14. Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.
14. Benedicite iis qui vos persequuntur; benedicite et ne malum imprecemini.
15. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
15. Gaudete cum gaudentibus, flete cum fientibus;
16. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.
16. Mutuo alii in altos sensu affecti, non arroganter de vobis sentientes, sed humilibus vos accommodantes: ne sitis apud vos ipsos prudentes.
He will presently give direction respecting the retaliation of the injuries which we may suffer: but here he requires something even more difficult, -- that we are not to imprecate evils on our enemies, but to wish and to pray God to render all things prosperous to them, how much soever they may harass and cruelly treat us: and this kindness, the more difficult it is to be practiced, so with the more intense desire we ought to strive for it; for the Lord commands nothing, with respect to which he does not require our obedience; nor is any excuse to be allowed, if we are destitute of that disposition, by which the Lord would have his people to differ from the ungodly and the children of this world.
Arduous is this, I admit, and wholly opposed to the nature of man; but there is nothing too arduous to be overcome by the power of God, which shall never be wanting to us, provided we neglect not to seek for it. And though you can hardly find one who has made such advances in the law of the Lord that he fulfills this precept, yet no one can claim to be the child of God or glory in the name of a Christian, who has not in part attained this mind, and who does not daily resist the opposite disposition.
I have said that this is more difficult than to let go revenge when any one is injured: for though some restrain their hands and are not led away by the passion of doing harm, they yet wish that some calamity or loss would in some way happen to their enemies; and even when they are so pacified that they wish no evil, there is yet hardly one in a hundred who wishes well to him from whom he has received an injury; nay, most men daringly burst forth into imprecations. But God by his word not only restrains our hands from doing evil, but also subdues the bitter feelings within; and not only so, but he would have us to be solicitous for the wellbeing of those who unjustly trouble us and seek our destruction.
Erasmus was mistaken in the meaning of the verb
Here then is condemned all ambition and that elation of mind which insinuates itself under the name of magnanimity; for the chief virtue of the faithful is moderation, or rather lowliness of mind, which ever prefers to give honor to others, rather than to take it away from them.
Closely allied to this is what is subjoined: for nothing swells the minds of men so much as a high notion of their own wisdom. His desire then was, that we should lay this aside, hear others, and regard their counsels. Erasmus has rendered
1 The first clause is omitted. The text of Calvin is, "Mutuo alii in alios sensu affecti;"
But another construction has been given, "Think the same of one another," that is, Regard one another alike in dignity and privilege as Christians, without elevating yourselves, and viewing yourselves better than others. This would well agree with the sentence which follows.
The two following clauses are thus given by Doddridge, "Affect not high things, but condescend to men of low rank," -- and by Macknight, "Do not care for high things; but associate with lowly men." The word