Ministri divini in tribulatione
Divine ministers in tribulation
6:1 Adjuvantes autem exhortamur ne in vacuum gratiam Dei recipiatis. [n. 203]
6:1 And we helping do exhort you not to receive the grace of God in vain. [n. 203]
6:2 Ait enim: tempore accepto exaudivi te, et in die salutis adjuvi te. Ecce nunc tempus acceptabile, ecce nunc dies salutis. [n. 205]
6:2 For he says: in an accepted time I have heard you and in the day of salvation I have helped you. Behold, now is the acceptable time: behold, now is the day of salvation. [n. 205]
6:3 Nemini dantes ullam offensionem, ut non vituperetur ministerium nostrum: [n. 209]
6:3 Giving no offense to any man, that our ministry be not blamed. [n. 209]
6:4 sed in omnibus exhibeamus nosmetipsos sicut Dei ministros [n. 210] in multa patientia, in tribulationibus, in necessitatibus, in angustiis, [n. 211]
6:4 But in all things let us exhibit ourselves as the ministers of God, [n. 210] in much patience, in tribulation, in necessities, in distresses, [n. 211]
6:5 in plagis, in carceribus, in seditionibus, in laboribus, in vigiliis, in jejuniis,
6:5 In stripes, in prisons, in seditions, in labors, in watchings, in fastings,
203. Supra Apostolus commendavit ministerium apostolatus, hic consequenter ipsum ministerium, sibi commissum ad utilitatem subditorum, exequitur. Et circa hoc duo facit.
203. Having commended the ministry of the apostleship, the Apostle now carries out the ministry entrusted to him for the benefit of his subjects. In regard to this he does two things.
Primo hortatur eos in generali ad omnia, quae communiter sunt necessaria ad bonam vitam;
First, he exhorts them in general to do all the things that are commonly necessary for a good life;
secundo hortatur eos de quodam speciali suffragio fiendo sanctis in Ierusalem, et hoc VIII cap., ibi notum autem vobis facimus, fratres, et cetera.
second, he urges them in particular to help the saints in Jerusalem, in chapter eight, at now we make known unto you, brethren (2 Cor 8:1).
Circa primum autem duo facit.
In regard to the first he does two things.
Primo hortatur eos ad bona praesentia;
First, he urges them to goods that are present;
secundo commendat eos de bonis in praeterito factis, et hoc VII cap., ibi has igitur habentes promissiones, et cetera.
second, he commends them for the good they have done in the past, in chapter seven, at having therefore these promises (2 Cor 7:1).
Circa primum tria facit.
In regard to the first he does three things.
Primo hortatur in generali, quod gratia Dei non utantur in vanum;
First, he admonishes them in general that the grace of God should not be used in vain;
secundo ostendit gratiam Dei eis esse collatam, ibi ait enim: tempore accepto, etc.;
second, he shows that the grace of God has been conferred on them, at for he says: in an accepted time;
tertio docet eos in speciali modum utendi dicta gratia, ibi nemini dantes ullam offensionem, et cetera.
third, he teaches them in particular how to use the grace mentioned, at giving no offense to any man.
204. Dicit ergo primo: ex quo facultas adest nobis ad bene operandum, et haec est gratia Dei, nos autem ad hoc pro Christo legatione fungimur; ideo, adiuvantes, nos, scilicet praedicationibus, exemplis et exhortationibus. Prov. XVIII, 19: frater qui adiuvatur a fratre, et cetera. Vel, adiuvantes, scilicet Deum. I Cor. III, 9: adiutores Dei sumus.
204. He says, therefore: from the fact that we have the faculty to do good, and this by the grace of God, and we are ambassadors for Christ for this purpose, therefore, helping by preaching, by examples and by exhortations. A brother helped is like a strong city (Prov 18:19); or helping, namely, God: we are God’s helpers (1 Cor 3:9).
Sed contra Is. XL, 13: quis adiuvit Spiritum Domini, et cetera. Non ergo bene dicitur, adiuvantes Deum.
But this seems contrary to Isaiah: who has directed the Spirit of the Lord? (Isa 40:13). Therefore it is not correct to say, helping God.
Responsio: quod iuvare Deum potest intelligi, vel ei vires ministrare ad aliquid agendum, et sic nullus iuvat Deum, nec iuvare potest; vel eius mandatum exequi, et sic sancti homines Deum iuvare dicuntur, exequendo eius mandata.
I answer that to help God can be taken to mean that a person gives God the power to do something. In this sense, no one helps God or can help him; or to mean that a person carries out his commandment. Then holy men are said to help God by carrying out his commands.
Nos, inquam, sic iuvantes, hortamur vos, Rom. XII, 8: qui exhortatur, et cetera. Hoc scilicet exhortamur, ne in vacuum gratiam Dei recipiatis, quasi dicat: ne receptio gratiae sit vobis inutilis et vacua, quod tunc contingit, quando ex perceptione gratiae quis non sentit fructum. Qui quidem duplex est, scilicet remissio peccatorum. Is. XXVII, 9: hic est omnis fructus, et cetera. Et ut homo iuste vivendo perveniat ad gloriam caelestem. Rom. c. VI, 21: habetis fructum vestrum. Quicumque ergo gratia percepta non utitur ad vitandum peccata, et consequendum vitam aeternam, hic gratiam Dei in vanum recipit. Phil. II, 16: non in vacuum cucurri, et cetera.
We, I say, so helping exhort you: he who exhorts, in his exhortation (Rom 12:8), not to receive the grace of God in vain. As if to say: let not the reception of grace be useless and vain for you, which it is when a person does not perceive the fruit of the grace he received. This fruit is twofold: the remission of sins. And this will be the full fruit of the removal of his sin (Isa 27:9); and that a man by living righteously attain to heavenly glory. The return you get is sanctification (Rom 6:22). Therefore, whoever does not use the grace he has received for avoiding sin and obtaining eternal life, receives the grace of God in vain: I did not run in vain or labor in vain (Phil 2:16).
205. Et ne aliquis dubitaret de perceptione huius gratiae a Deo, ideo consequenter Apostolus probat eos iam recepisse gratiam hanc, vel paratam habere ad recipiendum, dicens ait enim: tempore, et cetera.
205. But lest anyone doubt that he has received this grace from God, the Apostle proves that they have already received or are prepared to receive it, saying: for he says: in an accepted time I have heard you.
Et circa hoc duo facit.
In regard to this he does two things.
Primo inducit auctoritatem Prophetae;
First, he quotes the Prophet;
secundo inductam adaptat ad propositum, ibi ecce nunc tempus, et cetera.
second, he adapts the quotation to his thesis, at behold, now is the acceptable time.
206. Dicit ergo primo: dico quod paretis vos ad fructuose percipiendum gratiam, quae vobis est collata, vel parata. Ait enim, Dominus per Isaiam XLIX, 8: tempore accepto, et cetera.
206. He says, therefore: I say that you should be prepared to receive this grace fruitfully, which has been conferred on you or prepared for you, for the Lord says as much in Isaiah: in an accepted time I have heard you (Isa 44:8).
Circa quod sciendum est quod Dominus dicitur facere nobis gratiam, vel exaudiendo nos in petitionibus nostris, vel iuvando in operationibus nostris; sed exaudit, ut percipiamus quod petimus. Iac. I, 5: si quis indiget sapientia, postulet, et cetera. Adiuvat, ut perficiamus quod operamur. Ps. XCIII, 17: nisi quia Dominus adiuvit me, et cetera. Et haec duplex est gratia, praeveniens scilicet et cooperans, vel subsequens, quae quidem necessaria est nobis ad obtinendum.
In regard to this it should be noted that the Lord is said to make grace for us either by hearing us in our petitions or by helping us in our actions. But he hears that we might receive what we ask: if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all men generously and without reproaching, and it will be given him (Jas 1:5); if the Lord had not been my help, my soul would soon have dwelt in the land of silence (Ps 94:17). This grace is of two kinds: prevenient and cooperating, i.e., subsequent, which it is necessary for us to obtain.
Et primo gratiam praevenientem quam optare debemus, ut simus accepti a Deo. Ps. XXXI, 6: pro hac orabit ad te omnis sanctus. Et quantum ad hoc dicit in tempore accepto, id est acceptionis et gratificationis; hoc enim tempore accepto fit, quod gratis fit. Rom. IV, 6: beatitudinem hominis cui Deus accepto fert iustitiam, et cetera. Exaudivi te, id est acceptavi te. Vel tempore accepto, id est in tempore gratiae. Et hoc modo gratia praeveniens dicitur illa, per quam liberamur a peccatis. Gratia vero subsequens dicitur per quam virtutes nobis ex perseverantia in bono conferuntur.
First of all, prevenient grace, which we ought to desire in order to be accepted by God. Therefore let every one who is godly offer prayer to you (Ps 32:6). As to this he says, in an accepted time, i.e., for accepting and being put in the state of grace, for in that acceptable time that is done which is done gratuitously. So also David pronounces a blessing upon the man to whom God reckons righteousness apart from works (Rom 4:6). I have heard you, i.e., accepted you. Or in an accepted time, i.e., in the time of grace; and in this way prevenient grace is the name given to the grace by which we are freed from sin, and subsequent grace that by which the virtues and perseverance in good are conferred on us.
Secundo necessaria est nobis gratia cooperans; et hanc petebat Ps. XXII, 6: et misericordia eius subsequatur me, et cetera. Et quantum ad hoc dicit in die salutis adiuvi te. Tempus enim ante Christum non fuit dies, sed nox. Rom. XIII, 12: nox praecessit, et cetera. Sed tempus Christi dicitur dies, et non solum dies, sed dies salutis. Ante enim non erat salus, quia nullus ad finem salutis perveniebat, scilicet ad visionem Dei, sed modo, quando iam nata est salus in mundo, homines salutem sequuntur. Matth. I, 21: vocabis nomen eius Iesum. Ipse enim salvum faciet populum, et cetera. I Petr. IV: operamini vestram salutem. Et hoc fit auxilio gratiae cooperantis, qua per nostra opera pervenimus ad vitam aeternam. Phil. II, 13: Deus est qui operatur, et cetera.
Second, we need cooperating grace, such as David requested: surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life (Ps 23:6). As to this he says, and in the day of salvation I have helped you, for the time before Christ was not day but night: the night is far gone, the day is at hand (Rom 13:12). But the time of Christ is called the day, and not only the day, but the day of salvation. For before there was not salvation, because no one reached the end of salvation, namely, the vision of God. But now, when salvation has been born in the world, men attain to salvation: and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins (Matt 1:21); work out your salvation (Phil 2:12). And this is done by the help of cooperating grace, by which we arrive at eternal life through our works: for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure (Phil 2:13).
207. Consequenter auctoritatem inductam adaptat ad propositum, dicens ecce nunc, etc., quasi dicat: haec quae dixit Dominus de tempore gratiae per Prophetam, implentur modo, quia ecce nunc tempus acceptabile, id est gratificationis, per quam exaudimur a Deo, quia iam venit plenitudo temporis, scilicet Incarnationis Christi, Gal. c. IV, 4. Et hoc quantum ad primam partem auctoritatis Ps. LXVIII, 14: tempus beneplaciti Deus. Ecce nunc dies salutis, in quo scilicet, adiuti gratia cooperante, possumus operari ad consequendum salutem aeternam. Io. IX, 4: me oportet operari, et cetera. Gal. VI, v. 10: dum tempus habemus, et cetera.
207. Then he adapts this text to his purpose, saying, behold, now is the acceptable time. As if to say: the things which the Lord says by the Prophet about the time of grace are now being fulfilled, because behold, now is the acceptable time, i.e., for being adorned with grace, through which we are heard by God, because the fullness of time has already come, namely, of the Incarnation of Christ (Gal 4:4); and this as to the first part of the quotation: at an acceptable time, O God (Ps 69:13). Behold, now is the day of salvation, in which, helped by cooperating grace, we can work for the attainment of eternal salvation: we must work the works of him who sent me (John 9:4); as we have the opportunity, let us do good to all men (Gal 6:10).
208. Consequenter cum dicit nemini dantes, etc., docet modum utendi gratia eis collata. Et
208. Then when he says, giving no offense to any man, he teaches them the way to use grace conferred on them;
primo in generali, qualiter scilicet in vacuum non recipiatur;
first, in general, namely, that they not receive it in vain;
secundo in speciali, ibi in multa patientia, et cetera.
second, in particular, at in much patience.
209. Dicit ergo: sic utendum est gratia, ut dantes nemini ullam offensionem. Nam gratia ad duo datur, scilicet ad vitandum mala, et ad operandum bona.
209. He says, therefore: use grace in such a way giving no offense to any man. For grace is given for two things: to avoid evil and to do good.
Et ideo duo docet, ut scilicet vitemus mala, et quantum ad hoc dicit nemini dantes, et cetera.
Therefore, he teaches these two things, namely, that we avoid evil, in regard to which he says, giving no offense to any man.
Quod potest dupliciter exponi. Uno modo, ut referatur ad apostolos, quasi dicat: nos adiuvantes vos exhortamur; nos, dico, nemini ullam dantes offensionem, quia si per malam vitam aliquos offenderemus, vituperaretur ministerium nostrum, et contemneretur praedicatio nostra. Rom. II, 24: nomen Dei per vos blasphematur. Gregorius: cuius vita despicitur, restat ut eius praedicatio contemnatur. Unde publicus et famosus peccator cavere debet sibi ne praedicet, alias peccat. Ps. XLIX, 16: peccatori autem dixit Deus, et cetera.
This can be explained in two ways: in one way as referring to the apostles. As if to say: we helping do exhort you. We, I say, giving no offense to any man, because if we were to offend others by a wicked life, our ministry would be blamed and our preaching ridiculed: the name of God is blasphemed among the gentiles because of you (Rom 2:24); if one’s life is despised, it follows that his preaching is scorned (Gregory). Hence, a public and notorious sinner should beware of preaching; otherwise, he would commit sin: but to the wicked God says: what right have you to recite my statutes, or take my covenant on your lips? (Ps 50:17).