Vita antea in mundo
Former life in the world
2:1 Et vos, cum essetis mortui delictis et peccatis vestris, [n. 73]
2:1 And you, when you were dead in your offences and sins, [n. 73]
2:2 in quibus aliquando ambulastis secundum saeculum mundi hujus, secundum principem potestatis aëris hujus, spiritus, qui nunc operatur in filios diffidentiae, [n. 74]
2:2 Wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of this air, of the spirit that now works on the children of unbelief: [n. 74]
2:3 in quibus et nos omnes aliquando conversati sumus in desideriis carnis nostrae, facientes voluntatem carnis et cogitationum, et eramus natura filii irae, sicut et ceteri: [n. 80]
2:3 In which also we all conversed in time past, in the desires of our flesh, fulfilling the will of the flesh and of our thoughts, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest: [n. 80]
72. Supra enumeravit Apostolus beneficia humano generi per Christum communiter exhibita, hic Apostolus commemorat eadem per comparationem ad eorum statum praeteritum. Status autem eorum praeteritus dupliciter considerari potest. Primo quidem quantum ad statum culpae; secundo quantum ad statum gentilitatis eorum. Apostolus ergo duo facit, quia
72. Above, the Apostle enumerated the blessings bestowed on the human race in general through Christ. Here the Apostle sets them in relief by comparing them to mankind’s former condition. Their past state can be considered in two ways: first as a state of sin, and second as a state of paganism. Therefore, the Apostle does two things:
primo commemorat beneficia quantum ad primum statum eis exhibita;
first, he recounts the blessings shown them in regard to their first state;
secundo commemorat ea per comparationem ad statum secundum, ibi propter quod memores estote, et cetera.
second, he recalls those related to their second state, at for which cause be mindful (Eph 2:11).
Prima iterum in duas, quia
The first part has two sections:
primo recitat Apostolus statum culpae ipsorum;
first, the Apostle describes their state of sin;
secundo beneficium gratiae iustificationis, ibi Deus autem, qui dives est, et cetera.
second, he describes the blessing of the grace of justification, at but God who is rich (Eph 2:4).
Prima iterum in duas, quia
Again, the first part has two divisions:
primo commemorat statum culpae quantum ad gentiles;
first, he calls to mind the state of sin with reference to the pagans;
secundo quantum ad Iudaeos, ibi in quibus et nos, et cetera.
second, then with reference to the Jews, at in which also we all.
Prima iterum in duas, quia
Once more the first has two parts:
primo praemittit beneficii generalitatem;
first, he sets down the generality of the blessing;
secundo subdit huius necessitatem, ibi cum essemus mortui, et cetera.
second, he adds its necessity, at when you were dead.
73. Dicit ergo: dico quod Deus magnifice operatur in fidelibus secundum operationem potentiae virtutis eius, quam operatus est in Christo, et hoc quia suscitavit illum a mortuis; secundum hanc ergo operationem ad huius operationis exemplum convivificavit nos, vita scilicet gratiae de morte peccati. Os. VI, 3: vivificabit nos post duos dies, in die tertia suscitabit nos, et cetera. Col. III, v. 1: si consurrexistis cum Christo, quae sursum sunt quaerite, et cetera.
73. God, he says, is wondrously active in the faithful, according to the operation of the might of his power, which he wrought in Christ, (Eph 1:19) in raising him from the dead. Hence, according to this activity, and after the example of this operation, he has restored us to the life of grace from the death of sin. He will revive us after two days: on the third day he will raise us up and we shall live in his sight (Hos 6:3). If you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God (Col 3:1).
74. Necessitatem vero huius beneficii ostendit, cum dicit cum essetis mortui, et cetera. Ubi optime describit eorum culpam.
74. He demonstrates the need for such a blessing when he states when you were dead where he describes so well their sin.
Primo quantum ad multitudinem, quia cum essetis mortui, scilicet morte spirituali, quae pessima est. Ps. XXXIII, 22: mors peccatorum pessima. Peccatum enim mors dicitur, quia per ipsum homo a domino, qui est vita, separatur. Io. XIV, 6: ego sum via, veritas, et vita.
First of all, he depicts the multitude of their sins at and you, when you were dead with the worst type of death, spiritual death. The death of the wicked is very worst (Ps 34:22). Sin is termed a death because by it man is separated from God who is life: I am the way, and the truth, and the life (John 14:6).
Mortui, inquam, in delictis et peccatis vestris, ecce multitudo. In delictis quidem quantum ad omissa, Ps. XVIII, 13: delicta quis intelligit, etc., et peccatis quantum ad commissa. In quibus aliquando ambulastis, quod ideo dicit, ut multitudinem peccatorum exaggeret. Nam aliqui si ad horam mortui sunt in peccatis et in delictis, cessant tamen aliquando, et peccare desistunt; sed isti, de malo in peius procedentes et ambulantes, proficiebant.
Dead I say, in your offenses and sins—behold the great number! For offenses are what they omitted—who can discover errors? (Ps 19:13)—while sins are what they committed. Wherein in time past you walked is added to give an account of the great number of sins. For if some are dead in offenses and sins at one time, they nonetheless cease at another time and leave off sinning; but these keep up their pace in going from bad to worse.
Simile habetur Phil. III, 18: multi enim ambulant, quos saepe dicebam vobis, nunc autem et flens dico, et cetera. Ier. II, 5: ambulaverunt post vanitatem suam, et vani facti sunt.
Similarly it is written: for many, as I have often told you and now tell you with tears, conduct themselves as enemies of the cross of Christ (Phil 3:18). They have gone after worthlessness and become worthless (Jer 2:5).
75. Secundo describit eorum culpam quantum ad causam quae ponitur duplex.
75. Second, he describes the twofold cause of their sin.
Una ex parte huius mundi, quia alliciebantur a rebus mundi. Et quantum ad hoc dicit secundum saeculum mundi huius, id est secundum saecularem vitam rerum mundanarum, quae vos alliciunt. I Io. II, 15: si quis diligit mundum, non est caritas Patris in eo. Propter quod praemittit: nolite diligere mundum.
One arises from this world insofar as they are attracted by the things of the world. Concerning this he states according to the course of this world; you were allured by mundane matters into a worldly life. If any man love the world, the charity of the Father is not in him. Hence the command: love not the world, nor the things which are in the world (1 John 2:15).
76. Alia causa est ex parte daemonum, quibus serviebant, de quibus dicitur Sap. XIV, v. 27: infandorum idolorum cultura, omnis mali causa est et initium. Et quantum ad hoc dicit et secundum principem potestatis. Quam quidem causam describit tripliciter.
76. The other cause was the devils whom they served: the worship of abominable idols is the beginning and cause and end of all evil (Wis 14:27). In reference to this he says according to the prince of the power of this air, and he portrays three aspects of this cause.
Primo quidem quantum ad potestatem, dicens secundum principem potestatis, id est, potestatem exercentem, non quod habeat eam naturaliter, cum nec dominus, nec creator sit ex natura, sed inquantum dominatur hominibus qui se ei peccando subiiciunt. Io. XII, v. 31: nunc princeps huius mundi eiicietur foras. Et XIV, 30: venit princeps huius mundi, et in me non habet quidquam.
First, as regards their strength he says the prince of the power. He exerts a power, not by the fact that he has it naturally, since he is neither the lord nor creator by nature, but to the degree that he dominates over men who subject themselves to him by sinning. Now shall the prince of this world be cast out (John 12:31); for the prince of this world is coming; he has no power over me (John 14:30).
77. Secundo quantum ad habitationem, quia aeris huius, id est qui habet potestatem in hoc aere caliginoso.
77. Second, concerning their dwelling place he says of this air, that is, he has power in this darksome atmosphere.
Ubi sciendum est quod de istis daemonibus duplex est opinio apud doctores. Quidam enim dixerunt daemones qui ceciderunt, non fuisse de supremis ordinibus, sed de inferioribus, qui praesunt corporibus inferioribus. Constat autem totam creaturam corporalem administrari a Deo, ministerio angelorum. Et haec est opinio Ioannis Damasceni, scilicet quod primus eorum qui ceciderunt, praeerat ordini terrestrium, quod forte sumptum est ex dicto Platonis, qui ponebat quasdam substantias caelestes seu mundanas. Et secundum hoc exponitur hoc quod dicit aeris huius, id est ad hoc creati, ut praesiderent aeri huic.
Here it should be noted that two opinions exist among the doctors. For some held that the demons who had fallen were not from the higher ranks, but from the lower ones in charge of the lower bodies. It is evident that the whole of material creation is governed by God through the ministry of angels. Thus John Damascene was of the opinion that the first of those who had fallen had been in charge of the terrestrial order. He may have derived this from Plato’s talk about certain celestial or worldly substances. In this perspective of this air is interpreted that they were created to preside over this atmosphere.
Alii vero volunt, et melius, quod fuerint de supremis ordinibus, ita quod hoc quod dicit aeris huius, sit ad ostendendum ipsum aerem esse habitationem ipsorum in poenam eorum. Unde Iudas in sua canonica dicit: angelos vero qui non servaverunt suum principatum, sed dereliquerunt suum domicilium, in iudicium Dei magni, vinculis aeternis sub caligine reservavit.
Others preferred, and with better reason, that those angels who sinned were from the highest ranks. Of this air then designates that this atmosphere is the place of their punishment. Jude refers to this in his canonical letter: and the angels who did not keep their own position but left their proper dwelling he has kept in everlasting chains under darkness until the judgment of the great day (Jude 1:6).
Ratio autem quare non statim post eorum casum retrusi sunt in Infernum, sed dimittuntur in aere, est, quia Deus noluit quod ipsis peccantibus eorum creatio totaliter frustraretur, et ideo dedit eos hominibus in exercitium quo bonis praepararent coronam, malis autem aeternam mortem. Et quia usque ad diem iudicii est nobis tempus belli et merendi, ideo usque tunc in aere permanebunt; post diem vero iudicii retrudentur in Infernum.
The reason why they were not immediately thrust into hell after their fall, but released in the atmosphere, was because God did not want the creation of those who had sinned to be totally frustrated. Hence, he sent them to try men, by which the good would be prepared for glory and the wicked for eternal death. The time of our warfare and of merit will last until the day of judgment, till then they will remain in the atmosphere; after the day of judgment, however, they will be thrust back into hell.
Advertendum etiam quod una littera habet spiritus, et sic est genitivi casus, et ponitur singulare pro pluralibus, quasi dicat: spirituum. Alia littera habet spiritum, et tunc est accusativi casus, ut dicatur: secundum principem spiritum, id est, qui princeps est spiritus.
Observe also how one reading has of the spirit which, as a genitive singular, stands for the plural of the spirits. Another reading gives spirit in the accusative case; as if to say: according to the prince spirit, that is, the prince who is a spirit.
78. Tertio quantum ad operationem, ibi, cum dicit qui nunc operatur in filios diffidentiae, id est in illos qui a se repellunt fructum passionis Christi, qui erant filii diffidentiae. Vel quia de aeternis non habent fidem, nec spem salutis per Christum: et in talibus princeps potestatis aeris huius libere operatur, ducens eos quo vult: de quibus infra IV, 19, dicitur: qui desperantes semetipsos tradiderunt impudicitiae, in operationem immunditiae.
78. Third, he describes their activity when he states that now works on the children of despair. They are the children of despair who reject the fruit of Christ’s passion. Or, those who have no faith in eternal realities nor hope in salvation through Christ. In these the prince of the power of this air freely works, leading them wherever he wishes. Later it is said of them: who despairing, have given themselves up to licentiousness, unto the working of all uncleanness, unto covetousness (Eph 4:19).
Vel diffidentiae, id est de quibus eis est diffidendum, id est qui ex malitia peccant, in quibus princeps huius mundi etiam operatur ad nutum. De his enim qui ex ignorantia et infirmitate peccant, non est diffidendum, nec in eis princeps iste operatur ad nutum.
Perhaps, of despair means those of whom we should despair because they sin out of malice; the prince of this world doing whatever he pleases in them. For no one should despair of those who sin from ignorance or weakness, nor does that prince do whatever he wants with them.
79. Sed contra. De nemine est desperandum quamdiu vivit.
79. On the contrary, however, one should never despair of anyone else as long as he lives.
Respondeo. Dicendum est quod de aliquo potest esse duplex spes. Una ex parte hominis, alia ex parte divinae gratiae. Et sic de aliquo potest desperari ex parte sua, de quo tamen desperandum non est ex parte Dei, sicut desperandum erat de Lazaro iacente in sepulcro, quod resurgeret ex parte sua, de quo tamen desperandum non erat ex parte Dei, a quo resuscitatus est. De illis ergo, qui ex malitia sunt multum in peccatis demersi, si attendatur eorum virtus, desperari potest, Ps. LXVIII, 3: infixus sum in limo profundi, et non est substantia, non tamen si attendatur virtus divina.
I reply. Our hope in someone can be twofold. On the one hand, it can be in the man, and on the other, in divine grace. Thus someone may be despaired of as far as he himself is concerned, but never must confidence in God be lost. For instance, people rightly despaired of Lazarus’s power to bring himself back to life once he bad been placed in the tomb, but no trust should have been lost in the God who raised him up. Therefore, those who out of malice are sunk in their many sins can be despaired of from the point of view of their own strength: I have sunk into the abysmal mire, where there is no footing (Ps 69:3). But no one should despair if it is a question of the divine power.
De istis autem filiis diffidentiae dicitur infra V, 6: nemo vos seducat inanibus verbis. Propter hoc enim venit ira Dei in filios diffidentiae.
Concerning these children of despair it mentions further on: let no man deceive you with vain words. For because of these things comes the anger of God upon the children of unbelief (Eph 5:6).