Maledictio opera legis
Curse of the law’s works
3:10 Quicumque enim ex operibus legis sunt, sub maledicto sunt. Scriptum est enim: maledictus omnis qui non permanserit in omnibus quae scripta sunt in libro legis ut faciat ea. [n. 134]
3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under a curse. For it is written: cursed is everyone who does not abide in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. [n. 134]
3:11 Quoniam autem in lege nemo justificatur apud Deum, manifestum est: quia justus ex fide vivit. [n. 140]
3:11 But that in the law no man is justified with God, it is manifest: because the just man lives by faith. [n. 140]
3:12 Lex autem non est ex fide, sed: qui fecerit ea, vivet in illis. [n. 143]
3:12 But the law is not of faith: but he who does those things shall live in them. [n. 143]
134. Supra ostendit Apostolus virtutem fidei, hic consequenter ostendit defectum legis. Et
134. Above, the Apostle proved the power of faith; now he shows the shortcoming of the law.
primo per auctoritatem legis;
First, through the authority of the law;
secundo per humanam consuetudinem, ibi fratres, secundum hominem dico, et cetera.
second, through a human custom, at brethren, I speak after the manner of a man, etc. (Gal 3:15).
Circa primum tria facit.
Concerning the first, he does three things.
Primo ostendit damnum occasionaliter ex lege consecutum;
First, he shows the curse brought on by the law;
secundo legis insufficientiam ad ipsum damnum removendum, ibi quoniam autem in lege, etc.;
second, the law’s inability to remove that curse, at but that in the law;
tertio Christi sufficientiam, qua ipsum damnum est remotum, ibi Christus autem nos redemit, et cetera.
third, the sufficiency of Christ by whom that curse has been removed, at Christ has redeemed us (Gal 3:13).
Circa primum duo facit.
In regard to the first he does two things.
Primo proponit intentum;
First, he sets forth his intended proposition;
secundo probat propositum, ibi scriptum est enim: maledictus, et cetera.
second, he proves the proposition, at for it is written.
135. Dicit ergo: quicumque enim, et cetera. Nam quia dixerat quod qui ex fide sunt benedicentur, cum sint filii Abrahae, posset quis dicere quod propter opera legis et propter fidem benedicuntur, et ideo, hoc excludens, dicit quicumque ex operibus legis sunt, sub maledicto sunt.
135. He says therefore: for as many as are of the works of the law. For since he had said that they who are of faith will be blessed through being sons of Abraham, someone might say that they are blessed both on account of the works of the law and on account of faith. Hence to exclude this he says: as many as are of the works of the law are under a curse.
Sed contra. Antiqui patres fuerunt in operibus legis, ergo sunt maledicti, et per consequens damnati, quod est error Manichaei. Ideoque hoc est sane intelligendum.
But against this it can be said that the ancient fathers were of the works of the law. Therefore they are under a curse and, consequently, damned, which is a Manichean error. Hence it is necessary to understand this correctly.
Et attendendum est quod Apostolus non dicit: quicumque servant opera legis sub maledicto sunt, quia hoc est falsum pro tempore legis, sed dicit quicumque ex operibus legis, etc., id est, quicumque in operibus legis confidunt, et putant se iustificari per ea, sub maledicto sunt.
And it should be noted that the Apostle does not say, as many as observe the works of the law are under a curse, because this is false when applied to the time of the law. He says rather: as many as are of the works of the law, i.e., whoever trusts in the works of the law and believes that they are made just by them are under a curse.
Aliud enim est esse in operibus legis, et aliud est servare legem; nam hoc est legem implere, et qui eam implet, non est sub maledicto. Esse vero in operibus legis est in eis confidere et spem ponere. Et qui in eis hoc modo sunt, sub maledicto sunt, scilicet transgressionis, quod quidem non facit lex, quia concupiscentia non venit ex lege, sed cognitio peccati, ad quod proni sumus per concupiscentiam per legem prohibitam. Inquantum ergo lex cognitionem peccati facit, et non praebet auxilium contra peccatum, dicuntur esse sub maledicto, cum nequeant illud per ipsa opera evadere.
For it is one thing to be of the works of the law and another to observe the law. The latter consists in fulfilling the law, so that one who fulfills it is not under a curse. But to be of the works of the law is to trust in them and place one’s hope in them. And they that are of the law in this way are under a curse, namely, of transgression; not that the law produces the curse, for concupiscence does not come from the law, but the knowledge of sin does, to which we are prone through concupiscence banned by the law. Therefore, inasmuch as the law begets a knowledge of sin and offers no help against sin, they are said to be under a curse, since they are powerless to escape it by those works.
136. Sunt autem quaedam opera legis caeremonialia, quae in observationibus fiebant. Alia sunt opera quae pertinent ad mores, de quibus sunt mandata moralia. Unde secundum Glossam hoc quod hic dicitur quicumque ex operibus legis, etc., intelligendum est de operibus caeremonialibus, et non de moralibus.
136. Furthermore, some works of the law are ceremonies carried out in the observances; others are works that pertain to morals, with which the moral precepts deal. Hence, according to a Gloss, that which is said here, namely, as many as are of the works of the law, are under a curse, is to be understood of ceremonial works and not of moral works.
Vel dicendum quod loquitur hic Apostolus de omnibus operibus tam caeremonialibus quam moralibus. Opera enim non sunt causa quod aliquis sit iustus apud Deum, sed potius sunt executiones et manifestationes iustitiae. Nam nullus per opera iustificatur apud Deum, sed per habitum fidei, non quidem acquisitum, sed infusum. Et ideo quicumque ex operibus iustificari quaerunt, sub maledicto sunt, quia per ea peccata non removentur, nec aliquis quoad Deum iustificatur, sed per habitum fidei caritate informatum. Hebr. XI, 39: hi omnes testimonio fidei, et cetera.
Or it should be said that the Apostle is speaking here of all works, both ceremonial and moral. For the works are not the cause making one to be just before God; rather they are the carrying out and manifestation of justice. For no one is made just before God by works but by the habit of faith, not acquired but infused. And therefore, as many as seek to be justified by works are under a curse, because sin is not removed nor anyone justified in the sight of God by them, but by the habit of faith vivified by charity: and all these being approved by the testimony of faith, received not the promise (Heb 11:39).
137. Consequenter cum dicit scriptum est enim, etc., probat propositum, et hoc primo quidem secundum Glossam ostenditur per hoc quod nullus potest legem servare hoc modo, quo lex praecipit Deut. XXVIII, 15, quod omnis qui non permanserit in omnibus quae scripta sunt in libro legis, ut faciat ea, id est, qui non impleverit totam legem, sit maledictus. Sed implere totam legem est impossibile, ut dicitur Act. XV, 10: ut quid tentatis imponere iugum, quod neque nos, neque patres nostri portare potuimus? Ergo nullus est ex operibus legis, quin sit maledictus.
137. Then when he says, for it is written, he proves the proposition which, according to a Gloss, is proved by the fact that no one can keep the law in the way in which the law prescribed: as many as do not keep and do all that is written in the book of the law, i.e., who do not fulfill the whole law, they shall be cursed (Deut 28:15). But it is impossible to fulfill the whole law, as it is said: why do you tempt God to put a yoke upon the necks of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? (Acts 15:10). Therefore by the works of the law no one is anything but cursed.
138. Potest etiam accipi hoc quod dicitur scriptum est enim, etc., non ut probatio propositi, sed ut ostendatur eius expositio; quasi dicat: dico quod sunt sub maledicto, sub illo scilicet de quo dicit lex scriptum est enim: maledictus est omnis, etc.: ut intelligatur de peccato, id est, de maledicto. Nam lex imperat bona facienda seu mala vitanda, et imperando obligat, sed non dat virtutem obediendi. Et ideo dicit maledictus, quasi malo adiectus, omnis, nullum excipiendo, quia, ut dicitur Act. X, 34, non est personarum acceptio apud Deum. Qui non permanserit usque in finem. Matth. XXIV, 13: qui perseveraverit usque in finem. In omnibus, non in quibusdam tantum, quia, ut dicitur Iac. II, 10, quicumque totam legem servaverit, offendat autem in uno, factus est omnium reus. Quae scripta sunt in libro legis, ut faciat ea, non solum ut credat seu velit tantum, sed ut opere impleat. Ps. CX, v. 10: intellectus bonus omnibus facientibus eum.
138. In another way the passage, for it is written, can be taken not as a proof of the proposition but as an exposition of the proof. As if to say: I say that they are under a curse, i.e., under that one of which the law says, for it is written: ‘cursed is every one’, where the curse is understood to refer to sin. For the law commands that good be done and evils avoided, and by commanding it puts one under the obligation without giving the virtue to obey. And hence he says, cursed, as though placed in contact with evil, is everyone, without exception; because, as it is said: God is not a respecter of persons (Acts 10:34). He that does not abide to the end. He that shall persevere to the end (Matt 24:13); in all things, not in some only, because as it is said: whosoever shall keep the whole law, but offend in one point, is become guilty of all (Jas 2:10); which are written in the book of the law to do them, not only to believe or will but actually to fulfill them in their works: a good understanding to all that do it (Ps 111:10).
Sancti autem patres etsi in operibus legis erant, salvabantur tamen in fide venturi, confidentes in eius gratia, et saltem spiritualiter legem implentes. Moyses enim, ut in Glossa dicitur, multa quidem praecepit, quae nullus implere potuit ad domandam Iudaeorum superbiam dicentium: non deest qui impleat, sed deest qui iubeat.
Yet the holy patriarchs, although they were of the works of the law, were nevertheless saved by faith in one to come, by trusting in His grace and by fulfilling the law at least spiritually. For Moses, says a Gloss, did indeed command many things which no one could fulfill, in order to tame the pride of the Jews who said: there are many willing and able, but no one to command.
139. Sed hic est quaestio de hoc quod dicitur maledictus omnis, et cetera. Dicitur enim Rom. XII, 14: benedicite, et nolite maledicere.
139. But a difficulty arises about saying cursed is everyone. For it is said: bless, and curse not (Rom 12:14).
Respondeo. Dicendum est quod maledicere nihil aliud est quam malum dicere; possum ergo dicere bonum esse malum, et malum esse bonum, et rursum bonum esse bonum, et malum esse malum. Et primum quidem prohibet Apostolus, dicens: nolite maledicere, id est, nolite dicere bonum esse malum, et e contra; sed secundum licet, et ideo cum vituperamus peccatum, maledicimus quidem, sed non dicendo bonum malum, sed dicimus malum esse malum. Et ideo licet peccatorem maledicere, id est, dicere eum esse malo addictum vel esse malum.
I answer that to curse is nothing else but to say evil. I can therefore say that good is evil and evil good, and again, that good is good and evil evil. The first is what the Apostle forbids when he says, curse not, i.e., do not say that good is evil and evil good. But the second is lawful. Hence when we denounce sin, we do indeed curse, not by way of calling good evil but by saying that evil is evil. Therefore it is lawful to curse a sinner, i.e., to say that he is addicted to evil or is evil.
140. Consequenter cum dicit quoniam autem in lege, etc., ostendit insufficientiam legis non valentis ab illo maledicto eripere ex hoc quod iustificare non poterat. Ad quod ostendendum utitur quodam syllogismo in secunda figura, et est talis: iustitia est ex fide, sed lex ex fide non est; ergo lex iustificare non potest. Circa hoc ergo primo ponit conclusionem, cum dicit quoniam autem in lege nemo iustificatur;
140. Then when he says, but that in the law, he shows the inability of the law to snatch us from that curse, for it could not make one just. To show this he makes use of a syllogism in the second figure. Justice is by faith, but the law is not by faith. Therefore the law cannot justify. With respect to this, therefore: first, he states the conclusion when he says, but that in the law no man is justified;
secundo autem maiorem, cum dicit quia iustus ex fide vivit;
second, the major premise, when he says because the just man lives by faith;
tertio minorem, cum dicit lex autem non est ex fide.
third, the minor, when he says but the law is not of faith.
141. Dicit ergo: dico quod per legem maledictio inducta est, nec tamen ab illa maledictione lex eripit, quia manifestum est quod nemo in lege iustificatur apud Deum, id est per opera legis.
141. Therefore he says: I say that by the law a curse was introduced, and yet the law cannot extricate one from that curse, because it is obvious that in the law no man is justified with God, i.e., through the works of the law.
Circa quod intelligendum, quod illi qui negaverunt Vetus Testamentum, ex hoc verbo occasionem sumpserunt. Et ideo dicendum est quod nemo iustificatur in lege, id est per legem. Nam per eam cognitio quidem peccati habebatur, ut dicitur Rom. V, sed non habebatur per eam iustificatio. Rom. III, 20: ex operibus legis nullus iustificabitur.
On this point it should be noted that those who rejected the Old Testament took occasion to do so from this word. Hence it must be said that no one is justified in the law, i.e., through the law. For through it came the knowledge of sin (Rom 3:20); but justification did not come through it: by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified (Rom 3:20).
Sed contra Iac. II, 21 dicitur: nonne Abraham ex operibus iustificatus est?
But against this, it is said: was not Abraham our father justified by works? (Jas 2:21).
Respondeo. Dicendum est, quod iustificare potest accipi dupliciter: vel quantum ad executionem iustitiae et manifestationem, et hoc modo iustificatur homo, id est, iustus ostenditur, ex operibus operatis. Vel quantum ad habitum iustitiae infusum, et hoc modo non iustificatur quis ex operibus, cum habitus iustitiae qua homo iustificatur apud Deum, non sit acquisitus, sed per gratiam fidei infusus. Et ideo signanter Apostolus dicit apud Deum, quia iustitia quae est apud Deum, in interiori corde est: iustitia autem quae est ex operibus, id est, quae manifestat iustum, est apud homines. Et hoc modo Apostolus accepit apud Deum. Rom. II, 13: non enim auditores, sed factores, et cetera. Rom. IV, 2: si ex operibus Abraham iustificatus est, habet gloriam, sed non apud Deum, et cetera.
I answer that ‘to be justified’ can be taken in two senses: either as referring to the execution and manifestation of justice, and in this way a man is justified, i.e., proved just, by the works performed; or as referring to the infused habit of justice, and in this way one is not justified by works, since the habit of justice by which a man is justified before God is not acquired but infused by the grace of faith. Therefore the Apostle says significantly, with God, because the justice which is before God is interior in the heart, whereas the justice which is by works, i.e., which manifests that one is just, is before men. And it is in this sense that the Apostle says, with God: for not the hearers of the law, but the doers are just before God (Rom 2:13); for if Abraham were justified by works, he has glory, but not before God (Rom 4:2).
Sic ergo patet conclusio rationis, scilicet quod lex iustificare non potest.
Thus, therefore, the conclusion of his reasoning is obvious, namely, that the law can not justify.
142. Consequenter cum dicit quia iustus, etc., ponit maiorem, quae est ex auctoritate Scripturae, Hab. II, 4 et introducitur etiam Rom. I, 17 et ad Hebr. X, 38.
142. Then when he says, because the just man lives by faith, he presents the major premise, which is based on Scriptural authority, i.e., Habakkuk (Hab 2:4), and restated in Romans (Rom 1:17) and Hebrews (Heb 10:38).
Circa quod notandum est, quod in homine est duplex vita, scilicet vita naturae et vita iustitiae. Vita quidem naturae est per animam; unde anima a corpore recedente, corpus remanet mortuum. Vita vero iustitiae est per Deum habitantem in nobis per fidem. Et ideo primum quo Deus est in anima hominis, est fides. Hebr. XI, 6: accedentem ad Deum oportet credere. Eph. III, 17: habitare Christum per fidem, et cetera.
Concerning this point it should be noted that in man there is a twofold life; namely, the life of nature and the life of justice. Now the life of nature is from the soul; hence when the soul is separated from the body, the body continues but is dead. But the life of justice is through God dwelling in us by faith. Therefore the first way in which God is in the soul of man is by faith: he who comes to God must believe (Heb 11:6); that Christ may dwell by faith in your hearts (Eph 3:17).