Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Lent VII

A double minded man is inconstant in all his ways. (James 1:8)

In all his ways, he says, in adversities and in prosperity. The man, however, is double-minded, who both bends his knee to entreat the Lord, sends forth words of entreaty, and yet because of his consciousness accuses him within, he lacks confidence in being able to obtain what he requests. The man is double-minded who wishes both to rejoice here with the world and to reign there with God. Likewise the man is double-minded who in the good he does looks not for reward inwardly but for approbation outwardly. Hence it is well said by a wise man, Woe to the sinner entering the land by two ways. A sinner enters the land by two ways indeed when he both shows that what he seeks by his work is God's approbation and the world's in his thoughts. All such as these, however, are indecisive in all their ways, because they are both very easily discouraged by the adversities of the world and ensnared by prosperity, so that they turn aside from the way of truth.

[Bede the Venerable, Commentary on the Seven Catholic Epistles, Hurst, tr., Cistercian Publications (Kalamazoo, MI: 1985) pp. 10-11. A footnote notes that the word translated 'consciousness' is conscientia; that can indeed be translated as 'consciousness', but I'm not sure what was gained by avoiding the more obvious translation of 'conscience'.]

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