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7I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

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7 I have fought the good fight Because it is customary to form a judgment from the event, Paul’s fight might have been condemned on the ground that it did not end happily. He therefore boasts that it is excellent, whatever may be the light in which it is regarded by the world. This declaration is a testimony of eminent faith; for not only was Paul accounted wretched in the opinion of all, but his death also was to be ignominious. Who then would not have said that he fought without success? But he does not rely on the corrupt judgments of men. On the contrary, by magnanimous courage he rises above every calamity, so that nothing opposes his happiness and glory; and therefore he declares “the fight which he fought” to be good and honorable.

I have finished my course He even congratulates himself on his death, because it may be regarded as the goal or termination of his course. We know that they who run a race have gained their wish when they have reached the goal. In this manner also he affirms that to Christ’s combatants death is desirable, because it puts an end to their labors; and, on the other hand, he likewise declares that we ought never to rest in this life, because it is of no advantage to have run well and constantly from the beginning to the middle of the course, if we do not reach the goal.

I have kept the faith 198198     “This word ‘Faith’ may indeed be taken for Fidelity; as if he had said that he was loyal to our Lord Jesus Christ, and that he never flinched, that he always performed what belonged to his office. But we may also take this word faith in its ordinary meaning, that Paul did not turn aside from the pure simplicity of the gospel, and even that he relied on the promises of salvation which had been given to him, and, having preached to others, shewed that he was in earnest in what he spoke. For, indeed, all the loyalty which God demands from us proceeds from our adhering firmly to his word, and being founded on it in such a manner that we shall not be moved by any storm or tempest that may arise.” — Fr. Ser. This may have a twofold meaning, either that to the last he was a faithful soldier to his captain, or that he continued in the right doctrine. Both meanings will be highly appropriate; and indeed he could not make his fidelity acceptable to the Lord in any other way then by constantly professing, the pure doctrine of the gospel. Yet I have no doubt that he alludes to the solemn oath taken by soldiers; as if he had said that he was a good and faithful soldier to his captain.




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