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mortals and outcasts called and chosen into the Church (which is the house of God), render themselves grateful to God their Lord, by living in the same peacefully; but appear as ungrateful by separating and rending it in pieces with dissentions. On this account therefore, the Apostle subjoined, And be ye thankful, namely, towards God, by whom ye are called into one body.
But gratitude towards men is also required, that peace may be kept inviolate: because troubles and enmities sometimes arise, as well from kindnesses not duly repaid, as from injuries inflicted. Which we perceive in the example of Nabal, 1 Saml. xxv. ; who by his ingratitude so exasperated the mind of David, that unless the prudence and humanity of Abigail had relieved him, that ungrateful man and his whole family would have been ruined. The Apostle truly thinks this the worst and most pernicious vice, which he numbers with the worst and most pernicious vices in 2 Tim. iii. 2.
Instructions; 1. If we would have God to remain kind to us, we ought to shew ourselves thankful to him, and grateful for the benefits conferred upon us.
2. The best proof that we can give of our gratitude is that we obey the Divine will. The chief of gratitude, says Clemens, is to do what is agreeable to the pleasure of God. Strom. 7.
3. Those benefitted by kindnesses, are bound by the Divine command (if occasion offers) to return thanks to their benefactors not in mere words, but in reality. We have the example of Joshua towards the harlot Rahab, Josh. vi. 23; of David towards the sons of Barzillai, 1 Kings ii. 7, &c. Therefore they are to be blamed, and scarcely to be looked upon as men, who not only neglect returning kindnesses to their friends from whom they have received benefits; but, lest they should seem to acknowledge that they owe any gratitude, load them oft-times with injuries and reproaches. Such were the men of Keilah towards David, 1 Saml. xxiii. 12. Such also was the conduct of Hanun, 2 Sam. x. 4. Such that of the Jews towards Christ himself. So many examples of this ingratitude occur in common life, that the poet was not afraid to go so far as to say, He whose life is preserved to him is naturally ungrateful..
Vers. 16. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, in all wisdom ;
teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts unto the Lord.
Because it would be an endless task to exhort to particular virtues and duties of piety one by one, the Apostle would make his address compendious: This could best be done, in referring them to an absolute and perfect rule of virtue and of every duty: that he therefore does by referring them to the word of Christ.
There are two parts in this verse. In the former he excites them to the study and knowledge of the Scriptures, Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, &c. In the latter, to the due use of the same, teaching and admonishing, &c.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, in all wisdom ] In these words it is proper to observe,
1. The matter or object of our study to which we are called by the Apostle; and that is the word of Christ, namely, the Gospel, or the doctrine of the Scriptures. The Gospel in a certain special manner is called the word of Christ, because it was revealed and preached by Christ himself clothed with flesh; and because it reveals and declares to us that eternal decree of God concerning Christ our Saviour and Mediator: Luke iv. 18; Rom. i. 3, In either respect, both of author and of matter, the Gospel is called the word of Christ. But the whole Scripture may also be called the word of Christ for the same reasons. For before his incarnation, Christ, by his Spirit, inspired the patriarchs and prophets; as it is said 2 Pet. i. 21, The prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. Yea, the Aoyos itself was the eternal Son of God, who under the old Testament appeared to Moses, and instructed and established him in sacred things; as Tertullian contends, De Trin. Advers. Jud. Advers. Marcion, et alibi. Moreover, the Scriptures of the Old Testament no less than those of the New, speak and testify concerning Christ: This the Saviour asserts concerning the Old Testament, Search the Scriptures ; for they are they which testify of me, John v. 39. Therefore, the object of this our study is the whole word of God; because the whole word of God is the word of Christ.
2. We must observe the mode of exercise in this study of the Scriptures : which the Apostle most fully expresses in three words :
'Evoixeítw, Let it dwell in you] that is, Du not suffer the word of God, as a stranger, to stand without; but let it enter into the chamber of your heart, and constantly abide in your minds, no otherwise than as domestics dwell in the house; yea, let it be no less known and familiar to you, than they are wont to be who dwell with you.
Ildovolws, richly, or abundantly] that is, Do not only cull some little particle, but turn over the whole Scriptures, prophets, apostles, evangelists; in a word, receive the whole doctrine revealed from heaven. Besides, admit the whole within you ; into the mind, the memory, the affections, the life : in fine, let there be no part of you in which the word of God does not dwell.
’Ev naon owdia, in all wisdom] that is, If ye apply to the word of God, that from thence ye may seek and learn all saving wisdom ; namely, perfect knowledge, as well of the things to be believed, as of those to be done, in what is ordained for life eternal. This, then, is to be the aim of our study, that we be instructed in all saving wisdom out of the storehouse of the Scriptures.
Hence we derive these instructions : 1. It is the duty of pastors to call and excite the people to the constant reading and meditation of the Scriptures : it is the duty of the people to obey such exhortations.
2. They grievously sin who excite Christian people to the knowledge of human traditions and fables; in the mean time forbidding them, as a thing full of danger, the reading of either Testament, that is, of the Divine word.
3. The word of God ought not only to be publicly preached in the temples, but to be read and heard in private houses.
4. In the word of God is contained the treasure of all wisdom necessary to salvation.
5. All, even the laics, should labour to obtain an understanding and full knowledge of Divine things.
6. That implied knowledge* which the Papists would have to be sufficient for the laity, is the offspring of laziness, the mother of impiety, not of devotion.
Therefore, the decree of the Council of Trent, and received opinion of the Papists, by which they deny that the Scriptures ought to be had in the vernacular tongue, or that the study of the Scriptures is to be required from the laity, may be refuted from this passage : nay, they affirm, that it is more safe for them to be restrained from reading the Scriptures, and is sufficient for them to regulate their course of life by the direction of their Pastors alone.
• Vide Vol. I. p. 354, § 1.
The decree of the Council of Trent referred to by our author, is the one passed at the fourth session, on the Rule of Faith ; from which it is evident that the unrestrained perusal of the Scriptures is regarded by the Romish Church as pregnant with danger. The fourth Rule of the “ Congregation of the Index," framed upon the Spirit of the Decree, says, “ It is mani. “ fest from experience, that if the Holy Bible, translated into the vulgar “ tongue, be indiscriminately allowed to every one, the temerity of men « will cause more evil than good to arise from it."
To shew how faithfully the unchangeable Church adheres to such principles to the present time, it is deserving of notice here, that in 1816 Pope Pius VII., writing to the Archbishop of Gnezn, designates the Bible So
But the contrary opinion (which is ours, and the same as the Apostles) we shall shew can be confirmed, the sources of our argument being indicated,
1. From the command of God, who commands the study of the Scriptures not only to the clergy but to the people, and so to all who live in the Church; Deut. xi. 18, 19.
2. From the intention of God; who would have the doctrine of salvation to be delivered in writing, to the intent that it might be accessible to all, John xx. 31, and Rom. xv. 4.
ciety a “mosi, crafty device, by which the very foundations of religion are undermined,” a “ pestilence," and " defilement of the faith, most immi. nently dangerous to souls.” Leo XII. in 1824, speaking of the same insti. tution, says that it “ strolls with effrontery throughout the world, con. " temning the traditions of the holy Fathers, and, contrary to the well " known Decree of the Council of Trent, labours with all its might, and by 66 every means, to translate, or rather to pervert, the Holy Bible into the “ vulgar languages of every nation ; from which proceeding it is greatly to “ be feared, that what is ascertained to have happened to some passages, " may also occur with regard to others; to wit, that by a perverse interpre. " tation, the gospel of Christ be turned into a human gospel, or what is " still worse, into the gospel of the devil.” The Irish Roman Catholic prelates, to whom this was written, publicly avowed their full concurrence with the Pope's views, and charged their flocks to surrender to the Parish priests all copies of the Scriptures received from Bible Societies, as well as all publications disseminated by the Religious Tract Society. See the Encyclical Letter of Pope Leo the XIIth. pp. 16, 54–57. See also Cramp's Text Book of Popery, Chap. 3; a work which ought to be in the hands of every Protestant, especially of every Protestant Minister, in the present
Of the Author_John Molanus, to whom our Expositor refers on the point under consideration, little is recorded, although he was a voluminous writer. He was a Professor of Theology who flourished in the sixteenth Century at Louvain, dying in 1585, at the age of 52. He commenced his authorship by critical Notes upon the Martyrology of Usuardus, which was published at Louvain, in 1568, and soon went through seven editions. Du Pin enumerates 13 volumes or pieces of his; the one alluded to above by Davenant, being his last, and published the year of his decease. He was appointed Censor of Books by the Pope and the King, so that it is evident his abilities and exertions were in repute : but some of his pieces, especially his work De Imaginibus, prove him to have been, like many of the French writers of the Romish Church, almost a Protestant. VOL. II.