For every thing which is born of God, &c. He proves what he had said that His commandments are not heavy, because the faithful, who are born again of faith, and charity, and are armed by God, overcome the world, i.e. the lusts and terrors of the world, which alone resist charity, and make the keeping of the commandments difficult. When therefore they are taken away, the commandments become easy. "The proof of a heavenly generation is victory over temptation," says S. Bernard.
Observe: he says every thing (neuter), not every one who is born of God overcometh. This is to signify, 1That this victory falls to the believer, not of himself, but from the love and grace of God. This is why he adds by way of explanation, And this is the victory which overcometh the world, even our faith.
2d. The expression every thing is emphatic, and signifies the whole company of all nations. There is an allusion to the animals of every kind, both clean and unclean, which were in Noe"s ark, and which Peter saw in vision in the linen sheet of the Church. (Acts. x12.) By these it was signified that all sorts of men, of every nation, state, and condition, were to be admitted into the Church by the new Birth of Baptism. For the same reason, and with the same emphasis, Christ said, "Everything that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me."
Hence S. Cyprian, S. Leo, and others say that a believer is greater than the world, and having his conversation in heaven he looks down upon the little point of the world. Beautifully does S. Augustine write (lib2de Synub. and Catechum), "Admirable, truly admirable, is our combat" (spectaculum), "in which God helps, faith obtains strength, innocence fights, holiness conquers, and the reward which follows is such that whilst he who has conquered receives, he who gives loses nothing."
And this is the victory, &c, victory, i.e, the victor, the conqueror. The victory then is the cause of victory, the arms by which the victory is obtained, i.e, faith. This victorious faith is not naked and idle faith, but clothed with charity and good works, struggling and fighting bravely, according to the words, "Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness," &c. (Heb. xi.) And as S. Paul says (Eph. vi. i6), "And in all taking the shield of faith by which ye can quench all the fiery darts of the most wicked one." For overcomes the Greek has Î½Î¹ÎºÎ®ÏƒÎ±ÏƒÎ±, aorist overcame. By this all time is signified. He hath overcome, he overcomes, and shall overcome. So S. Augustine teaches that the faith of Christ has subdued the whole world to itself by the sanctity, chastity, patience, constancy, of the Apostles, Virgins, and Martyrs, by whom the nations of the whole world have been converted to Christ. And as he saith again (Ser. de Verb. Apost.), "There are no greater riches, or treasures, no substance of this world greater than the Catholic Faith. It saves sinful Prayer of Manasseh , gives sight to the blind, heals the sick, baptizes catechumens, restores the penitent, helps the just, crowns the martyrs." And S. Bernard says, "Faith reaches things inaccessible, discovers the unknown, comprehends the infinite, seizes the remotest bounds of things, and in short embraces eternity itself in its own most spacious bosom. I would say boldly that the eternal and Blessed Trinity, whom I cannot understand, I believe in and hold firmly by faith, a thing which I am not capable of by mere soundness of intellect.