that He might destroy the unrighteousness in us ; Wisdom 
gave Himself to undo our foolishness ; Holiness and Fortitude offered 
Himself, that He might blot out our unclcanness and weakness." 

From this present evil world. Why does he call the world evil? 
The Manichasans reply : Because the world is material, it is evil 
and the creation of the devil. But this is a foolish reply. The 
evil world is worldly and carnal life and conversation, such as this 
world lives, and such as it invites us to ; and worldly men are such 
as by hook or by crook hunt after the goods of this world only- 
riches, honour?, and pleasures. The figure of speech here is a 
metonymy; the world is put for those who are in, or who are 
coming into the world. " The whole world lieth in wickedness. Not 
that the world itself is evil, but that things in the world become evil 
through men. So says the Apostle himself: Redeeming the time, 
because the days are evil. Sylvan glades become of evil report when 
they are filled with gins ; not that the soil and the trees sin, but 
because the very places gain notoriety for murder. So the world 
(seculum, i.e., a period of time, in itself neither good nor evil) is called 
good or evil through the actions of those who are in if" (S. Jerome 
in i John v. 19). 

Note that the word here rendered evil in the Greek, Trovrjpov, is 
rendered by S. Jerome bad, by Augustine great, by Erasmus crafty 
or miserable or full of toils, by Vatablus wearisome, especially on 


account of sins committed in this present life, which affords so many 
occasions of sin ; whereas the future world, to which Christ is leading 
us, is free from sin and is altogether pure. Valentinus evolved from 
his own consciousness his own aeons or worlds, declaring them 
to be animated beings, and the parents by quadrads, ogdoads, 
decads, and dodecads, of as many worlds as the son of ^Eneas had 
pigs (S. Jerome). 

Ver. 6. / marvel that ye are so soon removed from Christianity 
to Judaism, from the liberty of the Gospel to the slavery of legal 
ceremonies, from the church to the synagogue. "The allusion," 
says S. Jerome, " is to the Hebrew ??$, to roll, " and hints that, " You 
Galatians are as easily moved as a globe or a wheel, since you suffer 
yourselves to be so quickly transferred from the Gospel of Christ to 
the law of Moses." Elsewhere, however, S. Jerome sees an allusion 
to ya\a, " milk," and supposes that the Galatians were so called from 
the whiteness of their skin. 

From Him that called you. You are apostates from the Gospel, 
nay, from God and Christ Jesus, and that to the greatest injury 
and contempt of God and Christ, who called you, without any 
merits of your own, nay, against your demerits, out of His abounding 
love, into grace, reconciliation, friendship with God, and salvation. 
S. Jerome reads, by the grace of Christ, instead of into the grace of 
Christ, and so gets a more forcible rendering : I marvel that ye are 
so soon removed unto another Gospel from Christ, who called you 
by His grace, i.e., out of pure love and unmerited good-will towards 
you ; I marvel that ye are so readily become apostates from God and 
from Christ, who hath called you so graciously and lovingly that ye 
are so ungrateful, so heedless of His love, that ye trample on it. 

Unto another gospel. Unto another doctrine about salvation, 
and your Saviour Christ, as though mine and Christ s were not 
sufficient, as though Moses must be taken into partnership with 
Christ, and the ceremonial law wedded to the Gospel. For even 
if these Judaisers preach that the Gospel is to be embraced 
together with the Mosaic law, yet they thereby preach another 
Gospel, and destroy the true Gospel preached by Paul. For, accord- 


ing lo him, the true Gospel of Christ is this : The law of Christ is 
necessary and sufficient to salvation, nor can any other be admitted. 
Whoever introduces or allows to be introduced any other, is injurious 
to Christ and His law, as implying that it is insufficient, and he, 
therefore, robs Christ, his only Redeemer, of His glory, and brings 
in another Saviour. This is what the Judaisers did. They declared 
the insufficiency of the law of Christ by adding to it the law of 
Moses as requisite for salvation and bliss. Hence they overturned 
the Gospel by introducing another, nay, a contrary Gospel. There 
fore the Apostle proceeds, 

Ver. 7. Which is not another. S. Jerome and Ephrem omit 

another, and interpret the clause: "You transfer yourselves to 
another Gospel, which indeed is no Gospel." The meaning of the 
received text is "You transfer yourselves to another Gospel, 
which still is not another ; for there is no other true Gospel save 
that which I have preached unto you." To which Ephrem adds : 
" But as they are, so is it." As their teachers are apostates, Judaisers, 
deceitful liars, so is their Gospel heretical, Judaising, deceitful, and 
false. If the Judaisers, who left the Gospel and teaching of Paul 
and the Church intact, overturned the Gospel and the Church of 
Christ, much more do the Protestants overturn it by introducing 
new dogmas contrary to the Catholic Church. 

Unless there are some. This depends on I marvel. I marvel 
that ye so soon fall away from the Gospel, unless it be that there 
are some who are troubling you. And when I think this I partly 
cease to marvel, and I impute your defection to them rather than 
to you ; for you would not have fallen away, if you had not been 
enticed and deceived. 

That trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. To 
pervert is to subvert, according to Chrysostom. Properly, however, it 
is to invert, or to turn, as when the outside of a garment is turned 
inside because it is worn, and the less worn inside becomes the 
outside. Or, as Jerome says, when what is in front is put behind, 
and vice versa. So the Church is like a garment of which the part 
in front or outside, and now somewhat worn thread-bare, was the 


old Church or the synagogue, with its Mosaic law, while the aftei 
part, or inner and sounder, is the new Church with Christ s Gospel. 
This Christ so changed round that He substituted the inward for the 
worn outward side, so making the after or the inner part, viz., the 
Gospel, the front or the outer, and putting it before all, to be known 
and adopted as the robe of righteousness and salvation. These self- 
appointed teachers wished to turn again this garment inside out, 
and to put the law first, and to subordinate to it the Gospel in short, 
to exchange the spirit of piety breathed forth by the Gospel for 
Jewish ceremonies. So the Judaisers perverted, i.e., inverted the 
Gospel of Christ by substituting for it the law of Moses, and 
setting that before the Gospel (S. Jerome). 

Ver. 8. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other 
gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him 
be accursed. Understand : If that can be done ; for, as a matter of 
fact, it is impossible, for the angels are established as in bliss so in 
all truth. It is an hyperbole, like that in i Cor. xiii. i : " Though I 
speak with the tongues of men and of angels" S. Jerome quotes here 
a happy remark of Tertullian directed against Apelles and his 
virgin Philumena, which latter was filled by some perverse angel 
with an evil spirit, to the effect that this was an angel who, long 
before Apelles was born, was described as accursed by the Holy 
Spirit, speaking through the Apostle. Such was the angel who 
taught Luther, and instructed Zwingli on the Eucharist, and about 
whom the latter writes, that he did not know whether it was black 
or white. But it is certain that it was a black angel, and that 
against it was directed the Apostle s anathema, as against one 
introducing a new Gospel, a new faith, and new dogmas, contrary to 
the accepted creed. 

Observe how great is the certainty of the faith preached by the 
Apostles, confirmed by God by so many signs and miracles, and 
transmitted to us by the continuous tradition of so many centuries, 
and reflect how firm and constant in it we should be. So much so 
that we may better deny the evidence of our senses, of our reason, 
of the authority of all men and angels even if they should work 


miracles as proof, impossible though this really is than deny the 
teaching of faith. For faith rests on the original revelation of God, 
who is the First and Incommutable Truth; all else may deceive 
and be deceived. Nay, to state an impossibility, if God were to 
reveal a faith contrary to that which we have received, and which 
He originally revealed Himself, we should be bound to believe the 
first, and not the second. For if He should reveal one contrary, He 
would be changed and would cease to be God, and the First and 
Infallible Truth ; but since this is impossible, it follows that God 
cannot give a contrary revelation, and hence that those who teach 
contrary doctrine get it not from God but from their own heads, or 
else by revelation from devils. 

We have here, then, a canon of faith given us by the Apostle, to 
this effect : If a new dogma arise anywhere, let it be examined to 
see whether it agree with the ancient, received faith of the Catholic 
Church, first preached by Paul and the Apostles; if it be found 
discordant, let it be regarded as heretical and accursed. This is a 
canon followed by all the Fathers. 

" If any dispute arise says Irenseus, "about any, even a small 
question, will it not be otir duty to have recourse to the oldest churches, 
and to gather from them, what is clear and certain with reference to 
the question in dispute?" (Adv. Hcer. lib. iii. c. x.). 

So Tertullian : " I will lay it down as a canon that what the Apostles 
preached, what Christ revealed, ought not to be proved except by the 
same churches which the Apostles themselves founded. Jf this is so, 
it is clear that all doctrine which agrees with those Apostolic churches, 
being the very wombs and originals of the faith, must be put down as 
true, and all the rest condemned as false, without further examination " 

(de Frees, xxi.). 

And again : " What is earlier in tradition is shown by its very date 
io be the Lord s and to be true ; what has come in later is an importa 
tion and false " (Ibid. c. xxxi.). So Origen : " Every one is to be counted 
a heretic who, while professing to believe in Christ, believes in a mailer 
of faith otherwise than the traditional definition of the Church declares" 
(Horn, in S. Matt/i. 19). 


This same rule is supported by Vincent of Lerins in his golden 
treatise on Prescription, against the impious novelties of heretics : 
"Antiquity is to be followed, novelty spurned. When certain innovators 
were going throughout provinces and cities, offering their errors for 
sale, and had arrived among the Galatians ; and when the Galatians 
ha tt given them a hearing, and were taken with a distaste for the truth, 
so much so that they, as it were, vomited the manna of apostolic and 
Catholic teaching, and were delighted with the filth of heretical novelty, 
then the authority of the apostolic power made itself heard in these 
stern words : Though we or an angel from heaven preach any other 
Gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be 
accursed." What is this thathesaith : Though we ? why not, rather, 
Though 1 ? He means : Though Peter, though Andrew, though 
John indeed, though the whole college of Apostles preach unto you any 
thing beside what we have preached, let them be accursed} An awful 
pronouncement ! It is but a little thing to spare neither himself nor the 
other Apostles, so as to secure the firm continuance of the faith first 
preached. But he adds : Though an angel from heaven preach any 
other Gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let 
him be accursed! It was not enough to bind men to preserve the faith 
delivered them he must also bind angels. Though we, he says, or 
an angel from heaven. J\ ot that the holy and heavenly angels can 
sin ; but supposing it were possible that they should, if any one of them 
were to attempt to change the faith once delivered, let him be accursed" 
(lib. i. c. 12). 

So S. John Damascene, who, like a roaring lion, attacked the ico 
noclastic Emperor Leo the Isaurian : " Hearken, ye peoples, tribes, 
tongues men, women, boys, old men, young men, infants, the whole 
army of Christian saints : Though any one preach unto you any 
thing beside that which the Catholic Church has received from the Holy 
Apostles, from the Fathers and Councils, and has preserved to this day, 
hear him not, nor follow the counsel of the serpent, as Eve did, who 
thereby drew upon herself death. Though an angel, though a king 
preach unto you anything beside what you have received, stop your ears. 
For Ifear lest the warning of Paul be fulfilled, Let him be accursed " 


(Orat. 2 de Imaging. He ends thus because he knew that it was the 
prerogative of Bishops, not of monks, of whom he was one, to pro 
nounce anathema, as Baronius acutely notes (Ann. A.D. 730, in fine). 
So S. Augustine : " / do not accept what the Blessed Cyprian held on 
the baptism of heretics, because the Church, for whom Cyprian shed his 
blood, does not accept it" (contra Cresconium, lib. ii. c. 31, 32). And 
the other Fathers follow him, and the reason they do so is clear. 
It is because the Church is the pillar and ground of the truth 
(i Tim. iii. 15). Whoever, therefore, following his own imaginations, 
teaches any new thing against her mind and doctrines, errs and 
strays from the home of truth and from truth itself, as S. Augustine 
urges in a fine dilemma. " Answer" he says "Did the Church come to 
an end or not?" (i.e., when Donatus arose). K Choose which you like. Jf 
she had come to an end, who was the mother who bore Donatus ? If, on 
the other hand, she could not have come to an end while so many had 
been gathered into her without your baptism, tell me, I pray you, what 
madness was it which induced the followers of Donatus to withdraw 
themselves from her, as if they were so avoiding communion with the 
wicked" (contra Gaudentium, lib. ii. c. 8). 

In the same way I will now conclude as follows : On the rise of 
Luther, Calvin, Menno, and other Protestants, either the Church and 
the true faith came to an end or they did not. For these two the 
true Church and the true faith are necessarily connected, so much 
so that if in a single point, say the Invocation of Saints, the Church 
were to leave the track of the true faith, she must become heretical, 
and the Church, not of God but of Satan ; just as any individual 
who maintains a single heresy, even though he be otherwise 
orthodox, is a heretic. I repeat, therefore, when Calvin arose, 
either the Church came to an end or she did not ; if she did, and 
had not existed since the time of Gregory the Great, as the 
Protestants say, then the Church had been extinct for 900 years, 
that is to say, the world for 900 years was without true faith, true 
religion, sacraments, Church, and salvation ; therefore for 900 years 
Christ deserted His Bride ; therefore the Eternal Kingdom of Christ 
had fallen, for Christ reigns in His Church ; therefore the gates of 


hell had prevailed against His Church ; therefore Calvin was born 
outside the Church, was no member of the Church, but an 
unbeliever, a heretic, or a pagan ; therefore he had not claim to be 
received by the people, by the world, and listened to as one of the 
faithful, but he should have been despised and rejected as an 
unbeliever not belonging to the Church. If, however, the Church 
had not come to an end, and Calvin was born, baptized, educated, 
and brought up in the true Church then, since he was born, 
baptized, educated, and brought up in the Catholic, Apostolic, 
Roman Church, that Church was clearly a true Church, holding the 
true faith. Therefore, when he withdrew from her, and shut himself 
up in his new dogmas, he separated himself from the true faith 
and from the Church, and became an apostate. Therefore, when 
he established another and a reformed Church, it was not a true, 
apostolic, but an apostate, schismatical, heretical Church that he 
founded a mistress and school, not of the faith, but of new doctrines 
and heresies. Let a fair-minded reader, who sincerely seeks in 
ignorance the true faith, outside which no one can be saved, 
consider and weigh the force of this dilemma, and ask himself 
whether there is any escape from its conclusions, whether the rule 
here given is not a touchstone of what is true in doctrine and in 

Any other gospel than that which we have preached unto you, let 
him be accursed. The Protestants hence conclude : Therefore the 
decrees of councils and the canons of pontiffs are accursed, because 
they contain many things not in the Gospel, and are consequently a 
Gospel other than that preached. 

I reply : Other (j>r<zterquam) is here what is contrary to the 
accepted faith, such as are the doctrines of heretics. 

i. This appears, firstly, because Paul is writing against the 
Judaisers, who were trying to introduce Judaism beside (prater], 
that is, against the Gospel. It was just as if any one were to try to 
add Calvinism or Mohammedanism to Christianity. He would be 
introducing a new law and society beside, i.e., against Christianity. 
Accordingly, in ver. 6, he calls this another Gospel, and in ver. 7 he 


says that the preachers of it prevert, or, as Chrysostom styles it, 
overturn the Gospel of Christ. 

2. It is clear and certain that not only an angel but Paul himself 
knew more, and consequently might have preached more truths than 
he did (2 Cor. xii. i and 6). 

3. Paul constantly orders, as Christ did, the commands of Apostles 
and superiors to be obeyed (Acts xvi. 4; Heb. xiii. 17). 

4. Moreover, Jerome, Augustine, Ambrose, Chrysostom, CEcu- 
menius explain the phrase as I have done. In i Cor. ii. the Apostle 
uses Trapa (prater) in the sense of against, when he writes : " Other 
foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ /" 
for he would set up another Christ, just as one who makes another 
Pope sets up an anti-Pope, or he who invites another king into 
a kingdom sets up an enemy of the true king and a tyrant. Simi 
larly, in Rom xi. 24: " If thou wert graffed contrary to nature 
into a good olive-tree" contrary to nature is Trapa. <ixrii/ (prater 
naturain). Even in Latin we often use the same meiosis. For ex 
ample, Terence (Anaria) says, " Prater civium morem atque legem," 
i.e., against law and custom. So, too, in Greek, as, e.g., Aristotle (de 
Ccelo, lib. i. c. i) says Trapa. (frvcriv, beside, i.e., against nature; Trapa. 
vo//,ov, beside, i.e., against law. 

With this compare Deut. iv. 2 : " Ye shall not add unto the word 
which I command you, neither shall ye diminish aught from it." Ye 
shall not add to the precepts which I shall give you anything 
contradictory of them, especially, ye shall not add the worship of 
some new deity, for this the whole chapter, and indeed the whole 
Book of Deuteronomy, intends to forbid. Nor shall ye add, in 
the sense of saying that your words are mine ; for to no one is it 
allowed to put forth his own writings or commands, as the com 
mands of God or as the Holy Scriptures. 

There is a similar phrase in Rev. xxii. 18 : "/ testify unto every 
man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any 
man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues 
that are written in this book" As a matter of fact, prophets and 
Apostles have added many things to this Scripture. Nay, Moses, 


in Deut. iv. 2, would contradict himself in Deut. xvii. 12, where 
he orders the words of the priest to be obeyed. Accordingly 
S. Augustine excellently explains this passage : " The Apostle does not 
say, More than you have received] but, Beside that which you have 
received. For if he had used the former phrase, he would condemn 
himself for saying that he wished to come to the Thessalonians to 
supply what was wanting to their faith. But he who supplies what 
is lacking merely adds, he does not take away what is already there. 
He, however, who oversteps the rule of faith does not approach the 
goal in the road, but departs from the road" (Tract, in Joan. 99). 

You will say perhaps: "Why, then, did the Apostle not say 
against instead of beside ? " Chrysostom s answer is that he wanted 
to make it clear that any is accursed who even indirectly under 
mines the least important doctrine of the Gospel. But there is 
another reason, and that is, the Judaisers, against whom this 
passage is primarily directed, were introducing their Judaism beside 
the Gospel, i.e., their Jewish rites and sacraments, which by this 
very attempt became contrary to the Gospel and the New Law of 
Christ, as I said before. 

We preach. I.e., by word or by writing. He does not, therefore, 
exclude, but rather includes traditions given by word of mouth only, 
for these he expressly orders to be observed in 2 Thess. ii. 14. 

Accursed. Heb. cherem. See comment on this word under 
Rom. ix. 3. 

Ver. 10. Do I now persuade men, or God? Theophylact, 
Vatablus, and Erasmus explain this to mean : " Am I now per 
suading you to human things or to Divine ? " as though the Apostle 
were showing, not the persons he was addressing, but his subject- 
matter, i.e., what he is putting forward to be believed. For the 
Judaisers were boasting that they followed Peter, John, James, who, 
by their example, seemed to teach the observance of the Old Law. 
In contrast to them Paul exclaims that he follows not men, or the 
doctrine of men, but God and His doctrine, and persuades others 
to do the same. It is from God that I have received what I have 

preached, and therefore I preach not human things, but Divine. 
VOL. n. P 


There is a second interpretation, which is not amiss, whatever 
Beza may say, which has S. Chrysostom s support : " Am I pleading 
a cause before men or before God?" For the word persuade (TreiOeiv) 
is a forensic term, and implies a cause pleaded before judges. 
Hence S. Augustine interprets it here to mean, " / desire to render 
myself approved" and S. Ambrose renders it by I satisfy. When this 
Greek term is used in the sense of persuade, it is, as Beza admits, 
followed by an accusative of the person. Persuade is then here 
used in the sense of an inchoate act, " I try to persuade," according 
to my canon 32. 

That this sense is the more apt appears: (i.) Because to per 
suade God and men is a phrase referring rather to the men per 
suaded than to the subject-matter this last interpretation would 
make the sentence obscure and involved. (2.) Because the next 
clause illustrates this when it says, " Or do I seek to please men?" 
which implies that as he does not seek to please men, so he does 
not seek to persuade them. So S. Jerome says that "any one is 
said to persuade when he tries to instil into others what he has 
himself imbibed and still keeps." 

The sense then is this : I, Paul, speak so boldly and sincerely, 
and denounce a curse on Jadaisers and all who preach another 
Gospel, because, although I once contended vigorously against the 
Gospel on behalf of Jews and their religion, yet now, illuminated by 
the Gospel-light, it is not to men, least of all to Jews, that I do my 
best to approve myself and my Gospel, but to God, whom alone I 
seek to please, that I may give a true and good account before His 
tribunal. In other words, I do not care what the Jews or others 
think of me, as being too bigoted, or an enemy of my country and 
its religion, for I seek to please God alone. Formerly I pleased 
them but displeased Him ; and if I wished now to please them, I 
should again displease Him, for I should be establishing the law 
of Moses and destroying the grace of Christ. 

If I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ, S. 
Jerome and Anselm remark that the desire to please men is a vice 
whereby a man so yields to others, so seeks their favour and good- 


will, that he is prepared to break the law of God and offend Him. 
But whoever seeks to please men, in such a way and with such 
an end in view as to lead them to God and His service, seeks 
not so much to please men as God. S. Augustine says : " A man 
does not please others to any useful end, save when he is pleasing for 
God s sake; i.e., when it is God in him that pleases and is glorified, 
as when it is His gifts in a man that are regarded, or that are 
received through Man s instrumentality. For when a man is pleasing 
in this way, it is not now man that is pleasing but God." So S. Paul 
says, in i Cor. ix. 19-22, that he is made all things to all men, that 
he might gain all to Christ. S. Chrysostom, in his Horn. 29 in 
Epist. 2 ad Corin., remarks how useless and contemptible are the 
favour and good report of this world; and S. Jerome devoutly 
and stoutly wrote to Asella, that he thanked God for being worthy 
of the world s hatred. 

Ver. ii. The Gospel which was preached of me. is not after man. 
It is not a human but a Divine Gospel ; it is not man s but God s, 
or, as Ephrem puts it, it is not from man, i.e., it does not spring from 
man s opinions or from man s invention, but from God. Hence 
he adds : 

Ver. 12. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, 
but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. Viz., when I was carried by 
Him into the third heaven (2 Cor. xii. i). 

Ver. 13. I persecuted the Church of God and wasted it. That 
is, I did my best to storm it and overturn it. Cf. Ps. cxxix. i, 2. 
The word translated waste here comes, as some think, from a word 
denoting the burning of a town by an enemy, or else, as Erasmus 
held, from one denoting the surrounding of it. Either way Paul s 
meaning is clear. He says this to remove from himself all suspicion 
of hatred of the Jews. Though they inveigh against me, he says, as 
their foe, yet my past life is sufficient answer. For I am myself a 
Jew, and fought more vigorously for Judaism than they, before God, 
by His call, changed my heart and enlightened it by faith in Christ. 

Ver. 14. In mine own nation being more exceedingly zealous. A 
more eager lover and follower; or better still, a more jealous 


lover of it, on behalf of the national institution, handed down to 
me from my ancestors ; a zealot of the law though through ignorance. 
So much more when he knew the truth was he zealous for the 
Gospel, so expiating his former evil zeal. From this it seems that 
Paul s eager zeal was greater than that of his contemporaries, and 
acted as a handmaid and whetstone of virtue to him. For an 
eager nature does not creep along the ground, but, like a fare, leaps 
upwards and attempts to overcome all difficulties. On this, S. 
Augustine has some excellent remarks: "Souls that are capable of 
virtue and expansive often give birth to -vices first, by which they shoiv 
the virtue they are most adapted to produce, when they have been 
carefully disciplined. For instance, the hasty feeling which prompted 
Moses to revenge the wrong done to his brother in Egypt by a cruel 
Egyptian was indeed vicious, inasmuch as it overstepped the bounds 
of aicthority, but yet it gave great promise for the future. So in the 
case of Saul, when he was persecuting the Church, when God called 
to him out of heaven, smote him to the ground, lifted him up, drew 
him into the Church, he was as it were cut down, pruned, sown in 
the ground, and fertilised ; for his very fierceness in persecuting the 
Gospel out of jealousy for the traditions of his fathers, thereby thinking 
that he was doing God service, was, like a vicious woodland growth, 
but a sign of great power" (contra Faustum, lib. xxii. c. 70). 

Ver. 15. But when it pleased God. Vatablus has, " When it seemed 

good to God," which is too weak a rendering of evSomjow, a word 
that denotes the free call of God s love to grace and salvation. 

Who separated me from my mother s womb. Of His loving-kind 
ness He separated me from my mother s womb, and caused me to 
be born into this world with this object in view, viz., to reveal 
His Son in me. Before all merit, and when not yet born, He pre 
destined me ; and when predestined, separated me from the womb, 
and caused me to be born ; and when born He called me that He 
might bring me to the knowledge of Christ and His Gospel, and so 
to the apostleship, that I might preach Christ to the Gentiles. 

S. Jerome remarks that the same thing is said of Jeremiah in 
Jer. i. 5 : "Before I found thee in the belly I knew thee ; and before 


thou earnest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained 
thee a prophet unto the nations." Paul here alludes to this, for 
Jeremiah was a type of Paul. The Hebrew for sanctified denotes 
both sanctified and separated; for that is called sacred which is 
separated from father, mother, and all earthly things to be dedicated 
and consecrated to God. So Paul was separated by God s pre 
destination from his mother s womb, and consecrated to the Gospel, 
to be a prophet and teacher of the Gentiles. 

Mystically, says S. Anselra, from my mother s womb denotes 
"from the darkness of the synagogue to see the light of the Gospel." 

Observe that segregates, "separated," denotes one selected (egrege] 
out of the flock, as the predestinate are selected by God out of the 
flock of men. So much more is an Apostle and Herald of the word 
of God separated from the many ; and, as S. Chrysostom says, he 
ought to excel the many as a shepherd excels his flock. It was 
for this reason that the prophet exclaims, in Isa. vi. 5 : " Woe is me I 
for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people 
of unclean lips" Woe is me ! for I am nothing better than others, 
who are merely unholy themselves. See the comment on Rom. i. i. 

Ver. 1 6. To reveal His Son in me. In my soul. The phrase 
is a Hebraism. He says in me rather than to me, to denote that 
he had received no bare revelation by ear or eye, but that in his 
inmost heart he had so entirely drunk in Christ and His teaching 
and Spirit that Christ was in him and spoke by him (Theophylact). 
Secondly, Jerome and Vatablus understand it, " To reveal His Son 
through me." Thirdly, Jerome has another interpretation more 
subtle than literal: "He does not say to me but in me, because 
Christ was already in Paul. For there were in him the principle 
of all virtues and of God, and the seeds of faith. These, however, 
he did not recognise, nor believe in them till God revealed them in 
him as being in his heart." 

I conferred not with flesh and blood. I joined myself to no one; 
I conferred with no one about my vocation, or the revelation, or the 
way to act on it ; I called into counsel no relations or any one else ; 
but, knowing of a certainty that I had been called and taught by 



God, I followed God as my only teacher and leader. The word 
rendered confer denotes, says Budseus, to communicate secrets 
and counsels, to go to one s friends as counsellors and upright 
judges, that they may approve or disapprove, advise or dissuade, as 
they see fit. 

Flesh and blood denotes, by synecdoche, the whole man con 
sisting of these two elements. Cf. S. Matt. xvi. 17. I was not 
taught the Gospel, says S. Paul, by any man, for I conferred with 
none, but by revelation from God alone. See, then, O Galatians, 
how by rejecting it, and tainting it with an admixture of Judaism, 
you are tainting and rejecting the word of God, and even God 
Himself, who revealed it to me, that I might go and preach it. 

It may be said : Why, then, did Paul afterwards go to Jerusalem 
to see Peter (ver. 18), and what is more, confer with him about the 
Gospel ? I reply : He did not confer with him as though in doubt 
or imperfectly instructed, but that the faithful whom he taught might 
know him to be in communion with Peter and the other Apostles, 
to hold the same faith as they, that so they might give more credence 
to his preaching of the Gospel. 

Jerome, however, refers the word immediately to the preceding 
clause, thus : " To reveal him immediately in the Gentiles I conferred 
not with flesh and blood." " Since I was ordered by God immediately 
to preach to the Gentiles, I immediately obeyed, so that I took no 
counsel with any man. Afterwards, however, I did confer with Peter, 
James, and John." The first explanation, however, is better. Or 
it may be rendered : I did not see, I did not cling to my earthly 
parents and relations, but, loving them, I followed the call of God 
(Augustine and QEcumenius). 

Morally, he follows S. Paul s example who is called by God to 
the apostleship, to religion, to evangelical perfection, to heroic 
works, and does not yield to flesh and blood, but at once departs to 
gain that to which he feels himself called. S. Jerome writes to 
Heliodorus : " O delicate soldier, what do you in your father s house? 
Where is the rampart, the fosse, the winter spent under tents ? Call 
to mind the day of your enlistment, when you were buried with Christ 


in baptism, when you took your military oath that for His name you 

would spare neither father nor mother. Lo ! the adversary is trying 

to slay Christ in your breast. Lo ! the camp of the enemy is thirsting 

for the donative which you received when you started on your warfare. 

What, though a little grandson hang on your neck ; though your mother, 

with dishevelled hair and garments rent, bare the breasts which suckled 

you; though your father lie on the threshold: go forth, trampling on 

his body, and with dry eyes hasten to the banner of the Cross. Filial 

piety demands that in this you be cruel. . . . The love of God and the 

fear of hell will easily break your fetters. If they believe in Christ, let 

them assist me who am about to fight for His name. If they do not, 

let the dead bury their dead." 

Again, he writes to that noble widow, Furia : " The father will be 
sorrowful, but Christ will rejoice ; the family will mourn, but there will 
be joy among the angels. Let your father do what he will with your 
goods. It is not he for whom you were born, but Christ, for whom you 
have been born again, who has redeemed you at a great price, even His 
own blood, of whom you have to think. Beware of nurses and bearers 
and venomous animals of that sort, who seek to fill their bellies with 
your husks. They advise not zvhat is for your good but their own." 

S. Bernard too, preaching on the text, " Lo, we have left all," says : 
"How many does the accursed wisdom of the world overcome, and ex 
tinguish the fire kindled in them, which the Lord had wished to see 
burn fiercely ! Do nothing, it says, in a hurry : take plenty of time to 
think over it; it is an important step that you are proposing to take ; 
you had better try first what you can do, and consult your friends, lest 
you come aftenvards to be sorry for your action. This ivisdom of the 
ivorld is earthly, sensual, devilish, the foe of salvation, the destroyer of 
life, the mother of lust, and abominable unto the Lord." 

Ver. 17. Neither went I up to Jerusalem. But Acts ix. 26 re 
presents Paul as flying directly after his conversion from Damascus 
to Jerusalem. Jerome and Lorinus, when commenting on that 
passage, say that he went to Jerusalem directly after his conversion, 
because compelled to seek safety in flight, not that he might see 
Peter and confer with him about the Gospel, for this latter is all 


that is denied here. Baronius replies differently, that Paul is not 
said directly after his conversion to have gone to Jerusalem, but after 
many days, i.e., after three years, spent partly in Arabia, partly in 
Damascus. After that he came to see Peter, as is said here (ver. 18), 
and afterwards went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia (ver. 21). 
With this agrees Acts ix. 30, where it is said that the brethren brought 
him down to Ccesarea and sent him forth to Tarsus, which is the 
metropolis of Cilicia. If this be the true explanation, then S. Luke, 
in Acts ix., passes over the journey of Paul into Arabia, because in 
it nothing calling for mention had happened. 

Both explanations are tenable. But the fear of the Apostles and 
the sponsorship of Barnabas (Acts ix. 26, 27) favour the former. 
It is not likely that the miraculous conversion of Paul could for 
three years have remained unknown to the Apostles and the rest of 
the faithful at Jerusalem. If this be correct, then we must, with 
S. Chrysostom, marvel at the grace of God which so suddenly 
changed so bitter a persecutor as S. Paul was into a public teacher 
and a disputer with the Jews. 

Ver. 1 8. Then after three years I went up to Jeiiisalem to see Peter. 
Chrysostom and Theophylact remark on the distinction between 
t Setv and the word ia-roprjcrai, used here. This latter is used of those 
who visit and go round splendid cities, like Rome, and carefully 
inspect its monuments, its Pontiff, its Cardinals, its clergy, and holy 
men. I came to Jerusalem, says S. Paul, to see Peter, not to learn 
anything from him (though Erasmus thinks that ia-roprja-ai connotes 
this), for I had been taught from above, but merely to see and pay 
my respect to the chief of the Apostles (Theodoret, Chrysostom, 
Ambrose, Jerome). In Gal. ii. 2 Paul gives another reason for 
his visit. 

S. Chrysoslom writes : " Peter was the chief and the mouth of the 
Apostles, and therefore Paul went lip to see him especially " (Horn, in 
Joan. 87). And S. Jerome on this passage : " Paul came to see Pett:r 
not to gaze on his eyes, cheeks, and countenance to see if he was fat 
or lean, if he had a hooked or a straight nose, whether he had hair on 
his head, or was (as Clement relates) bald headed. Nor is it to be 


supposed consistent with apostolical dignity, that after such a pre 
paration of three years he should wish to see anything in Peter that 
was merely human. Paul saiu Cephas with those same eyes with 
which he himself is seen still by those who have power to see him. 
If this does not seem clear to any one, let him compare this sentence 
with the one before, in which it is said that the Apostles conferred 
nothing on him. For he went to Jerusalem, that he might see an 
Apostle, not to learn anything from him for both had the same 
authority for their preaching but to do honour to one who was an 
Apostle before him." From this it is clear that Paul did not see 
Peter that he might be taught by him, as Erasmus and Vatablus 
think. For this is contradicted by Gal. ii. 6 : " They added nothing 
to me" and by Gal. i. n, 12, where he expressly says that he had 
been taught not by man but by God. 

Ver. 19. But other of the apostles saw I none save James the 
Lord s brother. I.e., a cousin or relation of Christ s, for the Hebrews 
call cousins brothers. S. Jerome adds that S. James was called the 
Lord s brother before all the Apostles, even those related to Christ, 
on account of his lofty character, his incomparable faith and wisdom, 
which made him seem like a brother to Christ For the same 
reason he was surnamed the Just. Secondly, S. Jerome says that 
Christ, when going to His Father, commended to James, as to a 
brother, the eldest children of His mother, i.e., those in Judaea 
who believed on Him; for this James, the son of Alphseus, the 
son of Mary, wife of Cleophas, one of the twelve Apostles, was the 
first Bishop of Jerusalem. This is why, in the First Council of 
Jerusalem, he was the first after Peter to pronounce judgment (Acts 
xv. 13). A Canonical Epistle of his is extant. 

S. Jerome hints both here and in his book on Ecclesiastical 
Writers, when writing of James, that this James was not of the 
twelve Apostles, but was called an Apostle, only because he had 
seen Christ and preached Him. In this case we have three of 
the name of James the brother of John, slain by Herod ; the son 
of Alphseus, both of whom were Apostles ; and this brother of the 
Lord. But since this brother of the Lord is called an Apostle, 


and there is no cogent reason for distinguishing him from James 
the Apostle and son of Alphseus, when, indeed, there are many 
reasons why we should identify them, the first opinion seems the 
better one. 

Ver. 20. Before God 1 lie not. Vatablus paraphrases this verse : 
"What I write unto you, behold I write before God I lie not ;" and 
Theophylact agrees with him. But Ambrose and Augustine think 
that before God is a formal oath I call God to witness. The 
Apostle asserts that he had not seen the other Apostles so strenu 
ously that no one might be able to say that he had visited them 
in secret, and had not been taught by God (Jerome). 

Ver. 22. And was unknown by face. The Christians in Judaea 
had not seen my face. He says this, says Chrysostom, to prove 
that he had not taught in Judaea, nor preached circumcision and 
the Old Law, as the Judaisers alleged he had done. 

Which were in Christ -in His faith and religion; which were 
Christians. See my canon 37. 


I He sheweth when he went up again to Jerusalem, and for what ptirpose : 
3 and that Titus was not circumcised: 1 1 and that he resisted Peter, and 
told him the reason, 14 why he and other, being Jews, do believe in Christ to be 
justified by faith, and not by works : 20 and that they live not in sin, who are 
so justified, 

THEN fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, 
and took Titus with me also. 

2 And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel 
which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputa 
tion, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain. 

3 But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be 
circumcised : 

4 And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily 
to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us 
into bondage : 

5 To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour ; that the truth of 
the gospel might continue with you. 

6 But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh 
no matter to me : God accepteth no man s person :) for they who seemed to be 
somewhat in conference added nothing to me : 

7 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was 
committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter ; 

8 (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumci 
sion, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles :) 

9 And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived 
the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands 
of fellowship ; that we shoicld go unto the heathen, and they unto the cir 

10 Only they would that we should remember the poor ; the same which I also 
was forward to do. 

1 1 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because 
he was to be blamed. 

12 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles : but 
when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which 
were of the circumcision. 

13 And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him ; insomuch that Barnabas 
also was carried away with their dissimulation. 

14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly, according to the truth of 

the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after 



the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the 
Gentiles to live as do the Jews ? 

15 We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, 

16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the 
faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be 
justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law : for by the works 
of the law shall no flesh be justified. 

17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found 
sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin ? God forbid. 

18 For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a trans 

19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. 

20 I am crucified with Christ : nevertheless I live ; yet not I, but Christ 
liveth in me : and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the 
Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. 

21 I do not frustrate the grace of God : for if righteousness come by the law, 
then Christ is dead in vain. 


i. Paul declares that he had compared his Gospel with Peter, James, and 
John, and that it had been approved of them so completely that there 
was nothing to be added to it or subtracted from it. 

ii. He declares (ver. 7) that it had been mutually agreed between them 
that they should preach to the Jews and he to the Gentiles. 

iii. He describes (ver. ii) how he had rebuked Peter openly for heedlessly 
assuming the appearance of a Judaiser, and so tempting the Gentiles 
into a similar error. 

iv. He proves (ver. 16) that we are justified not by the works of the law 
but by the faith of Christ, and that for three reasons : (a) because 
(ver. 17) otherwise in abolishing the law Christ would be the mini 
ster of sin ; because (I/) the law itself proclaims its own abrogation 
in Christ, because (ver. 21) otherwise Christ would have died in 

Ver. i. Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem. 
Are these years to be reckoned from the date of Paul s conversion, 
or from the end of the three years spent in Arabia and Damascus ? 
S. Jerome takes the latter, and so gets a date of seventeen years after 
the conversion, or A.D. 54, the twelfth of the Emperor Claudius, for 
this journey of S. Paul. But since Claudius ceased to reign in the 
next year, and was succeeded by Nero, in whose second year Paul 
was sent bound to Rome (Acts xxvii.), it would follow that all the 
history of Paul that is contained in Acts xv.-xxvii I shall show 


directly that the journey alluded to here and that described in Acts 
xv. are the same must be compressed into two years, which, con 
sidering the number and importance of the events recorded, seems 
very improbable. Moreover, it is clear, from Acts xviii. 1 1, that Paul, 
after what took place at Jerusalem, spent a year and a half at Corinth 
and then three years at Ephesus (Acts xx. 31). Accordingly, the 
opinion of Baronius and others seems better founded, by which 
these fourteen years are reckoned from S. Paul s conversion. He 
treats that as an illustrious event from which to reckon, just as we 
treat a call to the Papacy, to the Episcopate, or to religion as the 
beginning of a new era. 

That this journey of Paul to Jerusalem is the same as that de 
scribed in Acts xv., when he went up to the council, is evident from 
the identity of cause, place, and persons in both. This is the 
opinion of the Fathers in general, except Chrysostom, who argues as 
follows : In Acts xv. Paul appears as sent to Jerusalem by his fellow- 
Christians ; but here (ver. 2) he says that he went up to Jerusalem 
by revelation, hence the two journeys are distinct. My answer is : 
I deny the consequence. For both may be true, viz., that he went 
up by revelation, and that he was sent by the Christians of Antioch ; 
because, as Bede remarks, he was warned by a voice from heaven 
to undertake the embassy entrusted to him by the people of 
Antioch, and went up, both for the sake of obtaining a decision of 
the common question about the observance of the law, and also for 
his own private purpose, viz., that he might compare his own teaching 
with that of the chief of the Apostles (ver. 2). From what has been 
said it follows, as Baronius holds, that the Council of Jerusalem was 
held fourteen years after Paul s conversion, in the sixteenth year after 
the Crucifixion of Christ, in the ninth year of Claudius, A.D. 51. 

Ver. 2. / communicated unto them that Gospel which I preached. 
I put it before Peter and the Apostles, making them as it were 
judges of my Gospel, that they might approve, disapprove, add, or 
take away as they saw fit in common council, and that I might 
receive it then at their hands to be believed and taught. See Gal. 
i. 1 6, and comments. 


Observe that the Apostle did not compare his Gospel with that 
of the other Apostles because he had any doubt of its truth or com 
pleteness, or of its agreement with that preached by Peter and the 
rest; for he knew most certainly, by the revelation of God, that 
together with them he had received the same full and perfect 
Gospel, as is evident from Gal i. n, 12. It was not for his own 
sake that he made the comparison, but for the sake of those con 
verted to the faith, amongst whom Paul was traduced by the 
Judaising pseudo-Apostles, as one who, among the Gentiles, slighted 
the law of Moses, contrary to the practice of Peter, James, and 
John, nay, of Paul himself when among Jews. To show the falsity 
of the accusation, to show the agreement of his teaching with that 
of the other Apostles, and also to guard his own authority, Paul 
compares his Gospel with theirs, lest, he says, by any means I should 
run, or had run in vain. 

To them. That is to the first Christians, those made at Jerusalem, 
for the adjective "Christian" is latent in the substantive "Jerusalem." 

Which were of reputation. Who seemed to be pillars (ver. 9.) of 
the Church and leading Apostles. 

Lest I should run in vain. Lest, through the report spread abroad 
by the pseudo-Apostles, that my teaching was condemned by the 
Apostles, the faithful should believe neither me nor my teaching, 
and so all my labour should be rendered ineffectual Cf. S. Jerome 
(Ep. xi. ad August.}, Tertullian (contra Marcion. lib. iv.), and S. 
Augustine (contra Faustuvi), who anticipates Luther s opinions, and 
against them shows that the word of God, even when most pure, 
and all its preachers, stand in need of the testimony and authority of 
men. This is what he says : " Who is so foolish as to believe nowadays 
that the epistle produced by Manichceus was really ivritten by Christ, 
and not to believe that what Matthew wrote contained the doings and 
sayings of Christ ? Even if he has doubts about Matthew being the 
author, at all events he prefers to believe about Matthew himself what 
he finds the Church believes, and what has been continuously believed 
and handed down from his times to the present, rather than what 
some fugitive or other from Persia, coming 200 or more years after 


Christ, fells us about Christ s words and works. For would the 
Church wholly believe the Apostle Paul himself, who was called from 
heaven after the Lords ascension, if he had not found Apostles in the 
flesh, to whom he might make it clear by communicating his Gospel that 
he was of the same fellowship as they ?" (lib .xxviii. c. 4). 

Our Protestant friends should note this, and apply it to them 
selves, who prefer to believe Calvin, coming 1500 years after Christ, 
and teaching new doctrines, rather than the Church and the unani 
mous tradition of so many centuries. 

Observe that this testimony is not for the laity to give, even if 
they be magistrates, but for Peter and the Apostles, i.e., for the 
Roman Pontiff and the Bishops, who have succeeded the Apostles, 
whether individually, or assembled in council. For Paul sought 
this testimony to his teaching and Apostleship from the Council of 
Jerusalem, in which the judges were the Apostles, and where 
Peter, as the president, spoke first and pronounced sentence. So 
from the time of the Apostles up to the present time, the whole 
Christian world, when doubts as to the faith, or new opinions, or 
heresies spring up, has sought from the Roman Pontiff, and from 
the Councils over which he presides, either in person or by his 
legates, a decision and testimony as to the truth. Whatever dogmas 
or doctors are condemned by them the whole Christian world 
regards as heretical. Heretics alone, because they are heretics, 
have refused to recognise this condemnation, this judgment, this 
testimony, and have in every age avoided it. So it is not surprising 
if our Protestants do the same ; nay, their doing so is a sure proof 
of novelty, of wrong faith, and of heresy. 

Ver. 3. Neither Titus, who was a Gentile, was compelled to be cir 
cumcised. Observe the word compelled. Though the false brethren, 
the Jews, urged and tried to force it, yet I would not consent to 
Titus being circumcised, since he was a Gentile. Had I consented, 
I should have been thought to allow the necessity of circumcision 
and the law of Moses for Gentiles. But when I circumcised 
Timothy afterwards (Acts xvi. 3), I did so not under compulsion, 
but of my own initiative, that I might not irritate the Jews. For 


Timothy was not wholly a Gentile, being on his mother s side a Jew, 
and on his father s a Gentile, and so half-Jew, half-Gentile. 

Gentile. Literally " Greek " [as in A.V.] At the time of Alexander 
the Greeks were those of the Gentiles who were best known to 
the Jews. 

Ver. 4. And that. I.e., not even though the false brethren of the 
Jews urged it was Titus circumcised (Chrysostom, OEcumenius). 
S. Jerome takes away the adversative but, and makes the verse 
follow immediately on the construction of the preceding. But it is 
better to take the Greek Sta Be, which our version renders sedpropter, 
in the sense of S?) or Syjra, i.e., " nempe," in spite of it all, he was not 

The interpretation of Primasius and some others, who take the Be, 
sed, in its strictly adversative sense, as meaning that Titus was not 
indeed compelled by the Apostles to be circumcised, but yet was 
circumcised because of the importunity of the false brethren, is 
clearly inconsistent with the following words, To whom we gave place 
by siibjection, no, not for an hour, and also with a sound faith. For 
circumcision having been already done away, and having given 
place to baptism under the Gospel, it was forbidden to Gentiles 
to be circumcised. But Titus was a Gentile by both parents. Cf. 
S. Augustine (Ep. xix. ad Hieron., and de Mendacio, c. 5). 

Unawares brought in, who came in privily. Like spies preparing 
for traps to be laid for us, they crept in by stealth. Cf. Rom. v. 20 
and comments. 

To spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus. Our liberty 
from the yoke and burden of the numerous legal ceremonies from 
which Christ has set us free by His faith and His Church. 

Ver. 6. But by those who seemed to be somewhat (supply nothing} 
was added to my teaching. The Apostle, as is his wont, breaks off 
and interpolates a clause (whatsoever they were it maketh nothing 
to me), and then returns to his subject with a change of case. 
Peter, James, and John, the chief Apostles, added nothing to me 

They who seemed to be somewhat. (r.) These leading Apostles 


who seemed to be somewhat were illiterate and uncultivated 
fishermen, whilst I, a Roman citizen, excelled them in zeal and 
knowledge of the law (Ambrose and Anselm). Since Paul was 
pressed by the authority of the other Apostles, who were claimed 
as Judaisers, he exalts his own authority and his own teaching, 
though with all modesty. This is why he adds, God accepteth no 
man s person, as appears from this choice of fishermen to be Apostles. 
(2.) Augustine turns the oTnnot (quales) as implying sinners. No 
one need trouble to cast in my teeth the sins of my persecuting 
days, or remind Peter that he denied Christ. (3.) Chrysostom 
and Jerome, however, read it : Whatever they were in doctrine and 
observance of circumcision and the law is nothing to me ; to God 
they will give account, for God accepteth no man s person. The 
first of these three explanations is nearest the intention of the 

God accepteth no man s person. I.e., the conditions attaching to 
a person, which have nothing to do with the free calling of God. 
To pay attention to these in conferring benefices and offices is 
in men a vice contrary to distributive justice, which is called in 
Greek Tr/xxrcoTro/bji/ ia. In God it would be no vice, but it would 
be inconsistent with His liberality and greatness. See Rom. ii. 1 1 
and comments. 

Added nothing to me. This is Valla s translation [and that of 
A.V.], but the Greek is -n-poo-avedevTo, they communicated nothing 
being content with my statement as sufficient. See Gal. i. 16 
and comments. 

Ver. 7. The gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, 
as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter. /.<?., of the cir 
cumcised Jews. See my canon 21. 

You will urge : Then Peter was not head of the Church, but 
Apostle and Pope of the Jews only. Some reply that this is said 
of the care and division of protection that Peter was appointed 
to protect the Jews, Paul the Gentiles ; and this especially, because 
he adds, He that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostkship of 
the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles ; 



which signifies : I was given the duty, the necessary graces, and 
apostolic gifts for my apostleship to the Gentiles. 

Jerome s answer is much better. He points out that at that 
time, at the very beginning of the Church, when there was still, as 
verse 12 shows, a wall of separation between Jews and Gentiles, Peter 
and Paul divided between them not power but works, so that 
Paul, hateful as he was to the Jews, might primarily and chiefly 
preach to the Gentiles, and Peter to the Jews. On occasion Paul 
preached to the Jews, as Acts ix. shows, and Peter to the Gentiles 
(Acts x.). Moreover, Peter transferred his see to Gentile Rome, 
as all historians, all the Fathers, the chronicles and monuments 
testify in common. See Bellarmine for these in detail. If any one 
after reading them still is in doubt, he must be too prejudiced or 
too impudent to form a sane judgment. 

Ver. 8. Pie that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the 
circumcision to make him the Apostle of the circumcised Jews by 
filling Peter with strength and effectual energy, did exactly the 
same for me among the Gentiles. As Ephrem puts it, he was alike 
effectual iu us, both by working signs and wonders, by efficacy of 
speech, by the conversion of some many to Christ. 

Ver. 9. Cephas. Clement of Alexandria (Euseb. Hist. Eccl. ii. 12) 
and Dorotheus (in Synopsi) thought that that Cephas was not the 
Apostle Peter, but one of the seventy disciples. But the Church 
neither knows nor commemorates any other Cephas save S. Peter. 
The words, who seemed to be pillars, show that an Apostle is meant, 
and, therefore, Peter. Accordingly, in verse 14, S. Paul opposes 
himself to Peter, as being a sort of primate over James and John. 
In Syriac, spoken at Antioch of Syria, the same person would be 
called Cephas who by the Greeks was called Peter. So the man 
styled Cephas here is in verse 7 Peter. 

That we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision. 
So Christ is called, in Rom. xv. 8, a minister of the circumcision, 
inasmuch as He was promised and given to the Jews as the first- 
fruits of the world. Accordingly, the Apostles at first confined their 
labours to these circumcised Jews. 


Ver. 10. The poor. The Jews, who, for Christ s sake, had been 
spoiled of their goods by their fellows (Heb. x. 34 and Chrysostom). 
Jerome, however, understands the poor who became so voluntarily 
to be meant, those who had sold their possessions and had given 
the price to the Apostles, to be distributed among the faithful 
especially the poor among them, of whom there was a great number 
(Acts ii. 45). 

Ver. ii. I withstood him to the face. Erasmus and others inter 
pret this to mean in appearance, outwardly, feignedly, and by 
previous arrangement. The literal meaning is better : I openly 
resisted Peter, in order that the public scandal caused by him 
might be removed by a public rebuke (Augustine, Ambrose, 
Bede, Anselm, and nearly all other authorities). 

Because he was to be blamed, (i.) Because he had been blamed 
(Kareyvaxr/zevosj by other brethren, whom Peter had offended by 
this proceeding, in their ignorance of his true intention and 
motive, as Chrysostom and Jerome say, or, as Ephrem turns it, 
"because they were offended in. him." (2.) Theophylact and 
CEcumenius understand it : Peter had been blamed by the other 
Apostles because he had eaten with the Gentile Cornelius at 
Cassarea. Fearing lest he should be blamed again by them or 
by other Jews, he withdrew himself from all intercourse with the 
Gentiles. (3.) The opinion of Ambrose is better. He had fallen 
under the condemnation of the truth and of Gospel liberty, which 
sets the Gentiles free from the darkness and slavery of Judaism. 
(4.) The Vulgate reprehensibilis (in place of reprehensus, as with 
the authors cited above) is better, and agrees with the context. It 
gives the reason for resisting Peter, because he was to be blamed for 
simulating Judaism. 

It may be asked whether Peter was really blameworthy and was 
actually blamed by Paul. For many years there was a sharp dispute 
on this point between S. Jerome and S. Augustine, as may be seen 
in their epistles. Jerome, Chrysostom, Theophylact, Baronius an 
swer in the negative, and hold that the rebuke was only theatrical. 
They argue that Peter, who had lawfully followed the Jewish customs 


at Jerusalem among Jews, lived as a Gentile among Gentiles at 
Antioch; when, however, the Jews arrived who had been sent to 
Antioch from Jerusalem by James, he withdrew from the Gentiles 
in favour of the Jews, lest he should offend those who had been the 
earliest to receive the faith (see ver. 9), and also that he might at the 
same time give Paul, the Apostle of the Gentiles, an opportunity of 
rebuking him, that by yielding he might teach the Jews that the 
time for Judaising was past. On the other side S. Augustine main 
tains that Peter was really blameworthy, and was blamed by Paul, as 
the record distinctly declares. 

Out of this arose a dispute between S. Augustine and S. Jerome 
about simulation and lying. Jerome argued from this action of 
Peter s that any similar simulation is lawful. Augustine denied that 
he did simulate, and laid down the unlawfulness of all lying or 
simulation, especially in matters of religion. In this second question, 
however, neither seems to have understood the other s position. 
Jerome did not maintain that Peter told a lie, or put on a profession 
of Judaism while secretly detesting it, as Augustine, by the strength 
of his language, seems to think that Jerome held. The latter did 
not say that Peter was right in professing Judaism ; if he did, then 
it would be right for any one of the faithful to make a profession 
of any false faith or any heresy. But Jerome only held what S. 
Chrysostom did, viz., that the rebuke administered to Peter by Paul 
was not really intended, but was merely theatrical, it being arranged 
between them beforehand that Paul should rebuke Peter, not for 
simulation, but for thoughtless dissimulation, and that Peter should 
accept the rebuke thus arranged for, that so the Judaisers might be 
really rebuked in the specious rebuke given to Peter, and with him 
might clearly understand that Judaising was forbidden. The lawful 
ness of such an action is not denied by Augustine, all he denies is 
that the proceeding was of this nature. 

From this it appears how little ground Cassian (Collat. xvii. 17- 
25), Origen, Clement, Erasmus, and others (see the passages in 
Sixtus of Sens, lib. v. annot. 105) had for founding the lawfulness 
of lying on this passage, or for endorsing the saying of Plato, that, 


although a He is an evil thing, yet it is occasionally necessary, just as 
we use hellebore or some other drug, for this is now an established 
error condemned by Innocent III. (Tit. de Usuris, cap. super eo.), and 
by Ecclesiasticus vii. 14. Against it too S. Augustine writes two 
treatises, one entitled de Mendado and the other contra Mendacium. 
Nor is there any exception to be taken here against Jerome and 
Chrysostom. They only understand and excuse a secret arrange 
ment, whereby no lie was acted, but a rebuke was simulated, and 
this is a legitimate action, as is evident in military stratagems, when 
for instance, the enemy feigns to flee, and so draws its foes into an 

A third question was also disputed between Jerome and Augus 
tine as to the date when the Old Law came to an end; but this is 
outside the present subject, and it is sufficient therefore to say very 
briefly that the Old Law, so far as obligation goes, came to an end 
at Pentecost, when the New Law was promulgated, but that its 
observance did not wholly cease, it being lawful to observe it for a 
while, till the Jews had been gradually weaned from it, that so in due 
time it might receive an honourable burial. In this dispute Augustine 
seems to have held the stronger position. 

It may be urged that in this act of Peter s there was at least 
something sinful, if not actually erroneous in faith, as some have 
rashly asserted. By his action it may be thought that he thought 
lessly made a profession of Judaism, and so put a stumbling-block 
in the way of the Gentiles, and tempted them to Judaise with him. 
He had previously lived with the Gentiles, but he afterwards with 
drew from them suddenly, went over to the Jews, and lived with 
them. From this the Gentiles might properly infer that Judaism 
was necessary to salvation, both for him and themselves, and was 
binding on Christians; for though the Old Law, with its cere 
monies, was not yet the cause of death, and might be preserved so 
as to secure for itself an honourable burial, and also to draw the 
Jews to the faith of Christ, yet it was dead, and in one sense death- 
giving, viz., to any one who should keep it on the supposition that 
it was binding on Christians. Although Peter, however, did not so 


regard it, yet his action was so imprudent as to give the Gentiles 
good reason for thinking that he did. 

The justness of this remark is evident from the two remarks made 
by Paul : / withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed ; 
and : When I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth 
of the Gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, Why compellest thou 
the Gentiles to live as do the Jews ? viz., by your simulation, or what 
the Greeks call hypocrisy. All this shows that either Peter sinned or 
that Paul told a lie, which God forbid. See S. Augustine (Epp. 8, 9, 
and 19 to Jerome), Cyprian (Ep. ad Quintum\ Gregory (Horn. 18 in 
Ezech.), Ambrose, &c. 

To what has been said I add this : This sin of Peter s was venial, 
or material only, arising from want of thought, or from want of light 
and prudence. He seems to have thought that, being the Apostle 
of the Jews especially, that he ought rather to avoid scandalising 
them than the Gentiles, and that the Gentiles would readily recog 
nise the rightfulness of this line of action. In so doing he erred, 
for " although" as S. Thomas says, " the Holy Spirit who descended on 
the Apostles at Pentecost established them thereafter in such prudence 
and grace as to keep them from mortal sins, yet he did not also save 
them from venial sins" 

Observe that a lie may consist in deeds as well as in words. For 
example, if a man lead another to suppose by his conduct that he is 
a good man or his friend, when he is neither of these, then he is 
guilty of a lie. This lie by deed is what is properly called hypocrisy. 
Similarly, if any Christian at Rome wears a yellow cap he acts a lie, by 
thus giving himself out as a Jew. 

Notice, however, with Cajetan that falsity in deeds is more easily 
excused than falsity in words. The reason is that words are express 
signs of mental concepts, but deeds are not, and so admit a wider 
interpretation. Hence if soldiers feign flight to draw the enemy 
into an ambush, they are not guilty of hypocrisy, as they would be if 
they were to say in words : We flee, O enemy, because we are afraid 
of you." 

Again, observe the following rule : When there is a just cause of 


concealing the truth, no falsehood is involved. Peter, in the act 
under discussion, had partly a just cause, viz., the fear of offending 
the Jews. His withdrawal from the Gentiles was not a formal 
declaration that he was a Judaiser, but only tantamount to saying 
that he preferred to serve the Jews rather than the Gentiles, the just 
cause of this preference being that he was more an Apostle of the 
former than of the latter. I say partly, for he was not wholly 
justified in so acting, inasmuch as he was bound, as universal pastor, 
to care for the Jews without neglecting the Gentiles. Hence it 
follows also that in one respect he sinned through want of due 
consideration. The infirmity of man s mind, however, is such that 
he cannot always hit the exact mean, and under complex circum 
stances benefit one without harming another. 

Some one will object then : Since Paul corrected Peter, he was of 
equal, if not superior authority ; in other words Paul, and not Peter, 
was the head of the Apostles. 

I deny the consequence. For superiors may, in the interests of 
truth, be corrected by their inferiors. Augustine (Ef. xix.), Cyprian, 
Gregory, and S. Thomas lay down this proposition in maintaining 
also that Peter, as the superior, was corrected by his inferior. The 
inference from what they say is that Paul was equal to the other 
Apostles, inferior to Peter, and hence they all were Peter s inferiors ; 
they were the heads of the whole Church, and Peter was their chief. 
Gregory (Horn. 18 in Ezech.} says : " Peter kept silence, that the first 
in dignity might be first in humility ; " and Augustine says the same 
(Ep. xix. ad Hieron.} : " Peter gave to those who should follow him a 
rare and holy example of humility under correction by inferiors, as 
Paul did of bold resistance in defence of truth to subordinates against 
their superiors, charity being always preserved" 

He did eat with the Gentiles. He ate, according to Anselm, of 
pork and other forbidden meats, without any scruple, to show that 
the Ceremonial Law was abrogated. 

Ver. 13. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him. What 
was the nature of this dissimulation? Jerome, Chrysostom, and 
CEcumenius say it was "economical," to prevent the Jews being 


scandalised ; but Augustine, Anselm, and the Latins in general give 
a more satisfactory explanation in maintaining that it was an act 
of hypocrisy. The latter, too, have the Greek on their side, the 
literal meaning of which is, they acted hypocritically with him. They 
pretended to keep the law, which they knew to be abrogated. 
Barnabas followed them in pretending that there was a difference in 
meats, and that the Jews were to be preferred to the Gentiles, and 
so, though they did not consciously intend it, yet they made the 
Greeks to believe that the Old Law was necessary to salvation. 

Ver. 14. But when I saw that they walked not uprightly. The 
Greek word used here denotes literally to walk straight, without 
turning to the right hand or to the left. 

Jf thou being a Jew livest after the manner of the Gentiles. To live 
as a Gentile is to partake indifferently of the same food, and thereby 
to show that the ceremonies of the law are dead, if not deadly, 
now that the Gospel is being preached. Having done this, why do 
you now avoid the Gentiles, and so compel them to Judaise ? 

Ver. 15. Sinners of the Gentiles. So, according to Augustine 
and Anselm, the Jews contemptuously called the Gentiles, as being 

Ver. 1 6. A man is not justified by the works of the law, but by 
the faith of Jesus Christ. The English but here exactly interprets 
the work that the Latin translates by nisi. There is an antithesis 
between the works of the law and the faith of Jesus Christ, and 
accordingly the Protestants are wrong in neglecting the force of the 
antithesis, and translating the phrase as if it meant a man is justified 
only by the faith of Christ. Moreover, even if the Apostle had said 
the latter, yet he would lend no support to the Protestant doctrine 
of justification by faith only, for S. Thomas admits faith as the sole 
justifying cause. The word only excludes the works of the law, not 
the works of hope, fear, chanty, and penance, which spring from 
faith as daughters from a mother. 

Ver. 17. But if while we seek to be justified by Christ we ourselves 
also are found sinners, is, therefore, Christ the minister of sin ? 
i. If we are still in sin, and are looking to faith in Christ for for- 


giveness, while as a matter of fact it is not to be found there, but 
in the law, then does Christ support sin, inasmuch as He has taken 
away the law, which, according to the Judaisers, alone destroys sin. 
If the law alone justifies, then the law of grace, which abolishes the 
law, is the minister of sin. This is the interpretation of Jerome, 
Chrysostom, Primasius, Anselm, and Theophylact. 

2. Vatablus says that "to be found a sinner" means to teach that 
the Mosaic law is necessary to salvation along with the Evangelical 
law. If, says S. Paul, we have taught this, as our traducers say we 
have, is then Christ or the Gospel involved in this heresy? 

3. Others again interpret the verse thus : If we also, who boast 
of our being justified in Christ, are found sinners ; if we give way to 
our lusts equally with the Jews or the Gentiles, who are aliens to 
Christ, does it necessarily follow that our teaching about justification 
through Christ is erroneous ? Does Christ make us sinners unless 
He be joined to the Law? If Christ s followers give way to sin it 
is their own fault, not His. 

The first of these three interpretations is the best, as being the 
least forced. The others have to supply a clause ; the second 
supplies " are called sinners," the third, " because they give way to 
their lusts." The first two agree better with the context. The 
Apostle is trying to prove that faith and not the law justifies. If. 
then, they who trust to faith in Christ are none the less found 
sinners, then Christ is found a deceiver in promising righteousness 
by faith, and in not keeping His promise. Hence He becomes the 
servant of sin, not its conqueror, especially since He has abrogated 
the law, which, they say, was our justifier against sin. 

The Apostle uses a common Hebraism. His question implies 
a negative reply, and refutes the Judaising error by a reductio ad 
absurdum. Cf. Rom. iii. 5 ; S. John viii. 53 ; Jer. xviii. 20. 

Ver. 1 8. For if I build again if I attribute justifying faith to 
the law the things which I destroyed i.e., the law, as justifying 
/ make myself a transgressor. Like a Proteus, I change my faith 
at every wind. This is a fresh argument. If I do what the Jews 
falsely allege against me, I shall be a hypocrite, a destroyer in 


public of what I build again in private. But a hypocrite no one 
has charged me with being. 

Ver. 19. For I through the law am dead to the law. The 
law was the forerunner of Christ, and died when He appeared. 
The Ceremonial died absolutely, the Moral only so far as it was 
a tutor, and a judge of sin. By the law itself I died to law, 
because itself bade me die to it and live unto Christ. This is a 
second reason, following on that given in ver. 17, why we are 
justified by Christ and not by the law. Since the law itself sent 
me to Christ, why do you, O Jews, go against its own declarations, 
and seek to galvanise it into fresh life? It does not, however, 
follow from this that the binding force of the Decalogue ceased 
when Christ came, for the law in this respect was not Mosaic, 
but natural and immutable. Cf. notes on Rom. vii. i. 

Accordingly, Luther s remarks here and again on chapter iv. of 
this Epistle are impious. " To die to the law," he says, " is nothing 
but to be free from obeying it, whether it be ceremonial or moral, for 
it is obvious that the law was given to the Jews, and not to us." 
He says the same in his treatise de Libertate Christiana: 
Christian needs neither law nor works, for by faith he is free from 
all law." Again, in the Wittenberg Edition of his works (pp. 189, 
190), he says : " The human heart must hate above all things the law 
of God, and so far God Himself." Listen to these words, all 
ye who have been miserably deceived by him and his colleagues, 
and shudder at the words not of a man but of Satan. For what 
more blasphemous and abominable words could Satan, the sworn 
foe of God and man, utter against God, or what words more dan 
gerous to man? 

The sentiments of Calvin (Instit. lib. 3, cap. 19, 2, 4, 7) : " When 
conscience says, Thou hast sinned," reply, Yes, I have sinned. 1 God 
will, therefore, condemn and punish you. - No, for it is the law 
that threatens that ; but I have nothing to do with the law. 1 Why ? 
< Because I am free. " Is this the pure Gospel ? Did Paul 
teach this ? " Do we then make -void the law through faith 1 God 
forbid. Yea, we establish the law" (Rom. iii. 31). " Who," says 


S. Augustine (contra Ep. Pelag. lib. iii. c. 4), " is so impious as to 
say that he does not keep the commandments, because a Christian is 
not under the law but under grace ? " Who can believe that Luther 
and Calvin were sent by God to be reformers of the Church, when 
they abrogate all law, human and Divine ? 

Ver. 20. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live ; yet not 
I, but Christ liveth in me. By baptism I am crucified with Christ, 
and dead to sin and the law; I am cut off from the old tree, 
and graffed as a new branch into the new tree of the Cross 
of Christ, from which I draw a new life, so that it is not so 
much I that live but Christ who lives in me. It is not the law, 
not nature, not concupiscence, not my own will that now drives 
me into action; but Christ s grace is now, as it were, my soul, 
and the cause of all virtuous living, and the wellspring of 
humility, fortitude, wisdom, joy, peace, and all virtues. So Jerome, 
Chrysostom, Anselm. Gregory (Horn. 32 in Evan.} says: " We 
leave ourselves, we deny ourselves when we change what we were in 
the old man, and strive for what we are called in the new. Think 
how Paul denied himself when he said, It is not I that live. The 
cruel persecutor was dead, the pious preacher had begun to live ; for 
if he were himself, he would not be pious. But if he asserts that it is 
not he that lives, let him tell us whence it is that he preaches holiness 
in his teaching of the truth. He adds: c Yet not I, but Christ 
liveth in me. 1 It is as if he said plainly : As far as I am concerned, 
I am dead, for I do not live after the flesh ; but yet I am not really 
dead, for I live spiritually in Christ. " So too Chrysostom writes : 
" See and admire an exact explanation of life. Since he had given 
himself wholly to Christ and His Cross, and did everything at His 
command, he did not say, I live to Christ] but, what is much more, 
Christ liveth in me. So too S. Jerome : "He who once lived as 
a persecutor and under the law, lives no longer. But Christ liveth 
in him as wisdom, fortitude, peace, joy, and all virtues. He who has 
not these cannot say, Christ liveth in me. 3: 

S. Bernard (Serm. 7 in Quad.} says: These words of Paul are as 
if he should say : To all other things I am dead ; I do not feel them, 


I pay them no attention, I care not for them. Whatever, however, 
is Chris fs finds me alive and ready. For if I can do nothing else, 
at all events I can feel. Whatever makes for his honour pleases me, 
what against it displeases. Yea, it is not I that live, it is Christ that 
lives in me. 

It is Christ, then, that teaches, preaches, prays, works, suffers 
in me, says S. Paul, so much so that I seem to be changed into 
Christ and Christ into me. "Each one" says S. Augustine (in Ep. 
Joan, tract. 2), "is what he lores. If thou lovest earth, thou wilt be 
earthly ; if thou lovest God, thou wilt be God." Or, as S. Dionysius 
puts it, " Love changes the lover into what he loves." Cf. Hosea ix. 
10 : "Their abominations were according as they loved." 

The metaphor of the old tree and the new, the old life and the 
new, used here by S. Paul, is paralleled by that used in Rom. vi., 
where he speaks of our being planted, buried, crucified, dead, and 
risen together with Christ. So S. Ignatius wrote to the Romans, 
"My love was crucified"- my love, my life, my soul, my whole 
being was crucified when Christ suffered. 

Notice here four properties of love, (i.) According to Dionysius 
(de Divin. Noniin. c. 4), "love is a unifying force." This the 
Apostle touches in the words : " I am crucified with Christ ; " I am 
united to, and am as it were one with Christ crucified. (2.) The 
second property of love is mutual inherence, which links God and 
man in the bonds of mutual love, and causes each to will what 
the other wills, and to say with the Bride in Cant. vi. 3 : " I am my 
beloved s, and my beloved is mine." This too S. Paul alludes to 
when he says that "he is in Christ, and Christ in him." (3.) The 
third property is to turn the thoughts always in the same direction. 
For love, as a bond between minds, necessarily governs the thoughts 
of the mind. This S. Paul touches in the words, "I live," and 
"Christ liveth," i.e., the same life of memory, understanding, and 
will. (4.) The fourth is ecstasy. "Divine love" says Dionysius 
(ubi supra), " causes ecstasy ; it takes lovers out of themselves, so that 
they are no longer their own masters, but pass under the yoke of what 
they love. Hence the exclamation of Paul, when on fire with love 


and dominated by it : I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me? Like 
a true lover, he was beside himself. We may even -venture to say that 
a lover passes the bounds of self, and can do everything for the great 
ness of his love, because it makes him reach out in every direction and 
lay hold of everything" Nay, ecstatic love laid hold on God Himself, 
and made Him communicate Himself to His creatures, and still 
more strongly, when it led Him to ally the Person of the Word to 
human nature in the Incarnation (Phil. ii. 7). It was ecstasy, 
therefore, which made the Word flesh, crucified It, and gave It the 
likeness of sin, because we were sinners and condemned to death ; 
for it was out of His great, nay, His ecstatic love that Christ took 
all that we are, sin only excepted. 

This ecstasy of love may almost be said to have changed the 
heart of Paul into the heart of Christ, just as we read about S. 
Catherine of Sienna, that her ardent love for Christ made her ask 
Him to remove her own heart and give her His; whereupon He 
granted her petition, and in place of her own gave her a new Christ- 
like heart. So too S. Chrysostom (Horn. 23 in Ep. ad Rom.}, 
after quoting these words of Paul s, went on to say: "And so the 
heart of Paul was the heart of Christ, the tablets of the Holy Spirit, 
a roll written on by charity." A little before he had called the 
heart of Paul, "the heart of the world" and given this explanation of 
the term : -His heart was so enlarged that in it was room for whole 
cities and peoples and tribes. For my heart] he says, is enlarged. 1 
Nevertheless, however large it was, the love ^vhich enlarged it often 
brought it anguish. Out of much tribulation and sorrow] he says, 
have I written unto you ; and I would fain see that heart melted, 
burning with love of them that are perishing, bringing forth children. 
A heart that sees God is higher than the heavens, wider than the 
world, brighter than the rays of the sun, hotter than fire, harder than 
adamant, that sends forth streams of living water, a springing well, 
that waters not the face of the earth but the souls of men." 

This ecstasy has often been experienced by saints who have been 
overcome by the love of Christ. S. Dominic, when elevating the 
Body of Christ in the Mass, was carried aloft, and his body, catching 


the fire with which his soul was consumed, was kindled as it were 
into a flame, whilst he ascended to be united to Christ, his love. S. 
Francis too conceived in his mind such ardour, as S. Bonaventura 
says, from the seraph who appeared to him at night, that his body 
was wonderfully changed from that of an earthly man to a heavenly 
spirit, and into an image of the Crucified : bearing the five wounds of 
the Saviour, and the five marks burnt into him by the fire of the love 
of Christ, he became a marvel to the world. 

Well too says S. Gregory of Nyssa (Horn. 15 in Cant. }: " To 
me to live ts Christ. By these words the Apostle not only exclaims 
that in him live no human affections, such as pride, fear, lust, grief, 
anger, timidity, audacity, recollection of injuries, envy, desire of revenge, 
of money, of honour, or of glory, but that all these being killed, He only 
remains who is none of these, who is sanctification, piirity, immortality, 
and light and truth, who feeds among the lilies in the glories of His 

So did Andrew the Apostle joyfully embrace the Cross. When 
he was condemned by JEgeas, Proconsul of Achaia, to be crucified 
for preaching the Cross, he exclaimed, as he approached the cross 
prepared for him : " O noble cross, long desired, ardently loved, ever 
sought, already foreseen, gaily and gladly do I come to thee ; may my 
Master, who hung on thee, welcome me, His disciple, that through thee 
I may come to Htm who through thee redeemed me." So saluting 
the cross, and making his prayer, he stripped off his garments 
and surrendered himself to his executioners, who thereupon tied him 
with ropes to the cross and raised him aloft. There he hung for 
two days and taught the people, till, finally, after having asked the 
Lord that he might not be taken down from the cross, he was 
surrounded with a glorious light from heaven, and when the light 
departed he gave up the ghost. All this is related in his Acts, which 
are thoroughly trustworthy. 

So too S. Peter, when condemned by Nero to the cross, asked 
and obtained that he might be crucified, not like his Master, but with 
his head downwards. 

S. Philip the Apostle preached the faith to the Scythians at 


Hierapolis, a city of Asia, during the reign of the Emperor Claudius ; 
and having baptized many of them, he was at length crucified by 
the heathens and stoned, and so died a blessed martyr, as Eusebius 
relates, and, following him, Baronius. 

When S. Bartholomew the Apostle had spread the Gospel through 
Lycaonia, in Greater Armenia, when Astyax was king, and had 
converted a temple of Ashtaroth in Lower India into a temple of the 
true God, and had baptized King Polemius and all his subjects, he 
was seized shortly afterwards, and after being beaten with sticks was 
crucified, and then flayed alive. On the twenty-fourth day afterwards 
he was beheaded, and so died. 

At Rome, when Decius and Valerian were emperors, Pope Xystus 
was thrown into the Tullian prison and afterwards crucified. 
Prudentius (Hymn. 2 de S. Laurentid) thus alludes to this : " When 
Xystus was already fastened to the cross he said prophetically to 
Laurence, when he saw him standing weeding at the foot of his cross: 
Cease to weep for me ; I go before thee, my brother. In three days 
thou shalt follow me. " 

S. Dionysius the Areopagite was scourged at Paris in the time of 
the Emperor Hadrian, then tortured by fire and thrown to the wild 
beasts, without suffering any harm. He was then raised on a cross, 
from which he was taken down and again scourged, after which his 
head was cut off, and he carried it in his own hands for two miles. 
Baronius (in Martyrol. Od. 9). 

When S. Calliopus, a devout youth, was invited to a banquet 
spread in honour of the gods, he replied : " / am a Christian ; I 
worship Christ with fastings, and it is not lawful for a Christian 
mouth to receive what has been offered to infamous and unclean idols" 
The governor, on hearing this, ordered him to be cruelly scourged, 
and then bade him give up his foolish craze, obey the decrees of 
the emperors, sacrifice to the gods, and so save his life, otherwise 
he should be crucified like his Master. Calliopus replied : " / 
wonder at your impudence ; you have been repeatedly told that I am 
a Christian, and that when a Christian dies he will live with Christ, 
yet you impudently fight against the truth. Hasten for me the same 


death as my Master bore." When the governor saw that he was 
not to be shaken from his purpose, he gave sentence that he should 
be crucified on the Friday in Holy Week. When his mother heard 
of this, she bribed the soldiers to crucify her son with his head 
downwards, which was done. When he died a voice was heard 
from heaven : " Coie, thou citizen of Christ s kingdom and fellow- 
heir of the holy angels." All this is related in his Life by Surius 
(April 7). 

Wonderful, too, was the love of the Cross shown by a mere boy, 
S. Wernher, and wonderful was his martyrdom by crucifixion. 
Having confessed and made his Communion, he was secretly taken 
by the Jews, and on Good Friday, in imitation of Christ, and out 
of hatred to Him, tied to a wooden pillar. There he was cruelly 
scourged, cut about with a knife in every part of his body, tortured 
with pincers, so that he seemed to be dead. The holy boy, how 
ever, lingered three days, hanging from the pillar, till the blood 
ceased to flow, when, after bearing his sufferings with the utmost 
patience, he gave up his spirit to Christ, crucified to the glory of 
God. See the account of him in Surius (April 2). For similar 
cruelties on the part of the Jews, see Socrates (Hist. lib. vii. c. 16). 

Ado (Martyrol. May 22), and, following him, Baronius (A.D. 440), 
relates a similar story of a holy maiden named Julia, who was 
brought before Felix, and urged by every blandishment to sacrifice 
to idols. On her refusal she was beaten by the hands of the 
servants, tortured by means of her hair, scourged, and crucified. 
When she gave up the ghost a dove left her mouth and flew to 
heaven. Who shall find a brave woman ? Her price is far off, yea, 
from the ends of the earth. 

Lately in Japan six Franciscans, three of our Order, and seventeen 
Japanese laymen, among them a lad, Aloysius, of twelve years, and 
another, Antonius, of thirteen, were, by order of King Taicosama, 
crucified, and pierced with a sword in the right side. They thus joy 
fully suffered the agonies of martyrdom. 

Who loved me and gave Himself for me. Note the use of the 
singular. It is not us nor for us, but me and for me. Paul speaks 


thus: (i.) because of the greatness and the sweetness of his love; 
(2.) because he felt himself the first of sinners ; (3.) because each one 
owes thanks to Christ for His death, just as though Christ had died 
for him only. " Happy, thrice happy he," says S. Jerome, "who can 
say, because Christ lives in him, in every thought and work, / live in 
the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. " 

Ver. 21. I do not frustrate the grace of God. I do not reject or 
spurn, or, as S. Ambrose renders it, "lam not ungrateful to the grace 
of God." S. Augustine takes it as in the text. They frustrate the 
grace of God, says S. Jerome, who seek for justification through the 
law, and those who after baptism are polluted by sin. But this is a 
moral interpretation ; that first given is the literal meaning. 

For if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. 
Since Christ gave His life as the price of our justification, He would 
have given it in vain if we could gain that justification through the 
law. This is a third argument, ex impossibili. No one is so mad 
as to say that Christ suffered in vain; but He did suffer for our 
justification ; therefore we are justified by Christ, not by Moses by 
faith, not by the law. 



I He asketh what moved them to leave the faith, and hang upon the law ? 6 They 
that believe are justified, 9 and blessed -with Abraham. 10 And this he 
she^ueth by many reasons. 

O FOOLISH Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey 
the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, 
crucified among you ? 

2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the 

law, or by the hearing of faith ? 

3 Are ye so foolish ? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by 

the flesh ? 

4 Have ye suffered so many things in vain ? if it be yet in vain. 

5 He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among 
you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith ? 

6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for right 

7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of 


8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through 
faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations 

be blessed. 

9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. 

10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse : for it is 
written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in 
the book of the law to do them. 

11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident : 
for, The just shall live by faith. 

12 And the law is not of faith : but, The man that doeth them shall 


13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse 
us : for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree : 

14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus 
Christ ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. 

15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man s 
covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulled, or addeth thereto. 

16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. ^ He saith not, 
And to seeds, as of many ; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. 

17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in 
Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, 
that it should make the promise of none effect. 


1 8 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise : but God gave 
it to Abraham by promise. 

19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, 
till the seed should come to whom the promise was made ; and it was ordained 
by angels in the hand of a mediator. 

20 Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one. 

21 A the law then against the promises of God ? God forbid : for if there had 
been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have 
been by the law. 

22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of 
Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. 

23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith 
which should afterwards be revealed. 

24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we 
might be justified by faith. 

25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. 

26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 

27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 

28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is 
neither male nor female : for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 

29 And if ye be Christ s, then are ye Abraham s seed, and heirs according to 
the promise. 


S. Paul proceeds to prove by five reasons that we are justified not by the law, or 
the works of the law, but by Christ. 

i. The first proof is drawn (ver. 2) from experience. The Galatians had 
received the Holy Spirit and His gifts, not in circumcision, but in 

ii. The second (ver. 6) from the example of Abraham, who was justified 
because he believed God, i.e., by faith. 

iii. The third relies on the fact (ver. 10) that those under the law are 
under the curse threatened to all who transgress it. But Christ, being 
made a curse for us, has set us free from the curse of the law. 

iv. The fourth is drawn (ver. u) from Habakkuk ii. 4: "The just liveth 
by faith." 

v. The fifth insists (ver. 16) that it was to Abraham and his seed that the 
blessing of righteousness was promised. Therefore, it is by the 
promise, apprehended by faith, that we are justified, and not by the 
law. For the law, as is said in ver. 24, was given only as a school 
master to lead us to Christ, that by Him we might be justified, that 
we might put on Him and become all one with Him. 

Ver. i. O foolish Galatians. " Each province" says S. Jerome, 
" has its characteristic. Epimenides notes that the Cretans are liars. 
The Latin historian charges the Moors with frivolity, the Dalmatians 


with ferocity. All the poets condemn the cowardice of the Phrygians, 
Cicero ( pro Flacco } asserts that the Greeks are frivolous by nature 
and empty by education. In the same way the Apostle, it seems to me, 
charges the Galatians with their racial defect in describing them as 
unteachable, stubborn, and slow to wisdom." S. Jerome again says 
that Hilary, an impartial witness, calls the Gauls intractable ; and 
again he insists that the stupidity of the Galatians is evident from 
their inclination to all sorts of foolish heresies. " Whoever has 
seen, as I have done, Ancyra, the metropolis of Galatia, will bear out 
my statement that it is torn with schisms. To say nothing of the 
Cataphrygians, the Ophites, the Borborites, and the Manichtzans, who 
ever in the whole Roman world besides knows more than the names 
of the Passalorincitce, the Ascodrobi, the Artotiritce, and other monstrous 
sects ? The traces of ancient folly remain to this day" (in Ep. Galat., 
Preface, lib. ii.). 

Observe that this reproach of the Apostle s springs, not from 
indignation, but from charity ; it is a material and not a formal 
rebuke. Cf. Gregory, Past. iii. 8. 

Parents who use a thong to punish their sons may still more use 
their tongue, and burn out their vices by sharp words. Christ called 
the scribes hypocrites (S. Matt. xxii. 18), and S. Paul called Elymas 
a child of the devil (Acts xiii. 10). The keenness, however, of the 
rebuke is toned down here by the following words " Who hath 
bewitched you ? " which attribute their folly to the influence of the 

Who hath bewitched you ? The Greek word here signifies (i.) to 
envy. "What Jew has envied you your Gospel liberty?" (Theo- 
phylact and Anselm). It denotes (2.) to fascinate, charm, bind the 
eyes, so as to make them to see what is not, or not to see what is. 
This second sense better suits the context before whose eyes Christ 
hath been evidently set forth. It was through the fixed look of the per 
son casting the spell that the charm was commonly made to work. 
Virgil refers to this in the line, " Some eye is casting its spell on my 
tender lambs." S. Paul s question then means : " What evil eye has 
seduced you, O Galatians, yet young in the faith, to the delusion of 


Judaism?" " The evil eye" says Jerome, "is peculiarly hurtful to 
infants, and those of tender years, and who cannot yet run alone." 

Evidently set forth. The Vulgate is prczscriptus, which is rendered 
by Anselm, disinherited; by Ambrose, spoiled, in the sense : You have 
deprived Christ of His lawful inheritance, the Church. 

S. Augustine, according to Erasmus, understands the word to 
allude to legal prescription, by which, after a certain time (three 
years in the case of movables, ten years in the case of immovables), 
possession gave a title to ownership. Christ, by the prescription of 
the Old Law, which for so many hundreds of years enjoyed the name 
of the Free Law, was shut out from His possession, the Church. 
But Erasmus has misread S. Augustine, as is evident from the best 
MSS. The latter reads proscriptus, and comments on it thus : " The 
Jews took away His inheritance, and drove Him out" which is an act 
Q{ proscription, not si prescription. 

S. Jerome interprets prascriptus to mean that the death of Christ 
was predicted by the prophets and in the sacraments of the Old Law. 

But there is a third and better meaning. Christ was put by 
writing, or by a picture, before your very eyes, crucified. The Gala- 
tians had not been spectators of the actual Crucifixion, but Christ 
had by preaching and faith been represented to them as crucified. 
This interpretation makes it necessary to supply as though before 

The sense, then, is : Though crucified at Jerusalem in fact, yet 
Christ has been represented as though crucified before you, O Gala- 
tians, by my preaching and your faith. By the eyes of faith you 
have seen Christ hanging on the Cross more clearly than did the 
Jews who stood at its foot. Who, then, has cast a spell upon those 
eyes which have so clearly seen Christ crucified ? 

It is possible, however, that the words are to be taken literally. In 
your own age, in the presence perhaps of some of you, and in a 
country not far removed, Christ was marked out by the instruments 
of His Passion, and depicted as your Saviour. While the colours 
then are so fresh on the canvas, how can you be so bewitched as to 
forget so great and so recent a benefit ? 


In this sense Christ Himself crucified is, as it were, a picture or 
a book in which He is described in blood-red letters. Do you wish 
to know who Christ is and what He is like ? Open this book, look 
at the Cross, see the title, Jesus of Nazareth i.e., Consecrator, who 
has consecrated us to God King of the Jews. You will find it 
written : " Christ was made sin for its, that we might be made the 
righteousness of God in Him" He alone bore and expiated our sin, 
for what is sin but Christicide or Deicide ? You will read too in this 
book, in the wounds and blood of Christ, that it was love of you 
which formed and coloured Him so. In His whole body you will 
see love written, nay, engraved. This book, in short, will show to 
one who reads and looks well all the wisdom of Christ, and the 
very depths of Christian philosophy. 

Ver. 2. Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by 
the hearing of faith ? The Spirit here is the Holy Spirit, with His 
visible gifts of tongues and prophecy, which He used to give in 
baptism, as outward tokens of the invisible graces He there infused. 
S. Paul asks the Galatians whether it is not clear that they received 
the Spirit and His gifts, not from circumcision, but in baptism. 

The hearing of faith. Hearing can be taken here either actively, 
in reference to the preaching they heard, or passively, in reference 
to their hearkening to and obeying the faith preached. Cf. Isaiah 
liii. i. 

Ver. 3. Having begun in the Spirit. With the spiritual doctrine 
of Christ, and the spiritual gifts received from Him, enabling you 
to live the spiritual life. 

Are ye now made perfect by the flesh ? The flesh is put for circum 
cision and other carnal ceremonies of the law. The interpretation 
which sees here a reference to the carnal lusts of the flesh is dis 
proved by the context. Made perfect is in the Vulgate conswneminL 

S. Bernard (Serm. 33 in Cant.} applies this text to those who 
exhaust their strength by unrestrained devotion, through excessive 
prayers and penances. Afterwards, he says, they become lazy, and 
are consumed by the flesh, while seeking for health, and so become 
sensual and carnal. Cf. notes to i Cor. iii. 2. 


Theophylact observes that S. Paul uses the passive, not the ac 
tive "Are you made perfect?" not, "Do you make perfect?" i.e., 
he hints that they were like brute beasts, in suffering themselves to 
be circumcised by others. He also notes that he does not say 
merely reAeib-tfe, but eVtreAeto-^e : After being perfected in Christ, 
will you seek a perfection beyond in the Old Law? Do you want 
:o add a fifth wheel to the coach ? 

Ver. 4. Have ye suffered so many things in vain ? Why should 
unbelievers persecute you in vain, i.e., without cause, if you are 
returning to Moses? 

If it be yet in vain. Which it will be, unless you return to your 
former mind, and stand firm in the faith of Christ. 

Ver. 5. He therefore that ministereth. I.e., God or Christ, who 
infuses His grace, and works in you by His Divine power. Cf. i. 
Cor. xii. 6. 

Ver. 6. Even as Abraham believed God. This introduces the 
second argument, to prove that we are justified, not by the works 
of the law, but by faith ; not by Moses, but by Christ. Abraham 
received the Spirit when uncircumcised and before the law, and 
was justified by faith in Christ, not by the law, which at that time 
was not in existence. So, argues S. Paul, are you justified by faith. 

And it was accounted to him for righteousness. By his faith he 
was justified. Cf. notes to Rom. iv. 3. 

Ver. 7. They which are of faith. A Grascism for they who are 
faithful, who imitate Abraham s faith. 

The same are the children of Abraham. Not by blood, but by 
imitation; to them, therefore, belongs the blessing pronounced on 

Ver. 8. Preached before the gosfel unto Abraham. Gave him 
this most joyful news of the blessing to be conferred by Christ on 
His descendants, i.e., on the faithful. In other words, the Gospel 
about Christ and His righteousness is not new, but is as old as the 
days of Abraham. 

In thee shall all nations be blessed. Cajetan observes, in his notes 
or Genesis xii., that when God called Abraham from his home in 


Chaldea, and from his kindred, to go to a land to be shown him, He 
promised him a sevenfold blessing. Seven is the number of com 
pleteness, (i.) He promised him that he should be the head or father 
of a great nation, in the words, " I will make of thee a great nation ; " 
(2.) abundant riches, in the words, " 2 will bless thee ;" (3.) fame and 
wide renown, in the words, And make thy name great /" (4.) the 
sum of all blessings and honours, in the words, " Thou shalt be a 
blessing." The exact force of the Hebrew here is that thou shalt be 
so filled with blessings as to seem to be a blessing itself, so that 
when men may wish to bless any one, they shall put you forward 
as an example, saying, " May God bless thee as He blessed Abraham." 
In a similar way the Romans saluted their Caesar : " May you be more 
fortunate than Augustus, more virtuous than Trajan." (5.) "The Lord 
promised His blessing, not to Abraham only, but to his friends, in 
the words, " I will bless them that bless thee." (6.) He promised that 
He would avenge him on his adversaries, in the words, " / will curse 
him that curseth thee" (7.) The preceding six are temporal only, but 
the seventh and the chief is spiritual and eternal, "In thee shall all 
families of the earth be blessed" 

1. Observe that in thee, i.e., in thy seed, as is explained in 
Gen. xxii. 17, is to be understood as in Christ, who was born of 
Abraham, according to the Apostle s interpretation in Gal. iii. 16. 
Through thy seed, Christ, and through faith in Him, all nations 
shall be blessed, i.e., be justified and made sons and friends of God, 
and consequently heirs of God s kingdom, and entitled to hear the 
blissful words, " Come, ye blessed of My Father, receive the kingdom 
prepared for you from the foundation of the world." Abraham s bless 
ing, therefore, was that he should be the father of the justified. 

2. But in thee can be also rendered like thee. As thou art justi 
fied by faith, so by faith shall all nations be justified, and not by 
the works of the law. So say Chrysostom, Augustine, Theophylact, 
CEcumenius, and S. Thomas. 

Notice, too, that with God to speak is as efficacious as to do, 
for, "He spake the word and they were made." 

Similarly, to pronounce a blessing with Him is the same as to 


confer a blessing (benedicere = benefacere). The greater the bless 
ing promised, the greater the blessing given. But the greatest 
good we can receive is that grace by which we become sharers of 
the Divine nature, and the word blessing, therefore, denotes this 
great gift. 

Hence the Fathers rightly interpret, they shall be blessed, as they 
shall be justified : they shall receive the blessing of justification, than 
which no greater gift can be given to man by God. 

From this is evident the error of Paginus, in rendering the phrase 
before us, In thee shall all nations bless themselves. The Hebrew 
voice of the verb is the Niphal, which is purely passive, not re 
flexive ; moreover, S. Paul s use of the passage is against him. 

Ver. 9. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful 
Abraham. This is the conclusion from the premisses of the three 
preceding verses. God promised to Abraham that in him, i.e., in 
his seed, i.e., in Christ, all nations should be blessed, i.e., justified. 
But the promise of God cannot fail ; therefore the consequence 
contained in this verse follows. 

If the second sense of in thee, given above, is preferred, the argu 
ment is the same. In thee, i.e., like thee, all nations shall be blessed. 
But thou, O Abraham, wast justified by faith ; therefore, the 
Gentiles too shall be justified in the same way. And from this 
it follows that they who are of faith shall be blessed, i.e., justified 
with faithful Abraham. This last phrase rather favours the second 
rendering of in thee, and hints that the Gentiles shall be justified 
by faith like faithful Abraham. 

Observe again the Grsecism, they who are of faith, i.e., who are 
faithful. Similarly, he speaks of those who are of the circumcision, 
i.e., the Jews, followers of the law. Elsewhere he calls them those 
ivho are of the works of the law, i.e., those who rely on it and hope 
for justification from it. 

Ver. 10. For as many as are of the works of the law are under 
a curse. He inquired in verse 5 whether righteousness comes from 
the law or from faith. He replied, " From faith," and then proved 
his answer by the example of Abraham. He now proceeds to a third 


proof, by destroying the alternative, viz., that it is not of the law. 
So far from the law bestowing a blessing, those who are under it 
are under a curse exposed to eternal damnation. This he argues 
thus : Whoever does not keep the whole law is cursed by the law. 
But no one keeps the whole law without the grace of Christ, as I 
suppose you know from your own experience ; for you know that 
the law teaches, threatens, and punishes only, but does not confer 
grace ; therefore, without faith no one is free from the curse of the 
law pronounced by it against those who transgress it. The law 
curses, faith alone blesses. 

If any one wishes the argument put more in syllogistic form, it 
may be thrown into the mood barbara thus : Whoever breaks any 
law is cursed by it. But all who are under the law, and are shut 
off from the grace of Christ, break the law; therefore, all who are 
under the law are cursed by it. The major is proved by Deut. 
xxvii. 26; the minor is supposed to be known by experience, 
and hence the conclusion follows. Of course the minor must be 
granted, else the Judaisers might say to the Galatians : We are as 
much under a blessing as a curse, for if the law curses those 
who break it, it also blesses those who keep it, as is said in 
Deut. xxviii. 2. 

For it is written^ Cursed is every one that continueth not in all 
things which are written in the book of the law to do them. Though 
Aquila, Symmachus, Theodotion, the LXX., render the word we 
translate continueth somewhat differently, yet the sense is the same 
throughout. Whoever does not by his deeds establish, strengthen, 
settle the law, is accursed by it. This is the major of the syllogism 
just stated. 

i. Observe that he passes over the minor, because it was ad 
mitted. Calvin, however, makes it to be this : But no one can fulfil 
the law; therefore, the law imposes what is impossible, and conse 
quently all are under its curse. But this is an impious proposition. 
If modified thus : No one keeps the law without the faith of Christ, 
therefore all without that faith are under the curse of the law, then 
it becomes orthodox. God does not command impossibilities. 


Although by natural strength a man cannot keep the whole law, 
yet he can by supernatural, and this latter God gives to all that 
ask Him, whether Jews or Gentiles. 

2. Observe, in the second place, that not all were accursed who 
broke any law. For some laws, though of Divine origin, obliged 
under venial sin only, because of the nature of their subject-matter, 
as, e.g., the law forbidding the mother to be taken in the nest with 
her young (Deut. xxii. 6.), and the law forbidding a vineyard to be 
sown with divers seeds (ver. 9), and the law forbidding a garment to 
be woven of flax and wool (ver. n). It is evident, therefore, that 
Deut. xxvii., quoted by S. Paul, refers to the Decalogue, which 
contains commandments of great importance. It is because they 
oblige under mortal sin that he is cursed who breaks one of them. 
A reference to Deut. xxvii. will show this to be the case. The 
Apostle assumes that no one can keep the whole Decalogue with 
out the grace of Christ, and he thence concludes that all who are 
under the law are cursed by it. 

Ver. n. But that no man is justified. This is a fourth proof. 
S. Paul would fain convince the Galatians by an accumulation of 
proofs. After that based on the example of Abraham, and that on 
the condition of those under the law, he proceeds to another drawn 
from Habukkuk ii. 4, a text already explained in the notes on 
Rom. i. 17. 

Ver. 12. And the laiv is not of faith. The law neither teaches 
nor gives the grace by which we fulfil the law and live righteously. 
But, as is said in Ezek. xx. 11, the man that doeth what the law 
commands shall live, i.e., shall not be punished with the death 
threatened by the law for transgressors, but he shall enjoy life and 
an abundance of temporal goods, as the law promises to those who 
keep it. The same was said in Rom. x. 5, which reminds us of the 
close relationship between that Epistle and this, the latter being a 
compendium of the former. 

Observe the antithesis between "faith" and "law." Of the 
former, it is said that the just, because he is just, shall live by it, i.e., 
shall enjoy a life of grace and glory, which is the perfect and blissful 


life. But as to the latter, it is not said absolutely that he who keeps 
the law shall live by it, but only in it, i.e., he shall live the life, 
and enjoy the goods promised by the law, viz., abundance of corn, 
wine, and oil. 

Ver. 13. Christ was made a curse for us. Christ, though blessed 
in Himself, was made a curse, so far as He took on Him the person 
of sinners, to expiate the curse due because of their sins. Just as 
if a man make himself responsible for another s debt, he becomes 
and is called a debtor, so Christ was made a curse for us. The 
term, however, cannot be properly applied to Him, for though a 
debt may be transferred, sin cannot. It is only applied to Him 
improperly, in the sense that He took upon Him the punishment of 
sin. In 2 Cor. v. 21, Christ is said to have been made sin for us, 
i.e., a victim for sin, according to the Jewish rite by which, through 
the imposition of hands, the whole body of sin was transferred to the 
victim. So here He is called a curse, because God transferred to 
Him the curses due to the whole human race, so that He bore for 
us the shameful Cross, to show the hideousness of sin as well as 
to give an example of every virtue. He hung on the Cross, says S. 
Augustine, "in order that Christian freedom, unlike Jewish slavery, 
might fear not only no death, but no kind of death " (contra Adimant. 
c. 21). So too Tertullian : " The Lord Himself was cursed in the 
law, and yet He alone was blessed. Therefore let us, His servants, 
follow our Lord, and patiently endure cursing, that we may be blessed " 
(de Patientia, c. 8). 

For it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree. This 
is from Deut. xxi. 23. Aquila and Theodotion render the clause, 
The curse of God is hanged ; Symmachus, He was hanged for blasphemy 
against God ; Ebion, the half-Jewish, half-Christian heresiarch, as 
Jerome calls him, rendered it, He who hangs is an outrage on God; 
another, The insult against God is hanged. Jerome adds that his 
Hebrew teacher (Barhanina) told him that the Hebrew might be 
translated, God was ignominiously hanged. Hence S. Jerome infers, 
that as S. Paul does not mention the name of God, that name was 
not in the original, but afterwards inserted by some Jew, in deri- 


sion of the Christians. But this is improbable, for all the Hebrew, 
Latin, and Greek texts, as well as the LXX. version, have the name 
of God in this text of Deuteronomy. It was, therefore, out of zeal 
for God that Paul omitted His name, and because of the Jews and 
the Galatians, already half-disposed to forsake Christ. He feared lest 
he might alienate them still further if he said that Christ had been 
cursed by God. 

1. From this and other passages, such as Num. xxv. 24, Josh, 
viii. 29, 2 Sam. xxi. 9, it appears that the Jews, contrary to the 
opinion expressed by some, punished criminals with crucifixion, as 
well as stoning or burning. 

2. They adopted crucifixion for the most heinous crimes, such 
as blasphemy, idolatry, oppression, and accordingly they crucified 
Christ for aiming at a kingship over Judaea. Hence criminals so 
punished were held in greater execration than others, accursed by 
God and man. It was not among the Romans alone that the 
punishment of crucifixion was regarded as infamous above all 

3. Although Tostatus extends by analogy the provisions of Deut. 
xxi. 23 to other modes of punishment besides crucifixion, yet there 
is little warrant for doing so. The law imposes this penalty pre 
cisely on hanged criminials alone, on the ground that they were 
specially execrable. 

It may be asked why God commanded the bodies of such crimi 
nals to be buried before the evening. The answer is to be found 
in Josh. viii. 28, and the comments of Andreas Masius on it. "// 
is," he says, " because such a corpse is regarded as contaminating the 
earth ; for as long as human bodies are left neglected and unburied, 
like the bodies of brute beasts, men who dwell on the earth are apt to 
conceive an impious and pernicious opinion of the soul s mortality." 
This explanation is more ingenious than true. It proves too much, 
and applies to all criminals, however killed ; but the law regards 
those only who were hanged on a tree. The opinion, therefore, of 
Cajetan and others is preferable, viz., that God wishes to blot out 
the remembrance of such men entirely from the earth, as a deterrent 


to others. So too poisoning, arson, fraud, and sodomy were punished 
with death by fire, the fire annihilating the bodies of those guilty of 
such atrocities. 

We should note the Scripture phraseology here. The earth is 
said to be polluted by crimes, to groan, to cry aloud, to be angry, 
to call for vengeance, nay, to cast out its inhabiters, as, e.g., in 
Lev. xviii. 28. The figure is a prosopopoeia, by which life and feel 
ing are attributed to inanimate things, so that the earth and the 
elements, as irrational creatures serving their Creator and jealous 
for His honour, detest what He detests. They do this by a sort of 
natural instinct, which keeps them true to their place and the uni 
versal good, and eager to fulfil the will of God. This natural instinct 
makes them do what they would do in obedience to reason if they 
were rational creatures. 

It was in accordance with this law of Deuteronomy that Christ, 
as a suspended malefactor, was taken from the Cross and buried, 
before the evening of the day on which He suffered, the next day 
being a Sabbath, although strictly speaking He was exempted from 
this law by His innocence. Hence the Hebrew of S. Jerome, before 
quoted, held that the law could be prophetically rendered : " His 
body" i.e., Christ s, " shall not remain on the tree because God was 
ignominiously hanged." The Jews, however, did not rely on this 
law for their action in taking him down from the Cross, but on the 
dishonour that would otherwise be done to the great Sabbath that 
was close at hand, as is clear from S. John xix. 31. 

This law of Deuteronomy was a judicial law, and, therefore, 
abrogated with the whole judicial and ceremonial law, by the death 
of Christ. Consequently crucified criminals are not now reckoned 
as cursed above others, nor are they buried on the same day, but 
are sometimes allowed to hang for days and weeks for a terror to 
other evil-doers. 

S. Jerome remarks on this passage : " The Lord s shame is our 
glory. He died that we might live. He descended into hell that we 
might ascend to heaven. He was made foolishness that we might be 
come wise. He emptied Himself of His fulness, and put off the form 


of God, and put on the form of a servant, that the fulness of the God 
head might dwell in us, and that we might be changed from slaves 
into masters. He hung on the Cross, that the tree of shame might 
destroy the sin which we had committed through the tree of knowledge. 
If is Cross made the bitter waters sweet, and made the lost axe swim in 
Jordan. Finally, He was made a curse made, not born that the 
blessings ^vhich had been promised to Abraham, with Him as author 
and herald, might be transferred to the Gentiles, and the promise of 
His spirit might by faith be fulfilled in us." See too the notes of 
Chrysostom and Anselm. 

Ver. 14. -- That the blessing of Abraham might come on the 

Gentiles. This evidently is a corollary from the preceding verse. 

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse 

for us, in order that the blessing of Abraham might be ours in place 

of the curse. 

The promise of the Spirit. To the children of Abraham, i.e., to 
those who believe on Christ, the descendant of Abraham, was pro 
mised the Holy Spirit to justify and sanctify us. For when God 
said to Abraham, "In thee," it was to his seed, which is Christ, that 
the blessing was appointed. Cf. notes to verse 8 above. 

Ver. 15. I speak after the manner of men. Cf. Job xxxi. 33, and 
Hos. vi. 7. S. Paul s meaning is that in dealing with spiritual things 
he uses material illustrations, as, e.g., that of a testator and his testa 
ment, to prove that we inherit Abraham s blessing, not through the 
law, but through faith in Christ, according to the covenant made 
with Abraham, and that, therefore, the Galatians should feel shame 
for attributing less to God than to the testaments and covenants of 
men. This is \\\s> fifth proof, that we are justified by faith and not 
by the law. 

Though it be but a man s covenant. No one adds to or subtracts 
from a man s testament when once it is duly drawn up. 

Ver. 1 6. To Abraham and his seed were the promises made. This 
refers to Gen. xxii. 1 6. From this we conclude that by his readiness to 
obey God in sacrificing his son he merited that from his own seed 
should Christ be born as a blessing to the Gentiles, and to fulfil the 


promises. The Apostle, therefore, rightly lays it down that these 
promises were made to Abraham and his seed, i.e., to Christ, who 
should spring from his loins ; although the word of Genesis speaks 
of these promises being made to Abraham in his seed only, and not 
to his seed. Yet the very fact that they were to be fulfilled in his 
seed shows that they were made rather to his seed than to Abraham. 
Just as if a king should promise one of his nobles to exalt his family 
in his son, by making him a duke or a prince, and thereby makes 
a promise to the son rather than to the father, so did God to 
Abraham. It was in Christ, as the seed of Abraham, that the pro 
mise, "/;/ thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed" has been 
fulfilled, and justification assured to all who believe in Christ. 

To thy seed which is Christ. This may be said to meet a possible 
objection that seed is equivalent to posterity or descendants, and is 
therefore a noun of multitude, and that S. Paul here denies this 
interpretation. But seed is sometimes used as a collective term, as 
for example, in the promise, " Thy seed shall be as the stars of heaven" 
and sometimes as a particular term; e.g., in Gen. xxi. 13 : " Of the 
son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed." S. 
Paul, in interpreting the word here in the latter sense, might have 
appealed to the practice of the Rabbinical expositors, who all under 
stood it of Christ. Moreover, if it were to be taken in the former 
sense, the prophecy would have failed of fulfilment, for all the 
nations of the earth have not been blessed in Abraham s posterity, 
if by them we are to understand the Jewish people ; on the con 
trary, the Jews are for a reproach, and a curse among the Gentiles. 

Ver. 17. The covenant that was before of God in Christ. If, as 
was said in verse 15, no one annuls the testament of a man, still 
less can the law, which came 430 years afterwards, annul the promise 
of God confirmed to Abraham in Christ. 

Note that the Hebrew berith, the Greek diatheke, and the Latin 
testamentum, have all the same meaning of covenant, and that the 
diatheke, of the LXX. is identical with suntheke, according to Jerome, 
Chrysostom, Theophylact, and CEcumenius. Budseus proves the 
same from Demosthenes and Aristophanes. Cf. notes to i Cor. xi. 25. 


But S. Augustine understands the term of a will. " Because" he 
says, " the death of the testator has the effect of confirming his will, so 
the unchangeableness of God has the effect of confirming His promise." 

An important question is here raised as to the date from which 
these 430 years should be reckoned, for the terminus ad quern 
alone is clearly denned in this passage, viz., the year when the law 
was given on Mount Sinai. S. Paul s computation seems in conflict 
with Exod. xii. 40, which speaks of the sojourning of the children of 
Israel in Egypt as lasting 430 years, or, in other words, which 
represents the time between the going down of Jacob into Egypt and 
the Exodus as 430 years ; but the Apostle seems to count the 
interval between Abraham and the Exodus as 430 years. But from 
Abraham to Jacob s descent was 200 years, and therefore if Exod. 
xii. 40 is to be followed, the Apostle should have said 630 years. 

I reply briefly with S. Augustine (qu. 47 in Exod.); with Athanasius, 
or rather Anastasius, in his " Synopsis of Holy Scripture " (in loco) ; 
with Eusebius, in his Chronicon ; with Rupert, Tostatus, Cajetan 
(in Exod.), that the computation of S. Paul is identical with that of 
Moses in Exod. xii. 40, and that both begin to reckon, not from the 
descent of Jacob into Egypt, but from the seventy-fifth year of 
Abraham s life, when he was called from his country to go into Canaan. 
It was in that year that he received the blessings S. Paul is referring 
to, as is evident from the beginning of Gen. xii. 

i. This appears from the obvious fact that the Hebrews did not 
dwell in Egypt 430 years ; for Kohath went down with his grand 
father, Jacob (Exod. vi. 18). But Kohath lived 133 years, and his 
son Amram 137 years. When Moses, Amram s son, went out of 
Egypt with the Hebrews, he was in his eighty-first year; and if all 
these three are added together, we get 351 only. But we must 
deduct from this total the years that Kohath lived after begetting 
Amram, and that Amram lived after begetting Moses. From this 
it follows that the number of 430 must be reckoned from a date 
long anterior to the descent into Egypt, viz., from the migration 
of Abraham from Haran, and this the LXX. expressly say in their 
rendering of Exod. xii. 40 : " But the sojourning of the children of 



Israel, which they and their fathers made in the land of Egypt and 
Canaan, was 430 years," 

2. Moreover, the Apostle says here that the law was given 430 
years after, not the descent of Jacob, but the promise to Abraham ; 
but the law was given in the same year that the Hebrews left 
Egypt, in the third month after their departure. Cf. Exod. xix. i, 
and the notes to Exod. xii. 40. 

Ver. 1 8. If the inheritance be of the law. If our heritage of 
righteousness be of the law of Moses, then it is not of the promise. 
But this is false, for God promised this righteousness to Abraham 
and to his seed, which is Christ. If it is of the promise of Christ, 
then it is through faith in Christ, and not through the law of 
Moses, that all nations are to be blessed. 

Ver. 19. Wherefore then serveth the law? Why was the law 
introduced after the promise ? Is it that God does not fulfil His 
promise ? The answer is that the law was given by God to 
restrain and punish transgressions. This was its direct purpose, 
but indirectly it served as a means whereby transgressions might be 
made manifest. A self-willed people would, on hearing the law, 
recognise their sins as such, and feel the need of Christ s grace if 
they were to keep it. In this way the law sent men to Christ. 

Till the seed should come. Till the birth of Christ, to whom God 
had promised that by Him all nations should be blessed, i.e., justi 
fied, and so be able to live uprightly and to keep the law. The 
law was given as a psedagogue till Christ should come; therefore 
when Christ has come it has done its work, and the Jews are foolish 
in wishing to prolong its power. 

Because of transgressions. The Greek word rendered added 
denotes put in its place, as a soldier is assigned his post by his 
general. So the law was assigned its rank, place, time, and method 
of promulgation. 

1. It was given its rank between the law of nature and the 
Gospel, being more perfect than the one but inferior to the other. 
It was a road from one to the other. 

2. It was given its fitting time, in being promulgated to a people 


still uncouth, when it was about to form itself into a nation and a 
Church, to prevent it from falling into idolatry and heathen license. 

3. It had its due place, for being given at Sinai before the 
entrance into Canaan, it formed a sort of condition to the covenant. 
God promised that He would lead the Hebrews into Canaan, and 
put them in possession of it, if they would follow the law as their 
guide, and observe it as a condition attached to His promise. 

4. It had its proper mode of promulgation, for it came from an 
angel on Mount Sinai, with the sound of a trumpet, with a terrible 
earthquake, with thunder and lightning, as a law of fear to restrain 
the rebellious Jews, like slaves, by fear of punishment. In these 
four ways the law was externally ordered. 

5. But it was also internally disposed in due order. Its precepts 
bade the Hebrews (a) worship God by appointed ceremonies and 
sacrifices; (b) refrain from injury to their neighbour, or if injury 
had been inflicted, it bade them offer fitting satisfaction; (c) it 
regulated the inner man by the moral precepts of the Decalogue. 

Similarly, but much more perfectly, has the New Law, the law of 
Christ, been ordered, (i.) It was assigned its proper rank, as being 
the crown and perfection of all laws. (2.) It came in its proper time, 
viz., in the last age of the world, when Christ, the great Legislator, 
came. It was promulgated at Pentecost, on the fiftieth day after the 
Passover, which was a feast symbolical of pardon, freedom, bliss, and 
the eternal jubilee. (3.) Its place was befitting its dignity. Not 
on Sinai was it given but on Sion, the type and mirror of celestial 
glory, to which this law leads us. (4.) As to the mode of promulga 
tion, notice that it was given with a mighty wind and fiery tongues, 
with the power and might of the Holy Spirit, to preach the Gospel 
and convert all nations, because it was a law of burning love and 
enkindled charity. (5.) Its contents were duly related to one an 
other, through its precepts of faith, hope, charity, and those relating 
to justification and the Sacraments. 

77 was ordained by angels. From this it appears that it was not 
God who in person spoke to Moses, but an angel representing Him, 
and speaking in His Name ; as when he said, " I am the Lord thy 


God." Even so an ambassador speaks in the name of his sovereign, 
and acts by his authority. It was then an Angel who, in the place 
of God, was the immediate giver of the Decalogue to the people on 
Mount Sinai. It was an Angel also who spoke with Moses on 
Mount Sinai, and gave him for promulgation to the people the 
ceremonial laws, with directions for the making of the Tabernacle, 
for the ark, the cherubim, the sacrifices, and expiatory rites, which 
are found scattered throughout the Pentateuch. 

In the hand of a mediator. Hand is here used to denote instru 
mentality. By a similar usage the word of the Lord is said to have 
come to pass in the hand of Elijah, Isaiah, and other prophets, acting 
as the instruments of God. Vatablus has for mediator intercessor, 
and Erasmus conciliator. But mediator, as the more intensive term, 
is preferable. Whoever mediates between two may be either a 
messenger, or an interpreter, or a peacemaker, and in each sense he 
is a mediator. 

What mediator is referred to here? i. Jerome, Augustine, 
Chysostom, and Ambrose reply, Christ the Lord. Although 
Christ was not then actually our mediator, yet He was by the 
decree and in the purpose of God. The Old Law, in this sense, 
was given by the power and authority of Christ, who was the pre 
destined Mediator; and since, therefore, the law was given by His 
authority, so when He was born into the world it was in His power 
to abrogate it. 

2. The answer of Cyril {Thesauri, xii. 10), Gregory Nazianzen 
(Orat. 6 before Greg. Nyss.}, Catharinus, Adam, and others, includ 
ing even Beza, is better, viz., that the mediator was Moses, who 
himself says, in Deuteronomy v. 5, that he stood between the Lord 
and the people at that time. This opinion is supported by the 
consideration (a) that Christ cannot be said to be a mediator as 
God, but only as God-made-man. But at the time of Moses He 
was not yet made man, and therefore could not then be called a 
mediator. The major of this syllogism is proved thus : Christ as 
God only, just as Christ as man only, is but one of two extremes ; 
therefore as such He cannot be a mediator, but only as God-man. 


As the God-man He unites in His person the two extremes of God 
and man. As God He had the authority and dignity belonging to 
a mediator ; as man He did the work of a mediator. It may be 
objected to this, no doubt, that though Christ was not then actually 
a mediator, yet He was by predestination. But this objection 
loses sight of the fact that the Apostle is not speaking of a mediator 
by predestination, but of an acting mediator ; for he says that the 
Old Law was ordained by this mediator, i.e., in very deed, when 
it was given to the Hebrews. But Christ, not yet existing as 
mediator, could not have ordained the law at that time ; therefore 
He was not its mediator, for what has no existence can neither 
work nor ordain anything. 

(b] The phrase of S. Paul means that angels gave the law by 
the instrumentality of a mediator. But Christ cannot be said to 
be the minister of angels but their Prince (cf. Heb. i.) : therefore, 
the mediator here is not Christ, (c) Again, the Old Law was given 
by Moses, as the New Law by Christ. As, then, Christ is the 
mediator of the New Law and the New Covenant, so was Moses of 
the old. (d) Lastly, that Moses was the mediator is clear from 
Heb. viii. 5, 6, and ix. 15, 19, 20. 

Observe, in opposition to the Protestants, that if Moses could 
be called a mediator without any derogation from the mediatorial 
office of Christ, as even Beza admits, in the sense, not of a redeemer 
or reconciliator, but as a messenger from one to the other, why may 
not the Saints with even better title be called mediators without 
offence to Christ, seeing that by their merits and prayers they gain 
for us the grace of God ? It is astonishing that Protestants should 
make so much fuss about this word, and strive to throw so much 
dust in people s eyes, when, as is evident, there is no difference 
between us, either about the name or the thing. 

The meaning of the Apostle, then, is this : The Old Law was given 
by angels and promulgated by Moses, the New by Christ Himself. 
He who as God used the instrumentality of Moses in proclaiming 
the Old Law, could, when made man, abrogate it in His own person, 
in order that the promise made to Abraham, that all nations 


should be justified, might be fulfilled in Himself, the seed of 


Ver. 20. Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but of two, in 
this case of two peoples, Jews and Gentiles, to whom Christ acts as 
mediator, says Ambrose. (2.) Or, Christ is not a mediator of one 
nature, but of two, the Divine and the human. (3.) Or, Moses is 
not a mediator of one will and purpose, because as a man he was 
subject to change. God on the contrary is unchangeable in His 
will and promise. Adam leans to this explanation. But all these 
are beside the phraseology of Scripture and the drift of the Apostle. 
(4.) A better interpretation is that Christ is a mediator not of one 
but of two not of two Gods, as though Father and Son make two, 
according to the heresy of Arius and Nestorius not between God 
and angels, for the good angels need no mediator, and the evil 
angels cannot derive any benefit from one but He is a mediator 
between the two parties, God on one side and man on the other. 
And the inference drawn is that it is not the law, but Christ, that 
redeems us and reconciles us to God. This explantion is supported 
by Augustine, Theophylact, Anselm. 

(5.) The best interpretation of the clause is that the Apostle is 
explaining the character of a mediator. The mediator Moses, he 
seems to say, is not of one but of two determinate parties, viz., God 
and the Hebrews, but not of God and Christians. On the other 
hand, God is One, not two. The Apostle is not building his argu 
ment on these words, except indirectly, but is merely contrasting 
the dual character of a mediator with the unity of God. It is on 
this latter fact that he relies to prove his case. 

But God is one. There are not two Gods, one of whom is the 
God of the law and of the Jews, the other of Abraham and of 
Christians, as the Manichaeans have thought, but the God of Jews 
and of Christians is one and the same the law and the Gospel 
proceed from the same Author. Accordingly, it being the same 
God, He could not intend that the law should annul His promise 
to Abraham of giving His righteousness to all nations in Abraham s 
seed, .e, in Christ, or, in other words, through faith in Him ; else 


would He be inconstant, the very thought of which is impious. 
Rather He gave the law to be our pedagogue to Christ. It is, 
therefore one and the same God who made Moses the mediator 
between Himself and the Hebrews; and, when he was superseded, 
between Himself and Christians of all nations, and so fulfilled 
His promise to Abraham, that He would give through Christ the 
blessing of justification to all nations. 

This interpretation is confirmed by the parallel passage in i Tim. ii. 
5, where, from the fact that the same God is God of all nations, the 
Apostle proves that He wishes all men to be saved, and from the 
same principle he infers that there is one mediator between God and 
men, the man Christ Jesus. God, he argues, does not wish for the 
salvation of the Jews only, but of all nations. Again, not only the 
Jews, but all nations have fallen into sin, and stand in need of a 
redeemer. This cannot be Moses, for he was mediator to the Jews 
only ; therefore it must be Christ. Moses, therefore, must give way 
to Him, as the seed promised to Abraham, in whom all nations 
should be blessed. So Gennadius in GEcumenius, and, following 
him, Salmeron. 

Ver. 2i. Is the law then against the promises of God? Jerome 
correctly points out that this is an answer by anticipation to the 
objection to which S. Paul had exposed himself in verse 19, when 
he said, "The law was added because of transgressions till the seed 
should come." For any one might say : If the law was added to 
the promise, and, as it were, removed it, it seems to have taken 
to itself the office of quickening and justifying men, so that it may 
be regarded as doing the work of the promise till Christ should 
come ; for if not, why was it added, unless it were, as you say your 
self, because of transgressions, to destroy them by the living and 
virtuous actions prescribed by the law for justification ? If this be 
so, then the law is against the promises of God, for God promised 
this justification to faith in Christ, not to the law, nay, He thereby 
excluded it from the law. 

That S. Paul is meeting an objection of this sort is obvious from 
what follows. The law, he exclaims, cannot give life ; therefore, it 


is not against the promises of God which offer that spiritual life 
in Christ. The antecedent is proved thus : If the law could give 
life it could also justify ; but this it cannot do (ver. 22). Hence the 
law was only given to be our psedagogue to Christ, to lead us to 
justification by faith. Or it may be put thus : When I said that the 
law was given because of transgressions, I meant that its function 
was to prevent them by fear of punishment, that passion might not 
issue in action ; I did not mean that the law alone could calm the 
violence of passion within, or give that grace by which we fulfil 
the law. 

God forbid. It is impossible that God should give a law contra 
dictory to His promises, for this would be for God to contradict 
Himself. The law which came after was not opposed to the pre 
ceding promises, but its office was to admonish men to prepare 
themselves worthily for Christ and His Gospel. Therefore the law 
is not contrary to the promise, but establishes it. 

For if there had been a law given which could have given life. To 
give life is to impart righteousness to the soul. But, as S. Paul 
appears to distinguish between life and righteousness, it is better to 
say that to give life stands for to quicken man s works. This is done 
when a man does virtuous actions out of the spirit of charity. The 
argument is from the effect to the cause, from a living work to life ; 
as we say : This man eats, talks, moves, therefore he is alive. In 
the same way, if the law could produce in us living works, it could 
also give us the spirit of charity from which they spring, for the 
works of the Spirit presuppose the Spirit, just as motion does life. 

Ver. 22. But the scripture hath concluded all under sin. This 
Scripture is cited in Rom. iii. 9. 

Ver. 23. Before faith came. Like slaves under the stern disci 
pline of the law, we were kept as though by walls and hedges from 
sin, and were held, and kept in, that we might be thereby prepared, and 
might learn to long for the righteousness which Christ should give. 

Ver. 24. The law was our schoolmaster. A psedagogue, says S. 
Jerome, is one who looks after a boy. Among the Greeks he was 
a slave, whose duty it was to accompany his ward wherever he went, 


to keep him from loose conduct, to chastise him if need were, and 
in every way to form his character for good. Such was the office of 
the law with regard to the Hebrews. 

Unto Christ. By a happy figure of speech, S. Paul compares the 
law to a psedagogue, and faith in Christ to a father. For we are 
born again by faith in Christ, and become sons of God, thereby 
passing from the state of pupilage under the law to that of men under 

Ver. 26. For ye are all the children of God. Both Jews, who 
were under the law, and Gentiles, who were not, are become, by 
faith in Christ, children of God. The conjunction for is causal, and 
indicates the reason why we are not under the law as a pasdagogue, 
viz., because we are the sons of God. Children are like slaves, 
S. Paul says, in chap. iv. i, nay, like the lower animals, in needing a 
pasdagogue to enable them to resist the motions of sense. But those 
who by faith in Christ have left this state of childhood, and are 
become sons of God, have grown to man s estate. It would be, there 
fore, absurd for them to be made subject to the law as their paeda- 
gogue, as though they were still children. This would be as absurd, 
says Theophylact, as for a man, when the day had dawned, to 
prefer a lamp to the sun. This is a rebuke to the Jadaisers, which 
may be summarised thus : Christ is to us as a father to his grown 
up sons. Why do you then go back to the paedagogy of the law ? 
Why hold out your hand again like boys to the ferule ? 

By faith. Not faith a/one, but by faith manifested in baptism 
and other acts. 

Ver. 27. As many of you as have been baptized into Christ. To 
be baptized into Christ is to receive His baptism as distinct from 
that of Moses or John Baptist. The change from the first person 
(we) of verse 25 to the second person (you} here denotes the change 
of subject from Jews to Gentiles. 

Have put oh Christ. You have received plenteously in your 
baptism the grace and gifts of Christ ; you have put them round you 
like a garment (cf. Ps. cix. 18), so that you are made partakers of 
(he Divine nature, and therefore of the workings of God s power, 


by which Christ shines in your lives. " Your daily conversation" 
says Anselm, " like a splendid robe, is Christ s holiness and Christ s 

These words may be explained in a better way, thus : As matter 
takes its form, the body its soul as a substantial robe to hide its 
nakedness and ugliness ; so you in baptism have put on Christ by 
grace, so that the Spirit of Christ is, as it were, your form and soul ; 
consequently you have been brought into such close union with 
Christ that, as He is the Son of God by nature, so are you by 
adoption and grace. This is the explanation of Chrysostom and 
Theophylact. The conjunction for shows that Paul wishes to prove 
that we are the sons of God by the fact that we have put on Christ, 
who is the Son of God by nature, and hence are one with Him, 
and, as it were, are Christ Himself. Cf. notes to i Cor. xii. 12. 

We should note from this the efficacy of baptism, which not only 
adorns us with graces and gifts, but with Christ Himself. What have 
the Protestants to say to this who make baptism to be a bare sign 
of righteousness already received by faith ? 

S. Ambrose (Serm. 90) gives some beautiful words of S. Agnes 
about the baptismal robe of Christ, both that which is within, 
and that material robe which formerly was given to adults at their 
baptism as a symbol of the first. "He adorned me" she said, " with 
a glorious bracelet. He covered my hand and neck with precious 
stones. He put pearls in my ears, and loaded me wiih glistening gems. 
On my face He put his seal, that I might admit no lover save Him 
alone. He clad me in a robe of cloth of gold, and with glorious jewels 
did He beautify me." And a little farther she continued: " Now 
have I drunken milk and honey from His mouth. Now have I been 
clasped in His most chaste embraces. Now has His body been united 
to mine, and His blood has bedewed my cheeks." This last of course 
refers to the Eucharist, which used to be given to those newly 
baptized, that they might be wholly united to Christ. To them too 
used to be given milk and honey, as symbols of the sweetness 
of Christ, and of the law of Christ, of which they then become 


Ver. 28. There is neither Jeiv nor Greek. t.e, in Christ. In the 
Church of Christ there is no distinction before God of birth, posi 
tion, or sex. All, whether Jews or Greeks (= Gentiles), whether 
slaves or freemen, whether males or females, make one mystical 
body, the Church, of which the Head is Christ. 

Or we may take it, and better, with S. Chrysostom, to mean that 
ye are one in the sense that ye have put on one form, or one soul, 
like the garment described above, and this not of any angel, but of 
Christ. This garment is the faith, charity, and holiness of Christ, 
and it makes you to seem like one man, to be one Christ. The 
Jews, therefore, have nothing of their Judaism to pride themselves 
on when they pass into Christ; therefore they have nothing of 
their own to invite you to, O Galatians, for you are equal sharers in 
Christ with them. 

Ver. 29. If ye be Chrisfs. If you are members of the Head, 
and are the mystical body of its Spirit, then, as Christ is, so are ye 
Abraham s seed, and hence inheritors of the righteousness promised 
to Abraham. Accordingly, Ambrose reads here: " If ye are one in 
Christ, then are ye Abraham s seed," which gives the meaning very 


I We were under the law till Christ came, as the heir is under his guardian till 
he be of age. 5 But Christ freed us from the law ; 7 therefore we are servants 
no longer to it. 14 He remembereth their good will to him, and his to them, 
22 and shetveth that we are the sons of Abraham by the freewoman. 

NOW I say, That the heir as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a 
servant, though he be lord of all ; 

2 But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. 

3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of 
the world : 

4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of 
a woman, made under the law, 

5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption 
of sons. 

6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your 
hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 

7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son ; and if a son, then an heir 
of God through Christ. 

8 Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by 
nature are no gods. 

9 But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how 
turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be 
in bondage ? 

10 Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. 

ill am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain. 

12 Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am; for I am as ye are: ye have not 
injured me at all. 

13 Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you 
at the first. 

14 And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected ; 
but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. 

15 Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if 
it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given 
them to me. 

1 6 Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth? 

17 They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that 
ye might affect them. 

1 8 But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only 
when I am present with you. 

19 My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed 

in you, 



20 I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice ; for I stand 
in doubt of you. 

21 Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? 

22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the 
oi her by a freewoman. 

23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh ; but he of the 
freewoman was by promise. 

24. Which things are an allegory : for these are the two covenants ; the one 
from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. 

25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which 
now is, and is in bondage with her children. 

26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. 

27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not ; break forth and 
cry, thou that travailest not : for the desolate hath many more children than she 
which hath an husband. 

2S Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. 

29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born 
after the Spirit, even so / / is now. 

30 Nevertheless what saith the Scripture ? Cast out the bondwoman and her 
son : for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the free- 

31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free. 


i. lie continues the argument of the preceding chapter that the Jews, like 
children and slaves, were under the Jewish law as a psedagogue, while 
Christians, as sons of full age, were led, not by the law, but by the 
Spirit of adoption, whereby they cry, "Abba, Father," and that it is, 
therefore, unworthy of them to return to the weak and beggarly ele 
ments of the law. 

ii. lie observes (ver. 13) on the eagerness with which the Galatians had 
formerly embraced his preaching, that he may shame them for so 
lightly departing from it. 

iii. He introduces (ver. 21) a new argument from an allegory drawn from 
Abraham s history. His wife Sarah, a "free woman," bore him Isaac 
as his son and heir, by whom were represented Christians, the free- 
born sons of God, free from the bondage of the law, and in due 
time heirs of Abraham s blessing. His bondwoman Hagar bore him 
Ishmael, who was cast out, and who represented the Judaisers, to be 
shut out from the blessing promised by God to Abraham. 

Ver. i. Now I say. This is closely connected with vers. 24 and 
25 of the preceding chapter, where it was said that "the law was 
our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, but after that faith is come 
we are no longer under a schoolmaster." He proceeds to prove 


this at greater length, and begins with the example of a child who 
is under tutors. 

The heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant. 
An infant, as the Greek word is, who has not yet attained to years 
of discretion, inasmuch as he is under a tutor and a paedagogue, and 
cannot exercise the right of dominion over his property, is in the 
position of a slave rather than a lord, nay, he is subject to a slave, 
viz., his paedagogue, and is under tutors and governors. 

Ver. 2. Governors. Stewards who administer his property. 

Until the time appointed. The prescribed day when the power of 
the tutor came to an end, i.e., the date when the heir was twenty- 
five years of age, which in many places is the age of majority. 

Ver. 3. Even so we. That is the Jews, whom he so describes 
in chap. iii. 25. 

When we were children. Like boys untaught in the knowledge, 
and therefore in the love of God and His righteousness. 

Under the elements of the world. i. Serving the letter of the 
Old Law. For the law, as being imperfect, was first given to the 
world, i.e., to the Jews, and through the Jews to all nations, to teach 
them the rudiments of faith and piety. But the Gospel, succeeding 
the law, teaches their perfection. As Justinian calls his Institutes 
the " elements of the law," and as we speak of the elements of 
grammar, philosophy, and music, so here the Apostle speaks of the 
law as elementary. As boys, says Anselm, learn the elements, and 
their conjunction, but do not understand the words and sentences 
composed from them until they proceed to higher branches of 
learning, to which they can only attain by first learning the elements, 
so the Jews had the elements in their ceremonies, of which they 
did not understand the meaning, until by these elements, as their 
elevators, they come to the faith of Christ. 

S. Paul calls the men of the world by the name of the world. 
The reference is first to the Jews, then, by metonymy, to all men. 
God willed to open, in one corner of the world a school, where He 
might teach men the rudiments of faith and piety, until He should 
open everywhere schools where they were most learnedly taught. 


2. More properly and naturally the elements of the world are the 
days, months, times, and years of verse 10. These he calls elements by 
an allusion to Gen. i., where it is said that God created the elements 
of the world in seven days, and then rested on the seventh day, 
and instituted the Sabbath as a memorial among the Jews of His 
creative rest. The days are thus called elements, because in them the 
elements were created, and their creation represented by metonymy 
on the Sabbath. Or they may be so called because time governs 
the world and all in it, as the generation, corruption, and succession 
of things. Accordingly, in grateful recollection of God s providence, 
disposing by sun and moon the succession of the seasons and of day 
and night, He willed that Sabbaths, new moons, and other days 
should be observed by the Jews, that they might continually re 
cognise God as the Creator and Preserver of all things, through the 
instrumentality of these stated feasts, till, being better taught by the 
Gospel, they should worship God in spirit and in truth. 

Erasmus, however, thinks that the aw/*/ here by catachresis stands 
for whatever has the nature of visible and transitory things, such as 
the ceremonies of the Old Law, which, in Col. ii. 20, he calls " the 
rudiments of the world." But this is not the usual meaning of the 
word with the Apostle, nor is it the meaning in Col. ii. 20, as I 
will prove when I come to comment on it. Cf. also infra, notes 
on verse 9. 

We were in bondage. Theophylact explains this from the analogy 
of the child under tutors. As this child differs nothing from a slave, 
so, when we were children in the knowledge of Christ and the love 
of God, we were, like slaves, under the aforesaid elements of the 
world, and under the tutorship of the Old Law. 

Ver. 4. But when the fulness of the time was come. When the 
time fixed beforehand for the end of the law and the beginning of 
the Gospel was fully come, we were transferred from the servitude 
of the law to the freedom of sonship. S. Bernard (Serm. i de 
Adventu) explains the passage somewhat differently : " The fulness 
and abundance of temporal things had brought about forgetfulness and 
famine of eternal things. It was at the moment when temporal things 


held sway that eternal things opportunely arrived." But this is a 
symbolical rather than literal explanation. Literally, the fulness of 
time is not the abundance of temporal things, but the full comple 
tion of the pre-determined time. 

God sent forth His Son, as His legate or Apostle, with full 
instructions to act on His behalf. He sent His Son, not by change 
of place, as though He left heaven and arrived at earth ; but the 
Son, remaining where He was, in heaven and on earth, took a new 
role, viz., that of a Human Ambassador from God to man. 

Made of a woman. Woman here denotes, not corruption, but 
the female sex, and applies as well to a virgin as to another woman. 
Made of a woman denotes conception without a male, from the sole 
substance of the mother. From this it clearly follows that Christ 
did not assume a heavenly body, which He brought to earth by 
passing through the Blessed Virgin as through a pipe, as the 
Valentinians formerly, and the Anabaptists now teach, but that 
His body was formed from the Virgin. 

Made under the law. Though Christ, even as man, was not 
subject to the law, because He was still the Son of God, the giver 
of the law, yet of His own free-will He observed it, and of His 
own free-will submitted Himself to circumcision, and to its other 
ceremonial enactments. Made, therefore, denotes, not obligation, 
but practice ; not right, but fact. 

To redeem them that were under the law. By paying the price, 
might bestow on them Christian liberty. The reference is to the 
bondage of the law, not of sin. 

That we might receive the adoption of sons, (i.) The Son of God 
was made of a woman Son of man, that He might make the sons 
of men sons of God. " God was made man," says S. Bernard, " that 
man might be made God." (2.) This adoption is by gi ace, by which 
we obtain not only a right to be heirs of God the Father, but also 
participation in the Divine Nature, the Holy Spirit Himself, and 
sonship with God. (3.) Although all the righteous, even before 
Christ, were sons of God by adoption, yet the Apostle calls them 
all slaves (a) because, although the righteous were truly sons of 


God, yet they had not the status of sons, but only of slaves, being 
under the law, and consequently under the spirit of servile fear. 

(b) Because they had not the right of sonship through the law, 
but through their faith in Christ yet to come ; and they belonged, 
therefore, more to the New Law than to the Old, as Augustine 
proves happily and exhaustively (contra Duas Epp. Pelag. cap. 4). 

(c) Because they lacked the fruit of adoption, in being unable 
to discern their heavenly inheritance before Christ revealed it. 

(d) Because Christ, in setting us free from the yoke of the law, 
substituted for it in the New Law the one spirit of adoption 
and of love. 

Ver. 6. The Spirit of His Son. The Holy Spirit, who proceeds 
from the Father and the Son. This is an argument from effect to 
cause, as when we say, "Where there is smoke there is fire." God 
first sent forth the Spirit of His Son to us, from which it followed 
that we became sons of God. Because we are sons, therefore, we 
know that He hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son, else should 
we not be sons. Because, therefore, denotes not so much the effi 
cient cause as the logical reason. 

Or, better still, we may connect the particle because with the cry, 
" Alba, Father." God hath sent forth His Spirit, not to make you 
sons, but to make you cry, "Abba, Father." 

Crying. Causing you to invoke God ardently, confidently, with 
filial affection. It is the clamour of the heart, not of the mouth, 
as in Exod. xiv. 15. 

Abba. The Hebrew Ab, the Syriac Abba, which in Greek and 
Latin becomes Abbas, denotes father. Sae my notes to Rom. viii. 
15. As this place is a terror to the lukewarm, who rarely experience 
this feeling of filial prayer, so does it inspire the devout, who seek 
it within with a hope of salvation and enjoyment of their heavenly 

Ver. 8. Howbeit then. When you were pagan unbelievers, and 
lived in ignorance of God. 

Which by nature are no gods. But only in the estimation of man. 

Ver. 9. But now after that ye have known God, &c. Known 



by God, as beloved sons of their Father. " God is ignorant of no 
one" says S. Jerome, " but He is said to know those who have ex 
changed error for piety" Better still, it may be rendered, made to 
know, taught by God, by a. common Hebraism. The Hiphil ("he 
caused to know ") and the Hophal (" he was made to know ") have 
no exact equivalent voice in Latin or Greek, and are, therefore, 
expressed by a participle, with a loss of the force of the original 
Hebrew. Cf. i Cor. viii. 3. In other places, God is said to know 
when He makes us to know ; and the Holy Spirit is said to cry 
aloud, or to pray, when He makes us cry aloud or pray. Cf. Rom. 
viii. 26. The meaning of the verse is, therefore, this : Since you 
have been taught by God inwardly by His grace, outwardly by our 
preaching what is the way of salvation in Christ, why do you turn 
again to the elements of the law, to be taught perfection by them ? 
You are like a metaphysician beginning again the elements of 
grammar, or a runner returning from the goal to the starting-point. 
You were once near the goal of salvation; why then go back to 
the place you started from ? You were theologians taught by God ; 
why do you return to the law, as though you had lost your rights 
and were beginning again ? 

To the weak and beggarly elements. What are these? i. Augus 
tine and Ambrose understand by the phrase the sun and moon, and 
the idols formerly worshipped by the Galatians, and see a reference 
to the false gods mentioned above in verse 8. Tertullian, in a similar 
vein, says (de Prescript, c. 33) : " The Apostle censures Hermogenes, 
who, by introducing matter as uncreated, compares it to the uncreated 
God, and by making a goddess as mother of the elements, sets her up 
as an object of worship side by side with the one God." But the 
objection to this explanation is that the Galatians had no wish to 
return to Gentilism but to Judaism ; and this the whole Epistle, with 
its condemnation of the Jewish ceremonies, clearly shows. 

2. The explanation of Chrysostom, Theophylact, and CEcu- 
menius is better. According to them, these elements are the sun 
and moon, to which the Galatians wished to return, not to serve 
them as gods, as they had been used to do before they embraced 


Christianity, but to determine by their courses the Sabbaths, New 
Moons, and other Jewish feasts. He calls these elements weak and 
beggarly with reference to God, whose support they require con 
tinually, without which they are weak, and even unable to exist. 
If God withdrew His hand, they would sink into the nothing from 
which they came. That S. Paul is referring to the sun and moon 
appears from the fact that they are properly the elements of the 
world, as he styled them in verse 3, and also because he asks, " Why 
turn ye again " to the things which you used to worship ? Among 
the Galatians these of course were not the Jewish ceremonies, but 
the sun and moon. 

3. But the best explanation is that of Jerome, Theodoret, 
Anselm, and Tertullian (contra Martian, v. 4), who understand by 
these elements the Sacraments, and feast-days, and other ceremonies 
of the Old Law, which were given to the Jews, as the first rudiments 
of faith and piety, and through them to the whole world, and which 
were, as I have said in the notes to verse 3, symbols of the creation 
and government of the world They are beggarly, and, as Tertullian 
calls them, fallacious, because they neither contain nor confer grace, 
but need for this the power of Christ. They are also weak, because 
they are of themselves of no efficacy to justify or sanctify ; for without 
faith in Christ they could justify no one, nay, even with that faith 
they did not justify by themselves and ex opere operate, but only ex 
opere operantis, i.e., by the faith of the receiver. Accordingly, they 
were done away with when Christ came. 

That this last explanation is the correct one is evident from what 
follows ; for S. Paul goes on to say, " Ye observe days and months, 
and times and years" by which he gives them to understand that 
these were the elements that they served. 

Moreover, this explanation is much the more simple and pertinent. 
For these elements, that is to say, these festal days they did observe, 
but they did not worship the sun and moon. Nor can it be said 
with strict truth that whoever observes the first day of the month is 
a moon-worshipper, or that one who keeps the Lord s Day is a sun- 
worshipper, when the Lord s Day is merely identified with Sunday, 


because the best of all days is assigned to the chief of all the 
heavenly bodies. 

It may be objected that the word again is opposed to the explana 
tion, and implies that the Galatians, as being formerly worshippers 
of the host of heaven, had returned to this worship, and not to 
Jewish observances, to which they had not been addicted. 

I reply that S. Paul regards all men without distinction as 
having been under the law as their psedagogue, and accuses the 
Galatians of again setting up, by their action, the obsolete rites of 

But the answer of Adam is perhaps better, who refers the word 
again, not to the whole but to the part, as signifying only that slavery 
was restored in general, but not in this or that particular. The 
Galatians had at one time served idols, and afterwards Judaism, and 
they are here exhorted not to become slaves once more, whether to 
demons or to Jewish shadows. So we might say to a Lutheran who 
had embraced the Catholic faith, and afterwards lapsed into Calvin 
ism : How can you fall into Calvinism again, that is into heresy ? 
It is not Calvinism that is the significant word, but lapse, and the 
force of the question lies in its appeal against deserting the Catholic 
faith for heresy of any kind whatsoever. 

Ver. 10. Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. As 
S. Augustine (Ep. 119 and Enchirid. 79) and Anselm understand 
the elements to be the sun, moon, and idols, so do they understand 
this verse to mean days that were lucky or unlucky, according as 
astrology made them so. But Chrysostom and Jerome and others 
explain the days to be the Jewish Sabbaths ; the months to be the 
new moons, and the seventh month, which was held sacred through 
out; the times to be the stated feasts of the four seasons the Pass 
over, Pentecost, the Day of Atonement, and the New Year ; and the 
years to be the seventh year of remission of debts, and the fiftieth 
year of Jubilee. By the observance of days, months, and years, 
S. Paul means the ceremonies of the Old Law as a whole. 

From this appears the error of the heretics, who infer from this 
that the feasts of the Church are condemned. If they were, then 


would the heretics themselves be condemned for keeping Sunday. 
What is condemned here is the observance of the Jewish feasts only. 
These are happily distinguished from those observed by Christians, 
by Gregory Nazianzen, in his Whitsuntide Oration, in which he says : 
" The Jew keeps feast days, but it is according to the letter ; for by 
observing the corporeal law he attains not to the spiritual. The Gentile 
keeps feast days, but it is according to the body, in revelling and 
wantonness. [Accordingly Lucian (Saturnalia) bids that nothing be 
done during the time of the feast, whether in public or in private, 
but what pertains to sport, to pleasure, and to lust ; nay, the feasts 
of the heathen were obscene in themselves, witness those of Venus, 
Priapus, and Bacchus, in whose honour every abomination was 
practised]. We Christians keep feasts, but only such as are pleasing 
to the Spirit." 

Jerome, too, says : " Any one may say that if it is not lawful to 
observe days, and months, and times, and years, then we do what 
is forbidden in observing Wednesdays, and Good Friday, and the 
Lord s Day, and the Lenten fast, and the Easter solemnities, and the 
Whitsuntide festivities, and the days set apart in different places in 
honour of the martyrs. A wise and simple reply to this will be that 
the Jewish feast-days differ from ours. We do not observe the feast of 
unleavened bread, but that of the Cross and the Resurrection, nor do 
we number our iveeks to Pentecost as the Jews did, but celebrate the 
coming of the Holy Spirit." From which we may observe that, in 
S. Jerome s time, days were set apart in honour of the martyrs, and 
that the practice is approved by him. 

Ver. 12. Be as 2 am. As you see me neglecting Jewish feasts, 
relying on my freedom in the Gospel, so do you neglect them and 
make use of the same freedom. I would be your leader into the 
land of liberty ; follow me, therefore, and care nothing for what the 
Jews may say about the necessity of the Old Law. 

/ am as ye are. I live as a Gentile, and adapt myself to your 
needs, so far as I can with a safe conscience. 

Ye have not injured me at all. If anybody, it is yourselves that 
you have injured. I do not say this in anger } but from love and 


pity. S. Jerome observes that the Apostle soothes here any feelings 
wounded by the rebuke of chap. iii. i. 

Ver. 13. Through infirmity of the flesh I preached the Gospel unto 
you. S. Jerome explains this to mean that he gave them the first 
and weak elements only of the faith, because of their weakness with 
regard to spiritual things. He also gives as a second interpretation 
of infirmity of the flesh, Paul s sicknesses and headaches, and as a 
third, his persecutions, poverty, and sufferings in general, which might 
make him seem an Apostle, weak, miserable, and despicable, and so 
unable to gain the respect of the Galatians. 

Ver. 14. And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised 
not. Erasmus takes temptation in the active sense, viz., as though 
Paul had tempted the Galatians by his unattractive presence and 
speech. But it is better to take it passively, as being identical with 
the object #/" temptation. The meaning then is : You did not despise 
me in my weakness and my abject condition, which had the effect 
of making me a temptation to you, but you received me as an 
angel, nay, as Christ Himself. [Note. The Vulgate is : " And your 
temptation which was in my flesh."] 

Ver. 15. Your blessedness. You beatified me for my sufferings 
for the faith, and as it were said to yourselves : Happy are we in 
having such an Apostle ! " Happy they who have the privilege of 
hearing and seeing Paul ! " S. Augustine is said to have wished to 
see three things Christ on earth in the flesh, Rome at the height of 
her power, and Paul thundering in his preaching. S. Paul now asks 
the Galatians what had become of their former opinion of him ; why 
they had so soon changed their minds, and given up their love for 
him, which was once ardent enough to make them pluck out their 
eyes for him ; and inquires whether he had become their enemy 
for telling them the truth, viz., that no one is justified by the la\v, 
but only by faith in Christ. 

Ver. 17. They zealously affect you. The Judaisers do all they 
can to woo you to espouse their cause, and to bring you into sub 
jection to their law, but their object is not good. 

They would exclude you. Some texts read include here, which gives 


a very good meaning. These Judaisers are like crafty wooers, who, 
when they are seeking to win a wealthy wife, show her every kind 
of honour and service, and humour her whims in everything; but 
when they have attained their object, they shut her up, appoint 
custodians of her person, and treat her as a slave. They are now 
promising you, Galatians, great things ; but they want to shut you 
up under the law, and shut you out from the liberty that is in 

That ye might affect them. It is not friendship that animates them. 
They want to gain your confidence, that you may surrender to them, 
and become their disciples, and give them ground for public boasting. 

Ver. 1 8. But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good 
thing. It is good to imitate others, but only in what is good. [The 
Vulgate reading is in the imperative : Be zealously affected always to 
the good in what is goodl\ 

Observe that the first good can be taken in the neuter, for what 
is good, or in the masculine. If the latter be read, then the meaning 
is : Do not be zealously affected towards Judaism, which is evil, 
but take as your models good Christian men like myself, whose 
manner of life among you ye know. You followed me when I 
was with you ; you should do the same in my absence, for a good 
man is always to be imitated, whether absent or present. This is 
a hint that in the Apostle s opinion it was his absence which had 
been the cause of their lapse into Judaism. 

Ver. 19. My little children. I begat you to Christ by the Gospel, 
and now that you have left Him for Judaism, I travail in birth 
of you again, till you learn to look to Christ for grace and justifi 
cation, and not to the law. " The Apostle here" says Chrysostom, 
" speaks of a mother s anxiety over her children. You see the feelings 
of a mother rather than of a father ; you see his nervousness, and the 
cry of pain, much more agonising than that of a woman in travail." 
As the Blessed Virgin bore Christ in the flesh but without pain, so 
did Paul labour with Christ spiritually, though with pain and grief, 
and strive to form the Galatians for Christ, that He might be all 
in all to them. 


S. Ambrose (de Isaac et Anima, c. 8) says, with equal piety and 
point : " There [in the Cross and in baptism] did your mother tra 
vail ; there did she who bore you labour. There are we born again, 
for they are brought forth in whom the image of Christ is formed. 
He tells us how Christ was formed in His Spouse. Set me as a seal 
upon thy heart, as a sea! upon thine arm. Christ is the seal upon the 
forehead, that we may ever confess Him ; on the heart, that we may 
always love Him ; on the arm, that we may always work for Him ; 
so that, if it be possible, His whole likeness may be expressed in us, and 
He be our seal whom God the Father hath sealed." 

Let those note who desire to convert souls to Christ, that they 
must labour and toil like a woman in travail. Hence the question 
is asked in Job xxxix. i : " Knowest thou the time when the wild 
^oats of the rock bring forth ? or canst thou mark when the hinds do 
calve ? . . . They bow themselves, they bring forth their young ones, 
they cast out their sorrows " where the reference is to the belief that 
the hinds suffer more acutely than most animals in parturition, 
a belief that was shared by Aristotle and Pliny. S. Gregory takes 
this passage mystically of preachers who, like hinds in labour, bring 
forth offspring to Christ with tears and sorrow. 

" / see," he says, " that Paul is like a hind bringing forth its young 
with great pain ; for he says, My little children, of whom 1 travail 
in birth again. See the pain, see the labour he suffered ; even after he 
was delivered he was compelled to give life again to his offspring when 
it had perished" (Morals xxx. 21). 

Let bishops, too, learn from S. Paul to be not so much fathers 
as mothers to their subjects, as S. Bernard says excellently (Serm. 
25 in Cant.} : "Learn to be mothers, not lords, to those under your 
charge. Seek to be loved rather than feared ; and if sometimes there is 
need of severity, let it be that of a father, not of a tyrant." 

Ver. 20. / desire to be present with you now, and to change my 
voice. I would wish to say orally what a letter cannot sufficiently 
express ; I would wish to coax, to beseech, to implore you, to treat 
you as a mother does her children, to manifest in every way a 
mother s affection, that I might persuade you to do what I wish. 


See what love makes men do. Paul makes himself a father, and 
becomes a boy with his children. So King Agesilaus, to amuse his 
boy, would lay aside his purple and his sceptre, to ride on a stick for 
him ; and when one of his court remarked on his levity, he retorted : 
" Hold your tongue, for when you have children of your own, then I 
will give you leave to laugh at your kings folly" So here Paul would 
say that a mother s love knows no bounds, no shame ; for it no toil 
is too great, nothing is too trivial or too shameful. 

I stand in doubt of you. " I am ashamed," as some render it, but 
wrongly. The meaning is : I am perplexed ; I do not know what to 
say to you to persuade you. Maldonatus gives two interpreta 
tions : (i.) I have not obtained the expected fruit of my preaching, 
therefore I am confounded; and (2.) I do know whether you 
are Christians or Jews. 

Ver. 21. Do ye not hear the law? A vigorous question. If 
you will not listen to me, will you not listen to the law, that you 
think so much of, for it will point you from itself to Christ ? 

Ver. 22. Abraham had two sons. Ishmael, by his handmaiden, 
Hagar, who was, therefore, but a wife of secondary rank ; and Isaac, 
by Sarah, his wife of honour. The latter was his heir ; the former 
received such gifts as the father chose to give him. Cf. Gen. xxv. 5, 6. 

Ver. 23. He who was of the bondwoman. Ishmael was born 
according to the laws of natural generation, by which Abraham, 
though an old man, was able to raise up seed from his youthful bond 
woman, Hagar. 

He of the freewoman was by promise. Isaac was not born 
according to the usual laws of generation, for Sarah, his mother, 
was then sterile by age, so that Abraham could not in the order of 
nature beget a son by her. He was born by promise, i.e., by the 
supernatural power of God, in fulfilment of the promise made to 

Ver. 24. Which things are an allegory. An allegory with 
rhetoricians is a continued metaphor. With ecclesiastical writers 
it is identical with a type or figure in which things and events of 
the Old Testament represented their parallels in the New. 


For these are the two covenants. Sarah and Hagar signify respec 
tively the two covenants, the New and the Old. There are four senses 
of Scripture : (i.) The literal, as, e.g., when it is said that Abraham 
begat Ishmael of Hagar naturally, and Isaac of Sarah supernaturally ; 
(2.) the allegorical, as when it is said, These are the two covenants ;" 
(3.) the tropological, of which we find an example in verse 29; (4.) 
the anagogical, which is used in verse 26. 

The first covenant referred to here is that made by God with 
Moses on Mount Sinai, in which God promised to be the God of 
the Hebrews, and to give them the land of Canaan, and the Hebrews 
on their part promised to keep the law of their God, whether moral, 
judicial, or ceremonial. The second covenant is that made with 
Christ and Christians at Jerusalem, in which God promised to be the 
God of the Christians, and to give them a heavenly inheritance ; and 
the Christians on their part promised by Christ and His Apostles to 
preserve the faith of Christ, and to obey His precepts. This latter 
appears throughout the Gospels, and especially in the record of the 
Last Supper, given by S. John in chap. xiii. et seq. There Christ 
confirmed this covenant in His own blood, as is narrated by SS. 
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Paul. 

The one from the Mount Sinai. The Old Covenant, given from 
Mount Sinai, made slaves of the Jews, by bringing them under the 
shadows of burdensome ceremonies, obliging them to obedience 
under fear of punishment, or by the promise of earthly goods, such as 
abundance of corn and wine and oil. 

Which is Agar. Hagar the slave typifies the covenant of slavery. 

Ver. 25. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia. Mount Sinai 
was called Hagar by the Arabs, according to Chrysostom and others. 
But this explanation is forced, and leaves a gap in the argument. 
As we have just seen, Hagar represents the Old Covenant given on 
Mount Sinai, and this is the sense of the passage. 

In Arabia. Even the Arabs typify this Jewish slavery, for they 
themselves are subject to it. Hence the saying, " the Arabian pipe," 
mentioned by Julius Pollux, which shows their servile condition, 
since slaves only (and they for the most part came from Arabia) 


used to practise the art of music. The Old Covenant of slavery was, 
therefore, fitly entered into in Arabia, i.e., on Mount Sinai. Chrysos- 
tom adds : " Hagar in Hebrew denotes dwelling, Sinai temptation, 
Arabia falling, Ishmael the hearing of God," Jerome says : " Hagar 
shows by its meaning that the Old Covenant would not be for ever ; 
Sinai, that it would be a temptation ; Arabia, that it would perish ; 
Ishmael, as the name of one who heard only the commandments of 
God but did not do them, a rough man, a man of blood, the enemy 
of his brethren, that the few s would be hard and harsh, enemies of 
Christians, hearers only of the law, and not doers." 

S. Jerome again says tropologically : " Those Christians are born 
of Hagar who look only at the shell of Holy Scripture, and serve the 
Lord in fear. Those are born of Sarah who treat the Old Covenant 
as an allegory, and seek for its spirit, and who serve the Lord in love." 
See also the remarks of S. Augustine (contra Duas Epp. Pelag. cap. 4), 
where he lays down that Abraham, Noah, Moses, and all the right 
eous men of the Old Covenant, were really children of the New, inas 
much as they were justified by the same faith in the Incarnation 
and Passion of Christ as Christians, and lived by the same grace 
and the same love of Christ ; while, on the other hand, Christians 
who keep the law from fear of punishment are children of the Old 
and not of the New Covenant. 

Which is joined to that which now is Jerusalem. So the Vul 
gate. S. Jerome and Chrysostom take it of a literal vicinity to 
Jerusalem, inasmuch as Jerusalem borders on the desert in which 
Sinai is situated, the hills of Idumaea alone intervening. But 
these hills comprise the whole of Idumsea, which is a large tract, 
and, therefore, it cannot be said Sinai is joined to Judaea. It 
would be more accurate to say that it was widely separated 
from it. 

S. Thomas interprets it to mean that Sinai is joined to Jerusalem, 
not by nearness, but by a continuous road, because the Hebrews 
went from Egypt by a straight road through Sinai into Judsea. But 
this is too far fetched. In the same way the Red Sea, and Egypt 
itself, might be said to be joined to Judaea. 


Accordingly, it is better to understand the words to mean that the 
conjunction is not of place but of likeness. 

With this agrees the Greek word here, o-uo-Toi^ei, which means 
kinship or likeness. "Zroi^eiv means to go forward in order, or to 
stand in one s place. So grammarians call the letters of the alphabet 
o-Tcuxeta, because they are joined in a certain order. Philosophers 
call the elements earth, air, fire, and water by the same name, 
because each of them has its due place, and its relation to the 
others. Also verses are called o-Tiyoi, and lines in order, cm xcu. 
Hence, as Budseus says, kindred things are called crva-TOL^a, and 
crwToixia is a series of similar things duly arranged. So here, of 
Mount Sinai it is said that it, a-wrot^er, i.e., it has a similarity, it 
is in the same series or order of things as Jerusalem, because it 
represents it by a convenient type. 

This it does (i.) because, as Mount Sinai is sterile in the desert, 
so is Jerusalem in its ceremonies. Moreover, the law was given 
in the first, preserved in the second. (2.) Sinai was outside the 
Promised land ; the Jerusalem of the law is outside the Church of 
Christ, whether militant or triumphant. (3.) Which is more germane 
to the Apostle s purpose ; as Sinai nourished and brought up slaves 
whether Jews or Arabs, and as from it proceeded a servile law, 
with the sound of the trumpet, with thundering and earthquake, 
which, therefore, suitably drove its votaries into obedience by fear ; 
so is now Jerusalem, so far as its life and doctrine are concerned, 
Sinaitic, and produces slaves to the shadows of the law, who 
obey through fear only. (4.) Sinai is related to Jerusalem also, be 
cause the Jews, who received the law at Sinai, were the fathers of 
those who kept it in Jerusalem ; and as the fathers were, so are 
the sons. 

By metonymy, Sinai and Jerusalem are put for their inhabi 
tants. As Hagar the bondwoman signified the bondage of the 
Old Covenant, so Mount Sinai, in bringing forth slaves, typified 
Jerusalem, which did the same. Such as Sinai was, such is Jeru 
salem. The former was the parent of the slaves, so too is the 



Subjoined is a tabular statement of the typology used here: 


Hagar the bondwoman . . 

Ishmael, a slave, born after } 
the flesh \ 

The law given at Sinai 

The earthly Jerusalem, the 
synagogue of the Jews, in 

The Jews immersed in the j 
shadows of the ceremonial > 
law . ) 

Two wives . 
Two sons 

Two covenants 

Two cities . 

Two sons 


Sarah the freewoman. 

Isaac, a freeman, born accord 
ing to promise. 

The Gospel given at Sion. 

The heavenly Jerusalem, by 
grace the mother of all the 
faithful, free. 

( The faithful who enjoy the 
i grace of Christ. 

Jerusalem which now is. The earthly Jerusalem is contrasted with 
the heavenly, the transitory with that which is to endure for ever. 

It may be noted that Jerusalem is not compounded of Jebus and 
Salem, as Erasmus and others have thought, but of a Hebrew word 
meaning he shall see, and Salem, in allusion to Gen. xxii. 14. Hence 
the meaning of the word is the vision of peace. 

And is in bondage with her children. The reference is of course 
to Hagar. As she, a bondwoman, bore Ishmael, he and his de 
scendants inherit their mother s status ; so does the Old Covenant, 
typified by her, bring forth bondmen. On the other hand, as Sarah 
was a free woman, her children are free, as are the children of the 
New Covenant. 

The slavery of the Old Covenant consisted mainly in two things, 
in its obliging men to obedience by fear, and in burdening them 
with a multitude of dumb ceremonies, which were of no avail to 
justification. On the other hand, the liberty of the Gospel consists 
in its leading us to obedience through love, and in teaching us 
to worship God in spirit and in truth. It has no doubt its own 
ceremonies, but they are all aids only to the spiritual life. 

Ver. 26. But Jerusalem which is above is free ; which is the mother 
of us all. The Christian Church, typified by Sarah, the mistress, 
is contrasted with the Jewish synagogue, typified by Hagar, the 
bondwoman, in four points : It is above ; it is Jerusalem ; it is 
free ; it is a fruitful mother. 

i. Why is it said to be above 1 Because (a) Christ, its Head, 


descended from heaven, and thither ascended to rule His Church 
from above, (b} Because the Church is perfected by heavenly 
things, faith, hope, and charity, which come from above, (c) Because 
the efficacy of the Sacraments is from above, and shows God Him 
self present in His Church, as though He had come down from 
above, (d) Because her conversation is in heaven, and there with 
her Spouse are her heart and treasure. (<?) Because she is striving 
for her eternal crown laid up in heaven. Cf. Rev. xxi. 2. 

2. Why is she called Jerusalem ? Because Jerusalem means the 
vision of peace. This God provides for His Church, so that she 
rejoices, not in earthly but in heavenly peace, according to the pro 
mise of her Lord : " Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto 
you" (S. John xiv. 27). This peace comes from a good conscience 
towards God, self, and all men. Literally too the Church is entitled 
to be called Jerusalem, because there she had her beginning, as 
the Jewish Church had at Sinai. Hence the prophets repeatedly 
designate the Christian Church by the names of Sion or Jerusalem. 

3. Why is she called free ? Freedom is fourfold : (a) Civil, to 
which is opposed the status of slaves, (b) Moral, by which is ex 
cluded slavery to passion and lust, to the fear of adversity. In this 
the Stoics placed the perfection of happiness, and desired that 
every man should be able to say of himself : Though the world were 
shattered around him, its fragments would strike, but not daunt him 
(Hor. Odes, iii. 3, 7). (c) Spiritual, springing from that perfect 
charity which casts .out fear, by which we are able to serve God, 
not in servile fear, but in filial love ; not with material ceremonies, 
but in spirit and in truth. This is the freedom in the Apostle s 
mind here, (d] Celestial, which excludes all slavery of mind or 
body to pain, and is the perfect bliss of mankind. 

The Church already enjoys moral and spiritual liberty ; by hope 
and desire it tastes beforehand the heavenly freedom it is one day 
to possess. 

4. Why is she called a mother? Because out of Gentile barren 
ness, which was subject to devils, the Church has been collected, 
and has borne, and still bears, many spiritual children to Christ, 


and this not from Jews alone, but from Jews and Gentiles, without 

Ver. 27. Rejoice, thou barren. Rejoice, O Church, called out 
of the Gentiles ; thou who wast once barren, without faith in God, 
and formerly not wont to bear children to Him now that thou art 
espoused to Him break forth and cry. The synagogue, whose 
husband was the law, or even God Himself, not as a father tender, 
but as a lawgiver terrible, brought forth Jews only according to the 
flesh. But the Church embraces as a mother all the nations that 
believe on Christ. Therefore the synagogue has borne to God 
comparatively a small number of spiritual children. She bare the 
Prophets, the Patriarchs, and a few other righteous men, and that 
not in her own strength, but by the power of Christ, the father of 
the New Covenant. 

The Apostle quotes Isa. liv. i. The Jews indeed interpret the 
passage of their return to the earthly Jerusalem. The Millenarians 
understood it of the thousand years of sensual happiness which 
they pretended that the Saints would spend on earth after the Day 
of Judgment, as Jerome testifies of them. S. Paul, however, makes 
it clear that Isaiah was speaking of the happiness and fruitfulness of 
the Christian Church. Of this S. Ambrose writes very beautifully 
(de Virgin, lib. i.) : " The Church is immaculate in conception, fruitful 
in offspring, a virgin in chastity, a mother in her family. We are 
born of a virgin who has been impregnated, not by a man but by the 
Spirit; who brings forth, not with bodily pain but with angelic rejoicing; 
who feeds her children with milk, not of earth but of the Apostles. She 
is a virgin in the Sacraments, and a mother in the virtues she produces. 
She is a mother to the nations, and Scripture testifies to her fruitfulness, 
saying : The desolate hath many more children than she which hath 
an husband? Whether we interpret this of the Church among the 
nations, or the soul of each individual, in either case she is married to 
her heavenly Spouse by the word of God, without any deviation from 
the path of chastity." S. Jerome, too, says, in his comments on this 
passage : " The Church, long time barren, bore no children before Christ 
was born of the Virgin ; but when she bore to Abraham, i.e., the elect 


father, Christ as Isaac, the laughter of the world, whose very name spoks 
of heavenly mysteries, then she brought forth many children to God. 

Abraham in Hebrew is (according to Jerome) the elect father, with 
a mighty sound. 

1. Abraham was first called Abram, the lofty father, and as such 
begat Ishmael from Hagar. Then when he entered into a covenant 
with God, and received the promise of the birth of Isaac, and of 
the possession by his seed of the land of Canaan, his name was 
changed to Abraham, the father of a great multitude, i.e., of a nume 
rous offspring, to be begotten of Isaac according to the flesh, and of 
Christ according to the spirit. This is a sounder interpretation of 
the name than that given by Jerome. 

2. Symbolically, Abraham represents God. From Hagar, the 
bondwoman, i.e., from the synagogue, he begat Ishmael, the bond 
servant, i.e., Moses and the Jews, who were under subjection to the 
Old Law. To them Abraham was a lofty father, giving the law in 
thunder from the heights of Sinai, and manifesting himself as a 
great and terrible Lord. On the other hand, Abraham, i.e., God, 
begat from Sarah, the freewoman, i.e., the Church, Isaac, laughter, 
who represented Christ and His followers, heirs of the promises. 
To them Abraham was the father of a great multitude, gathered by 
Christ out of all nations, and regenerated by faith and baptism. 
Or if we take S. Jerome s interpretation of Abraham as denoting 
the elect father with a mighty sound, then we see the fulfilment of 
the name in the preaching of John Baptist, of Christ, and the 
Apostles, who with a loud voice called all nations to enter into the 
kingdom of God. 

3. Isaac, i.e., Christ, is said to be born of Sarah, i.e., the Church, 
not as though the Church were actually the mother of Christ, or 
existed before Him, but because, in the Divine mind, the Church 
was, as it were, prior to Christ, and stood for His mother. For 
God first called the synagogue into existence, and then substituted 
for it the Church. Consequently, He had in His mind the idea 
of the synagogue first, of the Church second ; and out of this He 
decreed that Moses should be born as the eldest son of this idea, 


and that he should reduce to actuality the remaining parts of the 
idea by instituting the synagogue. Similarly, He willed the creation 
of the Church, and the birth of Christ, as the first-born of His idea 
of the Church, who should carry out the idea, and found the Church 
of which He should be Himself the chief corner-stone. Hence 
Christ and Christians are called children of the promise and of the 
predestined purpose of God, because their existence was the product 
of the Divine will as the father, and of the Divine thought as the 

Ver. 28. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of 
promise. Since he was born of one barren through age not ac 
cording to the flesh, but according to the promise of God. 

Ver. 29. He that was born after the flesh. Ishmael, born natu 
rally of Hagar, persecuted Isaac, born supernaturally of Sarah, accord 
ing to the Divine promise, and so a type of the spiritual children of 
the New Law. The reference is to Gen. xxi. 9. From a comparison 
of these two passages it is evident that the mockery mentioned was 
a sort of persecution, the sort of sport that cats have with mice. So 
in 2 Sam. ii. 14: " Abner said to Joab, Let the young men now 
arise and play before us," where the play was a mortal combat. 
Jerome and others think that the reason why Ishmael persecuted 
Isaac was because his envy was stirred up by the festivities indulged 
in at Isaac s weaning, and because he was jealous of the birthright 
assigned to his brother by promise. Hence it appears that he was 
hostile to the promised Seed, i.e., to Christ. 

So it is now. As formerly Ishmael mocked and persecuted Isaac, 
so now have the Jews mocked and crucified Christ, the King of 
liberty, and are still pursuing with bitter hatred His followers. So 
too are they persecuting you, O Galatians, that they may enslave 
you, and turn you from the right way. See the comments of Jerome 
and Rupert on Gen. xxi. 9. 

Ver. 30. Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the 
bondwoman and her son. Although Abraham shrank from this pro 
posal of Sarah, yet God approved it, and bade Abraham do as Sarah 

demanded, not only because her demand was lawful and right, but 
VOL. n. u 


also because his action would be a type of future events. The 
ejection of Hagar and Ishmael would typify the rejection of the 
Jewish synagogue, and its exclusion from the blessings of the Church, 
for persecuting Christ and His followers. Allegorically, Christians, 
as freemen, are inheritors of Abraham s blessing, while the Jews are 
shut out from it, because they are envious bondmen, persecutors 
of Christian freemen, just as Ishmael was forbidden to share with 
Isaac the paternal roof. The bondman was driven away from the 


I He moveth them to stand in their liberty, 3 and not to observe circumcision : 
13 btit rather love, which is the sum of the law. 19 He reckoneth up the 
works of the flesh, 22 and the fruits of the Spirit, 25 and exhorteth to walk in 
the Spirit. 

STAND fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and 
be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. 

2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit 
you nothing. 

3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do 
the whole law. 

4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the 
law ; ye are fallen from grace. 

5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 

6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircum- 
cision ; but faith which worketh by love. 

7 Ye did run well ; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth ? 

8 This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. 

9 A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. 

10 I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise 
minded : but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be. 

11 And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecu 
tion ? then is the offence of the cross ceased. 

12 I would they were even cut off which trouble you. 

13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty ; only ust not liberty for an 
occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. 

14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this ; Thou shall love thy 
neighbour as thyself. 

15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed 
one of another. 

1 6 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the 


17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh : and 
these are contrary the one to the other : so that ye cannot do the things that 
ye would. 

18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. 

19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these ; Adultery, 
fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 

20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, 




21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like : of the which 
I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such 
things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 

, 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-sutfering, gentleness, 
goodness, faith, 

23 Meekness, temperance : against such there is no law. 

24 And they that are Christ s have crucified the flesh with the affections and 

25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 

26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one 


i. S. Paul proceeds to urge the Galatians not to submit to the yoke of the 
Old Law, lest they be deprived of the fruits of Christ s righteousness, 
since in Him neither circumcision nor uncircumcision will avail any 
thing, but only faith which worketh by love. 

ii. He invites them (ver. 13) to Christian liberty, and shows that it is based 
on charity, which causes him to pass from the dogmatic to the ethical 
portion of the Epistle. 

iii. He points out (ver. 17) how the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and then 
he enumerates the works of each respectively. 

Ver. i. Be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. You once 
served idols and devils : why do you now wish to serve the shadows 
and burdensome ceremonies of the Mosaic law ? The Greek for en 
tangled is rendered by the Vulgate contained, by Vatablus implicated, 
by Erasmus ensnared. The Judaisers, says S. Paul, are enticing you 
to their law as into a net, in which, if you are once entangled, you 
will be unable to escape from its legal windings and toils. 

Ver. 2. If ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. If you 
trust to circumcision as necessary to salvation, Christ and His religion 
will be of no avail to you ; but you seem to be putting your trust in 
this under the tuition of the Judaisers, although you were Gentiles, 
and baptized as such. Why do you tack on circumcision to baptism 
now ? There can be no other reason for this proceeding except 
your belief that baptism by itself is insufficient, and needs to be 
supplemented by circumcision. Certainly you have not the Jews 
pretext that they use circumcision in deference to their law. This 
may be good excuse for them ; it is none for you. 


Ver. 3. / testify. He who is circumcised thereby proclaims his 
allegiance to the Jewish Church, its laws and its obligations, just as 
one who is baptized does with regard to the Christian Church, The 
Apostle is seeking to dissuade the Galatians by a reason drawn from 
the burdensome character of the yoke of the Mosaic law. 

Ver. 4. Christ is become of no effect unto you. You are outside 
the redemption wrought by Christ, deprived of His merits, and void 
of His grace. 

Whosoever of you are justified by the law. Who seek for righteous 
ness from circumcision and other legal rites. By distrusting the 
grace of Christ and preferring the law, you have treated Christ with 
ingratitude, and in consequence He has withdrawn His grace from 
you. The Galatians, says S. Paul, were once filled with the grace 
of Christ, like a well with water ; but they have now emptied it all 
out, and so lost the fruits of His Passion. Or, to put it in another 
way, Christ has emptied His Church of them, because of their 
want of faith. [Note. The Vulgate rendering here is evacuati 

Vatablus [as A.V.] interprets the term to mean that Christ had 
become of no effect, His labour had been thrown away, His Passion 
made fruitless by the withdrawal of His grace. The very name of 
Christian was no longer due to them, and should be dropped ; or if 
they wished to retain it, they must say farewell to the law. Cf. a 
similar expression in Rom. vii. 6. 

Ver. 5. For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteous 
ness by faith. This is to prove that the Judaisers, in seeking to be 
justified by the law, are no longer Christians ; for we, he says, who 
are Christians indeed look for the promised righteousness, not from 
the law, but from the Spirit, through faith in Christ. 

It is faith which excites hope, and so causes a man to pray for 
that grace by which we are justified. Some take the hope of righte 
ousness here for eternal glory, which we hope to obtain through 
righteousness. Others, and better, take it to be that righteousness 
which we all pray and sigh for, which the Jews seek through their 
law, and Christians from Christ. 


Ver. 6. For in Christ Jesus, &c. In the Church neither Judaism 
nor Gentilism is of any avail towards the life of holiness and bliss. 
Judaism is depreciated here by being classed with Gentilism. The 
only effectual power is faith not a faith that is barren of works, 
but that which worketh by love, and manifests itself in works of 
charity. Such a faith was that of the Magdalene when she bathed 
Christ s feet with her tears. But a faith which shows no works of 
charity is, as Anselm says, the faith, not of Christians, but of devils. 
The Protestants who attribute justification to faith alone should 
remark this. Our brother Campian, the martyr of England, when 
in prison and disputing with the Lutherans, refuted them by this 
syllogism : That faith which avails before God to justify is, as the 
Apostle testifies, a faith which worketh by love; therefore it is 
obvious that it is united to charity. But the justifying faith of the 
Lutherans is not a faith that worketh by love, for it is, they say, 
alone, and hence is not accompanied by charity; therefore, the 
faith which they lay down is not a faith that justifies before God. 
To say, then, that faith is alone, and that such a faith justifies, is a 
contradiction. If faith is to justify, it must be accompanied by 
charity ; and when it is so accompanied it is no longer alone. 

It should be remarked that faith does not work by means of 
charity as an efficient cause works by its instrument, but in the way 
that heat in the form of fire kindles wood. Faith through charity 
does good works, by performing acts of charity towards God and 
our neighbour, and by determining the nature of acts of other 
virtues. For charity is not an essential but an accidental form, 
which gives to faith and all good works their life, validity, and merit, 
in due relation to their ultimate end. It gives to faith and all 
other virtues (i.) their character of virtue. Where charity is, vice 
cannot be ; but virtue reigns enthroned as queen by charity, which 
ennobles also every act, so that the man under its sway may be called 
absolutely virtuous, righteous, and holy. (2.) Charity also gives the 
acts of virtue their dignity and power of winning merit, for it makes 
a man the friend and son of God, and so dignifies his works that 
God promises them eternal rewards. (3.) Charity also determines 


the relation of the various acts of virtue to their ultimate end, 
inasmuch as it directs to God the whole man, and all that he does, 
says, or thinks. So S. Thomas. 

The Greek word for workelh denotes internal efficacy, hidden 
power. Faith informed by charity, having charity as its soul, by 
its inward and spiritual power, worketh the living works of virtue. 

Ver. 7. Ye did run well. In the teaching of Christ, as in an 
arena a runner strives to win the appointed prize. 

Who did hinder you ? Or, as S. Anselm renders it, Who did 
bewitch you, to start aside from your Christian course, and to run 
after Judaism ? 

Ver. 8. Tliis persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. The 
counsel given you by the Jews, that the ceremonies of the law are 
necessary to salvation, cometh not from God the Father, who hath 
called you through Christ, but from the devil and his angels. So 

Ver. 9. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. A little leaven 
communicates its bitterness to the whole mass of meal. This is a 
maxim describing the way that a vicious part spoils the whole, and 
of course is capable of general application. In i Cor. v. 6 it is 
applied to the fornicator who was corrupting the whole Corinthian 
Church, and here it is applied to the Judaisers, who are being dealt 
with throughout this chapter, and declares that they are corrupting 
the whole of the Galatian Church. Jerome says : " Arius in Alex 
andria was but a single spark, but not being at once extingiiished, he 
greiv to a flame, and devastated the whole world. For their word 
eateth the body as a canker, and the rot in a single sheep infects the 
whole flock." 

The maxim may be yet more fitly applied to the doctrine itself 
of the Judaisers, in the sense that a single error in the faith, such 
as that about the necessity of the law, overturns the whole faith. 
Chrysostom and Theophylact apply it, yet more particularly, to cir 
cumcision, the receipt of which acts like leaven, and corrupts the 
whole lump. Their application is supported by the fact that the 
Apostle, in vers. 2, 4, and 6, is treating of circumcision, and declares 


that he who is circumcised is debtor to the whole law. The 
Judaisers, however, seem to have persuaded the Galatians that cir 
cumcision was not a matter of great moment, and to have passed 
lightly over the onerous character of the burdens to which those 
who were circumcised subjected themselves. On the contrary, 
Paul here lays bare their artifice, and declares circumcision to denote 
a profession of the whole of the Jewish law, and to be a corruption 
of Christianity as a whole, on the ground that a little leaven leaveneth 
the whole lump. 

Ver. 10. I have confidence in you. I trust the Lord to stablish 
you in the faith you have received, and to save you from believing 
aught save what I have taught you, and from following these new 
teachers and their novel doctrines. 

But he that troubleth you. He who is stirring up this strife, and 
rending the whole Church, shall bear the punishment which God 
in His wrath shall inflict on those who teach heresy. By metonymy, 
judgment is put for punishment. 

Ver. ii. And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision. This is a 
reply to the calumny of the Judaisers, that Paul Judaised among the 
Jews, and opposed Judaism among the Gentiles. He asks, if this 
be so, why the Jews should so persecute him, and implies that the 
real reason is that he publicly opposes them, and condemns circum 
cision, so as to establish the Gospel. 

Then is the offence of the cross ceased. If what they say of me is 
true, then they are not offended at the Cross which I preach, for 
they themselves wish to seem Christians, provided only that the 
Mosaic law may be taken into partnership with the Cross. Nay, 
the stricter Jews, whose only concern is for Judaism, oppose the 
preaching of the Cross only because it overturns their law, so much 
so that they would cease to persecute me if I would combine the 
law and the Cross. But since, as a matter of fact, they are offended 
at my preaching, it is obvious that I openly preach the abolition of 
the law by the Gospel, and the sole sufficiency of the Cross for 

Ver. 12. / would that they were even cut off which trouble you. 


Cut off from the Church and your fellowship, lest they corrupt the 
whole. Cf. i Cor. v. 3. This is the obvious meaning, and one 
befitting the dignity of an apostolic writer. However, Ambrose, 
Chrysostom, Theophylact, Jerome, Augustine, and others under 
stand it of the total deprivation of the organ to which circumcision 
is applied, so as to bring it more closely within the scope of the 
whole passage, in which circumcision is the main topic. 

It may be asked how the Apostle can rightly imprecate a curse 
on the Judaisers, since this is opposed to charity, and is a mark 
of impatience and of a revengeful temper. " So detestable" says 
Jerome, "is the act of castration, that whoever inflicts it on a man 
against his will, or on himself, ought to be accounted infamous." 

1. Jerome replies that the Apostle said this as a man and in 
passion ; but God forbid that an Apostle, and one especially who was 
moved by the Holy Spirit, should so speak. Accordingly, Jerome 
gives another answer, according to which, like Peter to Simon 
Magus (Acts viii. 20), and Elisha to the children who mocked him 
(2 Kings ii. 24), he spoke, not in anger, but partly in zeal for right 
eousness, partly in love, and entreated that they might be punished 
through their sin, i.e., through circumcision, and so, when punished, 
be purged of their shame. 

2. Chrysostom and Theophylact say that the Apostle is not 
imprecating a curse, but speaking jestingly, as much as to say, If 
they insist on it, let them be not only circumcised, but wholly 
cut off. 

3. S. Augustine and Anselm think that there is no curse here but 
a blessing, as if he were to say, Would that the Jews would become 
spiritual eunuchs by chastity for the kingdom of heaven s sake, and 
cease to preach Jewish circumcision, fixing their thoughts instead on 
heavenly things, and on the law of Christ, as the way to attain them. 
Of these three explanations the second of Jerome s is the best. 

Origen castrated himself to prevent the motions of lust disturb 
ing his chastity, but, as Chrysostom rightly says, wrongly ; for this 
is not taught by the Apostle, nor is it the members of the body but 
our vices that are to be cut off, otherwise it would be lawful to 


destroy our eyes, ears, and tongue. Moreover, castration does not 
destroy lust, but sometimes increases it, as S. Basil says in his 
treatise on Virginity. Cf. Ecclus. xx. 2, and xxx. 21. 

Which trouble you. Who would rob you of your evangelical 

Ver. 13. Ye have been called unto liberty. Liberty from the 
burden of so many useless ceremonies of the law. Christian liberty 
throughout the Epistle is contrasted with Jewish slavery. 

It is obvious, therefore, how grossly the Protestants pervert the 
Apostle s words, when they argue from this that Christians are free 
from all positive law, and owe no obedience to prelates, to magis 
trates, or to parents. This is contrary to the law of nature and the 
Decalogue, subversive of all civil government, of all ecclesiastical 
order, of all human society. There has never been a nation, how 
ever barbarous, without its magistrates and laws, nor without them 
could the peace be kept, nor any nation continue, as all nations 
have clearly seen. If once men are persuaded that the civil or the 
ecclesiastical law does not oblige in conscience, but only as its sanc 
tions constrain our fears, they will violate the law without any scruple, 
whenever they think it safe to do so. Accordingly, Christ, Paul, 
and the Apostles in general frequently order Christians to obey 
Ca;sar and other unbelieving magistrates, not only for wrath s sake, 
but also for conscience sake. Cf. Rom. xiii. 5. 

It may be objected that at all events, by parity of reasoning, 
Christians, since they live under a law of liberty, ought to be free 
from subjection to so many canons and rules, the burden of which 
is equal to that imposed by the older law. I answer that no just 
comparison can be drawn (i.) Because the laws of the Church, 
so far as they concern the laity, are much fewer in number, and 
are all reducible to the five precepts of the Church. The canons, 
it is true, which deal with the clergy, are more numerous, but no 
one is obliged by them unless he, of his own free will, chooses to 
become a clerk. Moreover, it is the duty of the Pope and the 
Bishops to see that the number of canons and censures be reduced 
rather than added to. Many men of unquestioned piety are anxious 


lest too heavy a burden of rules be laid on the clergy, and so 
become a snare to them. (2.) Because the older laws were more 
burdensome and more difficult of observance, as may be seen in 
the number of sacrifices and lustrations. (3.) Because they were 
shadows of the laws of the New Testament. These latter, therefore, 
as being of easier observance, succeed to the former ; and, surely, 
it is better to serve the reality than to serve shadows. (4.) The 
older laws were unable to excite internal piety, and could only 
keep the people from idolatry, as the Fathers lay down unani 
mously; but the laws of the Church are ordained for the special 
purpose of exciting piety, as is clearly shown by the laws about 
fasting, hearing Mass, confessing, and communicating. 

Only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh. Do not (as the 
Protestants in our time are doing) use your freedom from Jewish 
ceremonies as an excuse for rushing into the lusts of the flesh. Do 
not let the flesh take what the Jew has been forced to give up. 

But by love serve one another. As Chrysostom says : " Having 
removed one yoke, he, lest they should wax wanton, imposes another, 
the yoke of charity, so much the more strong as it is more light and 
pleasant." Do not, says the Apostle, serve ceremonies, nor yet the 
flesh ; I would have you free from both, and subject to one another 
through the spirit of love. The love of the Spirit is opposed to that 
love of the flesh so much boasted of by Adamites and other obscene 

1. The Apostle, as Chrysostom says, here cuts at the root of the 
evil, viz., the heresy and schism which induced some of the Galatians 
to try and draw others away to Judaism, and declares it to be pride 
and the love of power. He then applies the remedy, viz., charity. 

" Since you have been torn asunder, while you were trying to get 
the mastery one over the other, now serve one another and return to 
unity. As fire melts wax, so does love more readily disperse all pride 
and arrogance " (Chrysostom in loco). 

2. Chrysostom does not here say love one another, but serve one 
another, because charity makes men servants, not by compulsion, but 
by glad choice, even to the extent of performing the meanest services 


for the poor and the afflicted. This holy and free service is not 
bondage, but a noble freedom, to be sought for by all Christians. 

3. From the liberty of the law and the liberty of the flesh the 
Apostle now passes, by an easy transition, to the second part of the 
Epistle. From doctrine he proceeds to morals, with the view of 
improving the conduct of the Galatians. 

Ver. 14. For all the law is fulfilled in one word. That is, the 
whole law so far as it concerns our neighbour, or according to 
what was said in the preceding verse, as we serve one another. Cf. 
Rom. xiii. 8. S. Augustine (de Trin. lib. viii.), S. Thomas, Anselm, 
however, say that the who e law rests on the love of God or of our 
neighbour, but that the latter presupposes the former, inasmuch as 
our neighbour is to be loved for the sake of God. Therefore he 
who loves his neighbour both fulfils the law, which says, Thou shalt 
love thy neighbour, and also loves God and fulfils the law, which says, 
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God. 

Ver. 15. But if ye bite and devour one another. Beware, if you 
attack one another with calumnies, lest you be mutually consumed. 
Two men calumniating and enviously pursuing each other are like 
two dogs fighting, and biting each other. They consume each 
other, nay, they devour themselves. Well said the poet : " Than 
envy nothing is more just, for it forthwith bites and tortures its 
author." And therefore : " Than envy not even Sicilian tyrants have 
found a greater torment. " See my notes on Phil. i. 18, where I 
enumerate the properties of envy. Wisely and piously said S. 
Augustine (Sent. 179) : " To a religious man it ought to be little not 
to excite enmities, or to excite them only by awkward speech ; he ought 
to strive to extinguish them by seasonable discourse." 

Ver. 1 6. I say then, Walk in the Spirit. The summary, the one 
aim of the whole of this Epistle, is this : Walk not in the law, not 
in the flesh, but in the Spirit. The root of all your trouble is want 
of the Spirit : if you had Him, you would shut out as well the 
legal as the carnal life. 

To walk in the Spirit is to order our whole life after the impulse 
of the Spirit, who inspires us to works of piety, to prayer, faith, 


charity, and works of mercy. This Spirit the Apostles received 
abundantly at Pentecost, as did the first Christians, and they added 
to the gift they then received by loyally following His workings, 
by labouring and suffering everything, if only they might bring 
others to Christ, by fiery charity and burning zeal. Whither has 
fled that Spirit now? Lord Jesus, kindle in us that fire which Thou 
earnest to send on earth, and which Thou didst will to burn 

Ver. 17. The flesh lusteth against the Spirit. From this the 
Manichseans inferred that man has two souls one spiritual, which 
is good and the gift of a good god, and another carnal, which is evil 
and the gift of an evil god. Some philosophers, too, hold that man 
has two souls one sensational, by which he feels, eats, and generates 
as do the beasts ; and another rational, by which he reasons and 
understands as do the angels ; and they depend for this conclusion 
on the contrary appetites and mental operations found in the same 

1. But it is certain that in man there is but one soul, and that a 
rational one, but which also in a special degree embraces vegetative 
and sensational powers. Hence, as man has in him both sets of 
powers, it is no wonder if he experiences contrary appetites, carry 
ing him to diverse objects, and exciting him to action when they 
are present. In its powers the soul of man is twofold or rather 

2. The word flesh stands by metonymy for that concupiscence 
which is in the flesh, impressing on it its own ideas and desires. 

3. This concupiscence resides not only in the sensitive appetite, 
but also in the rational, as S. Augustine points out (Conf. viii. 5) : 
for as in the domain of desire it excites the appetites of hunger 
and procreation, in the domain of self-protective instinct the 
passions of envy and hatred, so in the domain of reason it arouses 
the desire to excel and the spirit of curiosity. All our mental 
powers are infected by the leaven of original sin, but they are 
described as the flesh, because the desires of the flesh are those 
that are most frequently and most violently aroused, and so are 


the principal part of our desires, and give their name to the whole. 
Hence the Apostle uses the phrase " works of the flesh," i.e., of con 
cupiscence, not only for fornication, drunkenness, and revellings, 
which are strictly fleshly sins, but also for such things as the service 
of idols and envy, which are strictly sins of the rational part of 
our nature. 

4. The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, because it lusteth for carnal 
things, and the Spirit against the flesh, because it desires spiritual 
goods. This warfare is carried on within between the flesh and 
the Spirit ; their forces are marshalled by the Apostle when he 
says, on the one side, The works of the flesh are manifest, which are 
these, &c., and on the other, But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, &c. 
Prudentius gives a vivid description of this warfare in his Psycho- 
machia, and S. Augustine in his "Confessions" (viii. n). Cassian 
(Collat. iv. n) describes it as follows: " The flesh delights in lust 
and lasciviousness ; the spirit can hardly be brought to acknowledge 
the existence of these natural desires. The flesh seeks for sleep and 
food ; the spirit is so engaged in fasting and watching that with diffi 
culty it brings itself to consent to the necessities of nature. The flesh 
would abound in this world s goods ; the spirit is content with the 
slenderest provision of daily bread. The flesh loves the baths, and 
troops of flatterers ; the spirit rejoices in squalor, and in the 
silence of the desert. The flesh is fed on honours and praises ; the 
spirit joys in the persecutions and injuries inflicted on it." See to 
the motives of grace and of nature depicted by Thomas a Kempis 
in his "Imitation of Christ" (lib. iii. c. 59), in his own simple but 
vigorous style. 

The Abbot Pamenius, in his "Lives of the Fathers" (vii. 27), rightly 
describes concupiscence as an evil will, a devil attacking us ; or, as 
Abbot Achilles in the same passage puts it, as a handle of the devil. 

Augustine at one time thought that this warfare was waged in a 
sinner under the law, not in one living under grace ; but he after 
wards modified this opinion (Retract. i. 24). It is beyond question 
that it is found in the Saints, nay, is the more fierce in proportion as 
they strive to live more spiritually. Accordingly, S. Augustine says 


(Serm. 43 de Verbis Domini} : " The Spirit lusteth against the flesh in 
good men, not in evil men, who have not the Spirit of God for the flesh 
to lust against." 

Again, commenting on Ps. Ixxvi. 2. (A.V.), S. Augustine says : 
You have to meet an attack not only from the wiles of the devil, 
but also from within yourself against your bad habits, against your 
old evil life, which is ever drawing you to its wonted courses. On the 
other hand you are held back by the new life, while you still belong to 
the old. Hence you are lifted up by the joy of the new, you are weighed 
down by the burden of the old. The war is against yourself ; but just 
where it is irksome to yourself it is pleasing to God, and where it is 
pleasing to God you gain power to conquer Jor He is with you who 
overcometh all things. Hear what the Apostle saith : With my 
mind I serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin. How 
with the mind? because your evil life is hateful to you. How with 
the flesh ? Because you are beset by evil suggestions and delights. 
But from union with God comes victory. In part you go before ; 
in fart you follow after. Betake yourself to Him who will lift you 
up. Being weighed down with the burden of the old man, cry aloud 
and say : < O wretched man that I am ; who shall deliver me from 
the body of this death, from the burden which is weighing me down 
for the body which is corrupted weigheth down the soul. But why 
is this warfare permitted to last so long, even till all evil lusts are 
swallowed up ? It is that you may understand that the punishment 
is in yourself. Your scourge is in yourself, and proceeds from yourself, 
and therefore your quarrel is against yourself. This is the penalty 
imposed on any one who rebels against God, that as he would not have 
peace with God he shall have war within himself. But do you hold 
your members bound against your evil lusts. If anger, for example, 
is roused, remain close to God and hold your hand. It will not do 
more than rise if it finds no weapons. The attack is on the side of 
anger; the arms, however, are with you ; let the attacking force find 
no arms, and he will soon learn not to rise if he finds that his rising 
is to no purpose." Cf. my comments on Rom. vii. in fine. 

These are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the 


things that ye would. You would wish to be free from the feelings 
of lust, anger, and gluttony, so as not to be hindered from charity, 
temperance, chastity, and prayer; and yet you are not free, nor can 
be free in this life. Or, on the other hand, you would wish to do 
cheerfully heroic deeds of virtue, but often you cannot, because the 
flesh is contrary. Anselm well says : " Your lusts do not allow you 
to do what you wish ; do not permit them to do what they wish, and 
then neither you nor they will attain your ends. Although lusts rise 
in you, yet they are not consummated if you withhold your consent. 
In the same way, though there may be in you good works of the Spirit, 
yet they are not consummated either, because you cannot do them cheer 
fully and perfectly, while you have the pain of resisting your lusts." 

Ver. iS. Hut if ye are led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. 
This anticipates a possible objection of the Galat-ians that they had 
apparently only exchanged one yoke for another heavier one, under 
which they had constantly to fight a tedious and irksome battle. 
The Apostle replies to this that if they were led by the Spirit they 
were not the slaves of concupiscence but its masters, and so were not 
under the law, inasmuch as they kept its provisions not from fear, 
but by spontaneously doing what it bade, and restraining the motions 
of concupiscence forbidden by it. 

The Galatians were not, says S. Paul, under the law as a com 
pelling force, still less under it as accusing and condemning, but 
they were under it as binding the conscience. Even so, however, 
they kept the law of their own accord, and so might be said to be 
outside the law, or above the law ; not under it, but rather under 
the Spirit. This is why, after enumerating the fruits of the Spirit, he 
adds, Against such there is no law. 

Ver. iq. The works of the flesh are manifest. The works that 
spring from the flesh, i.e., from concupiscence, as I said in the note 

to ver. 17. 

Fornication. On the works of the flesh in detail, see Jerome, 

Anselm, and S. Thomas. 

Uncleanness. Effeminacy. The effeminate are guilty of mutual 
pollution, contrary to the instincts of nature. 


Lasciviousness. Any wanton, and, according to Jerome, extra 
ordinary form of lust. He adds : " The works of the married even, if 
not done with delicacy and modesty, as in the sight of God, and if merely 
for the procreation of children, come under the Apostle s description of 
uncleanness and lasriviousness." This, of course, must be understood 
of mortal sin ; cf., e.g., the act of matrimony is performed otherwise 
than nature dictates, or if its consummation is purposely prevented ; 
for then both are guilty of mortal sin, excluding them from the King 
dom of heaven. Otherwise lust in the married is only venial. 

Ver. 20. Wrath. Anger is the desire for revenge, and is a 
deadly sin when a bitter revenge is sought, or an object on which 
to bestow the angry feelings. It is venial only when it is instinct 
ive, or when it aims at some slight revenge. The Apostle, there 
fore, is dealing here with the various sins enumerated in their 
highest and extremest form, for it is then only that they exclude 
from the Kingdom of heaven (ver. 21). 

Heresies. Acts of private judgment against the teaching of the 
Church. These evince great temerity and presumption. 

Ver. 21. Revellings. This seems to teach that immoderate 
indulgence in the pleasures of the table is a mortal sin, as it ex 
cludes from the Kingdom of heaven. On this I remark that some 
theologians hold from this verse that gluttony and lust are mortal 
sins, not only if they impair the use of reason, but if they be ex 
cessive. They rely on the case of the rich man in the parable, who 
was condemned, not because he was a drunkard, but because he 
fared sumptuously every day; on the words of Isaiah (v. 22), where 
woe, i.e., eternal damnation, is threatened against those who are 
mighty to drink strong drink ; on the fact that excess in eating 
may be more than bestial ; and they ask why should gluttony, so 
degrading to reason as it is, not be a mortal sin, if pollution is. 

But the common opinion of doctors is in favour of a milder 
view, viz., that excess in eating is not a deadly sin, except when 
it seriously impairs the health, or causes some disease ; or when a 
man eats with the object of vomiting, so as to commence again 
and even this some hold to be not a deadly sin. 

VOL. ii. 


1. Note that revellings represents the Greek word KW/ZOI, which 
stands for the lascivious words and actions of drunkards, for obscene 
songs, dances, and kisses. Hence Bacchus is called Comus, and 
Kw/zae<.v is to revel, or to be wanton, Cf. notes to Rom. xiii. 13. 

2. If the word is to be understood of banquetings, then it must 
be also understood of them in their most extreme and finished 
form, when men sit at table till they are overcome with excess. 
Cf. Isa. xxviii. 8. As in the preceding words the Apostle sub 
joins variance to wrath, and heresies to seditions, and murders to 
envyings, so here he subjoins revellings to drunkenness, the second 
member in each case showing what the first tends to end in. Cf. 
Prov. xxiii. 20. 

1. As to the opinions referred to above, I remark as follows : 
(a) to fare sumptuously is by itself a venial sin, and becomes mortal 
only when it leads to vomiting and similar excesses. (&) It also 
becomes a mortal sin per accidens, i.e., when it is united to drunken 
ness, lust, slander, cruelty, and contempt for the poor. This last 
was the sin of Dives. 

2. The denunciation of Isa. v. 22 is directed against those who 
mix their drinks so as to make them more intoxicating, and who 
make a point of making themselves and their guests drunken, and 
think their hospitality disgraced if they fail in this. 

3. Undoubtedly gluttony is a base thing in itself, but so are all our 
bodily functions ; but they are not entirely contrary to right reason, 
unless indeed they deprive reason of its power to act. The case is 
different with aberrations of the generative powers. The act of 
copulation is ordained for a special end, and in its proper method. 
To defeat this, or to elude the end, is to go contrary to the workings 
of God, and is therefore a deadly sin. 

Ver. 22. But the fruit of the Spirit is love. The works of the 
Spirit are opposed to the works of the flesh, i.e., those works which 
are performed through the influence of the Holy Spirit, by which 
we merit that kingdom from which the works of the flesh exclude 
those who do them. 

Observe that these fruits are different dispositions, or rather acts, 


of the different virtues the acts that the virtues beget in the soul, 
such as joy and peace. Observe, too, that the Apostle does not 
give a complete catalogue of all these fruits, but only of the more 
conspicuous ones, and of such as are opposed to the works of the 
flesh just specified. And in the third place, notice that the first 
fruit of the Spirit is charity, it being the parent of all the rest. 

Joy. The joy which springs from a clear conscience, one free 
from guilt and from mental disturbances. A contented mind is a 
perpetual feast. Cyprian (lib. de Disciplines et Bono Pudidtice) says : 
" The greatest pleasure is to have conquered pleasure ; and there ts no 
greater victory than that that is obtained over our lusts." On the 
other hand, the fruit of concupiscence is grief and sorrow. As 
Chrysostom says (Horn. 13 in Ada), il impure pleasure is like that 
obtained by a scrofulous man when he scratches himself. For to this 
pleasure, so short-lived, there succeeds a more enduring pain." 

Peace. The peace, says Jerome, enjoyed by the mind that is free 
from all passions. The pure mind, undisturbed by fear of punish 
ments, or remorse for past sins, is in friendship with God, enjoys 
a wonderful calmness, and inspires its tranquillity into others, so 
that, as much as possible, it lives at peace with all men. This is a 
peace that passeth all understanding (Phil. iv. 7) ; and even if holy 
living brought no other reward than this, it yet would be quite suffi 
cient of itself to stir us up to endure all sufferings, and undergo all 

Longsuffering. To have peace with ourselves and with others, we 
have need of patience to bear cheerfully every ill, especially those 
arising from the rough, haughty, or peevish tempers of others. 

Gentleness. A man may be good and generous, and yet lack that 
courtesy and gentleness in word and deed which is one token of 
holiness. Cf. Wisd. vii. 22. Hence the common people are wont 
to gauge a man s holiness by his gentle courtesy, suffer them 
selves to be guided in their actions by one who shows this fruit of 
the Spirit. 

Goodness. A disposition to do kindnesses to others, goodness 
being much the same as beneficence. Jerome says that Zeno 


defines this latter thus : " Goodness is a virtue which does good to 
others, or a virtue from which usefulness to others springs, or a dis 
position which makes a man the benefactor of his fellows." This is 
an evident token of the Holy Spirit, and was most manifest in Christ. 
Cf. Acts x. 38 : If you have His Spirit, do harm to no one, do 
good to all. 

Meekness. One, says Anselm, that is tractable, versatile, not self- 
opinionated ; as opposed to one who is headstrong, who will bear no 
yoke, who is prompt to revenge an injury, and give blow for blow. 

Faith. This, says Jerome, is a theological virtue, opposed to 
heresy, which makes us believe all that we ought to believe, even 
when opposed to nature, sense, and reason. But this faith is not so 
much a fruit of spiritual grace as its root and beginning. Accord 
ingly, Anselm s explanation is better, who says that faith is loyal 
adherence to our promises, as opposed to dishonesty and lying. 
As the Holy Spirit is steadfast, certain, sure [Wisd. vii. 23], He 
makes His followers, like Himself, faithful and true. Or, thirdly, 
faith here may be taken for the disposition to believe what others 
say, for the spirit that is free from suspicion and distrust, for that 
charity which believeth all things, for the candid, open, and receptive 

Modesty. Modesty is the virtue which imposes a mode or rule 
to all external actions, and controls our speech, laughter, sport. It 
proceeds from the inward power we have to control our passions. 
Ambrose (Offic. i. 18) says: "According to our external actions the 
hidden man of the heart is judged. From them he is declared to be 
light, or boastful, or heady, or earnest, or firm, or pure, or of good 
judgment." Cf. also Ecclus. xix. 27. Hence S. Augustine s counsel 
(Reg. 3) : " /// all your actions let there be nothing to offend the eyes of 
any one, but only what becometh holiness" 

Temperance. Abstinence, says Vatablus, from food and drink, 
or, as Anselm says, continence, i.e., abstinence from lust. Con 
tinence differs from chastity, as war differs from peace. Hence 
continence is in the militant stage, and is but chastity inchoate. 
But it would be better to take temperance, with Aristotle, as a general 


virtuous habit of the soul, restraining man from all lusts and passions. 
S. Jerome says : " Temperance has to do not only with sexual appetite, 
but also with food and drink, with anger, and mental disturbance, and 
the love of detractation. There is this difference between modesty 
and temperance, that the former is found in the perfect, of whom 
the Saviour says, Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the 
earth, just as He says of Himself, Learn of Me, for I am meek 
and lowly of heart? But temperance is found in those that are in 
the way of virtue, who have not yet arrived at the goal ; in whose 
minds impure thoughts and desires arise, but only to be checked ; 
whose souls are polluted, but not overcome ; in whom act does not 
follow evil suggestion. It is not enoiigh, however, that the desires 
should be under the power of temperance ; it must rule also over the 
tliree other emotions of sorrow, joy, and fear :" 

N.B. The Greek MSS. here are imperfect, and want the word 
for modesty, and hence give only nine fruits of the Spirit, in which 
they are followed by Augustine and Jerome. On these fruits of 
the Spirit, see the remarks of S. Thomas in the Secunda Secundce 
of his Summa, where he deals with them in detail. 

Against such there is no law. There is no law to condemn those 
who show these fruits of the Spirit, and accordingly those who are 
led by the Spirit are not under the law, as was said in ver. 18. 

Ver. 24. They that are Christ s, &c. This sets out the preceding 
antithesis between the works of the flesh and the works of the Spirit. 
Two armies are ranged in battle array ; but Christ s soldier crucifies 
his flesh with its affections and lusts, and not only these, but by 
fastings, hair-shirts, labours, and penances, he crucifies the corrupt 
flesh itself, as being the seed-ground of lust. So Anselm ; but it is 
better to takejfe/fc, not properly, but as standing for the concupiscence 
residing in the flesh, as in ver. 17. Those who are led by the Spirit 
of Christ have crucified their lust, their corrupt nature with its vicious 
tendencies and actual vices. " They have subdued it," says S. Augus 
tine, " out of that holy fear which abideth for ever, which makes us afraid 
of offending Him whom we love with all our heart and soul and mind." 

Note that concupiscence here is, as it were, a soul : its affections are 


its faculties ; its lusts are its acts. Christians crucify these, i.e., crush 
them with such pain as that endured by Christ when He was crucified. 
This they do (a) by the fear of hell and of God ; () by reason, and 
a constant will, and a firm purpose of pleasing God ; (f) by a vigilant 
watch over their eyes and their senses ; (d] by prayer ; and (e) by 
fastings, watchings, and other acts of austerity. 

Ver. 25. Jf we live in the Spirit. If we have this inward life of 
grace, let us live outwardly as the Spirit dictates. The Greek word 
used here denotes to follow a settled plan or order. Cf. notes to 
chap iv. 25. But according to Chrysostom and Theophylact, it is 
an exhortation to follow the rule of the Spirit of Christ, and not 
deviate into the ways of Judaism. 

Ver. 26. Let us not he desirous of vain-glory. Whoever seeks the 
praises of men seeks a vain thing. He pursues a bubble, swollen 
by wind, but void of all substance. The only true and lasting glory 
which alone can satisfy the mind, is with God. S. Jerome says : 

" They are desirous of solid glory who seek the approval of God, and 

that praise which is due to virtue." 

Provoking one another. To broils, lawsuits, and other contests. 

The thirst for praise and eminence gives birth to these rivalries 

and to envy : while Pompey will not brook an equal, nor Caesar a 



I He moveth them to deal mildly with a brother that had slipped, 2 and to bear- 
one another s burden : 6 to be liberal to their teachers, 9 and not weary of well 
doing. 12 He sheweth what they intend that preach circumcision. 14 He 
glorieth in nothing, save in the cross of Christ. 

BRETHREN, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore 
such an one in the spirit of meekness ; considering thyself, lest thou also 
be tempted. 

2 Bear ye one another s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. 

3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth 

4 But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in 
himself alone, and not in another. 

5 For every man shall bear his own burden. 

6 Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in 
all good things. 

7 Be not deceived ; God is not mocked : for whatsoever a man soweth, that 
shall he also reap. 

8 For he that soweth to his flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption ; but he 
that soweth to the Spirit, shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. 

9 And let us not be weary in well-doing : for in due season we shall reap, if 
we faint not. 

10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially 
unto them who are of the household of faith. 

1 1 Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand. 

12 As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be 
circumcised ; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. 

13 For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law ; but desire 
to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. 

14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. 

1 5 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircum- 
cision, but a new creature. 

1 6 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, 
and upon the Israel of God. 

1 7 From henceforth let no man trouble me : for I bear in my body the marks 
of the Lord Jesus. 

1 8 Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen. 
r , Unto the Galatians written from Rome. 




i. He exhorts the Galatians to good works, especially works of mercy 
towards Christians, particularly doctors and catechists. He bids 
them not to seek for the praise of men, but to study to sow seeds of 
good works, from which they may reap eternal life. 

ii. He opposes (ver. 12) his own glorying in the Cross of Christ to that of 
the Jews in circumcision. 

Ver. i. Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, &c. The 
Apostle enjoins here the brotherly correction of any fault, but with 
a special reference to sins committed through the eyes, as Jerome 
correctly observes the sin of Judaism, against which the whole 
Epistle is directed, being of that character. He bids them correct 
the Judaisers, but in a brotherly manner. There is a parallel to 
this passage in Rom. xiv. i, where a man overtaken in a fault is 
described as weak in the faith. There he is to be received, here he 
is to be instructed. This is another instance of the close connection 
between these two Epistles, which I have so often pointed out. In 
the earlier chapters of both Epistles he vigorously attacks the tenets 
of the Judaisers, and in the latter he moderates his tone. 

S. Paul is not speaking here of those who are obstinate in their 
evil doing. These, as S. Gregory insists, because they sin deliber 
ately, are to be rebuked sternly. Their hard hearts, as Tertullian 
says, must be broken, not soothed. S. Paul is referring to those 
who, being weak in the faith, have been seduced into Judaism, have 
been overtaken before they could resist. The Greek word rendered 
fault denotes an accidental fall, as when one through inadvertence 
stumbles over a stone, or falls into a ditch. 

Restore. Ephrem renders this raise ; the Vulgate, instruct; and 
Vatablus [with the A.V.J, restore. Erasmus, indeed, but wrongly, 
thinks the instruite of the Vulgate is a copyist s error for instaurate. 
The texts, however, are against this. The difference in meaning, in 
any case, is not important. The restoring of a man in faith and 
morals is the same as the instructing him in them. 

In the spirit of meekness. Gently, tenderly, kindly. Spirit here is 


used to denote the gift of the Spirit, as Chrysostom observes. The 
Spirit, by the words of admonishment He inspires men to use, 
breathes into him who uses them His own mildness and benignity. 
Rebuke is like a bitter medicine, bearing away the disease ; hence 
it is to be sugared over with mild words and sympathetic temper, 
that its bitterness may not be tasted. 

S. Chrysostom (Horn. 52 ad Popvlum) says, with equal truth and 
beauty, that our speech becomes the speech of Christ, if, throughout 
it all, we imitate His benignity. S. Dionysius (Ep. 8 ad Demo- 
philum) says that it was the meekness of Moses which won for 
him his special intimacy with God, and says that if pastors feed 
Christ s flock with similar meekness, they will show thereby that they 
love Christ above all things, and will be so accepted by Him. 
Towards the end of the letter, S. Dionysius relates a striking proof of 
this, drawn from a vision vouchsafed to S. Carpus, when he was 
bitterly enraged against some heathen who had seduced two 
Christians from the faith. Christ, chiding him, said : " Strike Me, for 
I am ready to suffer again for man s salvation, and to suffer gladly, if 
only other men do not sin" 

Hence, too, S. Augustine lays down the mode in which correction 
should be ministered : " The task of rebuking others sins is never 
to be undertaken, except when after self-examination our conscience 
assures us in the presence of God that we do it simply out of love of the 
offender. Love, and then say what you will. In no way will that 
which sounds like a curse be a curse indeed, if you recollect and feel 
throughout that your only wish in using the sword of the word of the 
Lord is to be the deliverer of your brother from the snares of sin." If, 
however, any feeling of impatience or anger do assail us while we are 
administering our rebuke, let us, he says, bear in mind, "that we 
ought not to be rigid towards sinners, since we ourselves sin even while 
rebuking sin, inasmuch as we feel angry with the sinner more readily 
than we feel pity for his misery." So too S. Basil (Reg. 51), urges 
that Superiors, and all who engage in the work of healing spiritual 
diseases, should take a lesson from physicians, and not be angry 
with the patient, but attack his disease. 


Considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. S. Paul passes from 
the distributive plural to each individual from brethren to thou. 
It would have been offensive to address the whole community, and 
to insinuate that it might as a whole be tempted and fall. His appeal 
was likely to be more effectual if addressed to any individual 
member, to remind him that God suffers those to fall who are hard 
towards others. Often, in the " Lives of the Fathers," we read that 
older men, who had reproved with excessive severity their juniors 
for lust or other sin, were themselves smitten with the same passion, 
that they might learn to have mercy on others. 

Cassian relates (de Instit. lib. v.) the saying of an abbot, that 
in three things he had judged his brethren, and through the same 
three things he had fallen, in order that the heathen might know 
themselves to be but men. Another of the Fathers was wont to ex 
claim, weeping, whenever he heard of any one falling : "He to-day, 
and I to-morrow" In the same way, whenever we hear of the fall of 
any neighbour, let us each say : " / am a man, and nothing that is 
human is foreign to me." As S. Gregory says {Horn. 34 in Evang.}, 
" True righteousness is merciful, false is unforgiving." Cassian 
relates (Collat. ii. c. 13) that a certain young monk, who was 
grievously assaulted by the desire of fornication, went to an older 
monk, who was uncouth and void of discretion, and who forthwith 
scolded him bitterly for his impure imaginings. On this the young 
monk lost heart, and determined to return to the world, and to 
marry. Abbot Apollo, however, perceived what was amiss, and 
with gentle words induced him to remain true to his vow. Then 
going to the cell of the older monk, he prayed that God would 
subject him to the same temptation as that of the younger man. 
Soon the prayer was granted, and the older man became as one 
distracted. On perceiving this, Apollo went to the old man, and 
told him that God had sent him that temptation that he might learn 
to feel for those who were younger, so as not to drive them to 
despair, as he had recently done in the case of the younger monk 
who came to him. Cf. Isa. 1. 4; xlii. 3 ; S. Matt. xii. 20. 

S. Augustine (Serm. Dom. in Monte., lib. ii. c. 20) has these 


three excellent rules for the correction of our neighbour : " Great 
care must be taken that, when duty compels us to correct any one, we 
think (i.) whether the fault is such as we have never committed in 
the past, nor are subject to at the moment. (2.) If we have been 
addicted to it, and now are not, let some thought of human weakness 
touch the mind, so that our reproaches may spring not from hatred 
but from pity ; and, whether our efforts succeed in reforming the 
offender, or only avail to confirm him in evil (for the issue is uncertain), 
in either case we may be certain that our own eye is single. (3.) If, 
however, we find on reflection that we ourselves are guilty of the 
same fault as he whom we undertake to correct, let us not rebuke him 
nor scold him, but only mourn together, and invite him not to obey us, 
but to unite with us in guarding against the common enemy" 

Ver. 2. Bear ye one another s burdens. \. Let each bear with 
the weaknesses of others. Do you bear another s irritability and 
hasty words, and let him put up with your moroseness and sluggish 
temperament. Reflect that your neighbour s failings are a greater 
trouble to himself than they are to you, and sympathise with him 

2. A better interpretation, and as being more general, is that 
burdens stands for whatever oppresses our neighbour his illnesses, 
his cares, his vices which call for compassion, help, and comfort. 
Be a foot to the lame, eye to the blind, staff to the aged. Cf. S. 
Augustine (Enarr. in Ps. Ixxvi.). 

3. S. Basil s interpretation (Reg. Brev. reg. 278) is still more to 
the point : " Sin is a burden pressing on the soul, nay, weighing it down, 
and dragging it down to hell." As a beast sinks under a burden too 
heavy for him, so does the soul, burdened with sin, sink down to hell, 
without power of itself to raise itself. The fault of the preceding verse 
shows the nature of the burden here referred to, as does verse 5, 

Although every sin is here called a burden, yet the Apostle 
specially refers to that of Judaism, which was called a yoke of 
bondage in chap. v. i. Hence the exhortation, strictly speaking, is 
that if any one be found sinking under the burden of Judaising 


ceremonies, he is not to be harshly censured, but gently and 
sympathetically lifted up, and restored to the Church. Just as an 
ass that has fallen under its load is able to rise when the load is 
taken from its back, so the sinner is able to rise from his sin when 
another, by his gentleness and kindness, shares the burden with him, 
and so removes it from him. So says S. Basil : " We remove this 
burden one from another as often as we take the trouble to bring to a 
better mind those who have sinned and fallen." Cf. Isa. liii. 4. 

We bear our neighbour s burden then (i.) by sympathetic cor 
rection of him; (2.) by prayer that God will take it from him; 
(3.) and most completely by penances, when, after Christ s example, 
we bear others sins by undergoing in expiation of them voluntary 
fasts and hair-shirts, and other modes of discipline. 

1. Sin is the heaviest burden man can be called on to bear. S. 
Augustine (Horn. 22 in Loco) says: "See the man laden with the 
burden of avarice ; see him sweating under it, gasping, thirsty, and 
making his load the heavier. What do you look for, O miser, as the 
reward for this so great labour of yours 1 ! Why do you toil thus? 
What do you long for? Merely to satisfy your avarice. It can oppress 

you, but you cannot satisfy it. Is it by any chance not grievous ? So 
much so that you have even lost the power of feeling? Is not avarice 
grievous? Jf not, why is it that it wakes you from sleep, and some 
times prevents you from sleeping at all? Perhaps too with it you have 
a second load of indolence, and so two most evil burdens pulling you in 
different directions. They do not give you the same orders. Indolence 
says, Sleep; avarice says, Rise. Indolence says, Avoid the cold , 
avarice says, Bear even the storms of the sea. The one says, Rest ; 
the other, so far from allowing rest, bids you cross the sea, and venture 
on unknown lands." S. Augustine adds that Christ takes away this 
burden of lust, and puts in its place His own yoke of charity, which 
does not weigh down, but, like wings added to a bird, enables its 
possessor to rise. 

2. It is the proper office of charity to teach us how to bear these 
burdens in turn, as S. Augustine points out from the beautiful 
image of stags (Horn. 21 in Eadem Verba} : "ft is the office of love 


to bear others burdens in turns. It has been said that stags when 
crossing water are accustomed to help each other, by those in front 
carrying the weight of the heads of those behind. The foremost stag, 
having no one on whom to rest his head, is relieved in turns by some 
stag who is less fatigued. Bearing one another s burdens, in this way 
they cross over the water, and so reach dry land once more. Perhaps 
Solomon was alluding to this peculiarity of stag-life when he said, 
Let the friendly stag, and the young of thy thanksgiving, speak with 
thee ; for nothing is such a test of a friend as his willingness to bear 
his friend s burdens? You will bear your friend s bad-temper by being 
not angry with him ; and then when you are in your turn -vexed, he 
ivill remain undisturbed. So too if one has mastered his own loquacity 
hit not his obstinacy, ivhile another on the other hand has overcome his 
cnvn obstinacy but not his loquacity, let each bear the other s burdens 
until both be healed. So too did S. Paul write : f Look not every man 
on his own things, but every man also on the things of others, adding : 
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus meaning 
that, as the Word became incarnate and took our sins upon Him, so 
should we, like Him, bear the burdens of others. Let us then show to 
those who are in trouble what we should wish shown to us, if our 
positions ivere reversed. I am made all things to all men, that I might 
gain all, says S. Paul. He was made all things to all men by 
regarding it as possible that he himself might have been in the position 
of the man he was anxious to set free. " 

Those who support the weaknesses and burdens of others are 
happily compared to bones by S. Basil, when explaining the words 
of Ps. xxxiv. 20: "He keepeth all His bones:" Just as bones are 
given us to support the weakness of the flesh, so in the Clmrch there are 
some whose functions it is by their fortitude to strengthen the weaker 
brethren. And as the bones are fitly jointed, aud formed into a 
unity by nerves and ligaments, so in the Church of God does charity 
bind all together into a perfect whole. It is of the solution of this 
continuity that the Prophet speaks when he cries, All my bones are 
out of joint. And again it is of some internal weakness that he com 
plains when he prays, Heal me, O Lord ; for my bones are sore 


troubled And it is of their preservation that he says, c Not one of 
them shall be broken? And when they are worthy to give honour and 
praise to God, he exclaims, All my bones shall say, Lord, who is like 
unto Thee ? " 

3. From this it follows that those who feel for others woes are 
strong in virtue, like bones, and have, therefore, the tokens of a 
perfect Christian, while, on the contrary, those who are devoid of 
sympathy are self-convicted of some concealed viciousness of 
character. This is what Cassian says (Collat. xi. c. u): "// is an 
evident mark of a soul not yet freed from the dregs of wickedness that 
it does not compassionate the sinner, but judges him harshly. For 
how can he be perfect who wants that which fulfils the law, which bears 
others burdens, which is not wrathful, is not puffed up, which thinketh 
no evil, which beareth all things, believeth all things, endureth all 
things ? The righteous man hath regard for the life of his beasts, but 
the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel. Therefore it is certain that 
the monk who judges others harshly is himself under the power of the 
same sins as the man he condemns." For other illustrations of this 
subject, see the notes to Num. xi. 12. 

And so fulfil the law of Christ. The law of Christ is love. Cf. 
S. John xxiv. 35; xv. 12. The most difficult act of love, and 
the one most expected by Christ, is that we bear one another s 
burdens. If we do this, we do our duty to our neighbour, and so 
fulfil the law of Christ. 

Again, we fulfil this law when we supply by charity others 
breaches of the law. If one breaks the law by the use of angry 
words, let another supply his defects, and keep the law in his stead, 
by patience and sympathy. Or, what is more to the immediate 
purpose of the Apostle, if any bear with a Judaiser and bring him 
to a better mind, he supplies what the latter lacks, and so fulfils 
the law of Christ. S. Bernard (de Prczcept. et Dispens.} says that a 
man who has sinned and then repented, and prayed for forgiveness, 
fulfils the law which he had previously broken. 

Ver. 3. For if a man think himself to be something, &c. If a 
man is proud of his superior spirituality, and despises his brother, 


and treats him harshly for sinning especially for Judaising he is 
nothing, and so he deceiveth himself. 

Ver. 4, But let every man prove his own work. Let no one treat 
his neighbour as the Pharisee the publican, but rather take heed to 
his own works, and see whether the motive of them be pure. He 
will probably find many faults, and so will not think himself to be 
something. But even if he finds none, or very few, then shall he 
have rejoicing in himself alone that is, in his own conscience and 
this will be in the Lord, who gave him the power to do all his 
good deeds. He will not rejoice because he finds himself good by 
comparison with others, i.e., he will not have rejoicing in another, as 
S. Paul expresses it So Chrysostom, Theophylact, Anselm. 

S. Jerome says well : " The meaning is this : You who think your 
self spiritual, and superior to another s weakness, ought to consider, 
not his weakness, but your own strength ; for he does not make you a 
perfect Christian by any inability of his to pass from Judaism to 
Christianity. If indeed your own conscience does not reprove you, you 
have whereof to glory in yourself, but not in comparison with him. 
An athlete is not necessarily strong because he has overcome a competitor 
who was feeble. If he really is strong, he rejoices in his strength, not 
in his rival s weakness. Or we may understand the Apostle s words 
as meaning: If a man on due consideration finds nothing to reproach 
himself with, he is not to go and trumpet the fact abroad, that he may 
win the applause of men, but keep his knowledge to himself, and 
say, God forbid that I should glory, save in the Cross of our Lord 
Jesus Christ." But the first interpretation is closer to the text. 

Ver. 5. For every man shall bear his own burden. This seems 
prima facie in conflict with ver. 2. Jerome harmonises the two by 
referring ver, 2 to the present, and ver. 5 to the future, i.e., to the 
day of judgment. In the world we can help each other, but at the 
dread Tribunal neither Job, Daniel, nor Noah can free the souls of 
their own sons even, but each shall bear his own iniquities. Cf. 
Ezek, xiv. 14. Christ will examine us, not as to the doings of others, 
but as to our own. Let us prove our own doings, therefore, to make 
sure that they will be able to stand the last great trial. 


The Protestants therefore are wrong in twisting these words into 
an argument against purgatory, and against the prayers \ve offer for 
souls there. The Apostle is not speaking of purgatory, but of the day 
of judgment, and then he says each shall bear his own burden. 
Before that day, however, we can, as required by the article of the 
Communion of Saints, help one another, whether those we help be 
living or in purgatory. 

Observe that each of us, as he leaves this life, takes with him 
nothing but his own works. These works are, as it were, burdens 
that we carry as we travel towards the judgment-seat of Christ, 
which, when examined, will show whether our destiny is heaven or 
hell. As is the burden, so will the bearer be declared, and so will be 
the burden of reward or punishment. 

Ver. 6. Let him that is taught in the word, &c. S. Ambrose 
understands this to refer to him who is taught through the word of a 
teacher or catechist. S. Jerome agrees with him in referring the 
duty of communicating good to the catechumen, who is to assist 
his benefactor, the catechist. Marcion, according to S. Jerome, ex 
plained these words to order the former to communicate with the 
latter in prayer, holy living, and all good spiritual things. 

The word rendered him that is taught shows the antiquity of 
catechising. In the earliest days indeed it was regarded as impious 
to divulge Christian mysteries, and all teaching was accordingly oral. 
S. Paul refers to the practice in i Cor. xiv. 19. The Apostles were 
followed by the Fathers, witness the catechetical lectures of S. Cyril 
of Jerusalem, the Liber de Catechizandis Rudibus of S. Augustine, and 
the great Catechetical Oration of Gregory of Nyssa. John Gerson, 
Chancellor of Paris, following this primitive custom, took delight in 
teaching the young and in hearing their confessions, as many men 
of religion, and many doctors, still do, to the great profit of the 
Church. While so many unlettered and ignorant men are in the 
Church, who do not know anything of the mysteries of the Holy 
Trinity, of the Incarnation, and of the redemption wrought by 
Christ, and who repeat their Creed like a parrot his " Good 
morning," the work of catechising will never be obsolete. See the 


decree on this point drawn up by the Council of Trent, Session xxiv. 
c. 4 and 7. 

John Gerson wrote a tract in praise of the custom and in defence 
of his practice. " // seems to many a work so unworthy of a doctor 
and a famous man of letters, or a dignitary of the Church, to catechise 
the young, that it has been made a reproach even against me that I have 
engaged in it. But they should be convicted of their error by the words 
of Christ, who said, Suffer little children to come unto Me? O most 
holy Jesu, who after this can be ashamed of his condescension to 
children, when Thou, who art God, stoopest to receive their embraces ? 
Give me a man who is spiritual, who seeks not his own but the things 
of Christ Jesus, who is filled with charity and humility, in whom is no 
place for vanity or covetousness ; whose conversation is in heaven, who 
is as an angel of God, moved by neither blessing or cursing, whom no 
bodily delight can goad or entice, who dwells in the highest citadel of 
contemplation, and is learned in the science of souls. Such a man will 
understand what I mean. But people say that my position as 
Chancellor calls me to higher tasks. 2 do not know ivhat can be a 
higher work than to snatch souls from hell, and to plant them and tend 
them as good plants in the fair garden of the Church. They retort 
that I should do this better by public preaching. This may indeed 
be a more imposing work, but in my judgment not so fruitful. The 
cask will long retain the perfume that it once acquired in its early 
days. Come then to me, children ; I will teach you what is true : 
you shall repay me with your prayers. So shall we in turns rejoice 
our guardian angels." 

Ver. 7. Be not deceived. Do not, says Anselm, excuse yourselves 
from the duty of helping your catechists on the plea of poverty or 
family calls. This may deceive men ; it cannot deceive God. So 
Jerome and Theophylact. 

These words, however, may perhaps be better referred to ver. 4, 
Let every man prove his works honestly before God. In this let him not 
err. He may throw dust in the eyes of men ; he will not elude the 
vigilance of God. The words that follow show that this clause is to 
be taken in the wider sense. 



God is not mocked. The Greek word here is very vivid. It de 
notes the action of those who turn their back on a person, and then 
put out the tongue or point the finger at him. 

Whatsoever a man soweth. Our life is the seed-time ; the future 
life is the harvest. What we sow now we shall reap then in blessing 
or in cursing. 

Ver. 8. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corrup 
tion. He who does carnal works, and casts them as it were seed 
into his flesh, shall of this carnal seed reap death now and hereafter. 
The reference is chiefly to sins of gluttony and impurity. On the 
other hand, those who sow spiritual things strengthen the spirit 
within, and shall reap life everlasting. 

But although the phrase is couched in general terms, the Apostle s 
immediate reference is to the works of beneficence done by cate 
chumens for their teachers. In either case the meaning is the same. 

Ver. 9. In due season we shall reap if we faint not. The "due 
season " is the Day of Judgment. If we are not tired here of doing 
well, we shall attain that perfect peace where fatigue cannot come. 

Ver. 10.- Let us do good unto all men. While the time of sowing 
lasts, let us do good to all not only to catechists, but to all, even 
to the heathen, though specially to our fellow-Christians, who are 
members of the same household of God. S. Jerome relates a beau 
tiful example of this in the Apostle S. John : " When he was living 
at Ephesus in his extreme old age, and was with difficulty carried into 
the Church in the arms of his disciples, nor could find breath for many 
words, he would say nothing time after time but, Little children, love 
one another. At length, his hearers being tired of hearing nothing 
else, asked him, Master, why do you always repeat the same exhorta 
tion ? He replied in a sentence worthy of him : Because it is the 
Lonfs command ; and if this be done all is done. To this Jerome 
adds : " Brief is the course of this world. Titus, the son of Vespasian, 
was wont to say at evening, if he could recollect no good action during 
the day, I have lost a day. We do not reflect that we lose an hour, 
a day, a moment, time, eternity, whenever we speak an idle word, for 
which we shall have one day to give an account." 


Posidippus, and, following him, Blessed Thomas More and Giraldus 
(Syntag. i), happily describe this opportunity (/ecu/ads) / " Who 
art thouT / am time, who destroys all things. 1 Why do you 
hasten by so quickly ? / am always in motion? Why with wings 
on your feet ? / travel as does the light breeze. Why carry 
razors in your hand? To show that nothing is keener than /. - 
Why does a lock hang over your forehead? That you may lay 
hold of me as I approach. Why bald behind? To show that 
when I have once flown by no one can bring me back, however much he 
may wish it, 

Would that we would reflect how short is the time of our trial, 
how time flies never to return, how on each moment hangs eternity ! 
How zealous should we then be in all good works. What we now 
neglect, we shall never regain; for in a short time all opportunity 
for living, acting, meriting, will vanish away. Cf. Rev. x. 6. When 
time shall be no more, eternity will be with us. " Short is the time 
given us in this present life. Unless we employ it on needful things, 
what shall we do when we pass into the next world V (S. Chrysos- 
tom, Horn. 17 in Joan.}. The pagan Seneca (Ep. i.) can say the 
same : " // is a disgrace to lose time through mere carelessness ; and if 
vou will notice it, you will see that a great part of life glides by with 
those who do evil, the greatest part ivith those who do nothing, and 
the whole with those who do anything else." 

S. Gregory Nazianzen says, in his Iambics, that life is a market 
in which we can procure all wealth, i.e., all virtues ; but when it is 
closed, there remains no more chance of buying. The time for buy 
ing is short, nay, it is a single day, when compared with eternity. 

Ver. ii. Ye see how large a letter. S. Chrysostom and Theo- 
phylact understand this to mean : You see what misshapen letters 
I have formed, but your love for me will excuse their imperfections. 
S. Augustine : Ye see how freely and openly I have written, without 
any fear of the Judaisers. S. Hilary, and others following him: Ye 
see what lofty ideas I have put before you. S. Jerome, however, 
thinks that the words show that up to this point S. Paul had used 
an amanuensis, but that from here to the end he wrote himself, to 


prevent any one from objecting to the genuineness of the Epistle. 
The best explanation is that which sees an allusion to the length of 
the letter, and a reference to S. Paul s affection for the Galatians, 
which had made him dispense with his usual amanuensis, and write 
a long letter with his own hand. 

Ver. 12. As many as desire to make a fair show in the flesh. This 
is a reference to the Judaisers, and their desire to commend them 
selves to their kinsmen after the flesh. Or the meaning may be that 
they desired to please by the observance of carnal circumcision. This 
latter is supported by the use of the term flesh in the next verse. 

They constrain you to be circumcised. Because they hope to be 
secure from the persecutions of the Jews, who were bitterly hostile 
to the Cross of Christ, and all who preached it. 

Ver. 13. For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the 
law. They do not proselytise from zeal for the law, for they do 
not themselves observe it, but to obtain the praise of the Jews for 
having converted you to Judaism. Many other religious teachers 
unhappily pursue the same policy, and strive for their own glory, 
and gamble for others skins, nay, rather for their very souls. 

Ver. 14. But God forbid that 1 should glory, &c. The adversa 
tive but marks a contrast between the glory of the Judaisers in 
circumcision and the glorying of S. Paul in the Cross. The Cross 
of course stands for itself and all the redemptive benefits it bestows, 
and in it is shown the greatness of man s sin and the depth of God s 
love. S.Augustine (Serm. 20 de Verbis Apost.} says: " The Apostle 
might well have gloried in the wisdom of Christ, or His majesty, or 
His power ; but it was the Cross he specified. The philosopher s 
shame is the Apostle s boast. He glories in his Lord. What Lord? 
Christ crucified. In Him are conjoined humility and majesty, weak 
ness and power, life and death. Would you come to Him ? Despise 
not these ; be not ashamed ; you hare received the sign of the Cross on 
your forehead as on the seat of shame" 

S. Bernard (Serm. 25 in Cant.} says: "He thinks nothing more 
glorious than to bear the reproach of Christ. The shame of the Cross 
is pleasing to him who is not unp I easing to the Crucified" 


And again he writes (Serm. i de S. Andrea) : " The Cross is pre 
cious, capable of being loved, and is a cause of exultation. The wood 
of the Cross puts forth blossoms, bears pleasant fruit, drops the oil 
of gladness, exudes the balsam of temporal gifts. It is no woodland 
tree, but a tree of life, to those who lay hold of it. It bears lifegiving 
fruits, else how should it occupy the Lord s land, that most precious 
soil, to which it was affixed by nails which were, as it were, its roots 1 " 

So (in Ep. 190 ad Innocent. Pont.} he says: " / see three prin 
cipal things in this work of our salvation : the form of humility, in 
which Christ emptied Himself; the measure of charity, which stretched 
itself even to death, and that the death of the Cross; the sacrament 
of redemption, whereby He bore that death He vouchsafed to take 
upon Him." 

By whom the world is crucified unto me. As the world shrinks 
from the Cross or any crucified corpse, so do I shrink from the 
pomps and vanity of the world. Whatever, as S. Bernard says, the. 
world thinks of the Cross, that do I think of worldly pleasures ; and 
whatever the world thinks of pleasure, that do I think of the Cross. 

A simpler explanation, however, is to take crucified in the general 
meaning of death, that being the consequence of crucifixion. The 
Apostle used the term crucified to maintain the continuity of his 
subject. Being crucified with Christ, he says, I am a new creature, 
and breathe a new life. I am dead to the worldly things clung to 
by the Jews (he still has these in his mind) ; I am not held by them 
or by the opinions, applause, or hatred of anybody whatsoever, as 
the Judaisers are. And by consequence all worldly things are, so 
far as I am concerned, dead they have no power to affect me. 
The world is crucified to me ; it cannot hold me. I am crucified 
to the world ; I do not regard it. The world cannot hurt me, nor 
do I desire anything from it. S. Ignatius, writing to the Romans, 
said: "My love is crucified, and hence corruptible food and worldly 
pleasure delight me not. I long for the bread of God, that bread 
which cometh down from heaven, which is the 2<lesh of Christ. With 
Him I am crucified." 

Cassian (de Institut. Renunt. iv. 34, 35) relates the beautiful 


description of the monastic ideal given to a novice by Abbot 
Pinusius. He put before him Christ crucified : " Renunciation of 
the world is nothing but the choice of the Cross and the mortified life. 
You know, therefore, that this day you have done with the world 
its activity and its delights, and that, as the Apostle says, you are 
crucified to the world, and the world to you. Consider, then, the 
conditions of life under the Cross, under the shadow of which you are 
henceforth to dwell. For it is no longer you that live, but He liveth 
in you who was crucified for you. As He hung on the Cross, so must 
we be in this life, mortifying our flesh in the fear of the Lord, with 
all its affections and lusts ; not serving our own wills, but nailing 
them to His Cross. So shall we fulfil the Lord s command, He 
that taketh not up his cross and followeth not after Me is not worthy 
of Me. He then describes in detail the way we should be 
crucified with Christ: " If it be asked, How can a man take up his 
cross and be crucified while still living, 1 reply : Our cross is the fear 
of the Lord ; as the crucified man has no power over his own members, 
so are we to order our wills, not after our own desires, but according 
to the fear of the Lord, which constraineth us. And just as the man 
fastened to a cross regards not things present, studies not his own 
feelings, is not anxious about the morrow, is stimulated by no worldly 
desires, grieves not over present injuries, thinks not of the past, and, 
while still breathing, holds that he has done with the elements of this 
world, sending on his spirit thither where he will soon be, so must we 
be crucified by the fear of the Lord to all these things, not only to sins 
of the flesh, but to all earthly things, keeping our eyes intent on the 
land to which we hope every moment to travel." 

The Apostle here is speaking not only to religious, but to all 
Christians, who by baptism have renounced the world, with its 
conventional ideals and low code of honour. The world may say : 
"Go to market adapt yourself to everybody; be a heretic with 
heretics, a politician with politicians ; and when you dine with them, 
eat flesh as they do, even on a fast day." But the Christian will 
reply that he is dead to a life of this sort, and is bound to live 
the Christ life. Though he be called Papist, hypocrite, Jesuit, he 


will care nothing. The world scorns a man who refuses to fight 
a duel when challenged. The Christian will be content to know 
that duelling is forbidden by the law of Christ, and will despise the 
stupid opinions of a stupid world, preferring to follow the wisdom 
of Christ, which condemns all duelling as wicked and foolish. He 
will recollect that Christian fortitude is seen in bearing injuries in 
the defence of our country or ourselves, not in the retaliation of 
insults and injuries. 

S. Bernard (Serm. 7 in Quadrag.} says that there are three steps 
in the way of perfection through crucifixion to the world. " The first 
is to bear ourselves as pilgrims who, if they see men quarrelling, give 
no heed ; if they see men marrying or making merry, pass by as 
pilgrims who are longing to reach their country, and who, therefore, 
decline to trouble themselves with anything but food and raiment. 
The second is to bear ourselves as though we were dead, void of feeling, 
knowing no difference between praise or blame, between flattery or 
calumny, nay, deaf to everything, even as a dead man. Happy is 
the death which thus keeps us spotless, nay, which makes us wholly 
foreigners to this world. But as the Apostle says, he who lives not 
in himself must have Christ living in him. All else must find him 
dead ; the things of Christ alone must find him living. The third 
is that He be not merely dead but crucified. Sensual pleasure, honours, 
riches, fame all that the world delights in must be a cross to us. All 
that the world regards as painful must be gladly chosen by us and 
clung to." 

S. Bernard then adds a figurative explanation of this passage: 
" The Apostle might not improperly be understood to mean that the 
world was crucified to him so far as its character was concerned, it 
being bound by the chains of its vices, and that he was crucified to 
the world by the pity he felt for its condition." 

And I unto the world. Blessed Dorotheus (Biblioth. SS. Patrum, 
vol. iii.) asks : "How is the world crucified to any one? When he 
renounces it and lives a life of solitude, having left father and mother 
and all earthly possessions. How is a man crucified to the world 1 
Again, by renunciation ; when any one, after retiring from the world, 


strives against his oivn lusts and his own will, and subdues the 
motions of the flesh within. We religious seem to ourselves to have 
crucified the world, because we have left it and retired to our monas 
teries ; but we are unwilling to crucify ourselves to the world. Its 
blandishments still have power over us; we have still a lurking love 
for it ; we hanker after its glory, its pleasures, its gaiety, and for 
these vile things cherish the passions which once swayed us. What 
madness is this to leave what is precious amd ivorry ourselves over 
what is despicable. If we have renounced the world, we ought also to 
have renounced all worldly desires as well." 

This explanation is, however, too narrow. The Apostle is 
speaking to all, and not to religious alone. Moreover, crucifixion 
to the world and crucifixion of the world are not two distinct things, 
as Dorotheus seems to think, but two sides of the same thing. 

Ver. 15. In Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything. 
Whether you be Jew or Gentile matters nothing ; neither brings you 
nearer Christ. What is of importance is a new creature, i.e., a soul 
regenerated in baptism, and fortified by grace to walk in newness of 
life. Cf. Rev. iii. 14, where Christ is called "the beginning of the 
creation of God," and Isa. ix. 6, where He is called "the Father 
of the world that is to be" (Vulg.), for from Him began a new 
creation. Cf. too Virgil (Eel. iv. 8), where Virgil transfers to Salonius, 
the newly born son of Asinius Pollio, Roman Consul, the predic 
tions by the Cumsean Sibyl of the birth of Christ, in which the 
Christian era is described as a golden age. 

Ver. 6. And as many as walk according to this rule. The rule 
laid down by S. Paul as to justification, and the relation of Judaism 
to Christianity. 

Peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God. On 
Jews and Gentiles alike who believe on Christ, according to 
Ambrose ; but comparing this verse with Eph. i. i and Col. ii. 8, 
it is better to explain the Israel of God as those who are Israelites 
indeed, i.e., who have embraced Christianity and renounced whether 
Gentilism or Judaism. Not those who are descended from Jacob 
according to the flesh are the Israel of God, but those who have 


embraced his faith. These find peace within, and on them God 
plentifully bestows His grace. 

There may be a reference to the meaning of Israel, i.e., he who 
sees God, says Theophylact. They who see Him by faith here will 
see Him under a fitting image in heaven. Or Israel may mean 
"he who has power with God," according to Gen. xxxii. 28. As 
Jacob by his prayers obtained success against Esau, so the people 
of God are by His grace masters over the world and all its lusts, 
and over Judaism. So S. Thomas and Haymo. 

Ver. 17. From henceforth let no man trouble me. Let no Jew 
trouble me in future by asking whose servant I am. He bears the 
marks of circumcision, I the marks of Christ. Maldonatus takes 
the words as a defence of his apostleship. 

For I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. The Greek 
word used here denotes marks burnt in, like those impressed on 
slaves. It also stands for the scars left by wounds. S. Paul gives 
reasons for believing that he bore these latter in 2 Cor. xi. 23. As 
soldiers are proud of their scars gained in honourable warfare, so 
does S. Paul point with pride to those he had gained in the service 
of Christ. 

S. Ambrose (in Ps. cxix. 120) writes: " That man is pierced with 
the nails of God s fear who bears in his body the mortification of Jesus. 
He merits to hear his Lord saying : c Set Me as a seal upon thy 
heart, as a seal upon thine arm? Place then on thy breast and on 
thy heart the seal of the Crucified ; place it too on thy arm, that thy 
works may be dead unto sin. Perchance not only fear but love also 
will pierce thee with its nails, for love is strong as death, jealousy is 
cruel as the grave. May our souls be wounded by these nails of charity, 
that they may cry out : We bear the wounds of charity? 

In the same way did Blessed Theodorus Studita rejoice in the 
wounds he received in defence of the sacred images when they were 
assailed by Leo the Armenian, in A.D. 824. Baring his body to the 
scourge, he said : " Delightful to me is the scourging of this vile body, 
and delightful will it be to lay it aside altogether, that my liberated 
soul may flee to Him whom it thirsts for." And when the scourging 


was over, he wrote joyfully to Naucratius : " Is it not more glorious 
to bear the marks of Christ than to wear earthly crowns ? " See 
Baronius, Annals for that year. 

They bear the marks of Christ, says S. Jerome, who for love of 
Christ afflict their bodies, or who are afflicted with illness. S. 
Francis of Assissi, as S. Bonaventura relates in his Life of him (c. 13), 
received from a seraph nails in his hands and feet, out of his intense 
love of Christ crucified. These nails were not of iron but of hard, 
dead flesh, having their heads projecting, and the sharp end turned 
inwards, so that it was with pain and difficulty that he could walk. 
Pope Alexander IV. testified that he saw these nails himself with his 
own eyes after the death of S. Francis, and from him S. Bonaventura 
learnt the fact. 

Let the impious blasphemy of Beza then do its worst, which 
speaks of this as a " stigmatic idol," fondly and fraudulently fashioned. 
S. Paul, however, is not claiming here such marks for himself, nor 
do the oldest likenesses of him show any of the sort. Indeed 
Sixtus IV., in a Bull quoted by Henry Sedulius, in his " Notes to 
the Life of S. Francis," forbade, under pain of excommunication, 
any other saint but S. Francis to be so painted. The Dominicans, 
who have lately depicted S. Catherine of Sienna in this way, claim 
a special privilege given them for the purpose by Pius V. 




Printed by BALLANTYNE, HANSON 6* Co. 
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The Great Commentary of 
Cornelius iapide.