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Doing evil that good may come, a heathen notion.
HOMIL. Ver. 7. For if the truth of God hath more abounded VI.
through my lie unto His glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner?
For if God, he means, is shewn to be a Lover of man, and righteous, and good, you ought not only to be exempt from punishment for your neglect to hear Him, but even to have good done unto you. But if so, that absurdity will be found 10 result, which is in circulation with so many, that good comes of evil, and that evil is the cause of good; and one of the two is necessary, either that God be clearly unjust in punishing, or that in not punishing, it is from our vices that He hath the victory. And both of these are absurd to a degree. And himself meaning to shew this too, he intro
duces the Greeks' as the fathers of these opinions, thinking heathens it enough to allege against what he has mentioned the
character of the persons who say these things. For then they used to say, in ridicule of us, let us do evil that good may come.
And this is why he has stated it clearly in the following language.
Ver. 8. If not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) let us do evil that good may come? Whose damnation is just.
For when Paul said, where sin abounded grace did much more abound, in ridicule of him and by perverting what he said to another meaning, they said, We must cling to vice
that we may get what is good. But Paul said not so; ver. 20. however" to correct this notion it is that he says, shall we
continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid! For 2 5 Mss. I said it, he means?, of times which are past, not that we onoin
should make this a practice. To lead them away then from this suspicion, he said, that henceforth this was even impossible. For how shall we, he says, that are dead unto
sin, live any longer therein? Against the Greeks then he 3 xati. inveighss without difficulty. For their life was exceeding deapsy abandoned. But of the Jews, even if their life seemed Christians silenced by captivity under sin.
k 6 Mss. omit Bazopnuobusda rad 1 xai M. qui si duorum lect. dicit. xalàs, and 2 of Matth. read onod for pnoi prætulerim. Puoi. Which may be rendered, If it be m your. He is evidently aiming at not (he says) that we are to say as some some who still used such reasonings. do.
85 to have been careless, still they had great means of cloking Rom.
3, 8. these things in the Law and circumcision, and the fact of God having conversed with them, and their being the teachers of all. And this is why he strips them even of these, and shews that for these they were the more punished, and this is the conclusion to which he has here drawn his discussion. For if they be not punished, he would say, for so doing, that blasphemous language—let us do evil that good may come-must necessarily gain currency. But if this be impious, and they who hold this language shall be punished, (for this he declared by saying whose damnation is just,) it is plain that they are punished. For if they who speak it be deserving of vengeance, much more are they who act it, but if deserving thereof, it is as having done sin. For it is not man that punishes them, that any one should suspect the sentence, but God, that doeth all things righteously. But if they are righteously punished, it is unrighteously that they, who make ridicule of us, said what they did. For God did and doth every thing, that our conversation might shine forth and be upright on every side.
Let us then not be listless; for so we shall be able to recover the Greeks from their error. For when we are in words lovers of wisdom, but in deeds behave unseemly, with what looks shall we face them ? with what lips shall we discourse concerning doctrines ? For he" will say to each of us, how can you that have failed in what is less, claim to teach me about what is greater? you who as yet have not learnt that covetousness is a vice, how can you be wise upon the things in heaven? But you do know that it is a vice. Well then, the charge is the greater, because you transgress knowingly. And why speak I of the Greek, for even our laws allow us not to speak thus boldly when our life has become abandoned. For to the sinner, it says, Ps. 50, saith God, what hast thou to do to declare my statutes ? There was a time when the Jews were carried away captive, and when the Persians were urgent with them, and thought fit to have them sing those divine songs unto them, they
i. e. The Greek, see a few lines corrected by the Benedictines, below. Savile's punctuation has been
He that would convert Heathens must be no Idolater.
Homil. said, How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land ?
Now if it were unlawful to sing the oracles of God in a strange land, much less might an estranged soul do it. For estranged the merciless soul is. For if the Law made those who were captives and had become slaves to men in strange land, to sit in silence; much more is it right for those who are slaves to sin and are in an alien community to have a curb upon their mouths. And however they had their instruments then. For it says, Upon the willows in the midst thereof did we hang our instruments, but still they might not sing. And so we also, though we have a mouth and tongue which are the instruments of speech, have po right to speak boldly, so long as we be slaves to what is more tyrannical than any barbarian, sin. For tell me, what have you to say to the Gentile, if you plunder and be covetous ? will you say, forsake idolatry, become acquainted with God, worship not gold and silver? Will he not make a jest of you, and say, Talk to thyself first in this way? For it
is not the same thing for a Gentile to practise idolatry, and 13 Mss. a Christian to commit this same' sin. For how are we to om. same draw others away from that idolatry if we draw not ourselves away
from this P? For we are nearer related to ourselves than to our neighbour, and so when we persuade not ourselves, how are we to persuade others ? For if he that doth not
rule well over his own house, will not take care of the 1 Tim.
Church either, how shall he that doth not rule even over
you do not
• Bepfuegos. Though this word is not these side-strokes, which he so much equivalent to Barbarian, it has force admires too in the Apostle. enough to give a fitness to the term P κάκιστος και προς εαυτόν χρώμενος τη 'merciless.' St. Chrysostom excels in pocongia, &c. Arist. Eth. v. 1.
Covetousness and lust are Idolatry.
87 it be your belly, or money, or the tyranny of lust. Why Rom. this is just what the Gentiles are disgusting in, that they made gods of the passions; calling lust Venus, and anger' 6 Mss. Mars, and drunkenness Bacchus. If then you do not grave marg. images as did they, yet do you with great eagerness bow our under the very same passions, when you make the members of Christ members of an harlot, and plunge yourself into the other deeds of iniquity. I therefore exhort you to lay to heart the exceeding unseemliness hereof, and to flee from this idolatry --For this doth Paul name covetousness—and to flee not only covetousness in money, but that in evil desire, and that in clothing, and that in table, and that in: 5 Mss. every thing else: since the punishment we shall have to suffer if we obey not God's laws is much severer. For, 3 So He says,
the servant that knew his Lord's will, and did it not, shall be beaten with many stripes. With a view then The to escaping from this punishment, and be useful both to Luke 12, others and to ourselves, let us drive out all iniquity from our soul and choose virtue. For so shall we attain to the blessings which are to come, and may we all attain thereto by His grace and love toward man, &c.
6 Mss. Sav,
HOMIL. What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise : for
we have before prored both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin. As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable ; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues have they used deceit ; the poison of asps is under their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness : their feet are swift to shed blood : destruction and misery are in their ways: and the way of peace have they not known: there is no fear of God before their eyes.
He has accused the Gentiles, he has accused the Jews; what follows to mention next is, the righteousness which is by faith. For if the law of nature availed not, and the written Law was of no advantage, but both weighed down those that used them not aright, and made it plain that they were worthy of greater punishment, then the salvation which is by grace was henceforth necessary. Speak then of it, O Paul, and display it. But as yet he does not venture, as having an eye to the violence of the Jews, and so turns afresh to accusation of them; and first he brings in David as accuser, who speaks of these things at length, which Isaiah mentioned briefly as a whole, so furnishing a strong