Father Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on 1 Cor 9:24-27, 10:1-5 for Septuagesima Sunday Mass (Extraordinary Form)

1Co 9:24  Know you not that they that run in the race, all run indeed, but one receiveth the prize. So run that you may obtain.

Know you not that they that run in the race, all run indeed, but one receiveth the prize? For this I preach the Gospel without charge, for this I am made all things to all men; for this I labour, that I may obtain that best prize of all, given to those who run in this race.

As it is in a race, so is it in the Christian course: it is not all that run that receive the prize, but those only that run well and duly reach the appointed goal. I say duly, or according to the laws of the course which Christ the Judge has laid down for those that run, and according to which he has promised the prize to those that tun well. When, therefore, one is mentioned, more are not excluded, for the Apostle does not mean to say, as Chrysostom well remarks, that only one Christian surpasses the rest, and is more zealous of good works, and will receive the prize; for a similitude does not hold good in all points, but only in that one which is expressed. The comparison here is that, as in a race he who runs well receives the prize, so in Christianity he who runs well will receive a crown of glory. And this is evident from what is added, “So run that ye may obtain,” i.e., not one, but each one. Moreover, in a race it is often not only the first, not the second, third, or fourth who also receives a prize.

Still the Apostle says one, not three or four, because he is chiefly looking at that glory and superexcellent reward given, not to all the elect, but to those few heroic souls that follow, not only the precepts, but also the counsels of Christ. For he is looking to the prize which he is expecting for himself, in having been the only Apostle to preach the Gospel without charge, in having surpassed all the other Apostles in the greatness of his labour and his charity, in having become all things to all men. He says in effect: O Christians, do not merely run duly, that ye may obtain, but run most well and most swiftly, that you may carry off the first and most splendid prize of glory. It is a sluggish soul that says, “It is enough for me to be saved and reach heaven.” for each one, says Chrysostom, ought to strive to be first in heaven, and receive the first prize there.

Some understand this passage to refer to the mansions or crowns and prizes prepared for each of the elect, and would read it, “Let each so run that he may obtain his prize.” But this explanation is more acute than simple.

Anselm again takes it a little differently. Heathens, heretics, reprobates, he says, run, but the one people of elect Christians receives the prize. But the apostle is speaking to Christians only as running, and he urges them to so run that they may obtain the prize to which they are called by the Gospel of Christ.

So run that you may obtain. I.e., obtain the crown of glory and the prize of victory. The allusion is to those that ran in the public games for a crown as the prize, with which they were crowned when victorious. Cf. notes to Rev. iii. 2. The word so denotes the rectitude, the diligence, the swiftness, and the perseverance especially required on order to win the prize. The course of Christ was marked by these qualities, that course which all ought to put before themselves for imitation. S. Bernard (Ep. 254) says: “The Creator Himself of man and of the world, did he, while he dwelt here below with men, stand still? Nay, as the Scripture testifies, ‘He want about doing good and healing all.’ He went through the world not unfruitfully, carelessly, lazily, or with laggers step, but so as it was written of Him, ‘He rejoiced as a giant to run his course.’ No one catches the runner but he that runs equally fast; and what avails it to stretch out after Christ if you do not lay hold of Him? Therefore is it that Paul said, ‘So run that ye may obtain.’ There, O Christian, set the goal of your course and your journeying where Christ placed His. ‘He was made obedient unto death,’ However long then you may have run, you will not obtain the prize if you do not persevere even unto death. The prize is Christ.” He then goes on to point out that in the race of virtue not to run, to stand still, is to fail and go back, “But if while He runs you stand still, you come no nearer to Christ, nay, you recede from Him, and should fear for yourself what David said, ‘Lo, they that are far from Thee shall perish.’ Therefore, if to go forward is to run, when you cease to go forward you cease to run: when you are not running you begin to go back. Hence we may plainly see that not to wish to go forward is nothing but to go back. Jacob saw a ladder, and on the ladder angels, where none was sitting down, none standing still; but all seemed to be either ascending or descending, that w might be plainly given to understand that in this mortal course no mean is to be found between going forward and going back, but that in the same way as our bodies are known to be continuously either increasing or decreasing, so must our spirit be always either going forward or going back.”

1Co 9:25  And every one that striveth for the mastery refraineth himself from all things. And they indeed that they may receive a corruptible crown: but we an incorruptible one.

And every one that striveth for the mastery refraineth himself from all things. Every wrestler, &c., refrains from everything that may 212 endanger his success. 1. The allusion is t the Isthmian games, celebrated at Corinth in honour of Neptune and Palæmon, in which the victor was crowned with a pine-wreath. Of these games the poet Archias this sings:—

“Four Argive towns the sacred contests see,
And two to men, and two to gods belong;
Jove gives the olive, Phœbus sunny fruit,
Palæmon poppy, and Archemorus the pine.”

2. There is consequently an allusion also to the athletes, the wrestlers, and boxers, who fought with their fists; to the runners, who strine for the prize for speed; to all who contested, whether with hand, or foot, or the whole body, for the prize.

3. All these abstained from luxurious living, and only lived of the necessities of life. This is what the Apostle alludes to when he says, is temperate in all things. Clement of Alexandria (Strom. lib. iii.), following Plato (de Leg. lib. viii.), adds that they also refrained from all sexual intercourse. For as lust weakens, enervates, and exhausts the body, so do continence and chastity strengthen the body, and much more the mind,  S. Ephrem, too, in his tractate on the words, “It is better to marry than to burn,” explains this abstinence from all things spoken of here to be abstinence from all lust.

4. The course is this present life, of each one’s state in the Church, and especially that of an evangelist; the runner or wrestler is each Christian. Hence, S. Dioysius (de Eccles. Hierarch. cvii.) says that those who are baptized are anointed to be Christ’s athletes, and are consequently called to fight a holy fight for faith and godliness. He adds that it is the practice, too, to anoint them when dead, as athletes perfected by death. He says: “The first anointing called him to a holy fight; the second shows that he has finished his course and been perfected by death.”

5. In this course and contest the antagonist is the world, the flesh, and the devil; the athlete’s diet is moderate food tempered with fasting; the fight consists in the castigation of the body, and all the arduous offices of virtue, which are accomplished with a conflict, whether external or internal;—especially is the preaching and spreading of the Gospel such a fight; and from such arises the victory over the world, the flesh, and the devil. The prize is the incorruptible crown of eternal glory for which Paul expresses his longing in 2 Tim 4:8. The punishment inflicted on the conquered is rejection and eternal confusion (ver. 27). As the athlete, by abstinence, exercise, and toil, subdues and exercises his body, and prepares it for the race-course or the contest, that he may conquer by lawful and generous effort, and may obtain a corruptible crown, so much more to obtain the eternal crown do we Christians, and especially I, your Apostle, keep under and exercise my body by fasting, labour, and weariness, and so much more severely do I, as an athlete in the Divine contest, exact from myself all the offices of those that fight. I do this, lest my body lose the strength derived from continency and a hard life by luxurious living, and then dwindle down into the helplessness of a self-indulgent life. But as I have to fight against the world, the flesh, and the devil, let me rather imitate the athletes, and so conquer and be crowned. Come, then, O Corinthians, run with me in this course; abstain not only from things offered to idols, because of scandal, but also from luxuries—from wine and lust—that you may gain the victory and carry off the prize. This exhortation to abstinence was occasioned by the question of idol—sacrifices, as I sain at the beginning of chapter viii.

Epaminondas, leader of the Thebans, having fought most bravely in battle, and being wounded, even to death, asked, as he was dying, whether his shield were safe and the enemy slain; and when they answered “Yes” to both questions, he said: “Now is the end of my life; but a better and higher beginning is as hand: now is Epaminondas being born in so dying.” So Valerius Maximus relates. If Epaminondas so strove for a temporal victory, for praise and glory that are evanescent, and died so joyfully and gloriously, what shall the soldier of Christ do for the crown that fadeth not 214 away, for the glory that knows no ending? Tertullian (ad Martyred, c. iv.) says excellently: “If earthly glories can so overcome bodily and mental delights as to throw contempt on the sword, fire, crucifixion, wild beasts, and torments, in order to obtain the reward of human praise, I may well say that these sufferings are but little to undergo to obtain the glories of heaven, Is glass worth as much as true pearls? Who therefore would not most joyfully suffer for the true glory as much as others suffer for the false.”

Virgil says of Junius Brutus, who ordered his sons to be put to death for conspiring against the Romans with the Tarquins—

“The love of Rome him mastered with boundless thirst for praise;”

so we may say of the Christian—

“The love of Christ will conquer, and heaven’s unquenchable thirst,”

Listen to what S. Chrysostom says (de Martyr. vol. iii.): “You are but a feather-bed soldier if you think that you can conquer without a fight, triumph without a battle. Exert your strength, fight strenuously, strive to the death in this battle. Look at the covenant, attend to the conditions, know the warfare—the covenant that you have entered into, the conditions on which you have enrolled yourself, the warfare into which you have thrown youself.”

It is clear from this, says S. Chrysostom, that faith alone is not sufficient for salvation, but that works also are requisite, and heroic efforts, and especially no small abstinence from all the allurements of the world. For, as S. Jerome says (Ep. 34 ad Julian): “It is difficult, nay, it is impossible for any one to enjoy both the present and the future, to fill here his belly and there his soul, to pass from one delight to the other, to show himself glorious both in heaven and in earth.

S. Augustine piously consoles and animates Christ’s athletes by reminding them of the help that God gives (Serm, 105). He says: “he who ordered the strife helps them that strive. God does not look upon you in your contest as the spectators do on the athlete: for the populace warms him by shouts, but cannot lend him any help. He who arranged the contest can provide the crown, but cannot lend strength; buy God, when He sees His servants striving, helps them when they call upon Him. For it is the voice of the combatant himself in Psalm 94:18, who says, ‘When I said, my foot slippeth, Thy mercy, O Lord, held me up.’” S. Dionysius too (de Eccl. Hier. cii.) says: “To them that strive the Lord promises crowns as God. He has laid down the rules of the contest by His wisdom. He has appointed rewards most fair and beautiful for the conquerors; and, what is surely more Divine, He Himself, as supreme living-kindness and goodness, conquers in His warriors; and while He indwells within them, He fights for their safety and victory against the forces of death and corruption.”

1Co 9:26  I therefore so run, not as at an uncertainty: I so fight, not as one beating the air.

So fight I, not as one beating the air. The comparison is still maintained. I fight as an athlete, but I do not spend my toil for nought, but I wound my enemy, i.e., I subdue my body and my flesh; and when I have subdued this foe, the remaining two, the world and the devil, are easily overcome. For the world and the devil cannot kill us, wound us, strike us, tempt us, approach us, except through the body and its organs, the eyes and ears and tongue and other members.

1Co 9:27  But I chastise my body and bring it into subjection: lest perhaps, when I have preached to others, I myself should become a castaway.

But I chastise my body and bring it into subjection. I chastise means, says S. Ambrose, “I repress it by fastings;” “I wound it with stripes,” says S. Basil (de Virginitate); “I starve it,” says Origen. S. Augustine (de Utilit. Jejun.) says: “The devil often takes it upon him to protect the flesh against the soul, and to say, ‘Why do you thus fast?—you are laying up punishment in store for yourself, you are your own torturer and murderer.’ Answer him, ‘I keep it under, lest this beast of burden throw me headlong.’” For our flesh is the devil’s instrument; it is, says S. Bernard, “the snare of the devil” (Serm. 8 in Ps. xci.). Erasmus, following Theophylact and Paulinus (Ep. 58 ad. Aug.), renders the Greek verb, “I make it black and blue,” or “I make the eyes of a black and bloody colour.” This last is, as Hesychius and Suidas say, the literal rendering of the word. But all others in general take the word to mean subdue, coerce, bruise. Castigate in the Latin, or “keep under,” as the text, suits both renderings, but the second is better, as being at once plainer and more near to the Greek—taking ύπωπιάξω to be synonymous the ύποπιέξω.

This keeping under or castigation of the body is effected by fastings, hair-shirts, humiliations, scourgings, and other mortifications of the flesh. Hence some think that Paul was in the habit of scourging his body. This is certainly the literal meaning of the Greek, which is rendered by Beza, Melancthon, Castalion, and Henry Stephen “bruise.” but a bruise is not caused except by a blow, whether from a stick, or a scourge, or some other instrument. Moreover, fasting (which some, as, e.g., Ambrose, Gregory, and Chrysostom, think was Paul’s discipline) is not so much a strife and contest as a preparation for them; for of it he has already said, “Every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things.” Cf. also Jacob Gretser (de Discipl. lib. i. c. 4).

Moreover, as Anselm remarks, as well as Gregory, in a passage to be quoted directly, the Apostle, while he keeps under and scourges his body, at the same time scourges and wounds the devil, his antagonist, who is in alliance with our carnal concupiscence, and lies in hiding within the foul jungle of the flesh, and through it tempts and attacks us.

Lest perhaps, when I have preached to others, I myself should become a castaway. Lest I be a reprobate from God and excluded from heaven, Maldonatus (Notæ Manusc.) learnedly says that, as the comparison is still with the arena, a castaway here is one who is conquered in the fight; and that S. Paul’s meaning is, “Lest while I teach others to conquer I myself be conquered.” The Apostle is speaking not of eternal reprobation, which is in the mind of God, but of that temporal reprobation which is the execution of the eternal. He is referring to Jer. vi. 30: “Reprobate silver shall men call them, because the Lord hath rejected them.”

1. Hence it is clear that the Apostle is not speaking (as in 2Cor 13:7), as some think, of the reprobation of men, as if his meaning were, “What I preach that I practise: I do not fare sumptuously, but I keep under my body, lest I be a cast away and reprobate of men, and regarded as one not doing what he teaches.” For Jeremiah clearly speaks of God’s rejection, not men’s; and reprobation and reprobate always refer to this when they are spoken of absolutely, and not restricted to men, as they are restricted in 2Cor 13:7. Hence appears the uncertainty to us of grace and predestination. Paul feared being condemned, and will you believe that your faith cannot but save you?

2. It also follows that Paul had no revelation of his salvation. Cf. S. Gregory (lib. vi. Ep. 22, ad Gregoriam).

3. And that he was not so strong in grace not that he might fall from it.

From this passage, it is evident that the Christian’s fight consists especially in bringing the body into subjection. For this foe is an inward foe, and one most hard to withstand, and therefore the snares of the flesh are to be dreaded more than all others. We ought also to get ourselves ready for this fight by the athlete’s training, that is, by temperance, and in this temperance we should begin the fight, and in it daily increase, grow strong, and cone to perfection. The Christian, therefore, must begin with conquering gluttony. When that is done, it will be easier for him to conquer other vices, as Cassianus and others say. Hence it appears that the Christian fighter must keep under his body, lest its lusts make him a castaway; and that, therefore, bodily mortification, by watchings, fastings, and other afflictions, is the right way to salvation, and is the most suitable instrument for perfecting virtue, and for the complete subdual of vices, if it be done with discretion, and in proportion to one’s strength and health. Cf. S. Thomas (ii. ii. qu. 188, art. 7).

But let us hear what the ancient doctors of the Church have to say on this head. Ambrose (Ep. ad Eccl. Vercell.) says: “I hear that there are men who say that there is no merit in fasting, and who scoff at those who mortify their flesh, that they nay subdue it to the mind. This S. Paul would never have done or said if he had thought it folly” (let our Protestant friends observe this); “for he says, as though boasting, ‘I keep under my body and bring it into subjection, lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.’ Therefore, those who do not mortify their body, and who wish to preach to others, are themselves regarded as reprobates, What new school has sent forth these Epicureans to preach pleasure and advise luxury? The Lord Jesus, wishing to strengthen us against the temptations of the devil, fasted before He strove with him, that we might know that we cannot in any other way overcome the blandishments of the evil one. Let these men say why Christ fasted if it were not to give us an example to do likewise,”

S. Gregory (Morals, lib. xxx. c. 26) says: “Nebuzaradan, the chief of the cooks, destroyed the walls of Jerusalem as he destroys the virtues of the soul when the belly is not kept in check. Hence it is that Paul took away his power from the chief of the cooks, i.e., the belly, in its assault on the walls of Jerusalem, when he said, ‘I keep under my body and bring it into subjection.’ Hence it is that he had said just before, ‘So fight I, not as one that beateth the air.’ When we retrain the flesh, it is not the air but the unclean spirits that we wound with the blows of our abstinence; and in subduing what is within we deal blows to the foes without, Hence is it that, when the King of Babylon orders the furnace to be heated, he has a heap of tow and pitch thrown into it, but nevertheless the fire has no power over the children of abstinence; for though our old enemy put before our eyes a countless number of delicacies t increase the fire of our lust, yet the grace of the Spirit from on high whispers to us, bidding us stand our ground, untouched by the burning lusts of the flesh.”

S. Basil (Hom. de Legend. Gentil. Libris) says: “The body must be mortified and kept in check like a wild beast, and the passions that take their rise from it to the soul’s hurt must be kept in order by the scourge reason, lest by giving free rein to pleasure the mind become like a drover of restive and unbroken horses, and be run away with and list. Amongst other sayings there is one of Pythagoras which deserves to be remembered. When he saw a certain man looking after himself with great care, and fattening himself by sumptuous living and exercise, he said: ‘Unhappy man! you are ever engaged in building for yourself a worse and worse prison!’ It is said too of Plato, that owing to his vivid realisation of the harm that arises from the body, he fixed his Academy at Athens in an unhealthy spot, that he might reduce the excessive prosperity of the body, as a gardener prunes a vine whose boughs stretch too far. I too have often heard physicians say that extremely good health is fallacious. Since, therefore, care for the body seems to be harmful to body and soul alike, to hug this burden and to be a slave to it is evident proof of madness. But if we study to despise it, we shall not easily lose ourselves in admiration of anything human.” S. Basil again (in Reg. Fusius Disp. Reg. 17) says: “As a muscular build and good complexion put a stamp of superiority on the athlete, so is the Christian distinguished from others by bodily emaciation and pallid complexion, which are ever the companions of abstinence. He is thereby proved to be a wrestler indeed, following the commands of Christ, and in weakness of body he lays his adversary low on the ground, and shows how powerful he is in the contests of godliness according to the words, ‘When I am weak, than am I strong!’”

S. Chrysostom says here: “‘I mortify my body’ means that I undergo much labour to live temperately. Although desire is intractable, the belly clamorous, yet I rein them in, and do not surrender myself to my passion, but repress them, and with wearisome effort bring under nature herself. I say this that no one may lose heart in his struggle for virtue, for it is an arduous fight. Wherefore he says, ‘I keep under my body and bring it into subjection.’ He did not say, ‘I destroy and punish it,’ for the flesh is not an enemy, but ‘I keep it under and bring it into subjection,’ because it is the property of my Lord, not of an enemy; of a trainer, not a foe; ‘lest by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway,’ If Paul feared this, being such a teacher as he was; if he has any dread, after having preached to the whole world, what are we to say?”

S. Jerome, writing against Jovinian, a heretic, an opponent of fasting, of chastity, and asceticism, ably defends these duties, and about the end of lib. ii. he says: “The fact that many agree with your opinions is a mark of luxuriousness; and you think it adds to your reputation for wisdom to have more pigs running after you to be fed with the food or the flames of hell. Basilides, a teacher of luxury and filthy practices, has after these many years now been transformed into Jovinian, as into Euphorbus, that the Latin race might know his heresy, It was the banner of the Cross and the severity of preaching” (let the Protestants mark this) “which destroyed the idol-temples. Impurity, gluttony, and drunkenness are endeavouring to overthrow the fortitude taught by the Cross. False prophets always promise pleasant things, but they give not much satisfaction. Truth is bitter, and those who preach it are filled with bitterness.”

Cassianus (de Instit. Renunt. lib. v. c. xvii. et seq.) says: “Do you want to listen to the true athlete of Christ striving according to the lawful rules of the contest? He says, ‘I therefore so run not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air, but I keep under my body and bring it into subjection, lest when I have preached to others I myself should be a castaway.’ Seest thou how he has placed in himself, that is in his flesh, the hottest part of the battle, and has thus put it on a firm base, and how he has made the fight consist in simple bodily mortification and in the subjection of his flesh?” And then a little afterwards he repeats these words of the Apostle, and adds: “This properly has to do with the sufferings of continence, and bodily fasting, and mortification of the flesh. He describes himself as a strenuous combatant of the flesh, and points out that the blows of abstinence that he directs against it are not in vain, but that he has gained a triumph by mortifying his body. That body, having been punished by the blows of continence and wounded by the bruises of fastings, has given to the victorious spirit the crown of immortality and the palm that never fadeth. . . . So fights he by fastings and affliction of the flesh, not as one that beateth the air, i.e., that deals in vain the blows of continence; but he wounds the spirits who dwell in the air, by mortifying his body. For he that says, ‘not as one that beateth the air,’ declares that he strikes some one that is in the air.”

Further, not only for the sake of lust, but to subdue pride and break down all vices, and to cultivate every virtue, the body must be mortified, as S. Jerome says (Ep. 14 ad Celantiam): “They who are taught by experience and knowledge to hold fast the virtue of abstinence mortify their flesh to break the soul’s pride, in order that so they may descent from the pinnacle of their haughty arrogance to fulfil the will of God, which is most perfectly fulfilled in humility. Therefore so they withdraw their mind from hankering after variety of foods, that they may devote all their strength to the pursuit of virtue, By degrees the flesh feels less and less the burden of fastings, as the soul more hungers after righteousness. For that chosen vessel, Paul, in mortifying his body and bringing it into subjection, was not seeking after chastity alone, as some ignorant persons suppose: for fasting helps not only this virtue but every virtue.”

Lastly, the holy hermits of old, in their zeal after perfection, mortified their bodies to a degree that seems incredible. And that this was pleasing to God is seen from the holiness, the happiness, and the length of their lives. We may read for this Jerome, in his life of S. Hilarion, S. Paul, S. Malchus; Athanasius in his life of S. Antony; Theodoret in his life of S. Simeon Stylites, who for eighty years stood under the open sky night and day, hardly taking food or sleep. sagacious men have observed in their lives of the Saints that scarcely any Saints have been illustrious for their miracles and for their actions but such as were eminent for their fastings and asceticism, or who afflicted their bodies, or were afflicted by God with diseases, or by enemies and tyrants with tortures and troubles; that other Saints, who led an ordinary life, were of great benefit to the Church, but seldom if ever performed any miracles.

1Co 10:1  For I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud: and all passed through the sea.

For I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud. The particle for gives the cause of what was said at the end of the preceding chapter. He means, I have said that Christians must strive after baptism in their contest, lest they become reprobates and lose the prize, as the Hebrews, after their typical baptism and heavenly food, lost slothfully through their sins the land of promise, their prize, so that out of 600,000, Joshua and Caleb alone entered the Promised Land. So do you, O Corinthians, take care, lest, through your sloth, and a life out of harmony with your faith and baptism, you be excluded from heaven. So Chrysostom and Anselm. The argument is from the type or figure to the thing prefigured.

Our fathers, i.e., the fathers of the Jews, of whom I am one, as many of you are, O Corinthians.

Under the cloud. This cloud was the pillar which overshadowed the Hebrews in the daytime as a cloud, and shone at night as a fire, which led them for forty years through the wilderness, which settled over the ark and went before their camp, and protected them from the heat by spreading itself over the camp. Its mover and charioteer, so to speak, was an angel. See Exod. xiii.

And all passed through the sea. The Red Sea, and dry shod, because Moses smote the waters with his rod, and divided them.

1Co 10:2  And all in Moses were baptized, in the cloud and in the sea:

See Exod. 14. The passage of the Red Sea is a type of baptism, in which we are reddened with the blood of Christ, and drown the Egyptians, viz., our sins. Moses is a type of Christ; the cloud is the Holy Spirit, who cools the heat of lust and gives us light. Theodoret says: “Those things were typical of ours. The sea stood for the font, the cloud for the grace of the Spirit, Moses for the priest, his rod for the cross. Israel signified those who were baptized; the persecuting Egyptians represented the devils, and Pharaoh himself was their chief.”

In Moses as the legislator signifies, according to some, that the Hebrews were initiated into the Mosaic law by a kind of baptism when they passed through the sea. So we are baptized into Christ or initiated and incorporated into Christ and Christianity, by baptism. Hence in Exod. xiv., after the account of the passage through the sea, it is added, “They believed the Lord and His servant Moses.”

But our baptism was not a type of the baptism of the Hebrews in the Red Sea, but , on the contrary, theirs was a type of ours. Moreover, in this passage the Hebrews were not initiated into the law of Moses, for they did not receive it till they reached Sinai.

I say, then, that since the Apostle frequently puts into for in, it is more simple to understand the phrase to mean through Moses, or under his leadership. So Ephrem, Chrysostom, Theophylact take it. The sense, then, is: all the Hebrews were baptized by Moses spiritually and typically, or bore the type of our baptism, in that, when they saw the sea divided by Moses, and Moses passing through it before, they, as Chrysostom says, also ventured to trust themselves to the sea, and that in the cloud, that is, under the guidance and protection of the cloud going before then, and in the sea, viz., in which the Egyptians were drowned, and through which they passed from Egyptian slavery to liberty and newness of life, just as we pass through the waters of baptism from the service of the devil to the Kingdom of Christ. So Anselm, Chrysostom, Ambrose, Theophylact.

Notice, too, with Chrysostom, that the Scriptures give the name of the type to the antitype, and vice versâ. Here the passage through the Red Sea is called a baptism, because it was a type of one. Hence ver. 6 is explained, where he says, “These things were our examples.”

1Co 10:3  And did all eat the same spiritual food:

And did all eat the same spiritual meat. Not, as Calvin supposes, the same as we, as though Christians and Hebrews alike feed, not on the Real Body of Christ, but on the typical.

You will say, perhaps, that S. Augustine (tract. 25 in Johan.) and S. Thomas explain it to be the same as we eat. I reply: They understand “the same” by analogy, for the Hebrews received typically what we receive really. But this is beside the meaning of the Apostle, who understands the same to refer, not to us but to themselves. All the Hebrews, whether good or bad, ate the same food, that is the same manna. This is evident from the context, “But with most of them God was not well pleased,” that is to say, that though all ate the same manna, drank of the same water from the rock, yet all did mot please God. As, then, they had one baptism and one spiritual food, so too have we; and as, notwithstanding, they were not all saved, but many of them perished, so is it to be feared that many of us may perish, although we have the same sacraments common to us all. So Chrysostom, Theophylact, Anselm, and others. And notice with them that manna is here called “spiritual food,” or mystical, or typical, because the manna was a type of the Eucharist. So the water from the rock is called “spiritual drink,” because it was a type of the blood of Christ. Others take “spiritual” to mean miraculous, i.e., not produced by the powers of nature but of spirits, viz., God and the angels; for of this kind was manna, of which the Psalmist says, “So man did eat angels’ food” (Ps 78:25).

1. Manna allegorically stood for Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, as is evident from S. John vi. 49, 50. Especially did it represent the contained part, and the effect of the sacrament, as Chrysostom, Theophylact, and Cyril point out at length, in commenting in the passage of S. John just quoted. Hence the Apostle says here: “They did all eat the same spiritual meat, and did all drink the same spiritual drink.” Even Calvin takes this of the Holy Communion, and says that the manna was a type of the body of Christ. From this you may rightly infer that in the Blessed Sacrament the flesh of Christ is truly present, since manna was a symbol of a thing really existing, and not merely imagined; for some of us as well as of the Jews will eat the spiritual meat, i.e., the typical and symbolical flesh, and will not have more of the truth signified than the Jews, nay, much less; for manna was sweeter than our bread, and far more clearly than dry bread represented the body of Christ. A certain minister of this new flock has lately yielded this point as a clear consequence. But who does not see that it is at variance with Holy Scripture and with reason? For the New Law is more excellent than the Old, and therefore the sacraments of the New surpass those of the Old. Therefore the Apostle says: “These things were our examples.” But the thing figured is better than the figure, as a body is than its shadow, and a man than his likeness. Therefore the sacraments of the New Law, and especially the Eucharist, as a thing figured, must be more noble than the sacraments of the Old Law, and than the manna itself, which was but a type and figure of our Eucharist. Again, in S. John vi., Christ at some length puts His body in the Eucharist before the manna (vers, 48 and 59). The bread that He there speaks of is that which is Divine, consecrated and transubstantiated into the body of Christ. Who does not see that the manna was a better representation of the body of Christ than bread? It can be shown in many ways.

2. S. Paul has most fittingly compared manna to the body of Christ in the Eucharist, and has most beautifully shadowed it out: (a) the element in the Eucharist and the manna have the same colour; (b) it is not found except by those who have left the fleshpots of Egypt and the lusts of the flesh; (d) to the covetous and to infidels both turn to worms and bring condemnation; (e) the manna was not given till after the passing of the Red Sea—the Eucharist is not given till after baptism; (f) after the manna came, the Hebrews fought with Amalek, but before that God alone had fought for them against the Egyptians. They fought and conquered; so the obstacles and temptations which beset the heavenly life are allowed by God to trouble those only who are fortified against them, and they are overcome by the power of the Eucharist. (g) The manna was bread made by angels, without seed, or ploughing, or any human toil; so the body of Christ was formed of the Virgin alone by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit. (h) Manna gave every kind of sweet taste to those who were good and devout. Hence Wisdom (xvi. 20) says of manna: “Thou feddest Thine own people with angels’ food, and didst give them bread from heaven prepared without labour, containing in itself all sweetness and every pleasant taste.” So Christ is milk to babes, oil to children, solid food to the perfect, as Gregory Nyssen says. (j) The manna was small: Christ is contained by a small Host; (k) the manna was beaten in a mortar: Christ was stripped of His mortality in the mortar of the Cross. (l) The faithful wonderingly exclaim, “Man-hu—What is this—that God should be with us!” (m) All collected an equal measure of manna, viz., one omer; so all alike receive whole Christ, though the species or the Host be greater of smaller, as Rupert says. (n) The manna was collected in the wilderness on the six week-days only; so in our eternal Sabbath and Promised Land the veil of the sacrament will be done away, and in perfect rest we shall enjoy the sight of Christ face to face. (o) The manna melted under the sun, so is the sacrament dissolved when the species are melted by heat. More will be found in the commentary on Exodus 21.

1Co 10:4  And all drank the same spiritual drink: (And they drank of the spiritual rock that followed them: and the rock was Christ.)

For they drank of that spiritual rock that followed them. The rock which gave water to the Hebrews was a type of Christ, who is the true Rock from which flowed the blood to quench the heat of our lust. But what is meant by saying that this rock followed the Hebrews?

1. The Hebrews reply that their tradition, and the Chaldean rendering of Num 21:16, is that this rock miraculously followed the Jews everywhere in the wilderness till they came to Canaan, and supplied them with water. Hence Ephrem renders this, “They drank of the spiritual rock which same with them;” and Tertullian (de Baptismo, c. ix.) calls this rock their “companion.” He says: “This is the water which flowed from the rock which accompanied the people.” But farther on he interprets this rock of Christ, who in His Godhead accompanied and led the Hebrews through the wilderness. He says again (contra Marcion, lib. ii. c. 5): “He will understand that the rock which accompanied them to supply them with drink was Christ.” S. Ambrose, too (in Ps. 38) says: “There is a shadow in the rock which poured forth water and followed the people. Was not the water from the rock a shadow of the blood of Christ, who followed the people, though they fled from Him, that He might give them drink and quench their thirst, that they might be redeemed and not perish?” Again, S, Ambrose (de Sacramentis, lib. v. c. 1) takes the rock to be Christ. He says: “It was no motionless rock which followed the people. Drink, that Christ may follow Thee also.” But I should like to have better authorities for this tradition, for it is against it that after this water came from the rock (Num 20:11), the people murmured again because of the scarcity of water ver. 16). Simply put, Lapide is rejecting the Jewish tradition that the rock followed the people in the desert.

2. Others soften down the passage and explain it thus: “The waters which burst forth from the rock flowed for a long time and rushed forth as a torrent, and this stream followed the Hebrews till they came to a place where there was plenty of water. For had it been a supply to last but for one day, the rock would have had to be struck on the next day, and the third, and the fourth, and so on, to get a supply of water.” And this explanation they support by pointing out that the manna is literal manna, and that therefore the rock or the drink spoken are material rock and material drink; but the objections to the first explanation are equally strong against this.

3. Photius supposes that the word for following simply means serving, and he would paraphrase the verse, “This rock satisfied the thirst of the Hebrews.” But the Greek cannot possibly bear this interpretation.

4. It is better, then, to understand this of the spiritual Rock signified, not the one signifying. The meaning is then: By the power of the Godhead of Christ, which was the spiritual Rock signified by the rock that gave water to the Hebrews, and which was their constant companion in the wilderness, water was given to them from the material rock. It is so explained by S. Chrysostom, Ambrose, Anselm, Œcumenius.

It may be said, By “spiritual meat” the Apostle meant manna, not the body of Christ, and by “spiritual drink” he means the water signifying the blood of Christ, not the blood itself; therefore, by parity of reasoning, the “spiritual rock” is the actual rock that typified Christ, not Christ Himself.

I deny the consequence, for the Apostle in speaking of the Rock inverts the phrase, and passes from the sign to the thing signified. This is evident from his saying in explanation of the Rock, “That Rock was Christ.” In other words, “When I speak of the spiritual Rock, I mean Christ.” What can be clearer? For it was not the material but the spiritual Rock which was Christ: one was type, the other antitype.

It may be urged again, that the phrase “They drank of the spiritual Rock,” means that they drank the spiritual or typical drink, for the rock giving this drink was spiritual or typical. This would give the connecting idea, and the reason for saying that “they drank the same spiritual drink,” for the rock was a type of Christ.

The answer to this objection is that the sequence of thought is clear enough. The particle for gives the efficient cause of so great a miracle; in other words, the Hebrews drank of water which served as a type, for Christ was foreshadowed by the rock which gave this water, and He miraculously gave them this typical water in order that they might know and worship Christ giving it; but this, as the sequel shows, very many of them did not do. It is important to understand the meaning of the Greek words tupos (type) and antitupos (anti-type).  If I see a set of footprints (tupos, type) in the sand, one of which has six toes and then meet up with the man who left those prints in the sand, when I behold his six-toed left foot I am seeing the anit-tupos (anti-type).   The footprint in the sand is the image (foreshadowing, etc.) of the reality.

The rock that gave the water allegorically stood for Christ, because Christ, like a rock most firm, supports the Church, and was smitten, i.e., killed, by Moses, i.e., the Jews, with a rod; that is, the Cross poured forth waters, that is, most fruitful streams of grace, to the faithless of contradiction, to the faithful of sanctification. This is especially true of the waters of His blood in the Eucharist, with which He gives us drink in the desert of this life, that, strengthened by them, we may attain to our country in the heavens. See S. John vii. 37 and iv. 14. S. Augustine (contra Faustum, lib. xvi. c. 15).

It may be argued: Some Catholic writers, according to the first explanation given above, say that, as “that Rock was Christ” means that it was typical of Christ, so in the same way it can be said of the Eucharist, that “this is My body” means “this bread is a figure of My body.”

But add that the Apostle expressly says that he us speaking of the spiritual, not the material rock. “They drank of that spiritual Rock,” he says, and “that spiritual Rock was Christ.” It is called a spiritual Rock, or typical, because it was a type of Christ. But neither Christ nor S. Paul speak then of the Eucharist.  S. Paul and all the Evangelists uniformly declare that Christ said, “This is My Body,” not, “This is My spiritual or typical Body.” Secondly, I answer that that explanation of some writers is not a very probable one; for that spiritual Rock, i.e., the One signified, was really Christ, not a type of Him. The words of S. Paul clearly say this.

1Co 10:5  But with most of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the desert.

For they were overthrown in the wilderness. All the Hebrews who left Egypt with Moses died for their sins in the wilderness, except Joshua and Caleb, who, with a new generation, entered the Promised Land (Num 14:29).

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