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31.  The Power to Bind on Earth and in Heaven.

But to me it seems that, to the case of him who after being thrice admonished was adjudged to be as the Gentile and the publican, it is fitly subjoined, “Verily, I say unto you,”—namely, to those who have judged any one to be as the Gentile and the publican,—“and what things soever ye shall bind on the earth,60336033    Matt. xviii. 18. etc.; for with justice has he, who has thrice admonished and not been heard, bound him who is judged to be as a Gentile and a publican; wherefore, when such an one is bound and condemned by one of this character, he remains bound, as no one of those in heaven overturns the judgment of the man who bound him.  And, in like manner, he who was admonished once for all, and did things worthy of being gained, having been set free by the admonition of the man who gained him, and no longer bound by the cords of his own sins,60346034    Prov. v. 22. for which he was admonished, shall be adjudged to have been set free by those in heaven.  Only, it seems to be indicated that the things, which above 494were granted to Peter alone, are here given to all who give the three admonitions to all that have sinned; so that, if they be not heard, they will bind on earth him who is judged to be as a Gentile and a publican, as such an one has been bound in heaven.  But since it was necessary, even if something in common had been said in the case of Peter and those who had thrice admonished the brethren, that Peter should have some element superior to those who thrice admonished, in the case of Peter, this saying “I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of the heavens,”60356035    Matt. xvi. 19. has been specially set before the words, “And what things soever ye shall bind on earth,” etc.  And, indeed, if we were to attend carefully to the evangelical writings, we would also find here, and in relation to those things which seem to be common to Peter and those who have thrice admonished the brethren, a great difference and a pre-eminence in the things said to Peter, compared with the second class.  For it is no small difference that Peter received the keys not of one heaven but of more, and in order that whatsoever things he binds on the earth may be bound not in one heaven but in them all, as compared with the many who bind on earth and loose on earth, so that these things are bound and loosed not in the heavens, as in the case of Peter, but in one only; for they do not reach so high a stage, with power as Peter to bind and loose in all the heavens.60366036    Matt. xvi. 19.  The better, therefore, is the binder, so much more blessed is he who has been loosed, so that in every part of the heavens his loosing has been accomplished.

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