The Church readeth S. Paul's Epistles at Matins from Sunday in Christmas:
The foundation of his Apostleship being laid, 8. he heighly commendeth the Romanes, and
and protesteth his affection towards them. And so comming to the matter, faith, our
Christian Catholike doctrine (that teacheth al to beleeue) to be the way to saluation: 18. because the
Gentils (first of al) could not be saued by their Philosophie, whereby they knew God, forsomuch as
they did not serue him, but Idols; he therfore iustly permitting them to fall into al kind of
most damnable sinne.
1. The Epistle vpon Christmas eue. PAVL the seruant of Iesvs Christ, called to be an Apostle, Acts 13,2. separated into the Ghospel of God,
2. which before he had promised by his Prophets in the holy Scriptures.
3. of his Sonne, (who was made to him of the seed of Dauid according to the flesh,
4. who as predestinate the Sonne of God in power, according to the spirit of sanctification, by the resurrection of our Lord Iesvs Christ from the dead,
5. by whom we receiued grace and Apostleship εἰς ὑπακοὴν πίστεως
Faith must not be subiect to sense, reason, arguing or vnderstanding, but must command & be obeied in humilitie and simplicitie. for obedience to the faith S. Augustine vseth this place and the like against Heretikes, which would draw the common Catholike faith of al nations, to some certaine countries or corners of the world. Aug. ep. 161. in al Nations for the name of him,
6. among whom are you also the called of Iesvs Christ:)
7. to al that are at Rome the beloued of God, called to be Saints. Grace to you & peace.
Apostolical salutation or blessing. The same vsed of Heretikes.
It is a kind of blessing rather then a prophane salutation, proper to the Apostles, of greater vertue then the benediction of the Father in the old Testament. The holy Fathers of the Church seemed to absteine from it for their reuerence to the Apostles. *The Manichees (August. cont. ep. funda c. 5. 6.) and other Heretikes (as also these of our time) because they would be counted Apostles, often vse it.
*Epiph. hares. 66. Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and our Lord Iesvs Christ.
8. First I giue thanks to my God through Iesvs Christ for al you, because Your faith renowmed.
The Romane faith highly commended
The holy Doctours vpon these words of the Apostle, and specially by our Maisters promise* made to Peter, that his faith should not faile, giue great testimonie for the prouidence of God in the preseruation of the Romane faith. S. Cyprian this : ep. 55. nu. 6. They are so bold to cary letters from the prophane Schismatikes to the chaire of Peter and the principal Church whence Priestly vnitie rose: not considering the Romanes to them whose whose faith (the Apostle being the commander) was praised, to whom misbeleefe can not haue accesse.
It can not faile nor be corrupted.
So S. Hierom Apolog. adu. Ruff. li. 3. c. 4. to 2. Know you, that the Romane faith commanded by the Apostles mouth, we receiue no such deceites, nor can be possibly changed, though an Angel taught otherwise, being sensed by S. Pauls authoritie. Againe ep. 63 ad Pammach. & Oceanum. c. 4 to 2. Whatsoeuer thou be that auouched new sectes, I pray thee haue respect to the Romane eares, spare the faith which was praised by the Apostles voice.
The Romane stations, a token or greater faith and deuotion.
And in another place: Wil ye know, o Paula, and Eustochium, how the Apostle hath noted euery prouince with their proprieties? the faith of the people of Rome is praised. Where is there so great concourse to Churches and Martyrs sepulchres? Where soundeth, Amen, like thunder from heauen, or where are the temples (void of Idols) so shaken as there? Not that the Romanes haue another faith then the rest of the Christian Churches, but that there is in them more deuotion and simplicitie of faith.
Proæm. li. 2. Com. in ep. ad. Gal.
The Catholike and Romane faith al one.
In another place the same Holy Doctour signifieth that it is al one to say, the Romane faith, and the Catholike. Apolog. 1. adu. Ruff. c. 1. So S. Cyprien. ep. 12. num. 1. ad. Antonianum: and S. Ambrose de obitu fratis, in med. Whereupon, this word, Romane, is added to Catholike, in many countries where Sectes doe abound, for the better distinction of true beleeuers from Heretikes: which in al Ages did hate and abhorre the Romane faith and Church, as al malefactours doe their Iudges and correctours. your faith is renowmed in the whole world.
9. For God is my witnes,
ᾧ λατρεύω whom I Serue in spirit.
How God is serued in spirit.
Diuerse Heretikes when they heare that God is a spirit, and must be serued and adored in spirit, imagine that he must be honoured only inwardly, without ceremonies & external workes: which you see if otherwise, for that the Apostle serued God in spirit, by preaching the Ghospel. To serue God then in spirit, is to serue him with faith, hope, and charitie, and with al workes proceeding of them as to serue him carnally, is, with workes external, without the said internal vertues. serue in my spirit in the Ghospel of his Sonne, that He praieth without intermission that omitteth no day certaine times times of praier. Aug. heres. 17. without intermission I make A memorie of you.
Praier for conuersion of soules.
A great example of charitie for al men, specially for Prelates & Pastours, not only to preach, but to pray continually for the conuersion of people to Christs faith: Which the Apostles dud for them whom he neuer knew, in respect of God's honour only and the zeale of soules. a memorie of you
10. alwaies in my praiers, beseeching, if by any meanes I may sometime at the length haue a prosperous iourney by the wil of God, to come vnto you.
11. For I desire to see you, that I may impart vnto you some spiritual grace, to The Romanes were conuerted and taught by S. Peter before. Therefore he vseth that speach, to confirme them in their faith. Authour Com. apud Hier. Theodoret in 16. Rom. & Chrys. confirme you:
12. that is to say, to be comforted together in you by that which is common to vs both, your faith & mine.
13. And I wil not haue you ignorant (Brethren) that I haue often purposed to come vnto you (and haue been staied hitherto) that I may haue some fruit in you, as also in the other Gentils.
14. To the Greeks & the Barbarous, to the wise and the vnwise I am debter.
15. So (as much as is in me) I am ready To euangelize.
The Ghospel is not only the written word.
The Ghospel is not only the life of our Sauiour written by the foure Euangelists, not only that which is written in the new Testament: but their whole course of preaching & teaching the faith. Which faith commeth ordinarily of preaching & hearing, and not of writing or reading. And therfore S. Paul thought not himself discharged by writing to the Romanes, but his desire was to preach vnto them for that was the proper commission giuen to the Apostles, *to preach to al Nations.
The Apostles writing, and preaching, whether more necessarie, and how.
The writing of the bookes of the Testament, is another part of God's prouidence, necessarie for the Church in general, but not necessarie for euery man in particular: as to be taught and preached vnto, is for euery one of age and vnderstanding. And therfore S. Peter (who was the cheefe of the Commission) wrote litle; many of them wrote nothing as al: and S. Paul that wrote most, wrote but litle in comparison of his preaching; not to any but such as were conuerted to the faith by preaching before. to euangelize to you also that are at Rome.
16. For I am not ashamed of the Ghospel. For it is the power of God, vnto saluation to euery one that beleeueth, to the Iewes first and to the Greeke.
17. For He meaneth not Gods owne iustice in him self, but that iustice wherwith God indoweth man when he iustifieth him. Aug. de Sp. & lit. c. 9. Whereby you may gather the vanitie of the Heretical imputative iustice. the iustice of God is reuealed therein by faith into faith; as it is written: Habac. 2,4. And the iust Liueth by faith.
In the 10. to the Hebrews, he sheweth by this place of the Prophet (Abacuc 2.) that the iust though he liue there in peregination, and seeth not presently nor enioyeth the life euerlasting promised to him, yet holdeth fast the hope therof by faith.
The Catholike or Christian faith with good workes iustifieth; & without this faith, no workes whatsoeuer.
In this place he applieth the Prophets wordes further to this sense, That it is our faith, that is to say, the Catholike beleefe (saith S. Augustine li. 3. cont. 2. ep. Pelag.) which maketh a iust man, and distinguisheth between the iust and vniust; and that by the law of faith, and not be the law of workes. Whereof it riseth, that the Iew, the Heathen Philosopher, and the Heretikes, though they excelled in al workes of moral vertues, could not yet be iust: and a Catholike Christian man liuing but an ordinarie honest life, either not sinning greatly, or supplying his faults by penance is iust. And this difference riseth by faith. Not that faith can saue any man without worke, For it is not a reprobate faith that we speake of, (as the holy Doctour saith) but that which worketh by charitie, and therfore remitteth sinnes and maketh one iust. See S. Augustines place. liueth by faith.
18. For the wrath of God from Heauen Is reuealed.
Not only faith.
By al the passage following you may see, that the Ghospel and Christ's law consisteth not only in preaching faith (though that be the ground, & is first alwaies to be done:) but to teach vertuous life and good workes, and to denounce damnation to al them that commit deadly sinnes & repent not. And againe we see that not only lacke of faith is a sinne, but al other actes done against God's commandements. is reuealed, vpon al impietie and iniustice of those men that deteine the veritie of God in iustice:
19. because, that of God which is knowen, is manifest in them. For God hath manifested it vnto them.
20. For his inuisible things, from the creation of the world are seen, being vnderstood by those things that are made; his eternal power also and Diuinitie: so that they are inexcusable.
21. because whereas they knew God, they haue not glorified him as God, or giuen thanks: but are become vaine in their cogitations, and their foolish hart hath been darkned.
22. For, saying themselues to be wise, they became fooles.
23. And they changed the glorie of the incorruptible God, into a Loe these and the like are the Images or Idols so often condemned in the scriptures, & not the holy Images of Christ and his Saints. similitude of the image of a corruptible man, and of soules and foure-footed beasts and of them that creep.
24. (For the which cause God Eph. 4,19. he saith, They haue deliuered or giuen vp themselues to al vncleannesse. By which conference of scriptures we learne that themselues are the cause of their owne sinne and damnation, God of his iustice permitting & leauing them to their owne wil, and so giuing them vp into passions &c. hath deliuered them vp vnto the desires of their hart, vnto vncleannesse, for to abuse their owne bodies among themselues ignominiously.)
25. Who haue changed the veritie of God into lying: and haue worshipped &
ἐλάτρευσαν serued the creature rather then the Creatour, who is blessed for euer. Amen.
26. Therfore God Hath deliuered them vp.
God is not the authour of sinne.
As he saith here, God deliuered them vp, so to the Ephesians (c. 4,19.) he saith of the same persons and things: They deliuered themselues vp to al vncleannesse. So that it is not meant here that God daoth driue, force, or cause any man to sinne, as diuers blasphemous Heretikes doe hold: but only that by his iust iudgement, for their owne deseruing, and for due punishment of their former grieuous offenses, he withholdeth his grace from them, and so suffreth them to fal further into other sinnes.
God punisheth sinne by permitting men to fal further and further.
As, for their crime of Idolatrie, to suffer them to fal into vnnatural abominations: as now for heresie, he taketh his grace and mercie from many, and so they fal into heresie. And for Christ's sake let euery one that is entangled with the Idolatrie of this time, that is to say, with these new Sectes, looke wel into his owne conscience, whether his forsaking the true God, may not come vnto him for a punishment of his former or present il life which he liueth. hath deliuered them into passions of ignominie. For their women haue changed the natural vse, into that vse that is contrarie to nature.
27. And in like manner the men also, leauing the natural vse of the woman, haue burdned in their desires one toward another, men vpon men working turpitude, & the reward of their errour ( which they should) receauing in themselues.
28. And as they liked not to haue God in knowledge; God deliuered them vp into a reprobate sense, to doe those things that are not conuenient:
29. replenished with al iniquitie, malice, fornication, auarice, wickednes, ful of enuie, murder, contention, guile, malignitie, whisperers,
30. detractours, odible to God, contumelious, proud, hawtie, inuentours of euil things, disobedient to parents,
31. foolish, dissolute, without affection, without fidelitie, without mercie.
32. Who whereas they knew the iustice of God, did not vnderstand that they which doe such things, are Worthie of death.
Sinnes mortal and venial.
Here you see why the Church taketh some sinnes to be deadly, and calleth them mortal, to wit, because al that doe them, are worthy of damnation: others be venial, that is to say, pardonable of their owne nature and not worthie of eternal damnation. worthie of death: not only they that doe them, by they also that consent to the doers.