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An Exposition Of the Epistles Of Saint Paul And Of The Catholic Epistles Volumes 1&2


The Apostle continues, as far as verse 14 of this chapter, the subject referred to in the close of the preceding. He shows why both he and they should fear, lest they might be cast off and numbered amongst the reprobate; and, in order to guard them against relying too confidently on the signal favours which they heretofore received, he introduces the example of the Jews, who left Egypt, whose history—both as to favours conferred and punishment inflicted—was a type of the benefits conferred on us in the New Law, and of the punishment to be inflicted on ns, should we imitate them in sinning. Their passage through the desert was a figure of our passage through life, towards the true Chanaan. Their helps given them primarily, in reference to a temporal end, were a figure of ours given in reference to a spiritual; and, as all the Jews who, the year after leaving Egypt, reached the twentieth year of their age, to the number of six hundred thousand, died in the desert (Caleb and Joshua excepted), without entering the land of Chanaan, although they all partook of the same favours and privileges;—so there is cause for us to dread, should we follow their sinful example, the like exclusion from the Chanaan of Heaven (verse 14). He reverts, after a long digression, to the subject of Idolothytes, of which he treated (chap. 8), and classes the use of them, in certain circumstances, with Idol worship (14). He proves from examples drawn both from the Christian and Jewish laws, that, by partaking of Idolothytes, they join in Idol worship (14–19). He shows the enormity of this crime, as it is nothing short of joining in the worship of devils (19–22). He next considers the circumstance of scandal, resulting from the use of Idolothytes (22–25). He shows when the use of them is allowed (25–28). In case, however, a remark be made, either by believers or unbelievers, that the things set before us were offered to Idols, we should abstain from them in charity to our informants (28–30). The safest rule for avoiding scandal in every case is to refer all our actions to the glory of God without giving offence in any quarter, after the example of the Apostle himself.


1. (It is not without reason, that I, as well as you, have to fear the dreadful curse of reprobation, notwithstanding the many spiritual advantages bestowed upon us.) For, I would not have you ignorant, that our fathers were under the pillar of cloud, and they all miraculously crossed the Red Sea, after their deliverance from the bondage of Egypt.

2. And they were all baptized by the ministry and under the guidance of Moses, in this cloud and in the sea.

3. And they all cat the same spiritual food, viz., the manna.

4. And they all drank the same spiritual drink, viz., the water from the rock; for, they drank of the spiritual rock, which followed them in the rivers of water flowing from it to a great distance after them, till they reached abundance; and the object signified by this rock was Christ.

5. But most of them did not please God; for, with the exception of Caleb and Joshua, the carcases of all the men, who, after the numbering which occurred the first year of their leaving Egypt, had reached the age of twenty, were strewed in the wilderness.—(Num. 14:29, 30; 26:64, 65).

6. Now, all these things were typical of us; their helps of our graces; their temporal punishment and exclusion from Chanaan, of our eternal punishment and exclusion from heaven; and convey to us, at the same time, a wholesome warning, not to imitate their sinful course, not to covet evil things, as they inordinately coveted flesh meat.

7. Nor become idolaters, like some of them, when in the absence of Moses, they adored the golden calf of which occurrence, it was written (Exodus, 35:6): The people sat down to eat and drink, and afterwards rose up to indulge in sportive amusement of all sorts, in honour of their new god.

8. Nor commit fornication as some of them did, on the occasion of the introduction of the daughters of Moab (Numbers, 25:1), and twenty-three thousand were slain in one day.

9. Nor tempt Christ, as some of them did, and were destroyed by fiery serpents.

10. Nor murmur against authority, as some of them murmured, in the rebellion of Core, Dathan, and Abiron, and were exterminated by the destroying Angel.

11. Now, all these things happened to them in figure, their punishment was but a type of ours, and serves as an awful warning to us, against imitating their transgressions. They were written for our admonition who have lived in the last age of the world.

12. Wherefore, let him who thinks that he is firmly established in the state of grace, not be too confident, but take care lest he fall.

13. Hitherto you have experienced some trials. May God grant, that no temptation assail you in future, unless such as may be accommodated to human strength, aided by the ordinary helps of Divine grace; but no matter to what trials you may be exposed God—who is faithful to His Divine promises, assuring us, that if we call upon him, he will hear us—will not permit you to be assailed beyond your strength; nay, by administering the necessary graces, he will bring the temptation to so favourable a conclusion, as that you may come off victorious in the conflict.

14. Wherefore, keeping in mind all the foregoing examples of punishment inflicted on the sinful Jews, or, in order that God may give you grace to persevere under temptation, fly from the worship of idols, this not being a human, but a diabolical temptation.

15. I speak to persons of judgment, capable of appreciating the force of my observations. Be you, yourselves, judges of what I am about to say

16. The blessed chalice, upon which we invoke the Divine bounty and omnipotence, doth it not make us partakers of the blood of Christ, and by this participation, unite us with him? And the heavenly bread which we break, in its external species, doth it not make us partakers of his divine body in the same way?

17. So real is the communication of his body and blood in the Eucharist, and our consequent union with him, that all of us who partake of the one bread, although we are many, become, by this participation, one bread and one body.

18. Look to the Jews who continue to profess the Jewish religion, are not those, who eat of the victims offered, made partakers of the altar? Do they not join, and have they not a share in the sacrifice?

19. What then is my conclusion? Do I contradict what I have already stated (chap. 8) regarding idols? Do I say that an idol is anything?—or, that the thing offered to idols receives any sacrifices therefrom? By no means.

20. But, what the Gentiles offer in sacrifice, they immolate not to God, but to demons. (Hence, he who partakes of Idolothytes communicates with demons). I do not wish you to hold communion with demons.

21. You cannot, without a monstrous association of things in themselves incompatible, drink the chalice of the Lord and that of devils—partake of the table of the Lord and of the table of devils.

22. Do we by such conduct wish to provoke God to jealousy?—or combat his omnipotence? But, if not taken in prohibited places, may not the eating of these things be licit? Yes; but many things are licit, that are not expedient for our neighbour’s good or our own.

23. Many things are lawful that may not promote the spiritual advancement, or the edification of our neighbour, as they should.

24. But charity dictates to us that we should not seek our own interests merely to the detriment of our neighbour, but that we should consult for his spiritual interests also.

25. Eat of everything sold at the market, asking no questions for conscience sake. Make no inquiries, whether it has been offered to idols or not.

26. For to the Lord belong the earth and all its contents, which are, therefore, in themselves good and unpolluted.

27. Should a Pagan invite you to table, and you think fit to accept of his invitation, you may partake of whatever is set before you, asking no question as to whether it was immolated or not.

28. But should any person present observe, that the meat set before you was immolated, abstain from it both for the sake of him who made the observation, and also for conscience sake.

29. When I say, conscience sake, I mean not your own conscience but your informant’s; for, if he be a Pagan, the observation shows that he regards the meats as having some degree of sacredness imparted to them. Should you then eat of them, he shall consider Christians to be regardless of their religioius obligations; and hence, you will give occasion to him to blaspheme our holy religion. If he be a Christian, the remark shows him to be weak, and by eating you would scandalize him, for why should I use my liberty in circumstances, where it is judged and condemned by the conscience of another?

30. And if I partake of these things with thankfulness to God, why do so in circumstances where my religious faith is blasphemed and maligned on account of my partaking of the thing for which I give God thanks?

31. The safest rule then to follow, in order to avoid giving scandal either in eating or drinking, or in any of our actions, is, to do all for the glory of God.

32. Give no cause of offence to either Gentile, or Jew, or Christian.

33. As I in all things please all men, seeking not my own profit, but what is most conducive to the salvation of others.


1. “Our fathers.” He calls the ancient Jews the “fathers” of the Corinthians, because the Corinthians were the spiritual Israel at the time; or it may be, that he addresses the Jewish portion particularly, as being the best informed in religion. “The cloud” is that referred to (Exodus, 13:22, 23). It preceded the people, overshadowing and protecting them from the sun’s heat by day, and this during their entire journey, from the time they left Egypt until they reached Chanaan. By night, in its place was a pillar of fire. “Through the sea” refers to their miraculous passage across the Red Sea. This, and the preceding, were signal favours on the part of God.

2. The baptism in question, caused, probably, by their immersion in the thick vapours from the cloud that overhung them, and from the sea through which they passed, was typical of our baptism; and several other circumstances attending their passage, were types of the effects which baptism produces (verse 9); the drowning of Egyptians was a type of the destruction of our sin in baptism, &c. Others, strictly adhering to the Greek, “and all unto Moses were baptized,” εἰς τὸν Μω̈υσην, interpret the words thus:—They were initiated into the religion of Moses, in the same way as we are introduced into the Church by baptism; because the protection divinely extended to them in both these instances, made them at once follow Moses and embrace the religion propounded by him. The former, however, is the more probable interpretation; because, the Apostle speaks of what occurred to the incredulous as well as to the believers.

3. “The same spiritual food,” viz., the manna, which is called “spiritual,” because formed in the air by the hands of angels; or, rather, on account of its spiritual signification; for, it signified the adorable body of Christ, given us for food in the Holy Eucharist. “The same,” among themselves, but not as St. Augustine understands it, the same with our spiritual food. According to him, they took the same spiritual food as ours, because they partook by faith of that which we receive really. This interpretation of St. Augustine is very improbable; because the Apostle has not hitherto said a single word about our spiritual food. Moreover, it is of the Hebrews alone he speaks in the fifth verse, where it is said, “but with the most of them, God was not pleased.” Again, “all” the Jews did not receive Christ spiritually by faith; for many of them were incredulous.

4. “The same spiritual drink.” “Spiritual,” because figurative of the sacred blood of Christ. This, most probably, refers to the issue from the rock of Horeb, at Raphidim, in the first year of their egress from Egypt (Exodus, 18), and not to that recorded (Num. 20), because, this latter issuing of the water occurred at Cades, in Sin, in the last year of the sojourn of the Jews in the desert, and after the construction of the tabernacle, as is clear from the fact of Moses taking the rod, “which was before the Lord” (Num. 20:8), i.e., in the tabernacle of the covenant. And as the Apostle refers to this as one of the blessings, notwithstanding which, “they were overthrown in the desert,” he must, consequently have referred to the issuing of the water which occurred before their death, and hence, not to that which occurred the last year of their abode in the desert, when most of those who left Egypt, after the age of twenty, were dead. (“And they drank of the spiritual rock,” &c.; in Greek, ἔπεινον γὰρ, for they drank, &c., as if these words were corroborative of the preceding.) The interpretation adopted in the Paraphrase is founded on the words of the Psalmist, who, in commemorating the benefits of God towards the Jews in the desert says, et deduxit tanquam flumina aquas (Psalm 67), disrupit petram et fluxerunt aquæ, abierunt flumina in sicco,—(Psalm 104). Others interpret the words thus: they drank of the spiritual rock which followed them; because they were favoured with the exercise of the power of Christ which followed and protected them through the desert. However, in this interpretation, the Apostle should have rather said, which preceded them, because Christ, or his conducting angel, preceded rather than “followed” them.—(Exodus, 23 and 32)

“And the rock was Christ.” From the Greek, ἡ πέτρα δὲ ἦν ὁ Χριστός, it cannot be ascertained which word is the predicate, and which, the subject of this proposition. However, the evident meaning is, that Christ was the object signified by this rock, or this rock in signification was Christ; and hence, spiritual.

The Sacramentarians can ground no objection against the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, on the analogy between the two propositions, “the rock was Christ,” and “this is my body.” Because, in order to be warranted, according to the established laws of human language, in saying of the sign that it is a thing signified, we should be aware, that either our hearers or readers were prepared to understand us as speaking figuratively, as predicating of the sign, the thing signified. This is one of the fundamental laws of human language. Now, at the Last Supper—the occasion when the words, “this is my body,” were uttered—the Apostles received no intimation whatever, that our Redeemer meant the words, “this is my body,” to be taken figuratively—on the contrary, they were to expect that he would leave them his real body and blood, as their meat and drink, in fulfilment of the promise made to them on a former occasion (John, chapter 6); whereas, we are informed by the Apostle, in this place that there is question of figurative language throughout (verses 6 and 11). Secondly, whenever it would involve an absurdity to predicate one thing of another, in the literal signification, then the proposition must be taken figuratively, as in the propositions, Christ is a lion, Christ is a door. &c. So it is also with regard to the proposition, “the rock was Christ.” Hence, it must be understood figuratively: but there is no absurdity in saying of the object present at the Last Supper, in the most literal sense, this is my body. Since Christ not only announced a truth, but operated a change, making the thing to be, what he announced or predicated regarding it.

5. Although all had been favoured with these signal blessings on the part of God, which served as it were for so many pledges, that they were to enter the land of Chanaan; still, out of six hundred thousand men, who reached the age of twenty, the first year after their departure from Egypt, only two, viz., Caleb and Joshua, entered the land of promise; and this, in punishment of their having displeased God by their sins—an awful warning to us not to confide too much on the past favours and pledges of God’s goodness; for, if we follow the sinful example of the Israelites, we too shall be excluded from the true Chanaan of heaven, whereof that, towards which they were journeying, was a figure. “With most of them,” ἐν τοῖς πλείοσιν, “with many of them.”

6. “Were done in a figure of us.” In Greek, ταῦτα δὲ τύποι ἡμῶν ἑγενήθησαν, were types of us; the word signifies both a type or rude delineation, and also an example or warning, both which meanings are given in the Paraphrase; as the gifts were types, so likewise was the punishment. “That we should not covet evil things.” (In allusion to the greediness of the Corinthians for Idolothytes). “As they also coveted.” The Apostle refers to the occasion (Numbers 11), when disgusted with the manna, they cried out, “who will give us flesh to eat?” (Numbers, 11:4); and from the punishment inflicted on them, after partaking of the quails sent into the camp, the place was called “the graves of lust.”—(Numbers, 11:34).

7. “Neither become ye idolaters” (in allusion to the participation of Idolothytes in suspicious circumstancs, which might render them suspected of joining in idol worship), “as some of them.” He refers to the adoration of the golden calf set up by Aaron, while Moses was receiving the law from God on Mount Sinai. “As it is written: The people sat down to eat,” &c.—(Exodus 32). The people after presenting holocausts and peace offerings to their idol, sat down to eat and drink; and then rose up to indulge in all sorts of sportive amusements, leaping, dancing, &c. in honour of their new God. These words, viz., the people sat down, &c., are quoted by the Apostle, simply because in Exodus they are found immediately connected with the description of their idolatrous conduct. The Apostle does not appear to intend them for a proof of any kind. He merely quotes them, because of their connection with idolatry to which he refers.—(Exodus, 32:6).

8. “Neither let us commit fornication.” These words are allusive to the libidinous propensities of the Corinthians (see chap. 6) “And there fell in one day three-and-twenty thousand.” In the book of Numbers, chap. 25 verse 9, it is said, “four and twenty thousand fell.” How reconcile both accounts? Some say, there is no contradiction whatever. St. Paul says, “twenty-three thousand in one day fell.” Moses does not say “twenty-four thousand in one day.” By these Expositors it is supposed that a thousand of the chiefs were slain on the first day, and twenty-three thousand of the people, on the second day, to which St. Paul here refers. Others say, that between twenty-three and twenty-four thousands were the numbers slain, and that both the Apostle and Moses, as historians of the fact, recorded only the round numbers, without attending to strict numerical accuracy; so that St. Paul took the lesser, and Moses, the greater number. Estius adopts the mode of reconciling both statements proposed by Œcumenius, who says, that he found in some copies of this epistle twenty-four thousand, and that twenty-three thousand was inserted through the carelessness of the amanuensis. A’Lapide says, the twenty-three thousand slain, mentioned in this verse, refer not to the fornicators; but to the idolaters (verse 7); and in the book of Exodus, chap. 32:28, we find the number of them slain to be “about twenty-three thousand men,” in which interpretation, there is no discrepancy whatever. In favour of this opinion, A’Lapide asserts that it was not unusual with Hebrew writers to refer to a remote antecedent, what might naturally be connected with what immediately precedes.

9. “Neither let us tempt Christ,” probably contains an allusion to the denial of His resurrection by some of the Corinthians. “As some of them tempted.” How could the Jews of old “tempt Christ” since it was only after His Incarnation the Second person of the Adorable Trinity was called “Christ” or the anointed? Again, from the comparison instituted by St. Paul to the Hebrews (chap. 2) between the promulgation of the New Law and the Old, we know that the former was promulgated by Christ himself, and the latter only by his angels; and was it not the same angel whom God intrusted with the guidance of his people, generally supposed to be Michael the Archangel—the protector of the Synagogue, as he is now of the Church—who had a principal share in promulgating the law of Sinai? The common answer of the Holy Fathers and Divines is, that the Angel in question, who also appeared to Abraham, Daniel, and Moses, in the burning bush, and is called “Dominus,” assumed the same external form, which Christ united to himself hypostatically; and hence, it was Christ represented by him that the Jews tempted.

10. This, most probably, refers to the murmuring consequent on the rebellion of Core, Dathan, and Abiron, on which occasion the multitude cried out against Moses and Aaron, “you have killed the people of the Lord” (Numbers, 16:41), in punishment of which, fourteen thousand seven hundred were destroyed (verse 49), besides the two hundred and fifty whom the earth swallowed up in the rebellion of Core, &c. The destruction to which the Apostle here refers, as effected by the destroying angel, was put a stop to by Aaron when, taking a censer in his hand, he interposed “between the dead and the living” (verse 18). In the five preceding verses, the Apostle is instancing the crimes which he had to animadvert upon in the Corinthians, and by showing the punishments inflicted upon the Jews for the like transgressions, he wishes to inspire them with a salutary dread of falling into those sins in future.

11. “Our correction.” In Greek, νουθεσιαν ἡμῶν, which may also be rendered, our admonition. They were written to admonish us not to sin as they did, for fear of being involved in the like punishment. “Upon whom the ends of the word,” &c.; by these words is meant, the end of the ages of the world. Ours is the last age, because no other form of religion—no other dispensation will succeed ours till the end of all things. Hence, the term of the Christian religion is called “the last hour.”—(1st Epistle of St. John, 2:18).

12. From this passage is drawn a conclusive argument against the heretical doctrine of the inamissibility of grace; the Apostle supposes the man in question to be just; for, unless he supposed him to be really standing in grace, his exhortation would be: “let him take to stand really, and not in an imaginary way; let him attain justice and return by penance;” but, by exhorting him to take care, “lest he fall” or lose justice, he evidently supposes him to be just; and hence, that the just man can lose grace, for how could he fall away from justice, unless he were before in it?

OBJECTION.—The Apostle speaks only of him who thinks he stands.

RESP.—The Apostle uses this form of language in preference to the words, he who stands; because many think they stand who do not, in reality; and, secondly, because if he said, he who stands, his exhortation would be without effect, since no one could be certain whether he stood or not, “whether he was worthy of love or hatred;” at all events, the words suppose that a man can fall, and, hence, lose grace; for, if he was not in the state of grace, he could not fall from it.

13. “Let no temptation take hold on you,” &c. This rendering of the words, “Let no temptation,” &c., in the imperative mood, is perfectly in accordance with the Latin Vulgate, non apprehendat tentatio, &c. According to this rendering, the words mean: take care that no temptation of a diabolical nature assail you; as for those that are “human,” i.e., incidental to our nature, God will so temper them, as to lead to a favourable issue, and cause you gain by them. The optative rendering is preferred in the Paraphrase: “May no temptation in future assail you,” &c., this is also admitted by the Vulgate, apprehendat. According to the Greek reading, the words are employed in the perfect indicative, πειρασμὸς ὑμᾶς οὐκ εἴληφεν, “a temptation has not assailed you, except a human one,” &c. According to this reading, the meaning is—you need not be too confident of your strength (verse 12); nor should you rely to much on your past firmness—for, no temptation has hitherto assailed you, that could not be easily overcome by man, aided by the ordinary helps of Divine grace. By this, the Apostle prepares them for the heavy and severe trials, to which they afterwards had to submit in the persecutions they endured for the faith. This is the meaning and bearing of the passage according to the Greek. In the Paraphrase the Vulgate is followed. “And God is faithful,” &c. God is faithful to the promise he has repeatedly pledged of hearing us, if we call upon him, and of giving us the crown of life—“but will make also with the temptation, issue,” τὴν ἕκβασιν, the way of escape, a triumphant evasion or deliverance from it. “That you may be able to bear it,” that is, bear up against the shock of the temptation, and suffer no injury from it. From this verse is proved the dogma of faith against Jansenius, viz., that the just have hic et nunc, sufficient grace to overcome the urgent temptation; for, St. Paul addresses the just; otherwise, verse 12, he would tell them to repent rather than “take care not to fall”—and of them he says, God will give all the necessary graces, so that no temptation, which may be above their strength, shall assail them.

14. “Wherefore.” This may regard what immediately precedes, viz., “that you may be able to bear;” or, his motive in adducing the foregoing example of Jewish infidelities and punishment (as in Paraphrase), “flee from the service of idols.” This has reference to their partaking of idolothytes, of which he treated in chapter 8. After a long digression, he reverts to the same subject, and shows that the use of them savours, to a certain extent, of idol worship (verse 20).

15. This, he adds, to guard against giving any offence, and to soften down any harshness which they might conceive to be involved in the observations, and proofs which he is about to adduce.

16. In the following verses, the Apostle undertakes to prove the truth of the assertion implied in the words, “flee from the service of idols” (verse 14), viz., that by partaking of the meats, &c., offered to idols in certain circumstances, they incurred the guilt of taking part in the sacrifice offered to idols: and for this end, he adduces two illustrations, one derived from the Christian law (verses 16, 17); another, from the law of Moses (verse 18). “The chalice of benediction,” i.e., the chalice blessed by Christ, “which we bless,” i.e., upon which we daily invoke, in the adorable Sacrifice, the benediction pronounced over it by Christ. What the “benediction” referred to here means, is a matter of dispute. It does not appear to regard the act of thanksgiving, gratias agens, uttered by Christ before he pronounced the word of consecration at the Last Supper; for, this was referred to God, and not to the bread or wine; neither does it seem to regard the act of consecration itself. It, most probably, refers to the act distinct from both, performed by Christ before the consecration, as we find in St. Matthew and St. Mark, and usually performed by him in the several instances of the multiplication of material bread, viz., the act of invoking the Divine bounty and omnipotence on the bread and wine about to be transubstantiated into his body and blood, imparting the heavenly efficacy of transubstantiation to the form of consecration, to be pronounced on future occasions by his annointed ministers. This is the meaning given of the word “benediction” by the Council of Trent, SS. 13, ch. 1:—Post panis vinique benedictionem, se suum ipsius corpus illis præbere, ac suum sanguinem, disertis ac perspicuis verbis testatus est; and in the Canon of the Mass, the act of benediction is accurately distinguished from either the thanksgiving or consecration, tibi gratis agens BENEDIXIT, fregit, deditque discipulis suis, dicens; HOC EST ENIM CORPUS MEUM.

“The chalice of benediction”—the container for the thing contained—“is it not the communion (in the Greek, κοινωνια), of the blood of Christ?”—that is, does it not make us partakers of the blood of Christ, so as to become united with him in this participation of his blood? “And the bread,” he calls it “bread,” on account of its pre-existing materials, just as the serpent of Aaron, which devoured those of the magicians, is still called “a rod,” the form from which it was changed (Exodus, 7:12), “which we break,” as to its external species and appearances. “Is it not the partaking (κοινωνια) of the body of the Lord,” (in Greek, τοῦ Χριστοῦ, of Christ), uniting us to him as above, in the case of his blood. In this interrogative form the Apostle supposes the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, as a dogma of faith, with which they were all intimately acquainted.

17. Having supposed the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist in the preceding verse, the Apostle, in this verse, refers to one of the effects of communion—viz., perfect union between the receivers themselves, and also perfect union between them and Christ whom they receive, leaving it to the Corinthians to be inferred, that by partaking of the Idolothytes, they become sharers with the infidels in the sacrifice, and thus fall into idolatry.

The words of this verse contain a most conclusive proof of Christ’s real presence in the Eucharist. First.—This is inferred from the Apostle’s calling the bread, of which he himself and they partook, at communion, “one bread.” No other bread used at communion (to which the Apostle here refers) could be called “one bread,” except the body of Christ. He could not, with any propriety of language, call several common loaves or breads, “one bread,” in consequence of their having one typical signification, or representation, as our adversaries explain it. As well might it be said, that the priests of the Old Law had eaten of one lamb, because the lambs of which they severally partook had one mystical signification—they signified Christ; and yet no one could say the latter, without the grossest impropriety. Hence, by saying, “we are one body, one bread, all that partake of one bread,” including himself with them, though living in places so far asunder, the Apostle must suppose them to partake of the same identical bread—viz., the body of Christ. Nor could it be said that the Apostle might refer to one large loaf, which would suffice for the communion of all; because, the number of Christians at Corinth was too large for one loaf to suffice for their communion. “I have much people in that city,” (Acts, 18); and, besides, these words are intended for all future times—for the body of the Church, when the number of her children partaking of this one bread would be beyond number. It is, then, only in reference to the body of Christ, he could say that he and they partook of the one bread; because the body of Christ was everywhere one and the same.

Secondly.—The same is inferred from his saying, “we being many are one bread, one body,” &c. By partaking of bread, the food and the receiver become one. If one man partake of food, although of the same description, distinct from the portion taken by another, the receivers are not, therefore, identified with one another; it is only in the supposition, that the food taken by a number of persons is identically the same—that the receivers are, on account of this participation, identified, according to the logical axiom, “Quæ sunt eadem uni tertio sunt eadem interse.” It is by their partaking of the same identical food, that they are identified with the food, and therefore among themselves; and there is no other food or bread in creation which is taken identically the same by all receivers, except the body of Christ; hence, by saying that, in consequence of partaking of one bread, they are made “one body and one bread,” the Apostle supposes them to partake of the body of Christ.

18. This is a second illustration, or argument, drawn from the Jewish religion, to prove that, by partaking of Idolothytes in certain circumstances, they join in the worship of idols.

19. To all these different questions, the answer, by no means, is understood. The several questions may be regarded as so many negations.

20. “But the things which the heathens sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils.” And hence, by partaking, in certain circumstances, of the things offered to their idols, you may be fairly presumed to identify yourselves with the Pagans, and join in their intention. Whenever, then, a man would be considered by all, and rationally presumed, from circumstances, to join the Pagans, in consummating their sacrifice by partaking of the things offered to idols, he would incur the guilt of idolatry. The tables of the Gentiles, in such circumstances, are nothing else than “tables of devils:” for, it is to honour the devils (“all gods of the Gentiles are devils”—Psalm 95), and consummate the sacrifice offered to them, that such tables are set up. And, even were a Christian to exclude all idea, under these peculiar circumstances, of joining in a false worship, still, the external act itself would be fairly construed into an external participation in idol worship.

21. This passage furnishes the clearest proof in favour of the sacrifice of the Mass. The evident scope of the Apostle, in referring to the practice observed in the Christian and Mosiac laws, is to prove that by joining the Pagans in partaking of Idolothytes, the Christians of Corinth joined in Pagan sacrifices. Now, unless he supposes the Christians to have a sacrifice on their altar, his reasoning, so far as the example drawn from the Christian law is concerned, would be quite inconclusive. Moreover, he institutes a comparison between the “table of the Lord” and “the table of devils.” The latter, then, must denote a table for sacrifice, or, at least, one in immediate connection with it; for, he would never term the ordinary table of the Gentiles, “the table of devils,” since he permits the Christians to eat of it (verse 17). Hence, he supposes “the table of the Lord” also to be an altar, as otherwise there would be no meaning in the comparison instituted. We know the Pagans did offer sacrifices, and that it is to the meats, &c., offered in sacrifice the Apostle here alludes. The word “table” in Scripture language is frequently used to designate an altar; thus Isiaias says, 65, “qui ponitis mensam fortunæ,” &c.; and Malachy, 1, “mensa Domini despecta est,” with many similar examples. Again, the Apostle compares the Pagan with the Christian offerings in the same way that he compares them with the Jewish offerings, and for the same purpose. Now, the latter were real sacrifices, and so must, therefore, the Christians offerings also; otherwise, the Apostle would adduce two examples from two different dispensations—viz., the Christian (verse 16), and the Mosaic (verse 18), for the purpose of proving that by partaking of Idolothytes in certain circumstances, the Corinthians were joining in Pagan sacrifice, the first of which would not be, at all, in point, unless he supposed a sacrifice to take place in the Christian communion, when they approach “the table of the Lord.” Hence, the Apostle supposes as a matter already known to them, that they had a sacrifice on the Christian altars.

QUESTION.—Does not the Apostle, in this passage, contradict what he asserts, chap. 8, and also verse 27 of this chapter, in both which places he appears to say, that, per se, the partaking of meats, &c., offered to idols, is perfectly a matter of indifference?

RESP.—There is no contradiction whatever. It is clear, that, of itself, there was nothing wrong in partaking of the things offered to idols. But St. Paul considers two circumstances in which the matter becomes unlawful: first, the circumstance of scandal, of which circumstance alone he treats (chap. 8 and verse 23 of this chapter); secondly, the circumstance of partaking of them in a place specially destined for the consumation of the sacrifice in the mind of the Pagans and of all others. To this latter circumstance, from which he abstracts chap. 8, the Apostle refers in verse 14 of this chapter. In this latter case, abstracting altogether from the circumstance of scandal, or sin against their brethren, men are guilty of the crime of idolatry, since they join in a rite instituted by the Pagans in honour of devils, no matter what may be their internal feelings or intention on the occasion—just as a Catholic, who partakes of the Protestant communion cup, be his intention what it may, joins in false worship. There is no contradiction, then, between this and the other passages, unless it be made out that a man who does not fully consider all the bearings of a subject, at one time, falls into a contradiction by considering its different circumstances, at different times.

22. “Do we provoke?” &c. These words show the enormity of the sin which he is after condemning.

23. “All things are lawful,” &c., i.e., all the things that are in themselves lawful, are not, under certain circumstances, expedient or edifying. Similar is the passage (6:12). The Apostle, in this verse, considers another circumstance of the participation of Idolothytes, viz., when they are attended with scandal or disedification. For the meaning of “edify,” see 8:1.

24. He shows what charity demands of us towards our neighbour. “But that which is another’s.” In Greek but (each one) that which is another’s; “each one,” ἕκαστος, is cancelled by critics on the authority of the chief MSS. and ancient versions.

25. He shows when it is lawful to partake of these meats, &c.

26. As the earth and its contents are the Lord’s, hence, none of its contents are polluted or bad; and so, you can, in proper circumstances, eat of these meats, whether offered or not. “The earth is the Lord’s.” The Greek has, “for the earth is the Lord’s.”

27. “Eat of anything that is set before you.’ Here, it is asked by some, why it is that the Apostle did not absolutely prohibit the use of Idolothytes, in accordance with the decree of the Council of Jerusalem?—(Acts, 15:29). The probable answer to which is, that the prohibition of the Council in question was neither general nor intended for all places. It was merely a temporary decree, intended for the converted Gentiles of “Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia,” as the title of the decree expresses it; and, if this decree was, for some time after, observed in distant Churches, it was done, not as a matter of strict necessity, but from a feeling of reverence for the Apostles; just as the Mosaic rites were observed for some time by the converted Jews, in order to bury the synagogue with honour.—St. Augustine.

28. “And for conscience sake.” To which is added in the Greek—For the earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof. But this repitition from verse 26, is cancelled by the best critics, on the authority of the ancient versions and chief MSS.

29. “For why is my liberty?” &c. These words, according to some interpreters, convey an objection. But the particle “for,” shows that they rather contain a proof that we should respect the conscience of others in such circumstances, by abstaining from food. And, moreover, if they contained an objection, the Apostle would answer it, and we have no answer given here. The words may have reference to the weak Christian, who may have been scandalized.

30. This, most likely, refers to the Gentile who would blaspheme the Christian religion, seeing its followers so indifferent with regard to it.

31. The object of the Apostle in this verse is, to caution them against injuring the glory of God, by preventing the spread of the gospel through any act of their’s. “Whether you eat,” &c. Some say these words convey merely a counsel—others, a strict precept. The latter opinion is open to this difficulty, that from it would appear to follow, that all the actions of infidels are sins—because, not knowing God, they can offer no action to his glory. To this, it is replied by some, that the precept is binding only on Christians; others say, it is binding on all men, but that it only requires of us to refer to God’s glory our actions, either by express intention, or virtually, i.e., by performing such actions as are of themselves referrible to God’s glory, and the infidels perform many such actions, viz.—actions morally good, by the sole aid of nature, or by the aid of grace, which we know is sometimes given to infidels. The proposition put forward in the schismatical Council of Pistoia, fides est prima gratia, was condemned by Pius VI. in the Bull, Auctorem fidei, &c.

32. “And to the Gentiles,” in Greek is, και Ἕλλησιν, and to the Greeks. The meaning is the same. Give no cause of offence to either believers or unbelievers, be they Jews or Gentiles. The former, if weak, would be scandalized; the latter would think the Christians joined in idol worship.

33. He proposes himself as their model; he asks them to do nothing of which he himself had not given first the example.

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