Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Hebrews 10:26 -31 - The distinction between mercy, clemency and pardon

Hebrews 10:26-27
For if we sin wilfully after having the knowledge of the truth, there is now left no sacrifice for sins, But a certain dreadful expectation of judgment, and the rage of a fire which shall consume the adversaries. 
Voluntarie enim peccantibus nobis post acceptam notitiam veritatis, jam non relinquitur pro peccatis hostia, terribilis autem quædam exspectatio judicii, et ignis æmulatio, quæ consumptura est adversarios. 
Aquinas:

Failure to repent after sinning: [there is] a distinction between willing sinners and sinning voluntarily, so that the willing sinner is one who is led by passion to consent to sin, about which he did not think beforehand; but the one who sins voluntarily does so from certain malice, because his will is so prone to sin that he yields at once...Therefore, they sin deliberately, i.e., continue in the will to sin....the sacrifice which Christ offered for the remission of sins does not profit them, because those who repent have their sins forgiven: ‘This is the blood of the new testament, which will be shed for you’ i.e., efficaciously, but of the wicked it is said: ‘I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength without cause and in vain’...

After death comes the judgment: ‘Know that there is a judgment’. The expectation of that judgment is dreadful both because of the consciousness of sins: ‘We all offend in many ways’ and because of the imperfection of our justices...This expectation is also distressing; hence, he says, and a fury of fire, i.e., the punishment by fire, which is inflicted by the jealous zeal of divine justice: ‘I am the Lord, you God, mighty, jealous’.

The zeal of God's spousal love: Therefore, just as a husband does not spare a wicked wife, so neither God a sinful soul: ‘The jealousy and rage of the husband will not spare in the day of judgment’. He continues, which will consume the adversaries: ‘A fire shall go before him and shall burn his enemies round about’, because the fire, which will go before the face of the judge, will burn the bodies of living things and will cast the reprobate into hell and consume their bodies, not by totally consuming them but by torturing them forever.

The dreadful expectation of judgment: ...For a person deserves a greater punishment to the degree that he scorns a more sacred thing.

Hebrews 10:28-29
A man making void the law of Moses, dieth without any mercy under two or three witnesses:  How much more, do you think he deserveth worse punishments, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath esteemed the blood of the testament unclean, by which he was sanctified, and hath offered an affront to the Spirit of grace? 
 28 Irritam quis faciens legem Moysi, sine ulla miseratione duobus vel tribus testibus moritur: 29 quanto magis putatis deteriora mereri supplicia qui Filium Dei conculcaverit, et sanguinem testamenti pollutum duxerit, in quo sanctificatus est, et spiritui gratiæ contumeliam fecerit? 
There is a difference between mercy, clemency and pardon: ...for there is mercy, when a man by reason of an emotion of the heart and mind remits a punishment; but sometimes this is against justice, which forbids it. But there is pardon, when part of the debt of punishment is remitted for the public good. There is clemency, when not only part of the punishment but also part of the guilt is judged more leniently. The last two are not forbidden; but mercy described in the first way is forbidden, because it is against justice and breeds dissoluteness.

Why punishment is more severe for those who reject the New Testament: For since the New Testament was preached by Christ, a person who sins under it is punished more severely: ‘But I say to you, it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment, than for you’... the case of those who from ignorance do not hold to the faith not announced to them is another. For the sin of unbelief is not imputed to the latter. But those who scorn the faith announced to them are punished more severely, because the sin of unbelief is the greatest.

Punishment for sin depends on the circumstances: ...there are two ways of sinning: one way is on a sudden, and so when a person dedicates himself to the things of God, if he sins all of a sudden, he is punished less: ‘The Lord who is good will show mercy to all of those who with their whole heart seek the Lord, the God of our fathers’; ‘When the just man falls, he shall not be bruised’. But if he sins from contempt, he sins more grievously, because, since he is in a higher state, he is more scornful. It is of these that he is speaking here, because they are more ungrateful.

Hebrews 10:30-31
For we know him that hath said: Vengeance belongeth to me, and I will repay. And again: The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Scimus enim qui dixit: Mihi vindicta, et ego retribuam. Et iterum: Quia judicabit Dominus populum suum. Horrendum est incidere in manus Dei viventis.

Fear of God: For the stronger and more just a judge is, the more he is to be feared: ‘God is a just judge, strong and patient’. Therefore, it is a fearful thing to fall into His hands: ‘It is better for me to fall into your hands without doing it, than to sin in the sight of the Lord’; ‘If we do not penance, we shall fall into the hands of the Lord, and not into the hands of men’.

This time now is for repentance: ...until the day of judgment it is not a fearful thing to fall into the hands of God, Who judges mercifully, as long as He is the Father of mercies; but after the judgment, it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of God, when as the God of vengeance, He will judge our justices. For at present, as one who has experienced infirmity, out of pity He judges mercifully.


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