Accensus et descensus Christi
Christ’s ascent and descent
4:7 Unicuique autem nostrum data est gratia secundum mensuram donationis Christi. [n. 205]
4:7 But to every one of us is given grace, according to the measure of the giving of Christ. [n. 205]
4:8 Propter quod dicit: ascendens in altum, captivam duxit captivitatem: dedit dona hominibus. [n. 206]
4:8 Wherefore he says: ascending on high, he led captivity captive: he gave gifts to men. [n. 206]
4:9 Quod autem ascendit, quid est, nisi quia et descendit primum in inferiores partes terrae? [n. 207]
4:9 Now, that he ascended, what is it, except that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? [n. 207]
4:10 Qui descendit, ipse est et qui ascendit super omnes caelos, ut impleret omnia. [n. 209]
4:10 He that descended is the same also that ascended above all the heavens: that he might fill all things. [n. 209]
204. Supra ostendit Apostolus ecclesiasticam unitatem quantum ad id quod in Ecclesia est commune, hic idem ostendit quantum ad hoc quod singulis fidelibus membris Ecclesiae est proprium et speciale.
204. Previously the Apostle dealt with ecclesial unity in the perspective of what is common within the Church, and now he manifests this same unity from the viewpoint of what is personal and specific to each of the faithful members of the Church.
Circa quod tria facit:
Concerning this he makes three points:
primo proponit distinctionem;
first, he points out the fact of distinctions;
secundo inducit ad hoc auctoritatem, ibi propter quod dicit, etc.;
second, he introduces an authority for them, at wherefore he says;
tertio ponit auctoritatis expositionem, ibi quod autem ascendit, et cetera.
third, he explains this authoritative quotation, at now that he ascended.
205. Dicit ergo: habemus in Ecclesia unum Deum, unam fidem, etc., sed tamen diversas gratias diversis particulariter collatas habemus, quia unicuique nostrum data est gratia, quasi dicat: nullus nostrum est qui non sit particeps divinae gratiae et communionis. Io. I, 16: de plenitudine eius omnes accepimus gratiam pro gratia.
205. He states: we have in the Church one God, one faith, one baptism. Nonetheless, each of us has the diverse graces especially granted to him—to every one of us is given grace. As though he said: none of us lack a share in divine grace and communion, for of his fullness we all have received; and grace for grace (John 1:16).
Sed certe ista gratia non est data omnibus uniformiter seu aequaliter, sed secundum mensuram donationis Christi, id est secundum quod Christus est dator, et eam singulis mensuravit. Rom. XII, 6: habentes donationes secundum gratiam quae data est nobis differentes.
This grace, however, is certainly not bestowed on everyone uniformly and equally but according to the measure of the giving of Christ. Christ is the donor who metes out the grace to each, who have different gifts according to the grace that is given us (Rom 12:6).
Haec differentia non est ex fato, nec a casu, nec ex merito, sed ex donatione Christi, id est secundum quod Christus nobis commensuravit. Ipse enim solus recepit Spiritum non ad mensuram, Io. III, 34, caeteri autem sancti ad mensuram recipiunt. Rom. XII, 3: unicuique sicut Deus divisit mensuram fidei. I Cor. III, 8: unusquisque propriam mercedem accipiet, et cetera. Matth. XXV, 15: unicuique secundum propriam virtutem, et cetera. Quia sicut in potestate Christi est dare vel non dare, ita dare tantum vel minus.
The variation does not spring from fate or chance, nor from merit, but from the giving of Christ; that is, according as Christ allots it to us. Only he has received the Spirit without measure (John 3:34); the rest of the saints obtain it in a limited degree, according as God has divided to every one the measure of faith (Rom 12:3). And every man shall receive his own reward, according to his own labor (1 Cor 3:8). Again, to one he gave five talents, and to another two, and to another one, to every one according to his proper ability (Matt 25:15). Just as it is in Christ’s power to give or not, so he can grant more or less.
206. Sequitur propter quod dicit, et cetera. Hic ponit quamdam auctoritatem assumptam de Ps. LXVII, 19, et refertur ad hoc quod dixit secundum mensuram donationis Christi; ubi tria facit. Primo commemorat Christi ascensionem; secundo humani generis liberationem; tertio ponit donorum spiritualium collationem. Partes consequuntur se.
206. Wherefore he says introduces an authoritative text from Psalm 67:19 supporting according to the measure of the giving of Christ. Three points are made. First, it speaks of Christ’s ascension; second, of mankind’s liberation; third, of the bestowal of spiritual gifts. Each of these will follow in order.
Ostendit ergo primum, dicens sic: propter quod, scilicet significandum, dicit, scilicet propheta David in Ps. LXVII, 19: ascendens Christus in altum, et cetera. Mich. II, 13: ascendit ante eos pandens iter, et cetera. Iob XXXIX, 18: in altum alas erigit, et cetera. Ascendens, inquam, sed non solus, quia captivam duxit captivitatem, eos scilicet quos diabolus captivaverat. Humanum enim genus captivatum erat, et sancti in caritate decedentes, qui meruerant gloriam, in captivitate diaboli detinebantur quasi captivi in Limbo. Is. V, 13: ductus est captivus populus meus, et cetera. Hanc ergo captivitatem Christus liberavit, et secum duxit in caelum. Is. XLIX, 24 s.: numquid tolletur a forti praeda, aut quod captum fuerit a robusto salvabitur, ac salvum poterit esse? Quia haec dicit Dominus: equidem et captivitas a forti tolletur, et quod ablatum fuerit a robusto, salvabitur.
He refers to the ascension saying: wherefore to signify this the prophet David says: ‘ascending on high’ (Ps 68:18). For he shall go up that shall open the way before them. (Mic 2:13). Christ sets up his wings on high (Job 39:18). He ascends, I say, but not alone because he led captivity captive, that is, those whom the devil had captured. For the human race was imprisoned; the saints who had died in love, and so merited eternal glory, were held like prisoners by the devil in limbo. My people led away captive because they had not knowledge (Isa 5:13). Christ liberated these prisoners and brought them with himself to heaven. Shall the prey be taken from the strong? Or can that which was taken by the mighty be delivered? For thus says the Lord: yes truly. Even the captivity shall be taken away from the strong: and that which was taken by the mighty shall be delivered (Isa 49:24–25).
Sed certe hoc non verificatur solum quantum ad iam mortuos, sed etiam quantum ad viventes, qui captivi tenebantur sub peccato, quos, a peccato liberans, servos fecit iustitiae, ut dicitur Rom. VI, 18, et sic quodammodo eos in captivitatem duxit, non ad perniciem sed ad salutem. Lc. V, 10: ex hoc iam homines eris capiens.
Indeed, this is not only true of those already dead; it also applies to the living. Held under sin’s bondage, Christ made men the slaves of justice (Rom 6:18) in delivering them from sin. Thus in some way he led men captive not unto destruction but salvation. From henceforth you shall catch men (Luke 5:10).
Non solum autem homines a diaboli captivitate eripuit, et suae servituti subiecit, sed etiam eos spiritualibus bonis dotavit. Unde subditur dedit dona hominibus, scilicet gratiae et gloriae. Ps. LXXXIII, 12: gratiam et gloriam dabit Dominus. II Petr. I, 4: per quem et pretiosa nobis promissa donavit, et cetera.
Besides rescuing men from a diabolical slavery and placing them in his own service, he has enriched them spiritually. Hence he adds he gave gifts of grace and glory to men. For God loves mercy and truth; the Lord will give grace and glory (Ps 84:11). By whom he has given us most great and precious promises, that by these you may be made partakers of the divine nature (2 Pet 1:4).
Nec est contrarium quod in littera praecedenti dicitur accepit dona in hominibus, quia certe ipse dedit ut Deus et accepit ut homo in fidelibus, sicut in membris suis. Dedit in caelo sicut Deus, et accepit in terra secundum modum loquendi quo dicitur Matth. c. XXV, 40: quod uni ex minimis meis fecistis, mihi fecistis.
This version does not contradict the reading which has: he received gifts in men. Clearly, he as God bestows the gifts which he as man receives in the faithful who are his members. In heaven he gives, since he is God, while on earth he accepts what is given in the manner described: as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me (Matt 25:40).
207. Deinde cum dicit quod autem ascendit, etc., exponit propositam auctoritatem, et
207. Next, at now, that he ascended, he comments on the authority:
primo quantum ad ascensionem;
first, in reference to the ascension;
secundo quantum ad materiam donationis, ibi et ipse dedit, et cetera.
second, regarding what is given men, at and he gave some (Eph 4:11).
Circa primum duo facit.
He does two things concerning the first:
Primo ostendit quomodo descendit, ibi qui descendit;
first, he shows how he descended, at he that descended;
secundo quomodo ascendit, ibi qui ascendit, et cetera.
second, how he ascended, at that ascended.
208. Circa primum considerandum, quod cum Christus vere sit Deus, inconveniens videbatur quod sibi conveniret descendere, quia nihil est Deo sublimius. Et ideo ad hanc dubitationem excludendam subdit Apostolus quod autem ascendit quid est, nisi quia et descendit primum, et cetera. Ac si diceret: ideo postea dixi quod ascendit, quia ipse primo descenderat, ut ascenderet: aliter enim ascendere non potuisset.
208. In reflecting upon the first point, it appears improper for Christ, who is true God, to lower himself, since nothing is more eminent than God. To remove any doubts on this score the Apostle asserts, now, that he ascended, what is it, except that he also descended first. As if he would say: for this reason do I first mention that he ascended and only afterward that he descended; he descended in order that he might ascend. For otherwise he could not have ascended.
Quomodo autem descendit, subdit, dicens quia in inferiores partes terrae. Quod potest intelligi dupliciter. Uno modo ut per inferiores partes terrae intelligantur istae partes terrae, in quibus nos habitamus, quae dicuntur inferiores, eo quod sunt infra caelum et aerem. In has autem partes terrae dicitur descendisse Filius Dei, non motu locali, sed assumptione inferioris et terrenae naturae, secundum illud Phil. II, 7: exinanivit semetipsum, et cetera. Alio modo potest intelligi de Inferno, qui etiam infra nos est. Illuc enim descendit dominus secundum animam, ut inde sanctos liberaret. Et sic videtur hoc eis convenire quod dixerat: captivam duxit captivitatem. Zach. IX, 11: tu quoque in sanguine testamenti tui eduxisti vinctos tuos de lacu, in quo non erat aqua. Apoc. X, 1: vidi alium angelum fortem descendentem de caelo, et cetera. Ex. III, 7: vidi afflictionem populi mei qui est in Aegypto, etc.; et sequitur: et descendi liberare eum.
How he descended is shown in into the lower parts of the earth, which can be interpreted in two ways. In one, the lower regions are understood as those parts of the earth we inhabit. It is lower than the heavens and the atmosphere. The Son of God came down to these sections of the earth, not by any local movement, but by assuming a lowly, terrestrial nature; according to what is written: he emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man (Phil 2:7). In the second way it can be understood as referring to hell, which is even below us. He descended thither in his soul that he might free the saints from it. This seems to agree with what he said above: he led captivity captive. You also, by the blood of your testament, have sent forth your prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water (Zech 9:11). I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven (Rev 10:1). I have seen the affliction of my people in Egypt, and I have heard their cry . . . and knowing their sorrow, I have come down to deliver them (Exod 3:7–8).
209. Deinde cum dicit qui descendit, etc., manifestat eius ascensionem quantum ad tria. Primo quantum ad personam ascendentis, cum dicit qui descendit, ipse est qui ascendit, et cetera. In quo designatur unitas personae Dei et hominis. Descendit enim, sicut dictum est, Filius Dei assumendo humanam naturam, ascendit autem Filius hominis secundum humanam naturam ad vitae immortalis sublimitatem. Et sic est idem Filius Dei qui descendit et Filius hominis qui ascendit. Io. c. III, 13: nemo ascendit in caelum, nisi qui descendit de caelo Filius hominis, qui est in caelo. Ubi notatur quod humiles, qui voluntarie descendunt, spiritualiter Deo sublimante ascendunt, quia qui se humiliat, exaltabitur, Lc. XIV, 11.
209. Next, at he that descended, three aspects of the ascension are discussed. First, he that descended is the same also that ascended indicates the person who ascends. It affirms the unity of person, the divine and the human. For he who descended, as was said, is the Son of God taking on human nature. He who ascends is the Son of man, ascending in his human nature to the sublimity of immortal life. Thus the Son of God who descended and the Son of man who ascended are identical: and no man has ascended into heaven, but he that descended from heaven, the Son of man who is in heaven (John 3:13). Notice too how the humble who voluntarily lower themselves, spiritually ascend to the grandeur of God: he that humbles himself shall be exalted (Luke 14:11).
Secundo ostendit terminum ascensionis, cum dicit super omnes caelos. Ps. LXVII, 34: qui ascendit super omnes caelos ad orientem. Nec solum intelligendum est quod ascenderit super omnes caelos corporales, sed etiam super omnem spiritualem creaturam. Supra c. I, 20: constituens illum ad dexteram suam in caelestibus super omnem principatum, et potestatem, et virtutem, et dominationem, et omne nomen quod nominatur, et cetera.
Second, above all the heavens denotes the destination of the ascension. He ascends above the heaven of heavens, to the east (Ps 68:33). This should not be understood simply in reference to an ascension above the physical heavens, but also above every spiritual creature. God has set Christ on his right hand in the heavenly places. Above all principality and power and virtue and dominion and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come (Eph 1:20–21).
Tertio ponit ascensionis fructum, cum dicit ut adimpleret omnia, id est omne genus hominum spiritualibus donis repleret. Ps. LXIV, 5: replebimur in bonis domus tuae. Eccli. XXIV, 26: a generationibus meis adimplemini. Vel adimpleret, id est ut ad effectum perduceret, omnia quae de ipso erant scripta. Lc. ult.: oportet impleri omnia quae scripta sunt in lege et prophetis et psalmis de me.
Third, the fruitful outcome of the ascension is that he might fill all things, bestowing spiritual gifts on every race of men. We shall be filled with the good things of your house (Ps 65:4); come over to me, all that desire me, and be filled with my fruits (Sir 24:26). Or, that he might fulfill, that is, put into effect all things written concerning himself: all things need to be fulfilled which are written in the law of Moses and in the prophets and in the psalms, concerning me (Luke 24:44).
Bestowal of gifts
4:11 Et ipse dedit quosdam quidem apostolos, quosdam autem prophetas, alios vero evangelistas, alios autem pastores et doctores, [n. 211]
4:11 And he gave some apostles, and some prophets, and others evangelists, and others pastors and doctors: [n. 211]
4:12 ad consummationem sanctorum in opus ministerii, in aedificationem corporis Christi: [n. 213]
4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: [n. 213]
4:13 donec occurramus omnes in unitatem fidei, et agnitionis Filii Dei, in virum perfectum, in mensuram aetatis plenitudinis Christi: [n. 215]
4:13 Until we all meet into the unity of faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the age of the fullness of Christ: [n. 215]
210. Hic exponit Apostolus quod supra dixerat de donatione donorum.
210. Here the Apostle expounds what was mentioned earlier about the bestowal of gifts.