Augustine on the Psalms. Psalms 19 - 34

PSALM 19

TO THE END, A PSALM OF DAVID HIMSELF.

1. It is a well-known title; nor does the Lord Jesus Christ say what follows, but it is said of Him.

2. "The heavens tell out the glory of God" (ver. 1). The righteous Evangelists, in whom, as in the heavens, God dwelleth, set forth the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, or the glory wherewith the Son glorified the Father upon earth. "And the firmament showeth forth the works of His hands." And the firmament showeth forth the deeds of the Lord's power, that now made heaven by the assurance of the Holy Ghost, which before was earth by fear.

3. "Day unto day uttereth word" (ver. 2). To the spiritual the Spirit giveth out the fulness of the unchangeable Wisdom of God, the Word which in the beginning is God with God.(8) "And night unto night announceth knowledge." And to the fleshly, as to those afar off, the mortality of the flesh, by conveying faith, announceth future knowledge.

4. "There is no speech nor language, in which their voices are not heard" (ver. 3). In which the voices of the Evangelists have not been heard, seeing that the Gospel was preached in every tongue.

5. "Their sound is gone out into all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world"(9) (ver. 4).

6. "In the sun hath He set His tabernacle." Now that He might war against the powers of temporal error, the Lord, being about to send not peace but a sword on earth,(10) in time, or in manifestation, set so to say His military dwelling, that is, the dispensation of His incarnation. "And He as a bridegroom coming forth out of His chamber" (ver. 5). And He, coming forth out of the Virgin's womb, where God was united to man's nature as a bridegroom to a bride. "Rejoiced as a giant to run His way." Rejoiced as One exceeding strong, and surpassing all other men in power incomparable, not to inhabit, but to run His way. For, "He stood not in the way of sinners. "(1)

7. "His going forth is from the highest heaven" (ver. 6). From the Father is His going forth, not that in time, but from everlasting, whereby He was born of the Father. "And His meeting is even to the height of heaven." And in the fulness of the Godhead He meets even to an equality with the Father.(2) "And there is none that may hide himself from His heat." But whereas, "the Word was even made flesh, and dwelt in us,"(3) assuming our mortality, He permitted no man to excuse himself from the shadow of death; for the heat of the Word penetrated even it.

8. "The law of the Lord is undefiled, converting souls" (ver. 7). The law of the Lord, therefore, is Himself who came to fulfil the law, not to destroy it;(4) an undefiled law, "Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth,"(5) not oppressing souls with the yoke of bondage, but converting them to imitate Him in liberty. "The testimony of the Lord is sure, giving wisdom to babes." "The testimony of the Lord is sure;" for, "no man knoweth the Father save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him,"(6) which things have been hidden from the wise and revealed to babes;(7) for, "God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble." 8)

9. "The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart" (ver. 8). All the statutes of the Lord are right in Him who taught not what He did not; that they who should imitate Him might rejoice in heart, in those things which they should do freely with love, not slavishly with fear. "The commandment of the Lord is lucid, enlightening the eyes." "The commandment of the Lord is lucid," with no veil of carnal observances, enlightening the sight of the inner man.

10. "The fear of the Lord is chaste, enduring for ever" (ver. 9). "The fear of the Lord;" not that distressing(9) fear under the law, dreading exceedingly the withdrawal of temporal goods, by the love of which the soul commits fornication; but that chaste fear wherewith the Church, the more ardently she loves her Spouse, the more carefully does she take heed of offending Him, and therefore, "perfect love casteth" not "out" this" fear,"(10) but it endureth for ever.

11. "The judgments of the Lord are true, justified together." The judgments of Him, who "judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son,"(11) are justified in truth unchangeably. For neither in His threatenings nor His promises doth God deceive any man, nor can any withdraw either from the ungodly His punishment, or from the godly His reward. "To be desired more than gold, and much precious stone" (ver. 10). Whether it be "gold and stone itself much," or "much precious," or "much to be desired;" still, the judgments of God are to be desired more than the pomp of this world; by desire of which it is brought to pass that the judgments of God are not desired, but feared, or despised, or not believed. But if any be himself gold and precious stone, that he may not be consumed by fire, but received into the treasury of God, more than himself does he desire the judgments of God, whose will he preferreth to his own. "And sweeter than honey and the honey comb." And whether one be even now honey, who, disenthralled already from the chains of this life, is awaiting the day when he may come up to God's feast; or whether he be yet as the honey comb, wrapped about with this life as it were with wax, not mixed and become one with it, but filling it, needing some pressure of God's hand, not oppressing but expressing it, whereby from life temporal it may be strained out into life eternal: to such an one the judgments of God are sweeter than he himself is to himself, for that they are "sweeter than honey and the honey comb."

12. "For Thy servant keepeth them "(ver. 11). For to him who keepeth them not the day of the Lord is bitter. "In keeping them there is great reward." Not in any external benefit, but in the thing itself, that God's judgments are kept, is there great reward; great because one rejoiceth therein.

13. "Who understandeth sins?" (ver. But what sort of sweetness can there be in sins, where there is no understanding? For who can understand sins, which close the very eye, to which truth is pleasant, to which the judgments of God are desirable and sweet? yea, as darkness closes the eye, so do sins the mind, and suffer it not to see either the light, or itself.

14. "Cleanse me, O Lord, from my secret faults." From the lusts which lie hid in me, cleanse me, O Lord. "And from the" faults "of others preserve Thy servant" (ver. 13). Let me not be led astray by others. For he is not a prey to the faults of others, who is cleansed from his own. Preserve therefore from the lusts of others, not the proud man, and him who would be his own master, but, Thy servant. "If they get not the dominion over me, then shall I be undefiled." If neither my own secret sins, nor those of others, get the dominion over me, then shall I be undefiled. For there is no third source of sin, but one's own secret sin, by which the devil fell, and another's sin, by which man is seduced, so as by consenting to make it his own. "And I shall be cleansed from the great offence." What but pride? for there is none greater than apostasy from God, which is "the beginning of the pride of man."(1) And he shall indeed be undefiled, who is free from this offence also; for tiffs is the last to them who are returning to God, which was the first as they departed from Him.

15. "And the words of my mouth shall be pleasing, and the meditation of my heart is always in Thy sight" (ver. 14). The meditation of my heart is not after the vain glory of pleasing men, for now there is pride no more, but in Thy sight alway, who regardest a pure conscience "O Lord, my Helper, and my Redeemer"(2) (ver. 15). O Lord, my Helper, in my approach to Thee; for Thou art my Redeemer, that I might set out unto Thee: lest any attributing to his own wisdom his conversion to Thee, or to his own strength his attaining to Thee, should be rather driven back by Thee, who resistest the proud; for he is not cleansed from the great offence, nor pleasing in Thy sight, who redeemest us that we may be converted, and helpest us that we may attain unto Thee.



PSALM 20

TO THE END, A PSALM OF DAVID.

1. This is a well-known title; and it is not Christ who speaks; but the prophet speaks to Christ, under the form of wishing, foretelling things to come.(4)

2. "The Lord hear Thee in the day of trouble" (ver. 1). The Lord hear Thee in the day in which Thou saidst, "Father glorify Thy Son."(5) "The name of the God of Jacob protect Thee." For to Thee belongeth the younger people. Since "the eider shall serve the younger."(6)

3. "Send Thee help from the Holy, and from Sion defend Thee" (ver. 2). Making for Thee a sanctified Body, the Church, from watching(7) safe, which waiteth when Thou shalt come from the wedding.

4. "Be mindful of all Thy sacrifice" (ver. 3). Make us mindful of all Thy injuries and despiteful treatment, which Thou hast borne for us. "And be Thy whole burnt offering made fat." And turn the cross, whereon Thou wast wholly offered up to God, into the joy of the resurrection.

5. "Diapsalma. The Lord render to Thee according to Thine Heart" (ver. 4). The Lord render to Thee, not according to their heart, who thought by persecution they could destroy Thee; but according to Thine Heart, wherein Thou knewest what profit Thy passion would have.(8) "And fulfil all Thy counsel." "And fulfil all Thy counsel," not only that whereby Thou didst lay down Thy life for Thy friends,(9) that the corrupted grain might rise again to more abundance;(10) but that also whereby "blindness in part hath happened unto Israel, that the fulness of the Gentiles might enter in, and so an Israel might be saved."(11)

6. "We will exult in Thy salvation" (ver. 5). We will exult in that death will in no wise hurt Thee; for so Thou wilt also show that it cannot hurt us either. "And in the name of the Lord our God will we be magnified." And the confession of Thy name shall not only not destroy us, but shall even magnify us.

7. "The Lord fulfil all Thy petitions." The Lord fulfil not only the petitions which Thou madest on earth, but those also whereby Thou intercedest for us in heaven. "Now have I known that the Lord hath saved his Christ" (ver. 6). Now hath it been shown to me in prophecy, that the Lord will raise up His Christ again. "He will hear Him from His holy heaven." He will hear Him not from earth only, where He prayed to be glorified;(12) but from heaven also, where interceding for us at the Right Hand of the Father,(13) He hath from thence shed abroad the Holy Spirit on them that believe on Him. "In strength is the safety of His right hand." Our strength is in the safety of His favour, when even out of tribulation He giveth help, that "when we are weak, then we may be strong."(14) "For vain is "that "safety of man,"(15) which comes not of His right hand but of His left: for thereby are they lifted up to great pride, whosoever in their sins have secured a temporal safety.

8. "Some in chariots, and some in horses" (ver. 7). Some are drawn away by the ever moving succession of temporal goods; and some are preferred to proud honours, and in them exult: "But we will exult in the name of the Lord our God." But we, fixing our hope on things eternal, and not seeking our own glory, will exult in the name of the Lord our God.

9. "They have been bound, and fallen" (ver. 8). And therefore were they bound by the lust of temporal things, fearing to spare the Lord, lest they should lose their place by "the Romans:"[1] and rushing violently on the stone of offence and rock of stumbling, they fell from the heavenly hope: to whom the blindness in part of Israel hath happened, being ignorant of God's righteousness, and wishing to establish their own.[2] "But we are risen, and stand upright." But we, that the Gentile people might enter in, out of the stones raised up as children to Abraham,[3] who followed not after righteousness, have attained to it, and are risen;[4] and not by our own strength, but being justified by faith, we stand upright.

10. "O Lord, save the King:" that He, who in His Passion hath shown us an example of conflict, should also offer up our sacrifices, the Priest raised from the dead, and established in heaven. "And hear us in the day when we shall call on Thee" (ver. 9). And as He now offereth for us, "hear us in the day when we shall call on Thee."



PSALM 21

TO THE END, A PSALM OF DAVID HIMSELF.

1. The title is a familiar one; the Psalm is of Christ.[6]

2. "O Lord, the King shall rejoice in Thy strength" (ver. 1). O Lord, in Thy strength, whereby the Word was made flesh, the Man Christ Jesus shall rejoice. "And shall exult exceedingly in Thy salvation." And in that, whereby Thou quckenest all things, shall exult exceedingly.

3. "Thou hast given Him the desire of His soul" (vet. 2). He desired to eat the Passover,[7] and to lay down His life when He would, and again when He would to take it; and Thou hast given it to Him.[8] "And hast not deprived Him of the good pleasure of His lips." "My peace," saith He, "I leave with you:"[9] and it was done.

4. "For Thou hast presented Him with the blessings of sweetness" (ver. 3). Because He had first quaffed the blessing of Thy sweetness, the gall of our sins did not hurt Him. "Diapsalma. Thou hast set a crown of precious stone on His Head."[10] At the beginning of His discoursing precious stones were brought, and compassed Him about;[11] His disciples, from whom the commencement of His preaching should be made.

5. "He asked life; and Thou gavest Him:" He asked a resurrection, saying, "Father, glorify Thy Son;"[12] and Thou gavest it Him, "Length of days for ever and ever" (ver. 4). The prolonged ages of this world which the Church was to have, and after them an eternity, world without end.

6. "His glory is great in Thy salvation" (ver. 5). Great indeed is His glory in the salvation, whereby Thou hast raised Him up again. "Glory and great honour shalt Thou lay upon Him." But Thou shalt yet add unto Him glory and great honour, when Thou shall place Him in heaven at Thy right hand.

7. "For Thou shalt give Him blessing for ever and ever." This is the blessing which Thou shalt give Him for ever and ever: "Thou shall make Him glad in joy together with Thy countenance" (ver. 6). According to His manhood, Thou shall make Him glad together with Thy countenance, which He lifted up to Thee.

8. "For the King hopeth in the Lord." For the King is not proud, but humble in heart, he hopeth in the Lord. "And in the mercy of the Most Highest He shall not be moved" (ver. 7). And in the mercy of the Most Highest His obedience even unto the death of the Cross shall not disturb His humility.

9. "Let Thy hand be found by all Thine enemies." Be Thy power, O King, when Thou comest to judgment, found by all Thine enemies; who in Thy humiliation discerned it not. "Let Thy right hand find out all that hate Thee" (ver. 8). Let the glory, wherein Thou reignest at the right hand of the Father, find out for punishment in the day of judgment all that hate Thee ; for that now they have not found it.

10. "Thou shalt make them like a fiery oven:" Thou shalt make them on fire within, by the consciousness of their ungodliness: "In the time of Thy countenance:" in the time of Thy manifestation. "The Lord shall trouble them in His wrath, and the fire shall devour them" (ver. 9). And then, being troubled by the vengeance of the Lord, after the accusation of their conscience, they shall be given up to eternal fire, to be devoured.

11. "Their fruit shalt Thou destroy cut of the earth." Their fruit, because it is earthly, shalt Thou destroy out of the earth. "And their seed from the sons of men" (ver. 10). And their works; or, whomsoever they have seduced, Thou shalt not reckon among the sons of men, whom Thou hast called into the everlasting inheritance.

12. "Because they turned evils against Thee." Now this punishment shall be recompensed to them, because the evils which they supposed to hang over them by Thy reign, they turned against Thee to Thy death. "They imagined a device, which they were not able to establish" (ver. 11). They imagined a device, saying, "It is expedient that one die for all:"[1] which they were not able to establish, not knowing what they said.

13. "For Thou shalt set them low." For Thou shalt rank them among those from whom in degradation and contempt Thou wilt turn away. "In Thy leavings[2] Thou shalt make ready their countenance" (ver. 12). And in these things that Thou leavest, that is, in the desires of an earthly kingdom, Thou shalt make ready their shamelessness for Thy passion.

14. "Be Thou exalted, O Lord, in Thy strength" (ver. 13). Be Thou, Lord, whom in humiliation they did not discern, exalted in Thy strength, which they thought weakness. "We will sing and praise Thy power." In heart and in deed we will celebrate and make known Thy marvels.



PSALM 22

TO THE END, FOR THE TAKING UP OF THE MORNING, A PSALM OF DAVID.[4]

1. "To the end," for His own resurrection, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself speaketh.[5] For in the morning on the first day of the week was His resurrection, whereby He was taken up, into eternal life, "Over whom death shall have no more dominion."[6] Now what follows is spoken in the person of The Crucified. For from the head of this Psalm are the words, which He cried out, whilst hanging on the Cross, sustaining also the person of the old man, whose mortality He bare. For our old man was nailed together with Him to the Cross.[7]

2. "O God, my God, look upon me, why hast Thou forsaken[8] me far from my salvation?" (ver. 1). Far removed from my salvation: for" salvation is far from sinners."[9] "The words of my sins." For these are not the words of righteousness, but of my sins. For it is the old man nailed to the Cross that speaks, ignorant even of the reason why God hath forsaken him: or else it may be thus, The words of my sins are far from my salvation.

3. "My God, I will cry unto Thee in the daytime, and Thou wilt not hear (ver. 2). My God, I will cry unto Thee in the prosperous circumstances of this life, that they be not changed; and Thou wilt not hear, because I shall cry unto Thee in the words of my sins. "And in the night-season, and not to my folly." And so in the adversities of this life will I cry to Thee for prosperity; and in like manner Thou wilt not hear. And this Thou doest not to my folly, but rather that I may have wisdom to know what Thou wouldest have me cry for, not with the words of sins out of longing for life temporal, but with the words of turning to Thee for life eternal.

4. "But Thou dwellest in the holy place, O Thou praise of Israel" (ver. 3). But Thou dwellest in the holy place, and therefore wilt not hear the unclean words of sins. The "praise" of him that seeth Thee; not of him who hath sought his own praise in tasting of the forbidden fruit, that on the opening of his bodily eyes he should endeavour to hide himself from Thy sight.

5. "Our Fathers hoped in Thee." All the righteous, namely, who sought not their own praise, but Thine. "They hoped in Thee, and Thou deliveredst them" (ver. 4).

6. "They cried unto Thee, and were saved." They cried unto Thee, not in the words of sins, from which salvation is far; and therefore were they saved. "They hoped in Thee, and were not confounded" (ver. 5). "They hoped in Thee," and their hope did not deceive them. For they placed it not in themselves.

7. "But I am a worm, and no man" (ver. 6). But I, speaking now not in the person of Adam, but I in My own person, Jesus Christ, was born without human generation in the flesh, that I might be as man beyond men; that so at least human pride might deign to imitate My humility. "The scorn of men, and outcast of the people." In which humility I was made the scorn of men, so as that it should be said, as a reproachful railing, "Be thou His disciple: "[10] and that the people despise Me.

8. "All that saw Me laughed Me to scorn" (ver. 7). All that saw Me derided Me. "And spoke with the lips, and shook the head."[11] And they spoke, not with the heart, but with the lips.

9. For they shook their head in derision, saying, "He trusted in the Lord let Him deliver Him: "[12] let Him save Him, since He desireth Him" (ver 8).These were their words; but they were spoken "with the lips."

10. "Since Thou art He who drew Me out of the womb" (ver. 9). Since Thou art He who drew Me, not only out of that Virgin womb (for this is the law of all men's birth, that they be drawn out of the womb), but also out of the womb of the Jewish nation; by the darkness whereof he is covered, and not yet born into the light of Christ, whosoever places his salvation in the carnal observance of the Sabbath, and of circumcision, and the like. "My hope from My mother's breasts." "My hope," O God, not from the time when I began to be fed by the milk of the Virgin's breasts; for it was even before; but from the breasts of the Synagogue, as I have said, out of the womb, Thou hast drawn Me, that I should not suck in the customs of the flesh.

11. "I have been strengthened in Thee from the womb" (ver. 10). It is the womb of the Synagogue, which did not carry Me, but threw Me out: but I fell not, for Thou heldest me. "From My mother's womb Thou art My God." "From My mother's womb: My mother's womb did not cause that, as a babe, I should be forgetful of Thee.

12. "Thou art My God," "depart not from Me; for trouble is hard at hand" (ver. 11). Thou art, therefore, My God, depart not from Me; for trouble is nigh unto Me; for it is in My body. "For there is none to help." For who helpeth, if Thou helpest not?

13. "Many calves came about Me." The multitude of the wanton populace came about Me. "Fat bulls closed Me in" (ver. 12). And their leaders, glad at My oppression, "closed Me in."

14. "They opened their mouth upon Me" (ver. 13). They opened their mouth upon Me, not out of Thy Scripture, but of their own lusts. "As a ravening and roaring lion." As a lion, whose ravening is, that I was taken and led; and whose roaring, "Crucify, Crucify."[1].

15. "I was poured out like water, and all My bones were scattered" (ver. 14). "I was poured out like water," when My persecutors fell: and through fear, the stays of My body, that is, the Church, My disciples were scattered from Me.[2] "My heart became as melting wax, in the midst of my belly." My wisdom, which was written of Me in the sacred books, was, as if hard and shut up, not understood: but after that the fire of My Passion was applied, it was, as if melted, manifested, and entertained in the memory of My Church.

16. "My strength dried up as a potsherd" (ver. 15). My strength dried up by My Passion; not as hay, but a potsherd, which is made stronger by fire. "And My tongue cleaved to My jaws." And they, through whom I was soon to speak, kept My precepts in their hearts. "And Thou broughtest Me down to the dust of death." And to the ungodly appointed to death, whom the wind casteth forth as dust from the face of the earth,[3] Thou broughtest Me down.

17. "For many dogs came about Me" (ver. 16). For many came about Me barking, not for truth, but for custom. "The council of the malignant came about Me." The council of the malignant besieged Me. [4] "They pierced My hands and feet." They pierced with nails My hands and feet.

18. "They numbered distinctly all My bones" (ver. 17). They numbered distinctly all My bones, while extended on the wood of the Cross. "Yea, these same regarded, and beheld Me." Yea, these same, that is, unchanged, regarded-and beheld Me.

19. "They divided My garments for themselves, and cast the lot upon My vesture"[5] (ver. 18).

20. "But Thou, O Lord, withhold not Thy help far from Me" (ver. 19). But Thou, O Lord, raise Me up again, not as the rest of men, at the end of the world, but immediately. "Look to My defence." "Look," that they in no wise hurt Me.

21. "Deliver My soul from the sword." "Deliver My soul" from the tongue of dissension. "And My only One from the hand of the dog" (ver. 20). And from the power of the people, barking after their custom, deliver My Church.

22. "Save Me from the lion's mouth:" save Me from the mouth of the kingdom of this world: "and my humility from the horns of the unicorns "[6] (ver. 21). And from the loftiness of the proud, exalting themselves to special pre-eminence, and enduring no partakers, save My humility.

23. "I will declare Thy name to My brethren"[7] (ver. 22). I will declare Thy name to the humble,[8] and to My Brethren that love one another as they have been beloved by Me.[9] "In the midst of the Church will I sing of Thee." In the midst of the Church will I with rejoicing preach Thee.

24. "Ye that fear the Lord, praise Him." "Ye that fear the Lord," seek not your own praise, but "praise Him." "All ye seed of Jacob, magnify Him" (ver. 23). All ye seed of him whom the elder shall serve, magnify Him.

25. "Let all the seed of Israel fear Him." Let all who have been born to a new life, and restored to the vision of God "fear Him." "Since He hath not despised, nor disregarded the prayer of the poor man" (ver. 24). Since He hath not despised the prayer, not of him who, crying unto God in the words of sins was loath to overpass a vain life, but the prayer of the poor man, not swollen up with transitory pomps. "Nor hath He turned away His face from Me." As from him who said, I will cry unto Thee, but Thou wilt not hear. "And when I cried unto Him He heard Me."

26. "With Thee is My praise" (ver. 25). For I seek not Mine own praise,[1] for Thou art My praise, who dwellest in the holy place; and, praise of Israel, Thou hearest The Holy One now beseeching Thee. "In the great Church I will confess Thee." In the Church of the whole world" I will confess Thee." "I will offer My vows in the sight of them that fear Him." I will offer the sacraments of My Body and Blood in the sight of them that fear Him.

27. "The poor shall eat, and be filled" (ver. 26). The humble and the despisers of the world shall eat, and imitate Me. For so they will neither desire this world's abundance, nor fear its want. "And they shall praise the Lord, who seek Him." For the praise of the Lord is the pouring out of that fulness. "Their hearts shall live for ever and ever." For that food is the food of the heart.

28. "All the borders of the earth shall remember themselves, and be turned to the Lord" (ver. 27). They shall remember themselves: for, by the Gentiles, born in death and bent on outward things, God had been forgotten; and then shall all the borders of the earth be turned to the Lord. "And all the kindreds of the nations shall worship in His sight." And all the kindreds of the nations shall worship in their own consciences.

29. "For the kingdom is the Lord's, and He shall rule over the nations" (ver. 28). For the kingdom is the Lord's, not proud men's: and He shall rule over the nations.

30. "All the rich of the earth have eaten, and worshipped" 2 (ver. 29). The rich of the earth too have eaten the Body of their Lord's humiliation, and though they have not, as the poor, been filled even to imitation, yet they have worshipped. "In His sight shall fall all that descend to earth." For He alone seeth how all they fall, who abandoning a heavenly conversation, make choice, on earth, to appear happy to men, who see not their fall.

31. "And My Soul shall live to Him." And My Soul, which in the contempt of this world seems to men as it were to die, shall live, not to itself, but to Him. "And My seed shall serve Him" (ver. 30). And My deeds, or they who through Me believe on Him, shall serve Him.

32. "The generation to come shall be declared to the Lord" (ver. 31). The generation of the New Testament shall be declared to the honour of the Lord. "And the heavens shall declare His righteousness." And the Evangelists shall declare His righteousness. "To a people that shall be born, whom the Lord hath made." To a people that shall be born to the Lord through faith.



PSALM 23

A PSALM OF DAVID HIMSELF.

1. The Church speaks to Christ: "The Lord feedeth me, and I shall lack nothing" (ver. 1 ). The Lord Jesus Christ is my Shepherd, "and I shall lack nothing."

2. "In a place of pasture there hath He placed me" (ver. 2). In a place of fresh pasture, leading me to faith,[4] there hath He placed me to be nourished. "By the water of refreshing hath He brought me up." By the water of baptism, whereby they are refreshed who have lost health and strength, hath He brought me up.

3. "He hath converted my soul: He hath led me forth in the paths of righteousness, for His Name's sake" (ver. 3). He hath brought me forth in the narrow ways, wherein few walk, of His righteousness; not for my merit's sake, but for His Name's sake.

4. "Yea, though I walk in the midst of the shadow of death" (ver. 4). Yea, though I walk in the midst of this life, which is the shadow of death.[5] "I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me." I will fear no evil, for Thou dwellest in my heart by faith: and Thou art now with me, that after the shadow of death I too may be with Thee. "Thy rod and Thy staff, they have comforted me." Thy discipline, like a rod for a flock of sheep, and like a staff for children of some size, and growing out of the natural into spiritual life, they have not been grievous to me; rather have they comforted me: because Thou art mindful of me.

5. "Thou hast prepared a table in my sight, against them that trouble me" (ver. 5). Now after the rod, whereby, whilst a little one, and living the natural life, I was brought up among the flock in the pastures; after that rod, I say, when I began to be under the staff, Thou hast prepared a table in my sight, that I should no more be fed as a babe with milk,[6] but being older should take meat, strengthened against them that trouble me. "Thou hast fattened my head with oil." Thou hast gladdened my mind with spiritual joy. "And Thy inebriating cup, how excellent is it!" And Thy cup yielding forgetfulness of former vain delights, how excellent is it!

6. "And Thy mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:" that is, as long as I live in this mortal life, not Thine, but mine. "That I may dwell in the house of the Lord' for length of days" (ver. 6). Now Thy mercy shall follow me not here only, but also that I may dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.



PSALM 24

A PSALM OF DAVID HIMSELF, ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK.[3]

1. A Psalm of David himself, touching the glorifying and resurrection of the Lord, which took place catty in the morning on the first day of the week, which is now called the Lord's Day.

2. "The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof, the compass of the world, and all they that dwell therein" (ver. 1); when the Lord, being glorified, is announced for the believing of all nations; and the whole compass of the world becomes His Church. "He hath founded it above the seas." He hath most firmly established it above all the waves of this world, that they should be subdued by it, and should not hurt it. "And hath prepared it above the rivers" (ver. 2). The rivers flow into the sea, and men of lust lapse into the world: these also the Church, which, when worldly lusts have been conquered by the grace of God, hath been prepared by love for the reception of immortality, subdues.

3. "Who shall ascend into the mount of the Lord?" Who shall ascend to the height of the righteousness of the Lord? "Or who shall stand in His holy place?" (ver. 3). Or who shall abide in that place, whither He shall ascend,[4] founded above the seas, and prepared above the rivers?

4. "The innocent of hand, and the pure in heart" (ver. 4). Who then shall ascend thither, and abide there, but the guiltless in deed, and pure in thought? "Who hath not received his soul in vain." Who hath not reckoned his soul among things that pass away, but feeling it to be immortal, hath longed for an eternity stedfast and unchangeable. "And hath not sworn in deceit to his neighbour." And therefore without deceit, as things eternal are simple and undeceiving, hath so behaved himself to his neighbour.

5. "This man shall receive blessing from the Lord, and mercy from the God of his salvation"[5]

(ver. 5 )

6. "This is the generation of them that seek the Lord" (ver. 6). For thus are they born that seek Him. "Of them that seek the face of the God of Jacob.[6] Diapsalma." Now they seek the face of God, who gave the pre-eminence to the younger born.[7]

7. "'Fake away your gates, ye princes" (ver. 7). All ye, that seek rule among men, remove, that they hinder not, the entrances which ye have made, of desire and fear. "And be ye lift up, ye everlasting gates." And be ye lift up, ye entrances of eternal life, of renunciation of the world, and conversion to God. "And the King of glory shall come in." And the King, in whom we may glory without pride, shall come in: who having overcome the gates of death, and having opened for Himself the heavenly places, fulfilled that which He said, "Be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world."[8]

8. "Who is this King of glory?" Mortal nature is awe-struck in wonder, and asks, "Who is this King of glory? " The Lord strong and mighty." He whom thou didst deem weak and overwhelmed. "The Lord mighty in battle" (ver. 8). Handle the scars, and thou wilt find them made whole, and human weakness restored to immortality. The glorifying of the Lord, which was owing to earth, where It warred with death, hath been paid.

9. "Take away your gates, ye princes."[9] Let us go hence straightway into heaven. Again, let the Prophet's trumpet cry aloud, "Take away too, ye princes of the air, the gates, which ye have in the minds of men who `worship the host of heaven.'"[10] "And be ye lift up, ye everlasting gates." And be ye lift up, ye doors of everlasting righteousness, of love, and chastity, through which the soul loveth the One True God, and goeth not a-whoring with the many that are called gods. "And the King of glory shall come in" (ver. 9). "And the King of glory shall come in," that He may at the right hand of the Father intercede for us.

10. "Who is this King of glory?" What! dost thou too, prince of the power of this air,[11] marvel and ask, "Who is this King of glory ?" "The Lord of powers, He is the King of glory" (ver. 10). Yea, His Body now quickened, He who was tempted marches above thee; He who was tempted by the angel, the deceiver, goes above all angels. Let none of you put himself before us and stop our way, that he may be worshipped as a god by us: neither principality, nor angel, nor power, separateth us from the love of Christ.'[12] It is good to trust in the Lord, rather than to trust in a prince;[13] that he who glorieth, should glory in the Lord.[13] These indeed are powers in the administration of this world, but "the Lord of powers, He is the King of glory."



PSALM 25

TO THE END, A PSALM OF DAVID HIMSELF. [2]

1. Christ speaks, but in the person of the Church: for what is said has reference rather to the Christian People turned unto God.

2. "Unto Thee, O Lord, have I lift up my soul" (ver. 1) : with spiritual longing have I lift up the soul, that was trodden down on the earth with carnal longings. "O my God, in Thee I trust, I shall not be ashamed" (ver. 2). O my God, from trusting in myself I was brought even to this weakness of the flesh; and I who on abandoning God wished to be as God, fearing death from the smallest insect, was in derision ashamed for my pride ; now, therefore, "in Thee I trust, I shall not be ashamed."

3. "And let not my enemies mock me." And let them not mock me, who by ensnaring me with serpent-like and secret suggestions, and prompting me with "Well done, well done," have brought me down to this. "For all that wait upon Thee shall not be confounded" (ver. 3).

4. "Let them be confounded who do vain things unrighteously." Let them be confounded who act unrighteously for the acquiring things that pass away. "Make Thy ways, O Lord, known to me, and teach me Thy paths" (ver. 4): not those which are broad, and lead the many to destruction;[3] but Thy paths, narrow, and known to few, teach Thou me.

5. "In Thy truth guide me:" avoiding error. "And teach me:" for by myself I know nothing, but falsehood. "For Thou art the God of my salvation; and for Thee have I waited all the day" (ver. 5). For dismissed by Thee from Paradise, and having taken my journey into a far country? I cannot by myself return, unless Thou meetest the wanderer: for my return hath throughout the whole tract of this world's time waited for Thy mercy.

6. "Remember Thy compassions, O Lord" (ver. 6). Remember the works of Thy mercy, O Lord; for men deem of Thee as though Thou hadst forgotten. "And that Thy mercies are from eternity." And remember this, that Thy mercies are from eternity. For Thou never wast without them, who hast subjected even sinful man to vanity indeed, but in hope;[5] and not deprived him of so many and great consolations of Thy creation.

7. "Remember not the offences of my youth and of my ignorance" (ver. 7). The offences of my presumptuous boldness and of my ignorance reserve not for vengeance, but let them be as if forgotten by Thee. "According to Thy mercy, be mindful of me, O God." Be mindful indeed of me, not according to the anger of which I am worthy, but according to Thy mercy which is worthy of Thee. "For Thy goodness, O Lord." Not for my deservings, but for Thy goodness, O Lord.

8. "Gracious and upright is the Lord" (ver. 8). The Lord is gracious, since even sinners and the ungodly He so pitied, as to forgive all that is past; but the Lord is upright too, who after the mercy of vocation and pardon, which is of grace without merit, will require merits meet for the last judgment. "Wherefore He will establish a law for them that fail in the way." For He hath first bestowed mercy to bring them into the way.

9. "He will guide the meek in judgment." He will guide the meek, and will not confound in the judgment those that follow His will, and do not, in withstanding It, prefer their own. "The gentle He will teach His ways" (ver. 9). He will teach His ways, not to those that desire to run before, as if they were better able to rule themselves;but to those who do not exalt the neck, nor lift the heel, when the easy yoke and the light burden is laid upon them. [6]

10. "All the ways of the Lord are mercy and truth" (ver. 10). And what ways will He teach them, but mercy wherein He is placable, and truth wherein He is incorrupt? Whereof He hath exhibited the one in forgiving sins, the other in judging deserts. And therefore "all the ways of the Lord" are the two advents of the Son of God, the one in mercy, the other in judgment. He then attaineth unto Him holding on His ways, who seeing himself freed by no deserts of his own, lays pride aside, and henceforward bewares of the severity of His trial, having experienced the clemency of His help. "To them that seek His testament and His testimonies." For they understand the Lord as merciful at His first advent, and as the Judge at His second, who in meekness and gentleness seek His testament, when with His Own Blood He redeemed us to a new life; and in the Prophets and Evangelists, His testimonies.

11. "For Thy Name's sake, O Lord, Thou wilt be favourable to my sin; for it is manifold" (ver. 11 ). Thou hast not only forgiven my sins, which I committed before I believed; but also to my sin, which is manifold, since even in the way there is no lack of stumbling, Thou wilt be made favourable by the sacrifice of a troubled spirit.[7]

12. "Who is the man that feareth the Lord?" from which fear he begins to come to wisdom. "He shall establish a law for him in the way, which he hath chosen" (ver. 12). He shall establish a law for him in the way, which in his freedom he has taken, that he may not sin now with impunity.

13. "His soul shall dwell in good, and his seed shall, by inheritance, possess the earth "(ver. 13). And his work shall possess the stable inheritance of a renewed body.

14. "The Lord is the stay of them that fear Him" (ver. 14). Fear seems to belong to the weak, but the Lord is the stay of them that fear Him. And the Name of the Lord, which hath been glorified throughout the whole world, is a stay to them that fear Him. "And His testament, that it may be manifested unto them." And He maketh His testament to be manifested unto them, for the Gentiles and the bounds of the earth are Christ's inheritance.

15. "Mine eyes are ever unto the Lord; for He shall pluck my feet out of the snare" (ver. 15). Nor would I fear the dangers of earth, while I look not upon the earth: for He upon whom Look, will pluck my feet out of the snare.

16. "Look upon me, and have mercy upon me; for I am single and poor" (ver. 16). For I am a single people, keeping the lowliness of Thy single Church, which no schisms or heresies possess.

17. "The tribulations of my heart have been multiplied" (ver. 17). The tribulations of my heart have been multiplied by the abounding of iniquity and the waxing cold of love.[1] "O bring Thou me out of my necessities." Since I must needs bear this, that by enduring unto the end I may be saved, bring Thou me out of my necessities.

18. "See my humility and my travail" (ver. 18). See my humility, whereby I never, in the boast of righteousness, break off from unity; and my travail, wherein I bear with the unruly ones that are mingled with me. "And forgive all my sins." And, propitiated by these sacrifices, forgive all my sins, not those only of youth and my ignorance before I believed, but those also which, living now by faith, I commit through infirmity, or the darkness of this life.

19. "Consider mine enemies, how they are multiplied" (ver. 19). For not only without, but even within, in the Church's very communion, they are not wanting. "And with an unrighteous hate they hate me." And they hate me who love them.

20. "Keep my soul, and deliver me." Keep my soul, that I turn not aside to imitate them; and draw me out from the confusion wherein they are mingled with me. "Let me not be confounded, for I have put my trust in Thee" (ver. 20). Let me not be confounded, if haply they rise up against me: for not in myself, but in Thee have I put my trust.

21. "The innocent and the upright have cleaved to me, for I have waited for Thee, O Lord" (ver. 21). The innocent and the upright, not in bodily presence only, as the evil, are mingled with me, but in the agreement of the heart in the same innocence and uprightness cleave to me: for I have not fallen away to imitate the evil; but I have waited for Thee, expecting the winnowing of Thy last harvest.[2]

22. "Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles" (ver. 22). "Redeem Thy people, O God," whom Thou hast prepared to see Thee, out of his troubles, not those only which he bears without, but those also which he bears within.



PSALM 26

OF DAVID HIMSELF.

1. It may be attributed to David himself, not the Mediator, the Man Christ Jesus, but the whole Church now perfectly established in Christ.

2. "Judge me, O Lord, for I have walked in my innocence" (ver. 1). Judge me, O Lord, for, after the mercy which Thou first showedst[4] me, I have some desert of my innocence, the way whereof I have kept. "And trusting in the Lord I shall not be moved." And yet not even so trusting in myself, but in the Lord, I shall abide in Him.

3. "Prove me, O Lord, and try me" (ver. 2). Lest, however, any of my secret sins should be hid from me, prove me, O Lord, and try me, making me known, not to Thee from whom nothing is hid, but to myself, and to men. "Burn my reins and my heart." Apply a remedial purgation, as it were fire, to my pleasures and thoughts. "For Thy mercy is before mine eyes" (ver. 3). For, that I be not consumed by that fire, not my merits, but Thy mercy, whereby Thou hast brought me on to such a life, is before my eyes. "And I have been pleasing in Thy truth." And since my own falsehood hath been displeasing to me, but Thy truth pleasing, I have myself been pleasing also with it and in it.

4. "I have not sat with the council of vanity" (ver. 4). I have not chosen to give my heart to them who endeavour to provide, what is impossible, how they may be blessed in the enjoyment of things transitory. "And I will not enter in with them that work wickedly." And since this is the very cause of all wickedness, therefore I will not have my conscience hid, with them that work wickedly.

5. "I have hated the congregation of evil doers." But to arrive at this council of vanity, congregations of evil doers are formed, which I have hated. "And I will not sit with the ungodly" (ver. 5). And, therefore, with such a council, with the ungodly, I will not sit, that is, I will not place my consent.[1] "And I will not sit with the ungodly."

6. "I will wash mine hands amid the innocent" (ver. 6). I will make clean my works among the innocent: among the innocent will I wash mine hands, with which I shall embrace Thy glorious gifts.[2] "And I will compass Thy altar, O Lord."[3]

7. "That I may hear the voice of Thy praise." That I may learn how to praise Thee. "And that I may declare all Thy wondrous works" (ver. 7). And after I have learnt, I may set forth all Thy wondrous works.

8. "O Lord, I have loved the beauty of Thy house:" of Thy Church. "And the place of the habitation of Thy glory" (ver. 8): where Thou dwellest, and art glorified.

9. "Destroy not my soul with the ungodly" (ver. 9). Destroy not then, together with them that hate Thee, my soul, which hath loved the beauty of Thy house. "And my life with the men of blood." And with them that hate their neighbour. For Thy house is beautified with the two commandments.[4]

10. "In whose hands is wickedness." Destroy me not then with the ungodly and the men of blood, whose works are wicked. "Their right hand is full of gifts" (ver. 10). And that which was given them to obtain eternal salvation, they have converted into the receiving this world's gifts, "supposing that godliness is a trade."[5]

11. "But I have walked in mine innocence: deliver me, and have mercy on me" (ver. 11). Let so great a price of my Lord's Blood avail for my complete deliverance: and in the dangers of this life let not Thy mercy leave me.

12. "My foot hath stood in uprightness." My Love hath not withdrawn from Thy righteousness. "In the Churches I will bless Thee, O Lord" (ver. 12). I will not hide Thy blessing, O Lord, from those whom Thou hast called; for next to the love of Thee I join the love of my neighbour.



PSALM 27

OF DAVID HIMSELF, BEFORE HE WAS ANOINTED.[7]

1. Christ's young soldier speaketh, on his coming to the faith. "The Lord is my light, and my salvation: whom shall I fear?" (ver. 1). The Lord will give me both knowledge of Himself, and salvation: who shall take me from Him? "The Lord is the Protector of my life: of whom shall I be afraid?" The Lord will repel all the assaults and snares of mine enemy: of no man shall I be afraid.

2. "Whilst the guilty approach unto me to eat up my flesh" (ver. 2). Whilst the guilty come near to recognise and insult me, that they may exalt themselves above me in my change for the better; that with their reviling tooth they may consume not me, but rather my fleshly desires. "Mine enemies who trouble me." Not they only who trouble me, blaming me with a friendly intent, and wishing to recall me from my purpose, but mine enemies also. "They became weak, and fell."[8] Whilst then they do this with the desire of defending their own opinion, they became weak to believe better things, and began to hate the word of salvation, whereby I do what displeases them.

3. "If camps stand together against me, my heart will not fear." But if the multitude of gain-sayers conspire to stand together against me, my heart will not fear, so as to go over to their side. "If war rise up against me, in this will I trust" (ver. 3). If the persecution of this world arise against me, in this petition, which I am pondering, will I place my hope.

4. "One have I asked of the Lord, this will I require." For one petition have I asked the Lord, this will I require. "That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life" (ver. 4). That as long as I am in this life, no adversities may exclude me from the number of them who hold the unity and the truth of the Lord's faith throughout the world. "That I may contemplate the delight of the Lord." With this end, namely, that persevering in the faith, the delightsome vision may appear to me, which I may contemplate face to face. "And I shall be protected, His temple." And death being swallowed up in victory, I shall be clothed with immortality, being made His temple.[9]

5. "For He hath hidden me in His tabernacle in the day of my evils" (ver. 5). For He hath hidden me in the dispensation of His Incarnate Word in the time of temptations, to which my mortal life is exposed. "He hath protected me in the secret place of His tabernacle." He hath protected me, with the heart believing unto righteousness.

6. "On a rock hath He exalted me." And that what I believed might be made manifest for salvation, He hath made my confession to be conspicuous in His own strength. "And now, lo ! He hath exalted mine head above mine enemies" (ver. 6). What doth He reserve for me at the last, when even now the body is dead because of sin, lo! I feel that my mind serves the law of God, and is not led captive under the rebellious law of sin ? "I have gone about, and have sacrificed in His tabernacle the sacrifice of rejoicing." I have considered the circuit of the world, believing on Christ; and in that for us God was humbled in time, I have praised Him with rejoicing: for with such sacrifice He is well pleased. "I will sing and give praises to the Lord." In heart and in deed I will be glad in the Lord.

7. "Hear my voice, O Lord, wherewith I have cried unto Thee" (ver. 7). Hear, Lord, my interior voice, which with a strong intention I have addressed to Thy ears. "Have mercy upon me, and hear me." Have mercy upon me, and hear me therein.

8. "My heart hath said to Thee, I have sought Thy countenance" (ver. 8). For I have not exhibited myself to men; but in secret, where Thou alone hearest, my heart hath said to Thee; I have not sought from Thee aught without Thee as a reward, but Thy countenance. "Thy countenance, O Lord, will I seek." In thus search will I perseveringly persist: for not aught that is common, but Thy countenance, O Lord, will I seek, that I may love Thee freely, since nothing more precious do I find.

9. "Turn not away Thy face from me" (ver. 9 ): that I may find what I seek. "Turn not aside in anger from Thy servant:" lest, while seeking Thee, I fall in with somewhat else. For what is more grevous than this punishment to one who loveth and seeketh the truth of Thy countenance ? "Be Thou my Helper." How shall I find it, if Thou help me not? "Leave me not, neither despise me, O God my Saviour." Scorn not that a mortal dares to seek the Eternal for Thou, God dost heal the wound of my sin.

10. "For my father and my mother have left me" (ver. 10). For the kingdom of this world and the city of this world, of which I was born in time and mortality, have left me seeking Thee, and despising what they promised, since they could not give what I seek. "But the Lord took me up." But the Lord, who can give me Himself, took me up.

11. "Appoint me a law, O Lord, in Thy way" (ver. 11). For me then who am setting out toward Thee, and commenting so great a profession, of arriving at wisdom, from fear, appoint, O Lord, a law in Thy way, lest in my wandering Thy rule abandon me. "And direct me in the right path because of mine enemies." And direct me in the right way of its straits.For it is not enough to begin, since enemies cease not until the end is attained.

12. "Deliver me not up unto the souls of them that trouble me" (ver. 12). Suffer not them that trouble me to be satiated with my evils. "For unrighteous witnesses have risen up against me." For there have risen up against me they that speak falsely of me, to remove and call me back from Thee, as if I seek glory of men. "And iniquity hath lied unto itself." Therefore iniquity hath been pleased with its own lie. For me it hath not moved, to whom because of this there hath been promised a greater reward in heaven.

13. "I believe to see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living" (ver. 13). And since my Lord hath first suffered these things, if I too despise the tongues of the dying ("for the mouth that lieth slayeth the soul"[1]), I believe to see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living, where there is no place for falsity.

14. "Wait on the Lord, quit thyself like a man: and let thy heart be strong, yea wait on the Lord" (ver. 14). But when shall this be? It is arduous for a mortal, it is flow to a lover: but listen to the voice, that deceiveth not, of him that saith, "Wait on the Lord." Endure the burning of the reins manfully, and the burning of the heart stoutly. Think not that what thou dost not as yet receive is denied thee. That thou faint not in despair, see how it is said, "Wait on the Lord."[2]



PSALM 28

OF DAVID HIMSELF.

1. It is the Voice of the Mediator Himself, strong of hand in the conflict of the Passion. Now what He seems to wish for against His enemies, is not the wish of malevolence, but the declaration of their punishment; as in the Gospel,[4] with the dries, in which though He had performed miracles, yet they had not beloved on Him, He doth not wish in any evil will what He sixth, but predicteth what is impending over them.

2. "Unto Thee, O Lord, have I cried;[5] My God, be not silent from me" (ver. 1). Unto Thee, O Lord, have I cried; My God, separate not the unity of Thy Word from that which as Man I am. "Lest at any time Thou be silent form me: and I shall be like them that go down into the pit." For from this, that the Eternity of Thy Word ceaseth not to unite Itself to Me, it comes that I am not such a man as the rest of men, who are born into the deep misery of this world: where, as if Thou art silent, Thy Word is not recognised. "Hear, O Lord, the voice of my supplication, whist I pray unto Thee, whilst I hold up my hands to Thy holy temple "(ver. 2). Whilst I am crucified for their salvation, who on believing become Thy holy temple.

3. "Draw not My Soul away with sinners, and destroy me not with them that work iniquity, with them that speak peace with their neighbours" (ver. 3). With them that say unto Me, "We know that Thou art a Master come from God."[1] "But evil in their hearts." But they speak evil in their hearts.

4. "Give unto them according to their works" (ver. 4). Give unto them according to their works, for this is just. "And according to the malice of their affections."[2] For aiming at evil, they cannot discover good. "According to the works of their hands give Thou unto them." Although what they have done may avail for salvation to others, yet give Thou unto them according to the works of their wills. "Pay them their recompense." Because, for the truth which they heard, they wished to recompense deceit; let their won deceit deceive them.

5. "For they have not had understanding in the works of the Lord" (ver. 5 ). And whence is it clear that this hath befallen them? From this forsooth, "for they have not had understanding in the works of the Lord." This very thing, in truth, hath been, even now, their recompense, that in Him whom they tempted with malicious intent as a Man, they should not recognise God, with what design the Father sent Him in the Flesh. "And the works of His hands." Nor be moved by those visible works, which are laid out before their very eyes. "Thou shalt destroy them, and not build them up." Let them do Me no hurt, nay, nor again in their endeavour to raise engines against My Church, let them aught avail.

6. "Blessed be the Lord, for He hath heard the voice of My prayer" (ver. 6).

7. "The Lord My Helper and My Protector" (ver. 7). The Lord helping Me in so great sufferings, and protecting Me with immortality in My resurrection. "In Him hath My Heart trusted, and I have been helped." " And My Flesh hath flourished again:" that is, and My Flesh hath risen again. "And of my will I will confess unto Him." Wherefore, the fear of death being now destroyed, not by the necessity of fear under the Law, but with a free will with the Law, shall they who believe on Me, confess unto Him; and because I am in them, I will confess.

8. " The Lord is the strength of His people" (ver. 8). Not that people "ignorant of the righteousness of God, and willing to establish their own."[3] For they thought not themselves strong in themselves: for the Lord is the strength of His people, struggling in this life's difficulties with the devil. "And the protector of the salvation of His Christ." That, having saved them by His Christ after the strength of war, He may protect them at the last with the immortality of peace.

9. "Save Thy people, and bless Thine inheritance (ver. 9). I intercede therefore, after My Mesh hath flourished again, because Thou hast said, "Desire of Me, and I will give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance;"[4] " Save Thy people, and bless Thine inheritance:" for "all Mine are Thine."[5] "And rule them, and set them up even for even" And rule them in this temporal life, and raise them from hence into life eternal.



PSALM 29

A PSALM OF DAVID HIMSELF, OF THE CONSUMMATION OF THE TABERNACLE.

1. A Psalm of the Mediator Himself, strong of hand, of the perfection of the Church in this world, where she wars in time against the devil.

2. The Prophet speaks, "Bring unto the Lord, O ye Sons of God, bring unto the Lord the young of rams" (ver. 1). Bring unto the Lord yourselves, whom the Apostles, the leaders of the flocks, have begotten by the Gospel.(7) "Bring unto the Lord glory and honour" (ver. 2). By your works let the Lord be glorified and honoured. "Bring unto the Lord glory to His name." Let Him be made known gloriously throughout the world. "Worship the Lord in His holy court." Worship the Lord in your heart enlarged and sanctified. For ye are His regal holy habitation

3. "The Voice of the Lord is upon the waters" (ver. 3). The Voice of Christ is upon the people. "The God of majesty hath thundered. "The God of majesty, from the cloud of the flesh, hath awfully preached repentance. The Lord is upon many waters." The Lord Jesus Himself, after that He sent forth His Voice upon the people, and so.

4. "The Voice of the Lord is in power" (ver. 4). The Voice of the Lord now in them themselves, making them powerful. "The Voice of the Lord is in great might." The Voice of the Lord working great things in them.

5. "The Voice of the Lord breaking the cedars" (ver. 5). The Voice of the Lord humbling the proud in brokenness of heart. "The Lord shall break the cedars of Libanus." The Lord by repentance shall break them that are lifted on high by the splendour of earthly nobility, when to confound them He shall have "chosen the base things of this world,"[1] in the which to display His Divinity.

6. "And shall bruise them as the calf of Libanus" (ver. 6). And when their proud exaltation hath been cut off, He will lay them low after the imitation of His Own humility, who like a calf was led to slaughter[2] by the nobility of this world. "For the kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers agreed together against the Lord, and against His Christ."[3] "And the Beloved is as the young of the unicorns." For even He the Beloved, and the Only One of the Father, "emptied Himself" of His glory; and was made man,[4] like a child of the Jews, that were "ignorant of God's righteousness,"[5] and proudly boasting of their own righteousness as peculiarly theirs.

7. "The Voice of the Lord cutting short the flame of fire" (ver. 7). The Voice of the Lord, without any harm to Himself, passing through all the excited ardour of them that persecute Him, or dividing the furious rage of His persecutors, so that some should say, "Is not this haply the very Christ;" others, "Nay; but He deceiveth the people:"[6] and so cutting short their mad tumult, as to pass some over into His love, and leave others in their malice.

8. "The Voice of the Lord moving the wilderness" (ver. 8). The Voice of the Lord moving to the faith the Gentiles once "without hope, and without God in the world;"[7] where no prophet, no preacher of God's word, as it were, no man had dwelt. "And the Lord will move the desert of Cades." And then the Lord will cause the holy word of His Scriptures to be fully known, which was abandoned by the Jews who understood it not.

9. "The Voice of the Lord perfecting the stags"[8] (ver. 9). For the Voice of the Lord hath first perfected them that overcame and repelled the envonomed tongues.[9] "And will reveal the woods."And then will He reveal to them the darknesses of the Divine books, and the shadowy depths of the mysteries, where they feed with freedom. "And in His temple doth every man speak of His glory." And in His Church all born again to an eternal hope praise God, each for His own gift, which He hath received from the Holy Spirit.

10. "The Lord inhabiteth the deluge" (ver. 10). The Lord therefore first inhabiteth the deluge of this world in His Saints,, kept safely in the Church, as in the ark. "And the Lord shall sit a King for ever." And afterward He will sit reigning in them for ever.

11. "The Lord will give strength to His people"(10) (ver. 11). For the Lord will give strength to His people fighting against the storms and whirlwinds of this world, for peace in this world He hath not promised them.[11] "The Lord will bless His people in peace." And the same Lord will bless His people, affording them peace in Himself; for, saith He, "My peace I give unto you, My peace I leave with you."[12]



PSALM 30

TO THE END, THE PSALM OF THE CANTICLE[14] OF THE DEDICATION OF THE HOUSE, OF DAVID HIMSELF.

1. To the end, a Psalm of the joy of the Resurrection, and the change, the renewing of the body to an immortal state, and not only of the Lord, but also of the whole Church. For in the former Psalm the tabernacle was finished, wherein we dwell in the time of war: but now the house is dedicated, which will abide in peace everlasting.

2. It is then whole Christ who speaketh. "I will exalt Thee, O Lord, for Thou hast taken Me up" (ver. 1). I will praise Thy high Majesty, O Lord, for Thou hast taken Me up. "Thou hast not made Mine enemies to rejoice over Me." And those, who have so often endeavoured to oppress Me with various persecutions throughout the world, Thou hast not made to rejoice over Me.

3. "O Lord, My God, I have cried unto Thee, and Thou hast healed Me (ver. 2). O Lord, My God, I have cried unto Thee, and I no longer hear about a body enfeebled and sick by mortality.

4. "O Lord, Thou hast brought back My Soul from hell, and Thou hast saved Me from them that go down into the pit" (ver. 3). Thou hast saved Me from the condition of profound darkness, and the lowest slough of corruptible flesh.

5. "Sing to the Lord, O ye saints of His." The prophet seeing these future things, rejoiceth, and saith, "Sing to the Lord, O ye saints of His. And make confession of the remembrance of His holiness" (ver. 4). And make confession to Him, that He hath not forgotten the sanctification, wherewith He hath sanctified you, although all this intermediate period belong to your desires.

6. "For in His indignation is wrath" (ver. 5). For He hath avenged against you the first sin, for which you have paid by death. "And life in His will." And life eternal, whereunto you could not return by any strength of your own, hath He given, because He so would. "In the evening weeping will tarry." Evening began, when the light of wisdom withdrew from sinful man, when he was condemned to death: from this evening weeping will tarry, as long as God's people are, amid labours and temptations, awaiting the day of the Lord. "And exultation in the morning." Even to the morning, when there will be the exultation of the resurrection, which hath shone forth by anticipation in the morning resurrection of the Lord.

7. "But I said in my abundance, I shall not be moved for ever" (ver. 6). But I, that people which was speaking from the first, said in mine abundance, suffering now no more any want, "I shall not be moved for ever."

8. "O Lord, in Thy will Thou hast afforded strength unto my beauty" (ver. 7). But that this my abundance, O Lord, is not of myself, but that in Thy will Thou hast afforded strength unto my beauty, I have learnt from this, "Thou turnedst away Thy Face from me, and I became troubled;" for Thou hast sometimes turned away Thy Face from the sinner, and I became troubled, when the illumination of Thy knowledge withdrew from me.

9. "Unto Thee, O Lord, will I cry, and unto my God will I pray" (ver. 8). And bringing to mind that time of my trouble and misery, and as it were established therein, I hear the voice of Thy Firs-Begotten, my Head, about to die for me, and saying "Unto Thee, O Lord, will I cry, and unto My God will I pray."

10. "What profit" is there in the shedding of My blood, whilst I go down to corruption? "Shall dust confess unto Thee?" For if I shall not rise immediately, and My body shall become corrupt, "shall dust confess unto Thee?" that is, the crowd of the ungodly, whom I shall justify by My resurrection? "Or declare Thy truth?" Or for the salvation of the rest declare Thy truth?

11. "The Lord hath heard, and had mercy on Me, the Lord hath become My helper." Nor did "He suffer His holy One to see corruption "[1] (ver. 10).

12. "Thou hast turned My mourning into joy to Me" (ver. 11). Whom I, the Church, having received, the First-Begotten from the dead,[2] now in the dedication of Thine house, say, "Thou hast turned my mourning into joy to me. Thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness." Thou hast torn off the veil of my sins, the sadness of my mortality; and hast girded me with the first robe, with immortal gladness.

13. "That my glory should sing unto Thee, and I should not be pricked" (ver. 12). That now, not my humiliation, but my glory should not lament, but should sing unto Thee, for that now out of humiliation Thou hast exalted me; and that I should not be pricked with the consciousness of sin, with the fear of death, with the fear of judgment. "O Lord, my God, I will confess unto Thee for ever." And this is my glory, O Lord, my God, that I should confess unto Thee for ever, that I have nothing of myself, but that all my good is of Thee, who art "God, All in all."[3]



PSALM 31

TO THE END, A PSALM OF DAVID HIMSELF, AN ECSTASY.[5]

1. To the end a Psalm of David Himself, the Mediator strong of hand in persecutions. For the word ecstasy, which is added to the title, signifies a transport of the mind, which is produced either by a panic, or by some revelation. But in this Psalm the panic of the people of God troubled by the persecution of all the heathen, and by the failing of faith throughout the world, is principally seen. But first the Mediator Himself speaks: then the People redeemed by His Blood gives thanks: at last in trouble it speaks at length, which is what belongs to the ecstasy; but the Person of the Prophet himself is twice interposed, near the end, and at the end.

2. "In Thee, O Lord, have I trusted, let Me not be put to confusion for ever" (ver. 1). In Thee, O Lord, have I trusted, let Me never be confounded, whilst they shall insult Me as one like other men. "In Thy righteousness rescue Me, and deliver Me." And in Thy righteousness rescue Me from the pit of death, and deliver Me out of their company.

3. "Bend down Thine ear unto Me" (ver. 2). Hear Me in My humiliation, nigh at hand unto Me. "Make haste to deliver Me." Defer not to the end of the world, as with all who believe on Me, My separation from sinners. "Be unto Me a God who protecteth Me." Be unto Me God, and Protector. "And a house of refuge, that Thou mayest save Me." And as a house, wherein taking refuge I may be saved.

4. "For Thou art My strength, and My refuge" (ver. 3). For Thou art unto Me My strength to bear My persecutors, and My refuge to escape them. "And for Thy Name's sake Thou shalt be My guide, and shalt nourish Me." And that by Me Thou mayest be known to all the Gentiles. I will in all things follow Thy will; and, by assembling, by degrees, Saints unto Me, Thou shall fulfil My body, and My perfect stature.

5. "Thou shalt bring Me out of this trap, which they have hidden for Me" (ver. 4). Thou shalt bring Me out of these snares, which they have hidden for Me. "For Thou art My Protector. "

6. "Into Thy hands I commend My Spirit" (ver. 5). To Thy power I commend My Spirit, soon to receive It back. "Thou hast redeemed Me, O Lord God of truth?" Let the people too, redeemed by the Passion of their Lord, and joyful in the glorifying of their Head, say, "Thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth."

7. "Thou hatest them that hold to vanity uselessly" (ver. 6). Thou hatest them that hold to the false happiness of the world. "But I have trusted in the Lord."

8. "I will be glad, and rejoice in Thy mercy:" which doth not deceive me. "For Thou hast regarded My humiliation:" wherein Thou hast subjected me to vanity in hope.[1] "Thou hast saved my soul from necessities" (ver. 7). Thou hast saved my soul from the necessities of fear, that with a free love it may serve Thee.

9. "And hast not shut me up into the hands of the enemy" (ver. 8). And hast not shut me up, that I should have no opening for recovering unto liberty, and be given over for ever into the power of the devil, ensnaring me with the desire of this life, and terrifying me with death. "Thou hast set my feet in a large room." The resurrection of my Lord being known, and mine own bring promised me, my love, having been brought out of the straits of fear, walks abroad in continuance, into the expanse of liberty.

10. "Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am troubled" (ver. 9). But what is this unlooked-for cruelty of the persecutors, striking such dread into me ? "Have mercy on me, O Lord ." For I am now no more alarmed for death, but for torments and tortures. "Mine eye hath been disordered by anger." I had mine eye upon Thee, that Thou shouldest not abandon me: Thou art angry, and hast disordered it. "My soul, and my belly." By the same anger my soul hath been disturbed, and my memory, whereby I retained what my God hath suffered for me, and what He hath promised me.

11. "For my life hath failed in pain" (ver 10). For my life is to confess Thee, but it failed in pain, when the enemy had said, Let them be tortured until they deny Him. "And my years in groanings." The time that I pass in this world is not taken away from me by death, but abides, and is spent in groanings. "My strength hath been weakened by want" I want the heath of this body, and racking pains come on me: I want the dissolution of the body, and death forbears to come: and in this want my confidence hath been weakened. "And my bones have been disturbed." And my stedfastness hath been disturbed.

12. "I have been made a reproach above all mine enemies" (ver 11). All the wicked are my enemies; and nevertheless they for their wickednesses are tortured only till they confess: I then have overpassed their reproach, I, whose confession death doth not follow, but racking pains follow upon it. "And to my neighbours too much." This hath seemed too much to them, who were already drawing near to know Thee, and to hold the faith that I hold. "And a fear to mine acquaintance." And into my very acquaintance I struck fear by the example of my dreadful tribulation. "They that did see me, fled without from me." Because they did not understand my inward and invisible hope, they fled from me into things outward and visible.

13. "I have been forgotten, as one dead from the heart" (ver. 12). And they have forgotten me, as if I were dead from their hearts. "I have become as a lost vessel." I have seemed to myself to be lost to all the Lord's service, living in this world, and gaining none, when all were afraid to join themselves unto me.

14. "For I have heard the rebuking of many dwelling by in a circuit" (ver. 13). For I have heard many rebuking me, in the pilgrimage of this world near me, following the circuit of time, and refusing to return with me to the eternal country. "Whilst they were assembling themselves together against me, they conspired that they might take my soul." That my soul, which should by death easily escape from their power, might consent unto them, they imagined a device, whereby they would not suffer me even to die.

15. "But I have hoped in Thee, O Lord; I have said, Thou art my God" (ver. 14). For Thou hast not changed, that Thou shouldest not save, Who dost correct

16. "In Thy hands" are "my lots" (ver. 15). In Thy power are my lots. For I see no desert for which out of the universal ungodliness of the human race Thou hast elected me particularly to salvation. And though there be with Thee some just and secret order in my election, yet I, from whom this is hid, have attained by lot unto my Lord's vesture.[2] "Deliver me from the hands of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me,"

17. "Make Thy Face to shine upon Thy servant" (ver. 16). Make it known to men, who do not think that I belong unto Thee, that Thy Face is bent upon me, and that I serve Thee. "Save me in Thy mercy."

18. "O Lord, let me not be confounded, for I have called upon Thee" (ver. 17). O Lord, let me not be put to shame by those who insult me, for that I have called upon Thee. "Let the ungodly be ashamed, and be brought down to hell." Let them rather who call upon stones be ashamed, and made to dwell with darkness.[1]

19. "Let the deceitful lips be made dumb" (ver. 18). In making known to the peoples Thy mysteries wrought in me, strike with dumb amazement the lips of them that invent falsehood of me. "Which speak iniquity against the Righteous, in pride and contempt." Which speak iniquity against Christ, in their pride and contempt of Him as a crucified man.

20. "How great" is "the multitude of Thy sweetness, O Lord" (ver. 19). Here the Prophet exclaims, having sight of all this, and admiring how manifoldly plenteous is Thy sweetness, O Lord. "Which Thou hast hid for them that fear Thee." Even those, whom Thou correctest, Thou lovest much: but lest they should go on negligently from relaxed security, Thou hidest from them the sweetness of Thy love, for whom it is profitable to fear Thee. "Thou hast perfected it for them that hope in Thee." But Thou hast perfected this sweetness for them that hope in Thee. For Thou dost not withdraw from them what they look for perseveringly even unto the end. "In sight of the sons of men." For it does not escape the notice of the sons of men, who now live no more after Adam, but after the Son of Man. "Thou wilt hide them in the hidden place of Thy Countenance:" which seat Thou shalt preserve for everlasting in the hidden place of the knowledge of Thee for them that hope in Thee. "From the troubling of men." So that now they suffer no more trouble from men.

21. "Thou writ protect them in Thy tabernacle from the contradiction of tongues" (ver. 20). But here meanwhile whilst evil tongues murmur against them, saying, Who hath come thence? Thou wilt protect them in the tabernacle, that of faith in those things, which the Lord wrought and endured for us in time.

22. "Blessed be the Lord; for He hath made His mercy marvellous, in the city of compassing" (ver. 21). Blessed be the Lord, for after the correction of the sharpest persecutions He hath made His mercy marvellous to all throughout the world, in the circuit of human society.[2]

23. "I said in my ecstasy"[3] (ver. 22). Whence that people again speaking saith, I said in my fear, when the heathen were raging horribly against me. "I have been cast forth from the sight of Thine eyes." For if Thou hadst regard to me, Thou wouldest not suffer me to endure these things. "Therefore Thou heardest, O Lord, the voice of my prayer, when I cried unto Thee." Therefore putting a limit to correction, and showing that I have part in Thy care, Thou heardest, O Lord, the voice of my prayer, when I raised it high[4] out of tribulation.

24. "Love the Lord, all ye His saints" (ver. 23). The Prophet again exhorts, having sight of these things, and saith, "Love the Lord, all ye His saints; for the Lord will require truth." Since "if the righteous shall scarcely be saved, where shall the sinner and the ungodly appear?"[5] "And He will repay them that do exceeding proudly." And He will repay them who even when conquered are not converted, because they are very proud.

25. "Quit you like men, and let your heart be strengthened" (ver. 24): working good without fainting, that ye may reap in due season. "All ye who trust in the Lord:" that is, ye who duly fear and worship Him, trust ye in the Lord.



PSALM 32

TO DAVID HIMSELF; FOR UNDERSTANDING.

1. To David himself; for understanding; by which it is understood that not by the merits of works, but by the grace of God, man his delivered, confessing his sins.

2. "Blessed are they whose unrighteousness is forgiven, and whose sins are covered" (ver. 1): and whose sins are buried in oblivion. "Blessed is the man to whom the Lord hath not imputed sin, nor is there guile in his mouth" (ver. 2): nor has he in his mouth boastings of righteousness, when his conscience is full of sins.

3. "Because I kept silence, my bones waxed old:" because I made not with my mouth "confession unto salvation,"[7] all firmness in me has grown old in infirmity. "Through my roaring all the day long" (ver. 3): when I was ungodly and a blasphemer, crying against God, as though defending and excusing my sins.

4. "Because day and night Thy Hand was heavy upon me:" because, through the continual punishment of Thy scourges, "I was turned in misery, while a thorn was fixed through me" (ver. 4): I was made miserable by knowing my misery, being pricked with an evil conscience.

5. "I acknowledged my sin, and my unrighteousness have I not hid:" that is, my unrighteousuess have I not concealed.[1] "I said, I will confess against myself my unrighteousness to the Lord :" I said, I will confess, not against God (as in my ungodly crying, when I kept silence), but against myself, my unrighteousness to the Lord. "And Thou forgavest the iniquity of my heart" (ver. 5); hearing the word of confession in the heart, before it was uttered with the voice.

6. "For this shall every one that is holy pray unto Thee in an acceptable time:" for this wickedness of heart shall every one that is righteous pray unto Thee. For not by their own merits will they be holy, but by that acceptable time, that is, at His coming, who redeemed us from sin. "Nevertheless in the flood of great waters they shall not come nigh him" (ver. 6): nevertheless, let none think, when the end has come suddenly, as in the days of Noah,[2] that there remaineth a place of confession, whereby he may draw nigh unto God.

7. "Thou art my refuge from the pressures, which have compassed me about:" Thou art my refuge from the pressure of my sins, which hath compassed my heart. "O Thou, my Rejoicing, deliver me from them that compass me about" (ver. 7): in Thee is my joy: deliver me from the sorrow which my sins bring upon me.

8..Diapsalma. The answer of God: "I will give thee understanding, and will set thee in the way in which thou shalt go;" I will give thee understanding after cofession, that thou depart not from the way in which thou shouldest go; lest thou wish to be in thine own power. "I will fix Mine Eyes upon thee" (ver. 8); so will make sure upon thee My Love.

9. "Be not ye like unto horse or mule, which have no understanding:" and therefore would govern themselves. But saith the Prophet, "Hold in their jaws with bit and bridle." Do Thou then, O God, unto them "that will not come nigh Thee" (ver. 9), what man doth to horse and mule, that by scourges Thou make them to bear Thy rule.

10. "Many are the scourges of the sinner:" much is he scourged, who, confessing not his sins to God, would be his own ruler. "But he that trusteth in the Lord, mercy compasseth him about" (ver. 10); but he that trusteth in the Lord, and submitteth himself to His rule, mercy shall compass him about.

11. "Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye righteous:" be glad, and rejoice, ye righteous, not in yourselves, but in the Lord. "And glory, all ye that are right in heart" (ver. 11): and glory in Him, all ye who understand that it is right to be subject unto Him, that so ye may be placed above all things beside.



PSALM 33

1. "Rejoice in the Lord, O ye rigtheous:" rejoice, O ye righteous, not in yourselves, for that is not safe; but in the Lord. "For praise is comely to the upright" (ver. 1): these praise the Lord, who submit themselves unto the Lord; for else they are distorted and perverse.

2. "Praise the Lord with harp:" praise the Lord, presenting unto Him your bodies a living sacrifice.[4] "Sing unto Him with the psaltery for ten strings" (ver. 2): let your members be servants to the love of God, and of your neighbour, in which are kept both the three and the seven commandments.[5]

3. "Sing unto Him a new song:" sing unto Him a song of the grace of faith. "Sing skilfully unto Him with jubilation" (ver. 3): sing skillfully unto Him with rejoicing.

4. "For the Word of the Lord is right:" for the Word of the Lord is right, to make you that which of yourselves ye cannot be. "And all His works are done in faith" (ver. 4): lest any think that by the merit of works he hath arrived at faith, when in faith are done all the works which God Himself loveth.

5. "He loveth Mercy and Judgment:" for He loveth Mercy, which now He showeth first; and Judgment, wherewithHe exacteth that which He hath first shown."The earth is full is full of the Mercy of the Lord" (ver. 5): throughout the whole world are sins forgiven unto men by the Mercy of the Lord.

6. "By the Word of the Lord were the heavens made firm:" Lord were the righteous made strong. "And all the strength[6] of them by the Breath of His Mouth" (ver. 6). And all their faith by His Holy Spirit.

7. "He gathereth the waters of the sea together as into a bottle:" He gathered the people of the world together, to confession of mortified sin, lest through pride they flow too freely. "He layeth up the up the deep in storehouses" (ver. 7): and keepeth in them His secrets for riches.

8. "Let all the earth fear the Lord:" let every sinner fear, that so he may cease to sin. "Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him" (ver. 8): not of the terrors of men, or of any creature, but of Him let them stand in awe.

9. "For He spake, and they were made :" for no other one made those things which are to fear; but He spake, and they were made. "He commanded, and they were created" (ver. 9): He commanded by His Word,[1] and they were created.

10. "The Lord bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought;" of them that seek not His Kingdom, but kingdoms of their own. "He maketh the devices of the people of none effect:" of them that covet earthly happiness. "And reproveth the counsels of princes" (ver. 10): of them that seek to rule over such peoples.

11. "But the counsel of the Lord standeth for ever;" but the counsel of the Lord, whereby He maketh none blessed but him that submitteth unto Himself, standeth for ever. The thoughts of His Heart to all generations" (ver. 11): the thoughts of His Wisdom are not mutable, but endure to all generations.

12. "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord:" one nation is blessed, belonging to the heavenly city, which hath not chosen save the Lord for their God: "And the people whom He hath chosen for His own inheritance" (ver. 12): and which not of itself, but by the gift of God, hath been chosen, that He by possessing it may not suffer it to be uncared for and miserable.

13. "The Lord looketh from Heaven; He beholdeth all the sons of men" (ver. 13). From the souls of the righteous, the Lord looketh mercifully upon all who would rise to newness of life.

14. "From His prepared habitation:" from His habitation of assumed Humanity, which He prepared for Himself. "He looketh upon all the inhabitants of the earth" (ver. 14): He looketh mercifully upon all who live in the flesh, that He may be over them in ruling them.

15. "He fashioneth their hearts singly:" He giveth spiritually to their hearts their proper gifts, so that neither the whole body may be eye, nor the whole heating;[2] but that one in this manner, another in that manner, may be incorporated with Christ. "He understandeth all their works" (ver. 15). Before Him are all their works understood.

16. "A king shall not be saved by much strength:" he shall not be saved who ruleth his own flesh, if he presume much upon his own strength. "Neither shall a giant be saved by much strength" (ver. 16): nor shall he be saved whoever warreth against the habit of his own lust, or against the devil and his angels, if he trust much to his own might.

17. "A horse is a deceitful thing for safety:" he is deceived, who thinketh either that through men he gaineth salvation received among men, or that by the impetuosity of his own courage he is defended from destruction. "In the abundance of his strength shall he not be saved" (ver. 17).

18. "Behold, the Eyes of the Lord are upon them that fear Him:" because if thou seek salvation, behold, the love of the Lord is upon them that fear Him. "Upon them that hope in His mercy" (ver. 18): that hope not in their own strength, but in His mercy.

19. "To denver their souls from death, and to keep them alive in famine" (ver. 19). To give them the nourishment of the Word, and of Everlasting Truth, which they lost while presuming on their own strength, and therefore have not even their own strength, from lack of righteousness.

20. "My soul shall be patient for the Lord:" that hereafter it may be filled with dainties incorruptible, meanwhile, whilst here it remaineth, my soul shall be patient for the Lord. "For He is our Helper and Defender" (ver. 20): our Helper He is, while we endeavour after Him; and our Defender, while we resist the adversary.

21. "For our heart shall rejoice in Him:" for not in ourselves, wherein without Him there is great need; but in Himself shall our heart rejoice. "And we have trusted in His holy Name" (ver. 21); and therefore have we trusted that we shall come to God, because unto us absent hath He sent, through faith, His own Name.

22. "Let Thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, according as we have hoped in Thee" (ver. 22): let Thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us; for hope confoundeth not, because we have hoped in Thee.



PSALM 34

A PSALM OF DAVID, WHEN HE CHANGED HIS COUNTENANCE BEFORE ABIMELECH, AND HE SENT HIM AWAY, AND HE DEPARTED.

1. Because there was there a sacrifice after the order of Aaron, and afterwards He of His Own Body and Blood appointed a sacrifice after the order of Melchizedek; He changed then His Countenance in the Priesthood, and sent away the kingdom of the Jews, and came to the Gentiles. What then is, "He affected"?[4] He was full of affection. For what is so full of affection as the Mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, seeing our infirmity, that He might deliver us from everlasting death, underwent temporal death with such great injury and contumely? "And He drummed:" because a drum is not made, except when a skin is extended on wood; and David drummed, to signify that Christ should be crucified. But, "He drummed upon the doors of the city:" what are "the doors of the city," but our hearts which we had closed against Christ, who by the drum of His Cross hath opened the hearts of mortal men? "And was carried in His Own Hands:" how "carried in His Own Hands"? Because when He commended His Own Body and Blood, He took into His Hands that which the faithful know; and in a manner carried Himself, when He said, "This is My Body."[1] "And He fell down at the doors of the gate;" that is, He humbled Himself. For this it is, to fall down even at the very beginning of our faith. For the door of the gate is the beginning of faith; whence beginneth the Church, and arriveth at last even unto sight: that as it believeth those things which it seeth not, it may deserve to enjoy them, when it shall have begun to see face to face. So is the title of the Psalm; briefly we have heard it; let us now hear the very words of Him that affecteth, and drummeth upon the doors of the city.

2. "I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall be ever in my mouth" (ver. 1). So speaketh Christ, so also let a Christian speak; for a Christian is in the Body of Christ; and therefore was Christ made Man, that that Christian might be enabled to be an Angel, who saith, "I will bless the Lord at all times." When shall I "bless the Lord"? When He blesseth thee? When the goods of this world abound? When thou hast great abundance of corn, oil, and wine, of gold and silver, of servants and cattle; when this mortal health remaineth unwounded and sound; when all that are born to thee grow up, nothing is withdrawn by immature death, happiness wholly reigneth in thy house, and all things overflow around thee; then shalt thou bless the Lord? No; but "at all times." Therefore both then, and when according to the time, or according to the scourges of our Lord God, these things are troubled, are taken away, are seldom born to thee, and born pass away. For these things come to pass, and thence followeth penury, need, labour, pain, and temptation. But thou, who hast sung, "I will bless the Lord at all times: His praise shall be ever in my mouth," both when He giveth them, bless; and when He taketh them away, bless. For it is He that giveth, it is He that taketh away: but Himself from him that blesseth Him He taketh not away.

3. But who is it that blesseth the Lord at all times, except the humble in heart. For very humility taught our Lord in His Own Body and Blood: because when He commendeth His Own Body and Blood, He commendeth His Humility, in that which is written in this history, in that seeming madness of David, which we have passed by, "And his spittle ran down over his beard."[2] When the Apostle was read,[3] Ye heard the same spittle, but running down over the beard. One saith perhaps, What spittle have we heard? Was it not read but now, where the Apostle saith, "The Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom?" But now it was read, "But we preach," saith he, "Christ crucified" (for then He drummed), "unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the Power of God, and the Wisdom of God. Because the Foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the Weakness of God is stronger than men."[4] For spittle signifieth foolishness; spittle signifieth weakness. But if the Foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the Weakness of God is stronger than men; let not the spittle as it were offend thee, but observe that it runneth down over the beard: for as by the spittle, weakness; so by the beard, strength is signified. He covered then His Strength by the body of His Weakness, and that which without was weak, appeared as it were in spittle; but within His Divine Strength was covered as a beard. Therefore humility is commended unto us. Be humble if thou wouldest bless the Lord at all times, and that His praise should be ever in thy mouth. . .

4. But wherefore doth man bless the Lord at all times? Because he is humble. What is it to be humble? To take not praise unto himself. Who would himself be praised, is proud: who is not proud, is humble. Wouldest thou not then be proud? That thou mayest be humble, say what is here written; "In the Lord shall my soul be praised: the humble shall hear thereof and be glad" (ver. 2). Those then who will not be praised in the Lord, are not humble, but fierce, rough, lifted up, proud. Gentle cattle would the Lord have; be thou the Lord's jumentum; that is, be thou humble. He sitteth upon thee, He ruleth thee: fear not lest thou stumble, and fall headlong: that indeed is thy infirmity; but consider Who sitteth upon thee. Thou art an ass's colt, but thou carriest Christ. For even He on an ass's colt came into the city; and that beast was gentle. ..."Be not ye as the horse or as the mule, which have no understanding."[1] For horse and mule sometimes lift up their neck, and by their own fierceness throw off their rider. They are tamed with the bit, with bridle, with stripes, until they learn to submit, and to carry their master. But thou, before thy jaws are bruised with the bridle, be humble, and carry thy Lord: wish not praise for thyself, but praised be He who sitteth upon thee, and say thou, "In the Lord shall my soul be praised; the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad." ...

5. Now followeth, "O magnify the Lord with me" (ver. 3). Who is this that exhorteth us, that we should magnify the Lord with him? Whoever, Brethren, is in the body of Christ, ought for this to labour, that the Lord may be magnified with him. For he loveth the Lord, whoever he is. And how doth he love Him? So as not to envy his fellow-lover. ...Let them blush who so love God as to envy others. Abandoned men love a charioteer, and whoever loveth a charioteer or hunter, wisheth the whole people to love with him, and exhorteth, saying, Love with me this pantomime, love with me this or that shame. He calleth among the people that shame may be loved with him; and doth not a Christian call in the Church, that the Truth of God may be loved with him? Stir up then love in yourselves, Brethren; and call to every one of yours, and say, "O magnify the Lord with me." Let there be in you that fervour. Wherefore are these things recited and explained? If ye love God, bring quickly to the love of God all who are joined unto you, and all who are in your house; if the Body of Christ is loved by you, that is, if the unity of the Church, bring them quickly to enjoy, and say, "O magnify the Lord with me."

6. "And let us exalt His Name together."[2] What is, "let us exalt His Name together"? That is, in one. For many copies so have it, "O magnify the Lord with me; and let us exalt His Name in one."[3] Whether it be said, "together," or "in one," it is the same thing. Therefore bring quickly whom ye can, by exhorting, by transporting,[4] by beseeching, by disputing, by rendering a reason, with meekness, with gentleness. Bring them quickly unto love; that if they magnify the Lord, they may magnify Him in one. ...

7. "I sought the Lord, and He heard me" (ver. 4). Where heard the Lord? Within. Where giveth He? Within. There thou prayest, there thou art heard, there thou art blessed. Thou hast prayed, thou art heard, thou art blessed; and he knoweth not who standeth by thee: it is all carried on in secret, as the Lord saith in the Gospel, "Enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly."[5] When therefore thou enterest into thy chamber, thou enterest into thy heart. Blessed are they who rejoice when they enter into their heart, and find therein nought of evil. ...

8. "I sought the Lord, and He heard me." Who then are not heard, seek not the Lord. Attend, Holy Brethren;[6] he said not, I sought gold from the Lord, and He heard me; I sought from the Lord long life, and He heard me; I sought from the Lord this or that, and He heard me. It is one thing to seek anything from the Lord, another to seek the Lord Himself. "I sought" (saith he) "the Lord, and He heard me." But thou, when thou prayest, saying, Kill that my enemy, seekest not the Lord, but, as it were, makest thyself a judge over thy enemy, and makest thy God an executioner.[7] How knowest thou that he is not better than thou, whose death thou seekest? In that very thing haply he is, that he seeketh not thine. Therefore seek not from the Lord anything without, but seek the Lord Himself, and He will hear thee, and while thou yet speakest, He will say, "Lo, here I am."[8]...

9. I have said who was the exhorter, namely, that lover who would not alone embrace what he loveth, and saith, "Approach unto Him, and be ye lightened" (ver. 5). For he saith what he himself proved. For some spiritual person in the Body of Christ, or even our Lord Jesus Christ Himself according to the flesh, the Head exhorting His Own Members, saith; what? "Approach unto Him, and be ye lightened." Or rather some spiritual Christian inviteth us to approach to our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. But let us approach to Him and be lightened; not as the Jews approached to Him, that they might be darkened; for they approached to Him that they might crucify Him: let us approach to Him that we may receive His Body and Blood. They by Him crucified were darkened; we by eating and drinking The Crucified are lightened. "Approach unto Him, and be ye lightened." Lo, this is said to the Gentiles. Christ was crucified amid the Jews raging and seeing; the Gentiles were absent; lo, they have approached who were in darkness, and they who saw not are lightened. Whereby approach the Gentiles? By following with faith, by longing with the heart, by running with charity. Thy feet are thy charity. Have two feet, be not lame. What are thy two feet? The two commandments of love, of thy God, and of thy Neighbour. With these feet run thou unto God, approach unto Him, for He hath both exhorted thee to run, and hath Himself shed His Own Light, as he hath magnificently and divinely continued.[1] "And your faces shall not be ashamed." "Approach" (saith he) "unto Him, and be ye lightened; and your faces shall not be ashamed." No face shall be ashamed but of the proud. Wherefore? Because he would be lifted up, and when he hath suffered insult, or ignominy, or mischance in this world, or any affliction, he is ashamed. But fear not thou, approach unto Him, and thou shalt not be ashamed. ...

10. As the Prophet testifieth, "The poor man cried, and the Lord heard him" (ver. 6). He teacheth thee how thou mayest be heard. Therefore art thou not heard, because thou art rich. Lest haply thou say, thou criedst and wast not heard, hear wherefore; "The poor man cried, and the Lord heard him." As poor cry thou, and the Lord heareth. And how shall I cry as poor? By not, if thou hast aught, presuming therefrom upon thy own strength: by understanding that thou art needy; by understanding that so long art thou poor, as thou hast not Him who maketh thee rich. But how did the Lord hear him? "And saved him out of all his troubles." And how saveth He men out of all their troubles? "The Angel of the Lord shall send[2] round about them that fear Him, and shall deliver them" (ver. 7). So it is written, brethren, not as some bad copies have it, "The Lord shall send His Angel round about them that fear Him, and He shall deliver them:" but thus, "The Angel of the Lord shall send round about them that fear Him, and shall deliver them." Whom called He here the Angel of the Lord, who shall send round about them that fear Him, and shall deliver them? Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself is called in Prophecy, the Angel of the great Counsel, the Messenger of the great Counsel;[3] so the Prophets called Him.[4] Even He then, the Angel of the great Counsel, that is, the Messenger, shall send unto them that fear the Lord, and shall deliver them. Fear not then lest thou be hid: wheresoever thou hast feared the Lord, there doth that Angel know thee, who shall send to succour thee, and shall deliver thee.

11. Now will He speak openly of the same Sacrament, whereby He was carried in His Own Hands. "O taste and see that the Lord is good" (ver. 8). Doth not the Psalm now open itself, and show thee that seeming insanity and constant madness, the same insanity and sober inebriety of that David, who in a figure showed I know not what, when in the person of king Achis they said to him, How is it?[5] Widen the Lord said, "Except a man eat My Flesh and drink My Blood, he shall have no life in him"?[6] And they in whom reigned Achis, that is, error and ignorance, said; what said they? "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?"[7] If thou art ignorant, "Taste and see that the Lord is good:" but if thou understandest not, thou art king Achis: David shall change His Countenance and shall depart from thee, and shall quit thee, and shall depart.[8]

12. "Blessed is the man that trusteth in Him." Why needeth this to be explained at length? Whoever trusteth not in the Lord, is miserable. Who is there that trusteth not in the Lord? He that trusteth in himself. ...

13. "O fear the Lord, all ye His saints, for there is no want to them that fear Him" (ver. 9). For many therefore will not fear God the Lord, lest they suffer hunger. It is said to them, Defraud not; and they say, Whence can I feed myself? No art can be without imposture; no business can be without fraud. But fraud God punisheth: fear God. But if I should fear God, I shall not have whence to live. "O fear the Lord, all ye His saints, for there is no want to them that fear Him." He promiseth plenty to him that trembleth, and doubteth, lest haply if he should fear God, he should lose things superfluous. The Lord fed thee despising Him, and will He desert thee fearing Him? Attend, and say not, Such an one is rich, and I am poor. I fear the Lord, he by not fearing how much has he gained, and I by fearing am bare! See what follows; "The rich[9] do lack and suffer hunger, but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing" (ver. 10). If thou receive it according to the letter, He seemeth to deceive thee, for thou seest that many rich men that are wicked die in their riches, and are not made poor while they live; thou seest them grow old, and come even to the end of life amid great abundance and riches. Thou seest their funeral pomp celebrated with great profusion, the man himself brought rich even to the sepulchre, having expired in beds of ivory, his family weeping around; and thou sayest in thy mind, if haply thou knowest some both sins and crimes done by him: I know what things that man hath done; lo, he hath grown old, he hath died in his bed, his friends follow him to the grave, his funeral is celebrated with all this pomp; I know what he hath done; the Scripture has deceived me, and has spoken falsely, where I hear and sing; "The rich do lack and suffer hunger." When was this man in need? when did he suffer hunger? "But they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing." Daily I rise up to Church, daily I bend the knee, daily I seek the Lord, and have nothing good: this man sought not the Lord, and he hath died in the midst of all these good things! Thus thinking, the snare of offence choketh him; for he seeketh mortal food on the earth, and seeketh not a true reward in heaven, and so he putteth his head into the devil's noose, his jaws are tied close, and the devil holdeth him fast unto evil doing, that so he may imitate the evil men, whom he seeth to die in such plenty.

14. Therefore understand it not so. ... When thou art filled with spiritual riches, canst thou be poor? And was he therefore rich, because he had a bed of ivory; and art thou poor who hast the chamber of thy heart filled with such jewelry of virtues, justice, truth, charity, faith, endurance? Unfold thy riches, if thou hast them, and compare them with the riches of the rich. But such an one has found in the market mules of great value, and has bought them. If thou couldest find faith to be sold, how much wouldest thou give for that, which God willeth that thou shouldest have gratis, and thou art ungrateful? Those rich then lack, they lack, and what is heavier, they lack bread. ... For He hath said, "I am the Living Bread which came down from Heaven."[1] And again, "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled."[2] "But they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing:" but what manner of good, I have already said.

15. "Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord" (vet. 11). Ye think? brethren, that I say this: think that David saith it; think that an Apostle saith it; nay think that our Lord Jesus Christ Himself saith it; "Come, ye children, hearken unto Me." Let us hearken unto Him together: hearken ye unto Him through us. For He would teach us; He the Humble, He that drummeth, He that affecteth, would teach us. ...

16. "What man is he that desireth life, and loveth to see good days?" (ver. 12). He asketh a question. Doth not every one among you answer, I? Is there any man among you that loveth not life, that is, that desireth not life, and loveth not to see good days? Do ye not daily thus murmur, and thus speak; How long shall we suffer these things? Daily are they worse and worse: in our fathers' time were days more joyful, were days better. O if thou couldest ask those same, thy fathers, in like manner would they murmur to thee of their own days. Our fathers were happy, miserable are we, evil days have we: such an one ruled over us, we thought that after his death might some refreshing be given to us; worse things have come: O God, show unto us good days! "What man is he that desireth life, and loveth to see good days?" Let him not seek here good days. A good thing he seeketh, but not in its right place doth he seek it. As, if thou shouldest seek some righteous man in a country, wherein he lived not, it would be said to thee, A good man thou seekest, a great man thou seekest, seek him still, but not here; in vain thou seekest him here, thou wilt never find him. Good days thou seekest, together let us seek them, seek not here. . . . Read the Scriptures. ...

17. Let not a Christian then murmur, let him see whose steps he followeth: but if he loveth good days, let him hearken unto Him teaching and saying, "Come, ye children, hearken unto Me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord." What wouldest thou? Life and good days. Hear, and do. "Keep thy tongue from evil" (ver. 13). This do. I will not, saith a miserable man, I will not keep my tongue from evil, and yet I desire life and good days. If a workman of thine should say to thee, I indeed lay waste this vineyard, yet I require of thee my reward; thou broughtest me to the vineyard to lop and prune it, I cut away all the useful wood, I will cut short also the very trunks of the vines, that thou have thereon nothing to gather, and when I have done this, thou shall repay to me my labour. Wouldest thou not call him mad? Wouldest thou not drive him from thy house or ever he put his hand to the knife? Such are those men who would both do evil, and swear falsely, and speak blasphemy against God, and murmur, and defraud, and be drunken, and dispute, and commit adultery, and use charms, and consult diviners, and withal see good days. To such it is said, thou canst not doing ill seek a good reward. If thou art unjust, shall God also be unjust? What shall I do, then? What desirest thou? Life I desire, good days I desire. "Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips that they speak no guile," that is, defraud not any, lie not to any.

18. But what is, "Depart from evil"? (ver. 14). It is little that thou injure none, murder none, steal not, commit not adultery, do no wrong, speak no false witness; "Depart from evil." When thou hast departed, thou sayest, Now I am safe, I have done all, I shall have life, I shall see good days. Not only saith he, "Depart from evil," but also, "and do good." It is nothing that thou spoil not: clothe the naked. If thou hast not spoiled, thou hast declined from evil; but thou wilt not do good, except thou receive the stranger into thine house. So then depart from evil, as to do good. "Seek peace, and ensue it." He hath not said, Thou shalt have peace here; seek it, and ensue it. Whither shall I ensue it? Whither it hath gone before. For the Lord is our peace, hath risen again, and hath ascended into Heaven. "Seek peace, and ensue it;" because when thou also hast risen, this mortal shall be changed, and thou shall embrace peace there where no man shall trouble thee. For there is perfect peace, where thou wilt not hunger. ...

19. "The Eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous:" fear not then; labour; the eyes of the Lord are upon thee. "And His Ears are open unto their prayers" (ver. 15). What wouldest thou more? If an householder in a great house should not hearken to a servant murmuring, he would complain, and say, What hardship do we here suffer, and none heareth us. Canst thou say this of God, What hardships I suffer, and none heareth me? If He heard me, haply, sayest thou, He would take away my tribulation: I cry unto Him, and yet have tribulation. Only do thou hold fast His ways, and when thou art in tribulation, He heareth thee. But He is a Physician, and still hast thou something of putrefaction; thou criest out, but still He cutteth, and taketh not away His Hand, until He hath cut as much as pleaseth Him. For that Physician is cruel who heareth a man, and spareth his wound and putrefaction. How do mothers rub their children in the baths for their health. Do not the little ones cry out in their hands? Are they then cruel because they spare not, nor hearken unto their tears? Are they not full of affection? And yet the children cry out, and are not spared. So our God also is full of charity, but therefore seemeth He not to hear, that He may spare and heal us for everlasting.

20. Haply say the wicked, I securely do evil, because the Eyes of the Lord are not upon me: God attendeth to the righteous, me He seeth not, and whatever I do, I do securely. Immediately added the Holy Spirit, seeing the thoughts of men, and said, "But the Face of the Lord is against them that do evil; to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth" (ver. 16).

21. "The righteous cried, and the Lord heard them, and delivered them out of all their troubles" (ver. 17). Righteous were the Three Children; out of the furnace cried they unto the Lord, and in His praises their flames cooled. The flame could not approach nor hurt the innocent and righteous Children praising God, and He delivered them out of the fire.[1] Some one saith, Lo, truly righteous were those who were heard, as it is written, "The righteous cried, and the Lord heard them, and delivered them out of all their troubles:" but I have cried, and He delivereth me not; either I am not righteous, or I do not[2] the things which He commandeth me, or haply He seeth me not. Fear not: only do what He commandeth; and if He deliver thee not bodily, He will deliver thee spiritually. For He who took out of the fire the Three Children, did He take out of the fire the Maccabees?[3] Did not the first sing hymns in the flames, these last in the flames expire? The God of the Three Children, was not He the God also of the Maccabees? The one He delivered, the other He delivered not. Nay, He delivered both: but the Three Children He so delivered, that even the carnal were confounded; but the Maccabees therefore He delivered not so, that those who persecuted them should go into greater torments, while they thought that they had overcome God's Martyrs. He delivered Peter, when the Angel came unto him being in prison, and said, "Arise, and go forth,"[4] and suddenly his chains were loosed, and he followed the Angel, and He delivered him. Had Peter lost righteousness when He delivered him not from the cross? Did He not deliver him then? Even then He delivered him. Did his long life make him unrighteous? Haply He heard him more at last than at first, when truly He delivered him out of all his troubles. For when He first delivered him, how many things did he suffer afterwards! For thither He sent him at last, where he could have suffered no evil.

22. "The Lord is nigh unto them that have broken their heart; and saveth such as be lowly in spirit" (ver. 18). God is High: let a Christian be lowly. If he would that the Most High God draw nigh unto him, let him be lowly. A great mystery, Brethren. God is above all: thou raisest thyself, and touchest not Him: thou humblest thyself, and He descendeth unto thee. "Many are the troubles of the righteous" (ver. 19): doth He say, "Therefore let Christians be righteous, therefore let them hear My Word, that they may suffer no tribulation? He promiseth not this; but saith, "Many are the troubles of the righteous." Rather, if they be unrighteous they have fewer troubles, if righteous they have many. But after few tribulations, or none, these shall come to tribulation everlasting, whence they shall never be delivered: but the righteous after many tribulations shall come to peace everlasting, where they shall never suffer any evil. "Many are the tribulations of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of all."

23. "The Lord keepeth all their bones: not one of them shall be broken" (ver. 20): this also, Brethren, let us not receive carnally. Bones are the firm supports of the faithful. For as in flesh our bones give firmness, so in the heart of a Christian it is faith that gives firmness.[1] The patience then which is in faith, is as the bones of the inner man: this is that which cannot be broken. "The Lord keepeth all their bones: not one of them shall be broken." If of our Lord God Jesus Christ he had said this, "The Lord keepeth all the bones of His Son; not one of them shall be broken;" as is prefigured of Him also in another place, when the lamb was spoken of that should be slain, and it was said of it, "Neither shall ye break a bone thereof:"[2] then was it fulfilled in the Lord, because when He hung upon the Cross, He expired before they came to the Cross, and found His Body lifeless already, and would not break His legs, that it might be fulfilled which was written.[3] But He gave this promise to other Christians also, "The Lord keepeth all their bones; not one of them shall be broken." Therefore, Brethren, if we see any Saint suffer tribulation, and haply either by a Physician so cut, or by some persecutor so mangled, that his bones be broken; let us not say, This man was not righteous, for this hath the Lord promised to His righteous, of whom He said, "The Lord keepeth all their bones; not one of them shall be broken." Wouldest thou see that He spoke of other bones, those which we called the firm supports of faith, that is, patience and endurance in all tribulations? For these are the bones which are not broken. Hear, and see ye in the very Passion of our Lord, what I say. The Lord was in the middle Crucified; near Him were two thieves: the one mocked, the other believed: the one was condemned, the other justified: the one had his punishment both in this world, and that which shall be, but unto the other said the Lord, "Verily I say unto thee, To-day shall thou be with Me in Paradise;"[4] and yet those who came brake not the bones of the Lord, but of the thieves they brake: as much were broken the bones of the thief who blasphemed, as of the thief who believed. Where then is that which is spoken, "The Lord keepeth all their bones; not one of them shall be broken"? Lo, unto whom He said, "To-day shall thou be with Me in Paradise," could He keep all his bones? The Lord answereth thee: Yea, I kept them: for the firm support of his faith could not be broken by those blows whereby his legs were broken.

24. "The death of sinners is the worst" (ver. 21). Attend, Brethren, for the sake of those things which I said. Truly Great is the Lord, and His Mercy, truly Great is He who gave to us to eat His Body, wherein He suffered such great things, and His Blood to drink. How regardeth He them that think evil and say, "Such an one died ill, by beasts was he devoured: he was not a righteous man, therefore he perished ill; for else would he not have perished." Is he then righteous who dieth in his own house and in his own bed? This then (sayest thou) it is whereat I wonder; because I know the sins and the crimes of this same man, and yet he died well; in his own house, within his own doors, with no injury of travel, with none even in mature[5] age. Hearken, "The death of sinners is worst." What seemeth to thee a good death, is worst if thou couldest see within. Thou seest him outwardly lying on his bed, dost thou see him inwardly carried to hell? Hearken, Brethren, and learn from the Gospel what is the "worst death" of sinners. Were there not two in that age,[6] a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day; another a poor man who lay at his door full of sores, and the dogs came and licked his sores, and he desired to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table? Now it came to pass that the poor man died (righteous was that poor man), and was carried by Angels into Abraham's bosom. He who saw his body lying at the rich man's door, and no man to bury it, what haply said he? So die he who is my enemy; and whoever persecutes me, so may I see him. His body is accursed with spitting, his wounds stink; and yet in Abraham's bosom he resteth.[7] If we are Christians, let us believe: if we believe not, Brethren, let none feign himself a Christian. Faith bringeth us to the end. As the Lord spake these things, so are they. Doth indeed an astrologer[8] speak unto thee, and it is true, and doth Christ speak, and it is false? But by what sort of death died the rich man? What sort of death must it not be in purple and fine linen, how sumptuous, how pompous! What funeral ceremonies were there! In what spices was that body buried! And yet when he was in hell, being in torments, from the finger of that despised poor man he desired one drop of water to be poured upon his burning tongue, and obtained it not. Learn then what meaneth, "The death of sinners is worst;" and ask not beds covered with costly garments, and to have the flesh wrapped in many rich things, friends exhibiting a show of lamentation, a household beating their breasts, a crowd of attendants going before and following when the body is carried out, marble and gilded memorials. For if ye ask those things, they answer you what is false, that of many not light sinners, but altogether wicked, the death is best, who have deserved to be so lamented, so embalmed, so covered, so carried out, so entombed. But ask the Gospel, and it will show to your faith the soul of the rich man burning in torments, which was nothing profited by all those honours and obsequies, which to his dead body the vanity of the living did afford.

25. But because there are many kinds of sinners, and not to be a sinner is difficult, or perhaps in this life impossible, he added immediately, of what kind of sinners the death is worst. "And they that hate the righteous one" (saith he) "shall perish." What righteous one, but "Him that justifieth the ungodly"?[1] Whom, but our Lord Jesus Christ, who is also "the propitiation for our sins"?[2] Who then hate Him, have the worst death; because they die in their sins, who are not through Him reconciled to our God. "For the Lord redeemeth the souls of His servants." But according to the soul is death to be understood either the worst or best, not according to bodily either dishonour, or honours which men see. "And none of them which trust in Him shall perish" (ver. 22); this iS the manner of human righteousness, that mortal life, however advanced, because without sin it cannot be, in this perisheth not, while it trusteth in Him, in whom is remission of sins. Amen.

 

 

 

 
 
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