The Eleventh Sunday after Trinity
Augustine on the Gospel
O GOD, who declarest thy almighty power chiefly in showing mercy and pity; Mercifully grant unto us such a measure of thy grace, that we may obtain thy gracious promises, and be made partakers of thy heavenly treasure; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Source: Gelasius [492-496]. This is the orignial as Cranmer translated it faithfully, It it was altered in the 1662 update by adding the phrase " running the way of thy commandments" The Collect's emphasis on Grace, compliments the story of the Pharisee and the Publican praying in today's Gospel story from Luke. Latin
Isaiah xxvi. 12, Psalm 125, 1 Corinthians xv. 1 St. Luke xviii. 9
Standing afar off, smote upon his breast
Isaiah xxvi. 12 LORD, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also hast wrought all our works in us. O LORD our God, other lords beside thee have had dominion over us: but by thee only will we make mention of thy name. They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise: therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish. Thou hast increased the nation, O LORD, thou hast increased the nation: thou art glorified: thou hadst removed it far unto all the ends of the earth. LORD, in trouble have they visited thee, they poured out a prayer when thy chastening was upon them. Like as a woman with child, that draweth near the time of her delivery, is in pain, and crieth out in her pangs; so have we been in thy sight, O LORD. We have been with child, we have been in pain, we have as it were brought forth wind; we have not wrought any deliverance in the earth; neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen. Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.
1 Corinthians xv. 1BRETHREN, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: and that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: after that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.
St. Luke xviii. 9JESUS spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
God be merciful to me a sinner
Augustine on the Gospel
But inasmuch as faith belongs not to the proud, but to the humble, "He spake this parable unto certain who seemed to themselves to be righteous, and despised others. Two men went up into the temple to pray, the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee said, God, I thank Thee that I am not as the rest of men."11 He might at least have said, "as many men." What does, "as the rest of men," mean, but all except himself? "I," he says, "am just, the rest are sinners." "I am not as the rest of men, unjust, extortioners, adulterers." And, lo, from thy neighbour, the publican, thou takest occasion of greater pride. "As," he says, "this publican." "I," he says, "am alone, he is of the rest." "I am not," says he, "such as he is, through my righteous deeds, whereby I have no unrighteousness." "I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess."12 In all his words seek out for any one thing that he asked of God, and thou wilt find nothing. He went up to pray: he had no mind to pray to God, but to laud himself. Nay, it is but a small part of it, that he prayed not to God, but lauded himself. More than this he even mocked him that did pray. "But the Publican stood afar off;"13 and yet he was in deed near to God. The consciousness of his heart kept him off, piety brought him close. "But the Publican stood afar off:" yet the Lord regarded him near. "For the Lord is high, yet hath He respect unto the lowly."14 But "those that are high" as was this Pharisee, "He knoweth afar off. "The high" indeed "God knoweth afar off," but He doth not pardon them. Hear still more the humility of the Publican. It is but a small matter that he stood afar off; "he did not even lift up his eyes unto heaven." He looked not, that he might be looked upon. He did not dare to look upwards, his conscience pressed him down: but hope lifted him up. Hear again, "he smote his breast." He punished himself: wherefore the Lord spared him for his confession. "He smote his breast, saying, Lord, be merciful to me a sinner." See who he is that prays. Why dost thou marvel that God should pardon, when he acknowledges his own sin? Thus thou hast heard the cases of the Pharisee and Publican; now hear the sentence; thou hast heard the proud accuser, thou hast heard the humble criminal; hear now the Judge. "Verily I say unto you." The Truth saith, God saith, the Judge saith it. "VerilyI say unto you, That Publican went down from the temple justified rather than that Pharisee."15 Tell us, Lord, the cause. Lo! I see that the publican goes down from the temple justified rather than the Pharisee. I ask why? Dost thou ask why? Hear why. "Because every one that exalteth himself shall be abased, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted."16 Thou hast heard the sentence, beware of its evil cause. In other words, thou hast heard the sentence, beware of pride.
Let now those ungodly babblers, whosoever they be, who presume on their own strength, let them hear and see these things: let them hear who say, God made me a man, I make myself just. O thou who art worse and more detestable than the Pharisee! The Pharisee in the Gospel did indeed call himself just, but yet he gave thanks to God for it. He called himself just, but yet he gave God thanks. "I thank Thee, O God, that I am not as the rest of men." "I thank Thee, O God. He gives God thanks, that he is not as the rest of men: and yet he is blamed as being proud and puffed up; not in that he gave God thanks, but in that he desired as it were no more to be added unto him. "I thank thee that I am not as the rest of men, unjust." So then thou art just; so then thou askest for nothing; so then thou art full already; so then the life of man is not a trial upon earth;17 so then thou art full already; so then thou aboundest already, so then thou hast no ground for saying, "Forgive us our debts!" What must his case be then who impiously impugns grace, if he is blamed who give thanks proudly?
And, lo, after the case had been stated, and the sentence pronounced, little children also came forth, yea, rather, are carried and presented to be touched. To be touched by whom, but the Physician? Surely, it will be said, they must be whole. To whom are the infants presented to be touched? To whom? To the Saviour. If to the Saviour, they are brought to be saved. To whom, but to Him "who came to seek and to save what was lost."18 How were they lost? As far as concerns them personally, I see that they are without fault, I am seeking for their guiltiness. Whence is it? I listen to the Apostle, "By one man sin entered into the world. By one man," he says, "sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men by him in whom all sinned."19 Let then the little children come, let them come: let the Lord be heard. "Suffer little children to come unto Me."20 Let the little ones come, let the sick come to the Physician, the lost to their Redeemer: let them come, let no man hinder them. In the branch they have not yet committed any evil, but they are ruined in their root. "Let the Lord bless the small with the great."21 Let the Physician touch both small and great. the cause of the little ones we commend to their eiders. Speak ye for them who are mute, pray for them who weep. If ye are not their elders to no purpose, be ye their guardians: defend them who are not able yet to manage their own cause. Common is the loss, let the finding be common: we were lost all together, together be we found in Christ. Uneven is the desert, but common is the grace. They have no evil but what they have drawn from the source: they have no evil but what they have derived from the first original. Let not them keep them off from salvation. who to what they have so derived have added much more evil. The eider in age is the eider in iniquity too. But the grace of God effaces what thou hast derived, effaces too what thou hast added. For, "where sin abounded, grace hath superabounded."22
Let us pray in the words of Augustine.
Turn we to the Lord God, the Father Almighty, and with pure hearts offer to him, so far as our meanness can, great and true thanks, with all our hearts praying his exceeding kindness, that of his good pleasure he would deign to hear our prayers, that by his Power he would drive out the enemy from our deeds and thoughts, that he would increase our faith, guide our understandings, give us spiritual thoughts, and lead us to his bliss, through Jesus Christ his Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with him, in the Unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
[A prayer which he was wont to use after his Sermons and Lectures.]
(parts 2-4 of Sermon LXV. [CXV. Ben.] in Vol VI, NPNF (1st))
11 Luke xviii. 9-11. 12 Luke xviii. 12. 13 Luke xviii. 13. 14 Ps. cxxxviii. 6. 15 Controversiam. 16 Luke xviii. 14. 17 Job vii. 1, Sept. 18 Luke xix. 10. 19 Rom. v. 12. 20 Luke xviii. 16. 21 Ps. cxv. 13. 22 Rom. v. 20.
Deus, qui omnipotentiam tuam parcendo marime et miserando manifestas: multiplicia super nos gratiam tuam, ut ad tus promissa currentes, colelstium bonorum facias esse consortes. Per Deminum. __ Gel. Sac. __ Miss Sar.