O LORD of Hosts, who art the author and giver of all good things; Graft in our hearts the love of thy Name, increase in us true religion, nourish us with all goodness, and of thy great mercy keep us in the same; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Historical Note: Source: Collect composed by Bishop Gelasius of Rome (492-496)
I have compassion on the multitude
on Rom. VI. 19
"I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members (so 4 mss. Sav. the members of your flesh) servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness."
Since he had required great strictness of life, charging us to be dead to the world, and to have died unto wickedness, and to abide with no notion towards the workings of sin, and seemed to be saying something great and burdensome, and too much for human nature; through a desire to show that he is not making any exorbitant demand, nor even as much as might be expected of one who enjoyed so great a gift, but one quite moderate and light, he proves it from contraries, and says, "I speak after the manner of men," as much as to say, Going by human reasonings; by such as one usually meets with. For he signifies either this, or the moderateness of it, by the term applied, "after the manner of men." For elsewhere he uses the same word. "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man" (1 Cor. x. 13), that is, moderate and small. "For as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness." And truly the masters are very different ones, but still it is an equal amount of servitude that I ask. For men ought to give a much larger one, and so much the larger as this is a greater and better mastership than the other. Nevertheless I make no greater demand "because of the infirmity," and that, he does not say of your free will or readiness of spirit, but "of your flesh," so making what he says the less severe. And yet on one side there is uncleanness, on the other holiness: on the one iniquity, and on the other righteousness. And who is so wretched, he says, and in such straits as not to spend as much earnestness upon the service of Christ, as upon that of sin and the devil? Hear then what follows, and you will see clearly that we do not even spend this little. For when (stated in this naked way) it does not seem credible or easy to admit, and nobody would endure to hear that he does not serve Christ so much as he did serve the devil, he proves it by what follows, and renders it credible by bringing that slavery before us, and saying how they did serve him.
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Released by Primus Pilus
Legio Christi-Ecclesia Militans
"Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another" [St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans 14:19]
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