Manifestation of the truth
4:1 Ideo habentes administrationem, juxta quod misericordiam consecuti sumus, non deficimus, [n. 116]
4:1 Therefore, having this ministration, according as we have obtained mercy, we faint not. [n. 116]
4:2 sed abdicamus occulta dedecoris, non ambulantes in astutia, neque adulterantes verbum Dei, sed in manifestatione veritatis commendantes nosmetipsos ad omnem conscientiam hominum coram Deo. [n. 118]
4:2 But we renounce the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness nor adulterating the word of God: but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience, in the sight of God. [n. 118]
116. Ostensa dignitate ministerii Novi Testamenti, hic consequenter Apostolus determinat de usu ministerii.
116. Having shown the dignity of the New Testament ministry, the Apostle now discusses the exercise of this ministry.
Et circa hoc duo facit.
In regard to this he does two things.
Primo enim ostendit usum huius ministerii, qui debet esse in agendis bonis;
First, he shows that the exercise of this ministry should consist in doing good;
secundo illum, qui debet esse in malis patienter tolerandis, ibi habemus autem thesaurum, et cetera.
second it should consist also in enduring evils patiently, at but we have this treasure.
Circa primum duo facit.
In regard to the first he does two things.
Primo ponit huius ministerii usum;
First, he lays down the use of this ministry;
secundo obiectionem excludit, ibi quod si, et cetera.
second, he excludes an objection, at and if our Gospel.
117. Dicit ergo: quia igitur huiusmodi ministerium est tantae dignitatis in se et in ministris, ideo habentes hanc administrationem, idest hanc dignitatem administrandi spiritualia. I Cor. IV, 1: sic nos existimet homo, ut ministros, et cetera. Rom. XI, 13: quamdiu sum gentium apostolus, ministerium, et cetera.
117. He says, therefore: because this ministry is of such great dignity in itself and in its ministers, therefore, having this ministration, i.e., this dignity of administering spiritual things. This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God (1 Cor 4:1); inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the gentiles, I magnify my ministry (Rom 11:13);
Habentes, inquam, non ex nobis, seu ex meritis nostris, sed iuxta quod misericordiam consecuti sumus a Deo, id est ex misericordia Dei, quam in hoc consecuti sumus a Deo. I Tim. I, 13: misericordiam consecutus sum, et cetera.
having it, I say, not from ourselves or from our merits, but according as we have obtained mercy, i.e., from the mercy of God, which in this we have obtained by God: I received mercy (1 Tim 1:13).
118. Consequenter cum dicit non deficimus, etc., describit usum huius ministerii, qui debet esse circa bona agenda, et hoc quantum ad duo.
118. Then when he says, we faint not, he describes the exercise of this ministry, which should be engaged in doing good; and this in regard to two things:
Primo quantum ad vitationem malorum;
first, as to avoiding evil;
secundo quantum ad operationem bonorum in manifestatione, et cetera.
second, as to doing good by manifestation of the truth.
119. Docet autem vitari mala in usu huius ministerii, et quantum ad vitam, et quantum ad doctrinam. Sed quantum ad vitam dupliciter, scilicet quantum ad operationem, et quantum ad intentionem.
119. He teaches us to avoid evil both in conduct and in doctrine, when we exercise this ministry. As to conduct in two ways, namely in our actions and in our intentions.
Nam si quis vitat mala operari et bona intentione, perfecte vitat mala. In operatione autem vitatur malum, in adversitate patienter mala sustinendo, et ideo dicit non deficimus, per impatientiam. Gal. VI, 9: bonum autem facientes non deficiamus. II Cor. XII, v. 10: cum infirmor, tunc fortior sum et potens. Vitatur etiam in prosperitate, temperate utendo eis quae prospere succedunt, et ideo dicit sed abdicamus occulta dedecoris, id est amovemus a nobis quae hominem turpem et dedecorosum faciunt, scilicet immunda et turpia, et etiam occulta, non solum manifesta. Iac. I, 21: abiiciamus omnem immunditiam. Eph. V, 12: quae in occulto ab eis fiunt, turpe, et cetera.
But if a person avoids doing evil and has a good intention, he avoids evil completely. But evil is avoided in our activity by enduring evils patiently in adversity. Hence, he says, we faint not by impatience: let us not grow weary in well-doing (Gal 6:9); For when I am weak, then I am powerful (2 Cor 12:10). It is also avoided in prosperity by making moderate use of the things that are going well for us. Hence he says, but we renounce the hidden things of dishonesty, i.e., we remove from ourselves whatever makes a man base and dishonorable, namely, things unclean and foul and not only open but even hidden. Therefore put away all filthiness (Jas 1:21); for it is a shame even to speak of the things that they do in secret (Eph 5:12).
In intentione autem vitatur malum vitae, si est intentio recta, et quantum ad hoc dicit non ambulantes in astutia, id est in astutia et simulatione et hypocrisi, quod faciunt pseudo, qui aliud praetendunt exterius, et aliud gerunt interius in corde. Iob XXXVI, 13: simulatores et callidi provocant iram Dei.
Evil conduct is avoided in our intention, if it is a right intention. In regard to this he says, not walking in craftiness, i.e., fraud and pretense and hypocrisy. That is what the false apostles do, who pretend one thing outwardly, but do something else inwardly in the heart. Dissemblers and crafty men provoke the wrath of God (Job 36:13).
In doctrina autem vitatur malum quando verbum Domini debito modo proponitur, et quantum ad hoc dicit non adulterantes verbum. Quod dupliciter exponitur, ut patet supra. Et primo non permiscentes doctrinae Christi falsam doctrinam, quod faciebant pseudo dicentes legalia debere servari cum Evangelio. Secundo non praedicantes propter lucrum, vel gloriam propriam. Et istorum primus est lupus, secundus mercenarius. Sed qui vera praedicat, et propter gloriam Dei, est pastor. Unde Augustinus: pastor est amandus, lupus vitandus, sed mercenarius ad tempus tolerandus.
Evil is avoided in doctrine when the Lord’s word is proposed in the proper way. In regard to this he says, nor adulterating the word of God. This is explained in two ways. First, not mixing false doctrine with the doctrine of Christ, as the false apostles do when they teach that the ceremonies of the law must be observed along with the Gospel. Second, not preaching for gain and for one’s own glory. The first of these is a wolf and the second a hireling, but one who preaches the truth and for the glory of God is a shepherd. Hence Augustine says: the shepherd should be loved and the wolf avoided, but the hireling must be tolerated for the present.
120. Sed quia non sufficit ad perfectam iustitiam solum vitare mala, sed requiritur operatio bona, ideo consequenter subiungit de operatione bonorum in ipso usu huius ministerii. Et ponitur triplex bonum, quod facit contra triplex malum. Primum bonum contra malum doctrinae; secundum contra malum operationis; tertium contra malum intentionis.
120. But because perfect justice requires more than avoiding evil, but doing good, he says something about doing good in the exercise of this ministry. And he proposes a triple good, which goes against the triple evil. The first good is against evil teachings; the second against evil conduct; the third against an evil intention.
Contra malum doctrinae, quod debet vitari, facit bonum manifestae veritatis. Et quantum ad hoc dicit in manifestatione veritatis, quasi dicat: non deficimus sed, vitantes mala, ambulamus et proficimus in manifestatione veritatis, id est veritatem puram manifestamus. Io. XVIII, 37: ad hoc natus sum, ut testimonium perhibeam veritati. Eccli. XXIV, v. 31: qui elucidant me, vitam aeternam habebunt.
Against evil teaching, which must be avoided, they perform the good of manifesting the truth. In regard to this he says, but by the manisfestation of the truth: as if to say, we do not lose heart but, avoiding evil, we walk and act in the manifestation of the truth, i.e., we manifest the pure truth. For this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth (John 18:37); those who show me forth shall have everlasting life (Sir 24:31).
Contra malum operationis faciunt bona opera, et quantum ad hoc dicit commendantes nosmet ipsos, et cetera. Et hoc non facimus dicendo de nobis bona, quia non de facili creditur ei qui seipsum commendat, sed operando bona, quia talia opera facimus, ut ex ipsis operibus reddamus nosmetipsos commendabiles, ad omnem conscientiam hominum. I Petr. II, 12: conversationem vestram inter gentes, et cetera.
Against evil conduct they perform good works. In regard to this he says, commending ourselves to every man’s conscience. We do not do this by saying good things about ourselves, because it is not easy to believe a person who recommends himself, but by doing good, because we do such works, so that by the works themselves we render ourselves commendable to every man’s conscience. Maintain good conduct among the gentiles (1 Pet 2:12).
Contra malum intentionis facimus bonum reddendo nos commendabiles, non solum ad omnem conscientiam hominum, sed etiam coram Deo, qui intuetur corda. Infra X, 18: non enim qui seipsum commendat, ille probatus est, et cetera. Rom. XII, 17: providentes bona, non solum coram, et cetera.
Against an evil intention we do good by making ourselves commendable not only to every man’s conscience, but even in the sight of God, who sees the heart. For it is not he who commends himself who is approved: but he whom God commends (2 Cor 10:18); providing good things not only before God but before all men (Rom 12:17).
121. Et, secundum Augustinum in Glossa, Apostolus implet in hoc mandatum Domini, Matth. V, 16: sic luceat, etc., item c. VI, 1: attendite ne iustitiam, etc., primum in hoc quod dicit commendantes nos, etc.; secundum vero in hoc quod dicit coram Deo, Rom. II, 28: non enim, qui in manifesto, et cetera.
121. According to Augustine in a Gloss, the Apostle fulfills God’s commandment in this: let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven (Matt 5:16); beware of practicing your piety before men (Matt 6:1): the first by saying, commending ourselves to every man’s conscience; but the second by saying, in the sight of God: for he is not a real Jew who is one outwardly (Rom 2:28).
Vel potest totum hoc magis secundum continuationem litterae, legi sic, ut dicatur: ideo habentes hanc administrationem, iuxta quod, etc., non deficimus, supple a bene operando, sed abdicamus, etc., et iterum, in manifestatione veritatis; servato tamen eodem modo exponendi, sicut in prima lectura.
Or this whole passage can be read in the following manner without interrupting the text: therefore, having this ministration according as we have obtained mercy, we faint not, namely in doing good. But we renounce the hidden things of dishonesty. Furthermore by manifestation of the truth, keeping the same method of explanation as already given.
Light of the Gospel
4:3 Quod si etiam opertum est Evangelium nostrum, in iis, qui pereunt, est opertum: [n. 122]
4:3 And if our Gospel is also hidden, it is hidden to those who are lost, [n. 122]
4:4 in quibus deus hujus saeculi excaecavit mentes infidelium, ut non fulgeat illis illuminatio Evangelii gloriae Christi, qui est imago Dei. [n. 124]
4:4 In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of unbelievers, that the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not shine unto them. [n. 124]
4:5 Non enim nosmetipsos praedicamus, sed Jesum Christum Dominum nostrum: nos autem servos vestros per Jesum: [n. 127]
4:5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ our Lord: and ourselves your servants through Jesus. [n. 127]
4:6 quoniam Deus, qui dixit de tenebris lucem splendescere, ipse illuxit in cordibus nostris ad illuminationem scientiae claritatis Dei, in facie Christi Jesu. [n. 129]
4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Christ Jesus. [n. 129]
122. Hic consequenter Apostolus respondet cuidam tacitae obiectioni. Posset enim dici sibi ab aliquo: tu dicis, quod non deficis in manifestatione veritatis Christi, sed hoc non videtur, quia multi contradicunt tibi. Huic ergo quaestioni respondet. Et circa hoc duo facit.
122. Here the Apostle answers a tacit objection. For someone could say to him: you say that you do not grow faint in manifesting the truth of Christ. But this does not seem true, because many people contradict you. To this question, therefore, he responds. And in regard to it he does two things:
Primo enim respondet quaestioni praedictae;
first, he responds to this question;
secundo excludit quoddam dubium, quod videtur ex responsione sua sequi, ibi non enim nosmetipsos, et cetera.
second, he removes a doubt which seems to follow from his answer, at for we do not preach ourselves.
Circa primum tria facit.
In regard to the first he does three things.