Thomas Aquinas: Sermon: Attendite

SERMON
ATTENDITE

ON THE THRD SUNDAY AFTER THE FEAST OF THE APOSTLES PETER AND PAUL
Preached July 26, 1271 at Paris

translated by Athanasius Sulavik


I. SERMON
Attendite a falsis prophetis, qui veniunt ad vos in vestimentis ovium: intrinsecus autem sunt lupi rapaces. A fructibus eorum cognoscetis eos. Matth. 7:15-16. Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.
Duo esse in verbis istis sibi invicem contrariantia apostolus testatur. Spiritus, inquit, concupiscit adversus carnem, et caro adversus spiritum: Gal. 5, 17: et cum in utroque, vel ex utroque contingit esse peccatum; ex infirmitate carnis est alium peccatum, et alium per ignorantiam spiritus. Unde apostolus 2 ad Corinth. 7, 1: emundemus nos ab omni inquinamento carnis et spiritus. Et sicut peccatum ex carne provenit ex carnis infirmitate; unde in Matth. 26, 41: spiritus quidem promptus est, caro autem infirma; sic peccatum spiritus provenit ex ignorantia spiritus, scilicet quando spiritus decipitur. Et ideo in ista dominica munimur contra utrumque peccatum. Contra peccatum ex infirmitate carnis munimur per apostolum in epistola qui dicit: debitores sumus carni, non ut secundum carnem vivamus, Rom. 8, 12. Contra peccatum ex deceptione spiritus munimur in Evangelio, ubi dicitur: attendite a falsis prophetis et cetera. [1] The Apostle points out two contentious [desires] by these words: The spirit, he says, strives against the flesh and the flesh against the spirit, and yet sin arises from both: sometimes it arises from the weakness of the flesh and at other times through ignorance of the spirit;' therefore the Apostle says to the Corinthians: Let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit. And just as sin arises from the flesh, out of the weakness of the flesh, thus in Matthew: The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak., so the sin of the spirit arises through ignorance of the spirit, namely when the spirit is deceived. And so on this Sunday we are strengthened against both kinds of sin. We are strengthened against that sin which arises from the weakness of the flesh by the words of the Apostle who says in his letter: We are debtors to the flesh, not so that we may live according to the flesh; and we are strengthened against sin that arises from the deception of the spirit, where it says in the Gospel: Beware of false prophets, etc.
Rogemus salvatorem qui nos cautos voluit esse contra utrumque peccatum, quod ipse det aliquid dare quod sit ad laudem ejus et cetera. [2] Let us ask our Savior, who wished us to be wary against both kinds of sin, to grant me something to say which that will be to his honor, etc.
Attendite et cetera. Ad officium boni ducis pertinet quod militares suos contra insidias reddat cautos. Verum est quod insidiosum et dolosum habemus hostem. Unde in Eccl. 11, 31: multae insidiae dolosi. Sedet in insidiis cum divitibus. Psalm. 10, 8, idest cum superbis. Istas insidias explicat apostolus 2 Cor. 11, 14, dicens quod Satanas transfigurat se in Angelum lucis, et ministros ejus in ministros injustitiae. Contra ministros ejus reddit nos dominus cautos in verbis propositis. In quibus quatuor docet. [3] The responsibility of a good leader is to train his troops to be on guard against ambushes. To be sure we have a cunning and deceptive enemy, hence we read in Ecclesiasticus: Many are the ambushes of the deceitful. The Psalmist writes: He sits in ambush with the rich, that is to say, with the proud. The Apostle explains these ambushes, saying that Satan disguises himself as an angel of light and his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Through these words the Lord makes us wary of Satan's servants by teaching us four things.
Primo enim docet genus hostium. Ibi: attendite a falsis prophetis. Secundo docet modum insidiandi. Ibi: qui veniunt ad vos in vestimentis ovium. Tertium est nocumentum imminens. Ibi: intrinsecus autem sunt lupi rapaces. Quarto docet modum comprehendendi eos. Ibi: a fructibus eorum cognoscetis eos. [4] First of all, he instructs us as to the kind of enemies, here: Beware of false prophets; secondly, he teaches us about their strategy of ambushing, here: who come to you in sheep's clothing; thirdly, their menacing harm, here: but inwardly they are ravenous wolves; fourthly, he teaches us how to identify them, here: You will know them by their fruits.
Hostes isti, scilicet falsi prophetae, etiam sunt valde periculosi, et ideo cavendi, quia ipsi nobis sunt periculosi sicut Angeli boni sunt nobis necessarii et utiles. Unde in Prov. 26, 18: cum deficit prophetia dissipabitur populus. De falsis prophetis dicitur Jer. 23, 15: a prophetis Jerusalem egressa est pollutio super terram. Nunc videamus qui sunt falsi prophetae. Primo videamus quae est ratio prophetiae, et quia contingit esse falsam prophetiam. [5] These enemies are false prophets, and being extremely dangerous must be avoided, because they are as dangerous to us as good angels are necessary and helpful to us, hence we read in Proverbs: When prophecy fails the people will be scattered. Jeremiah says this about false prophets: From the prophets of Jerusalem corruption has gone forth into all the land. And in order that we may discern who the false prophets are, let us first of all consider what the definition of a prophet is, and how he becomes a false prophet.
Dico quod quatuor sunt de ratione prophetiae. Primum est revelatio divina: unde in Amos 3, 7: non facit dominus Deus verbum, nisi revelaverit secretum suum ad suos prophetas. [6] There are four defining points of a prophet. The first is divine revelation, as we read in Amos: The Lord God does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets.
Aliquando revelantur alicui aliqua divinitus, sed non intelligit, sicut Nabuchodonosor vidit statuam, Dan. 2, 31, et Pharaoni aliquid est revelatum, scilicet quod vidit spicas et boves, sed non intellexit, Gen. 41, 5. Propter quod requiritur secundo intellectus. Unde in Daniel. 10, 1: verbum revelatum est Danieli et intellexit sermonem. Unde intelligentia opus est inter visiones. [7] Sometimes certain divine things are revealed to someone who does not understand them, as when Nebuchadnezar saw a statue, and something was revealed to Pharaoh, namely ears of grain and cows, though he did not understand it. For this reason understanding is the second thing that is required, as we read in Daniel: A word was revealed to Daniel and he understood the word, hence understanding was needed in the visions.
Si homo haberet revelationem a Deo et cum hoc intelligeret, sed sibi retineret, nulla esset ibi utilitas: propter hoc tertio requiritur ut ea quae hujusmodi sunt revelata et ipse intelligit, ut alteri annuntiet. Isa. 21, 10: quae audivi a domino exercituum Deo Israel, annuntiavi vobis. [81 If a man were to receive a revelation from God and though he understood it nonetheless kept it to himself, no benefit would be derived from that; for this reason a third thing is required so that those things which are revealed to a man, which he himself also understands, will be announced to another. As it says in Isaiah: What I have heard from the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, I announce to you.
Quaedam sunt super sensum humanum divinitus revelata et annuntiata, sed non credent homines nisi probarentur; et hujusmodi probatio est miraculorum operatio. Quod significatur 4 regum 5, 8, ubi dicitur quod cum Naaman Sirus venisset ad regem Israel ut curaret eum, dixit Elisaeus: mitte eum ad me, ut sciat prophetam esse in Israel. [9] There are certain divinely revealed and announced things beyond human comprehension that men would not believe unless they were given a sign, and this outward sign is the action of miracles, which is indicated in the fourth book of Kings, where it is said that when Naaman the Syrian had come to the King of Israel to be cured from leprosy, Elias said: Send him to me so that he will know that there is a prophet in Israel.
Sed juxta praedicta dico quod nomen prophetae quatuor modis accipitur. [10] But according to what I have already said, I now add that the name of a prophet is understood in four ways.
Quandoque dicitur propheta cui fit revelatio divina. Unde in numeris 12, 6: si quis fuerit inter vos propheta domini, per somnium in visione loquar ad ipsum. [11] Sometimes someone who has received a divine revelation is called a prophet, therefore we read in Numbers: If there be among you a prophet of the Lord, in a dream, I will speak to him through a vision.
Quandoque autem dicitur propheta non cui fit revelatio divina ut intelligat revelata. Unde in 1 Corinth. 14, 29: prophetae duo vel tres dicant, et ceteri djiudicent. Vocat ibi doctores et praedicatores per prophetas juxta illud: adhuc doctrinam quasi prophetiam effundam, Eccl. 24, 46. [12] At other times someone who has not received a divine revelation, [but has the ability to understand it] is called a prophet, hence we read in I Corinthians: Let the prophets speak; two or three, and let the rest judge. So he calls teachers and preachers prophets according to that [phrase] of Ecclesiasticus: All teachers will still pour out doctrine as prophecy.
Alii dicuntur prophetae qui recitant revelata, unde nuper aliquid filii Asaph editum prophetabant. [13] Sometimes those who repeat revelations are called prophets, hence in Chronicles: The sons of Asaph [and] of Jeduthun were prophesying.
Alii dicuntur prophetae qui miracula faciunt. Unde dicitur quod corpus Elisaei mortuum prophetavit, Eccli. 48, 14, idest miraculum propheticum fecit. In libro 4 Reg. 13, 21, dicitur quod quidam latrones territi corpus cujusdam interfecti mortuum projecerunt in sepulchrum Elisaei mortui, revixit ille. Et sicut dicitur in Evangelio, cum Christus miracula faceret dixerunt Judaei: propheta magnus surrexit in nobis, Luc. 7, 16. [14] Sometimes those who perform miracles are called prophets, therefore in Ecclesiasticus it is said that the lifeless body of Elias prophesied, that is, he performed a prophetic miracle; in the book of Kings it is said that some frightened thieves cast the corpse of a certain slain man into the sepulchre of Elias, whereupon that man came to back to life. And so it is said in the Gospel that when Christ performed miracles, the Jews responded: A great prophet has risen up among us.
Dicit igitur: attendite et cetera. [15] Therefore it says: Beware etc.
Sed quomodo accipitur hic propheta? Dicit Chrysostomus quod prophetae dicuntur hic non qui prophetant de Christo, sed qui interpretantur prophetiam de Christo, quia nemo potest sensus propheticos interpretari nisi per spiritum sanctum. Videamus qui dicuntur falsi prophetae. But how are prophets understood here? Chrysostom says that what is meant here by prophets are not those who prophesy about Christ, but interpret prophecy about Christ, because no one can interpret prophetic meanings except through the Holy Spirit.
Quatuor modis contingit esse falsam prophetiam. Primo ex falsitate doctrinae. Secundo ex falsitate inspirationis. Tertio ex falsitate intentionis. Et quarto ex falsitate vitae. Primo dicuntur aliqui falsi prophetae ex falsitate doctrinae, ut quando falsa annunciant et docent. [16] Let us now consider those who are called false prophets. There are four ways of being a false prophet: firstly, by reason of their deceptive teaching; secondly, by reason of their deceptive inspiration; thirdly, by reason of their deceptive intention; and fourthly, by reason of their deceptive life.
Ad officium prophetae pertinet vera nunciare et dicere. Unde in Daniel. 10, 1, verbum revelatum est Danieli, et est verbum verum; et dominus dicit: si quis annunciat sermones meos loquatur vere. Sed multi annunciant false: unde in canonica 1 Joan. 4: fiunt in populo pseudoprophetae sicut et in vobis; erunt magistri mendaces qui non metuunt sectas inducere praedicationis nomine. Mendax fuit Arius et consimiles sibi, qui voluerunt corrigere doctrinam Christi. Unde in threnis 2, 14: prophetae tui ludunt falsa et stulta. Sed quae stulta? Qui falsa loquitur libenter dicet ea quae placent. Isa. 30, 10: loquimini nobis placentia, videte nobis errores. Interrogatus quae falsa prophetae viderunt, dicit: non aperiebant iniquitatem tuam, ut te ad poenitentiam provocarent. Si aliqui dicunt bonum malum et malum bonum, sunt falsi prophetae. Jer.: viderunt falsas assumptiones, et ejectiones, Thren. 2, 14. Illud quod assumitur elevatur et quod ejicitur damnatur. Quando igitur extollenda deprimuntur, et deprimenda extolluntur, tunc vides falsas assumptiones. [17] Now, in the first place some are called false prophets by reason of their deceptive teaching, as when he proclaims and teaches spurious things. It is a prophet's duty to announce and to teach truths, hence we find in Daniel: A word was revealed to Daniel, and it was a true word. And the Lord says: If anyone proclaims my words, let him speak truly. But many make false claims, and therefore we read in the Catholic Epistle: There were false prophets among the people, even as there will be among you lying teachers, who are not afraid to introduce a ruinous heresy. Was not Arius a liar and those like him who sought to correct Christ's teaching? Thus we find in Lamentations: Your prophets have seen false and foolish things. But what are these foolish things? Whoever speaks false things gladly, speaks pleasing things. We read in Isaiah: Speak to us pleasant things: see errors for us. Asked what false things the prophets saw, Jeremiah responds: They have not laid open your iniquity in order to incite you to penance. If anyone calls good evil and evil good: they are false prophets. As Jeremiah says: They have seen false revelations and banishments; what is accepted is approved and what is rejected is disapproved. Therefore when esteemible things are disdained and detestible things are esteemed, then you are witnessing false conclusions.
Per doctrinam domini apparet quid extollendum est, et quid deprimendum. Conversatio saeculi et vita mundialis deprimenda est. Si quis dicat quod melius est jejunare sine voto quam cum voto, et alios retrahit a religione, ubi jejunatur cum voto, et suadet jejunare in saeculo sine voto, habet falsam doctrinam. Propheta dicit: vovete et reddite, Psalm. 75, 2. Hoc dicit quia melius est jejunare cum voto quam sine voto; aliter solum diceret, facite. Exemplum ponit Anselmus libro de similitudinibus, dicens quod qui dat arborem cum pomis plus dat quam qui dat poma; cum sic qui votum facit, et ipsum reddit, melius facit quam qui bonum sine voto facit: melius tamen est non vovere quam promissa non reddere, Eccl. 5, 4. [18] It is evident through the Lord's teaching what is to be esteemed and what is to be detested. Living according to the ways of the world and leading a worldly life must be detested. If anyone says that it is better to fast without a vow, and leads others away from religious life where they are fasting under a vow, and persuades them to fast in the world without a vow, then he holds a spurious teaching. The Prophet says: Make a vow and perform it. He says this because it is better to fast under a vow than without a vow; otherwise he would only have said: "Make it". Anselm offers us an example in his book, De similitudinibus, explaining that whoever gives an apple tree gives more than someone who gives only apples; in the same way whoever makes a vow and performs it acts better than someone who performs a good deed without a vow. Nonetheless it is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay.
Item dicuntur falsi prophetae ex falsitate inspirationis. Veri prophetae unde inspirantur? Certe a Deo et spiritu sancto. Unde in canonica 2 Petri 1, 21 prophetia; sed spiritu sancto inspirati, locuti sunt sancti Dei homines, prout etiam respectu suo utrumque invenimus in sacra Scriptura. [19] Moreover, they are called false prophets by reason of their deceptive inspiration. Where does the inspiration of true prophets come from? Certainly, it comes from God and the Holy Spirit, as we read in the Canonical epistle of Peter: Prophecy came not by the will of men but the holy men of God spoke, inspired by the Holy Spirit. [Whoever can be deceptively inspired by the devil], can also be deceptively inspired by his own spirit; we find both in sacred Scripture.
Primo dico potest quis inspirari falso a Diabolo. Unde Jer. 2, 8: prophetae ejus in Baal prophetaverunt. In Baal, idest in Diabolo prophetare est occulta dicere. Negromantici qui exquirunt veritatem de futuris inspiratione Diaboli prophetant in Baal: et hoc est gravissimum inter peccata, et species idolatriae. Nec excusantur ex hoc quod dicunt quod pro bono faciunt; quia malum non debet fieri pro bono. Unde apostolus Rom. 3, 8: faciamus mala ut eveniant bona? Quorum damnatio justa est. [20] First of all, someone can be deceptively inspired by the devil, as we read in Jeremiah: His prophets were prophesying in Baal; in Baal, that is to say in the devil, to prophesy is to speak about secret things. Sorcerers, who, through the inspiration of the devil, inquire into the truth about dark secrets, prophesy in Baal. And among sins and particular sorts of idolatry this is a most serious offense, nor can anyone be excused from this just because they say that they are doing it to bring about some good, since an evil act should not to be done to bring about some good, as the Apostle says: Let us do evil that there may come good; the damnation of these people is just.
Alii inspirantur falso a spiritu suo. Unde in Ezechiele 13, 3: haec dicit dominus; vae prophetis insipientibus, qui sequuntur spiritum suum, et nihil vident. Jer. 23, 16: visionem cordis sui loquuntur. Non ex ore domini illi qui sequuntur rationem humanam: loquuntur ex spiritu suo. Tales sunt illi qui loquuntur secundum rationes Platonicas, quae non possunt attingere virtutem: puta, sicut illi qui dicunt quod mundus est aeternus. [21] Others are deceptively inspired by their own spirit, thus in Ezekiel: Thus says the Lord God, [Woe] to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing. And Jeremiah says: They speak a vision of their own mind, not from the mouth of the Lord. Those who follow human reasoning speak from their own spirit. People such as these speak according to platonic principles which cannot reach the truth; namely, they are like those who say that the world is eternal.
Inveniuntur aliqui qui student in philosophia, et dicunt aliqua quae non sunt vera secundum fidem; et cum dicitur eis quod hoc repugnat fidei, dicunt quod philosophus dicit hoc, sed ipsi non asserunt: imo solum recitant verba philosophi. Talis est falsus propheta, sive falsus doctor, quia idem est dubitationem movere et eam non solvere quod eam concedere; quod signatur in Exod. 21, 33, 34, ubi dicitur quod si aliquis foderit puteum, et aperuerit cisternam, et non cooperuerit eam, veniat bos vicini sui, et cadat in cisternam, ille qui aperuerit cisternam teneatur ad ejus restitutionem. Ille cisternam aperuit, qui dubitationem movet de his quae faciunt ad fidem. Cisternam non cooperit, qui dubitationem non solvit, etsi habeat intellectum sanum et limpidum, et non decipiatur. Alter tamen qui intellectum non habet ita limpidum bene decipitur, et ille qui dubitationem movit tenetur ad restitutionem, quia per eum ille cecidit in foveam. [22] We find that others, who study philosophy and advance some things which are not true according to the faith, who when told that this is repugnant to the faith, respond by saying that they themselves do not assert this, but rather they are only repeating the words of the Philosopher. Such a person is a false prophet or a false teacher, for it is the same thing to instill doubt and not to resolve it, as it is to affirm the doubt. This point is illustrated in Exodus where it says that if anyone digs a well and opens the pit and does not cover it, and if their neighbor's ox comes along and falls into the pit, the person who opened the pit is held accountable for its restitution. That person who instills doubt about those things which belong to faith opens a pit; he does not cover the pit who does not resolve the doubt, even though he himself possesses sound and clear understanding and is not deceived. Nonetheless the other person who does not possess such clear understanding is truly deceived, and so that man who instilled the doubt is held accountable for restitution, since it was through him that the other man fell into the pit.
Videte tam multi fuerunt philosophi et multa dixerunt de his quae pertinent ad fidem, et vix invenietis duos concordare in unam sententiam; et quicumque aliquid veritatis dixit, non dixit eam sine admixtione falsitatis. Plus scit modo una vetula de his quae ad fidem pertinent, quam quondam omnes philosophi. Legitur quod Pythagoras primo fuit pugil; audivit magistrum disputantem de immortalitate animae, et disserentem quod anima esset immortalis; et in tantum allectus est quod dimissis omnibus dedit se studio philosophiae. Sed quae vetula est hodie quae non sciat quod anima est immortalis? Multo plus potest fides quam philosophia: unde si philosophia contrariatur fidei, non est accipienda. Unde apostolus ad Coloss. 2, 8 et 19: videte ne quis vos decipiat per philosophiam falsam, aut inanem gloriam vos seducat volens quae non vidit, ambulans frustra inflato spiritu carnis suae, non tenens caput, idest Christum. [23] Consider this dear brothers: there were many philosophers who spoke many things belonging to faith, and you will scarcely find two philosophers agreeing upon one opinion; and any one of them that did say something true, did not speak without an admixture of error. A little old woman now knows more about what belongs to faith than all the philosophers once knew. We read that Pythagoras began as a boxer; he heard his teacher discuss the immortality of the soul, asserting that the soul was immortal, and he was so enthralled that after having forsaken everything, he dedicated himself to the study of philosophy. But what little old woman is there today who does not know that the soul is immortal? Faith is capable of much more than philosophy, consequently if philosophy contradicts faith, it must not to be accepted, as the Apostle to the Colossians says: See to it that no one deceive you by philosophy and empty deceit. Let no one seduce you, willing, walking in the things which he has not seen, in vain puffed up by the sense of his flesh, not holding the head, that is Christ.
Alii sunt falsi prophetae ex falsa intentione. Sed quae est vera intentio prophetae? Certe utilitas populi. Unde apostolus 1 Cor. 14, 13: qui prophetat, hominibus loquitur ad aedificationem, exortationem et consolationem. Ad aedificationem ut homines reddat devotos; ad exortationem ut eos in bonis operibus reddat promptos; ad consolationem ut eos reddat in illis patientes. Si alius doctrina sua quaerat aliud quam utilitatem populi, falsus propheta est. [24] Others are called false prophets by reason of their deceptive intention. But what is a prophet's true intention? Certainly it is the welfare of the people, as the Apostle says in his letter to the Corinthians: He who prophesies speaks to men for their edification and encouragement and consolation. [He speaks] for their edification so that they may become devout; for their encouragement so that they may become ready to perform good deeds; for their consolation so that they may become patient in adversity. If anyone seeks anything from a teaching other than the welfare of the people, he is a false prophet.
Qui est episcopus suscipit officium regiminis et praedicationis, et debet quaerere utilitatem populi; si vero aliud quaerat quam lucrum episcopale aut inanem gloriam, falsus propheta est, quia non servat intentionem rectam. Unde dicit Chrysostomus quod multi sacerdotes non curant quomodo populus vivat, sed quomodo offerat. Unde conqueritur dominus in Ezechiele 13, 19: violant me propter pusillum hordei et fragmen panis. Contra quos dicit apostolus 2 Cor. 2, 17: non enim sumus sicut plurimi serentes verbum Dei. Et dicit Gregorius quod adulterinae cogitationis reus est, si placere oculis sponsae quaerit per quem sponsus sponsae dona transmittit. Adulter in muliere non quaerit generare prolem, sed quaerit tantum corporalem delectationem. Similiter ille adulterat verbum domini qui non quaerit generare prolem spiritualem, sed solum quaerit lucrum temporale aut inanem gloriam. [25] Every bishop who takes up the duty of governing and preaching must look to the welfare of his people. But if he is seeking anything else, namely temporal gain and empty glory, he is a false prophet, because he does not keep an upright intention; for this reason Chrysostom says that many priests are not concerned with how people live, but with how much they give. Therefore, in Ezekiel the Lord deplores such men: And they violated me among my people for a handful of barley and a piece of bread. Against whom the Apostle says: For we are not as many, adulterating the word of God. Gregory also says that "that servant is guilty of adulterous thoughts, if he desires to please the eyes of the bride when the bridegroom sends gifts by him to her. An adulterer is not looking to sire a child with his mistress, but he is only looking for a moment of pleasure. Likewise, that person adulterates the word of God, who is not looking to sire a spiritual child, but is only looking for temporal gain and empty glory.
Item sunt aliqui falsi prophetae per malam vitam, sicut quando quis aliter docet, et aliter vivit: tunc doctrina ejus non est accepta. Et propter hoc Christus coepit facere et docere. Et in Luca dicitur 1, 10: sicut locutus est per os sanctorum, qui a saeculo sunt prophetae ejus: quasi dicat: prophetae per quos dominus loquitur debent esse sancti, sed (sunt) de quibus conqueritur dominus per Jeremiam 23, 11: sacerdotes, inquit, et prophetae polluti sunt, in domo mea vidi malum eorum. [26] Others are called false prophets by reason of their wicked life, as when someone teaches one way but lives another way: then his teaching must not be accepted. It is for this reason that Christ began to do and to teach. And it says in Luke: As he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets, who are from the beginning, as if to say: the prophets through whom the Lord speaks ought to be holy men. But the Lord deplores such prophets through his prophet Jeremiah: The priests, he said, and the prophets are defiled; in my house I have found their wickedness.
Rogemus dominum et cetera. We shall ask the Lord, etc.
II. COLLATIO
Attendite a falsis prophetis et cetera. Beware of false prophets, etc.
Dictum est hodie de hostibus populi Christiani, scilicet de falsis prophetis; nunc videndum est quomodo insidiantur nobis. Apostolus autem ad Corinth. aperit eorum insidias. Et similiter dominus in Evangelio cum dicit: attendite a falsis prophetis qui veniunt ad vos in vestimentis ovium et cetera. In quo hypocrisis intelligitur, quia latibulum falsorum prophetarum latibulum est hypocrisis. Unde apostolus ad Tim. 4, 1: spiritus manifeste dicit: in novissimis diebus venient illusores discedentes a fide attendentes spiritibus erroris, et doctrinis Daemoniorum loquentium in hypocrisi mendacium. Si quis consideret vitam et mores, videbuntur sibi boni, qui austeram vitam ducunt a conjugiis et cibis delicatis abstinent, sed attendunt spiritibus erroris et doctrinis Daemoniorum. [27] I have already spoken today about the enemies of the Christian people, namely about false prophets; now we must consider how they entrap us. The Apostle to the Corinthians exposes their traps, and likewise the Lord in the Gospel when he says: Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, etc. Here the meaning of hypocrisy is understood because hypocrisy is the hiding place of false prophets. Therefore the Apostle in his letter to Timothy says: The Spirit manifestly says: in the last days mockers will come, departing from the faith by giving heed to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in the hypocrisy. If anyone were to consider the life and character of others, those who lead an austere life by abstaining from marriage and extravagant foods will appear to him as good, but in fact they answer to the spirits of delusion and the teachings of demons.
Attendatis quid est quod dicit: qui veniunt ad vos in vestimentis ovium, Matth. 7, 15; oves sunt Christi fideles qui Christo obediunt. Unde in Joan. 10, 27: oves meae vocem meam audiunt. Nostra caula ovium sunt imitatores Christi. Apostolus ita dicit Eph. 4, 23: renovamini in spiritu mentis vestrae, et induite novum hominem, qui secundum Deum creatus est, in justitia et sanctitate veritatis. Duo tangit hic: quia justitia videtur pertinere ad proximos exterius, et sanctitas veritatis ad interiorem animae dispositionem. Unde impletur illud Prov. 31, 21: omnes domestici ejus vestiti sunt duplicibus. Scilicet virtutibus animae internis et bonis operibus externis. [28] Turn your attention now to what he says: They come to you in sheep's clothing. The sheep are Christ's faithful who obey Christ, hence in John: My sheep hear my voice. Sheep's clothing are the moral examples of Christ. Thus it is that the Apostle says: Be renewed in the spirit of your mind and put on the new man, who according to God is created injustice and holiness of truth. Here he touches upon two points, because justice seems outwardly to belong to our neighbors, and holiness of truth seems to belong to the interior disposition of the soul. Hence that saying of Proverbs is fulfilled: Her entire household is clothed with double garments, namely, inwardly with the virtues of the soul and outwardly with good works.
Verum est quod si falsi prophetae utramque vestem haberent, oves Christi essent. Per vestes exteriores homo accedit ad homines: et per hoc quod dicit, veniunt ad vos in vestimentis ovium, intelligitur quod assumunt opera exteriora per quae veniunt ad vos, quia per interiora opera accedunt ad dominum. [29] To be sure, if false prophets were clothed in both, they would be Christ's sheep. A person approves of others based on their outer clothing, therefore it says: They come to you in sheep's clothing, which means that they assume exterior activities by which they come to us, since they approach God by interior activities.
Et notandum quod quadruplex est vestis ovium Christi; scilicet latriae, justitiae, poenitentiae et innocentiae. [30] And it should be noted that Christ's sheep are clothed in a fourfold way, namely with the clothing of worship, of justice, of penitence, and of innocence.
In nomine vestis latriae est vestis divini cultus, quam oves Christi habent in hoc quod intendunt cultui divino. Istam vestem recipiunt oves Christi in Baptismo. Unde apostolus ad Galatas 3, 17: omnes qui in Christo baptizati estis, Christum induistis. Istam vestem induunt oves Christi quando intendunt orationi. Unde in Ecclesiastico 50, 12: in ascensu altaris incensi gloriam dedit Deo. [31] The clothing of worship is the clothing of divine worship which Christ's sheep wear to concentrate on divine worship. Christ's sheep receive this clothing at Baptism, thus the Apostle to the Galatians says: As many of you as have been baptized in Christ have put on Christ. Christ's sheep put on this clothing when they concentrate on prayer, as we read in Ecclesiasticus: In ascending the altar of incense, he honored God.
Istam vestem assumunt hypocritae propter duo; scilicet propter inanem gloriam, et propter lucrum. Propter inanem gloriam assumunt eam publice et manifeste orando. Unde in Evangelio Matth. 6, 4: qui amant in synagogis et angulis platearum orare, ut videantur ab hominibus, et in synagogis, idest publice: sed numquid est id malum cum scribatur: benedicite domino omnes Angeli ejus? Dicit Chrysostomus quod non tantum tangit locum quam animum. In occulto orat qui animum non ad homines sed ad Deum habet. Si solus oraret quis in camera et vellet videri ab hominibus, publice oraret. Quid igitur prohibetur? Scilicet ne homines animum habeant ad hoc quod videantur ab hominibus orare: ab hoc vitandum est Christianis. Unde Chrysostomus: orans nihil novum faciat ut ab hominibus videri possit in clamando, neque pectus percutiendo, neque manus elevando: sed si oras in societate sicut alii, in secreto oras: novos autem gestus et modos quaerere pertinet ad hoc quod dicit in synagogis orare. Debet homo in orando conformis esse aliis, non novos modos quaerere, sicut hypocritae qui publice orant propter inanem gloriam, et item orant publice propter lucrum. Unde in Evangelio Matth. 23, 14: vae vobis, Scribae et Pharisaei, qui devoratis domum viduarum, orantes longas orationes, scilicet qui orant propter hoc ut lucrum acquirant. Aliqui turpissimo quaestu lucrum quaerunt a mulierculis, orant longas orationes, ut eas reddant devotas, et ab eis dona recipiant. Sed numquid malum est prolixe orare? Respondit Augustinus et dicit: absit ab oratione multa loquutio; sed non desit multa precatio, si fervens perseveret intensio; nam hoc negotium plerumque plus gemitibus quam sermonibus agitur, plus fletu, quam affatu. [32] Hypocrites assume this clothing for two reasons, namely for empty praise and money. For the sake of vainglory they put it on by praying publically and openly, hence in the Gospel it says: They love to pray in the synagogues and corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men; in the synagogues, that is to say publically. But is it a bad thing to do this, since it is written: All you angels, bless the Lord, etc.?" Chrysostom says that this has not so much to do with the place than with the soul. The one who prays in secret directs his attention, not to men, but to God. If someone prays alone in his room and he wants to be seen by men, he should pray in public. What then is being forbidden? Namely, that people should not intend to be seen by others when they pray; for this reason Christians must avoid this. Therefore Chrysostom gives this advice: "Let the one praying do nothing unusual so that he may not be able to be seen by men, neither by crying aloud, nor by beating his breast, nor by raising his hands." But if you are praying in the same manner as the others in your community, then you are praying in secret; however, looking for new methods and gestures applies to what is said about praying in synagogues. When praying, a person ought to pray in unison with others, and not look for novel methods as the hypocrites do who pray publically for the sake of vainglory. And moreover, they pray long prayers for money, thus it says in the Gospel: Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you devour the houses of widows praying long prayers, namely, they pray in order to obtain money. Some, in a most shameful way, obtain money from defenseless women: they pray long prayers so that they may become devout women and receive gifts from them. But is there anything evil in praying long prayers? Augustine answers by saying: "Verboseness should be absent from prayer, but much prayer should not be lacking, if only the intention continues steadfastly; for very often this work is accomplished more by sighs than by words, more by tears than by speaking".
Alia est vestis ovium Christi, quae est justitia et misericordia; de qua Job 29, 14 - 16: indutus justitia sicut vestimento. Oculus fui caeco, et pes claudo, pater fui pauperum. Istam vestem assumunt hypocritae semper. Unde in Evangelio Matth. 6, 1 - 2: attendite ne justitiam faciatis coram hominibus, ut videamini ab eis: et cum facis eleemosynam noli tuba canere sicut hypocritae faciunt. Chrysostomus dicit quod tuba est omnis actus vel sermo per quem jactantia demonstratur: verbi gratia, das eleemosynam sed non dares eam nisi honestiori personae quae tibi retribuere potest, tuba est. Item vis occulte dare eleemosynam ut laudabiliter videatur, tuba est. [33] Another clothing of Christ's sheep is the clothing of justice and mercy, about which Job says: I was clothed with justice, as with a robe, I was an eye to the blind and afoot to the lame; I was the father of the poor. The hypocrites assume this clothing, therefore we read in the Gospel: Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; when you give alms, sound no trumpet, as the hypocrites do. Chrysostom says that the trumpet is every deed or word by which boasting is shown. For example: you give alms, but you would not give it except to a more reputable person who can repay you: this is a trumpet. Moreover, you act like a trumpet when you wish to give alms secretly so as to appear more praiseworthy.
Tertia vestis ovium Christi est poenitentia. Psal. 68, 12: posui vestimentum meum Cilicium. Ista veste, scilicet simulatae poenitentiae et austerae vitae, utuntur hypocritae. Unde in Evangelio Matth. 6, 16: cum jejunatis nolite fieri sicut hypocritae tristes. Exterminant faciem suam ut videantur hominibus jejunare. Hoc quaerunt et hoc appetunt ut videantur hominibus jejunare. Augustinus in hoc capitulo: nam interdum non in solo corporearum rerum nitore, sed etiam in sordibus luti posse esse pompam, et eo perniciosiorem, quod sub nomine servitutis domini decipit. Philosophus dicit quod homo (si) utetur habitu viliori quam exigat ejus status, potest pertinere ad jactantiam. Ista exteriora sunt insignia quaedam. In exercitu quolibet accedens portans signum suum non est praesumptuosus. In quolibet statu debet homo mediocribus esse contentus, nec nimis abjecta quaerere. Unde Augustinus: nec nimis pretiosis, nec nimis vilibus uti debemus. Et quare? Quia in his duobus gloriam quaerere possumus. De ista veste vili dicitur in Zach. 13, 14: non operientur ultra pallio saccino, scilicet ut simulentur. [34] The third clothing of Christ's sheep is the clothing of penitence, about which the Psalmist says: I made haircloth my garment. The hypocrites use this clothing, namely a deceptive and austere way of life, thus we find in the Gospel: When you fast, do not look sad, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by men. They seek and crave this so that their fasting may be seen by men. Augustine writes: "In this chapter we must turn our attention to the fact that it is possible to boast not only of the splendor of material things, but even of filthy squalor, and that this is all the more dangerous when it is disingenuously done in the name of the Lord's service." The Philosopher says that [if] a man were to wear apparel that is beneath his station in life, this can be considered a form of boasting. These exterior things act as certain kinds of insignias: in an army every battle line carries its own standard; this is not presumptuous. In whatever state of life a person finds himself, he should be content with ordinary things and not seek too much after worthless objects, for as Augustine says: "We should neither make too much use of expensive things nor of cheap things". And why is this? Because we are able to seek glory in these two ways. Concerning this cheap clothing it is said in Zechariah: They shall not put on a garment of sackcloth, namely, so that they do [not] pretend.
Quarta vestis ovium Christi est innocentia, quae est vestis limpida et pulchra, ut in Prov. 31, 25: fortitudo et decor indumentum ejus. Istam vestem, scilicet simulatae pietatis et munditiae assumunt hypocritae. Unde in Evangelio Matth. 23, 27: vae vobis hypocritae qui similes estis sepulchris dealbatis, scilicet quae apparent hominibus dealbata, intrinsecus autem sunt plena ossibus mortuorum et omni spurcitia, idest rapina et immunditia. Et dicit Chrysostomus: quod turpe est apparere, turpius est esse: quod formosum est apparere, formosius est esse. [35] The fourth clothing of Christ's sheep is innocence, which is clean and beautiful, thus we read in Proverbs: Strength and beauty are her clothing. The hypocrites assume this clothing, namely by feigning piety and purity, as we read in the Gospel: Woe to you hypocrites who are like whitewashed sepulchres, namely those things which appear to men to have been whitewashed, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all filthiness, that is, violent theft and indecency. And Chrysostom says: "If it is vile to appear to be, it is even more vile actually to be so; if it is beautiful to appear, it is even more beautiful actually to be so." Such as these come in sheep's clothing.
Isti sunt qui veniunt in vestimentis ovium qui non sunt oves, ut illi qui quaerunt lucrum temporale et honores proprios. Unde Augustinus distinguit, et dicit quod alia est persona furis, alia lupi, alia pastoris, et alia mercenarii: quia pastor utilitatem ovium intendit, lupus et fur oves destruit, mercenarius ex ovibus proprium lucrum quaerit. Augustinus: mercenarius est tolerandus, pastor amandus et lupus fugiendus. Pastor amandus et lupus fugiendus: et hoc est quod dicit Evangelium Matth. 7, 15: veniunt ad vos in vestimentis ovium, intrinsecus autem sunt lupi rapaces. [36] But it should be noted that others, who are not sheep, come in sheep's clothing, such as those who seek temporal gain and honors for themselves. Augustine distinguishes them by saying that one plays the part of a thief, another of a wolf, another of a shepherd, and another of a mercenary, since a shepherd seeks the good of his sheep, a wolf and a thief seek the sheep's destruction, and a mercenary seeks his own gain from the sheep. Augustine says that "We must tolerate the mercenary, love the shepherd, and flee the wolf," and this is what our Lord says: They come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
Et notandum quod hypocritae comparantur lupis propter tria: quia lupi oves rapiunt, eis non parcunt et eas dispergunt, et in sua malitia perseverant. [37] It must be noted that hypocrites are like wolves for four reasons, because wolves snatch away sheep, they do not spare them, they scatter them, and they persist in their own evil.
[38] Now in the first place, hypocrites are like wolves because wolves snatch away sheep, and hypocrites snatch away the goods of the soul and body, they lead men astray, and physically pursue them and deprive them of their possessions; therefore we read in Ezekiel: Her princes in the midst of her are like wolves tearing the prey, shedding blood, destroying souls to get dishonest gain.
Primo dico, hypocritae comparantur lupis, quia lupi oves rapiunt, et hypocritae rapiunt bona animae et corporis, ponunt homines in errorem, et persequuntur eos corporaliter, et spoliant rebus. Unde in Ezechiele 22, 27: principes ejus in medio ejus, quasi lupi accipientes praedam ad effundendum sanguinem, ad perdendas animas, et ad avare lucrum sectandum. [39] Secondly, hypocrites are like wolves because wolves scatter sheep, hence it says in the Gospel: The wolf snatches and scatters the sheep. The Lord says: He who is not with me is against me; therefore and he who does not gather with me scatters. But what does it mean to scatter? Certainly when someone departs from what the Church teaches, he is scattered.
Secundo hypocritae comparantur lupis, qui nullo modo parcunt. Unde in Act. 20, 29, dicit apostolus: scio, quod post discessionem meam intrabunt in vos lupi rapaces, non parcentes gregi. Qui hominem interficeret et non parceret ei, dummodo posset lucrari unum denarium, diceretur multum crudelis. Sic faciunt hypocritae. Melior est vita animae quam corporis; et hypocritae ut habeant honores et sequaces, seducunt animas. [40] Thirdly, hypocrites are like wolves because they are altogether merciless; hence in Acts the Apostle says: I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Whoever would murder a man and not spare him as long as he could gain one penny would be called extremely cruel; this is the way hypocrites act. Since the life of the soul is more precious than the life of the body, hypocrites seduce souls in order that they may have honors and adherents.
Tertio hypocritae comparantur lupis, quia tamquam lupi in malitia sua perseverant. Unde in Sophon. 3, 3: judices ejus lupi usque ad vesperam, idest usque in finem. Propter quatuor igitur posita falsi prophetae tamquam lupi sunt cansandi. [41] Fourthly, hypocrites are like wolves because wolves persist in their own evil, as it says in Sophonias: Her judges are wolves even until evening, that is, even unto the end. Therefore, for the preceding four reasons, false prophets, like wolves, must be avoided.
Sed quo modo deprehenduntur lupi? Ostensum est cum dicitur: ex fructibus eorum cognoscetis eos. Augustinus dicit, quod multi decepti sunt in hoc quod vestimenta ovis computant pro fructibus. Vident aliqui simplices aliquos facere bona opera exteriora et jejunare, orare, et hujusmodi quae sunt vestes ovium, et non sunt vestes eorum propriae: oves autem Christi non debent vestes suas habere odio si lupi eis se tegant. [42] But how are wolves identified? This is shown when it says: You will know them by their fruits. Augustine says that many people are deceived when they mistake sheep's clothing for fruits. Some simple people see others performing good outward actions such as fasting, praying, and other such things which are sheep's clothing, but it is not their own clothing. However, Christ's sheep should not have a hatred for their own clothing, even if wolves do cover themselves with it.
Sed qui sunt fructus ovium? Proprie possumus dicere quod sunt quatuor fructus ovium, ex quibus deprehenduntur lupi, seu hypocritae. Primus consistit in affectione, secundus in intentione, tertius in operatione, et quartus in tribulatione. Primus est cordis, secundus oris, et tertius operis, et quartus patientiae et fortitudinis. [43] But what properly speaking are the fruits of sheep? We can say that sheep possess four fruits, and that from them we can identify wolves or hypocrites. The first fruit consists in affection, the second in speech, the third in activity, and the fourth in tribulation. The first is the fruit of the heart, the second of the mouth, the third of action, and the fourth of patience and fortitude.
Primo dico, oves Christi, sive sancti, habent proprium fructum cordis, qui est amor Dei et proximi. Unde apostolus Galat. 5, 22: fructus autem spiritus, gaudium, caritas et pax. Sed hypocritae alium fructum habent, scilicet ambitionis, quia honores amant. Unde Isa. 10, 22: visitabo super fructum magnifici cordis regis Assur. Hypocritae amant primos recumbitos in coenis, et primas cathedras in synagogis. Si aliquis vult praefigi honori ostendat exterius humilitatem, tunc vestis non respondet fructui. [44] Now in the first place, Christ's sheep or saints enjoy the proper fruit of the heart, which is the love of God and neighbor; thus the Apostle says: But the fruit of the Spirit is joy, charity, and peace. But hypocrites, because they love honors, have another fruit, namely, the fruit of ambition; thus Isaiah says: I will visit the fruit of the proud heart of the king of Assyria. Hypocrites love the first places at feasts and the first chairs in the synagogues. If anyone wishes to be honored and he displays humility outwardly, then his clothing does not correspond to his fruit.
Alius fructus ovium Christi (est) in locutione, quia boni loquuntur bonum, et de bono. Unde apostolus ad Heb.: per ipsum offeramus hostiam, fructum labiorum confitentium nomini ejus. Si aliquis dicat aliquid quod dissonat ejus operibus, non habet vestes similes fructui. Unde in Prov. 18, 20: de fructu oris viri replebitur venter ejus. Difficile est quod cor plenum invidia non eructet quandoque aliquid ex illo, quia ex abundantia cordis os loquitur. Unde Gregorius: pravi dum recta praedicant, valde difficile est ut quandoque et ea quae tacite ambiunt non eructent. [45] Another fruit of Christ's sheep is in their speech, since good men always say something good and speak about good; thus the Apostle to the Hebrews says: By him let us offer the sacrifice, the fruit of lips corresponding to his name. If anyone says something that is incongruent with his actions, then his clothes do not correspond to his fruit, thus we read in Proverbs: Of the fruit of a man's mouth will his belly be satisfied. It is difficult for a heart filled with jealousy not to let anything slip out from it at any moment, since out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Therefore Gregory says: "While depraved people do speak openly about suitable topics, it is only with the greatest difficulty that they do not let roving secrets spew forth."
Tertius fructus ovium Christi ex quo deprehenduntur hypocritae, est bonae operationis, quia in bonis est fructus bonus. Apostolus Rom. 1, 13: habetis fructum in sanctificatione. In malis autem fructus est malus. Unde in Prov. 10, 16: fructus impii ad peccatum, idest ad operationem peccati. Augustinus in quodam sermone dicit: qui sub perfectione Christianitatis insolito squallore aut sordibus in se oculos hominum convertit, cum id voluntate faciat, non necessitate patiatur, ex ceteris ejus operibus cognosci potest utrum id ad contemptum ornatioris habitus aut ambitione faciat. Quandoque potest contingere ex humilitate quod homo splendidum habitum accipiat, quandoque autem ex ambitione. Considera in aliis ejus operibus, si in illis contemptus ambitionis, tunc ex humilitate facit. Dicit, ex operibus ejus cognosci potest; quia qui vile habitum portant ex una parte, et alia parte proferunt signa poenitentiae et mansuetudinis, oves Christi sunt. Si non; simulatores sunt. Unde facile, inquit, hypocritae deprehendi possunt. Viam per quam jussi sumus ambulare laboriosa est. Hypocritae laborare non eligunt. [46] The third fruit of Christ's sheep by which we can identify hypocrites belongs to good actions, because in good actions there is good fruit, as the Apostle says: You have your fruit unto sanctification. However, in bad actions there is bad fruit, as we read in Proverbs: The fruit of the wicked is to sin, that is to the work of sin. In a certain sermon Augustine says: 'When anyone in the profession of Christianity draws men's eyes upon himself by an unusually filthy and foul garment, if this is done voluntarily and is not suffered out of necessity, then by his other activities it can be determined whether he is doing this out of contempt for stylish dress or whether he is doing it for adulation." It sometimes happens that a man will put on an attractive garment out of humility, but at other times he will do it for adulation. Consider his activities among other men: if he is among other men and spurns their adulation, then he is doing it out of humility; if not, as Augustine says, it can be determined from his activities: because those, who on the one hand wear cheap garments, but on the other hand prefer the signs of penitence and gentleness are the sheep of Christ; if not, they are frauds. "Therefore it is said that a hypocrite is easily recognized. The way through which we have been commanded to walk is an arduous one; and the hypocrite does not choose it".
Item hypocritae ostendunt se mites, sed cum occasionem habent persequendi, tunc maxime persequuntur. Unde Gregorius: si qua vero fidei tentatio erumpat, statim lupi mens rabida habitu se ovinae pellis expoliat; quantumque contra bonos saeviat persequens demonstrat. [47] Again, hypocrites make a display of their meekness, but when they have the opportunity of persecuting, then they do their utmost to persecute, hence Gregory says: "If any trial of faith occurs, immediately the wolf ravenous at heart strips himself of his sheep's skin; and shows by persecuting how great his anger is against the good".
Quartum signum quo deprehenduntur hypocritae est tempore tribulationis. Unde in Prov. 15, 6: pro fructibus impii conturbatio; doctrina viri per prudentiam noscitur. Augustinus in sermone domini de monte dicit de hypocritis: cum coeperint, inquit, aliquibus tentationibus subtrahi vel negari quae isto velamine consequuti sunt, vel consequi cupiunt, necesse est appareat utrum lupus in pelle ovina sit, aut ovis in sua. Propter hoc dicit apostolus 2 Tim. 2, 21: si quis se emendaverit ab istis, scilicet peccatis, erit vas ad honorem paratum omnino: quod nobis praestare dignetur qui cum patre et cetera. [48] A fourth sign by which hypocrites are recognized is in time of tribulation, therefore as it says in Proverbs: In the fruits of the wicked is trouble: the learning of a man is known by patience. Augustine commenting on the Lord's Sermon on the Mount, describes hypocrites this way: "For when by any temptations those things began to be withdrawn or denied, which they either attained or desired to attain under this cover, it must appear to be either a wolf in sheep's clothing, or a sheep in its own." For this reason James says in his canonical letter: If any man therefore will clean himself from these, he will be a vessel unto honor, prepared to the Lord. May he grant us to stand before him who with the Father, etc.