Duo filii Abrahae
Abraham’s two sons
4:21 Dicite mihi qui sub lege vultis esse: legem non legistis? [n. 247]
4:21 Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, have you not read the law? [n. 247]
4:22 Scriptum est enim: quoniam Abraham duos filios habuit: unum de ancilla, et unum de libera. [n. 249]
4:22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman and the other by a free woman. [n. 249]
4:23 Sed qui de ancilla, secundum carnem natus est: qui autem de libera, per repromissionem:
4:23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh: but he who was of the free woman was by promise.
247. Supra Apostolus probavit dignitatem gratiae per consuetudinem humanam hic autem probat eam auctoritate Scripturae. Et
247. Above, the Apostle showed the pre-eminence of grace by a human example; here he proves it on the authority of Scripture.
primo proponit factum;
First, he proposes a fact;
secundo exponit mysterium, ibi quae sunt per allegoriam dicta, etc.;
second, he expounds its mystery, at which things are said by an allegory (Gal 4:24);
tertio concludit propositum, ibi itaque, fratres mei, non sumus, et cetera.
third, he concludes his proposition, at so then, brethren (Gal 4:31).
Circa primum duo facit.
As to the first, he does two things:
Primo excitat ad attentionem;
first, he elicits their attention;
secundo proponit suam intentionem, ibi scriptum est enim, et cetera.
second, he sets forth his intention, at for it is written.
248. Dicit ergo dicite mihi, etc., quasi dicat: si vos estis sapientes, attendite ad ea quae obiicio, et si non potestis contradicere, cedatis. Iob VI, 29: respondete, obsecro, absque contentione, et cetera. Facio vobis autem hanc obiectionem: aut legistis legem, aut non legistis. Sed si legistis, scire debetis ea quae in ea scripta sunt: sed ipsa probat se dimittendam; si autem non legistis, non debetis recipere quod nescitis. Prov. IV, 25: palpebrae tuae praecedant gressus tuos.
248. He says therefore: tell me, you who desire to be under the law, have you not read the law? As if to say: if you are wise, consider my objections; if you cannot answer them, yield: answer, I beseech you, without contention: and speaking that which is just, answer me (Job 6:29). Now I raise this objection to you. You have either read the law or not. If you have read it, you ought to know the things written in it. But those things prove that it should be abandoned. If you have not read it, you ought not accept what you do not know: let your eyelids go before your steps (Prov 4:25).
Dicit autem sub lege, id est sub onere legis. Nam subire aliquod leve non est vis, sed subire grave onus, sicut est onus legis, magnae stultitiae signum esse videtur. Act. XV, v. 10: hoc est onus, quod neque patres nostri, neque nos portare potuimus, etc., quod est intelligendum de illis, qui volunt carnaliter esse sub lege.
He says under the law, i.e., under the burden of the law. For to shoulder something light is not a feat; but to assume a heavy burden, such as the burden of the law, seems to be a mark of exceeding stupidity: this is a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear (Acts 15:10); which is to be understood of those who wish to live according to the flesh under the law.
249. Consequenter cum dicit scriptum est enim, etc., proponit suam intentionem, dicens: ideo quaero an legistis legem, quia in ipsa continentur quaedam, quae manifeste dicunt legem non esse tenendam. Et specialiter Apostolus facit mentionem de duobus filiis Abrahae. Et primo ponit unum in quo conveniunt; secundo duo in quibus differunt.
249. Then when he says, it is written that Abraham had two sons, he sets forth his intention, saying: the reason I ask whether you have read the law is that it contains certain things which clearly indicate that the law must not be retained. And the Apostle mentions specifically the two sons of Abraham. First, he states one point in which they are alike. Second, two points in which they differ.
Conveniunt quidem in uno patre. Unde dicit scriptum est, quoniam Abraham duos filios habuit. Habuit etiam alios quam istos duos filios, quia post mortem Sarae alios genuit de Caethura, ut dicitur Gen. XXV, 2; de quibus mentionem non fecit Apostolus, quia non pertinent ad hanc significationem. Possunt tamen per istos duos, scilicet filium ancillae et filium liberae, duo populi scilicet, Iudaeorum et gentium, designari; per alios vero filios Caethurae, schismatici et haeretici.
They are alike in having the same father. Hence he says, it is written that Abraham had two sons. In fact he had more than two, because after Sarah’s death, he fathered other sons of Cetura, as is stated in Genesis 25. But the Apostle does not mention them because they have no role in this allegory. Now two peoples, the Jews and the gentiles, can be signified by those two, i.e., the son of the bondwoman and the son of the free woman—and by the other sons of Cetura, schismatics and heretics.
Qui quidem duo populi conveniunt in uno patre; quia Iudaei sunt filii Abraham secundum carnem, gentiles vero secundum imitationem fidei. Vel sunt filii Abrahae, id est Dei, qui est Pater omnium. Mal. II, 10: nonne Deus Pater omnium, etc., Rom. III, v. 29: an Iudaeorum tantum?
These two peoples are alike in having one father, for the Jews are the children of Abraham according to the flesh, but the gentiles, by imitating him in faith. Or, they are the sons of Abraham, i.e., of God, who is the Father of all: have we not all one Father? (Mal 2:10); is he the God of the Jews only? (Rom 3:29).
250. Differunt autem in duobus, scilicet in conditione matris, quia unus est de ancilla, ut dicitur Gen. XXI, 10. Nec tamen peccavit Abraham ad eam accedens, quia accessit ad eam coniugis affectu et ordinatione divina. Alius autem est de libera, scilicet Isaac, quem genuit ei Sara uxor sua. Gen. c. XVIII, 10: veniam ad te tempore isto, vita comite, et Sara uxor tua, et cetera.
250. But they differ in two respects: namely, in the condition of their mother, because one is of a bondwoman (Gen 21:10). Yet Abraham did not sin by lying with her, because he approached her in conjugal affection and under God’s ordinance; the other, namely, Isaac, whom Sarah, his wife, begot unto him, was born of a free woman: I will return and come to you at this time, life accompanying, and Sarah your wife shall have a son (Gen 18:10).
Item differunt in modo generationis, quia qui de ancilla, scilicet Ismael, secundum carnem natus est; qui autem de libera, scilicet Isaac, per repromissionem.
Also, they differ as to the manner of procreation, because he who was of the bondwoman, i.e., Ishmael, was born according to the flesh: but he who was of the free woman, i.e., Isaac, was by promise.
251. Sed vitandus est hic duplex falsus intellectus. Unus, ne intelligatur per hoc, quod dicit secundum carnem natus est, ut accipiatur hic caro pro actu peccati, secundum illud Rom. VIII, 13: si secundum carnem vixeritis, moriemini, etc.; II Cor. X, 3: in carne ambulantes non secundum carnem militamus; quasi Abraham peccante natus sit Ismael.
251. Here a twofold misinterpretation must be avoided. The first is lest we understand born according to the flesh as though flesh refers here to an act of sin, as it does in Romans: if you live according to the flesh, you shall die (Rom 8:13), and 2 Corinthians: for although we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh (2 Cor 10:3)—as though Abraham sinned in begetting Ishmael.
Alius intellectus, ut per hoc, quod dicitur per repromissionem, credatur Isaac non secundum carnem natus, id est, secundum carnalem commixtionem, sed per Spiritum Sanctum. Est ergo dicendum, quod secundum carnem, id est secundum naturam carnis natus est Ismael. Nam naturale est in hominibus, quod ex muliere iuvencula foecunda, sicut erat Agar, et sene, nascatur filius. Et quod per repromissionem, id est supra naturam carnis, natus est Isaac. Non enim ad hoc se extendit natura carnis, ut ex viro seni et vetula sterili, sicut fuit Sara, filius nascatur.
The other is lest we suppose, when it is said, by promise, that Isaac was not born according to the flesh, i.e., through a carnal union, but by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, it must be said that Ishmael was born according to the flesh; i.e., according to the nature of the flesh. For it is natural among men that from a fertile young woman, such as Hagar was, and from a man advanced in years, a son be born. But that Isaac be born according to promise is beyond the nature of the flesh: for the nature of the flesh cannot achieve that a son be born of an old man and a barren old woman, as Sarah was.
Per Ismael significatur populus Iudaeorum, qui secundum carnem natus est; per Isaac vero intelligitur populus gentium, qui natus secundum repromissionem, qua promissum est Abrahae, quod esset futurus pater multarum gentium. Gen. XXII, 18: in semine tuo benedicentur, et cetera.
In Ishmael are signified the Jewish people, who were born according to the flesh; in Isaac are signified the gentiles, who were born according to the promise, in which Abraham was promised that he would be the father of many nations: in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed (Gen 22:18).
252. Mysterium autem exponit, cum dicit quae sunt per allegoriam dicta. Et
252. Then he discloses the mystery when he says, which things are said by an allegory (Gal 4:24).
primo ponit modum mysterii;
First, he tells what sort of mystery it is;
secundo exemplificat, ibi haec enim duo sunt Testamenta, et cetera.
second, he explains it, at for these are the two Testaments (Gal 4:24).
253. Dicit ergo: haec quae sunt scripta de duobus filiis, etc., sunt per allegoriam dicta, id est per alium intellectum. Allegoria enim est tropus seu modus loquendi, quo aliquid dicitur et aliud intelligitur. Unde allegoria dicitur ab allos, quod est alienum, et goge, ductio, quasi in alienum intellectum ducens.
253. He says therefore: these things which are written about the two sons are said by an allegory, i.e., the understanding of one thing under the image of another. For an allegory is a figure of speech or a manner of narrating, in which one thing is said and something else is understood. Hence ‘allegory’ is derived from alos (alien) and goge (a leading), leading, as it were, to a different understanding.
Sed attendendum est, quod allegoria sumitur aliquando pro quolibet mystico intellectu, aliquando pro uno tantum ex quatuor qui sunt historicus, allegoricus, mysticus et anagogicus, qui sunt quatuor sensus Sacrae Scripturae, et tamen differunt quantum ad significationem.
Here it should be noted that allegory is sometimes taken for any mystical meaning: sometimes for only one of the four, which are the historical, allegorical, mystical and the anagogical, which are the four senses of Sacred Scripture, all of which differ in signification.
254. Est enim duplex significatio. Una est per voces; alia est per res quas voces significant. Et hoc specialiter est in sacra Scriptura et non in aliis; cum enim eius auctor sit Deus, in cuius potestate est, quod non solum voces ad designandum accommodet (quod etiam homo facere potest), sed etiam res ipsas. Et ideo in aliis scientiis ab hominibus traditis, quae non possunt accommodari ad significandum nisi tantum verba, voces solum significant. Sed hoc est proprium in ista scientia, ut voces et ipsae res significatae per eas aliquid significent, et ideo haec scientia potest habere plures sensus. Nam illa significatio qua voces significant aliquid, pertinet ad sensum litteralem seu historicum; illa vero significatio qua res significatae per voces iterum res alias significant, pertinet ad sensum mysticum.
254. For signification is twofold: one is through words; the other through the things signified by the words. And this is peculiar to Sacred Scripture and no other writings, since its author is God in whose power it lies not only to employ words to signify (which man can also do), but things as well. Consequently, in the other sciences handed down by men, in which only words can be employed to signify, the words alone signify. But it is peculiar to Scripture that words and the very things signified by them signify something. Consequently this science can have many senses. For that signification by which the words signify something pertains to the literal or historical sense. But the signification whereby the things signified by the words further signify other things pertains to the mystical sense.
Per litteralem autem sensum potest aliquid significari dupliciter, scilicet secundum proprietatem locutionis, sicut cum dico homo ridet; vel secundum similitudinem seu metaphoram, sicut cum dico pratum ridet. Et utroque modo utimur in Sacra Scriptura, sicut cum dicimus, quantum ad primum, quod Iesus ascendit, et cum dicimus quod sedet a dextris Dei, quantum ad secundum. Et ideo sub sensu litterali includitur parabolicus seu metaphoricus.
There are two ways in which something can be signified by the literal sense: either according to the usual construction, as when I say, the man smiles; or according to a likeness or metaphor, as when I say, the meadow smiles. Both of these are used in Sacred Scripture; as when we say, according to the first, that Jesus ascended, and when we say according to the second, that he sits at the right hand of God. Therefore, under the literal sense is included the parabolic or metaphorical.
Mysticus autem sensus seu spiritualis dividitur in tres. Primo namque, sicut dicit Apostolus, lex vetus est figura novae legis. Et ideo secundum quod ea quae sunt veteris legis, significant ea quae sunt novae, est sensus allegoricus.
However, the mystical or spiritual sense is divided into three types. First, as when the Apostle says that the old law is the figure of the new law. Hence, insofar as the things of the old law signify things of the new law, it is the allegorical sense.
Item, secundum Dionysium in libro de Caelesti hierarchia, nova lex est figura futurae gloriae. Et ideo secundum quod ea quae sunt in nova lege et in Christo, significant ea quae sunt in patria, est sensus anagogicus.
Then, according to Dionysius in the book On the Heavenly Hierarchy, the new law is a figure of future glory; accordingly, insofar as things in the new law and in Christ signify things which are in heaven, it is the anagogical sense.
Item, in nova lege ea quae in Capite sunt gesta, sunt exempla eorum quae nos facere debemus, quia quaecumque scripta sunt, ad nostram doctrinam scripta sunt; et ideo secundum quod ea quae in nova lege facta sunt in Christo et in his quae Christum significant, sunt signa eorum quae nos facere debemus: est sensus moralis.
Furthermore, in the new law the things performed by the Head are examples of things we ought to do—because whatever things were written, were written for our learning (Rom 15:3) —accordingly, insofar as the things which in the new law were done in Christ and done in things that signify Christ are signs of things we ought to do, it is the moral sense.
Et omnium horum patet exemplum. Per hoc enim quod dico fiat lux, ad litteram, de luce corporali, pertinet ad sensum litteralem. Si intelligatur fiat lux id est nascatur Christus in Ecclesia, pertinet ad sensum allegoricum. Si vero dicatur fiat lux id est ut per Christum introducamur ad gloriam, pertinet ad sensum anagogicum. Si autem dicatur fiat lux id est per Christum illuminemur in intellectu et inflammemur in affectu, pertinet ad sensum moralem.
Examples will clarify each of these. For when I say, let there be light, referring literally to corporeal light, it is the literal sense. But if it be taken to mean let Christ be born in the Church, it pertains to the allegorical sense. But if one says, let there be light, i.e., let us be conducted to glory through Christ, it pertains to the anagogical sense. Finally, if it is said let there be light, i.e., let us be illumined in mind and inflamed in heart through Christ, it pertains to the moral sense.
Sina et Jerusalem
Sinai and Jerusalem
4:24 quae sunt per allegoriam dicta. Haec enim sunt duo Testamenta. Unum quidem in Monte Sina, in servitutem generans, quae est Agar: [n. 255]
4:24 Which things are said by an allegory. For these are the two Testaments. The one from Mount Sinai, engendering unto bondage, which is Hagar. [n. 255]