Epistle of Saint Lawrence Justinian

Ecclesiasticus 44:16-27; 45:3-20

Behold, a great priest, who in his days pleased God, and was found just; and in the time of wrath he was made a reconciliation. There was not found the like to him who kept the law of the most High. Therefore by an oath the Lord made him to increase among his people He gave him the blessing of all nations, and confirmed His covenant upon his head. He acknowledged him in His blessings; He preserved for him His mercy; and he found grace before the eyes of the Lord. He glorified him in the sight of kings, and gave him a crown of glory. He made an everlasting covenant with him, and gave him a great priesthood: and made him blessed in glory. To execute the office of the priesthood, and to have praised in His name, and to offer him a worthy incense for an odour of sweetness.


Ecclesiasticus 44

Verse 16. Into. Gr. “a model of penance to past or future generations.” H. — The Latin fathers suppose that Henoch was translated to heaven, or to the earthly paradise. It is the tradition both of Jews and Christians that he is still alive, and will come to oppose Antichrist, (Apoc. xi. 3. Gen. v. 22. Heb. xi. 5. C.) when he will preach penance, (W.) chiefly to the Gentiles, while Elias will address himself to the Jews. H.

Verse 17. A. Gr. “an exchange,” to save mankind. Gen. vi. 8. and viii. 21. C. — Noe was perfect, (W.) which does not exclude some human failings. H.

Verse 20. Multitude. His name implies as much. C. — He was father of all who believed in Christ. W.

Verse 21. Faithful. He received the sign of circumcision, and was ready to sacrifice Israel. C.

Verse 22. In his. Gr. “that the nations should be blessed in his posterity.” — Dust. Lit. “a heap.” H. Gen. xii. 2. and xxii. 17.

Verse 23. Earth. In Arabia, and from the Red Sea to the Euphrates. This was verified in David. Ps. lxxi. Gen. xiii. 14.

Verse 25. Jacob. The promises made to Abraham were confirmed to Isaac and Jacob. H. — These were also blessed in Abraham. W.

Verse 26. Tribes. Giving him so many children, who inherited Chanaan.

Verse 27. Men. The Israelites. v. 10. Gr. “the man,” Joseph; though the Gr. of the Rom. edit. would refer it to Moses. C. — Grabe corrects his copy agreeably to the Vulg. H.

Ecclesiasticus 45

Verse 3. Kings. Pharao, Og, &c. — Glory, when he had passed by. Ex. xxxiii. 22.

Verse 4. Meekness, giving him these necessary qualifications to rule a rebellious people. v. 1.

Verse 5. Heard. Gr. “made him hear his voice.”

Verse 6. Face, familiarly. — Life, by observing which, the Hebrews might live. Thus the trees of life and of knowledge were a sort of remedy against death and ignorance. Gen. ii. 9. C.

Verse 7. His. Gr. “holy, like to himself his brother of the,” &c. H. Ps. cv. 16. — He was the interpreter of Moses, and honoured with the high priesthood. Aaron and his posterity were bound to be faithful to the law. v. 19. C. — Their priesthood was to last till Christ appeared, a priest forever of the order of Melchisedech.

Verse 9. Robe. Lit. “stole,” (H.) which was a long robe, used in the East by both sexes. — Crowned. Gr. “confirmed” him in his dignity. C.

Verse 10. To the. Gr. “enclosing his legs, (H. breeches. C.) and the robe hanging down to the feet, (poderĂ©) and the garment over the shoulders,” (H. ephod) which met at the breast, where the rational were fixed. See Ex. xxviii. C. — Many. Gr. “spheres, (H. or pomegranates. Ex. xxviii. 23. C.) with many little bells,” (H.) to admonish the people of his coming.

Verse 12. Man. Beseleel, who made the greatest part. C. — Gr. “of an embroiderer, with the rational of judgment, and the signs (manifestation. C.) of truth. H. — Thus the Sept. commonly describe the Urim and Thummim. Ex. xxviii. 6. C.

Verse 13. Tribes. Gr. “sons.” H. — Their names were engraven on 12 stones.

Verse 14. Holiness, or “holy to the Lord.” Ex. xxviii. C. — Work. Gr. “works very rich.” H. — This regards all his attire. The high priest only used it in the temple, on grand festivals. C.

Verse 17. His. Gr. Comp. “their.” H. — Some of the ordinary priests offered the daily holocausts.

Verse 18. Filled. Consecrated. Lev. viii. 26.

Verse 19. Testament. It prefigured that of Christ, which lasts for ever. Heb. vii. C. — Execute. Gr. “serve him, both by executing the priestly office, and by blessing the people,” &c. H. — This was one of the high priest’s functions. Num. vi. 23. The rest might offer sacrifice and incense, except on the day of expiation, (Lev. xvi.) and on solemn festivals, though the Scripture is silent on the latter head.

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