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.
4:10 semper mortificationem Jesu in corpore nostro circumferentes, ut et vita Jesu manifestetur in corporibus nostris. [n. 136]
4:10 Always bearing about in our body the mortification of Jesus, that the life of Jesus may also be made manifest in our bodies. [n. 136]
131. Supra tractavit de usu ministerii Novi Testamenti quantum ad bona agenda, hic consequenter tractat de usu eius quantum ad tolerantiam malorum.
131. Above, he discussed the use of the ministry of the New Testament in regard to doing good; here he discusses its use in regard to enduring evil.
Et circa hoc duo facit.
In regard to this he does two things:
Primo enim ostendit tolerantiam malorum, quae patiebantur;
first, he points to the endurance of the evils they suffered;
secundo vero hoc manifestat, ibi semper enim nos, qui vivimus, et cetera.
second, he explains this, at for we who live are always delivered.
Circa primum tria facit.
In regard to the first he does three things:
Primo ponit causam quare tribulationibus exponantur a Deo;
first, he shows the reason why they are exposed to tribulations by God;
secundo ostendit, quod in istis tribulationibus patienter se habeant, ibi in omnibus tribulationem patimur, etc.;
second, he shows that they should act patiently under these tribulations, at in all things we suffer tribulation;
tertio vero rationem huius patientiae assignat, ibi semper mortificationem Iesu, et cetera.
third, he gives the reason for this patience, at always bearing about in our bodies.
132. Dicit ergo, Deus illuxit mentibus nostris ad illuminationem aliorum, quae quidem lux est maximus thesaurus. Sap. VII, 14: infinitus enim thesaurus, et cetera. Is. XXXIII, 6: divitiae salutis sapientia, et cetera. Istum autem maximum thesaurum non habemus in pretioso loco, sed in re vili et fictili: et ratio huius est, ut scilicet Deo efficacia eius tribuatur. Et hoc est quod dicit habemus thesaurum istum, id est lucem illam qua alios illuminamus, in vasis fictilibus, id est in corpore fragili et vili. Ps. CII, 14: ipse cognovit figmentum nostrum. Ier. XVIII, 6: sicut lutum in manu figuli, sic et vos in manu, et cetera. Is. LXIV, 8: et nunc, Domine, Pater noster es tu, nos vero lutum.
132. He says, therefore: God has shone on our minds to give light to others, and this light is our greatest treasure. It is an unfailing treasure for men (Wis 7:14); abundance of salvation, wisdom and knowledge (Isa 33:6). But we do not have that greatest treasure in a precious place, but in a lowly fragile thing, in order that its power may be attributed to God. Hence, he says, we have this treasure, i.e., that light by which we enlighten others, in earthen vessels, i.e., in our frail and lowly body. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust (Ps 103:14); like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel (Jer 18:6); yet, O Lord, you are our Father, we are the clay (Isa 64:8).
Ideo habemus in vasis fictilibus, ut sublimitas, istius lucis, sit virtutis Dei, id est Deo attribuatur, et non ex nobis credatur esse. Nam si essemus divites, si potentes, si nobiles secundum carnem, quidquid magnum faceremus, non Deo, sed nobis ipsis attribueretur. Nunc vero, quia pauperes et contemptibiles sumus, huiusmodi sublimitas Deo, et non nobis, attribuitur. Et ideo vult nos Deus contemptui haberi, et tribulationibus exponi. Deut. XXXII, 27: ne dicerent: manus nostra excelsa, et cetera. Et I Cor. I, 29: ut non glorietur omnis caro, et cetera. Sap. XII, 8: Mmisisti antecessores tuos ne dicerent, et cetera.
Therefore we have this treasure in earthen vessels to show that the excellency of that light may be of the power of God, i.e., attributed to God, and not believed to be of us. For if we were rich or powerful or noble according to the flesh, any great good we did would be attributed not to God but to ourselves. But now, because we are poor and contemptible, such excellence is attributed to God and not to ourselves. Therefore, God wants us to be held in contempt and to be exposed to tribulations. Lest they should say: our hand is triumphant, the Lord has not wrought all this (Deut 32:27); that no human being might boast in the presence of God (1 Cor 1:29); you sent them as your forerunners not to speak (Wis 12:8).
133. Consequenter cum dicit in omnibus tribulationem patimur, etc., ostendit eorum patientiam in iis, quae patiuntur.
133. Then when he says, in all things we suffer tribulation, he shows their patience in the things they suffer.
Et circa hoc duo facit.
In regard to this he does two things:
Primo ostendit mala, quae patiuntur in generali;
first, he points out the evils they suffer in general;
secundo enumerat ea in speciali, ibi aporiamur, sed non destituimur, et cetera.
second, he mentions them in particular, at we are straitened: but are not destitute.
134. Dicit ergo. Vere habemus hunc thesaurum in vasis fictilibus, quia in omnibus tribulationem patimur; quasi dicat: nullus modus tribulandi deest nobis. Act. XIV, v. 21: per multas tribulationes, et cetera. Nec mirum, quia, ut dicitur Lc. ult.: oportuit Christum pati, et sic intrare, et cetera.
134. He says, therefore: truly we have this treasure in earthen vessels, because in all things we suffer tribulation. As if to say: no type of tribulation has missed us. Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22). Nor is this strange, for it is said: was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory? (Luke 24:26).
Et licet sic tribulemur, non tamen angustiamur. Et loquitur ad similitudinem viatoris, qui quando non patet ei via, qua exeat de aliquo arcto loco, angustiatur. Quasi dicat: homines, qui solum in mundo confidunt, angustiantur, si undique a mundo tribulantur, quia non patet eis via remedii, cum non sperent nisi de mundo. Sed nos, licet tribulemur in mundo, quia tamen confidimus de Deo et speramus in Christo, patet nobis via evasionis et auxilii a Deo, et ideo non angustiamur
And although we suffer in this way, we are not distressed. He speaks as a traveler who becomes distressed, when he cannot find a way out of a narrow place. As if to say: men who trust only in the world are distressed, if they are troubled on all sides by the world, because no way of relief is open to them, since they trust only in the world. But we, although we are troubled in the world, yet because we trust in God and hope in Christ, escape by the help of God. That is why we are not distressed.
135. Consequenter cum dicit aporiamur, etc., enumerat tribulationes in speciali. Sunt autem quatuor in quibus homines consueverunt tribulari, et in istis tribulati sunt apostoli, scilicet in rebus exterioribus, in inquietudine status, in laesione famae, et in afflictione proprii corporis.
135. Then when he says, we are straitened: but are not destitute, he lists the tribulations in particular. Now there are four things by which men are wont to be troubled; and the apostles were also troubled by them, namely, by external things, by the disquiet of their state, by injury to their reputation, and by affliction of their body.
Quantum ergo ad primum dicit aporiamur, id est depauperamur. Aporos enim Graece, Latine dicitur pauper; quasi dicat: adeo pauperes sumus, ut necessaria desint. I Cor. IV, v. 11: usque in hanc horam esurimus, et cetera. Sed non destituimur a Deo, qui est thesaurus noster. Divitiae enim non quaeruntur propter se, sed propter sufficientiam vitae. Unde homines, qui sine Dei auxilio et spe sunt, si careant divitiis, destituuntur; sed qui solum de Deo confidunt et sperant, quantumcumque aporiantur, non destituuntur. Infra VI, 10: tamquam nihil habentes, et omnia possidentes.
Therefore, in regard to the first he says, we are straitened i.e., impoverished. As if to say: we are so poor that we lack necessities: to the present hour we hunger and thirst (1 Cor 4:11). But we are not destitute, i.e., abandoned by God, who is our treasure. For riches are not sought for their own sake, but for a sufficiency of life. Hence, men who live without God’s help and without hope, are destitute, if they lack riches. But those who trust and hope in God alone, no matter how perplexed they be, are not destitute. As having nothing and possessing all things (2 Cor 6:10).
Sed nec sufficit, imo cum hoc inquietamur, persecutionem patimur, scilicet de loco ad locum. Matth. X, 23: persequentur vos. Sed non derelinquimur a Deo, quin praebeat auxilium. Hebr. ult.: non te deseram, et cetera. Ps. IX, 11: sperent in te, qui noverunt te, et cetera.
But this is not all, for along with this we are disquieted: we suffer persecution, namely, from place to place: when they persecute you in one town, flee to the next (Matt 10:23), but not forsaken by God, because he offers help: I will never fail you nor forsake you (Heb 13:5); you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you (Ps 9:10).
Sed et cum hoc laedimur in fama, quia humiliamur, id est contemnimur et pro nihilo reputamur. Io. XVI, 2: venit hora, ut omnis qui interficit vos, et cetera. Matth. V: beati eritis cum vos oderint, et cetera. Sed quia quando quis contemnitur, et causa contemptus subest, ille qui contemnitur, consuevit confundi; quando vero causa non subest, non confunditur, et istis non suberat causa contemptus, ideo dicit non confundimur. Quasi dicat: quia non subest causa, non curamus. Ps. XXX, 2: in te, Domine, speravi, non confundar, et cetera.
Along with this we are injured in our reputation, because we are humiliated, i.e., scorned and regarded as nothing. the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God (John 16:2); blessed are you when men hate you (Luke 6:22). But because when a man is scorned and there is reason for it, the scorned one is usually ashamed. But when there is not cause, he is not ashamed. And there was no reason for their being scorned, hence he continues, but not ashamed. As if to say: since there is no reason, we do not care. In you, O Lord, have I hoped; let me never be put to shame (Ps 31:2).
Sed quasi haec pauca sint, addit ad tribulationis exaggerationem, dicens deicimur ad mortis pericula, sed non perimus, id est a bono non cessamus, vel non perimus quia Deus sustentat nos. Iob XI, 17: cum te consumptum putaveris, et cetera. I Cor. IV, 13: tamquam purgamenta huius mundi, et cetera. Ps. XLIII, v. 22: aestimati sumus sicut oves, et cetera.
But as though these were trifles, he adds to the amount of tribulation, saying: cast down into the dangers of death, but we do not perish, i.e., we do not cease doing good; or we are not destroyed because God sustains us. We have become, and are now, as the refuse of the world, the offscouring of all things (1 Cor 4:13); when you shall think yourself consumed, you shall rise as the daystar (Job 11:17); we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter (Ps 44:22).
136. Consequenter cum dicit semper mortificationem, etc., subdit rationem huius patientiae.
136. Then when he says, always bearing about in our body the mortification of Jesus, he gives the reason for this patience.
Circa quod sciendum est quod in Christo talis fuit processus. Nam a principio suae conceptionis carnem habens passibilem, et passus mortuus fuit, sed tamen interius vivebat spirituali vita. Post resurrectionem vero, illa spiritualis et gloriosa vita usque ad corpus derivata est, et factum est ipsum corpus gloriosum et immortale, quia: Christus resurgens ex mortuis, iam non moritur, et cetera. Unde ex hoc accipitur duplex status in corpore Christi, scilicet mortis et gloriae. Et ideo dicit: quod ideo pericula mortis et passiones patienter sustinemus, ut perveniamus ad gloriosam vitam.
Here it should be noted that in Christ the process was this: having from the beginning of his conception a flesh that could suffer, he both suffered and died, yet within he was leading a spiritual life. But after the resurrection that spiritual and glorious life flowed into the body, so that his body became glorious and immortal, because Christ being raised from the dead will never die again (Rom 6:9). Hence we can think of two states in the body of Christ, namely, of death and of glory. Hence, he says that we endure the perils of death and suffering patiently, in order to attain to the glorious life.
137. Et hoc est quod dicit: ita sustinemus semper, id est in omnibus et ubique, mortificationem Iesu, id est propter Iesum, vel ad similitudinem mortis Iesu, Gal. ult.: stigmata domini Iesu, et cetera. Quia propter veritatem passi sumus, sicut et Iesus. In corpore nostro, non solum in mente, Ps. XLIII, 22: propter te mortificamur tota die. Ut vita Iesu, id est vita gratiae quam Iesus dat; vel vita gloriae ad quam Iesus per passiones pervenit, Lc. XXIV, 26: nonne oportuit Christum pati, et ita intrare in gloriam, id est manifeste appareat etiam inimicis.
137. And this is what he says: always bearing i.e., in all things and everywhere, the mortification of Jesus, i.e., for Jesus, or in the likeness of Jesus’ death: I bear on my body the marks of Jesus (Gal 6:19), because we have suffered for the truth, as Jesus did. In our body, not only in our mind: for your sake we are slain all the day long (Ps 44:23). That the life of Jesus, i.e., the life of grace which Jesus gives, or the life of glory which Jesus reached by his sufferings: was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory? (Luke 24:26), may also be manifested, i.e., be evident even to enemies.
Dicit ergo in futura, scilicet resurrectione, vel etiam nunc vita gloriae, in corporibus nostris, non solum in animabus, Iudic. VII: fractis lagunculis apparuerunt lucernae. Et idcirco dicit Ambrosius: non timebat mori propter resurrectionem promissam. Circumferentes, id est ubique portantes et sustinentes, quia quocumque eamus patimur et non caedimus. Et hoc ideo ut vita Iesu, quae latet nunc in corde nostro, in corporibus nostris manifestetur, quando scilicet reformabit corpus humilitatis nostrae, etc., Phil. c. III, 21. Col. III, 3: mortui estis, et vita vestra, et cetera. II Tim. II, 11: si commortui sumus, et convivemus.
He says, therefore, in the future, namely, in the resurrection, or even now the life of grace, in our body, and not only in our soul: when they had broken the wine jars, the lamps appeared (Judg 7:20). Therefore Ambrose says: they did not fear to die on account of the promised resurrection. Bearing about, i.e., carrying it about and enduring, because wherever we go, we suffer and do not give up. And this so that the life of Jesus, which is now hidden in our hearts, may be made manifest in our bodies, namely, when he will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body (Phil 3:21); you have died and your life is hid with Christ in God (Col 3:3); if we die with him, we shall also live with him (2 Tim 2:11).
Mors propter Jesum
Death for Jesus
4:11 Semper enim nos, qui vivimus, in mortem tradimur propter Jesum: ut et vita Jesu manifestetur in carne nostra mortali. [n. 138]
4:11 For we who live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’s sake: that the life of Jesus may also be made manifest in our mortal flesh. [n. 138]
4:12 Ergo mors in nobis operatur, vita autem in vobis.
4:12 So then death works in us: but life in you.
4:13 Habentes autem eumdem Spiritum fidei, sicut scriptum est: Credidi, propter quod locutus sum: et nos credimus, propter quod et loquimur: [n. 140]
4:13 But having the same Spirit of faith, as it is written: I believed, for which cause I have spoken; and we also believe, for which cause we also speak: [n. 140]