Epistle of Septuagesima Sunday

1 Corinthians 9:24-27; 10:1-5

Brethren: Know you not that they that run in the race, all run indeed, but one re- ceiveth the prize? So run that you may ob­ tain. And every one that striveth for the mastery refraineth himself from all things: and they indeed that they may receive a corruptible crown; but we an incor- ruptible one. I therefore so run, not as at an uncertainty; I so fight, not as one beat- ing the air: but I chastise my body, and bring it into subjection, lest perhaps when I have preached to others, I myself should become a castaway. For I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all in Moses were baptized, in the cloud and in the sea: and did all eat the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink: (and they drank of the spiritual rock that followed them: and the rock was Christ). But with most of them God was not well pleased.


1 Corinthians, Chapter 9

Ver. 24. Know you not? Nothing is more famous in the annals of history than the public games in Greece: it is to these the apostle is here alluding. Calmet. — All run indeed, &c. He brings the examples of runners and wrestlers for a prize in the Grecian games, where only one could gain the prize. It is true in our case many obtain the crown for which we strive, but every one is in danger of losing it, and so must use all his endeavours to obtain it. Wi.

Ver. 25. He refraineth himself, &c. Curbs his inclinations, abstains from debauchery, or any thing that may weaken him, or hinder him from gaining this corruptible crown, how much more ought we to practise self-denials for an eternal crown? In the fifth verse, where we translate, a woman, a sister, or a sister, a woman: the Prot. translation has a sister, a wife. We have reason to reject this translation, since it is evident by this epistle, that S. Paul at least then had not a wife, c. vii. v. 7. 8. And the ancient interpreters expressly examined and rejected this translation. See S. Jerom against Jovian. l. i. tom. 4. part 2. p. 167. edit. Ben. S. Aug. l. de opere Monach. tom. vi. c. 4. p. 478. Nov. edit. The Greek word, as every one knows, signifies either a woman or a wife. Nor doth any thing here determine it to signify a wife. He speaks of a woman, or of women that were sisters, that is, Christians; so that a sister expounds what kind of woman it was. Dr. Hammond puts in the margin a sister-woman, as it were to correct the Prot. translation. Wi.

Ver. 27. I chastise, &c. Here S. Paul shews the necessity of self-denial and mortification to subdue the flesh, and its inordinate desires. Ch. — Not even the labours of an apostle are exemptions from voluntary mortification and penance.

1 Corinthians, Chapter 10

Ver. 1-2. Our Fathers, the Jews, were all under the cloud. He means, when God conducted the camp of the Israelites, in the day-time by a cloud, and in the night by a pillar of fire. Ex. xiii. 21. Wi. — In Moses. Under the conduct of Moses they received baptism in figure, by passing under the cloud and through the sea: and they partook of the body and blood of Christ in figure, by eating of the manna, (called here a spiritual food, because it was a figure of the true bread which comes down from heaven) and drinking the water miraculously brought out of the rock, called here a spiritual rock; because it was also a figure of Christ. Ch. — Were baptized in the cloud, and in the sea, figuratively, these being figures of baptism in the new law. As Moses, who delivered them from the slavery of Egypt, was figure of Christ, who came to deliver mankind from the slavery of sin. Wi.

Ver. 3-4. All eat the same spiritual food, to wit, the manna, which seemed to come from heaven, and was a figure of the eucharist, the spiritual food of our souls. — All drank the same spiritual drink, and . . . . rock that followed them, by which is understood the stream of water, that came miraculously out of the rock struck by Moses, and which is said to have followed them, because it ran plentifully through their camp. — And the rock was Christ, a figure of Christ; for all these things (v. 11.) happened to them in figure. Wi.

Ver. 5. God was not well pleased, &c. Of 600,000, only Josue and Caleb entered the land of promise; the rest were destroyed, and perished in the wilderness. Their punishment ought to be an admonition to all to avoid such sins of idolatry, fornication, murmuring, &c.


804: Trent on the Observance of the Commandments

Council of Trent
Session VI (Jan. 13, 1547)
Chapter 11. The Observance of the Commandments, and the Necessity and
Possibility thereof

But no one, however much justified, should consider himself exempt from the observance of the commandments [can. 20]; no one should make use of that rash statement forbidden under an anathema by the Fathers, that the commandments of God are impossible to observe for a man who is justified [can. 18 and 22: cf. n. 200]. “For God does not command impossibilities, but by commanding admonishes you both to do what you can do, and to pray for what you cannot do, and assists you that you may be able”; 1 “whose commandments are not heavy” [1 John 5:3], “whose yoke is sweet and whose burden is light” [Matt. 11:30]. For they who are the sons of God, love Christ: “but they who love him, (as He Himself testifies) keep his words” [John 14:23], which indeed with the divine help they can do. For although in this mortal life men however holy and just fall at times into at least light and daily sins, which are also called venial [can. 23], they do not for that reason cease to be just. For that word of the just, “Forgive us our trespasses” [Matt. 6:12; cf. n.107], is both humble and true. Thus it follows that the just ought to feel themselves more bound to walk in the way of justice, in that having been now “freed from sin and made servants of God” [Rom. 6:22], “living soberly and justly and piously” [Tit. 2:12], they can proceed onwards through Christ Jesus, through whom they “have access unto this grace” [Rom. 5:2]. For God “does not forsake those who have once been justified by His grace, unless He be first forsaken by them.” 2 And so no one should flatter himself because of faith alone [can. 9, 19, 20], thinking that by faith alone he is made an heir and will obtain the inheritance, even though he suffer not with Christ “that he may be also glorified” [Rom. 8:17]. For even Christ Himself (as the Apostle says), “whereas he was the Son of God, he learned obedience by the things which he suffered and being made perfect he was made to all who obey him the cause of eternal salvation” [Heb. 5:8 ff.] For this reason the Apostle himself admonishes those justified saying: “Know you not, that they who run in the race, all run indeed, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that you may obtain. I therefore so run, not as at an uncertainty, I so fight, not as one beating the air, but I chastise my body and bring it under subjection, lest perhaps when I have preached to others, I myself should become a castaway” [1 Cor. 9:24ff.]. So also the chief of the Apostles, Peter: “Labor the more, that by good works you may make sure your calling and election; for doing these things, you shall not sin at any time” [2 Pet. 1:10]. Thence it is clear that they are opposed to the teaching of orthodox religion who say that the just man sins at least venially in every good work [can. 25], or (what is more intolerable) that he merits eternal punishments; and that they also who declare that the just sin in all works, if in those works, in order to stimulate their own sloth and to encourage themselves to run in the race, with this (in view), that above all God may be glorified, they have in view also the eternal reward [can. 26, 31], since it is written: “I have inclined my heart to do thy justifications on account of the reward” [Ps. 118:112], and of Moses the Apostle says, that he “looked to the reward” [Heb. 11:26].

  1. Cf. St. Augustine, De nat. et gratia, c. 43, n. 50 [ML 44, 271]. ↩︎

  2. Cf. St. Augustine, Op. cit., c. 26, n. 29 [ML 44, 261] ↩︎

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