2.For I am jealous Mark why it is that he acts the fool, for jealousy hurries a man as it were headlong. “Do not demand that I should show the equable temper (796) of a man that is at ease, and not excited by any emotion, for that vehemence of vehemence of jealousy, with which I am inflamed towards you, does not suffer me to be at ease.” As, however, there are two kinds of jealousy — the one springs from self love, and of a wicked and perverse nature, while the other is cherished by us on God’s account, (797) he intimates of what sort his zeal is. For many are zealous — for themselves, not for God. That on the other hand, is the only pious and right zeal, that has an eye to God, that he may not be defrauded of the honors that of right belong to him.
For I have united you to one man. That his zeal was of such a nature, he proves from the design of his preaching, for its tendency was to join them to Christ in marriage, and retain them in connection with him. (798) Here, however, he gives us in his own person a lively picture of a good minister; for One alone is the Bridegroom of the Church — the Son of God. All ministers are the friends of the Bridegroom, as the Baptist declares respecting himself. (John 3:29.) Hence all ought to be concerned, that the fidelity of this sacred marriage remain unimpaired and inviolable. This they cannot do, unless they are actuated by the dispositions of the Bridegroom, so that every one of them may be as much concerned for the purity of the Church, as a husband is for the chastity of his wife. Away then with coldness and indolence in this matter, for one that is cold (799) will never be qualified for this office. Let them, however, in the mean time, take care, not to pursue their own interest rather than that of Christ, that they may not intrude themselves into his place, lest while they give themselves out as his paranymphs, (800) they turn out to be in reality adulterers, by alluring the bride to love themselves.
To present you as a chaste virgin. We are married to Christ, on no other condition than that we bring virginity as our dowry, and preserve it entire, so as to be free from all corruption. Hence it is the duty of ministers of the gospel to purify our souls, that they may be chaste virgins to Christ; otherwise they accomplish nothing. Now we may understand it as meaning, that they individually present themselves aschaste virgins to Christ, or that the minister presents the whole of the people, and brings them forward into Christ’s presence. I approve rather of the second interpretation. Hence I have given a different rendering from Erasmus. (801)