Vita in Spiritu, non in littera
Life in the Spirit, not the letter
3:6 qui et idoneos nos fecit ministros Novi Testamenti: non littera, sed Spiritu: littera enim occidit, Spiritus autem vivificat. [n. 89]
3:6 Who has also made us fit ministers of the New Testament, not in the letter but in the Spirit: for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. [n. 89]
3:7 Quod si ministratio mortis litteris deformata in lapidibus fuit in gloria, ita ut non possent intendere filii Israël in faciem Moysi propter gloriam vultus ejus, quae evacuatur: [n. 92]
3:7 Now if the ministration of death, engraved with letters upon stones, was glorious (so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses, for the glory of his countenance), which is made void: [n. 92]
3:8 quomodo non magis ministratio Spiritus erit in gloria?
3:8 How shall the ministration of the Spirit not be even more in glory?
3:9 Nam si ministratio damnationis gloria est: multo magis abundat ministerium justitiae in gloria. [n. 95]
3:9 For if the ministration of condemnation is glory, much more does the ministration of justice abound in glory. [n. 95]
3:10 Nam nec glorificatum est, quod claruit in hac parte, propter excellentem gloriam. [n. 97]
3:10 For even that which was glorious in this part was not glorified by reason of the glory that excells. [n. 97]
3:11 Si enim quod evacuatur, per gloriam est: multo magis quod manet, in gloria est. [n. 99]
3:11 For if that which is made void was glorious, much more that which remains is in glory. [n. 99]
88. Commendato ministerio Novi Testamenti, hic consequenter commendat ministros eius. Et primo ponit duo quae respondent verbis praemissis. Praemiserat enim donum a Deo acceptum, cum dixit: sufficientia nostra, etc.; et fiduciam ex dono conceptam, cum dixit: fiduciam talem, et cetera. Primo ergo determinat ea quae pertinent ad donum perceptum; secundo ea quae ad fiduciam conceptam, ibi habentes igitur talem, et cetera.
88. Having commended the ministry of the New Testament, the Apostle then commends its ministers. First, he stipulates two things, which correspond to the above words. For he had mentioned a gift received from God when he said, our competence is from God (v.5), and the confidence born of this gift when he said, such confidence we have, through Christ, towards God (v.4). First, therefore, he determines the things pertaining to the gift received; second, those pertaining to the confidence born of it.
Circa primum tria facit.
In regard to the first he does three things:
Primo ostendit donum a Deo susceptum, scilicet ministerium Novi Testamenti;
first, he discloses the gift received from God, namely, the ministry of the New Testament;
secundo describit Novum Testamentum, ibi non littera, sed Spiritu;
second, he describes the New Testament, at not in the letter, but in the Spirit;
tertio ex dignitate Novi Testamenti ostendit dignitatem ministrorum eius, ibi si ministratio, et cetera.
third, from the dignity of the New Testament he shows the dignity of its ministers, at if the ministration.
89. Dicit ergo: dico quod sufficientia nostra ex Deo est, qui et fecit nos idoneos ministros Novi Testamenti, Is. LXI, 6: ministri Dei nostri, dicetur vobis. Et in hoc tenemus locum angelorum. Ps. CIII, 4: qui facit angelos, et cetera.
89. He says, therefore: I say that our sufficiency is from God, who has also made us fit ministers of the New Testament: men shall speak of you as the ministers of our God (Isa 61:6). And in this we hold the place of angels: who make angels your messengers, fire and flame your ministers (Ps 104:4).
Sed non solum fecit nos ministros, sed idoneos. Deus enim cuilibet rei dat ea per quae possit consequi perfectionem suae naturae. Unde, quia Deus constituit ministros Novi Testamenti, dedit et eis idoneitatem ad hoc officium exercendum, nisi sit impedimentum ex parte recipientium. Supra II, 16: et ad haec quis tam idoneus, scilicet sicut apostoli a Deo instituti?
But he not only made us ministers, but fit ones. For God gives to each being the things through which it can attain to the perfection of its nature. Hence, because God constituted ministers of the New Testament, he made them fit to exercise this office, unless he was impeded on the part of the receivers: and for these things, who is so sufficient (2 Cor 2:16), namely, as are the apostles instituted by God?
90. Hoc autem Novum Testamentum quid sit, describit, subdens non littera, et cetera. Et describit ipsum quantum ad duo, scilicet quantum ad illud in quo consistit, et quantum ad causam propter quam datum est, ibi littera enim occidit, et cetera.
90. He describes what this New Testament is when he continues, not in the letter, but in the Spirit. He describes it in regard to two things, namely, as to that in which it consists and as to its cause for which it has been given: for the letter kills.
Circa primum sciendum est quod Apostolus loquitur profunde. Dicitur enim Ier. c. XXXI, 31 ss.: feriam domui Israel et domui Iuda foedus novum, non secundum pactum quod pepigi cum patribus vestris. Et post: dabo legem meam in visceribus eorum, et in corde eorum superscribam eam, et cetera. Vetus ergo Testamentum scribitur in libro, postmodum sanguine aspergendo, ut dicitur Hebr. IX, 19: accepit sanguinem et aspersit librum, etc., dicens: hic est sanguis, et cetera.
In regard to the first it should be noted that the Apostle speaks profoundly, for it is stated: I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers (Jer 31:31); and later on: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God and they shall be my people (Jer 31:33). The Old Testament, therefore, is written in a book, later to be sprinkled with blood, as it is said: he took the blood of calves and goats and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying: this is the blood of the covenant which God commanded you (Heb 9:19).
Et sic patet, quod vetus lex est testamentum litterae. Sed Novum Testamentum est testamentum Spiritus Sancti, quo caritas Dei diffunditur in cordibus nostris, ut dicitur Rom. V, 5. Et sic dum Spiritus Sanctus facit in nobis caritatem, quae est plenitudo legis, est Testamentum Novum, non littera, id est per litteram scribendum, sed Spiritu, id est per Spiritum qui vivificat. Rom. VIII, 2: lex Spiritus vitae, id est vivificantis.
So it is clear that the old law is a covenant of words, but the New Testament is a covenant of the Holy Spirit, by whom the love of God is poured out in our hearts (Rom 5:5). Consequently, when the Holy Spirit produces charity in us, which is the fullness of the law, it is a new covenant, not in the letter, i.e., not written down, but in the Spirit, i.e., through the Spirit who gives life: the law of the Spirit of life (Rom 8:2), i.e., life-giving.
91. Causa autem quare datum sit Novum Testamentum per Spiritum, subditur quia littera occidit occasionaliter. Nam littera legis dat solam cognitionem peccati. Rom. III, 20: per legem autem cognitio peccati. Ex hoc autem, quod cognosco peccatum, solum duo sequuntur. Nam lex dum per eam cognoscitur, non reprimit concupiscentiam: sed magis occasionaliter auget, inquantum concupiscentia ferventius fertur in rem prohibitam. Unde huiusmodi cognitio, nondum destructa causa concupiscentiae, occidit; hinc vero addit praevaricationem. Nam gravius est peccare contra legem scriptam et naturalem simul, quam contra legem naturalem solum. Rom. VII, 8: occasione accepta non data, peccatum, et cetera.
91. The reason why the New Testament was given by the Spirit is indicated when he says, for the letter kills, not as a cause but as an occasion. For the written law only gives knowledge of sin: for through the law comes knowledge of sin (Rom 3:20). But as a result of merely knowing sin, two things follow. For the law, although sin is known by it, does not repress concupiscence, but is the occasion of increasing it, inasmuch as concupiscence is enkindled the more by something forbidden. Hence such knowledge kills, when the cause of concupiscence has not yet been destroyed. As a result it adds to the sin. For it is more grievous to sin against the written and natural law than against the natural law only. But sin, finding opportunity in the commandment, wrought in me all kinds of concupiscence (Rom 7:8).
Licet autem occasionaliter occidat, inquantum scilicet auget concupiscentiam, et addit praevaricationem, non tamen est mala lex vetus, quia ad minus prohibet mala. Est tamen imperfecta, inquantum non removet causam. Est ergo lex sine Spiritu interius imprimens legem in corde, occasio mortis. Et ideo necessarium fuit dare legem Spiritus, qui caritatem in corde faciens, vivificet. Io. VI, 64: Spiritus est, qui vivificat.
But although it is the occasion of killing inasmuch as it increases concupiscence and increases the sin, the law is not evil, because at least it forbids evil; nevertheless, it is imperfect, inasmuch as it does not remove the cause. Therefore, the law without the Spirit inwardly impressing the law on the heart is the occasion of death; hence, it was necessary to give the law of the Spirit, who gives life by producing charity in the heart. It is the Spirit that gives life (John 6:63).
92. Consequenter ex his ostendit dignitatem sui ministerii.
92. From these, therefore, he shows the dignity of his ministry.
Et circa hoc duo facit.
He does two things in this regard.
Primo ostendit, quod ministerium Novi Testamenti praefertur ministerio Veteris Testamenti;
First, he shows that the ministry of the New Testament is preferred to the Old;
secundo quod non solum praefertur, sed quod ministerium Veteris Testamenti quasi nihil habet de gloria in comparatione ad novum, ibi nam nec glorificatum, et cetera.
second, that it is not only preferred, but that in comparison to the Old Testament, the latter has, as it were, nothing of glory, at for even that which was glorious.
Circa primum duo facit.
In regard to the first, he does two things.
Primo ostendit quod ministerium Novi Testamenti praefertur Veteri;
First, he shows that the ministry of the New Testament is preferred to the Old;
secundo rationem huius assignat, ibi nam si ministratio, et cetera.
second, he assigns the reason for this, at for if the ministration.
93. Circa primum sciendum est, quod Apostolus argumentatur ex hoc quod habetur Exodi XXIV, ubi littera nostra habet, quod Moyses habebat faciem cornutam, ita quod non possent, et cetera. Alia littera habet faciem splendidam, quod melius dicitur. Non enim intelligendum est eum habuisse cornua ad litteram, sicut quidam eum pingunt; sed dicitur cornuta propter radios, qui videbantur esse quasi quaedam cornua. Arguitur autem ex hoc sic. Et primo per unum simile, et est locus a minori. Constat enim quod si aliquid quod minus est, habet aliquid de gloria, quod multo magis illud quod est maius. Sed Vetus Testamentum est minus quam Novum; cum ergo illud fuerit in gloria, ita ut non possent, etc., videtur quod multo magis Novum est in gloria.
93. In regard to the first, it should be noted that the Apostle argues from a statement in Exodus, where our text says that the face of Moses was horned, so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face (Exod 34:34). Another version says that his face shone, and this is better. For it should not be supposed that he literally had horns, as some depict him, but he is described as horned because of the rays which seemed to be like horns. He argues from this in the following way: first, by a similarity and by arguing from the lesser. For it is obvious that if something less has glory, then much more something which is greater. But the Old Testament is less than the New: therefore, since the former was in glory, so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses, for the glory of his countenance, it seems that the New is much more in glory.
94. Quod autem Vetus Testamentum minus sit Novo, probat tripliciter.
94. That the Old Testament is less than the New he proves in three ways.
Primo quantum ad effectum, quia illud est testamentum mortis, istud vitae, ut dictum est. Et quantum ad hoc dicit, quod si ministratio mortis, id est Vetus, quae est occasio mortis. Et hoc respondet ei quo dicitur littera occidit, et cetera.
First, from its effect, because the former is a covenant of death, but the latter of life, as has been said. In regard to this he says, if the ministration of death, i.e., the Old, which is the occasion of death; and this corresponds to what he said, namely, that the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
Secundo quantum ad modum tradendi, quia Vetus fuit tradita litteris in tabulis lapideis, Nova vero fuit impressa Spiritu in cordibus carnalibus. Et hoc innuit, cum dicit litteris deformata, id est perfecte formata, in lapidibus, id est in tabulis lapideis. Et hoc ei respondet, quo dicitur: non littera, sed Spiritu, et cetera.
Second, as to the way it was delivered, for the Old was delivered written on stone tablets, but the New was impressed by the Spirit on human hearts. He suggests this when he says, engraved with letters, i.e., perfectly formed, upon stones, i.e., on tablets of stone. This corresponds to his statement, not in the letter, but in the Spirit.
Tertio quantum ad perfectionem, quia gloria Veteris Testamenti sine fiducia est, quia neminem ad perfectum adduxit lex. In Novo vero est gloria cum spe melioris gloriae, scilicet sempiternae. Is. LI, 6: salus mea in sempiternum erit. Et hoc innuit, cum dicit quae evacuatur, Gal. V, 2: quod si circumcidamini, Christus nihil, et cetera.
Third, as to perfection: for the glory of the Old Testament is without assurance, because the law brought no one to perfection. But in the New there is glory with the hope of a better glory, i.e., eternal: my salvation will be forever (Isa 51:6). This is suggested when he says, which is made void: if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you (Gal 5:2).
Conclusio ponitur, cum dicit quomodo non magis, quod planum est.
He states the conclusion when he says, how shall the ministration of the Spirit not be even more in glory, which is plain.
95. Horum autem rationem assignat consequenter, cum dicit nam si ministratio, et cetera.
95. Then he assigns the reason for all these when he says, for if the ministration of condemnation is glory.
Et est ratio sua talis: gloria magis debetur iustitiae, quam damnationi, sed ministerium Novi Testamenti est ministerium iustitiae, quia iustificat interius vivificando. Ministerium autem Veteris Testamenti est ministerium damnationis occasionaliter. Supra eodem: littera occidit, Spiritus autem vivificat. Cum ergo ministratio damnationis, id est, ministratio Veteris Testamenti, quae occasionaliter est causa damnationis, ut dictum est, est in gloria, quae apparuit in facie Moysi, constat quod multo magis abundat in gloria, id est, dat abundantem gloriam ministris eius, ministerium iustitiae, id est, Novi Testamenti, per quod datur Spiritus, per quem est iustitia et consummatio virtutum. Prov. III, 35: sapientes gloriam possidebunt.
This is his reasoning: glory is owed more to justice than to condemnation, but the ministry of the New Testament is a ministry of justice, because it justifies by giving life within. The ministry of the Old Testament is a ministry of condemnation, as being its occasion: the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. Therefore, if the ministration of condemnation, i.e., the ministry of the Old Testament, which is the occasional cause of condemnation, as has been said, is in glory, which appeared on the face of Moses, it is obvious that much more does the ministration of justice abound in glory, i.e., give an abundance of glory to its ministers. The ministration of justice, i.e., of the New Testament, by which the Spirit is given, through whom is given justice and the fulfillment of the virtues: the wise shall possess glory (Prov 3:35).
96. Consueverunt hoc in loco fieri quaestiones de comparatione Moysi et Pauli, sed, si recte considerentur verba Apostoli, non sunt necessariae, quia hic non fit comparatio personae ad personam, sed ministerii ad ministerium.
96. It is customary here to compare Moses and Paul; but if the Apostle’s words are considered carefully, this is not necessary, because ministries, not persons, are being compared.