He warneth them of the False-Apostles, 4. shewing that himself had much more to brag of in
Iudaisme then they: but that he maketh price of nothing but only of Christ, and of Christian
iustice, and of suffering with him (12. wherein yet he acknowledgeth his imperfection) 17.
exhorting them to beare Christes Crosse with him, and not to imitate those belly-Gods
1. FROM hence-forth, my Brethren, reioyce in our Lord. To write the same things vnto you, to me surely it is not tedious, and to you it is necessarie.
2. See the dogs, see the euil workes, see the κατατομή & πεϱιτομή
By allusion of words, he calleth the carnal Christian Iewes that yet boasted in the circumcision of the flesh, concision; & himself & the rest that circuncided their hart and senses spiritually, the true circumcision. S. Chrys. Theophylact. concision.
3. For we are the circumcision, which in spirit serue God: and we glorie in Christ Iesvs, and not hauing confidence in the flesh,
4. albeit I also haue confidence in the flesh. If any other man seeme to haue confidence in the flesh, I more,
5. circumcised the eight day of the stocke of Israel, of the tribe of Beniamin, 2. Cor. 11,22. an Hebrew of Hebrewes: Act. 23,6. according to the Law, a Pharisee:
6. according to emulation, persecuting the Church of God: according to the iustice that is in the Law, conuersing without blame.
7. The Epistle for S. Paul the Eremit: and for a Confessour that is not a Bishop. But the things that were gaines to me, those haue I esteemed for Christ, detriments.
8. Yea but I esteeme al things to be detriment for the passing knowledge of Iesvs Christ my Lord: for whom I haue made al things as detriment, and doe esteeme them as dung, that I may gaine Christ:
9. and may be found in him not hauing My iustice.
The obiection against inherent iustice, answered.
Diuers Lutherans in their *translations doe shamefully mangle this sentence by transposing the words, and false pointing of the parts therof, to make it haue this sense, That the Apostle would haue no iustice of his owne, but only that iustice which is in Christ. Which is a false and heretical sense of the words, and not meant by S. Paul: who calleth that a man's owne iustice, which he chalengeth by the workes of the Law or nature without the grace of Christ: and that God's iustice (as S. Augustine expoundeth this place) not which is in God, or by which God is iust, but that which is in man from God and by his guift. li. 3. cont. 2. ep. Pelag. c. 7. de Sp. & lit. c. 9.
* Magdeburg cent. 1. li. 2. c. 4. pag. 222. my iustice which is of the Law, but that which is of the faith of Christ, which is of God, iustice in faith:
10. to know him, and the vertue of his resurrection, and the societie of his passions, configured to his death,
11. If S. Paul ceased not to labour stil, as though he were not sure to come to the marke without continual endeauour; what securitie may we poore sinners haue of Heretikes persuasions & promises of securitie and saluation by only faith? if by any meanes I may come to the resurrection which is from the dead.
12. Not that now.
Double perfection: here, and in the life to come.
No man in this life can attaine the absolute perfectnes either of iustice or of that knowledge which shal be in heauen: but yet there is also another perfectnes, such as according to this state a man may reach vnto, which in respect of the perfection in glorie, is small, but in respect of other lesse degrees of man's iustice and knowledge in this life, may be called perfectnes. And in this sense the Apostle in the next sentence calleth himself and others perfect, though in respect of the absolute perfectnes in Heauen, he saith here, he is not yet perfect nor hath yet attained therunto. Not that now I haue receiued, or now am perfect: but I pursue, if I may comprehend, wherein I am also comprehended of Christ Iesvs.
13. Brethren, I doe not account that I haue comprehended. Yet one thing: forgetting the things that are behind, but stretching forth my self to those that are before,
14. I pursue to the marke, ad brauium. to the prize of the supernal vocation of God in Christ Iesvs.
15. Let vs therfore as many as are perfect, be thus minded: and if you be any Otherwise minded.
The heretikes foolish defense of their dissensions and diuisions among themselues.
When Catholike men now a-daies charge Heretikes with their horrible diuisions, dissensions, combates, contentions, and diuersities among themselues, as the Catholikes of al other Ages did chalenge their Aduersaries most truely and iustly for the same, (both because where the Spirit of God is not, nor any order or obedience to Superiours, there can be no peace nor vnitie, and specially for that it is, as S. Augustin saith (li. de agone Christ. c. 29.) the iust iudgement of Gods that they which seek nothing els but to diuide the Church of Christ, should themselues be miserably diuided among themselues) therfore (I say) when men charge the Protestants with these things, they fly for their defence to this, that the old Fathers were not al of one iudgement in euery point in religion: that S. Cyprian stood against others, that S. Aug. and S. Hier. wrote earnestly in a certaine matter one against another, that our Dominicans and Franciscans, our Thomists & Scotists be not al of one opinion in diuers matters, and therfore diuisions and contentions should not be so preiudicial to the Zuinglians and Lutherans, as men make it.
The difference between the disagreeing of ancient Fathers or other Catholikes, and the Heretikes dissensions among themselues.
Thus they defend themselues: but ridiculously and against the rule of S. Paul here, acknowledging that in this imperfection of mens science in this life, euery one can not be free from al errour, or thinke the same that another thinketh: wherupon may rise differences of vnderstanding, opinion, and iudgement, in certaine hard matters which God hath not reuealed or the Church determined, and therfore that such diuersitie is tolerable and agreable to our humane condition and the state of the way that we be in: alwaies prouided, that the controuersie be such and in such things, as be not against the set knowen rule of faith, as he here speaketh, & such as breake not mutual societie, fellowship, & communion in praier, seruice, Sacraments, and other offices of life and religion.
The spiteful writings of Heretikes, one Sect against another.
For such diuisions and differences come neuer but of Schisme or Heresie; and such are among the Heretikes, not only in respect of vs Catholikes, but among themselues: as they know that be acquainted with the writings of Luther against Zwinglius, or Westphalus against Caluin, or the Puritans against the Protestants, not only charging one another with Heresie, Idolatrie, Superstition, and atheisme, but also condemning each others ceremonies or manner of administrations, til it come to excommunication, and banishment, yea sometimes burning one of another. Thus did not S. Cyprian, S. Augustin, S. Hierom, the Dominicans, Franciscans, Thomists, Scotists, who al agree in one rule of faith, al of one communion, al most deare one to another in the same, al (thankes be to God) come to one holy Masse, & receiue the same Sacraments, and obey one Head throughout al the world.
A notable place of S. Augustin.
S. Augustin li. 2. de Bapt. c. 5. shal make vp this matter with this notable sentence: We are men (saith he) and therfore to thinke somewhat otherwise then the thing is, is an humane tentation: but by louing our owne sentence too much, or by enuying our betters, to proceed vnto the sacriledge of diuiding the mutual societie, and of making schisme, or heresie, is diuelish presumption: in nothing to haue other opinion then the truth is, that is Angelical perfection. And a litle after: If you be any otherwise minded; this God wil reueale: but to them only (saith he) that walke in the way of peace, and that stray aside into no diuision or separation. Which saying would God al our deare Countrie-men would marke, and come into the Church, where only, God reuealeth truth. otherwise minded, this also God wil reueale. hath reuealed to you.
16. Neuerthelesse wherunto we are come, that we be of the same mind, let vs continue in the same rule.
17. The Epistle vpon the 23. Sunday after Pentecost. And for S. Clement, Nouemb. 23. Be followers It is a goodly thing when the Pastour may so say to his flocke. Neither is it any deregation to Christ, that the people should imitate their Apostles life & doctrine, & other holy men, S. Augustin, S. Benedict, S. Dominike, S. Francis. of me, Brethren, & obserue them that walke so as you haue our forme.
18. For Ro. 16,17. many walke whom often I told you of (and now weeping also I tel you) the enemies of the crosse of Christ:
19. Whose end is destruction: whose God, is the belly: and their glorie in their confusion, which mind worldly things.
20. But our conuersation is in Heauen: whence also we expect the Sauiour, our Lord Iesvs Christ,
21. who wil reforme the body of our humilitie, configured to the body of his glorie, according to the operation whereby also he is able to subdue al things to himself.