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.
Primo ostendit quibus occultatur veritas Christi;
First, he shows from whom Christ’s truth is hidden;
secundo occultationis causam assignat, ibi in quibus deus huius saeculi;
second, the reason for this hiding, at in whom the god of this world;
tertio ostendit quod hoc non est ex defectu veritatis Evangelii, ut occultetur, ibi ut non fulgeat, et cetera.
third, he shows that it is not due to a deficiency in the truth of the Gospel that it is hidden, at that the light.
123. Dicit ergo: dixi quod non deficimus in manifestatione, quod, idest sed, si Evangelium nostrum, quod scilicet nos praedicamus, est opertum, id est occultum, non est opertum omnibus, sed illis tantum, qui pereunt, scilicet praebendo impedimentum ne eis manifestetur. I Cor. I, 18: verbum crucis pereuntibus stultitia est, et cetera.
123. He says, therefore: I have said that we do not faint in manifesting the truth; but even if our Gospel, which we preach, is also hidden, it is not veiled from all, but it is veiled only to those who are lost, namely, who offer an obstacle to its manifestation to them. For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God (1 Cor 1:18).
124. Causa ergo huius occultationis est non ex parte Evangelii, sed propter eorum culpam et malitiam. Et hoc est quod subdit in quibus deus huius saeculi, et cetera. Et hoc potest exponi tribus modis.
124. The cause of this concealment is not on the part of the Gospel, but on account of their own guilt and malice; and this is what he adds: in whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers. This can be explained in three ways:
Primo modo sic: deus huius saeculi, id est Deus qui est Dominus huius saeculi et omnium rerum creatione et natura, iuxta illud Ps. XXIII, 1: Domini est terra, et plenitudo eius, orbis terrarum, excaecavit mentes infidelium, non inducendo malitiam, sed merito, imo demerito praecedentium peccatorum subtrahendo gratiam. Is. VI, 10: excaeca cor populi huius, et cetera. Unde et praecedentia peccata insinuat, cum dicit infidelium, quasi infidelitas eorum fuerit causa huius excaecationis.
in one way so that the god of this world is God, who is the Lord of this world and of all things by creation and nature: the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein (Ps 24:1), has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, not by producing malice, but by the merit, or rather demerit of preceding sins, by withdrawing his grace: make the heart of this people fat, and their ears heavy, and shut their eyes (Isa 6:10). Therefore he hints at their preceding sins when he says, of unbelievers, as though their unbelief is the cause of this blindness.
Secundo modo sic: deus huius saeculi, id est diabolus, qui dicitur deus huius saeculi, id est saeculariter viventium, non creatione sed imitatione, qua saeculares eum imitantur. Sap. II, 25: imitantur eum, qui sunt, et cetera. Et hic excaecat suggerendo, trahendo et inclinando ad peccata. Et sic quando iam sunt in peccatis, operiuntur in tenebris peccatorum ne videant. Eph. IV, 18: tenebris obscuratum habentes intellectum, et cetera.
In a second way, so that the god of this world is the devil, who is called the god of this world, i.e., of those who live in a worldly manner, not by reason of creation but by imitation, because worldly persons imitate him. They follow him who are on his side (Wis 2:25). Here he blinds them by suggesting, by attracting and by inclining to sins. And so, when they are already in sin, they work in the darkness of sin, lest they see: darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God (Eph 4:18).
Tertio modo sic: Deus habet rationem ultimi finis, et complementum desideriorum totius creaturae. Unde quidquid aliquis sibi pro fine ultimo constituit in quo eius desiderium quiescit, potest dici deus illius. Unde cum habes pro fine delicias, tunc deliciae dicuntur Deus tuus; similiter etiam si voluptates carnis, vel honores. Et tunc exponitur sic: deus huius saeculi, id est illud quod homines saeculariter viventes sibi pro fine constituunt, ut puta voluptates, vel divitiae et huiusmodi. Et sic Deus excaecat mentes, inquantum impedit ne homines lumen gratiae hic, et gloriae in futuro, videre possint. Ps. LVII, v. 9: supercecidit ignis, scilicet concupiscentiae, ut non viderent solem. Sic ergo excaecatio infidelium non est ex parte Evangelii, sed ex culpa infidelium.
In the third way thus: God has the nature of the ultimate end and fulfillment of the desires of every creature. Hence, whatever a person assigns to himself as an ultimate end in which his desire rests, can be called his god. Hence, when you have pleasure as end, pleasure is called your god, and the same for pleasures of the flesh and for honors. Then it is explained so that the god of this world is that which men living in a worldly way set up as their end, say pleasure or riches and the like. And God blinds their minds, inasmuch as he prevents them from seeing the light of grace here, and the light of glory in the future. Fire, namely of concupiscence, has fallen on them, and they shall not see the sun (Ps 57:9). Thus, therefore, the blindness of unbelievers is not on the part of the Gospel, but from the sin of unbelievers.
125. Et ideo subdit ut non fulgeat, et cetera. Ubi sciendum est, quod Deus Pater est fons totius luminis. I Io. I, 5: Deus lux est, et tenebrae in eo non sunt, et cetera. Ex hoc autem fontanoso lumine derivatur imago huius luminis, scilicet Filius Verbum Dei. Hebr. c. I, 3: qui cum sit splendor, et cetera. Hic ergo splendor gloriae, imago fontanosae lucis, carnem nostram accepit et multa gloriosa et divina in hoc mundo opera fecit.
125. Therefore, he adds, that the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not shine unto them. Here it should be noted that God the Father is the source of all light: God is light and in him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5). From this fountain of light is derived the image of this light, namely the Son, the Word of God: he reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature (Heb 1:3). Therefore, this brightness of glory and image of the fountain of light took our flesh and accomplished many glorious and divine works in this world.
Declaratio igitur huius lucis est Evangelium, unde et Evangelium dicitur notitia claritatis Christi, quae quidem notitia virtutem habet illuminativam. Sap. VI, 13: clara est et quae numquam marcescit sapientia, et cetera. Et quidem, quantum est de se, in omnibus refulget et omnes illuminat, sed illi qui praebent impedimentum, non illuminantur. Et hoc est quod dicit: ideo excaecavit mentes infidelium, ut scilicet non effulgeat in eis, scilicet in mentibus infidelium, licet in se effulgens sit, illuminatio Evangelii illuminantis. Quod quidem est illuminans, quia est gloria Christi, id est claritas. Io. I, 14: Vidimus gloriam, et cetera. Quae quidem gloria provenit Christo ex eo quod est Imago Dei. Col. I, 15: qui est Imago invisibilis Dei.
The disclosing of this light is the Gospel. Hence, the Gospel is also called the knowledge of the glory of Christ, which knowledge has the power to enlighten. Wisdom is radiant and unfading (Wis 6:12). As far as it is concerned, it shines upon all and enlightens all. But those who place an obstacle are not enlightened. And this is what he says: the god of this world has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that there should not shine unto them, namely, in their unbelieving minds, the light of the Gospel, which enlightens because it is the glory of Christ, i.e., his brightness. We have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father (John 1:14). This glory is Christ’s, inasmuch as he is the image of God: he is the image of the invisible God (Col 1:15).
126. Nota, secundum Glossam, quod Christus perfectissima Imago Dei est. Nam ad hoc quod aliquid perfecte sit imago alicuius, tria requiruntur, et haec tria perfecte sunt in Christo. Primum est similitudo, secundum est origo, tertium est perfecta aequalitas. Si enim inter imaginem et eum, cuius est imago, esset dissimilitudo, et unum non oriretur ex alio, similiter etiam si non sit aequalitas perfecta, quae est secundum eamdem naturam, non esset ibi perfecta ratio imaginis. Nam similitudo regis in denario, non perfecte dicitur imago regis, quia deest ibi aequalitas secundum eamdem naturam; sed similitudo regis in filio dicitur perfecta imago regis, quia sunt ibi illa tria quae dicta sunt.
126. Note, according to a Gloss, that Christ is the most perfect image of God. For in order that something be perfectly an image of something, three things are necessary, and these three are perfectly in Christ. First, a likeness; second, origin; third, perfect equality. For if there is unlikeness between the image and that of which it is the image, and one does not arise from the other, or even if there is not perfect equality according to the same nature, then the notion of perfect image would not be there. For the likeness of a king on a coin is not called a perfect image of the king, because equality according to the same nature is lacking; but the likeness of a king in his son is called a perfect image of the king, because it possesses the three marks mentioned.
Cum ergo ista tria sint in Christo Filio Dei, quia scilicet est similis patri, oritur a Patre, et aequalis est Patri, maxime et perfecte dicitur Imago Dei.
Therefore, since those three are present in Christ, the Son of God, because namely he is similar to the Father, arises from the Father and is equal to the Father, he is in the highest degree and perfectly called the image of God.
127. Consequenter cum dicit non enim nosmetipsos, etc., removet Apostolus quoddam dubium. Posset enim aliquis, contra praedicta, dicere apostolo: supra dixisti Evangelium vestrum esse opertum, modo dicis Evangelium Christi illuminare; si ergo detur quod Evangelium Christi sit illuminans, non potest hinc sequi quod opertum sit Evangelium vestrum. Et ideo ad hoc removendum, duo facit.
127. Then when he says, for we do not preach ourselves, the Apostle settles a doubt. For some could say to the Apostle, contrary to what was said here: above you said that your Gospel was hidden; now you say that the Gospel of Christ enlightens. Therefore, if it is granted that the Gospel of Christ enlightens, it cannot follow that your Gospel is hidden. To settle this he does two things.
Primo, ostendit quod idem est Evangelium suum et Christi;
First he shows that his own Gospel and Christ’s are the same;
secundo, ostendit unde sit quod Evangelium suum sit illuminativum, ibi quoniam Deus qui dixit, et cetera.
second, he shows how it is that his own Gospel enlightens, at for God who commanded.
128. Dicit ergo primo: dico quod manifestatio claritatis Christi est Evangelium Christi et nostrum. Nostrum quidem tamquam per nos praedicatum; Christi vero, tamquam in ipso Evangelio praedicati. Et hoc est quod non praedicamus nosmetipsos, id est non commendamus nos, nec ad nos, id est ad laudem, vel lucrum nostrum convertimus praedicationem nostram, sed ad Christum totum referimus et laudem eius. I Cor. c. I, 23: nos autem praedicamus Christum, et cetera. Ps. LXXII, 28: ut annuntiem omnes praedicationes tuas, non meas, in portis, et cetera.
128. He says, therefore: I say that the manifestation of the brightness of Christ is the Gospel of Christ and our Gospel. It is ours as preached by us; it is Christ’s truly as the one preached in the Gospel. Hence it is that we do not preach ourselves, i.e., we do not commend ourselves nor for ourselves, i.e., we do not use our preaching for our praise or gain, but we refer it all to Christ and his praise. We preach Christ crucified (1 Cor 1:23); that I may tell of all your works, not mine, in the gates of the daughter of Zion (Ps 73:28).
Sed Iesum Dominum nostrum, nos autem servos vestros per Iesum. Quasi dicat: Iesum praedicamus ut Dominum, nos autem servos. Et huius ratio est quia principaliter quaerimus laudem Christi et non nostram. Nam servus est, qui est propter utilitatem Domini. Et inde est, quod minister Ecclesiae, qui non quaerit honorem Dei et utilitatem subditorum, non dicitur verus rector, sed tyrannus. Nam quicumque bene regit, debet esse sicut servus, quaerens honorem et utilitatem subditorum. Gen. XXV, 23: maior serviet minori. I Cor. IX, 19: cum essem liber, omnium vestrum me servum feci.
But Jesus Christ our Lord: and ourselves your servants through Jesus. As if to say: we preach Jesus as Lord, but ourselves as servants, the reason being that we principally seek the praise of Christ and not our own. For a servant is one who exists for the profit of the master. That is why a minister of the Church, who does not seek the honor of God and the welfare of his subjects, is not a true ruler, but a tyrant. For whoever rules well should be as a servant seeking the honor and profit of his subjects. The elder shall serve the younger (Gen 25:23); for though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all (1 Cor 9:19).
129. Consequenter cum dicit quoniam Deus qui dixit, etc., ostendit unde Evangelium suum habet virtutem illuminativam.
129. Then when he says, for God who commanded, he shows the source of his Gospel’s power to enlighten.
Ubi nota ordinem procedendi servatum ab apostolo, qui talis est: nos aliquando, scilicet antequam conversi essemus ad Christum, eramus tenebrosi sicut et vos et alii in quibus non fulget claritas gloriae Christi. Nunc vero, postquam Christus vocavit nos per gratiam suam ad se, tenebrae istae remotae sunt a nobis, et iam fulget in nobis virtus gloriae claritatis Christi; et intantum refulget in nobis, quod non solum illuminamur ad hoc quod videre possimus, sed etiam quod alios illuminemus. Ex spirituali ergo gratia et abundanti refulgentia claritatis gloriae Christi in nos, habet Evangelium nostrum virtutem illuminativam.
Here we should note the order of the Apostle’s procedure. It is this: at one time, namely, before being converted to Christ, we were darkness, just as you and the others, upon whom the brightness of Christ’s glory did not shine. But now, after Christ has called us to himself by his grace, that darkness has been taken away from us, and now the power of the glory of Christ’s brightness shines in us, and it shines on us in such a way that not only are we enlightened so that we can see, but we enlighten others. Therefore, from the spiritual grace and abundant splendor of the brightness of the glory of Christ in us, our Gospel has the power to enlighten.
130. Et hoc est quod dicit: dico quod ideo illuminat Evangelium nostrum, quoniam Deus, qui dixit, id est praecepto solo fecit, lucem splendescere, quod fuit in separatione elementorum, quando chaos tenebrosum illuminavit per lucem quam fecit. Gen. I, 3: dixit, fiat lux. Eccli. XXIV, 6: ego feci, ut in caelis oriretur lux, et cetera. Iste, inquam, Deus, illuxit in cordibus, id est in mentibus, nostris, prius tenebrosis per absentiam luminis gratiae et obscuritatem peccati. Lc. I, 79: illuminare his qui in tenebris, et cetera.
130. And this is what he says: I say that our Gospel enlightens, for God who commanded i.e., who made by a single command, the light to shine out of darkness, by separating the elements, when he enlightened the dark chaos by the light he made: he said: let there be light (Gen 1:3); I made an unfailing light to rise in the heavens (Sir 24:6). He, I say, has shined in our hearts, i.e., in our minds, previously darkened by the absence of the light of grace and by the obscurity of sin. To enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death (Luke 1:79).
Illuxit, inquam, non solum ut nos illuminaremur, sed ad illuminationem, id est ut et alios illuminemus. Eph. III, 8: mihi omnium sanctorum minimo data est, et cetera. Matth. V, v. 14: vos estis lux, et cetera. Ad illuminationem dico, scientiae, id est ut faciamus alios scire. Dico, claritatis Dei, id est clarae divinae visionis, in facie Iesu Christi. Glossa: id est per Iesum Christum, qui est facies Patris, quia sine ipso non cognoscitur Pater. Sed melius dicitur sic: ad illuminationem sanctae claritatis Dei, quae quidem claritas fulget in facie Christi Iesu, id est ut per ipsam gloriam et claritatem, cognoscatur Christus Iesus. Quasi dicat: in summa, ad hoc Deus illuxit nobis ad illuminationem, ut ex hoc Iesus Christus cognoscatur et praedicetur in gentibus.
He has shined, I say, not only to enlighten us, but to give the light, i.e., that we might enlighten others. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given (Eph 3:8); you are the light of the world (Matt 5:4). To give the light, I say, of the knowledge, i.e., that we make others know of the glory of God, i.e., of the clear vision of God, in the face of Christ Jesus. A Gloss: i.e., through Jesus Christ, who is the face of the Father, because without him the Father is not known. But it is said better thus: to illumine the holy brightness of God, which indeed shines in the face of Jesus Christ, i.e., so that by that glory and brightness Jesus Christ may be known. As if to say: in summary, God has shone upon us to enlighten us, so that Jesus Christ may be known and preached among the gentiles.
4:7 Habemus autem thesaurum istum in vasis fictilibus: ut sublimitas sit virtutis Dei, et non ex nobis. [n. 131]
4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency may be of the power of God and not of us. [n. 131]
4:8 In omnibus tribulationem patimur, sed non angustiamur: [n. 133] aporiamur, sed non destituimur: [n. 135]
4:8 In all things we suffer tribulation: but are not distressed. [n. 133] We are straitened: but are not destitute. [n. 135]
4:9 persecutionem patimur, sed non derelinquimur: dejicimur, sed non perimus:
4:9 We suffer persecution: but are not forsaken. We are cast down: but we do not perish.