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HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY ON THE NEW TESTAMENT
Ver. 1. Let every soul, or every one, be subject, &c. The Jews were apt to think themselves not subject to temporal princes, as to taxes, &c. and lest Christians should misconstrue their Christian liberty, he here teacheth them that every one (even priests and bishops, says S. Chrys.) must be subject and obedient to princes, even to heathens, as they were at that time, as to laws that regard the policy of the civil government, honouring them, obeying them, and their laws, as it is the will of God, because the power they act by is from God. So that to resist them, is to resist God. And every Christian must obey them even for conscience-sake. S. Chrys. takes notice that S. Paul does not say that there is no prince but from God, but only that there is no power but from God, meaning no lawful power, and speaking of true and just laws. See hom. xxiii. Wi.
Ver. 8-9. But that you love one another. This is a debt, says S. Chrys. which we are always to be paying, and yet always remains, and is to be paid again. — He that loveth his neighbour, hath fulfilled the law. Nay, he that loves his neighbour, as he ought, loves him for God's sake, and so complies with the other great precept of loving God: and upon these two precepts (as Christ himself taught us, Matt. xxii. 40.) depends the whole law and the prophets. Wi.
Ver. 10. Love of the neighbour worketh no evil. This, by the Latin, is the true construction; and not, love worketh no evil to the neighbour, as it might be translated from the Greek. Wi.
Ver. 11. Now our salvation is nearer than when we believed. Some will have the sense to be, that our salvation is now nearer, when the gospel is preached, and Christ offers us his graces, than when we believed the Messias was to come. Others expound it, that the more of our life is spent, we come nearer to the judgment of God, and to the salvation promised in heaven. Wi.
Ver. 12. The night is passed. That is, the night of sin and infidelity, in which you lived, before you began to serve Christ. Wi. — S. Paul is here addressing himself to Gentile converts. Before your conversion, you were in the darkness of infidelity: this time is past; now is the day, when the gospel has dissipated the darkness of idolatry, ignorance, and sin. Let us lay aside the works of darkness, by flying from sin, which hates the light, and seeks always to conceal itself; and let us put on the armour of light, the shield of faith, the breast-plate of justice, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit. Calmet.
Ver. 13. Let us walk honestly as in the day. As men are accustomed to do in the light, without being afraid that their works come to light. — Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering, not in beds and impurities, not in immodest disorders. Wi. — The night of the present life full of darkness, of ignorance, and of sin, is already far advanced; and the day of eternity approaches: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness. V.
Ver. 14. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ. To put on, is a metaphor used in the Scripture; as when it is said, put on the new man, &c. And make not provision for the flesh in its concupiscenses. That is, do not take care, nor pamper and indulge your appetite in eating and drinking, so as to increase your disorderly inclinations, but keep them in due subjection. Wi. — The apostle does not forbid all care of the body, since he himself says in the epistle to the Ephesians, v. "No one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it." But he forbids that care of the flesh, by which the desires and concupiscences of the flesh are strengthened and encouraged. This those are guilty of, who are always indulging in delights and voluptuousness. Estius. — Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, that is, enter into his sentiments, imitate his virtues, and indulge not the flesh in its inordinate desires.