I. And therefore he is the mediator of the New Testament, that by means of his death... they that are called may receive the promise of eternal inheritance (Heb. ix. 15). Here St. Paul speaks of the New Testament not as a covenant, but as a promise, or testamentary disposition, by which Jesus Christ left us heirs of the Kingdom of Heaven. And because a testament is not in force until the death of the testator, therefore it was necessary that Jesus Christ should die that we might become His heirs, and enter into the possession of Paradise. Wherefore the Apostle adds: For where there is a testament the death of the testator must of necessity come in. For a testament is of force after men are dead; otherwise it is as yet of no strength whilst the testator liveth (Heb. ix. 16-17). Through the merits of Jesus Christ, our Mediator, we have received grace in Baptism to become the sons of God; unlike the Jews, who, under the old covenant, though they were the elect, were yet all servants. Whence the Apostle writes: For there are two covenants, the one from Mount Sina engendering unto bondage (Gal. iv. 24). The first mediation was made with God by Moses on Mount Sina, when God, through Moses, promised to the Jews the abundance of temporal blessings if they observed the laws which He gave them; but this mediation, says St. Paul, only produced servants, unlike the mediation of Jesus Christ, which produces sons: We, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise (Gal. iv. 28). If, then, being Christians, we are the sons of God, by consequence, says the Apostle, we are also heirs; for a portion of the father's inheritance is given to all sons, and this is the inheritance of eternal glory in Paradise, which Jesus Christ has merited for us by His death.
II. St. Paul writes: If we suffer with him that we may be also glorified with him (Rom. viii. 17). It is true that, by our sonship to God, which Jesus Christ has obtained for us by His death, we have acquired a right to Paradise; but this is on the supposition that we are faithful to correspond to the Divine grace by our good works, and especially by holy patience. Hence the Apostle says that in order to obtain eternal glory, as Jesus Christ has obtained it, we must suffer upon earth as Jesus Christ suffered. He goes before, as our Captain, with His Cross; under this standard we must follow Him, each bearing his own cross, as the same Lord admonishes us: He that will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me (Matt. xvi. 24).
St. Paul also exhorts us to suffer with courage, strengthened by the hope of Paradise, reminding us that the glory which will be given to us in the next life will be infinitely greater than all our sufferings, that is, if we suffer here with good will in order to fulfil the Divine pleasure: I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come that shall be revealed in us (Rom. viii. 18). What beggar would be so foolish as not to give gladly all his rags for a great kingdom? We do not as yet enjoy this glory, because we are not yet saved, not having finished our life in the grace of God; but hope in the merits of Jesus Christ, says St. Paul, will save us: We are saved by hope (Rom. viii. 24). He will not fail to give us every help to save us, if we are faithful to Him, and continue to pray; and the promise of Jesus Christ assures us that He hears every one who prays: Every one that seeketh, receiveth (Luke xi. 10). Some one will say: I fear, not that God will refuse to hear me, if I pray to Him, but I fear for myself, that I should not know how to pray as I ought. No, says St. Paul, fear not this, for when we pray, God Himself aids our weakness, and makes us pray so as to be heard. The Spirit also helpeth our infirmity... and asketh for us (Rom. viii. 26). He asks, explains St. Augustine, that is, He helps us to ask.
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