Writings of Augustine. The Psalms.

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Expositions on the Book of Psalms.

by Saint Augustin, Bishop of Hippo.

Edited, with brief annotations, and condensed from the six volumes of the Oxford Translation,

by A. Cleveland Coxe, D.D., Editor of the Ante-Nicene Fathers, etc.

Published in 1886 by Philip Schaff, New York: Christian Literature Publishing Co.

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Psalm XL. [1087]

1. Of all those things which our Lord Jesus Christ has foretold, we know part to have been already accomplished, part we hope will be accomplished hereafter. All of them, however, will be fulfilled, because He is "the Truth" who speaks them, and requires of us to be as "faithful," as He Himself speaks them faithfully....

2. Let us say then what this Psalm says. "I waited patiently for the Lord" (ver. 1). I waited patiently for the promise of no mere mortal who can both deceive and be himself deceived: I waited for the consolation of no mere mortal, who may be consumed by sorrow of his own, before he gives me comfort. Should a brother mortal attempt to comfort me, when he himself is in sorrow likewise? Let us mourn in company; let us weep together, let us "wait patiently" together, let us join our prayers together also. Whom did I wait for but for the Lord? The Lord, who though He puts off the fulfilment of His promises, yet never recalls them? He will make it good; assuredly He will make it good, because He has made many of His promises good already: and of God's truth we ought to have no fears, even if as yet He had made none of them good. Lo! let us henceforth think thus, "He has promised us everything; He has not as yet given us possession of anything; He is a sponsible Promiser; a faithful Paymaster: do you but show yourself a dutiful exactor of what is promised; and if you be "weak," if you be one of the little ones, claim the promise of His mercy. Do you not see tender [1088] lambs striking their dams' teats with their heads, in order that they may get their fill of milk?..."And He took heed unto me, and heard my cry." He took heed to it, and He heard it. See thou hast not waited in vain. His eyes are over thee. His ears turned towards thee. For, "the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and His ears are open unto their cry." [1089] What then? Did He not see thee, when thou usedst to do evil and to blaspheme Him? What then becomes of what is said in that very Psalm, "The face of the Lord is upon them that do evil"? [1090] But for what end? "that He may cut off the remembrance of them from the earth." Therefore, even when thou wert wicked, He "took heed of thee;" but He "took no heed to thee." [1091] So then to him who "waited patiently for the Lord," it was not enough to say, "He took heed of me, He says, "He took heed to me;" that is, He took heed by comforting me, that He might do me good. What was it that He took heed to? "and He heard my cry."

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3. And what hath He accomplished for thee? What hath He done for thee? "He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings" (ver. 2). He hath given us great blessings already: and still He is our debtor; but let him who hath this part of the debt repaid already, believe that the rest will be also, seeing that he ought to have believed even before he received anything. Our Lord has employed facts themselves to persuade us, that He is a faithful promiser, a liberal giver. What then has He already done? "He has brought me out of a horrible pit." What horrible pit is that? It is the depth of iniquity, from the lusts of the flesh, for this is meant by "the miry clay." [1092] Whence hath He brought thee out? Out of a certain deep, out of which thou criedst out in another Psalm, "Out of the deep have I called unto Thee, O Lord." [1093] And those who are already "crying out of the deep," are not absolutely in the lowest deep: the very act of crying is already lifting them up. There are some deeper in the deep, who do not even perceive themselves to be in the deep. Such are those who are proud despisers, not pious entreaters for pardon; not tearful criers for mercy: but such as Scripture thus describes. "The sinner [1094] when he comes into the depth of evil despiseth." [1095] For he is deeper in the deep, who is not satisfied with being a sinner, unless instead of confessing he even defends his sins. But he who has already "cried out of the deep," hath already lifted up his head in order that he might "cry out of the deep," has been heard already, and has been "brought out of the horrible pit, and out of the mire and clay." He already has faith, which he had not before; he has hope, which he was before without; he now walks in Christ, who before used to go astray in the devil. For on that account it is that he says, "He hath set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings." Now "that Rock was Christ." [1096] Supposing that we are "upon the rock," and that our "goings are ordered," still it is necessary that we continue to walk; that we advance to something farther. For what did the Apostle Paul say when now upon the Rock, when his "goings had now been established"? "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended." [1097] What then has been done for thee, if thou hast not apprehended? On what account dost thou return thanks, saying, "But I have obtained mercy"? [1098] Because his goings are now established, because he now walks on the Rock?...Therefore, when he was saying, "I press forward toward the prize of my high calling," because "his feet were now set on the Rock," and "his goings were ordered," because he was now walking on the right way, he had something to return thanks for; something to ask for still; returning thanks for what he had received already, while he was claiming that which still remained due. For what things already received was he giving thanks? For the remission of sins, for the illumination of faith; for the strong support of hope, for the fire of charity. But in what respects had he still a claim of debt on the Lord? "Henceforth," he says, "there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness." There is therefore something due me still. What is it that is due? "A crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day." He was at first a loving Father to "bring him forth from the horrible pit;" to forgive his sins, to rescue him from "the mire and clay;" hereafter he will be a "righteous Judge," requiting to him walking rightly, what He promised; to him (I say), unto whom He had at the first granted that power to walk rightly. He then as a "righteous Judge" will repay; but whom will he repay? "He that endureth unto the end, the same shall be saved." [1099]

4. "And He hath put a new song in my mouth." What new song is this? "Even a hymn unto our God" (ver. 3). Perhaps you used to sing hymns to strange gods; old hymns, because they were uttered by the "old man," not by the "new man;" let the "new man" be formed, and let him sing a "new song;" being himself made "new," let him love those "new" things by which he is himself made new. For what is more Ancient than God, who is before all things, and is without end and without beginning? He becomes "new" to thee, when thou returnest to Him; because it was by departing from Him, that thou hadst become old; and hadst said, "I have waxed old because of all mine enemies." [1100] We therefore utter "a hymn unto our God;" and the hymn itself sets us free. "For I will call upon the Lord to praise Him, and I will be safe from all mine enemies." For a hymn is a song of praise. Call on God to "praise" Him, not to find fault with Him....

5. If haply any one asks, what person is speaking in this Psalm? I would say briefly, "It is Christ." But as ye know, brethren, and as we must say frequently, Christ sometimes speaks in His own Person, in the Person of our Head. For He Himself is "the Saviour of the Body." [1101] He is our Head; the Son of God, who was born of the Virgin, suffered for us, "rose again for our justification," sitteth "at the right hand of God," to "make intercession for us:" [1102] who is also to recompense to the evil and to the good, in the judgment, all the evil and the good that they have done. He deigned to be come our Head; to become "the Head of the Body," by taking of us that flesh in which He should die for us; that flesh which He also raised up again for our sakes, that in that flesh He might place before us an instance of the resurrection; that we might learn to hope for that of which we heretofore despaired, and might henceforth have our feet upon the rock, and might walk in Christ. He then sometimes speaks in the name of our Head; sometimes also He speaks of us who are His members. For both when He said, "I was an hungred, and ye gave Me meat," [1103] He spoke on behalf of His members, not of Himself: and when He said, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?" [1104] the Head was crying on behalf of its members: and yet He did not say, "Why dost thou persecute My members?" but, "Why persecutest thou Me?" If He suffers in us, then shall we also be crowned in Him. Such is the love of Christ. What is there can be compared to this? This is the thing on account of which "He hath put a hymn in our mouth," and this He speaks on behalf of His members.

6. "The just shall see, and shall fear, and shall trust in the Lord." "The just shall see." Who are the just? The faithful; because it is "by faith that the just shall live." [1105] For there is in the Church this order, some go before, others follow; and those who go before make themselves "an example" to those who follow; and those who follow imitate those who go before. But do those then follow no one, who exhibit themselves as an ensample to them that come after? If they follow no one at all, they will fall into error. These persons then must themselves also follow some one, that is, Christ Himself...."The just," therefore, "shall see, and shall fear." They see a narrow way on the one hand; on the other side, "a broad road:" on this side they see few, on the other many. But thou art a just man; count them not, but weigh them; bring "a just balance," not a "deceitful" one: because thou art called just. "The just shall see, and fear," applies to thee. Count not therefore the multitudes of men that are filling the "broad ways," that are to fill the circus tomorrow; celebrating with shouts the City's Anniversary, [1106] while they defile the City itself by evil living. Look not at them; they are many in number; and who can count them? But there are a few travelling along the narrow road. Bring forth the balance, I say. Weigh them; see what a quantity of chaff you lift up on the one side, against a few grains of corn on the other. Let this be done by "the just," the "believers," who are to follow. And what shall they who precede do? Let them not be proud, let them not "exalt themselves;" let them not deceive those who follow them. How may they deceive those who follow them? By promising them salvation in themselves. What then ought those who follow to do? "The just shall see, and fear: and shall trust in the Lord;" not in those who go before them. But indeed they fix their eyes on those who go before them, and follow and imitate them; but they do so, because they consider from Whom they have received the grace to go before them; and because they trust in Him. [1107] Although therefore they make these their models, they place their trust in Him from whom the others have received the grace whereby they are such as they are. "The just shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord." Just as in another Psalm, "I lift up mine eyes unto the hills," [1108] we understand by hills, all distinguished and great spiritual persons in the Church; great in solidity, not by swollen inflation. By these it is that all Scripture hath been dispensed unto us; they are the Prophets, they are the Evangelists; they are sound Doctors: to these "I lift up mine eyes, from whence shall come my help." And lest you should think of mere human help, he goes on to say, "My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. The just shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord."...

7. "Blessed is that man that maketh the name of the Lord his trust, and hath not respected vanities or lying madnesses" (ver. 4). Behold the way by which thou wouldest fain have gone. Behold the "multitude that fill the Broad way." [1109] It is not without reason "that" road leads to the amphitheatre. It is not without reason it leads to Death. The "broad way" leads unto death, [1110] its breadth delights for time: its end is straitness to all eternity. Aye; but the multitudes murmur; the multitudes are rejoicing together; the multitudes are hastening along; the multitudes are flocking together! Do not thou imitate them; do not turn aside after them: they are "vanities, and lying madnesses." Let the Lord thy God be thy hope. Hope for nothing else from the Lord thy God; but let the Lord thy God Himself be thine hope. For many persons hope to obtain from God's hands riches, and many perishable and transitory honours; and, in short, anything else they hope to obtain at God's hands, except only God Himself. But do thou seek after thy God Himself: nay, indeed, despising all things else, make thy way unto Him! Forget other things, remember Him. Leave other things behind, and "press forward" [1111] unto Him. Surely it is He Himself, who set thee right, when turned away from the right path; who, now that thou art set in the right path, guides thee aright, who guides thee to thy destination. Let Him then be thy hope, who both guides thee, and guides thee to thy destination. Whither does worldly covetousness lead thee? And to what point does it conduct thee at the last? Thou didst at first desire a farm; then thou wouldest possess an estate; thou wouldest shut out thy neighbours; having shut them out, thou didst set thy heart on the possessions of other neighbours; and didst extend thy covetous desires till thou hadst reached the shore: arriving at the shore, thou covetest the islands: having made the earth thine own, thou wouldest haply seize upon heaven. Leave thou all thy loves. He who made heaven and earth is more beautiful than all.

8. "Blessed is the man that maketh the name of the Lord his hope, and who hath not regarded vanities and lying madnesses." For whence is it that "madness" is called "lying"? Insanity is a lying thing, even as it is sanity that sees the Truth. For what thou seest as good things, [1112] thou art deceived; thou art not in thy sound senses: a violent fever has driven thee to frenzy: that which thou art in love with is not a reality. Thou applaudest the charioteer; thou cheerest the charioteer; thou art madly in love with the charioteer. It is "vanity;" it is "a lying madness." "It is `not'" (he cries). "Nothing can be better; nothing more delightful." What can I do for one in a state of high fever? Pray ye for such persons, if you have any feelings of compassion in you. For the physician himself also in a desperate case generally turns to those in the house, who stand around weeping; who are hanging on his lips to hear his opinion of the patient who is sick and in danger. The physician stands in a state of doubt: he sees not any good to promise; he fears to pronounce evil, lest he should excite alarm. He devises a thoroughly modest sentence: "The good God can do all things. Pray ye for him." Which then of these madmen shall I check? Which of them will listen to me? Which of them would not call us miserable? Because they suppose us to have lost great and various pleasures, of which they are madly fond, in that we are not as madly in love with them as they are: and they do not see that they are "lying" pleasures...."And hath not respected vanities, and lying madnesses." "Such a one has won," he cries; "he harnessed such and such a horse," he proclaims aloud. He would fain be a kind of diviner; he aspires to the honours of divination by abandoning the fountain of Divinity; and he frequently pronounces an opinion, and is frequently mistaken. Why is this? Even because they are "lying madnesses." But why is it that what they say sometimes comes true? That they may lead astray the foolish ones; that by loving the semblance of truth there, they may fall into the snare of falsehood: let them be left behind, let them be "given over," let them be "cut off." If they were members of us, they must be mortified. "Mortify," he says, "your members which are upon the earth." [1113] Let our God be our hope. He who made all things, is better than all! He who made what is beautiful, is more beautiful than all that is such. He who made whatever is mighty, is Himself mightier. He who made whatever is great, is Himself greater. He will be unto you everything that you love. Learn in the creature to love the Creator; and in the work Him who made it. Let not that which has been made by Him detain thine affections, so that thou shouldest lose Him by whom thou thyself wert made also. "Blessed," then, "is the man that maketh the Name of the Lord his trust, and hath not respected vanities and lying madnesses."...

9. We will give him other sights in exchange for such sights as these. And what sights shall we present to the Christian, whom we would fain divert from those sights? I thank the Lord our God; He in the following verse of the Psalm hath shown us what sights we ought to present and offer to spectators who would fain have sights to see? Let us now suppose him to be weaned from the circus, the theatre, the amphitheatre; let him be looking after, let him by all means be looking after, some sight to see; we do not leave him without a spectacle. What then shall we give in exchange for those? Hear what follows.

"Many, O Lord my God, are the wonderful works which Thou hast made" (ver. 5). He used to gaze at the "wonderful works" of man; let him now contemplate the wonderful works of God. "Many are the wonderful works" that God "has made." Why are they become vile in his eyes? He praises the charioteer guiding four horses; running all of them without fault and without stumbling. Perhaps the Lord has not made such "wonderful works" in things spiritual. Let him control lust, [1114] let him control cowardice, [1115] let him control injustice, let him control imprudence, I mean, the passions which falling into excess produce those vices; let him control these and bring them into subjection, and let him hold the reins, and not suffer himself to be carried away; let him guide them the way he himself would have them go; let him not be forced away whither he would not. He used to applaud the charioteer, he himself shall be applauded for his own charioteering; he used to call out that the charioteer should be invested with a dress of honour; he shall himself be clothed with immortality. These are the spectacles, these the sights that God exhibits to us. He cries out of heaven, "My eyes are upon you. Strive, and `I will' assist you; triumph, and I will crown you."

"And in Thy thought there is none that is like unto Thee." Now then look at the actor! For the man hath by dint of great pains learnt to walk upon a rope; and hanging there he holds thee hanging in suspense. Turn to Him who exhibits spectacles far more wonderful. This man hath learned to walk upon the rope; but hath he caused another to walk on the sea? Forget now thy theatre; behold our Peter; not a walker on the rope, but, so to speak, a walker on the sea. [1116] And do thou also walk on other waters (though not on those on which Peter walked, to symbolize a certain truth), for this world is a sea. It hath a deleterious bitterness; it hath the waves of tribulations, the tempests of temptations; it hath men in it who, like fish, delight in their own ruin, and prey upon each other; walk thou here, set thou thy foot on this. Thou wouldest see sights; be thyself a "spectacle." That thy spirit may not sink, look on Him who goes before thee, and says, "We have been made a spectacle unto this world, and unto angels, and unto men." [1117] Tread thou on the waters; suffer not thyself to be drowned in the sea. Thou wilt not go there, thou wilt not "tread it under foot," unless it be His bidding, who was Himself the first to walk upon the sea. For it was thus that Peter spoke. "If Thou art, bid me come unto Thee on the waters." [1118] And because "He was," He heard him when praying; He granted his wish to him when expressing his desire; He raised him up when sinking. These are the "wonderful works" that the "Lord hath made." Look on them; let faith be the eye of him who would behold them. And do thou also likewise; for although the winds alarm thee, though the waves rage against thee, and though human frailty may have inspired thee with some doubt of thy salvation, thou hast it in thy power to "cry out," thou mayest say "Lord, I perish." [1119] He who bids thee walk there, suffers thee not to perish. For in that thou now walkest "on the Rock," thou fearest not even on the sea! If thou art without "the Rock," thou must sink in the sea; for the Rock on which thou must walk is such an one as is not sunk in the sea,

10. Observe then the "wonderful works" of God. "I have declared, and have spoken; they are multiplied beyond number." There is "a number," there are some over and above the number. There is a fixed number that belongs to that heavenly Jerusalem. For "the Lord knoweth them that are His;" [1120] the Christians that fear Him, the Christians that believe, the Christians that keep the commandments, that walk in God's ways, that keep themselves from sins; that if they fall confess: they belong to "the number." But are they the only ones? There are also some "beyond the number." For even if they be but a few (a few in comparison of the numbers of the larger majority), with how great numbers are our Churches filled, crowded up to the very walls; to what a degree do they annoy each other by the pressure, and almost choke each other by their overflowing numbers. Again, out of these very same persons, when there is a public spectacle, [1121] there are numbers flocking to the amphitheatre; these are over and above "the number." But it is for this reason that we say this, that they may be in "the number." Not being present, they do not hear this from us; but when ye have gone from hence, let them hear it from you. "I have declared," he says, "and have spoken." It is Christ who speaks. "He hath declared it," in His own Person, as our Head. He hath Himself declared it by His members. He Himself hath sent those who should "declare" it; He Himself hath sent the Apostles. "Their sound is gone out into all lands, and their words unto the ends of the world." [1122] How great the number of believers that are gathered together; how great the multitudes that flock together; many of them truly converted, many but in appearance: and those who are truly converted are the minority; those who are so but in appearance are the majority: because "they are multiplied beyond the number."

11. ...These are the "wonderful works" of God; these are the "thoughts" of God, to which "no man's thoughts are like;" that the lover of sight-seeing may be weaned from curiosity: [1123] and with us may seek after those more excellent, those more profitable things, in which, when he shall have attained unto them, he will rejoice....

12. "Sacrifice and offering Thou didst not desire" (ver. 6), saith the Psalm to God. For the men of old time, when as yet the true Sacrifice, which is known to the faithful, was foreshown in figures, used to celebrate rites that were figures of the reality that was to be hereafter; many of them understanding their meaning; but more of them in ignorance of it. For the Prophets and the holy Patriarchs understood what they were celebrating; but the rest of the "stiff-necked people" were so carnal, that what was done by them was but to symbolize the things that were to come afterwards; and it came to pass, [1124] when that first sacrifice was abolished; when the burnt-offerings of "rams, of goats, and of calves," and of other victims, had been abolished, "God did not desire them." Why did God not desire them? And why did He at the first desire them? Because all those things were, as it were, the words of a person making a promise; and the expressions conveying a promise, when the thing that they promise is come, are no longer uttered....Those sacrifices then, as being but expressions of a promise, have been abrogated. What is that which has been given as its fulfilment? That "Body;" which ye know; which ye do not all of you know; which, of you who do know it, I pray God all may not know it unto condemnation. Observe the time when it was said; for the person is Christ our Lord, speaking at one time for His members, at another in His own person. "Sacrifice and offering," said He, "Thou didst not desire." What then? Are we left at this present time without a sacrifice? God forbid!

"But a Body hast Thou perfected for me." [1125] It was for this reason that Thou didst not desire the others; that Thou mightest "perfect" this; before Thou "perfectedst" this, Thou didst desire the others. The fulfilment of the promise has done away with the words that express the promise. For if they still hold out a promise, that which was promised is not yet fulfilled. This was promised by certain signs; the signs that convey the promise are done away; because the Substance that was promised is come. We are in this "Body." We are partakers of this "Body." We know that which we ourselves receive; and ye who know it not yet, will know it bye and bye; and when ye come to know it, I pray ye may not receive it unto condemnation. [1126] "For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation unto himself." [1127] "A Body" hath been "perfected" for us; let us be made perfect in the Body.

13. "Burnt-offerings also for sin hast Thou not required." "Then said I, Lo, I come!" (ver. 7). It is time that what "was promised should come;" because the signs, by means of which they were promised, have been put away. And indeed, Brethren, observe these put away; those fulfilled. Let the Jewish nation at this time show me their priest, if they can! Where are their sacrifices? They are brought to an end; [1128] they are put away now. Should we at that time have rejected them? [1129] We do reject them now; because, if you chose to celebrate them now, it were unseasonable; [1130] unfitting at the time; incongruous. You are still making promises; I have already received! There has remained to them a certain thing for them to celebrate; that they might not remain altogether without a sign....In such a case then are they; like Cain with his mark. The sacrifices, however, which used to be performed there, have been put away; and that which remained unto them for a sign like that of Cain, hath by this time been fulfilled; and they know it not. They slay the Lamb; they eat the unleavened bread. "Christ has been sacrificed for us, as our Passover." [1131] Lo, in the sacrifice of Christ, I recognise the Lamb that was slain! What of the unleavened bread? "Therefore," says he, "let us keep the feast; not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of wickedness" (he shows what is meant by "old;" it is "stale" flour; it is sour), "but in the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." [1132] They have continued in the shade; they cannot abide the Sun of Glory. We are already in the light of day. We have "the Body" of Christ, we have the Blood of Christ. If we have a new life, let us "sing a new song, even a hymn unto our God." [1133] "Burnt offerings for sin Thou didst not desire. Then said I, Lo, I come!"

14. "In the head [1134] of the Book it is written of me, that I should fulfil Thy will: O my God, I am willing, and Thy Law is within my heart" (ver. 8). Behold! He turns His regards to His members. Behold! He hath Himself "fulfilled the will" of the Father. But in what "beginning [1135] of a Book" is it written of Him? Perhaps in the beginning of this Book of Psalms. For why should we seek far for it, or examine into other books for it? Behold! It is written in the beginning of this Book of Psalms! "His will is in the Law of the Lord;" [1136] that is, "`O my God, I am willing,' and `Thy Law is within my heart;'" that is the same as, "And in His Law doth he meditate day and night."

15. "I have well declared Thy righteousness in the great congregation" (ver. 9). He now addresses His members. He is exhorting them to do what He has already done. He has "declared;" let us declare also. He has suffered; let us "suffer with Him." He has been glorified; we shall be "glorified with Him." [1137] "I have declared Thy righteousness in the great congregation." How great an one is that? In all the world. How great is it? Even among all nations. Why among all nations? Because He is "the Seed of Abraham, in whom all nations shall be blessed." [1138] Why among all nations? "Because their sound hath gone forth into all lands." [1139] "Lo! I will not refrain my lips, O Lord, and that Thou knowest." My lips speak; I will not "refrain" them from speaking. My lips indeed sound audibly in the ears of men; but "Thou knowest" mine heart. "I will not refrain my lips, O Lord; that Thou knowest." It is one thing that man heareth; another that God "knoweth." That the "declaring" of it should not be confined to the lips alone, and that it might not be said of us, "Whatsoever things they say unto you, do; but do not after their works;" [1140] or lest it should be said to the people, "praising God with their lips, but not with their heart," "This people honoureth Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me;" [1141] do thou make audible confession with thy lips; draw nigh with thine heart also. [1142] "For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; but with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." [1143] In case like unto which that thief was found, who, hanging on the Cross with the Lord, did on the Cross acknowledge the Lord. Others had refused to acknowledge Him while working miracles; this man acknowledged Him when hanging on the Cross. That thief had every other member pierced through; his hands were fastened by the nails; his feet were pierced also; his whole body was fastened to the tree; the body was not disengaged in its other members; the heart and the tongue were disengaged; [1144] "with the heart" he "believed; with the tongue" he made "confession." "Remember me, O Lord," he said, "when Thou comest into Thy kingdom." He hoped for the coming of his salvation at a time far remote; he was content to receive it after a long delay; his hope rested on an object far remote. The day, however, was not postponed! The answer was, "This day shalt thou be with Me in Paradise." [1145] Paradise hath happy trees! This day hast thou been with Me on "the Tree" of the Cross. This day shalt thou be with Me on "the Tree" of Salvation....

16. "I have not hid my [1146] righteousness within my heart" (ver. 10). What is meant by "my righteousness"? My faith. For, "the just shall live by faith." [1147] As suppose the persecutor under threat of punishment, as they were once allowed to do, puts you to the question, "What art thou? Pagan or Christian?" "A Christian." That is his "righteousness." He believeth; he "lives by faith." He doth not "hide his righteousness within his heart." He has not said in his heart, "I do indeed believe in Christ; but I will not tell what I believe to this persecutor, who is raging against me, and threatening me. My God knoweth that inwardly, within my heart, I do believe. He knoweth that I renounce Him not." Lo! you say that you have this inwardly within your heart! What have you upon your lips? "I am not a Christian." Your lips bear witness against your heart. "I have not hid my righteousness within my heart."...

17. "I have declared Thy Truth and Thy Salvation." I have declared Thy Christ. This is the meaning of, "I have declared Thy Truth and Thy Salvation." How is "Thy Truth" Christ? "I am the Truth." [1148] How is Christ "His Salvation"? Simeon recognised the infant in His Mother's hands in the Temple, and said, "For mine eyes have seen Thy Salvation." [1149] The old man recognised the little child; the old man having himself "become a little child" [1150] in that infant, having been renewed by faith. For he had received an oracle from God; and it said this, "The Lord had said unto him, that he was not to depart out of this life, until he had seen the "Salvation of God." This "Salvation of God" it is a good thing to have shown unto men; but let them cry, "Show us Thy mercy, O Lord, and grant us Thy Salvation."...

18. "I have not concealed Thy mercy and Thy Truth from the great congregation." Let us be there; let us also be numbered among the members of this Body: let us not keep back "the mercy" of the Lord, and "the Truth" of the Lord. Wouldest thou hear what "the mercy of the Lord" is? Depart from thy sins; He will forgive thy sins. Wouldest thou hear what "the truth" of the Lord is? Hold fast righteousness. Thy righteousness shall receive a crown. For mercy is announced to you now; "Truth" is to be shown unto thee hereafter. For God is not merciful in such a way as not to be just, nor just in such a way as not to be merciful. Does that mercy seem to thee an inconsiderable one? He will not impute unto thee all thy former sins: thou hast lived ill up to this present day; thou art still living; this day live well; then thou wilt not "conceal" this "mercy." If this is meant by "mercy," what is meant by "truth"?...

19. "Remove not Thou Thy mercies far from me, O Lord" (ver. 11). He is turning his attention to the wounded members. Because I have not "concealed Thy mercy and Thy Truth from the great congregation," from the Unity of the Universal Church, look Thou on Thy afflicted members, look on those who are guilty of sins of omission, and on those who are guilty of sins of commission: and withhold not Thou Thy mercies. "Thy mercy and Thy Truth have continually preserved me." I should not dare to turn from my evil way, were I not assured of remission; I could not endure so as to persevere, if I were not assured of the fulfilment of Thy promise....

"Innumerable evils have compassed me about" (ver. 12). Who can number sins? Who can count his own sins, and those of others? A burden under which he was groaning, who said, "Cleanse Thou me from my secret faults; and from the faults of others, spare Thou Thy servant, O Lord." [1151] Our own are too little; those "of others" are added to the burden. I fear for myself; I fear for a virtuous brother, I have to bear with a wicked brother; and under such burthen what shall we be, if God's mercy were to fail? "But Thou, Lord, remove not afar off." Be Thou near unto us! To whom is the Lord near? "Even" unto them that "are of a broken heart." [1152] He is far from the proud: He is near to the humble. "For though the Lord is high, yet hath He respect unto the lowly." [1153] But let not those that are proud think themselves to be unobserved: for the things that are high, He "beholdeth afar off." He "beheld afar off" the Pharisee, who boasted himself; He was near at hand to succour the Publican, who made confession. [1154] The one extolled his own merits, and concealed his wounds; the other boasted not of his merits, but laid bare his wounds. He came to the Physician; he knew that he was sick, and that he required to be made whole; he "dared not lift up his eyes to Heaven: he smote upon his breast." He spared not himself, that God might spare him; he acknowledged himself guilty, that God might "ignore" the charge against him. He punished himself, that God might free him from punishment....

20. "Mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I could not see." There is a something for us "to see;" what prevents us so that we see it not? Is it not iniquity? From beholding this light [1155] your eye is prevented perhaps by some humour penetrating into it; perhaps by smoke, or dust, or by something else that has been thrown into it: and you have not been able to raise your wounded eye to contemplate this light of day. What then? Will you be able to lift up your wounded heart unto God? Must it not be first healed, in order that thou mayest see? Do you not show your pride, when you say, "First let me see, and then I will believe"? Who is there who says this? For who that would fain see, says, "Let me see, and then I will believe"? I am about to manifest the Light unto thee; or rather the Light Itself would fain manifest Itself to thee! To whom? It cannot manifest Itself to the blind. He does not see. Whence is it that he seeth not? It is that the eye is clogged by the multitude of sins....

21. "They are more than the hairs of my head." He subjects the number of the "hairs of his head" to calculation. Who is there can calculate the number of the hairs of his head? Much less can he tell the number of his sins, which exceed the number of the hairs of his head. They seem to be minute; but they are many in number. You have guarded against great ones; you do not now commit adultery, or murder; you do not plunder the property of others; you do not blaspheme; and do not bear false witness; those are the weightier kind of sins. You have guarded against great sins, what are you doing about your smaller ones? You have cast off the weight; beware lest the sand overwhelm you. "And my heart hath forsaken me." What wonder if thine heart is forsaken by thy God, when it is even "forsaken" by itself? What is meant by "faileth me," "forsaketh me"? Is not capable of knowing itself. He means this: "My heart hath forsaken me." I would fain see God with mine heart, and cannot from the multitude of my sins: that is not enough; mine heart does not even know itself. For no one thoroughly knows himself: let no one presume upon his own state. Was Peter able to comprehend with his own heart the state of his own heart, who said, "I will be with Thee even unto death"? [1156] There was a false presumption in the heart; there was lurking in that heart at the same time a real fear: and the heart was not able to comprehend the state of the heart. Its state was unknown to the sick heart itself: it was manifest to the physician. That which was foretold of him was fulfilled. God knew that in him which he knew not in himself: because his heart had forsaken him, his heart was unknown to his heart.

22. "Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me" (ver. 13). As if he were saying, "`If Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean.' [1157] Be pleased to deliver me. O Lord, look upon me to help me." Look, [1158] that is, on the penitent members, members that lie in pain, members that are writhing under the instruments of the surgeon; but still in hope.

23. "Let them be ashamed and confounded together that seek after my soul to destroy it" (ver. 14). For in a certain passage he makes an accusation, and says, "I looked upon my right hand, and beheld; and there was no man who sought after my soul;" [1159] that is, there was no man to imitate Mine example. Christ in His Passion is the Speaker. "I looked on my right hand," that is, not on the ungodly Jews, but on Mine own right hand, the Apostles,--"and there was no man who sought after My soul." So thoroughly was there no man to "seek after My soul," that he who had presumed on his own strength, "denied My soul." But because a man's soul is sought after in two ways, either in order that you may enjoy his society; or that you may persecute him; therefore he here speaks of others, whom he would have "confounded and ashamed," who are "seeking after his soul." But lest you should understand it in the same way as when he complains of some who did not "seek after his soul," He adds, "to destroy it;" that is, they seek after my soul in order to my death....

24. "Let them be turned backward [1160] and put to shame that wish me evil." "Turned backwards." Let us not take this in a bad sense. He wishes them well; and it is His voice, who said from the Cross, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." [1161] Wherefore then doth he say to them, that they should return "backwards"? Because they who before were proud, so that they fell, are now become humble, so that they may rise again. For when they are before, they are wishing to take precedence of their Lord; to be better than He; but if they go behind Him, they acknowledge Him to be better than they; they acknowledge that He ought to go before; that He should precede, [1162] they follow. Thence He thus rebukes Peter giving Him evil counsel. For the Lord, when about to suffer for our salvation, also foretold what was to happen concerning that Passion itself; and Peter says, "Be it far from Thee," [1163] "God forbid it!" "This shall not be!" He would fain have gone before his Lord; would have given counsel to his Master! But the Lord, that He might make him not go before Him, but follow after Him, says, "Get thee behind, Satan!" It is for this reason He said "Satan," because thou art seeking to go before Him, whom thou oughtest to follow; but if thou art behind, if thou follow Him, thou wilt henceforth not be "Satan." What then? "Upon this Rock I will build My Church." [1164] ...

25. "Let them speedily bear away their own confusion, that say unto me, Well done! Well done!" [1165] (ver. 15). They praise you without reason. "A great man! A good man! A man of education and of learning; but why a Christian?" They praise those things in you which you should wish not to be praised; they find fault with that at which you rejoice. But if perhaps you say, "What is it you praise in me, O man? That I am a virtuous man? A just man? If you think this, Christ made me this; praise Him." But the other says, "Be it far from you. Do yourself no wrong! You yourself made yourself such." "Let them be confounded who say unto me, Well done! Well done!" And what follows?

"Let all those that seek Thee, O Lord, rejoice and be glad" (ver. 16). Those who "seek" not me, but "Thee;" who say not to me, "Well done! Well done!" but see me "glory in Thee," if I have anything whereof to glory; for "he who glories, let him glory in the Lord." [1166] "Let all those who seek Thee, Lord, rejoice and be glad."

"And say continually, the Lord be magnified." For even if the sinner becometh righteous, thou shouldest give the glory to "Him who justifieth the ungodly." [1167] Whether therefore it be a sinner, let Him be praised who calls him to forgiveness; or one already walking in the way of righteousness, let Him be praised who calls him to receive the crown! Let the Name of the Lord be magnified continually by "such as love Thy salvation."

"But I" (ver. 17). I for whom they were seeking evil, I whose "life they were seeking, that they might take it away." But turn thee to another description of persons. But I to whom they said, "Well done! Well done!" "I am poor and needy." There is nothing in me that may be praised as mine own. Let Him rend my sackcloth in sunder, and cover me with His robe. For, "Now I live, not I myself; but Christ liveth in me." [1168] If it is Christ that "liveth in thee," and all that thou hast is Christ's, and all that thou art to have hereafter is Christ's also; what art thou in thyself? "I am poor and needy." Now I am not rich, because I am not proud. He was rich who said, "Lord, I thank Thee that I am not as other men are;" [1169] but the publican was poor, who said, "Lord, be merciful to me a sinner!" The one was belching from his fulness; the other from want was crying piteously, "I am poor and needy!" And what wouldest thou do, O poor and needy man? Beg at God's door; "Knock, and it shall be opened unto thee." [1170] --"As for me, I am poor and needy. Yet the Lord careth for me."--"Cast thy care upon the Lord, and He shall bring it to pass." [1171] What canst thou effect for thyself by taking care what canst thou provide for thyself? Let Him who made thee "care for thee." He who cared for thee before thou wert, how shall He fail to have a care of thee, now that thou art what He would have thee be? For now thou art a believer, now thou art walking in the "way of righteousness." Shall not He have a care for thee, who "maketh His sun rise on the good and on the evil, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust"? [1172] ...

"Thou art my Help, and my Deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God" (ver. 17). He is calling upon God, imploring Him, fearing lest he should fall away: "Make no tarrying." What is meant by "make no tarrying"? We lately read concerning the days of tribulation: "Unless those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved." [1173] The members of Christ--the Body of Christ extended everywhere--are asking of God, as one single person, one single poor man, and beggar! For He too was poor, who "though He was rich, yet became poor, that ye through His poverty might be made rich." [1174] It is He that maketh rich those who are the true poor; [1175] and maketh poor those who are falsely rich. He crieth unto Him; "From the end of the earth I cried unto Thee, when my heart was in heaviness." There will come days of tribulations, and of greater tribulations; they will come even as the Scripture speaks: and as days advance, so are tribulations increased also. Let no one promise himself what the Gospel doth not promise....

Footnotes

[1087] Lat. XXXIX. [1088] Al. "very small." [1089] Ps. xxxiv. 15. [1090] Ps. xxxiv. 16. E.V. "against." Lat. Vulgate, super. [1091] Attendebat te; sed non attendebat tibi. [1092] Or thus, "What horrible pit is that? It is the depth of iniquity. From the lusts of the flesh, for this is meant by the `miry clay.'" [1093] Ps. cxxx. 1. [1094] Eng. Vers. "When the wicked cometh, then cometh also contempt." [1095] Prov. xviii. 3. [1096] 1 Cor. x. 4. [1097] Phil. iii. 12, 13. [1098] 1 Tim. i. 13. [1099] Matt. x. 22. [1100] Ps. vi. 7. [1101] Eph. v. 23. [1102] Rom. viii. 34. [1103] Matt. xxv. 35. [1104] Acts ix. 4. [1105] Hab. ii. 4. [1106] Civitatis Natalem. [1107] [A clear exposition of the Catholic (Nicene) doctrine concerning the merits of the saints.--C.] [1108] Ps. cxxi. 1. [1109] A street perhaps so named. [1110] Matt. vii. 13. [1111] Phil. iii. 14. [1112] mss. want putas; with it, the sense is, "What you see, you think to be good things." [1113] Col. iii. 5. [1114] Luxuriam. [1115] Ignaviam. [1116] Mariambulum. [1117] 1 Cor. iv. 9. [1118] Matt. xiv. 28. [1119] Matt. xiv. 30. [1120] 2 Tim. ii. 19. [1121] Munus. [1122] Ps. xix. 4. [1123] Al. "may be drawn to curiosity. [1124] Et venit. Some mss. en venit veritas, "Lo, the Truth came," which makes easier sense. [1125] Corpus perfecisti, Augustin; aures perfecisti, Vulgate; corpus aptasti, Heb. x. 5, Vulgate. [1126] Judicium. So Vulgate. [1127] 1 Cor. xi. 29. [1128] Perierunt. [1129] Reprobaremus. [1130] Intemporale. [1131] 1 Cor. v. 7. [1132] 1 Cor. v. 8. [1133] Supra, ver. 3. [1134] Capite. [1135] Capite. [1136] Ps. i. 2. [1137] Rom. viii. 17. [1138] Gen. xxii. 18. [1139] Ps. xix. 4. [1140] Matt. xxiii. 3. [1141] Isa. xxix. 31. [1142] Sona labiis, propinqua corde. [Audible confession, in the great congregation, was the primitive discipline. But St. Chrysostom, who teaches the like discipline, urges to private penitence before God as all-sufficient. Hom. xxxi. In Hebr. tom. xii. p. 216, ed. Migne.--C.] [1143] Rom. x. 10. [1144] Corpus illud non vacabat cæteris membris; lingua vacabat et cor. [1145] Luke xxiii. 42, etc. [1146] E.V. "Thy." So Vulgate also, tuam. [1147] Hab. ii. 4; Rom. i. 17. [1148] John xiv. 6. [1149] Luke ii. 30. [1150] Factus in puero puer. He alludes to Matt. xviii. 3, "Except ye be converted, and become as little children." [1151] Ps. xix. 12. [1152] Ps. xxxiv. 18; Isa. lvii. 15. [1153] Ps. cxxxviii. 6. [1154] Luke xviii. 9-14. [1155] Natural light. [1156] Luke xxii. 33. [1157] Matt. viii. 2. [1158] Oxf. mss. repeat respice. [1159] Ps. cxlii. 4. [1160] E.V. "driven backwards." Text, convertantur. [1161] Luke xxiii. 34. [1162] Priorem. [1163] Matt. xvi. 22. [1164] Matt. xvi. 18. [1165] E.V. "Let them be desolate for a reward of their shame, that say unto me, Aha! Aha!" [1166] 1 Cor. i. 31. [1167] Rom. iv. 5. [1168] Gal. ii. 20. [1169] Luke xviii. 11. [1170] Matt. vii. 7. [1171] Ps. lv. 22. [1172] Matt. v. 45. [1173] Matt. xxiv. 22. [1174] 2 Cor. viii. 9. [1175] Compare Matt. v. 3, "Blessed are the poor in spirit," and Luke vi. 20, "Blessed be ye poor." .


Psalm XLI. [1176]

To the people, on the Feast of the Martyrs.

1. The solemn day of the Martyrs hath dawned; therefore to the glory of the Passion of Christ, the Captain of Martyrs, who spared not Himself, ordering His soldiers to the fight; but first fought, first conquered, that their fighting He might encourage by His example, and aid with His majesty, and crown with His promise: let us hear somewhat from this Psalm pertaining to His Passion. I commend unto you oftentimes, nor grieve I to repeat, what for you is useful to retain, that our Lord Jesus Christ speaketh often of Himself, that is, in His own Person, which is our Head; often in the person of His Body, which are we and His Church; but so that the words sound as from the mouth of one, that we may understand the Head and the Body to consist together in the unity of integrity, and not be separated the one from the other; as in that marriage whereof it is said, "They two shall be one flesh." [1177] If then we acknowledge two in one flesh, let us acknowledge two in one voice. First, that which responding to the reader [1178] we have sung, though it be from the middle of the Psalm, from that I will take the beginning of this Sermon.

"Mine enemies speak evil of Me, When He shall die, then shall His Name perish" (ver. 5). This is the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ: but see if herein are not understood the members also. This was spoken also when our Lord Himself walked in the flesh here on earth....When they saw the people go after Him, they said, "When He shall die, then shall His Name perish;" that is, when we have slain Him, then shall His Name be no more in the earth, nor shall He seduce any, being dead; but by that very slaying of Him shall men understand, that He was but a man whom they followed, that there was in Him no hope of salvation, and shall desert His Name, and it shall no more be. He died, and His Name perished not, but His Name was sown as seed: He died, but He was a grain, which dying, the corn immediately sprang up. [1179] When glorified then was our Lord Jesus Christ, began they much more, and much more numerously to trust in Him; then began His members to hear what the Head had heard. Now then our Lord Jesus Christ being in heaven set down, and Himself in us labouring on earth, still spake His enemies, "When He shall die, then shall His Name perish." For hence stirred up the devil persecutions in the Church to destroy the Name of Christ. Unless haply ye think, brethren, that those Pagans, when they raged against Christians, said not this among themselves, "to blot out the Name of Christ from the earth." That Christ might die again, not in the Head, but in His Body, were slain also the Martyrs. To the multiplying of the Church availed the Holy Blood poured forth, to help Its seminating came also the death of the Martyrs. "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His Saints." [1180] More and more were the Christians multiplied, nor was it fulfilled which spake the enemies, "When He shall die, then shall His Name perish." Even now also is it spoken. Down sit the Pagans, and compute them the years, they hear their fanatics [1181] saying, A time shall come when Christians shall be none, and those idols must be worshipped as before they were worshipped: still say they, "When He shall die, then shall His Name perish." Twice conquered, now the third time be wise! Christ died, His Name has not perished: the Martyrs died, multiplied more is the Church, groweth through all nations the Name of Christ. He who foretold of His own Death, and of His Resurrection, He who foretold of His Martyrs' death, and of their crown, He Himself foretold of His Church things yet to come, if truth He spake twice, has He the third time lied? Vain then is what ye believe against Him; better is it that ye believe in Him, that ye may "understand upon the needy and poor One;" [1182] that "though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich." [1183] ...

2. "Blessed is he that understandeth upon the needy and poor One: in the evil day shall the Lord deliver him" (ver. 1). For the evil day will come: will thou, nill thou, come it will: the Day of Judgment will come upon thee, an evil day if thou "understand not the needy and poor." For what now thou wilt not believe, shall be made manifest in the end. But neither shalt thou escape, when it shall be made manifest, because thou believest not, when it is kept secret. Invited art thou, what thou seest not to believe, lest when thou see, thou be put to the blush. "Understand then upon the needy and poor One," that is, Christ: understand in Him the hidden riches, whom poor thou seest. "In Him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." [1184] For thereby in the evil day shall He deliver thee, in that He is God: but in that He is man, and that which in Him is human hath raised to life, and changed for the better, He hath lifted (thee [1185] ) to heaven. But He who is God, who would have one person in man and with man, could neither decrease nor increase, neither die nor rise again. He died out of man's infirmity, but God dieth not....But as we rightly say, Such a man died, though his soul dieth not; so we rightly say, Christ died, though His Divinity dieth not. Wherefore died? Because needy and poor. Let not His death offend thee, and avert thee from beholding His Divinity. "Blessed is he that understandeth upon the needy and poor One." Consider also the poor, the needy, the hungry and thirsty, the naked, the sick, the prisoners; understand also upon such poor, for if upon such thou understand, thou understandest upon Him who said, "I was an hungred, I was thirsty, I was a stranger, naked, sick, in prison;" [1186] so in the evil day shall the Lord deliver thee....

3. "And deliver him not into the hand of his enemy" (ver. 2). The enemy is the devil. Let none think of a man his enemy, when he hears these words. Haply one thought of his neighbour, of him who had a suit with him in court, of him who would take from him his own possession, of him who would force him to sell to him his house. Think not this; but that enemy think of, of whom said the Lord, "an enemy hath done this." [1187] For He it is who suggests that for things earthly he be worshipped, for overthrow the Christian Name this enemy cannot. For he hath seen himself conquered by the fame and praises of Christ, he hath seen, whereas he slew Christ's Martyrs, that they are crowned, he triumphed over. He hath begun to be unable to persuade men that Christ is nought; and because by reviling Christ, he now with difficulty deceives, by lauding Christ, he endeavours to deceive. Before this what said he? Whom worship ye? A Jew, dead, crucified, a man of no moment, who could not even from himself drive away death. When after His Name he saw running the whole human race, saw that in the Name of the Crucified temples are thrown down, idols are broken, sacrifices abolished; and that all these things predicted in the Prophets are considered by men, by men with wonder astonished, and closing now their hearts against the reviling of Christ; he clothes himself with praise of Christ, and begins to deter from the faith in another manner. Great is the law of Christ, powerful is that law, divine, ineffable! but who fulfilleth it? In the name of our Saviour, [1188] "tread upon the lion and the dragon." [1189] By reviling openly roared the lion; by lauding craftily lurks the dragon. Let them come to the faith, who doubted; and not say, Who fulfilleth it? If on their own strength they presume, they will not fulfil it. Presuming on the grace of God let them believe, presuming (on it) let them come; to be aided come, not to be judged. So live all the faithful in the Name of Christ, each one in his degree fulfilling the commands of Christ, whether married, or celibates and virgins, they live as much as God granteth them to live; neither presume they in their own strength, but know that in Him they ought to glory....

4. "The Lord help him" (ver. 3). But when? Haply in heaven, haply in the life eternal, that so it remain to worship the devil for earthly needs, for the necessities of this life. Far be it! Thou hast "promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come." [1190] He came unto thee on earth, by Whom were made heaven and earth. Consider then what He saith, "The Lord help him, on his bed of pain." The bed of pain is the infirmity of the flesh; lest thou shouldest say, I cannot hold, and carry, and tie up my flesh; thou art aided that thou mayest. The Lord help thee on thy bed of pain. Thy bed did carry thee, thou carriedst not thy bed, but wast a paralytic inwardly; He cometh who saith to thee, "Take up thy bed, and go thy way into thy house." [1191] "The Lord help him on his bed of pain." Then to the Lord Himself He turneth, as though it were asked, [1192] Why then, since the Lord helpeth us, suffer we such great ills in this life, such great scandals, such great labours, such disquiet from the flesh and the world? He turneth to God, and as though explaining to us the counsel of His healing, He saith, "Thou hast turned all his bed in his infirmity." By the bed is understood anything earthly. Every soul that is infirm in this life seeketh for itself somewhat whereon to rest, because intensity of labour, and of the soul extended toward God, it can hardly endure perpetually, somewhat it seeketh on earth whereon to rest, and in a manner with a kind of pausing to recline, as are those things which innocent ones love....The innocent man resteth in his house, his family, his wife, his children; in his poverty, his little farm, his orchard planted with his own hand, in some building fabricated with his own study; in these rest the innocent. But yet God willing us not to have love but of life eternal, even with these, though innocent delights, mixeth bitterness, that even in these we may suffer tribulation, and so He turneth all our bed in our infirmity. "Thou hast turned all his bed in his infirmity." Let him not then complain, when in these things which he hath innocently, he suffereth some tribulations. He is taught to love the better, by the bitterness of the worse; lest going a traveller to his country, he choose the inn instead of his own home.

5. But why this? Because He "scourgeth every son whom He receiveth." [1193] Why this? Because to men sinning was it said, "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread." [1194] Therefore because all these chastisements, in which all our bed is turned in our infirmity, man ought to acknowledge that he suffers for sin; let him turn himself, and say what follows: "I said, Lord, be merciful unto me; heal my soul, for I have sinned against Thee" (ver. 4). O Lord, by tribulations do Thou exercise me; to be scourged Thou judgest every son whom Thou wilt receive, who sparedst not even the Only-Begotten. He indeed without sin was scourged; but I say, "I have sinned against Thee."...

6. "Mine enemies speak evil of Me, When He shall die, then shall His Name perish" (ver. 5). Of this we have already spoken, [1195] and from this began.

7. "And entered in [1196] to see" (ver. 6). What Christ suffered, that suffereth also the Church; what the Head suffered, that suffer also the Members. "For the disciple is not above his Master, nor the servant above his Lord." [1197] ...

If to Christ's Members thou belongest, come within, cling to the Head. Endure the tares if thou art wheat, endure the chaff if thou art grain. [1198] Endure the bad fish within the net if thou art a good fish. Wherefore before the time of winnowing dost thou fly away? Wherefore before the time of harvest, dost thou root up the corn also with thyself? Wherefore before thou art come to the shore, hast thou broken the nets? "They go abroad, and tell it."

8. "All mine enemies whisper against Me unto the same thing" (ver. 7). Against Me all unto the same thing. How much better with me unto the same thing, than against me [1199] "unto the same thing." What is, "Against me unto the same thing"? With one counsel, with one conspiring. Christ then speaketh unto thee, Ye consent against Me, consent ye to Me: why against Me? wherefore not with Me? That same thing if ye had always had, ye had not divided you into schisms. For, saith the Apostle, "I beseech you, brethren, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no division among you." [1200] "All mine enemies whisper against Me unto the same thing:" against Me do they "devise evil to Me." To themselves rather, for "they have gathered iniquity to themselves;" but therefore to Me, because by their intention they are to be weighed: for not because to do nothing was in their power, to do nothing was in their will. For the devil lusted to extinguish Christ, and Judas would slay Christ; yet Christ slain and rising again, we are made alive, but to the devil and to Judas is rendered the reward of their evil will, not of our salvation....The intention wherewith they spake, not what they spake, did He consider, who related that they spake evil of Him, "Against Me they devised evil to Me." And what evil to Christ, to the Martyrs what evil? All hath God turned to good.

9. "An ungodly word do they set forth against Me" (ver. 8). What sort of ungodly word? Listen to the Head Itself. "Come, let us kill Him, and the inheritance shall be ours." [1201] Fools! How shall the inheritance be yours? Because ye killed Him? Lo! ye even killed Him; yet shall not the inheritance be yours. "Shall not He that sleepeth add this also, that He rise again"? When ye exulted that ye had slain Him, He slept; for He saith in another Psalm, "I slept." They raged and would slay Me; "I slept." If I had not willed, I had not even slept. "I slept," because "I have power to lay down My life, and I have power to take it again." [1202] "I laid Me down and slept, and rose up again." [1203] Rage then the Jews; be "the earth given into the hands of the wicked," [1204] be the flesh left to the hands of persecutors, let them on wood suspend it, with nails transfix it, with a spear pierce it. "Shall He that sleepeth, not add this, that He rise up again?" Wherefore slept He? Because "Adam is the figure of Him that was to come." [1205] And Adam slept, when out of his side was made Eve. [1206] Adam in the figure of Christ, Eve in the figure of the Church; whence she was called "the mother of all living." [1207] When was Eve created? While Adam slept. When out of Christ's side flowed the Sacraments of the Church? While He slept upon the Cross....

10. "The man of My peace, in whom I trusted, which did eat of My bread, hath enlarged his heel against Me" (ver. 9): hath raised up his foot against Me: would trample upon Me. Who is this man of His peace? Judas. And in him did Christ trust, that He said, "in whom I trusted"? Did He not know him from the beginning? Did He not before he was born know that he would be? Had He not said to all His disciples, "I have chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil"? [1208] How then trusted He in him, but that He is in His Members, and that because many faithful trusted in Judas, the Lord transferred this to Himself?..."The man of My peace, in whom I trusted, which did eat of My bread." How showed He him in His Passion? By the words of His prophecy: by the sop He marked Him out, that it might appear said of him, "Which did eat of My bread." [1209] Again, when he came to betray Him, He granted him a kiss, [1210] that it might appear said of him, "The man of My peace."

11. "But Thou, O Lord, be merciful unto Me" (ver. 10). This is the person of a servant, this is the person of the needy and poor: for, [1211] "Blessed is he that understandeth upon the needy and poor One." See, as it was spoken, "Be merciful unto Me, and raise Me up, and I will requite them," so is it done. For the Jews slew Christ, lest they should lose their place. [1212] Christ slain, they lost their place. Rooted out of the kingdom were they, dispersed were they. He, raised up, requited them tribulation, He requited them unto admonition, not yet unto condemnation. For the city wherein the people raged, as a ramping and a roaring lion, crying out, "Crucify Him, Crucify Him," [1213] the Jews rooted out therefrom, hath now Christians, by not one Jew is inhabited. [1214] There is planted the Church of Christ, whence were rooted out the thorns of the synagogue. For truly this fire blazed "as the fire of thorns." [1215] But the Lord was as a green tree. This said Himself, when certain women mourned Christ as dying...."For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in a dry?" When can a green tree be consumed by the fire of thorns? For they blazed as fire among thorns. Fire consumeth thorns, but whatsoever green tree it is applied to, is not easily kindled....Yet lest ye think that God the Father of Christ could raise up Christ, that is, the Flesh of His Son, and that Christ Himself, though He be the Word equal with the Father, could not raise up His own Flesh; hear out of the Gospel, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." [1216] "But," said the Evangelist (lest even after this we should doubt), "He spake of the temple of His Body. Raise Me up, and I will requite them."

12. "By this I know that Thou favourest Me, that Mine enemies shall not triumph over Me" (ver. 11.) Because the Jews did triumph, when they saw Christ crucified; they thought that they had fulfilled their will to do Him hurt: the fruits of their cruelty they saw in effect, Christ hanging on the Cross: they shook their heads, saying, "If Thou be the Son of God, come down from the Cross." [1217] He came not down, who could; His Potency He showed not, but patience taught. For if, on their saying these things, He had come down from the Cross, He would have seemed as it were to yield to them insulting, and not being able to endure reproach, would have been believed conquered: more firm remained He upon the Cross, than they insulting; fixed was He, they wavering. For therefore shook they their heads, because to the true Head they adhered not. He taught us plainly patience. For mightier is that which He did, who would not do what the Jews challenged. For much mightier is it to rise from the sepulchre, than to come down from the Cross. "That Mine enemies shall not triumph over Me." They triumphed then at that time. Christ rose again, Christ was glorified. Now see they in His Name the human race converted: now let them insult, now shake the head: rather now let them fix the head, or if they shake the head, in wonder and admiration let them shake....

13. "But as for Me, Thou upholdest Me, because of Mine innocence" (ver. 12). Truly innocence; integrity without sin, requiting without debt, scourging without desert. "Thou upholdest Me because of Mine innocence, and hast made Me strong in Thy sight for ever." Thou hast made Me strong for ever, Thou madest Me weak for a time: Thou hast made Me strong in Thy sight, Thou madest Me weak in sight of men. What then? Praise to Him, glory to Him. "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel." For He is the God of Israel, our God, the God of Jacob, the God of the younger son, the God of the younger people. Let none say, Of the Jews said He this, I am not Israel; rather the Jews are not Israel. For the elder son, he is the elder people reprobated; the younger, the people beloved. "The elder shall serve the younger:" [1218] now is it fulfilled: now, brethren, the Jews serve us, they are as our satchellers, [1219] we studying, they carry our books. Hear wherein the Jews serve us, and not without reason....With them are the Law and the Prophets, in which Law, and in which Prophets, Christ is preached. When we have to do with Pagans, and show this coming to pass in the Church of Christ, which before was predicted of the Name of Christ, of the Head and Body of Christ, lest they think that we have forged these predictions, and from things which have happened, as though they were future, had made them up, we bring forth the books of the Jews. The Jews forsooth are our enemies, from an enemy's books convince we the adversary. [1220] ...If any enemy clamour and say, "Ye for yourselves have forged prophecies;" be the books of the Jews brought forth, because the elder shall serve the younger. Therein let them read those predictions, which now we see fulfilled; and let us all say, "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting, and all the people shall say, So be it, So be it."

Footnotes

[1176] Lat. XL. [1177] Gen. ii. 24; Eph. v. 31. [1178] [He begins with the "Antiphon;" i.e., a verse selected from the Psalm as expressing the chief thought of the Psalmist or the spirit of the festival. This was interjected, at set places, in response to the reader.--C.] [1179] John xii. 24. [1180] Ps. cxvi. 15. [1181] In the City of God, b. xviii. c. 53, 54, he mentions that the heathens had some Greek verses, in the form of an oracle, to the effect that the magical arts of Peter had prevailed to procure divine worship to Christ for 365 years, after which it was to terminate. This period, he says, if computed from the first Pentecost after the Resurrection, would expire in the consulship of Honorius and Eutychianus, A.D. 398. The next year, which ought to have seen paganism re-established, was marked by the demolition of idols by imperial authority.--Ben. [See vol. ii. p. 394, this series.--C.] [1182] Ps. xli. 1. [1183] 2 Cor. viii. 9. [1184] Col. ii. 3. [1185] Or "It," reading as Ben. Oxf. mss. have "not in that He is Man; and that which in Him was human, in thee He will raise again, and change to better, and lift to heaven." The future, "shall lift," is probably right. Ed. Ben. gives no various readings here; our mss. vary somewhat. [1186] Matt. xxv. 35, 36. [1187] Matt. xiii. 28. [1188] Oxf. mss. "It is fulfilled in the Name," etc. [1189] Ps. xci. 13. [1190] 1 Tim. iv. 8. [1191] Mark ii. 11. [1192] Al. "he complained." [1193] Heb. xii. 6. [1194] Gen. iii. 19. [1195] [On the Antiphon, p. 128, supra.--C.] [1196] Al. "if they entered in." [1197] Matt. x. 24. [1198] Matt. xiii. 30. [1199] "Than," etc., added from Oxf. mss. [1200] 1 Cor. i. 10. [1201] Mark xii. 7. [1202] John x. 18. [1203] Ps. iii. 5. [1204] Job ix. 24. [1205] Rom. v. 14. [1206] Gen. ii. 21. [1207] Gen. iii. 20. [1208] John vi. 70. [1209] John xiii. 26. [1210] Matt. xxvi. 49. [1211] [He recurs to ver. 1.--C.] [1212] John xi. 48. [1213] Luke xxiii. 21. [1214] [Circa A.D. 400. Very noteworthy. Till the middle of our century only three hundred were permitted to dwell there; now nearly twenty thousand are said to inhabit Jerusalem. Is it a sign? Luke xxi. 24.--C.] [1215] Ps. cxviii. 12. [1216] John ii. 19. [1217] Matt. xxvii. 39, 40. [1218] Gen. xxv. 13. [1219] Capsarii. [1220] [Notably with reference to the book of Daniel. See Pusey on Daniel the Prophet, p. viii. preface, and 1-8, ed. Oxford, 1864.--C.] .


Psalm XLII. [1221]

1. We have undertaken the exposition of a Psalm corresponding to your own "longings," on which we propose to speak to you. For the Psalm itself begins with a certain pious "longing;" and he who sings so, says, "Like as the hart desireth the water-brooks, so longeth my soul after Thee, O God" (ver. 1). Who is it then that saith this? It is ourselves, if we be but willing! And why ask, who it is other than thyself, when it is in thy power to be the thing which thou art asking about? It is not however one individual, but it is "One Body;" but "Christ's Body is the Church." [1222] Such "longing" indeed is not found in all who enter the Church: let all however who have "tasted" the sweetness "of the Lord," [1223] and who own in Christ that for which they have a relish, think that they are not the only ones; but that there are such seeds scattered throughout "the field" of the Lord, this whole earth: and that there is a certain Christian unity, whose voice thus speaks, "Like as the hart desireth the water-brooks, so longeth my soul after Thee, O God." And indeed it is not ill understood as the cry of those, who being as yet Catechumens, [1224] are hastening to the grace of the holy Font. On which account too this Psalm is ordinarily [1225] chanted on those occasions, that they may long for the Fountain of remission of sins, even "as the hart for the water-brooks." Let this be allowed; and this meaning retain its place in the Church; a place both truthful and sanctioned by usage. [1226] Nevertheless, it appears to me, my brethren, that such "a longing" is not fully satisfied even in the faithful in Baptism: but that haply, if they know where they are sojourning, and whither they have to remove from hence, their "longing" is kindled in even greater intensity.

2. The title then of it is, "On the end: a Psalm for understanding for the sons of Korah." We have met with the sons of Korah in other titles of Psalms: [1227] and remember to have discussed and stated already the meaning of this name. Yet we must even now take notice of this title in such a way, that what we have said already should be no prejudice against our saying it again: for all were not present in every place where we said it. Now Korah may have been, as indeed he was, a certain definite person; and have had sons, who might be called "the sons of Korah;" let us however search for the secret of which this is the sacrament, that this name may bring to light the mystery with which it is pregnant. For there is some great mystery in the matter that the name "sons of Korah" is given to Christians. Why "sons of Korah"? They are "sons of the bridegroom, sons of Christ." [1228] Why then does "Korah" stand for Christ? Because "Korah" is equivalent to "Calvaria."...Therefore, the "sons of the bridegroom," the sons of His Passion, the sons redeemed by His Blood, the sons of His Cross, who bear on their forehead that which His enemies erected on Calvary, are called "the sons of Korah;" to them is this Psalm sung as a Psalm for "understanding." Let then our understanding be roused: and if the Psalm be sung to us, let us follow it with our "understanding."...Run to the brooks; long after the water-brooks. "With God is the fountain of Life;" a "fountain" that shall never be dried up: in His "Light" is a Light that shall never be darkened. Long thou for this light: for a certain fountain, a certain light, such as thy bodily eyes know not; a light to see which the inward eye must be prepared; a fountain, to drink of which the inward thirst is to be kindled. Run to the fountain; long for the fountain; but do it not anyhow, be not satisfied with running like any ordinary animal; run thou "like the hart." What is meant by "like the hart"? Let there be no sloth in thy running; run with all thy might: long for the fountain with all thy might. For we find in "the hart" an emblem of swiftness.

3. But perhaps Scripture meant us to consider in the stag not this point only, but another also. Hear what else there is in the hart. It destroys serpents, [1229] and after the killing of serpents, it is inflamed with thirst yet more violent; having destroyed serpents, it runs to "the water-brooks," with thirst more keen than before. The serpents are thy vices, destroy the serpents of iniquity; then wilt thou long yet more for "the Fountain of Truth." Perhaps avarice whispers in thine ear some dark counsel, hisses against the word of God, hisses against the commandment of God. And since it is said to thee, "Disregard this or that thing," if thou prefer working iniquity to despising some temporal good, thou choosest to be bitten by a serpent, rather than destroy it. Whilst, therefore, thou art yet indulgent to thy vice, thy covetousness or thy appetite, when am I to find in thee "a longing" such as this, that might make thee run to the water-brooks?...

4. There is another point to be observed in the hart. It is reported of stags...that when they either wander in the herds, or when they are swimming to reach some other parts of the earth, that they support the burdens of their heads on each other, in such a manner as that one takes the lead, and others follow, resting their heads upon him, as again others who follow do upon them, and others in succession to the very end of the herd; but the one who took the lead in bearing the burden of their heads, when tired, returns to the rear, and rests himself after his fatigue by supporting his head just as did the others; by thus supporting what is burdensome, each in turn, they both accomplish their journey, and do not abandon each other. Are they not a kind of "harts" that the Apostle addresses, saying, "Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the Law of Christ"? [1230] ...

5. "My soul is athirst for the living God" (ver. 2). What I am saying, that "as the hart panteth after the water-brooks, so longs my soul after Thee, O God," means this, "My soul is athirst for the living God." For what is it athirst? "When shall I come and appear before God?" This it is for which I am athirst, to "come and to appear before Him." I am athirst in my pilgrimage, in my running; I shall be filled on my arrival. But "When shall I come?" And this, which is soon in the sight of God, is late to our "longing." [1231] "When shall I come and appear before God?" This too proceeds from that "longing," of which in another place comes that cry, "One thing have I desired of the Lord; that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life." Wherefore so? "That I may behold" (he saith) "the beauty of the Lord." [1232] "When shall I come and appear before the Lord?"...

6. "My tears have been my meat day and night, while they daily say unto me, Where is thy God?" (ver. 3). My tears (he saith) have been not bitterness, but "my bread." Those very tears were sweet unto me: being athirst for that fountain, inasmuch as I was not as yet able to drink of it, I have eagerly made my tears my meat. For he said not, "My tears became my drink," lest he should seem to have longed for them, as for "the water-brooks:" but, still retaining that thirst wherewith I burn, and by which I am hurried away towards the water-brooks, "My tears became my meat," whilst I am not yet there. [1233] And assuredly he does but the more thirst for the water-brooks from making his tears his meat...."And they daily say unto me, Where is thy God?" For if a Pagan should say this to me, I cannot retort it upon him, saying, "Where is thine?" inasmuch as he points with his finger to some stone, and says, "Lo, there is my God!" When I have laughed at the stone, and he who pointed to it has been put to the blush, he raises his eyes from the stone, looks up to heaven, and perhaps says, pointing his finger to the Sun, "Behold there my God! Where, I pray, is your God?" He has found something to point out to the eyes of the flesh; whereas I, on my part, not that I have not a God to show to him, cannot show him what he has no eyes to see. For he indeed could point out to my bodily eyes his God, the Sun; but what eyes hath he to which I might point out the Creator of the Sun?...

7. "I thought on these things, and poured out my soul above myself" [1234] (ver. 4). When would my soul attain to that object of its search, which is "above my soul," if my soul were not to "pour itself out above itself"? For were it to rest in itself, it would not see anything else beyond itself; and in seeing itself, would not, for all that, see God. Let then my insulting enemies now say, "Where is thy God?" aye, let them say it! I, so long as I do not "see," so long as my happiness is postponed, make my tears my "bread day and night." Let them still say, "Where is thy God?" I seek my God in every corporeal nature, terrestrial or celestial, and find Him not: I seek His Substance in my own soul, and I find it not, yet still I have thought on these things, and wishing to "see the invisible things of my God, being understood by the things made," [1235] I have poured forth my soul above myself, and there remains no longer any being for me to attain to, save my God. For it is "there" is the "house of my God." His dwelling-place is above my soul; from thence He beholds me; from thence He created me; from thence He directs me and provides for me; from thence he appeals to [1236] me, and calls me, and directs me; leads me in the way, and to the end of my way. [1237] ...

8. For when I was "pouring out my soul above myself," in order to reach my God, why did I do so? "For I will go into the place of Thy Tabernacle." For I should be in error were I to seek for my God without "the place of His tabernacle." "For I will go into the place of Thy wonderful tabernacle, even unto the house of God."

"I will go," he says, "into the place of the wonderful tabernacle, even unto the house of God!" For there are already many things that I admire in "the tabernacle." See how great wonders I admire in the tabernacle! For God's tabernacle on earth is the faithful; I admire in them the obedience of even their bodily members: that in them "Sin does not reign so that they should obey its lusts; neither do they yield their members instruments of unrighteousness unto sin; but unto the living God in good works." [1238] I admire the sight of the bodily members warring in the service of the soul that serves God....And wonderful though the tabernacle be, yet when I come to "the house of God," I am even struck dumb with astonishment. Of that "house" he speaks in another Psalm, after he had put a certain abstruse and difficult question to himself (viz., why is it that it generally goes well with the wicked on earth, and ill with the good?), saying, "I thought to know this; it is too painful for me, until I go into the sanctuary of God, and understand of the last things." [1239] For it is there, in the sanctuary of God, in the house of God, is the fountain of "understanding." There he "understood of the last things;" and solved the question concerning the prosperity of the unrighteous, and the sufferings of the righteous. How does he solve it? Why, that the wicked, when reprieved here, are reserved for punishments without end; and the good when they suffer here, are being tried in order that they may in the end obtain the inheritance. And it was in the sanctuary of God that he understood this, and "understood of the last things."...For he tells us of his progress, and of his guidance thither; as if we had been saying, "You are admiring the tabernacle here on earth; how came you to the sanctuary of the house of God?" he says, "In the voice of joy and praise; the sound of keeping holiday." Here, when men keep festival simply for their own indulgence, it is their custom to place musical instruments, or to station a chorus of singers, [1240] before their houses, or any kind of music that serves and allures to wantonness. And when these are heard, what do we passers by say? "What is going on here?" And we are told in answer, that it is some festival. "It is a birthday that is being celebrated" (say they), "there is a marriage here;" that those songs may not appear out of place, but the luxurious indulgence [1241] may be excused by the festive occasion. In the "house of God" there is a never-ending festival: for there it is not an occasion celebrated once, and then to pass away. [1242] The angelic choir makes an eternal "holiday:" the presence of God's face, joy that never fails. This is a "holiday" of such a kind, as neither to be opened by any dawn, nor terminated by any evening. From that everlasting perpetual festivity, a certain sweet and melodious strain strikes on the ears of the heart, provided only the world do not drown the sounds. As he walks in this tabernacle, and contemplates God's wonderful works for the redemption of the faithful, the sound of that festivity charms his ears, and bears the "hart" away to "the water-brooks."

9. But seeing, brethren, so long as "we are at home in this body, we are absent from the Lord;" [1243] and "the corruptible body presseth down the soul, and the earthly tabernacle weigheth down the mind that museth on many things;" [1244] even though we have some way or other dispersed the clouds, by walking as "longing" leads us on, and for a brief while have come within reach of that sound, so that by an effort we may catch something from that "house of God," yet through the burden, so to speak, of our infirmity, we sink back to our usual level, and relapse to our ordinary state. [1245] And just as there we found cause for rejoicing, so here there will not be wanting an occasion for sorrow. For that hart that made "tears" its "bread day and night," borne along by "longing to the water-brooks" (that is, to the spiritual delights of God), "pouring forth his soul above himself," that he may attain to what is "above" his own soul, walking towards "the place of the wonderful tabernacle, even unto the house of God," and led on by the sweetness of that inward spiritual [1246] sound to feel contempt for all outward things, and be borne on to things spiritual, is but a mortal man still; is still groaning here, still bearing about the frailty of flesh, still in peril in the midst of the "offences" [1247] of this world. He therefore glances back to himself, [1248] as if he were coming from that world; and says to himself, now placed in the midst of these sorrows, comparing these with the things, to see which he had entered in there, and after seeing which he had come forth from thence;

"Why art thou cast down, O my soul, and why dost thou disquiet me?" (ver. 5). Lo, we have just now been gladdened by certain inward delights: with the mind's eye we have been able to behold, though but with a momentary glance, something not susceptible of change: why dost thou still "disquiet me, why art thou" still "cast down"? For thou dost not doubt of thy God. For now thou art not without somewhat to say to thyself, in answer to those who say, "Where is thy God?" I have now had the perception of something that is unchangeable; why dost thou disquiet me still?

"Hope in God." Just as if his soul was silently replying to him, "Why do I disquiet thee, but because I am not yet there, where that delight is, to which I was, as it were, rapt for a moment? [1249] Am I already `drinking' from this `fountain' with nothing to fear?"...Still "Hope in God," is his answer to the soul that disquiets him, and would fain account for her disquiet from the evils with which this world abounds. In the mean while dwell in hope: for "hope that is seen is not hope; but if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it." [1250]

10. "Hope in God." Why "hope"? "For I will confess unto Him." What wilt thou "confess"? "My God is the saving health of my countenance." My "health" (my salvation) cannot be from myself; this it is that I will say, that I will "confess." It is my God that is "the saving health of my countenance." [1251] For to account for his fears, in the midst of those things, which he now knows, having come after a sort to the "understanding" of them, [1252] he has been looking behind him again in anxiety, lest the enemy be stealing upon him: he cannot yet say, "I am made whole every whit." For having but "the first-fruits of the Spirit, we groan within ourselves; waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of the body." [1253] When that "health" (that salvation) is perfected in us, then shall we be living in the house of God for ever, and praising for ever Him to whom it was said, "Blessed are they that dwell in Thy house, they will be praising Thee world without end." [1254] This is not so yet, because the salvation which is promised, is not as yet in being; but it is "in hope" that I confess unto God, and say, "My God is the saving health of my countenance." For it is "in hope" that "we are saved; but hope that is seen, is not hope."...

11. "My soul is disquieted on account of myself" [1255] (ver. 6). Is it disquieted on account of God? It is on my own account it is disquieted. By the Unchangeable it was revived; it is by the changeable it is disquieted. I know that the righteousness of God remaineth; whether my own will remain stedfast, I know not. For I am alarmed by the Apostle's saying, "Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall." [1256] Therefore since "there is no soundness in me for myself," there is no hope either for me of myself. "My soul is disquieted on account of myself."..."Therefore I remember Thee, O Lord, from the land of Jordan, and from the little hill of Hermon." From whence did I remember thee? From the "little hill," and from the "land of Jordan." Perhaps from Baptism, where the remission of sins is given. For no one runs to the remission of sins, except he who is dissatisfied with himself; no one runs to the remission of sins, but he who confesses himself a sinner; no one confesses himself a sinner, except by humbling himself before God. Therefore it is from "the land of Jordan I have remembered thee, and from the hill;" observe, not "of the great hill," that thou mayest make of the "little hill" a great one: for "whoso exalteth himself shall be abased, and whoso humbleth himself shall be exalted." If you would also ask the meanings of the names, Jordan means "their descent." Descend then, that thou mayest be "lifted up:" be not lifted up, lest thou be cast down. "And the little hill of Hermon." Hermon means "anathematizing." Anathematize thyself, by being displeased with thyself; for if thou art pleased with thyself, God will be displeased with thee. Because then God gives us all good things, because He Himself is good, not because we are worthy of it; because He is merciful, not because we have in anything deserved it; it is from "the land of Jordan, and from Hermon," that I remember thee. And because he so remembers with humility, he shall earn his exaltation to fruition, [1257] for he is not "exalted" in himself, who "glories in the Lord."

12. "Deep calleth unto deep with the voice of thy water-spouts" [1258] (ver. 7). I may perhaps finish the Psalm, aided as I am by your attention, whose fervour I perceive. As for your fatigue in hearing, I am not greatly solicitous, since you see me also, who speak, toiling in the heat of these exertions. [1259] Assuredly it is from your seeing me labouring, that you labour with me: for I am labouring not for myself, but for you. "Deep calleth unto deep with the voice of thy water-spouts." It was God whom he addressed, who "remembered him from the land of Jordan and Hermon." It was in wonder and admiration he spake this: "Abyss calleth unto abyss with the voice of Thy water-spouts." What abyss is this that calls, and to what other abyss? Justly, because the "understanding" [1260] spoken of is an "abyss." For an "abyss" is a depth that cannot be reached or comprehended; and it is principally applied to a great body of water. For there is a "depth," a "profound," the bottom of which cannot be reached by sounding. Furthermore, it is said in a certain passage, [1261] "Thy judgments are a mighty abyss," Scripture meaning to suggest that the judgments of God are incomprehensible. What then is the "abyss" that calls, and to what other "abyss" does it call? If by "abyss" we understand a great depth, is not man's heart, do you not suppose, "an abyss"? For what is there more profound than that "abyss"? Men may speak, may be seen by the operations of their members, may be heard speaking in conversation: but whose thought is penetrated, whose heart seen into? What he is inwardly engaged on, what he is inwardly capable of, [1262] what he is inwardly doing or what purposing, what he is inwardly wishing to happen, or not to happen, who shall comprehend? I think an "abyss" may not unreasonably be understood of man, of whom it is said elsewhere, "Man shall come to a deep heart, and God shall be exalted." [1263] If man then is an "abyss," in what way doth "abyss" call on "abyss"? Does man "call on" man as God is called upon? No, but "calls on" is equivalent to "calls to him." For it was said of a certain person, he calls on death; [1264] that is, lives in such a way as to be inviting death; for there is no man at all who puts up a prayer, and calls expressly on death: but men by evil-living invite death. "Deep [1265] calls on deep," then, is, "man calls to man." Thus is it wisdom is learnt, and thus faith, when "man calls to man." The holy preachers of God's word call on the "deep:" are they not themselves "a deep" also?...

13. "Deep calleth to deep with the voice of Thy water-spouts." I, who tremble all over, when my soul was disquieted on account of myself, feared greatly on account of Thy "judgments."...Are those judgments slight ones? They are great ones, severe, hard to bear; but would they were all. "Deep calls to deep with the voice of Thy water-spouts," in that Thou threatenest, Thou sayest, that there is another condemnation in store even after those sufferings. "Deep calls on deep with the voice of Thy water-spouts." "Whither then shall I go from Thy presence? And whither shall I flee from Thy Spirit?" seeing that deep calls to deep, and after those sufferings severer ones are to be dreaded.

14. "All Thy overhangings [1266] and Thy waves are come upon me." The "waves" in what I already feel, the "overhangings" in that Thou denouncest. All my sufferings are Thy waves; all Thy denouncements of judgments are Thy "overhangings." In the "waves" that deep "calleth;" in the "overhangings" is the other "deep" which it "calls to." In this that I suffer are all Thy waves; in the severer punishment that Thou threatenest, all Thy "overhangings" are come unto me. For He who threatens does not let His judgments fall upon us, but keeps them suspended over us. [1267] But inasmuch as Thou sittest at liberty, I have thus spoken unto my soul. "Hope in God: for I will confess unto Him. My God is the saving health of my countenance." The more numerous my sufferings, the sweeter will be Thy mercy.

15. Therefore follows: "The Lord will commend His loving-kindness in the day-time; and in the night-time will He declare it" [1268] (ver. 8). In tribulation no man has leisure to hear: attend, when it is well with you; hear, when it is well with you; learn, when you are in tranquillity, the discipline of wisdom, and store up the word of God as you do food. For in tribulation every one must be profited by what he heard in the time of security. For in prosperity God "commends to thee His mercy," in case thou serve Him faithfully, for He frees thee from tribulation; but it is "in the night" only that He "declares" His mercy to thee, which He "commended" to thee by day. When tribulation shall actually come, He will not leave thee destitute of His help; He will show thee that which He commended to thee in the daytime is true. For it is written in a certain passage, "The mercy of the Lord is seasonable [1269] in the time of affliction, as clouds of rain in the time of drought." "The Lord hath commended His loving-kindness in the day-time, and in the night will He declare it." He does not show that He is thine Helper, unless tribulation come, from whence thou must be rescued by Him who promised it to thee "in the day-time." Therefore we are warned to be like "the ant." For just as worldly prosperity is signified by "the day," adversity by the night, so again in another way worldly prosperity is expressed by "the summer," adversity by the winter. And what is it that the ant does? She lays up in summer what will be useful to her in winter. Whilst therefore it is summer, whilst it is well with you, whilst you are in tranquillity, hear the word of the Lord. For how can it be that in the midst of these tempests of the world, you should pass through the whole of that sea, without suffering? How could it happen? To what mortal's lot has it fallen? If even it has been the lot of any, that very calm is more to be dreaded. "The Lord hath commended His loving-kindness in the day-time, and in the night-time will He declare it."..."There is with me prayer unto the God of my life." This I make my business here; I who am the "hart thirsting and longing for the water-brooks," calling to mind the sweetness of that strain, by which I was led on through the tabernacle even to the house of God; whilst this "corruptible body presseth down the soul," [1270] there is yet with me "prayer unto the God of my life." For in order to making supplication unto God, I have not to buy aught from places beyond the sea; or in order that He may hear me, have I to sail to bring from a distance frankincense and perfumes, or have I to bring "calf or ram from the flock." There is "with me prayer to the God of my life." I have within a victim to sacrifice; I have within an incense to place on the altar; I have within a sacrifice wherewith to propitiate my God. "The sacrifice of God is a troubled spirit." What sacrifice of a "troubled spirit" I have within, hear.

16. "I will say unto God, Thou art my lifter up. Why hast Thou forgotten me?" (ver. 9). For I am suffering here, even as if Thou hadst forgotten me. But Thou art trying me, and I know that Thou dost but put off, not take utterly from me, what Thou hast promised me. But yet, "Why hast Thou forgotten me?" So cried our Head also, as if speaking in our name. "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?" [1271] I will say unto God, "Thou art my lifter up; why hast Thou forgotten me?"

17. "Why hast Thou rejected me?" [1272] "Rejected" me, that is to say, from that height of the apprehension of the unchangeable Truth. "Why hast Thou rejected me?" Why, when already longing for those things, have I been cast down to these, by the weight [1273] and burden of my iniquity? This same voice in another passage said, "I said in my trance" [1274] (i.e., in my rapture, when he had seen some great thing or other), "I said in my trance, I am cast out of the sight of Thine eyes." For he compared these things in which he found himself, to those toward which he had been raised; and saw himself cast out far "from the sight of God's eyes," as he speaks even here, "Why hast Thou rejected me? Why go I mourning, while mine enemy troubleth me, while he breaketh my bones?" Even he, my tempter, the devil; while offences are everywhere on the increase, because of the abundance of which "the love of many is waxing cold." [1275] When we see the strong members of the Church generally giving way to the causes of offence, does not Christ's body say, "The enemy breaketh my bones"? For it is the strong members that are "the bones;" and sometimes even those that are strong sink under their temptations. For whosoever of the body of Christ considers this, does he not exclaim, with the voice of Christ's Body, "Why hast Thou rejected me? Why go I mourning, while mine enemy troubleth me, while he breaketh my bones?"

You may see not my flesh merely, but even my "bones." To see those who were thought to have some stability, giving way under temptations, so that the rest of the weak brethren despair when they see those who are strong succumbing; how great, my brethren, are the dangers!

18. "They who trouble me cast me in the teeth." Again that voice! "While they say daily unto me, Where is thy God?" (ver. 10). And it is principally in the temptations of the Church they say this, "Where is thy God?" How much was this cast in the teeth of the Martyrs! Those men so patient and courageous for the name of Christ, how often was it said to them, "Where is your God?" "Let Him deliver you, if He can." For men saw their torments outwardly; they did not inwardly behold their crowns! "They who trouble me cast me in the teeth, while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God?" And on this account, seeing "my soul is disquieted on account of myself," what else should I say unto it than those words:

"Why art thou cast down, O my soul; and why dost thou disquiet me?" (ver. 11). And, as it seems to answer, "Wouldest thou not have me disquiet thee, placed as I am here in so great evils? Wouldest thou have me not disquiet thee, panting as I am after what is good, thirsting and labouring as I am for it?" What should I say, but,

"Hope thou in God; for I will yet confess unto Him" (ver. 11). He states the very words of that confession; he repeats the grounds on which he fortifies his hope. "He is the health of my countenance, and my God."

Footnotes

[1221] Lat. XLI. [1222] Col. i. 24. [1223] Ps. xxxiv. 8. [1224] [See Bingham, b. x. cap. 2. Catechised in Lent, to be baptized at Easter. See the treatise on Faith and Works.--C.] [1225] Solenniter. [1226] Et veracem et solennem. [1227] Later Psalms had been treated before. [1228] Matt. ix. 15. Filii sponsi, Lat. [1229] [See p. 67, supra.--C.] [1230] Gal. vi. 2. [1231] Citius Deo, tardum desiderio. [1232] Ps. xxvii. 4. [1233] Differor. [1234] Super me; Vulgate, in me. Compare Aristotle, Eth. ix. 9: nooumen hoti nooumen; to d' aisthEURnesthai e noein, hoti aisthanometha e nooumen, [esti to aisthEURnesthai e noein] hoti esmen; to gar einai en to aisthEURnesthai e noein, k. t. l. "By the exercise of the powers of sensation and of thought, we become conscious of the exercise of those powers of sensation and of thought, and thereby conscious of our own being, for being is implied in the exercise of the powers of thought and sensation." [1235] Rom. i. 20. [1236] Excitat. [1237] Ducit...perducit. [1238] Rom. vi. 12, 13. [1239] Ps. lxxiii. 16, 17. [1240] Symphoniacos. [1241] Luxuria. Most mss. lætitia, "the mirth." [1242] Non enim aliquid ibi celebratur et transit. [1243] 2 Cor. v. 6. [1244] Wisd. ix. 15. [1245] Compare Wordsworth's Excursion, "Despondency Corrected," p. 120:-- "`Tis a thing impossible to frame Conceptions equal to the soul's desires, And the most difficult of tasks to keep Heights which the soul is competent to gain. Man is of dust; ethereal hopes are his, Which, when they should sustain themselves aloft, Want due consistence; like a pillar of smoke That with majestic energy from earth Rises, but having reach'd the thinner air Melts and dissolves, and is no longer seen." Compare also p. 122:-- "Alas! the endowment of immortal power Is match'd unequally with custom, time, And domineering faculties of sense In all...in most with superadded foes," etc. [1246] Intelligibilis, answering to the Greek noetou. [1247] Matt. xviii. 7. [1248] ...Inter scandala Respexit ergo ad se. [1249] Per transitum. [1250] Rom. viii. 24, 25. [1251] E.V. "I shall yet give Him thanks for the help of His countenance." [1252] Utcunque intellecta cognoscit. [1253] Rom. viii. 23. [1254] Ps. lxxxiv. 4. [1255] E.V. "within." [1256] 1 Cor. x. 12. [1257] Exaltatus perfrui merebitur. [1258] Cataractarum. [1259] Ita in his laboribus sudare. [1260] In the title of the Psalm. [1261] Ps. xxxvi. 6, 7. [1262] "Quid intus gerat, quid possit." [1263] Ps. lxiv. 6, 7. [1264] Wisd. i. 16. [1265] Abyssum invocat. [1266] Suspensiones; Vulgate, excelsa; E.V. "billows." [1267] Non premit sed suspendit. Perhaps his idea is rather, "suspends us over the abyss." [1268] E.V. "In the night-time His song shall be with me." [1269] Ecclus. xxxv. 26. ;;Oraion zleos; Vulgate, Speciosa misericordia. [1270] Wisd. ix. 15. [1271] Matt. xxvii. 46; Ps. xxii. 1. [1272] Ut quid me repulisti. Neither in the Vulgate nor in our version. [1273] Gravedine. [1274] In ecstasi meá. Ps. xxxi. 22. E.V. "in my haste." [1275] Matt. xxiv. 12. .


Psalm XLIII. [1276]

1. This Psalm is a short one; it satisfies the mental cravings of the hearers, without imposing too severe a trial on the hunger of those fasting. [1277] Let our soul feed upon it; our soul, which he who sings in this Psalm, speaks of as "cast down;" cast down, I suppose, either in consequence of some fist, or rather in consequence of some hunger he was in. For fasting is a voluntary act; being an-hungered is an involuntary thing. That which is an-hungered, is the Church, is the Body of Christ: and that "Man" who is extended throughout the whole world, of which the Head is above, the limbs below: it is His voice which ought by this time to be perfectly known, and perfectly familiar, to us, in all the Psalms; now chanting joyously, now sorrowing; now rejoicing in hope, now sighing at its actual state, even as if it were our own. We need not then dwell long on pointing out to you, who is the speaker here: let each one of us be a member of Christ's Body; and he will be speaker here....

2. "Judge me, O Lord, and separate my cause from the ungodly nation" (ver. 1). I do not dread Thy judgment, because I know Thy mercy. "Judge me, O God," he cries. Now, meanwhile, in this state of pilgrimage, Thou dost not yet separate my place, because I am to live together with the "tares" even to the time of the "harvest:" Thou dost not as yet separate my rain from theirs; my light from theirs: "separate my cause." Let a difference be made between him who believes in Thee, and him who believes not in Thee. Our infirmity is the same; but our consciences not the same: our sufferings the same; but our longings not the same. "The desire of the ungodly shall perish," [1278] but as to the desire of the righteous, we might well doubt, if He were not "sure" who promised. The object of our desires is He Himself, who promiseth: He will give us Himself, because He has already given Himself to us; He will give Himself in His immortality to us then immortal, even because He gave Himself in His mortality to us when mortal....

3. And since patience is needful in order to endure, until the harvest, a certain distinction without separation, [1279] if we may so speak (for they are together with us, and therefore not yet separated; the tares however being still tares, and the corn still corn, and therefore they are already distinct); since then a kind of strength [1280] is needful, which must be implored of Him who bids us to be strong, and without whose making us strong, we should not be what He bids us to be; of Him who said, "He that endures unto the end shall be saved," [1281] lest the soul's powers should be impaired in consequence of her ascribing any strength to herself, he subjoins immediately,

"For Thou, O God, art my strength: why hast Thou cast me off, and why go I mourning, while the enemy harasseth me?" (ver. 2). I go mourning: the enemy is harassing me with daily temptations: inspiring either some unlawful love, or some ungrounded cause of fear; and the soul that fights against both of them, though not taken prisoner by them, yet being in danger from them, is contracted with sorrow, and says unto God, "Why?"

Let her then ask of Him, and hear "Why?" For she is in the Psalm enquiring the cause of her dejection; saying, "Why hast Thou cast me off? and why go I mourning?" Let her hear from Isaiah; let the lesson which has just been read, suggest itself to her. "The spirit shall go forth from me, and every breath have I made. For iniquity have I a little afflicted him; I hid my face from him, and he departed from me sorrowful in the ways of his heart." [1282] Why then didst thou ask, "Why hast Thou cast me off, and why go I mourning?" Thou hast heard, it was "for iniquity." "Iniquity" is the cause of thy mourning; let "Righteousness" be the cause of thy rejoicing! Thou wouldest sin; and yet thou wouldest fain not suffer; so that it was too little for thee to be thyself unrighteous, without also wishing Him to be unrighteous, in that thou wouldest fain not be punished by Him. Consider a speech of a better kind in another Psalm. "It is good for me that Thou hast humbled me, that I might learn Thy righteousnesses." [1283] By being lifted up, I had learned my own iniquities; let me by being "humbled," learn "Thy righteousnesses." "Why go I mourning, while the enemy harasses me?" Thou complainest of the enemy. It is true he does harass thee; but it was thou didst "give place" [1284] to him. And even now there is a course open to thee; choose the course of prudence; admit thy King, shut the tyrant out.

4. But in order that she may do this, hear what she says, what she supplicates, what she prays for. Pray thou for what thou hearest; pray for it when thou hearest it; let these words be the voice of us all: "O send out Thy Light and Thy Truth. They have led me, and brought me on unto Thy holy hill, and into Thy Tabernacles" (ver. 3). For that very "Light" and "Truth" are indeed two in name; the reality expressed is but One. For what else is the "Light" of God, except the "Truth" of God? Or what else is the "Truth" of God, except the "Light" of God? And the one Person of Christ is both of these. "I am the Light of the world: he that believeth on Me, shall not walk in darkness." "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life." [1285] He is Himself "the Light:" He is Himself "the Truth." Let Him come then and rescue us, and "separate at once our cause from the ungodly nation; let Him deliver us from the deceitful and unjust man," let him separate the wheat from the tares, for at the time of harvest He will Himself send His Angels, that they may "gather out of His kingdom all things that offend," [1286] and cast them into flaming fire, while they gather together the corn into the garner. He will send out His "Light," and His "Truth;" for that they have already "brought us and led us to His holy hill, and into His Tabernacles." We possess the "earnest;" [1287] we hope for the prize. "His holy Hill" is His holy Church. It is that mountain which, according to Daniel's vision, [1288] grew from a very small "stone," till it crushed the kingdoms of the earth; and grew to such a size, that it "filled the face of the earth." This is the "hill," from which he tells us that his prayer was heard, who says, "I cried unto the Lord with my voice, and He heard me out of His holy hill." [1289] Let no one of those that are without that mountain, hope to be heard unto eternal life. For many are heard in their prayers for many things. Let them not congratulate themselves [1290] on being heard; the devils were heard in their prayer, that they might be sent into the swine. Let us desire to be heard unto eternal life, by reason of our longing, through which we say, "Send out Thy Light and Thy Truth." [1291] That is a "Light" which requires the eye of the heart. For "Blessed" (He saith) "are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." [1292] We are now on His Hill, that is, in His Church, and in His Tabernacle. The "tabernacle" is for persons sojourning; the house, for those dwelling in one community. [1293] The tabernacle is also for those who are both from home, and also in a state of warfare. When thou hearest of a tabernacle, form a notion of a war; guard against an enemy. But what shall the house be? "Blessed are they that dwell in Thine house: they will be alway praising Thee." [1294]

5. Now then that we have been led on even to "the Tabernacle," and are placed on "His holy Hill," what hope do we carry with us?

"Then will I go in unto the Altar of God" (ver. 4). For there is a certain invisible Altar on high, which the unrighteous man approaches not. To that Altar he alone draws nigh, who draws nigh to this one without cause to fear. There he shall find his Life, who in this one "separates his cause." "And I will go in unto the Altar of God." From His holy Hill, and from His Tabernacle, from His Holy Church, I will go in unto the Altar of God on High. What manner of Sacrifice is there? He himself who goeth in is taken for a burnt-offering. "I will go in unto the Altar of God." What is the meaning of what he says, "The Altar of my God"?

"Unto God, who makes glad my youth." Youth signifies newness: just as if he said, "Unto God, who makes glad my newness." It is He who makes glad my newness, who hath filled my old estate [1295] with mourning. For now "I go mourning" in oldness, then shall "I stand," exulting in newness!

"Yea, upon the harp will I praise Thee, O God my God." What is the meaning of "praising on the harp," and praising on the psaltery? For he does not always do so with the harp, nor always with the psaltery. These two instruments of the musicians have each a distinct meaning of their own, worthy of our consideration and notice. They are both borne in the hands, and played by the touch; and they stand for certain bodily works of ours. Both are good, if one knows how to play the psaltery, [1296] or to play the harp. [1297] But since the psaltery is that instrument which has the shell [1298] (i.e. that drum, that hollow piece of wood, by straining on which [1299] the chords resound) on the upper part of it, whereas the harp has that same concave sounding-board on the lower part, there is to be a distinction made between our works, when they are "upon the harp," when "on the psaltery:" both however are acceptable to God, and grateful to His ear. When we do anything according to God's Commandments, obeying His commands and hearkening to Him, that we may fulfil His injunctions, when we are active and not passive, it is the psaltery that is playing. For so also do the Angels: for they have nothing to suffer. But when we suffer anything of tribulation, of trials, of offences on this earth (as we suffer only from the inferior part of ourselves; i.e. from the fact that we are mortal, that we owe somewhat of tribulation to our original cause, [1300] and also from the fact of our suffering much from those who are not "above"); this is "the harp." For there rises a sweet strain from that part of us which is "below:" we "suffer," and we strike the psaltery, [1301] or shall I rather say we sing and we strike the harp....

6. And again, in order that he may draw the sound from that sounding-board below, he addresses his soul: he says, "Why art thou sorrowful, O my soul, and why dost thou disquiet me?" (ver. 5). I am in tribulations, in weariness, [1302] in mourning, "Why dost thou disquiet me, O my soul?" Who is the speaker, to whom is he speaking? That it is the soul to which he is speaking, everybody knows: for it is obvious: the appeal is addressed to it directly: "Why art thou sorrowful, O my soul, and why dost thou disquiet me?" The question is as to the speaker. It is not the flesh addressing the soul, surely, since the flesh cannot speak without the soul. For it is more appropriate for the soul to address the flesh, than for the flesh to address the soul....We perceive then that we have a certain part, in which is "the image of God;" viz. the mind and reason. [1303] It was that same mind that prayed for "God's Light" and "God's Truth." It is the same mind by which we apprehend [1304] right and wrong: it is by the same that we discern truth from falsehood. It is this same that we call "understanding;" which "understanding," indeed, is wanting to the brutes. And this "understanding" whoever neglects in himself, and holds it in less account than the other parts of his nature, and casts it off, just as if he had it not, is addressed in the Psalm, "Be ye not as the horse and the mule, which have no understanding." [1305] It is our "understanding" then that is addressing our soul. The latter is withered away from tribulations, worn out in anguish, [1306] made "sorrowful" in temptations, fainting in toils. The mind, catching a glimpse of Truth above, would fain rouse her spirits, and she says, "Why art thou sorrowful, O my soul?"...

7. These expressions, brethren, are safe ones: but yet be watchful in good works. Touch "the psaltery," by obeying the Commandments; touch the harp, by patiently enduring your sufferings. You have heard from Isaiah, "Break thy bread to the hungry;" [1307] think not that fasting by itself is sufficient. Fasting chasteneth thine own self: it does not refresh others. Thy distress will profit thee, if thou affordest comfort [1308] to others. See, thou hast denied thyself; to whom wilt thou give that of which thou hast deprived thyself? Where wilt thou bestow what thou hast denied thyself? How many poor may be filled [1309] by the breakfast [1310] we [1311] have this day given up? Fast in such a way that thou mayest rejoice, that thou hast breakfasted, while another has been eating; fast on account of thy prayers, that thou mayest be heard in them. For He says in that passage, "Whilst thou art yet speaking I will say, Here I am," [1312] provided thou wilt with cheerful mind "break thy bread to the hungry." For generally this is done by men reluctantly and with murmurs, to rid themselves of the wearisome importunity of the beggar, not to refresh the bowels of him that is needy. But it is "a cheerful giver" that "God loves." [1313] If thou givest thy bread reluctantly, thou hast lost both the bread, and the merit of the action. Do it then from the heart: that He "who seeth in secret," [1314] may say, "whilst thou art yet speaking, Here I am." How speedily are the prayers of those received, who work righteousness! And this is man's righteousness in this life, fasting, alms, and prayer. Wouldest thou have thy prayer fly upward to God? Make for it those two wings of alms and fasting. Such may God's "Light" and God's "Truth" find us, that He may find us without cause for fear, when He comes to free us from death, who has already come to undergo death for us. Amen.

Footnotes

[1276] Lat. XLII. [1277] Ventribus. It is noted that this was an afternoon sermon on a fast-day. [1278] Ps. cxii. 14. [1279] Quandam indiscretam discretionem. [1280] Fortitudine. [1281] Matt. xxiv. 31. [1282] Isa. lvii. 16, 17. [1283] Ps. cxix. 71. [1284] Eph. iv. 27. [1285] John viii. 12, xiv. 6. [1286] Matt. xiii. 41. [1287] Pignus. [1288] Dan. ii. 35. [1289] Ps. iii. 4. [1290] Sibi plaudant. [1291] Matt. viii. 31, 32. [1292] Matt. v. 8. [1293] Cohabitantium. [1294] Ps. lxxxiv. 4. [1295] Vetustatem. [1296] Psallere. [1297] Citharizare. [1298] Testudinem. [1299] Cui innitentes. [1300] Prima nostra causa. He seems to mean our original from Adam. [1301] Psallimus. [1302] Al. "anguishes." [1303] T. Aquin. Prolog ad. I. II. Per imaginem Dei significatur (sicut Damascen. dicit), intellectuale, et arbitrio liberum; et per se potestativum. [1304] Capimus. [1305] Ps. xxxii. 9. [1306] Some mss. languoribus. [1307] Isa. lviii. 7. [1308] Latitudinem. [1309] Saginare. [1310] Prandium. [1311] Al. "you." [1312] Isa. lviii. 9 and lxv. 24. [1313] 2 Cor. ix. 7. [1314] Matt. vi. 6. .


Psalm XLIV. [1315]

1. This Psalm is addressed "to the sons of Korah," as its title shows. Now Korah is equivalent to the word baldness; [1316] and we find in the Gospel that our Lord Jesus Christ was crucified in "the place of a skull." [1317] It is clear then that this Psalm is sung to the "sons of His `Passion.'" Now we have on this point a most certain and most evident testimony from the Apostle Paul; because that at the time when the Church was suffering under the persecutions of the Gentiles, he quoted from hence a verse, to insert by way of consolation, and encouragement to patience. For that which he inserted in his Epistle, is said here: "For Thy sake are we killed all the day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter." [1318] Let us then hear in this Psalm the voice of the Martyrs; and see how good is the cause which the voice of the Martyrs pleads, saying, For Thy sake, etc....

2. The title then is not simply "To the sons of Korah," but, "For understanding, to the sons of Korah." This is the case also with that Psalm, the first verse of which the Lord Himself uttered on the Cross: "My God, My God, look upon Me; why hast Thou forsaken Me?" [1319] For "transferring us in a figure" [1320] to what He was saying, and to His own Body (for we are also "His Body," and He is our "Head"), He uttered from the Cross not His own cry, but ours. For God never "forsook" Him: nor did He Himself ever depart from the Father; but it was in behalf of us that He spake this: "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken Me?" For there follows, "Far from My health are the words of My offences:" and it shows in whose person He said this; for sin could not be found in Him....

3. "O God, we have heard with our ears; our fathers have told us the work that Thou didst in their days, and in the days of old" (ver. 1). Wondering wherefore, in these days, He has seemingly forsaken those whom it was His will to exercise in sufferings, they recall the past events which they have heard of from their fathers; as if they said, It is not of these things that we suffer, that our fathers told us! For in that other Psalm also, He said this, "Our fathers trusted in Thee; they trusted, and Thou didst deliver them. But I am a worm and no man; a reproach of men, and the outcast of the people." [1321] They trusted, and Thou didst deliver them; have I then hoped, and hast Thou forsaken me? And have I believed upon Thee in vain? And is it in vain that my name has been written in Thy Book, [1322] and Thy name has been inscribed on me? What our fathers told us was this:

"Thy hand destroyed the nations; and Thou plantedst them: Thou didst weaken the peoples, and cast them out" (ver. 2). That is to say: "Thou didst drive out `the peoples' from their own land, that Thou mightest bring `them' in, and plant them; and mightest by Thy mercy stablish their kingdom." These are the things that we heard from our fathers. But perhaps it was because they were brave, were men of battle, were invincible, were well-disciplined, and warlike, that they could do these things. Far from it. This is not what our fathers told us; this is not what is contained in Scripture. But what does it say, but what follows?

"For they gat not the land in possession by their own sword, neither did their own arm save them; but Thy right hand, and Thine arm, and the light of Thy countenance" (ver. 3). Thy "right hand" is Thy Power: Thine "arm" is Thy Son Himself. [1323] And "the light of Thy countenance." What means this, but that Thou wert present with them, in miracles of such a sort that Thy presence was perceived. For when God's presence with us appears by any miracle, do we see His face with our own eyes? No. It is by the effect of the miracle He intimates to man His presence. In fact, what do all persons say, who express wonder at facts of this description? "I saw God present." "But Thy right hand, and Thine arm, and the light of Thy countenance; because Thou pleasedst in them:" [1324] i.e. didst so deal with them, that Thou wert well-pleasing in them: that whoso considered how they were being dealt with, might say, that "God is with them of a truth;" and it is God that moves [1325] them.

4. "What? Was He then other than now He is?" Away with the supposition. For what follows?

"Thou art Thyself [1326] my King and my God." (ver. 4). "Thou art Thyself;" for Thou art not changed. I see that the times are changed; but the Creator of times is unchanged. "Thou art Thyself my King and my God." Thou art wont to guide me: to govern me, to save me. "Thou who commandest salvation unto Jacob." What is, "Thou who commandest"? Even though in Thine own proper Substance and Nature, in which Thou art whatsoever Thou art, Thou wast hid from them; and though Thou didst not converse with the fathers in that which Thou art in Thyself, so that they could see Thee "face to face," yet by any created being whatsoever "Thou commandest salvation unto Israel." For that sight of Thee "face to face" is reserved for those set free in the Resurrection. And the very "fathers" of the New Testament too, although they saw Thy mysteries revealed, although they preached the secret things so revealed to them, nevertheless said that they themselves saw but "in a glass, darkly," but that "seeing face to face" [1327] is reserved to a future time, when what the Apostle himself speaks of shall have come. "When Christ our life shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory." [1328] It is against that time then that vision "face to face" is reserved for you, of which John also speaks: "Beloved, we are now the sons of God: and it doth not yet appear what we shall be. We know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is." [1329] Although then at that time our fathers saw Thee not as Thou art, "face to face," although that vision is reserved against the resurrection, yet, even though they were Angels who presented themselves, it is Thou, "Who commandest salvation unto Jacob." Thou art not only present by Thine own Self; but by whatsoever created being Thou didst appear, it is Thou that dost "command" by them, that which Thou doest by Thine own Self in order to the salvation of Thy servants: but that which they do whom Thou "commandest" it, is done to procure the salvation of Thy servants. Since then Thou art Thyself "my King and my God, and Thou commandest salvation unto Jacob," wherefore are we suffering these things?

5. But perhaps it is only what is past that has been described to us: but nothing of the kind is to be hoped for by us for the future. Nay indeed, it is still to be hoped for. "Through Thee will we winnow away [1330] our enemies" (ver. 5). Our fathers then have declared to us a work that Thou didst "in their days, and in the days of old," that Thy hand destroyed the Gentiles: that Thou "didst cast out the peoples; and didst plant them." Such was the past; but what is to be hereafter? "Through Thee we shall winnow away our enemies." A time will come, when all the enemies of Christians will be winnowed away like chaff, be blown like dust, and be cast off from the earth....Thus much of the future. "I will not trust in my bow," even as our fathers did not in "their sword. Neither shall my sword help me" (ver. 6).

6. "For Thou hast saved us from our enemies" (ver. 7). This too is spoken of the future under the figure of the past. But this is the reason that it is spoken of as if it were past, that it is as certain as if it were past. Give heed, wherefore many things are expressed by the Prophets as if they were past; whereas it is things future, not past facts that are the subject of prophecy. For the future Passion of our Lord Himself was foretold: [1331] and yet it says, "They pierced My hands and My feet. They told all My bones;" not, "They shall pierce," and "shall tell." "They looked and stared upon Me;" not "They shall look and stare upon Me." "They parted My garments among them." It does not say, "They shall part" them. All these things are expressed as if they were past, although they were yet to come: because to God things to come also are as certain as if they were past....It is for this reason, in consequence of their certainty, that those things which are yet future, are spoken of as if past. This it is then that we hope. For it is, "Thou hast saved us from our enemies, and hast put them to shame that hated us."

7. "In God will we boast [1332] all the day long" (ver. 8). Observe how he intermingles words expressive of a future time, that you may perceive that what was spoken of before as in past time was foretold of future times. "In God will we boast all day long; and in Thy name will we confess for ever." [1333] What is, "We shall boast"? What, "We shall confess"? That Thou hast "saved us from our enemies;" that Thou art to give us an everlasting kingdom: that in us are to be fulfilled the words, "Blessed are they that dwell in Thine house: they will be always praising Thee." [1334]

8. Since then we have the certainty that these things are to be hereafter, and since we have heard from our fathers that those we spoke of were in time past, what is our state at present? "But now Thou hast cast us off, and put us to shame" (ver. 9). Thou hast "put us to shame" not before our own consciences, but in the sight of men. For there was a time when Christians were persecuted; when in every place they were outcasts, when in every place it used to be said, "He is a Christian!" as if it conveyed an insult and reproach. Where then is He, "our God, our King," who "commands salvation unto Jacob"? Where is He who did all those works, which "our fathers have told us"? Where is He who is hereafter to do all those things which He revealed unto us by His Spirit? Is He changed? No. These things are done in order to "understanding, for the sons of Korah." For we ought to "understand" something of the reason, why He has willed we should suffer all these things in the mean time. What "all things"? "But now Thou hast cast us off and put us to shame: and goest not forth, O God, in our powers." [1335] We go forth to meet our enemies, and Thou goest not forth with us. We see them: they are very strong, and we are without strength. Where is that might of Thine? Where Thy "right hand," and Thy power? [1336] Where the sea dried up, and the Egyptian pursuers overwhelmed with the waves? Where Amalek's resistance subdued by the sign of the Cross? [1337] "And Thou, O God, goest not forth in our powers."

9. "Thou hast turned us away backward in presence of our enemies" (ver. 10), so that they are, as it were, before; we, behind; they are counted as conquerors, we as conquered. "And they which hate us spoiled for themselves." What did they "spoil" but ourselves?

10. "Thou has given us like sheep appointed for meat, and hast scattered us among the nations" (ver. 11). We have been "devoured" by "the nations." Those persons are meant, who, through their sufferings, have by process of assimilation, becomes part of the "body" of the Gentile world. For the Church mourns over them, as over members of her body, that have been devoured. [1338]

11. "Thou hast sold Thy people for no price" (ver. 12). For we see whom Thou hast made over; what Thou hast received, we have not seen. "And there was no multitude in their jubilees." [1339] For when the Christians were flying before the pursuit of enemies, who were idolaters, were there then held any congregations and "jubilees" to the honour of God? Were those Hymns chanted in concert from the Churches of God, that are wont to be sung in concert in time of peace, and to be sounded in a sweet accord of the brotherhood in the ears of God?

12. "Thou madest us a reproach to our neighbours; a scorn and a derision to them that are round about us" (ver. 13). "Thou madest us a similitude [1340] among the heathen" (ver. 14). What is meant by a "similitude"? It is when men in imprecating a curse make a "similitude" of his name whom they detest. "So mayest thou die;" "So mayest thou be punished!" What a number of such reproaches were then uttered! "So mayest thou be crucified!" Even in the present day there are not wanting enemies of Christ (those very Jews themselves), against whom whensoever we defend Christ, they say unto us, "So mayest thou die as He did." For they would not have inflicted that kind of death had they not an intense horror of dying by such a death: or had they been able to comprehend what mystery was contained in it. When the ointment is applied to the eyes of the blind man, he does not see the eye-salve in the physician's hand. For the very Cross was made for the benefit even of the persecutors themselves. Hereby they were healed afterwards; and they believed in Him whom they themselves had slain. "Thou madest us a similitude among the heathen; a shaking of the head among the peoples," a "shaking of the head" by way of insult. "They spake with their lips, they shook the head." [1341] This they did to the Lord: this to all His Saints also, whom they were able to pursue, to lay hold of, to mock, to betray, to afflict, and to slay.

13. "My shame is continually before me; and the confusion of my face has covered me" (ver. 15). "For the voice of him that reproacheth and blasphemeth" (ver. 16): that is to say, from the voice of them that insult over me, and who make it a charge against me that I worship Thee, that I confess Thee! and who make it a charge against me that I bear that name by which all charges against me shall be blotted out. "For the voice of him that reproacheth and blasphemeth," that is, of him that speaketh against me. "By reason of the enemy and the persecutor." And what is the "understanding" conveyed here? Those things which are told us of the time past, will not be done in our case: [1342] those which are hoped for, as to be hereafter, are not as yet manifest. Those which are past, as the leading out of Thy people with great glory from Egypt; its deliverance from its persecutors; the guiding of it through the nations, the placing of it in the kingdom, whence the nations had been expelled. What are those to be hereafter? The leading of the people out of this Egypt of the world, when Christ, our "leader" shall appear in His glory: the placing of the Saints at His right hand; of the wicked at His left; the condemnation of the wicked with the devil to eternal punishment; the receiving of a kingdom from Christ with the Saints to last for ever. [1343] These are the things that are yet to be: the former are what are past. In the interval, what is to be our lot? Tribulations! "Why so?" That it may be seen with respect to the soul that worships God, to what extent it worships God; that it may be seen whether it worships Him "freely" from whom it received salvation "freely."...What hast thou given unto God? Thou wert wicked, and thou wert redeemed! What hast thou given unto God? What is there that thou hast not "received" from Him "freely"? With reason is it named "grace," because it is bestowed (gratis, i.e.) freely. [1344] What is required of thee then is this, "that thou too shouldest worship "Him freely;" not because He gives thee things temporal, but because He holds out to thee things eternal....

14. "All this is come upon us; yet have we not forgotten Thee" (ver. 17). What is meant by, "have not forgotten Thee"? "Neither have we behaved ourselves frowardly in Thy covenant."

"Our heart has not turned back; and Thou hast turned aside our goings out of Thy way" (ver. 18). See here is "understanding," in that "our heart has not gone back;" that we have not "forgotten Thee, have not behaved frowardly in Thy covenant;" placed as we are in great tribulations, and persecutions of the Gentiles. "Thou hast turned aside our goings out of Thy way." Our "goings" were in the pleasures of the world; our "goings" were in the midst of temporal prosperities. Thou hast taken "our goings out of Thy way;" and hast shown us [1345] how "strait and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life." [1346] What is meant by, "hast turned aside our goings out of Thy way"? It is as if He said, "Ye are placed in the midst of tribulation; ye are suffering many things; ye have already lost many things that ye loved in this life: but I have not abandoned you on the way, the narrow way that I am teaching you. Ye were seeking "broad ways." What do I tell you? This is the way we go to everlasting life; by the way ye wish to walk, ye are going to death. How "broad and wide is the road that leads to destruction: and" how "many there be that find it! How strait and narrow the way that leadeth unto life, and" how "few there be" that walk therein! [1347] Who are the few? They who patiently endure tribulations, patiently endure temptations; who in all these troubles do not "fall away:" who do not rejoice in the word "for a season" only; and in the time of tribulation fade away, as on the sun's arising; but who have the "root" of "love," according to what we have lately heard read in the Gospel. [1348] ...

15. "For Thou hast brought us low in the place of infirmity" [1349] (ver. 18): therefore Thou wilt exalt us in the place of strength. "And the shadow of death has covered us" (ver. 19). For this mortality of ours is but the "shadow" of death. The true death is condemnation with the devil.

16. "If we have forgotten the Name of our God." Here is the "understanding" of the "sons of Korah." "And stretched out our hands to a strange God" (ver. 20). "Shall not God search this out? For He knoweth the secrets of the heart" (ver. 21). He "knows," and yet He "searches them out"? If He knows the secrets of the heart, what do the words, "Shall not God search it out," do there? He "knows" it in Himself; He "searches it out" for our sakes. For it is for this reason God sometimes "searches a thing out;" and speaks of that becoming known to Himself, which He is Himself making known to thee. He is speaking of His own work, not of His knowledge. We commonly say, "A gladsome day," when it is fine. Yet is it the day itself that experiences delight? No: we speak of the day as gladsome, because it fills us with delight. And we speak of a "sullen sky." Not that there is any such feeling in the clouds, but because men are affected with sullenness at the sight of such an appearance of the skies, it is called sullen for this reason, that it makes us sullen. So also God is said to "know" when He causes us to know. God says to Abraham, "Now I know that thou fearest God." [1350] Did He then not know it before then? But Abraham did not know himself till then: for it was in that very trial he came to know himself....And God is said to "know" that which He had caused him to know. Did Peter know himself, when he said to the Physician, "I will be with Thee even unto death?" [1351] The Physician had felt his pulse, [1352] and knew what was going on within His patient's soul: the patient knew it not. The crisis [1353] of trial came; and the Physician approved the correctness of His opinion: the sick man gave up his presumption. Thus God at once "knows" it and "searches it out." "He knows it already. Why does He `search it out'?" For thy sake: that thou mayest come to know thine own self, and mayest return thanks to Him that made thee. "Shall not God search it out?"

17. "For, for Thy sake we are killed all the day long: we are counted as sheep for the slaughter" (ver. 22). For you may see a man being put to death; you do not know why he is being put to death. God knoweth this. The thing in itself is hid. But some one will say to me, "See, he is detained in prison for the name of Christ, he is a confessor for the name of Christ." Why do not [1354] heretics also confess the name of Christ, and yet they do not die for His sake? Nay more; let me say it, in the Catholic Church itself, do you think there either are, or have been wanting persons such as would suffer for the sake of glory among men? Were there no such persons, the Apostle would not say, "Though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing." [1355] He knew therefore that there might be some persons, who did this not from "charity," but out of vainglory. It is therefore hid from us; God alone sees this; we cannot see it. He alone can judge of this, who "knoweth the secrets of the heart." "For," for Thy sake "are we killed all the day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter." I have already mentioned that from hence the Apostle Paul had borrowed a text [1356] for the encouragement of the Martyrs: that they might not "faint in the tribulations" undergone by them for the name of Christ. [1357]

18. "Awake; why sleepest Thou, O Lord?" (ver. 23). Who is addressed, and who is the speaker? Would not he be more correctly said to sleep and slumber, [1358] who speaks such words as these? He replies to you, I know what I am saying: I know that "He that keepeth Israel doth not sleep:" [1359] but yet the Martyrs cry, "Awake; why sleepest Thou, O Lord?" O Lord Jesus, Thou wast slain; Thou didst "sleep" in Thy Passion; to us Thou hast now "awaked" from sleep. For "we" know that Thou hast now "awaked" again. To what purpose hast Thou awaked and risen again? The Gentiles that persecute us, think Thee to be dead; do not believe Thee to have risen again. "Arise Thou" then to them also! "Why sleepest Thou," though not to us, yet to them? For if they already believed Thee to have risen again, could they persecute us who believe in Thee? But why do they persecute? "Destroy, slay so and so, whoever have believed in Thee, such an one, who died an ill death!" As yet to them "Thou sleepest;" arise to them, that they may perceive that Thou hast "awaked" again; and may be at rest. Lastly, it has come to pass, while the Martyrs die, and say these things; while they sleep, and "awaken" Christ, truly dead in their sleepings, Christ has, in a certain sense, risen again in the Gentiles; i.e. it becomes believed, that He has risen again; so by degrees they themselves, becoming converted to Christ by believing, collected a numerous body: such as the persecutors dreaded; and the persecutions have come to an end. Why? Because Christ, who before was asleep to them, as not believing, hath risen in the Gentiles. "Arise, and cast us not off for ever!"

19. "Wherefore hidest Thou Thy face:" as if Thou wert not present; as if thou hadst forgotten us? "And forgettest our misery and trouble?" (ver. 24).

20. "For our soul is bowed down to the dust" (ver. 25). Where is it bowed down? "To the dust:" i.e. dust persecutes us. They persecute us, of whom Thou hast said, "The ungodly are not so; but are like the dust, which the wind driveth away from the face of the earth." [1360] "Our belly hath cleaved to the earth." He seems to me to have expressed the punishment of the extreme of humiliation, in which, when any one prostrates himself, "his belly cleaveth to the earth." For whosoever is humbled so as to be on his knees, has yet a lower degree of humiliation to which he can come: but he who is so humbled, that his "belly cleaveth to the ground," there is no farther humiliation for him. Should one wish to do still farther, it will, after that point, be not bowing him down, but crushing him. Perhaps then he may have meant this: We are "bowed down very low" in this dust; there is no farther point to which humiliation can go. Humiliation has now reached its highest point: let mercy then come also....

21. "Arise, O Lord, help us" (ver. 26). And indeed, dearly beloved, He has arisen and helped us. For when he awaked (i.e. when He arose again, and became known to the Gentiles) on the cessation of persecutions, even those who had cleaved to the earth were raised up from the earth, and on performing penance, [1361] have been restored to Christ's body, feeble and imperfect though they were: so that in them was fulfilled the text, "Thine eyes did see my substance yet being imperfect; and in Thy book shall they all be written." [1362]

"Arise, O Lord, help us, and redeem us for Thy Name's sake;" that is to say, freely; for Thy Name's sake, not for the sake of my merits: because Thou hast vouchsafed to do it, not because I am worthy that Thou shouldest do it unto me. For this very thing, that "we have not forgotten Thee;" that "our heart hath not gone back;" that we "have not stretched out our hands to any strange god;" how should we have been able to achieve, except with Thy help? How should we have strength for it, except through Thy appealing to us within, exhorting us, and not forsaking us? Whether then we suffer in tribulations, or rejoice in prosperities, redeem Thou us, not for our merits, but for Thy Name's sake.

Footnotes

[1315] Lat. XLIII. [1316] Calvitium. [1317] Matt. xxvii. 33. Calvariæ. [1318] Rom. viii. 36. [1319] Ps. xxii. 1. [1320] 1 Cor. iv. 6. [1321] Ps. xxii. 4-6. [1322] Ps. xl. 7. [1323] [So Cyprian, A.N.F. vol. v. p. 516; also others passim.--C.] [1324] Complacuisti in eis. [1325] Agit. [1326] "Tu es Ipse." [1327] 1 Cor. xiii. 12. [1328] Col. iii. 4. [1329] 1 John iii. 2. [1330] Vulgate, ventilabimus. [To which St. Jerome's Hebraic Psalter adheres.--C.] [1331] Ps. xxii. 16-18. [1332] Laudabimur. [1333] [Here is the Diapsalma in the Septuagint; and in St. Jerome, following the Hebrew.--C.] [1334] Ps. lxxxiv. 4. [1335] Or "hosts," virtutibus. [1336] Virtus. [1337] Exod. xvii. 12. [1338] Conversely, in like manner the Fathers (so under Ps. iii. ver. 7) often explain, "Rise, Peter, kill, and eat," and passages where the preachers of the Gospel are represented by beasts of prey. See p. 16, supra, between notes 5 and 6. [A fanciful rendering, perhaps; but the assimilation of unclean Gentiles, and their identification with the clean body of the Church, is strikingly illustrated by it.--C.] [1339] [St. Augustin's Psalter has jubilationibus.--C.] For which Vulgate, commutationibus. [1340] E.V. "by-word." [1341] Ps. xxii. 7. E.V. "They shoot out the lips," etc. [1342] In nobis. [1343] Matt. xxv. 34. St. Augustin, Ser. xviii. 4. [1344] Rom. xi. 6. [1345] Oxf. mss. "hast showed us a way. What way? How," etc. He seems to mean that God has removed such ways as men like from the path of His Saints, and given them narrow ways. St. Ambrose takes it as a complaint of difficulties, so great that we cannot perfectly keep to the right way. E.V. "Neither have our steps declined from Thy way," rightly continuing the negative. [1346] Matt. vii. 14. [1347] Matt. vii. 13, 14. [1348] Matt. xiii. 6, 20, 21. [1349] E.V. "broken us in the place of dragons." [1350] Gen. xxii. 12. [1351] Luke xxii. 33. [1352] Inspecta vena. [1353] Accessio. [1354] Oxf. mss. om. "not." [1355] 1 Cor. xiii. 3. [1356] Testimonium posuisse. Rom. viii. 36. [Also Rom. v. 3; Eph. iii. 13.--C.] [1357] [See p. 140, note 19.--C.] [1358] Halare. [1359] Ps. cxxi. 4. [1360] Ps. i. 4. [1361] [A debased rendering of our author's words, agentes poenitentiam; for the primitive discipline exacted true contrition. See Chrysos. Hom. xxi. p. 215, vol. xii. ed. Migne. The "attrition" of the Trent Catechism is indeed a perfunctory "performance."--C.] [1362] Ps. cxxxix. 16. .


Psalm XLV. [1363]

1. This Psalm, even as we ourselves have been singing with gladness together with you, we would beg you in like manner to consider with attention together with us. For it is sung of the sacred Marriage-feast; of the Bridegroom and the Bride; of the King and His people; of the Saviour and those who are to be saved....His sons are we, in that we are the "children of the Bridegroom;" and it is to us that this Psalm is addressed, whose title has the words, "For the sons of Korah, for the things that [1364] shall be changed."

2. Why need I explain what is meant by, "for the things that shall be changed"? Every one who is himself "changed," recognises the meaning of this. Let him who hears this, "for the things that shall be changed," consider what was before, and what is now. And first let him see the world itself to be changed, lately worshipping idols, now worshipping God; lately serving things that they themselves made, now serving Him by whom they themselves were made. Observe at what time the words, "for the things that shall be changed," were said. Already by this time the Pagans that are left are in dread of the "changed" state of things: and those who will not suffer themselves to be "changed" see the churches full; the temples deserted; see crowds here, and there solitude! They marvel at the things so changed; let them read that they were foretold; let them lend their ears to Him who promised it; let them believe Him who fulfils that promise. But each one of us, brethren, also undergoes a change from "the old" to "the new man:" from an infidel to a believer: from a thief to a giver of alms: from an adulterer to a man of chastity; from an evildoer to a doer of good. To us then be sung the words, "for the things that shall be changed;" and so let the description of Him by whom they were changed, begin.

3. For it goes on, "For the things that shall be changed, to the sons of Korah for understanding; a song for the beloved." For that "beloved" One was seen by His persecutors, but yet not for "understanding." For "had they known Him, they would never have crucified the Lord of Glory." [1365] In order to this "understanding," other eyes were required by Him when He said, "He that seeth Me, seeth My Father also." [1366] Let the Psalm then now sound of Him, let us rejoice in the marriage-feast, and we shall be with those of whom the marriage is made, [1367] who are invited to the marriage; and the very persons invited are the Bride herself. For the Church is "the Bride," Christ the Bridegroom. There are commonly spoken by balladists [1368] certain verses to Bridegrooms and Brides, called Epithalamia. [1369] Whatever is sung there, is sung in honour of the Bride and Bridegroom. Is there then no Bridechamber [1370] in that marriage-feast to which we are invited? Whence then does another Psalm say, "He hath set up His tabernacle in the Sun; and He is even as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber." The nuptial union is that of "the Word," and the flesh. The Bridechamber of this union, the Virgin's womb. For the flesh itself was united to the Word: whence also it is said, "Henceforth they are not twain, but one flesh." [1371] The Church was assumed unto Him out of the human race: so that the Flesh itself, being united to the Word, might be the Head of the Church: and the rest who believe, members of that Head....

4. "Mine heart hath uttered a good word" [1372] (ver. 1). Who is the speaker? The Father, or the Prophet? For some understand it to be the Person of the Father, which says, "Mine heart hath uttered a good word," intimating to us a certain unspeakable generation. [1373] Lest you should haply think something to have been taken unto Him, out of which God should beget the Son (just as man takes something to himself out of which he begets children, that is to say, an union of marriage, [1374] without which man cannot beget offspring), lest then you should think that God stood in need of any nuptial union, to beget "the Son," he says, "Mine heart hath uttered a good word." [1375] This very day thine heart, O man, begets a counsel, and requires no wife: by the counsel, so born of thine heart, thou buildest something or other, and before that building subsists, the design subsists; [1376] and that which thou art about to produce, exists already in that by which thou art going to produce it; and thou praisest the fabric that as yet is not existing, not yet in the visible form of a building, but on the projecting of a design: nor does any one else praise thy design, unless either thou showest it to him, or he sees what thou hast done. If then by the Word "all things were made," [1377] and the Word is of God, consider the fabric reared by the Word, and learn from that building to admire His counsels! What manner of Word is that by which heaven and earth were made; [1378] and all the splendour of the heavens; all the fertility of the earth; the expanse of the sea; the wide diffusion of air; the brightness of the constellations; the light of sun and moon? These are visible things: rise above these also; think of the Angels, "Principalities, Thrones, Dominions, and Powers." [1379] All were made by Him. How then were these good things made? Because there was "uttered forth `a good Word,'" by which they were to be made....

5. It proceeds: "I speak of the things which I have made unto the King." Is the Father still speaking? If the Father is still speaking, let us enquire how this also can be understood by us, consistently with the true Catholic Faith, "I speak of the things that I have made unto the King." For if it is the Father speaking of His own works to His Son, our "King," what works is the Father to speak of to the Son, seeing that all the Father's works were made by the Son's agency? Or, in the words, "I speak of My works unto the King," does the word, "I speak," itself signify the generation of the Son? I fear whether this can ever be made intelligible to those slow of comprehension: I will nevertheless say it. Let those who can follow me, do so: lest if it were left unsaid, even those who can follow should not be able. We have read where it is said in another Psalm, "God hath spoken once." [1380] So often has He spoken by the Prophets, so often by the Apostles, and in these days by His Saints, and does He say, "God has spoken once"? How can He have spoken but "once," except with reference to His "Word"? [1381] But as the "Mine heart hath uttered a good Word," [1382] was understood by us in the other clause of the generation of the Son, it seems that a kind of repetition is made in the following sentence, so that the "Mine heart hath uttered a good Word," which had been already said, is repeated in what He is now saying, "I speak." For what does "I speak" mean? "I utter a Word." And whence but from His heart, from His very inmost, does God utter the Word? You yourself do not speak anything but what you bring forth from your "heart," this word of yours which sounds once and passes away, is brought forth from no other place: and do you wonder that God "speaks" in this manner? But God's "speaking" is eternal. You are speaking something at the present moment, because you were silent before: or, look you, you have not yet brought forth your word; but when you have begun to bring it forth, you as it were "break silence;" and bring into being a word, that did not exist before. It was not so God begat the "Word." God's "speaking" is without beginning, and without end: and yet the "Word" He utters is but "One." Let Him utter another, if what He has spoken shall have passed away. But since He by whom it is uttered abideth, and That which is uttered abideth; and is uttered but once, and has no end, that very "once" too is said without beginning, and there is no second speaking, because that which is said once, does not pass away. The words "Mine heart hath uttered a good Word," then, are the same thing with, "I speak of the things which I have made unto the King." Why then, "I speak of the things which I have made"? Because in the Word Itself are all the works of God. For whatever God designed to make in the creation already existed in "the Word;" and would not exist in the reality, had it not existed in the Word, [1383] just as with you the thing would not exist in the building, had it not existed in your design: even as it is said in the Gospel: "That which was made in Him was life." [1384] That which was made then was in existence; but it had its existence in the Word: and all the works of God existed there, and yet were not as yet "works." "The Word" however already was, as this "Word was God, and was with God:" and was the Son of God, and One God with the Father. "I speak of the things I have made unto the King." Let him hear Him "speaking," who apprehends "the Word:" and let him see together with the Father the Everlasting Word; in whom exist even those things that are yet to come: in whom even those things that are past have not passed away. These "works" of God are in "the Word," as in the Word, as in the Only-Begotten, as in the "Word of God."

6. What follows then? "My tongue is the pen of a writer writing rapidly." What likeness, my brethren, what likeness, I ask, has the "tongue" of God with a transcriber's pen? What resemblance has "the rock" to Christ? [1385] What likeness does the "lamb" bear to our Saviour, [1386] or what "the lion" to the strength of the Only-Begotten? [1387] Yet such comparisons have been made; and were they not made, we should not be formed to a certain extent by these visible things to the knowledge of the "Invisible One." So then with this mean simile of the pen; let us not compare it to His excellent greatness, so let us not reject it with contempt. For I ask, why He compares His "tongue" to "the pen of a writer writing rapidly"? But how swiftly soever the transcriber writes, still it is not comparable to that swiftness of which another Psalm says, "His word runneth very swiftly." [1388] But it appears to me (if human understanding may presume so far) that this too may be understood as spoken in the Person of the Father: "My tongue is the pen of a writer." Inasmuch as what is spoken by the "tongue," sounds once and passes away, what is written, remains; seeing then that God uttereth "a Word," and the Word which is uttered does not sound once and pass away, but is uttered and yet continues, God chose rather to compare this to words written than to sounds. But what He added, saying, "of one writing swiftly," stimulates the mind unto "understanding." Let it however not slothfully rest here, thinking of transcribers, [1389] or thinking of some kind of quick shorthand writers: if it be this it sees in the passage, it will be resting there. Let it think swiftly what is the meaning of that word "swiftly." The "swiftly" of God is such that nothing exceeds in swiftness. For in writings letter is written after letter; syllable after syllable; word after word: nor do we pass to the second except when the first is written out. But there nothing can exceed the swiftness, where there are not several words; and yet there is not anything omitted: since in the One are contained all things.

7. Lo! now then that Word, so uttered, Eternal, the Co-eternal Offspring of the Eternal, will come as "the Bridegroom;" "Fairer than the children of men" (ver. 2). "Than the children of men." I ask, why not than the Angels also? Why did he say, "than the children of men," except because He was Man? Lest you should think "the Man Christ" [1390] to be any ordinary man, he says, "Fairer than the children of men." Even though Himself "Man," He is "fairer than the children of men;" though among the children of men, "fairer than the children of men:" though of the children of men, "fairer than the children of men." "Grace is shed abroad on Thy lips." "The Law was given by Moses. Grace and Truth came by Jesus Christ." [1391] ...

8. There have not been wanting those who preferred understanding all the preceding passage also of the Prophet's own person; and would have even this verse, "Mine heart hath uttered forth a good word," understood as spoken by the Prophet, supposed to be uttering a hymn. For whoever utters a hymn to God, his heart is, as it were, "uttering forth a good word," just as his heart who blasphemes God, is uttering forth an evil word. So that even by what follows, "I speak of the things which I have made [1392] unto the King," he meant to express that man's chief work was but to praise God. To Him it belongs to satisfy thee, by His beauty; to thee to praise Him with thanksgiving....

9. "My tongue is the pen of a writer writing quickly." There have been persons who have understood the Prophet to have been describing in this manner what he was writing; and therefore to have compared his tongue to "the pen of a writer writing quickly:" but that he chose to express himself in the words "writing quickly," to signify, that he was writing of things which were to come "quickly;" that "writing quickly" should be understood to be equivalent to "writing things that are quick;" i.e. writing things that would not long tarry. For God did not tarry long to manifest Christ. How quickly is that perceived to have rolled by, which is acknowledged to be already past! Call to mind the generations before thee; thou wilt find that the making of Adam is but a thing of yesterday. So do we read that all things have gone on from the very beginning: [1393] they were therefore done "quickly." The day of Judgment also will be here "quickly." Do thou anticipate its "quick" coming. It is to come "quickly;" do thou become converted yet more "quickly." The Judge's face will appear: but observe thou what the Prophet says, "Let us come before" (let us "prevent") "His face with confession." [1394]

10. "Gird Thy sword upon Thy thigh, O most Mighty" (ver. 3). What is meant by "Thy sword," but "Thy word"? It was by that sword He scattered His enemies; by that sword he divided the son from the father, "the daughter from the mother, the daughter-in-law from the mother-in-law." We read these words in the Gospel, "I came not to send peace, but a sword." [1395] And, "In one house shall five be divided against each other; three against two, and two against three;" [1396] i.e. "the father against the son, the daughter against the mother, the daughter-in-law against the mother-in-law." By what "sword," but that which Christ brought, was this division wrought? And indeed, my brethren, we see this exemplified daily. Some young man is minded to give himself up to God's service; his father is opposed to it; they are "divided against each other:" the one promises an earthly inheritance, the other loves an heavenly; the one promises one thing, the other prefers another. The father should not think himself wronged: God alone is preferred to him. And yet he is at strife [1397] with the son, who would fain give himself to God's service. But the spiritual sword is mightier to separate them, than the ties of carnal nature to bind them together. This happens also in the case of a mother against her daughter; still more also in that of a daughter-in-law against a mother-in-law. For sometimes in one house mother-in-law and daughter-in law are found orthodox and heretical respectively. And where that sword is forcibly felt, [1398] we do not dread the repetition of Baptism. Could daughter be divided against mother; and could not daughter-in-law be divided against mother-in-law?...

11. What does he mean to express by the "thigh"? The flesh. Whence those words, "A prince shall not depart from Judah; and a lawgiver from his thighs"? [1399] Did not Abraham himself (to whom was promised the seed in which "all the nations of the earth were to be blessed"), when he sent his servant to seek and to bring home a wife for his son, being by faith fully persuaded, that in that, so to speak, contemptible seed was contained the great Name; [1400] that is, that the Son of God was to come of the seed of Abraham, out of all the children of men; did not he, I say, cause his servant to swear unto him in this manner, saying, "Put thy hand under my thigh," [1401] and so swear; as if he had said, "Put thy hand on the altar, or on the Gospel, or on the Prophet, or on any holy thing." "Put" (he says) "thy hand under my thigh;" having full confidence, not ashamed of it as unseemly, but understanding therein a truth. "With Thy beauty and Thy glory." Take to Thee that righteousness, in which Thou art at all times beautiful and glorious. "And speed on, and proceed prosperously, and reign" (ver. 4). Do we not see it so? Is it not already come to pass? He has "sped on; has proceeded prosperously, and He reigns;" all nations are subdued unto Him. What a thing was it to see that "in the Spirit," of which same thing it is now in our power to experience in the reality! At the time when these words were said, Christ did not yet "reign" thus; had not yet sped on, nor "proceeded prosperously." They were then being preached, they have now been fulfilled: in many things we have God's promise fulfilled already; in some few we have to claim its fulfilment yet.

12. "Because of truth, meekness, and righteousness." Truth was restored unto us, when "the Truth sprung out of the earth: and Righteousness looked out from heaven." [1402] Christ was presented to the expectation of mankind, that in Abraham's Seed "all nations should be blessed." The Gospel has been preached. It is "the Truth." What is meant by "meekness"? The Martyrs have suffered; and the kingdom of God has made much progress from thence, and advanced throughout all nations; because the Martyrs suffered, and neither "fell away," nor yet offered resistance; confessing everything, concealing nothing; prepared for everything, shrinking from nothing. Marvellous "meekness"! This did the body of Christ, by its Head it learned. He was first "led as a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before his shearer is dumb, even so opened not His mouth;" [1403] meek to that degree, that while hanging on the Cross, He said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." [1404] Why because of "righteousness"? He will come also to judge, and to "render to every man according to his works." He spake "the truth;" He patiently endured unrighteousness: He is to bring "righteousness" hereafter.

13. "And Thy right hand shall lead Thee on marvellously." We shall be guided on by His right hand: He by His own. For He is God, we mortal men. He was led on by His own right hand; i.e. by His own power. For the power which the Father hath, He hath also; the Father's immortality He hath also; He hath the Father's Divinity, the Father's Eternity, the Father's Power. [1405] Marvellously will His right hand lead Him on, performing the works of God; undergoing human sufferings, overthrowing the evil wills [1406] of men by His own goodness. Even now, He is being led on even to places where as yet He is not; and it is His own right hand that is leading Him on. For that is leading Him thither which He has Himself bestowed upon His Saints. "Thy right hand shall lead Thee on marvellously."

14. "Thine arrows are sharp, are most powerful" (ver. 5); words that pierce the heart, that kindle love. Whence in the Song of Songs it is said, "I am wounded with love." [1407] For she speaks of being "wounded with love;" that is, of being in love, of being inflamed with passion, of sighing for the Bridegroom, from whom she received the arrow of the Word. "Thine arrows are sharp, are most powerful;" both piercing, and effective; "sharp, most powerful." "The peoples shall fall under Thee." Who have "fallen"? They who were "wounded" have also "fallen." We see the nations subdued unto Christ; we do not see them "fall." He explains where they "fall," viz. "in the heart." It was there they lifted themselves up against Christ, there they "fall" down before Christ. Saul was a blasphemer of Christ: he was then lifted up, he prays to Christ, "he is fallen," he is prostrate before Him: the enemy of Christ is slain, that the disciple of Christ may live! By an arrow launched from heaven, Saul (not as yet Paul, but still Saul), still lifted up, still not yet prostrate, is wounded in "the heart:" he received the arrow, he fell "in heart." For though he fell prostrate on his face, it was not there that he fell down in heart: [1408] but it was there where he said aloud, "Lord, what dost Thou bid me do?" [1409] But just now thou wert going to bind the Christians, and to bring them to punishment: and now thou sayest unto Christ, "What dost Thou bid me do?" O arrow sharp and most mighty, by whose stroke "Saul" fell, so as to become "Paul." As it was with him, so was it also with "the peoples;" consider the nations, observe their subjection unto Christ. "The peoples" (then) "shall fall under Thee in the heart of the King's enemies;" that is, in the heart of Thine enemies. For it is Him that he calls King, Him that he recognises as King. "The peoples shall fall under Thee in the heart of the King's enemies." They were "enemies" before; they have been stricken by thine arrows: they have fallen before Thee. Out of enemies they have been made friends: the enemies are dead, the friends survive. This is the meaning of, "for those which shall be changed." We are seeking to "understand" each single word, and each separate verse; yet so far only are we to seek for their "understanding," as to leave no one to doubt that they are spoken of Christ.

15. "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever" (ver. 6). Because God has "`blessed Thee' for ever," on account of the "grace poured over Thy lips." Now the throne of the Jewish Kingdom was a temporal one; belonging to those who were under the Law, not to those who were under "grace:" He came to "redeem those who were under the Law," and to place them under "Grace." His "Throne is for ever and ever." Why? for that first throne of the Kingdom was but a temporal one: whence then have we a "throne for ever and ever"? Because it is God's throne. O divine Attribute of Eternity! [1410] for God could not have a temporal throne. "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever--a sceptre of direction is the sceptre of Thy Kingdom." "The sceptre of direction" is that which directs mankind: they were before crooked, distorted; they sought to reign for themselves: they loved themselves, loved their own evil deeds: they submitted not their own will to God; but would fain have bent God's will to conformity with their own lusts. For the sinner and the unrighteous man is generally angry with God, because it rains not! [1411] and yet would have God not be angry with himself, because he is profligate. [1412] And it is pretty much for this very reason that men daily sit, to dispute against God: "This is what He ought to have done: this He has not well done." Thou forsooth seest what thou doest; He knows not what He does! It is thou that art crooked! His ways are right. When wilt thou make the crooked coincide with the straight? It cannot be made to coincide with it. [1413] Just as if you were to place a crooked stick on a level pavement; it does not join on to it; it does not cohere; it does not fit into the pavement. The pavement is even in every part: but that is crooked; it does not fit into that which is level. The will of God then is "equal," thine own is "crooked:" it is because thou canst not be conformed unto it, that it seems "crooked" unto thee: rule thou thyself by it; seek not to bend it to thine own will: for thou canst not accomplish it; that is at all times "straight"! Wouldest thou abide in Him? "Correct thou thyself;" so will the sceptre of Him who rules thee, be unto thee "a rule of direction." Thence is He also called King, [1414] from "ruling." For that is no "ruler" that does not correct. [1415] Hereunto is our King a King of "right ones." [1416] Just as He is a Priest (Sacerdos) by sanctifying us, so is He our King, our Ruler, by "ruling" us....

16. "Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity" (ver. 7). See there "the rod of direction" described. "Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity." Draw near to that "rod;" let Christ be thy King: let Him "rule" thee with that rod, not crush thee with it. For that rod is "a rod of iron;" an inflexible rod. [1417] "Thou shalt rule them with a rod of iron: and break them in pieces like a potter's vessel." [1418] Some He rules; others He "breaks in pieces:" He "rules" them that are spiritual: He "breaks in pieces" them that are carnal....Would He so loudly declare that He was about to smite thee, if He wished to smite thee? He is then holding back His hand from the punishment of thine offences; but do not thou hold back. Turn thou thyself to the punishment of thine offences: for unpunished offences cannot be: punishment therefore must be executed either by thyself, or by Him: do thou then plead guilty, that He may reprieve thee. Consider an instance in that penitential Psalm: "Hide Thy face from my sins." [1419] Did he mean "from me"? No: for in another passage he says plainly, "Hide not Thy face from me." "Turn" then "Thy face from my sins." I would have Thee not see my sins. For God's "seeing" is animadverting upon. Hence too a Judge is said to "animadvert" [1420] on that which he punishes; i.e. to turn his mind on it, to bend it thereon, even to the punishment of it, inasmuch as he is the Judge. So too is God a Judge. "Turn Thou Thy face from my sins." But thou thyself, if thou wouldest have God turn "His face" from them, turn not thine own face from them. Observe how he proposes this to God in that very Psalm: "I acknowledge," he says, "my transgression, and my sin is ever before me." [1421] He would fain have that which he wishes to be ever before his own eyes, not be before God's eyes. Let no one flatter himself with fond hopes of God's mercy. His sceptre is "a sceptre of righteousness." Do we say that God is not merciful? What can exceed His mercy, who shows such forbearance to sinners; who takes no account of the past in all that turn unto Him? So love thou Him for His mercy, as still to wish that He should be truthful. For mercy cannot strip Him of His attribute of justice: nor justice of that of mercy. Meanwhile during the time that He postpones thy punishment, do not thou postpone it.

17. "Therefore, God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee." It was for this reason that He anointed thee, that thou mightest love righteousness, and hate iniquity. And observe in what way he expresses himself. "Therefore, God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee:" i.e. "God hath anointed Thee, O God." "God" is "anointed" by God. For in the Latin it is thought to be the same case of the noun repeated: in the Greek however there is a most evident distinction; one being the name of the Person addressed; and one His who makes the address, saying, "God hath anointed Thee." "O God, Thy God hath anointed Thee," just as if He were saying, "Therefore hath Thy God, O God, anointed Thee." Take it in that sense, understand it in that sense; that such is the sense is most evident in the Greek. Who then is the God that is "anointed" by God? Let the Jews tell us; these Scriptures are common to us and them. It was God, who was anointed by God: you hear of an "Anointed" one; understand it to mean "Christ." For the name of "Christ" comes from "chrism;" this name by which He is called "Christ" expresses "unction:" nor were kings and prophets anointed in any kingdom, in any other place, save in that kingdom where Christ was prophesied of, where He was anointed, and from whence the Name of Christ was to come. It is found nowhere else at all: in no one nation or kingdom. God, then, was anointed by God; with what oil was He anointed, but a spiritual one? For the visible oil is in the sign, the invisible oil is in the mystery; [1422] the spiritual oil is within. "God" then was "anointed" for us, and sent unto us; and God Himself was man, in order that He might be "anointed:" but He was man in such a way as to be God still. He was God in such a way as not to disdain to be man. "Very man and very God;" in nothing deceitful, in nothing false, as being everywhere true, everywhere "the Truth" itself. God then is man; and it was for this cause that "God" was "anointed," because God was Man, and became "Christ."

18. This was figured in Jacob's placing a stone at his head, and so sleeping. [1423] The patriarch Jacob had placed a stone at his head: sleeping with that stone at his head, he saw heaven opened, and a ladder from heaven to earth, and Angels ascending and descending; [1424] after this vision he awaked, anointed the stone, and departed. In that "stone" he understood Christ; for that reason he anointed it. Take notice what it is whereby Christ is preached. What is the meaning of that anointing of a stone, especially in the case of the Patriarchs who worshipped but One God? It was however done as a figurative act: and he departed. For he did not anoint the stone, and come to worship there constantly, and to perform sacrifice there. It was the expression of a mystery; not the commencement of sacrilege. And notice the meaning of "the stone." "The Stone which the builders refused, this is become the head of the corner." [1425] Notice here a great mystery. The "Stone" is Christ. Peter calls Him "a living Stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God." [1426] And the stone is set at "the head," because "Christ is the Head of the man." [1427] And "the stone" was anointed, because "Christ" was so called from His being anointed. And in the revelation of Christ, the ladder from earth to heaven is seen, or from heaven to earth, and the Angels ascending and descending. What this means, we shall see more clearly, when we have quoted the testimony from the Lord Himself in the Gospel. You know that Jacob is the same as Israel. For when he wrestled with the Angel, and "prevailed," and had been blest by Him over whom he prevailed, his named was changed, so that he was called "Israel;" just as the people of Israel "prevailed" [1428] against Christ, so as to crucify Him, and nevertheless was (in those who believed in Christ) blest by Him over whom it prevailed. But many believed not; hence the halting of Jacob. Here we have at once, blessing and halting. Blessing on those who became believers; for we know that afterward many of that people did believe: Halting on the other hand in those who believed not. And because the greater part believed not, and but few believed, therefore that a halting might be produced, He touched "the breadth [1429] of his thigh." [1430] What is meant by the breadth of the thigh? The great multitude of his descendants. [1431] ...

19. "God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee." We have been speaking of God, who was "anointed;" i.e. of Christ. The name of Christ could not be more clearly expressed than by His being called "God the Anointed." In the same way in which He was "beautiful before the children of men," so is He here "anointed with the oil of gladness above His fellows." Who then are His "fellows"? The children of men; for that He Himself (as the Son of Man) became partaker of their mortality in order to make them partakers of His Immortality.

20. "Out of Thy garments is the smell of myrrh, amber, and cassia" (ver. 8). Out of Thy garments is perceived the smell of fragrant odours. By His garments are meant His Saints, His elect, His whole Church, which he shows forth, as His garment, so to speak; His robe "without spot and wrinkle," [1432] which on account of its spots He has "washed" in His blood; on account of its "wrinkles" extended on His Cross. Hence the sweet savour which is signified by certain perfumes there mentioned. Hear Paul, that "least of the Apostles" (that "hem of that garment," which the woman with the issue of blood touched, and was healed), hear him saying: "We are a sweet savour of Christ, in every place, both in them that are saved, and in them that perish." [1433] He did not say, "We are a sweet savour in them that are saved, and a foul savour in them that are lost:" but, as far as relates to ourselves, "we are a sweet savour both in them that are saved, and in them that perish."...They who loved him were saved by the odour of "sweet savour;" they who envied him, perished by means of that "sweet savour." To them that perished then he was not a foul "savour," but a "sweet savour." For it was for this very reason they the more envied him, the more excellent that grace was which reigned in him: for no man envies him who is unhappy. He then was glorious in the preaching of God's Word, and in regulating his life according to the rule of that "rod of direction;" and he was loved by those who loved Christ in him, who followed after and pursued the odour of sweet savour; who loved the friend of the bridegroom: that is to say, by the Bride Herself, who says in the Song of Songs, [1434] "We will run after the sweet savour of thy perfumes." But the others, the more they beheld him invested with the glory of the preaching of the Gospel, and of an irreproachable life, were so much the more tortured with envy, and found that sweet savour prove death to them.

21. "Out of thy ivory palaces, whereby kings' daughters have made Thee glad." Choose whichever you please, "ivory" palaces, or "magnificent," or "royal" palaces, it is out of these that the kings' daughters have made Christ glad. Would you understand the spiritual sense of "ivory palaces"? Understand by them the magnificent houses, and tabernacles of God, the hearts of the Saints; and by these self-same "kings" those who rule their flesh; who bring into subjection to themselves the rebellious commonalty of human affections, who chastise the body, and reduce it to bondage: for it is from these that the daughters of kings have made Him glad. For all the souls that have been born through their preaching and evangelizing are "daughters of kings:" and the Churches, as the daughters of Apostles, are daughters of kings. For He is "King of kings;" they themselves kings, of whom it was said, "Ye shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." [1435] They preached the "Word of Truth;" and begat Churches not for themselves, but for Him....Therefore as "raising up seed [1436] to their brother," to as many as they begat, they gave the name not of "Paulians" or "Petrians," but of "Christians." Observe whether that sense is not wakefully kept [1437] in these verses. For when he said, "out of the ivory palaces, he spake of mansions royal, ample, honourable, peaceful, like the heart of the Saints; he added, "Whereby the kings' daughters have made Thee glad in Thine honour." They are indeed daughters of kings, daughters of thine Apostles, but still "in Thine honour:" for they raised up seed to their brother. Hence Paul, when he saw those whom he had raised up unto his Brother, running after his own name, exclaimed, "Was Paul crucified for you?" [1438] ...No; for he says, "Or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?"

"The daughters of kings have made Thee glad in Thine honour." Keep, hold fast this "in Thine honour." This is meant by having "a wedding garment;" seeking His honour, His glory. Understand moreover by "kings' daughters" the cities, which were founded by kings, and have received the faith: and out of the ivory palaces (palaces rich, the proud, the lifted up). "Kings' daughters have made Thee glad in Thine honour;" in that they sought not the honour of their founders, but have sought Thine honour. Show me at Rome a temple of Romulus held in so great honour as I can show you the Monument of Peter. [1439] In Peter, who is honoured but He who died for us? For we are followers of Christ, not followers of Peter. And even if we were born from the brother of Him that is dead, yet are we named after the name of Him who is dead. [1440] We were begotten by the one, but begotten to the other. Behold, Rome, Carthage, and several other cities are the daughters of kings, and yet have they "made glad the King in His honour:" and all these make up one single Queen.

22. What a nuptial song! Behold in the midst of songs full of rejoicing, comes forth the Bride herself. For the Bridegroom was coming. It was He who was being described: it was on Him all our attention was fixed.

"Upon Thy right hand did stand the Queen" (ver. 9). She which stands on the left is no Queen. For there will be one standing on "the left" also, to whom it will be said, "Go into everlasting fire." [1441] But she shall stand on the right hand, to whom it will be said, "Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." [1442] On Thy right hand did stand the Queen, "in a vesture of gold, clothed about with divers colours." What is the vesture of this Queen? It is one both precious, and also of divers colours: it is the mysteries of doctrine in all the various tongues: one African, one Syrian, one Greek, one Hebrew, one this, and one that; it is these languages that produce the divers colours of this vesture. [1443] But just as all the divers colours of the vesture blend together in the one vesture, so do all the languages in one and the same faith. In that vesture, let there be diversity, let there be no rent. See we have "understood" the divers colours of the diversity of tongues; and the vesture to refer to unity: but in that diversity itself, what is meant by the "gold"? Wisdom itself. Let there be any diversity of tongues you please, but there is but one "gold" that is preached of: not a different gold, but a different form of that gold. For it is the same Wisdom, the same doctrine and discipline that every language preaches. In the languages there is diversity; gold in the thoughts.

23. The Prophet addresses this Queen (for he delights in singing to her), and moreover each one of us, provided, however, we know where we are, and endeavour to belong to that body, and do belong to it in faith and hope, being united in the membership of Christ. [1444] For it is us whom he addresses, saying, "Hearken, O daughter, and behold" (ver. 10), as being one of the "Fathers" (for they are "daughters of kings"), although it be a Prophet, or although it be an Apostle [1445] that is addressing her; addressing her, as a daughter, for we are accustomed to speak in this way, "Our fathers the Prophets, our fathers the Apostles;" if we address them as "fathers," they may address us as children: and it is one father's voice addressing one daughter. "Hearken, O daughter, and see." "Hear" first; afterward "see." For they came to us with the Gospel; and that has been preached to us, which as yet we do not see, and which on hearing of it we believed, which by believing it, we shall come to see: even as the Bridegroom Himself speaks in the Prophet, "A people whom I have not known served me. In the hearing of me with the ear it obeyed me." [1446] What is meant by on "hearing of me with the ear"? That they did not "see." The Jews saw Him, and crucified Him; the Gentiles saw Him not, and believed. Let the Queen who comes from the Gentiles come in "the vesture of gold, clothed with divers colours;" [1447] let her come from among the Gentiles clad in all languages, in the unity of Wisdom: let it be said unto her, "Hearken, O daughter, and see." If thou wilt not hear, thou shalt not "see."...

"And incline thine ear." It is not enough to "hearken;" hearken with humility: bow down thine ear. "Forget also thine own people, and thy father's house." There was a certain "people," and a certain house of thy father, in which thou wast born, the people of Babylon, having the devil for thy king. Whencesoever the Gentiles came, they came from their father the devil; but they have renounced their sonship to the devil. "Forget also thine own people, and thy father's house." He, in making thee a sinner, begat thee loathsome: the Other, in that "He justifies the ungodly," [1448] begetteth thee again in beauty.

24. "For the King hath greatly desired thy beauty" (ver. 11). What "beauty" is that, save that which is His own work? "Greatly desired the beauty"--Of whom? Of her the sinner, the unrighteous, the ungodly, such as she was with her "father," the devil, and among her own "people"? No, but hers of whom it is said, "Who is this that cometh up made white?" [1449] She was not white then at the first, but was "made" white afterwards. For "though your sins shall be as scarlet, I will make them white as snow." [1450] "The king has greatly desired thy beauty." What King is this? "For He is the Lord thy God." [1451] Now consider whether thou oughtest not to forego that thy father, and thy own people, and to come to this King, who is thy God? Thy God is "thy King," thy "King" is also thy Bridegroom. Thou weddest to thy King, who is thy God: being endowed by Him, being adorned by Him; redeemed by Him, and healed by Him. Whatever thou hast, wherewith to be pleasing to Him, thou hast from Him.

25. "And the daughters of Tyre shall worship Him with gifts" (ver. 12). It is that selfsame "King, who is thy God," that the daughters of Tyre shall worship with gifts. The daughters of Tyre are the daughters of the Gentiles; the part standing for the whole. Tyre, a city bordering on this country, where the prophecy was delivered, typified the nations that were to believe in Christ. Thence came that Canaanitish woman, who was at first called "a dog;" for that ye may know that she was from thence, the Gospel speaks thus. "He departed into the parts of Tyre and Sidon, and behold a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts," with all the rest that is related there. She who at first, at the house of her "father," and among her "own people," was but "a dog," who by coming to, and crying after that "King," was made beautiful by believing in Him, what did she obtain to hear? "O woman, great is thy faith." [1452] "The King has greatly desired thy beauty. And the daughters of Tyre shall worship with gifts." [1453] With what gifts? Even so would this King be approached, and would have His treasuries filled: and it is He Himself who has given us that wherewith they may be filled, and may be filled [1454] by you. Let them come (He says) and "worship Him with gifts." What is meant by "with gifts"?..."Give alms, and all things are clean unto you." Come with gifts to Him that saith, "I will have mercy rather than sacrifice." [1455] To that Temple that existed aforetime as a shadow of that which was to come, they used to come with bulls, and rams, and goats, with every different kind of animal for sacrifice: that with that blood one thing should be done, and another be typified by it. Now that very blood, which all these things used to figure, hath come: the King Himself hath come, and He Himself would have your "gifts." What gifts? Alms. For He Himself will judge hereafter, and will Himself hereafter account "gifts" to certain persons. "Come" (He says), "ye blessed of My Father." Why? "I was an hungred, and ye gave Me meat," [1456] etc. These are the gifts with which the daughters of Tyre worship the King; for when they said, "When saw we Thee?" He who is at once above and below (whence those "ascending" and "descending" are spoken of [1457] ), said, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of Mine, ye have done it unto Me." [1458]

26. ..."The rich among the people shall entreat Thy face." Both they who shall entreat that face, and He whose face they will entreat, are all collectively but one Bride, but one Queen, mother and children belonging all together unto Christ, belonging unto their Head....

27. "All the glory of her, the King's daughter, is from within" (ver. 13). Not only is her robe, outwardly, "of gold, and of divers colours;" but He who loved her beauty, knew her to be also beautiful within. [1459] What are those inward charms? [1460] Those of conscience. It is there Christ sees; it is there Christ loves her: it is there He addresses her, there punishes, there crowns. Let then thine alms be done in secret; for "all the glory of her, the King's daughter, is from within." "With fringes of gold, clothed with divers colours" (ver. 14). Her beauty is from within; yet in the "fringes of gold" is the diversity of languages: the beauty of doctrine. What do these avail, if them be not that beauty "from within"? "The virgins shall be brought unto the King after her." It has been fulfilled indeed. The Church has believed; the Church has been formed throughout all nations. And to what a degree do virgins now seek to find favour in the eyes of that King! Whence are they moved to do so? Even because the Church preceded them. "The virgins shall be brought unto the King after her. Her near kinswomen [1461] shall be brought unto Thee." For they that are brought unto Him are not strangers, but her "near kinswomen," that belong to her. And because he had said, "unto the King," he says, turning the discourse to Him, "her near kinswomen shall be brought unto Thee."

28. "With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought and shall be led into the Temple of the King" (ver. 15). The "Temple of the King" is the Church itself: it is the Church itself that enters into "the Temple of the King." Whereof is that Temple constructed? Of the men who enter the Temple? Who but God's "faithful" ones are its "living stones"? [1462] "They shall be led into the Temple of the King." For there are virgins without the Temple of the King, the nuns among the heretics: [1463] they are virgins, it is true; but what will that profit them, unless they be led into the "Temple of the King"? The "Temple of the King" is in unity: the "Temple of the King" is not ruinous, is not rent asunder, is not divided. The cement [1464] of those living stones is "charity."

29. "Instead of thy fathers, children are born to thee" (ver. 16). Nothing can be more manifest. Now consider the "Temple of the King" itself, for it is on its behalf he speaks, on account of the unity of the body that is spread throughout all the world: for those very persons who have chosen to be virgins, cannot find favour with the King unless they be led into the Temple of the King. "Instead of thy fathers, are thy children born to thee." It was the Apostles begat thee: they were "sent:" they were the preachers: they are "the fathers." But was it possible for them to be with us in the body for ever? Although one of them said, "I desire to depart, and to be with Christ, which is far better: to abide in the flesh is necessary for your sakes." It is true he said this, but how long was it possible for him to remain here? Could it be till this present time, could it be to all futurity? Is the Church then left desolate by their departure? God forbid. "Instead of thy fathers, children have been born to thee." What is that? The Apostles were sent to thee as "fathers," instead of the Apostles sons have been born to thee: there have been appointed Bishops. For in the present day, whence do the Bishops, throughout all the world, derive their origin? The Church itself calls them fathers; the Church itself brought them forth, and placed them on the thrones of "the fathers." Think not thyself abandoned then, because thou seest not Peter, nor seest Paul: seest not those through whom thou wert born. Out of thine own offspring has a body of "fathers" been raised up to thee. "Instead of thy fathers, have children been born to thee." Observe how widely diffused is the "Temple of the King," that "the virgins that are not led to the Temple of the King," may know that they have nothing to do with that marriage. "Thou shalt make them princes [1465] over all the earth." This is the Universal Church: her children have been made "princes over all the earth:" her children have been appointed instead of the "fathers." Let those who are cut off own the truth of this, let them come to the One Body: let them be led into the Temple of the King. God hath established His Temple everywhere: hath laid everywhere "the foundations of the Prophets and Apostles." [1466] The Church has brought "forth sons;" has made them "instead of her fathers" to be "princes over all the earth."

30. "They shall be mindful of thy name in every generation and generation; therefore shall the peoples confess unto [1467] Thee" (ver. 17). What does it profit then to "confess" indeed and yet to confess out of "the Temple"? What does it profit to pray, and yet not to pray on the Mount? "I cried," says he, "unto the Lord with my voice: and He heard me out of His holy hill." [1468] Out of what "hill"? Out of that of which it is said, "A city set upon a hill cannot be hid." [1469] Of what "hill"? Out of that hill which Daniel saw "grow out of a small stone, and break all the kingdoms of the earth; and cover all the face of the earth." [1470] There let him pray, who hopes to receive: there let him ask, who would have his prayer heard: there let him confess, who wishes to be pardoned. "Therefore shall the peoples confess unto thee for ever, world without end." For in that eternal life it is true indeed there will no longer be the mourning over sins: but yet in the praises of God by that everlasting City which is above, there will not be wanting a perpetual confession of the greatness of that happiness. For to that City itself, to which another Psalm [1471] sings, "Glorious things are spoken of thee, O City of God," to her who is the very Bride of Christ, the very Queen, a "King's daughter, and a King's consort;"...the peoples shall for this very cause confess even to herself; the hearts of all, now enlightened by perfect charity, being laid bare, and made manifest, that she may know the whole of herself most completely, who here is, in many parts of her, unknown to herself....

Footnotes

[1363] Lat. XLIV. [1364] Some copies have qui for "those (persons) that." [1365] 1 Cor. ii. 8. [1366] John xiv. 9. [1367] Qui fiunt nuptiæ (omitted in some mss.). [1368] Scholasticis; mss. scolasticis="scholars," or perhaps scoliasticis, "ballad-mongers."--Ben. [1369] "Songs of the Bridechamber." [1370] Thalamus. Ps. xix. 5, so Vulgate. [1371] Matt. xix. 5. [For this point in the theology of the Incarnation, see A.N.F. vol. vii. p. 367, Athanas. Creed, part ii.--C.] [1372] Eructavit verbum bonum. [See Justin Martyr, vol. i. p. 213, A.N.F., and Cyprian, vol. v. p. 516, A.N.F., and so passim.--C.] [1373] Nativitatem. [1374] Conjugium. [1375] [Confusion comes to the human mind by arguing from humanity up to God. His is the only true generative process; the production of a Son by man is not to be considered in process, but in product only. This product is of one substance with the human (though divided). The undivided substance of the Divine Father is the one substance of the Son, by eternal generation.--C.] [1376] So all mss. antequam stet, stat consilium, acc. to Ben., which however reads antequam stet in opere, stat in consilio. "That building, before it subsists in construction, subsists in design." On the meaning of Verbum see St. Aug. on John i. 1. St. Ath. on Nic. Def. c. 4, and Disc. i. against Ar. c. 6. [1377] John i. 3. [1378] Heb. xi. 3. [1379] Col. i. 16. [1380] Ps. lxii. 11. [1381] Heb. i. 1, 2. [1382] Heb. i. 3, 4, 5. [1383] Nec esset in rebus, nisi esset in verbo. [1384] John i. 3, 4. [1385] 1 Cor. x. 4. [1386] John i. 29. [1387] Rev. v. 5. [1388] Ps. cxlvii. 15. [1389] Antiquarios. [1390] 1 Tim. ii. 5. [1391] John i. 17. [1392] Lit. "my works." [1393] 2 Pet. iii. 4. [1394] Ps. xcv. 2. [1395] Matt. x. 34. [1396] Luke xii. 52. [1397] Litigat. [1398] Recipitur. He seems to mean that the Catholic daughter-in-law who receives the word of Christ is sure not to submit to heretical baptism. [On which compare Cyprian's teaching, A.N.F. vol. v. pp. 376-385, etc.--C.] [1399] Gen. xlix. 10. E.V. "from between his feet." [1400] "In illâ veluti humilitate seminis esse magnitudinem Nominis." [The promise (Gen. iii. 15) dignified the loins of Isaac (Gen. xvii. 19) as with the Incarnation in its germ. Hence this mysterious form of oath was an oath by the Promised Seed (Gal. iii. 16). St. Paul quotes "the promises" (not one text only), and honours the Septuagint, which gives what he makes so emphatic in Gen. xii. 7, xv. 18, and xxii. 18.--C.] [1401] Gen. xxiv. 2. [1402] Ps. lxxxv. 11. [1403] Isa. liii. 7. [1404] Luke xxiii. 34. [1405] Virtutem. [1406] Malitias. [1407] Song of Sol. ii. 5. [1408] In corde, editions not in mss. [1409] Acts ix. 6. [1410] O æternitatis divinitas. [1411] Quia non pluit. [1412] Quia fluit. [1413] Collineari. [1414] Rex, a regendo. [1415] Non autem regit qui non corrigit. [1416] Rectorum. [1417] Hæc est tota virga. Al. tuta, "This is a safe rod." [1418] Ps. ii. 9. [1419] Ps. li. 9. [1420] Animum advertere. [1421] Ps. li. 3. [1422] Al. "The visible oil is for a sign of the oil invisible, for it is in a sacrament." [The use of oil in confirmation, designed to teach this, operated to conceal it rather; the material chrism absorbing the spiritual idea.--C.] [1423] Gen. xxviii. 11-18. [1424] [With which he subjoins a reference to John i. 51.--C.] [1425] Ps. cxviii. 22. [1426] 1 Pet. ii. 4. [1427] 1 Cor. xi. 3. [1428] Luke xxiii. 23. [1429] Latitudinem; but Vulgate, nervum. [1430] Gen. xxxii. 25. [1431] Multitudo generis. [1432] Eph. v. 27. [1433] 2 Cor. ii. 14, 15. [1434] Sol. Song i. 3, Lat. [1435] Matt. xix. 28. [1436] Oxf. mss. add, "For the Brother's name's sake." [1437] Vigilat. [1438] 1 Cor. i. 13. [1439] Memoriam Petri. [The first basilica of St. Peter, on the Vatican, is attributed to Constantine.--C.] [1440] Deut. xxv. 26. [1441] Matt. xxv. 41. [1442] Matt. xxv. 34. [1443] [Hence the beauty of a Liturgy is not that it should be in (Latin) one language, but in the many tongues of the many nations, confessing one faith. A.N.F. vol. vii. p. 533.--C.] [1444] Uniti in membris Christ. [1445] Al. "and thus a Prophet addresses her, and thus an Apostle addresses her." [1446] Ps. xviii. 43, 44. [1447] Ben. "with truth." Oxf. mss. varietate. [1448] Rom. iv. 5. [1449] Sol. Song viii. 5. Dealbata; or, Vulgate, deliciis affluens. [1450] Isa. i. 18. [1451] [With the Septuagint our author omits et adora cum. The text of the Vulgate here, and that of St. Augustin and of Jerome's Hebraic Psalter, differ widely.--C.] [1452] Matt. xv. 21-28. [1453] "They shall worship Him with gifts." [A truly Punic outburst, and full of point for the Carthaginians. A.N.F. vol. iii. p. 3.--C.] [1454] Or, "and let them be filled." Al. "and they are filled." [1455] Hos. vi. 6; Matt. ix. 13. [1456] Matt. xxv. 34, 35. [1457] Gen. xxviii. 12. See 18. John i. 51. [1458] Matt. xxv. 40. [1459] [Omnis gloria filiæ regis intrinsecus is Jerome's version of the Hebrew; preferable, certainly, to the tame idea of modern critics, that "within" means "(intus domum) within the palaces."--C.] [1460] Interiora pulcritudinis. [1461] Proximæ. [1462] 1 Pet. ii. 4. [1463] Hæreticæ sanctimoniales. [1464] Junctura. [1465] [Not worldly princes, but spiritual chiefs and leaders of the flock.--C.] [1466] Eph. ii. 20. [1467] E.V. "praise Thee." [1468] Ps. iii. 4. [1469] Matt. v. 14. [1470] Dan. ii. 34, 35. [1471] Ps. lxxxvii. 3. .


Psalm XLVI. [1472]

1. It is called, "A Psalm, to the end, for the sons of Korah, for things secret." Secret is it then; but He Himself, who in the place of Calvary was crucified, ye know, hath rent the veil, [1473] that the secrets of the temple might be discovered. Furthermore since the Cross of our Lord was a key, whereby things closed might be opened; let us trust that He will be with us, that these secrets may be revealed. What is said, "To the end," always ought to be understood of Christ. For "Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth." [1474] But The End He is called, not because He consumeth, but because He perfecteth. For ended call we the food which is eaten, and ended the coat which is woven, the former to consumption, the latter to perfection. Because then we have not where to go farther when we have come to Christ, Himself is called the end of our course. Nor ought we to think, that when we have come to Him, we ought to strive any further to come also to the Father. For this thought Philip also, when he said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us." When he said, "It sufficeth us," he sought the end of satisfaction and perfection. Then said He, "Have I been so long time with you, and hast thou not known Me, Philip: he that hath seen Me, hath seen the Father." [1475] In Him then have we the Father, because He is in the Father, and the Father in Him, and He and His Father are One. [1476]

2. "Our God is a refuge and strength" (ver. 1). There are some refuges wherein is no strength, whereto when any fleeth, he is more weakened than strengthened. Thou fleest, for example, to some one greater in the world, that thou mayest make thyself a powerful friend; this seemeth to thee a refuge. Yet so great are this world's uncertainties, and so frequent grow the ruins of the powerful day by day, that when to such refuge thou art come, thou beginnest to fear more than ever therein....Our refuge is not such, but our refuge is strength. When thither we have fled, we shall be firm.

3. "A helper in tribulations, which find us out too much." Tribulations are many, and in every tribulation unto God must we flee; whether it be a tribulation in our estate, or in our body's health, or about the peril of those dearest to us, or any other thing necessary to the sustaining of this life, refuge ought there to be none at all to a Christian man, other than his Saviour, other than his God, to whom when he has fled, he is strong. For he will not in himself be strong, nor will he to himself be strength, but He will be his strength, who has become his refuge. But, dearly beloved, among all tribulations of the human soul is no greater tribulation than the consciousness of sin. For if there be no wound herein, and that be sound within man which is called conscience, wherever else he may suffer tribulation, thither will he flee, and there find God....Ye see, dearly beloved, when trees are cut down and proved by the carpenters, sometimes in the surface they seem as though injured and rotten; but the carpenter looks into the inner marrow as it were of the tree, and if within he find the wood sound, he promises that it will last in a building; nor will he be very anxious about the injured surface, when that which is within he declares sound. Furthermore, to man anything more inward than conscience is not found; what then profits it, if what is without is sound, and the marrow of conscience has become rotton? These are close and vehement overmuch, and as this Psalm saith, too great tribulations; yet even in these the Lord hath become a helper by forgiving sin. For the consciences of the ungodly hateth nothing save indulgence; for if one saith he hath great tribulations, being a confessed debtor to the treasury, when he beholdeth the narrowness of his estate, and seeth that he cannot be solvent; if on account of the distrainers every year hanging over him, he saith that he suffereth great tribulations, and doth not breathe freely except in hope of indulgence, and that in things earthly; [1477] how much more the debtor of penalties out of the abundance of sins: when shall he pay what he owes out of his evil conscience, when if he pay, he perisheth? For to pay this debt, is to undergo the penalties. Remaineth then that of His indulgence, we may be secure, yet so that, indulgence received, we return not again to contract debts....

4. Now then, such security received, what say they? "Therefore will not we fear, when the earth shall be confounded" (ver. 2). Just before anxious, suddenly secure; out of too great tribulations set in great tranquillity. For in them Christ was sleeping, therefore were they tossed: Christ awoke (as but now we heard out of the Gospel), He commanded the winds, and they were still. [1478] Since Christ is in each man's heart by faith, it is signified to us, that his heart as a ship in this world's tempest is tossed, who forgetteth his faith: as though Christ sleeping it is tossed, but Christ awaking cometh tranquillity. Nay, the Lord Himself, what said He? "Where is your faith?" [1479] Christ aroused, aroused up faith, that what had been done in the ship, might be done in their hearts. "A helper in tribulations, which found us [1480] out too much." He caused that therein should be great tranquillity.

5. See what tranquillity: "Therefore will not we fear when the earth shall be confounded, and the mountains shall be carried into the heart of the sea." Then we shall find not fear. Let us seek mountains carried, and if we can find, it is manifest that this is our security. The Lord truly said to His disciples, "If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say to this mountain, Be Thou removed, and be Thou cast into the sea, and it shall be done." [1481] Haply "to this mountain," He said of Himself; for He is called a Mountain: "It shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord shall be manifest." [1482] But this Mountain is placed above other mountains; because the Apostles also are mountains, supporting this Mountain. Therefore followeth, "In the last days the Mountain of the Lord shall be manifest, established in the top of the mountains." Therefore passeth It the tops of all mountains, and on the top of all mountains is It placed; because the mountains are preaching The Mountain. But the sea signifieth this world, in comparison of which sea, like earth seemed the nation of the Jews. For it was not covered over with the bitterness of idolatry, but, like dry land, was surrounded with the bitterness of the Gentiles as with sea. It was to be, that the earth be confounded, that is, that nation of the Jews; and that the mountains be carried into the heart of the sea, that is, first that great Mountain established in the top of the mountains. For He deserted the nation of the Jews, and came among the Gentiles. He was carried from the earth into the sea. Who carrying Him? The Apostles, to whom He had said, "If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say to this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea, and it shall be done:" that is, through your most faithful preaching it shall come to pass, that this mountain, that is, I Myself, be preached among the Gentiles, be glorified among the Gentiles, be acknowledged among the Gentiles, and that be fulfilled which was predicted of Me, "A people whom I have not known shall serve Me." [1483] ...

6. "The waters thereof roared, and were troubled" (ver. 3): when the Gospel was preached, "What is this? He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods:" [1484] this the Athenians; but the Ephesians, with what tumult would they have slain the Apostles, when in the theatre, for their goddess Diana, they made such an uproar, as to be shouting, "Great is Diana of the Ephesians!" [1485] Amidst which waves and roaring of the sea, feared not they who to that refuge had fled. Nay, the Apostle Paul would enter in to the theatre, and was kept back by the disciples, because it was necessary that he should still abide in the flesh for their sakes. But yet, "the waters thereof roared, and were troubled: the mountains shook at the mightiness thereof." Whose might? The sea's? or rather God's, of whom was said, "refuge and strength, a helper in tribulations, which have found us out too much?" For shaken were the mountains, that is, the powers of this world. For one thing are the mountains of God, another the mountains of the world: the mountains of the world, they whose head is the devil, the mountains of God, they whose Head is Christ. But by these mountains were shaken those mountains. Then gave they their voices against Christians, when the mountains were shaken, the waters roaring; for the mountains were shaken, and there was made a great earthquake, with quaking of the sea. But against whom this? Against the City founded upon a rock. The waters roar, the mountains shake, the Gospel being preached. What then, the City of God? Hear what followeth.

7. "The streams of the river make glad the City of God" (ver. 4). When the mountains shake, when the sea rages, God deserteth not His City, by the streams of the river. What are these streams of the river? That overflowing of the Holy Spirit, of which the Lord said, "If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. He that believeth on Me, out of his bosom [1486] shall flow rivers of living water." [1487] These rivers then flowed out of the bosom [1488] of Paul, Peter, John, the other Apostles, the other faithful Evangelists. Since these rivers flowed from one river, many "streams of the river make glad the City of God." For that ye might know this to be said of the Holy Spirit, in the same Gospel next said the Evangelist, "But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that were to believe on Him should receive. For the Holy Ghost was not yet given, because that Jesus was not yet glorified." [1489] Jesus being glorified after His Resurrection, glorified after His Ascension, on the day of Pentecost came the Holy Spirit, and filled the believers, [1490] who spake with tongues, and began to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles. Hence was the City of God made glad, while the sea was troubled by the roaring of its waters, while the mountains were confounded, asking what they should do, how drive out the new doctrine, how root out the race of Christians from the earth. Against whom? Against the streams of the river making glad the City of God. For thereby showed He of what river He spake; that He signified the Holy Spirit, by "the streams of the river make glad the City of God." And what follows? "The Most High hath sanctified His tabernacle:" since then there followeth the mention of Sanctification, it is manifest that these streams of the river are to be understood of the Holy Spirit, by whom is sanctified every godly soul believing in Christ, that it may be made a citizen of the City of God.

8. "God is in the midst of her: she shall not be moved" (ver. 5). Let the sea rage, the mountains shake; "God is in the midst of her: she shall not be moved." What is, "in the midst of her"? That God stands in any one place, and they surround Him who believe in Him? Then is God circumscribed by place; and broad that which surroundeth, narrow that which is surrounded? God forbid. No such thing imagine of God, who is contained in no place, whose seat is the conscience of the godly: and so is God's seat in the hearts of men, that if man fall from God, God in Himself abideth, not falleth like one not finding where to be. For rather doth He lift up thee, that thou mayest be in Him, than so lean upon thee, as if thou withdraw thyself, to fall. Himself if He withdraw, fall wilt thou: thyself if thou withdraw, fall will not He. What then is, "God is in the midst of her"? It signifieth that God is equal to all, and accepteth not persons. For as that which is in the middle has equal distances to all the boundaries, so God is said to be in the middle, because He consulteth equally for all. "God is in the midst of her: she shall not be moved." Wherefore shall she not be moved? Because God is in the midst of her. He is "the Helper in tribulations that have found us out too much. God shall help her with His Countenance." What is, "with His Countenance"? With manifestation of Himself. How manifests God Himself, so as that we see His Countenance? I have already told you; ye have learned God's Presence; we have learned it through His works. When from Him we receive any help so that we cannot at all doubt that it was granted to us by the Lord, then God's Countenance is with us.

9. "The heathen are troubled" (ver. 6). And how troubled? why troubled? To cast down the City of God, in the midst whereof is God? To overthrow the tabernacle sanctified, which God helpeth with His Countenance? No: with a wholesome trouble are the heathen now troubled. For what followeth? "And the kingdoms are bowed." Bowed, saith He, are the kingdoms; not now erected that they may rage, but bowed that they may adore. When were the kingdoms bowed? When that came to pass which was predicted in another Psalm, "All kings shall fall down before Him, all nations shall serve Him." [1491] What cause made the kingdoms to bow? Hear the cause. "The Most High gave His Voice, and the earth was moved." The fanatics [1492] of idolatry, like frogs in the marshes, clamoured, the more tumultuously, the more sordidly, in filth and mire. And what is the brawling of frogs to the thunder of the clouds? For out of them "the Most High gave His Voice, and the earth was moved:" He thundered out of His clouds. And what are His clouds? His Apostles, His preachers, by whom He thundered in precepts, lightened in miracles. The same are clouds who are also mountains: mountains for their height and firmness, clouds for their rain and fruitfulness. For these clouds watered the earth, of which it was said, "The Most High gave His Voice, and the earth was moved." For it is of those clouds that He threateneth a certain barren vineyard, whence the mountains were carried into the heart of the sea; "I will command," saith He, "the clouds that they rain no rain upon it." [1493] This was fulfilled in that which I have mentioned, when the mountains were carried into the heart of the sea; when it was said, "It was necessary that the word of God should have been spoken first to you; but seeing ye put it from you, we turn to the Gentiles;" [1494] then was fulfilled, "I will command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it." The nation of the Jews hath just so remained as a fleece dry upon the ground. For this, ye know, happened in a certain miracle, the ground was dry, the fleece only was wet, yet rain in the fleece appeared not. [1495] So also the mystery of the New Testament appeared not in the nation of the Jews. What there was the fleece, is here the veil. For in the fleece was veiled the mystery. But on the ground, in all the nations open lieth Christ's Gospel; the rain is manifest, the Grace of Christ is bare, for it is not covered with a veil. But that the rain might come out of it, the fleece was pressed. For by pressure they from themselves excluded Christ, and the Lord now from His clouds raineth on the ground, the fleece hath remained dry. But of them then "the Most High gave His Voice," out of those clouds; by which Voice the kingdoms were bowed and worshipped.

10. "The Lord of Hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our taker up" (ver. 7). Not any man, not any power, not, in short, Angel, or any creature either earthly or heavenly, but "the Lord of Hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our taker up." He who sent Angels, came after Angels, came that Angels might serve Him, came that men He might make equal to Angels. Mighty Grace! If God be for us, who can be against us? "The Lord of Hosts is with us." What Lord of Hosts is with us? "If" (I say) "God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all; how hath He not with Him also freely given [1496] us all things." [1497] Therefore be we secure, in tranquillity of heart nourish we a good conscience with the Bread of the Lord. "The Lord of Hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our taker up." However great be thy infirmity, see who taketh thee up. One is sick, a physician is called to him. His own taken-up, the Physician calleth the sick man. Who hath taken him up? Even He. A great hope of salvation; a great Physician hath taken him up. What Physician? [1498] Every Physician save He is man: every Physician who cometh to a sick man, another day can be made sick, beside Him. "The God of Jacob is our taker up." Make thyself altogether as a little child, such as are taken up by their parents. For those not taken up, are exposed; those taken up are nursed. Thinkest thou God hath so taken thee up, as when an infant thy mother took thee up? Not so, but to eternity. For thy voice is in that Psalm, "My father and my mother forsake me, but the Lord hath taken me up." [1499]

11. "Come and see the works of the Lord" (ver. 8). Now of this taking up, what hath the Lord done? Consider the whole world, come and see. For if thou comest not, thou seest not; if thou seest not, thou believest not; if thou believest not, thou standest afar off: if thou believest thou comest, if thou believest thou seest. For how came we to that mountain? Not on foot? Is it by ship? Is it on the wing? Is it on horses? For all that pertain to space and place, be not concerned, trouble not thyself, He cometh to thee. For out of a small stone He hath grown, and become a great mountain, so that He hath filled all the face of the earth. Why then wouldest thou by land come to Him, who filleth all lands? Lo, He hath already come: watch thou. By growing He waketh even sleepers; if yet there is not in them so deep sleep, as that they be hardened even against the mountain coming; but they hear, "Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light." [1500] For it was a great thing for the Jews to see the stone. For the stone was yet small: and small they deservedly despised it, and despising they stumbled, and stumbling they were broken; remains that they be ground to powder. For so was it said of the stone, "Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder." [1501] It is one thing to be broken, another to be ground to powder. To be broken is less than to be ground to powder: but none grindeth He coming exalted, save whom He brake lying low. For now before His coming He lay low before the Jews, and they stumbled at Him, and were broken; hereafter shall He come in His Judgment, glorious and exalted, great and powerful, not weak to be judged, but strong to judge, and grind to powder those who were broken stumbling at Him. For "A stone of stumbling and a rock of offence," [1502] is He to them that believe not. Therefore, brethren, no wonder if the Jews acknowledged not Him, whom as a small stone lying before their feet they despised. They are to be wondered at, who even now so great a mountain will not acknowledge. The Jews at a small stone by not seeing stumbled; the heretics stumble at a mountain. For now that stone hath grown, now say we unto them, Lo, now is fulfilled the prophecy of Daniel, "The stone that was small became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth." [1503] Wherefore stumble ye at Him, and go not rather up to Him? Who is so blind as to stumble at a mountain? Came He to thee that thou shouldest have whereat to stumble, and not have whereto to go up? "Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord." [1504] Isaiah saith this: "Come ye, and let us go up." What is, "Come ye, and let us go up"? "Come ye," is, Believe ye. "Let us go up," is, Let us profit. [1505] But they will neither come, nor go up, nor believe, nor profit. They bark against the mountain. Even now by so often stumbling on Him they are broken, and will not go up, choosing always to stumble. Say we to them, "Come ye, and see the works of the Lord:" what "prodigies He hath set forth through the earth." Prodigies are called, because they portend something, those signs of miracles which were done when the world believed. And what thereafter came to pass, and what did they portend?

12. "He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth" (ver. 9). This not yet see we fulfilled: yet are there wars, wars among nations for sovereignty; among sects, among Jews, Pagans, Christians, heretics, are wars, frequent wars, some for the truth, some for falsehood contending. Not yet then is this fulfilled, "He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth;" but haply it shall be fulfilled. Or is it now also fulfilled? In some it is fulfilled; in the wheat it is fulfilled, in the tares it is not yet fulfilled. What is this then, "He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth"? Wars He calleth whereby it is warred against God. But who warreth against God? Ungodliness. And what to God can ungodliness do? Nothing. What doth an earthen vessel dashed against the rock, however vehemently dashed? With so much greater harm to itself it cometh, with how much the greater force it cometh. These wars were great, frequent were they. Against God fought ungodliness, and earthen vessels were dashed in pieces, even men by presuming on themselves, by too much prevailing by their own strength. This is that, the shield whereof Job also named concerning one ungodly. "He runneth against God, upon the stiff neck of his shield." [1506] What is, "upon the stiff neck of his shield"? Presuming too much upon his own protection. Were they such who said, "God is our refuge and strength, a Helper in tribulations which have found us out too much"? or in another Psalm, "For I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword save me." [1507] When one learneth that in himself he is nothing, and help in himself has none, arms in him are broken in pieces, wars are made to cease. Such wars then destroyed that Voice of the Most High out of His holy clouds, whereby the earth was moved, and the kingdoms were bowed. These wars hath He made to cease unto the end of the earth. "He shall break the bow, and dash in pieces the arms, and burn the shield with fire." Bow, arms, shield, fire. [1508] The bow is plots; arms, public warfare; shields, vain presuming of self-protection: the fire wherewith they are burned, is that whereof the Lord said, "I am come to send fire on the earth;" [1509] of which fire saith the Psalm, "There is nothing hid from the heat thereof." [1510] This fire burning, no arms of ungodliness shall remain in us, needs must all be broken, dashed in pieces, burned. Remain thou unharmed, not having any help of thine own; and the more weak thou art, having no arms thine own, the more He taketh thee up, of whom it is said, "The God of Jacob is our taker up."...But when God taketh us up, doth He send us away unarmed? He armeth us, but with other arms, arms Evangelical, arms of truth, continence, salvation, faith, hope, charity. These arms shall we have, but not of ourselves: but the arms which of ourselves we had, are burnt up: yet if by that fire of the Holy Spirit we are kindled, whereof it is said, "He shall burn the shields with fire;" thee, who didst wish to be powerful in thyself, hath God made weak, that He may make thee strong in Him, because in thyself thou wast made weak.

13. What then followeth? "Be still." To what purpose? "And see that I am God" (ver. 10). That is, Not ye, but I am God. I created, I create anew; I formed, I form anew; I made, I make anew. If thou couldest not make thyself, how canst thou make thyself anew? This seeth not the contentious tumult of man's soul; to which contentious tumult is it said, "Be still." That is, restrain your souls from contradiction. Do not argue, and, as it were, arm against God. Else yet live thy arms, not yet burned up with fire. But if they are burned, "Be still;" because ye have not wherewith to fight. But if ye be still in yourselves, and from Me seek all, who before presumed on yourselves, then shall ye "see that I am God." "I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth." Just before I said, by the name of earth is signified the nation of the Jews, by the name of sea the other nations. The mountains were carried into the heart of the sea; the nations are troubled, the kingdoms are bowed; the Most High gave His Voice, and the earth was moved. "The Lord of Hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our taker up" (ver. 11). Miracles are done among the heathen, full filled is the faith of the heathen; burned are the arms of human presumption. Still are they, in tranquillity of heart, to acknowledge God the Author of all their gifts. And after this glorifying, doth He yet desert the people of the Jews? of which saith the Apostle, "I say unto you, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened unto Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in." [1511] That is, until the mountains be carried hither, the clouds rain here, the Lord here bows the kingdoms with His thunder, "until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in." And what thereafter? "And so all Israel shall be saved." Therefore, here too observing the same order, "I will be exalted" (saith He) "among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth;" that is, both in the sea, and in the earth, that now might all say what followeth: "the God of Jacob is our taker up."

Footnotes

[1472] Lat. XLV. [In his exordium the Saint recurs to his favourite idea as follows: "Korah is interpreted `Baldness,' and that our Lord, since in the `place of the Bald skull' [Matt. xxvii. 33] He was crucified, hath drawn unto Him many; like that corn of wheat, which except it die, should abide alone; and that those who are drawn unto Him are called sons of Korah [John xii. 24, 32]. Thus much in the mystery. There were indeed some sons of Korah at the time when this was first sung [1 Chron. xxvi. 1], but to us ought the Spirit to give life, not the letter to be a veil" [2 Cor. iii. 6.]--C.] [1473] Matt. xxvii. 51. [1474] Rom. x. 4. [1475] John xiv. 8, 9. [1476] John x. 30, 38. [1477] Many mss. "of earthly princes." [1478] Matt. viii. 24-26. [1479] Luke viii. 25. [1480] Al. "them." [1481] Matt. xvii. 20, xxi. 21. [1482] Isa. ii. 2. [1483] Ps. xviii. 43. [1484] Acts xvii. 18. [1485] Acts xix. 34. [1486] ["Belly," English version. But I have not hesitated to substitute a word more literal in fact, which relieves the text of a ludicrous profanation.--C.] [1487] John vii. 37, 38. [1488] ["Belly," English version. But I have not hesitated to substitute a word more literal in fact, which relieves the text of a ludicrous profanation.--C.] [1489] John vii. 39. [1490] Acts ii. 1, 2. [1491] Ps. lxxii. 11. [1492] Arreptitii. [1493] Isa. v. 6. [1494] Acts xiii. 46. [1495] Judg. vi. 36-40. [1496] So Vulgate. [1497] Rom. viii. 31, 32. [1498] Oxf. mss. add, "hath taken him up? What Physician?" [1499] Ps. xxvii. 10. [1500] Eph. v. 14. [1501] Luke xx. 18. [1502] 1 Pet. ii. 8. [1503] Dan. ii. 35. [1504] Isa. ii. 3. [1505] Oxf. mss. add, "come, and let us go up, believe, and let us profit." [1506] Job xv. 26. [1507] Ps. xliv. 6. [1508] Oxf. mss. "with fire." [1509] Luke xii. 49. [1510] Ps. xix. 6. [1511] Rom. xi. 25. .


Psalm XLVII. [1512]

1. The title of the Psalm goeth thus. "To the end: for the sons of Korah: a Psalm of David himself." These sons of Korah have the title also of some other Psalms, and indicate a sweet mystery, insinuate a great Sacrament: wherein let us willingly understand ourselves, and let us acknowledge in the title us who hear, and read, and as in a glass set before us behold who we are. The sons of Korah, who are they? [1513] ...Haply the sons of the Bridegroom. For the Bridegroom was crucified in the place of Calvary. Recollect the Gospel, [1514] where they crucified the Lord, and ye will find Him crucified in the place of Calvary. Furthermore, they who deride His Cross, by devils, as by beasts, are devoured. For this also a certain Scripture signified. When God's Prophet Elisha was going up, children called after him mocking, "Go up thou bald head, Go up thou bald head:" but he, not so much in cruelty as in mystery, made those children to be devoured by bears out of the wood. [1515] If those children had not been devoured, would they have lived even till now? Or could they not, being born mortal, have been taken off by a fever? But so in them had no mystery been shown, whereby posterity might be put in fear. Let none then mock the Cross of Christ. The Jews were possessed by devils, and devoured; for in the place of Calvary, crucifying Christ, and lifting on the Cross, they said as it were with childish sense, not understanding what they said, "Go up, thou bald head." For what is, "Go up"? "Crucify Him, Crucify Him." [1516] For childhood is set before us to imitate humility, and childhood is set before us to beware of foolishness. To imitate humility, childhood was set before us by the Lord, when He called children to Him, [1517] and because they were kept from Him, He said, "Suffer them to come unto Me, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven." [1518] The example of childhood is set before us to beware of foolishness by the Apostle, "Brethren, be not children in understanding:" and again he proposeth it to imitate, "Howbeit in malice be ye children, that in understanding ye may be men." [1519] "For the sons of Korah" the Psalm is sung; for Christians then is it sung. Let us hear it as sons of the Bridegroom, whom senseless children crucified in the place of Calvary. For they earned to be devoured by beasts; we to be crowned by Angels. For we acknowledge the humility of our Lord, and of it are not ashamed. We are not ashamed of Him called in mystery "the bald" (Calvus), from the place of Calvary. For on the very Cross whereon He was insulted, He permitted not our forehead to be bald; for with His own Cross He marked it. Finally, that ye may know that these things are said to us, see what is said.

2. "O clap your hands, all ye nations" (ver. 1). Were the people of the Jews all the nations? No, but blindness in part is happened to Israel, that senseless children might cry, "Calve," "Calve;" and so the Lord might be crucified in the place of Calvary, that by His Blood shed He might redeem the Gentiles, and that might be fulfilled which saith the Apostle, "Blindness in part is happened unto Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in." [1520] Let them insult, then, the vain, and foolish, and senseless, and say, "Calve," "Calve;" but ye redeemed by His Blood which was shed in the place of Calvary, say, "O clap your hands, all ye nations;" because to you hath come down the Grace of God. "O clap your hands." What is "O clap"? Rejoice. But wherefore with the hands? Because with good works. Do not rejoice with the mouth while idle with the hands. If ye rejoice, "clap your hands." The hands of the nations let Him see, who joys hath deigned to give them. What is, the hands of the nations? The acts of them doing good works. "O clap your hands, all ye nations: shout unto God with the voice of triumph." Both with voice and with hands. If with the voice only it is not well, because the hands are slow; if only with the hands it is not well, because the tongue is mute. Agree together must the hands and tongue. Let this confess, these work. "Shout unto God with the voice of triumph."

3. "For the Lord Most High is terrible" (ver. 2). The Most High in descending made like one ludicrous, by ascending into Heaven is made terrible. "A great King over all the earth." Not only over the Jews; for over them also He is King. For of them also the Apostles believed and of them many thousands of men sold their goods, and laid the price at the Apostles' feet, [1521] and in them was fulfilled what in the title of the Cross was written, "The King of the Jews." [1522] For He is King also of the Jews. But "of the Jews" is little. [1523] "O clap your hands, all ye nations: for God is the King of all the earth." For it sufficeth not Him to have under Him one nation: therefore such great price gave He out of His side, as to buy the whole world.

4. "He hath subdued the people under us, and the nations under our feet" (ver. 3). Which subdued, and to whom? Who are they that speak? Haply Jews? Surely, if Apostles; surely, if Saints. For under these God hath subdued the people and the nations, that to-day are they honoured among the nations, who by their own citizens earned to be slain: as their Lord was slain by His citizens, and is honoured among the nations; was crucified by His own, is adored by aliens, but those by a price made His own. For therefore bought He us, that aliens from Him we might not be. Thinkest thou then these are the words of Apostles, "He hath subdued the people under us, and the nations under our feet"? I know not. Strange that Apostles should speak so proudly, as to rejoice that the nations were put under their feet, that is, Christians under the feet of Apostles. For they rejoice that we are with them under the feet of Him who died for us. For under Paul's feet ran they, who would be of Paul, to whom He said, "Was Paul crucified for you?" [1524] What then here, what are we to understand? "He hath subdued the people under us, and the nations under our feet." All pertaining to Christ's inheritance are among "all the nations," and nations:" and ye see so exalted in Christ's Name is Christ's Church, that all not yet believing in Christ lie under the feet of Christians. For what numbers now run to the Church; not yet being Christians, they ask aid of the Church; [1525] to be succoured by us temporally they are willing, though eternally to reign with us as yet they are unwilling. When all seek aid of the Church, even they who are not yet in the Church, hath He not "subdued the people under us, and the nations under our feet"?

5. "He hath chosen an inheritance for us, the excellency [1526] of Jacob, whom He loved" (ver. 4). A certain beauty of Jacob He hath chosen for our inheritance. Esau and Jacob were two brothers; in their mother's womb both struggled, and by this struggle their mother's bowels were shaken; and while they two were yet therein, the younger was elected and preferred to the elder, and it was said, "Two peoples are in thy womb, and the elder shall serve the younger." [1527] Among all nations is the elder, among all nations the younger; but the younger is in good Christians, elect, godly, faithful; the elder in the proud, unworthy, sinful, stubborn, defending rather than confessing their sins: as was also the very people of the Jews, "being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness." [1528] But for that it is said, "The elder shall serve the younger;" it is manifest that under the godly are subdued the ungodly, under the humble are subdued the proud. Esau was born first, and Jacob was born last; but he who was last born, was preferred to the first-born, who through gluttony lost his birthright. So thou hast it written, [1529] He longed for the pottage, and his brother said to him, If thou wilt that I give it thee, give me thy birthright. He loved more that which carnally he desired, than that which spiritually by being born first he had earned: [1530] and he laid aside his birthright, that he might eat lentils. But lentils we find to be the food of the Egyptians, for there it abounds in Egypt. Whence is so magnified the lentil of Alexandria, that it comes even to our country, as if here grew no lentil. Therefore by desiring Egyptian food he lost his birthright. So also the people of the Jews, of whom it is said, "in their hearts they turned back again into Egypt." [1531] They desired in a manner the lentil, and lost their birthright.

6. "God is gone up with jubilation" (ver. 5). Even He our God, the Lord Christ, is gone up with jubilation; "the Lord with the sound of a trumpet." "Is gone up:" whither, save where we know? Whither the Jews followed Him not, even with their eyes. For exalted on the Cross they mocked Him, ascending into Heaven they did not see Him. "God hath gone up with jubilation." What is jubilation, but admiration of joy which cannot be expressed in words? As the disciples in joy admired, seeing Him go into Heaven, whom they had mourned dead; truly for the joy, words sufficed not: remained to jubilate what none could express. There was also the voice of the trumpet, the voice of Angels. For it is said, "Lift up thy voice like a trumpet." Angels preached the ascension of the Lord: they saw the Disciples, their Lord ascending, tarrying, admiring, confounded, nothing speaking, but in heart jubilant: and now was the sound of the trumpet in the clear voice of the Angels, "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into Heaven? this is Jesus." [1532] As if they knew not that it was the same Jesus. Had they not just before seen Him before them? Had they not heard Him speaking with them? Nay, they not only saw the figure of Him present, but handled also His limbs. Of themselves then knew they not, that it was the same Jesus? But they being by very admiration, from joy of jubilation, as it were transported in mind, the Angels said, "that same is Jesus." As though they said, If ye believe Him, this is that same Jesus, whom crucified, your feet stumbled, whom dead and buried, ye thought your hope lost. Lo, this is the same Jesus. He hath gone up before you, "He shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into Heaven." His Body is removed indeed from your eyes, but God is not separated from your hearts: see Him going up, believe on Him absent, hope for Him coming; but yet through His secret Mercy, feel Him present. For He who ascended into Heaven that He might be removed from your eyes, promised unto you, saying, "Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." [1533] Justly then the Apostle so addressed us, "The Lord is at hand; be careful for nothing." [1534] Christ sitteth above the Heavens; the Heavens are far off, He who there sitteth is near....

7. "Sing praises to our God, sing praises" (ver. 6). Whom as Man mocked they, who from God were alienated. "Sing praises to our God." For He is not Man only, but God. Man of the seed of David, [1535] God the Lord of David, of the Jews having flesh. "Whose" (saith the Apostle) "are the fathers, of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came." [1536] Of the Jews then is Christ, but according to the flesh. But who is this Christ who is of the Jews according to the flesh? "Who is over all, God blessed for ever." God before the flesh, God in the flesh, God with the flesh. Nor only God before the flesh, but God before the earth whence flesh was made; nor only God before the earth whereof flesh was made, but even God before the Heaven which was first made; God before the day which was first made; God before Angels; the same Christ is God: for "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." [1537]

8. "For God is the King of all the earth" (ver. 7). What? And before was He not God of all the earth? Is He not God of both heaven and earth, since by Him surely were all things made? Who can say that He is not his God? But not all men acknowledged Him their God; and where He was acknowledged, there only, so to say, He was God. "In Judah is God known." [1538] Not yet was it said to the sons of Korah, "O clap your hands, all ye nations." For that God known in Judah, is King of all the earth: now by all He is acknowledged, for that is fulfilled which Isaiah saith, "He is thy God who hath delivered thee, the God of the whole earth shall He be called." [1539] "Sing ye praises with understanding." He teacheth us and warneth us to sing praises with understanding, not to seek the sound of the ear, but the light of the heart. The Gentiles, whence ye were called that ye might be Christians, adored gods made with hands, and sang praises to them, but not with understanding. If they had sung with understanding, they had not adored stones. When a man sensible sang to a stone insensible, did he sing with understanding? But now, brethren, we see not with our eyes Whom we adore, and yet correctly [1540] we adore. [1541] Much more is God commended to us, that with our eyes we see Him not. If with our eyes we saw Him, haply we might despise. For even Christ seen, the Jews despised; unseen, the Gentiles adored.

9. "God shall reign over all nations" (ver. 8). Who reigned over one nation, "shall reign" (saith He) "over all nations." When this was said, God reigned over one nation. It was a prophecy, the thing was not yet shown. Thanks be to God, we now see fulfilled what before was prophesied. A written promise God sent unto us before the time, the time fulfilled He hath repaid us. "God shall reign over all nations," is a promise. "God sitteth upon His Holy Seat." What then was promised to come, now being fulfilled, is acknowledged and held. "God sitteth upon His Holy Seat." What is His Holy Seat? Haply saith one, The Heavens, and he understandeth well. For Christ hath gone up, [1542] as we know, with the Body, wherein He was crucified, and sitteth at the right hand of the Father; thence we expect Him to come to judge the quick and the dead. [1543] "God sitteth upon His Holy Seat." The Heavens are His Holy Seat. Wilt thou also be His Seat? think not that thou canst not be; prepare for Him a place in thy heart. He cometh, and willingly sitteth. The same Christ is surely "the Power of God, and the Wisdom of God:" [1544] and what saith the Scripture of Wisdom Herself? The soul of the righteous is the seat of Wisdom. [1545] If then the soul of the righteous is the seat of Wisdom, be thy soul righteous, and thou shalt be a royal seat of Wisdom. And truly, brethren, all men who live well, who act well, converse in godly charity, doth not God sit in them, and Himself command? Thy soul obeyeth God sitting in it, and itself commandeth the members. For thy soul commandeth thy members, that so may move the foot, the hand, the eye, the ear, and itself commandeth the members as its servants, but yet itself serveth its Lord sitting within. It cannot well rule its inferior, unless its superior it have not disdained to serve.

10. "The princes of the peoples are gathered together unto the God of Abraham" (ver. 9). The God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. [1546] True it is, God said this, and thereupon the Jews prided themselves, and said, "We are Abraham's children;" [1547] priding themselves in their father's name, carrying his flesh, not holding his faith; by seed cleaving to Him, in manners degenerating. But the Lord, what said He to them so priding themselves? "If ye are Abraham's children, do the works of Abraham." [1548] Again..."The princes of the peoples:" the princes of the nations: not the princes of one people, but the princes of all people have "gathered together unto the God of Abraham." Of these princes was that Centurion too, of whom but now when the Gospel was read ye heard. For he was a Centurion having honour and power among men, he was a prince among the princes of the peoples. Christ coming to him, he sent his friends to meet Him, nay unto Christ truly passing over to him he sent his friends, and asked that He would heal his servant who was dangerously sick. And when the Lord would come, he sent to Him this message: "I am not worthy that Thou shouldest enter under my roof, but say in a word only, and my servant shall be healed." "For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers." [1549] See how he kept his rank! first he mentioned that he was under another, and afterwards that another was under him. I am under authority, and I am in authority; both under some I am, and over some I am....As though he said, If I being set under authority command those who are under me, Thou who art set under no man's authority, canst not Thou command Thy creature, since all things were made by Thee, and without Thee was nothing made. "Say," then, said he, "in a word, and my servant shall be healed. For I am not worthy that Thou shouldest enter under my roof."...Admiring at his faith, Jesus reprobates the Jews' misbelief. For sound to themselves they seemed, whereas they were dangerously sick, when their Physician not knowing they slew. Therefore when He reprobated, and repudiated their pride what said he? "I say unto you, that many shall come from the east and west," not belonging to the kindred of Israel: many shall come to whom He said, "O clap your hands, all ye nations;" "and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven." Abraham begat them not of his own flesh; yet shall they come and sit down with him in the kingdom of heaven, and be his sons. Whereby his sons? Not as born of his flesh, but by following his faith. "But the children of the kingdom," that is, the Jews, "shall be cast into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." [1550] They shall be condemned to outer darkness who are born of the flesh of Abraham, and they shall sit down with him in the kingdom of heaven, who have imitated Abraham's faith.

11. And what they who belonged to the God of Abraham? "For the mighty gods of the earth are greatly lifted up." They who were gods, the people of God, the vineyard of God, whereof it is said, "Judge betwixt Me and My vineyard," [1551] shall go into outer darkness, shall not sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, are not gathered unto the God of Abraham. Wherefore? "For the mighty gods of the earth;" they who were mighty gods of the earth, presuming upon earth. What earth? Themselves; for every man is earth. For to man was it said, "Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." [1552] But man ought to presume upon God, and thence to hope for help, not from himself. For the earth raineth not upon itself, nor shineth for itself; but as the earth from heaven expecteth rain and light, so man from God ought to expect mercy and truth. They then, "the mighty gods of the earth, were greatly lifted up," that is, greatly prided themselves: they thought no physician necessary for themselves, and therefore remained in their sickness, and by their sickness were brought down even to death. The natural branches were broken off that the humble wild olive tree might be grafted in. [1553] Hold we fast then, brethren, humility, charity, godliness: since we are called, on their proving reprobate, even by their example let us fear to pride ourselves.

Footnotes

[1512] Lat. XLVI. [1513] Numb. xvi. 1. [See p. 155, note 8, supra.--C.] [1514] Matt. xxvii. 33. [1515] 2 Kings ii. 23, 24. [1516] Luke xxiii. 21. [1517] Matt. xviii. 2. [1518] Matt. xix. 14. [1519] 1 Cor. xiv. 20. [1520] Rom. xi. 25. [1521] Acts iv. 34. [1522] Matt. xxvii. 37. [1523] [Isa. xlix. 6.--C.] [1524] 1 Cor. i. 13. [1525] [See (A.N.F. vol. v. p. 563) the noble charities of early Christians.--C.] [1526] Speciem. [1527] Gen. xxv. 23. [1528] Rom. x. 3. [1529] Gen. xxv. 30-34. [1530] Meruerat. [1531] Acts vii. 39. [1532] Acts i. 11. [1533] Matt. xxviii. 20. [1534] Phil. iv. 5, 6. [1535] Rom. i. 3. [1536] Rom. ix. 5. [1537] John i. 1. [1538] Ps. lxxvi. 1. [1539] Isa. liv. 5. [1540] Correcti. ms. Vat. ap. Ben. corde recti, "right in heart." [1541] [The adoration of the Host was unknown to the ancient Church.--C.] [1542] Acts i. 2. [1543] 2 Tim. iv. 1. [1544] 1 Cor. i. 24. [1545] Wisd. vii. 27. [1546] Exod. iii. 6. [1547] John viii. 33. [1548] John viii. 39. [1549] Luke vii. 6, 7. [1550] Matt. viii. 12. [1551] Isa. v. 3. [1552] Gen. iii. 19. [1553] Rom. xi. 17. .


Psalm XLVIII. [1554]

1. The title of this Psalm is, "A song of praise, to the sons of Korah, on the second day of the week." Concerning this what the Lord deigneth to grant receive ye like sons of the firmament. For on the second day of the week, that is, the day after the first which we call the Lord's day, which also is called the second week-day, was made the firmament of Heaven. [1555] ...The second day of the week then we ought not to understand but of the Church of Christ: but the Church of Christ in the Saints, the Church of Christ in those who are written in Heaven, the Church of Christ in those who to this world's temptations yield not. For they are worthy of the name of "firmament." The Church of Christ, then, in those who are strong, of whom saith the Apostle, "We that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak," [1556] is called the firmament. Of this it is sung in this Psalm. Let us hear, acknowledge, associate, glory, reign. For Her called firmament, hear also in the Apostolic Epistles, "the pillar and firmament [1557] of the truth." [1558] ...

2. "Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised" (ver. 1)....That is, "in the city of our God, in His holy mountain." This is the city set upon an hill, which cannot be hid: this is the candle which is not hidden under a bushel, [1559] to all known, to all proclaimed. Yet are not all men citizens thereof, but they in whom "great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised." What then is that city: let us see whether perhaps, since it is said, "In the city of our God, in His holy mountain," we ought not to enquire for this mountain where also we may be heard....What then is that mountain, brethren? One is it with great care to be enquired for, with great solicitude investigated, with labour also to be occupied and ascended. But if in any part of the earth it is, what shall we do? Shall we go abroad out of our own country, that to that mountain we may arrive? Nay, then we are abroad, when in it we are not. For that is our city, if we are members of the King, who is the head of the same city....For there was a certain corner-stone contemptible, whereat the Jews stumbled, [1560] cut out of a certain mountain without hands, that is, coming of the kingdom of the Jews without hands, because human operation went not with Mary of whom was born Christ. [1561] But if that stone, when the Jews stumbled thereat, had remained there, thou hadst not had whither to ascend. But what was done? What saith the prophecy of Daniel? What but that the stone grew, and became a great mountain? How great? So that it filled the whole face of the earth. [1562] By growing, then, and by filling the whole face of the earth, that mountain came to us. Why then seek we the mountain as though absent, and not as being present ascend to it; that in us the Lord may be "great, and greatly to be praised"?

3. Further,...when he had said, "in the city of our God, in His holy mountain," what added he? "Spreading abroad the joys of the whole earth, the mountains of Sion" (ver. 2). Sion is one mountain, why then "mountains"? Is it that to Sion belonged also those which came from the other side, so as to meet together on the Corner Stone, and become two walls, as it were two mountains, one of the circumcision, the other of the uncircumcision; one of the Jews, the other of the Gentiles: no longer adverse, although diverse, because from different sides, now in the corner not even diverse. "For He is our peace, who hath made both one." [1563] The same Corner Stone "which the builders rejected, is become the Head Stone of the corner." [1564] The mountain hath joined in itself two mountains; one house there is, and two houses; two, because coming from different sides; one, because of the Corner Stone, wherein both are joined together. Hear also this, "the mountains of Sion: the sides of the North are the city of the great King."...See the Gentiles; "the sides of the North:" the sides of the North are joined to the city of the great King. The North is wont to be contrary to Sion: Sion forsooth is in the South, the North over against the South. Who is the North, but He who said, "I will sit in the sides of the North, I will be like the Most High"? [1565] The devil had held dominion over the ungodly, and possessed the nations serving images, adoring demons; and all whatsoever there was of human kind anywhere throughout the world, by cleaving to Him, had become North. But since He who binds the strong man, taketh away his goods, [1566] and maketh them His own goods; men delivered from infidelity and superstition of devils, believing in Christ, are fitted on to that city, have met in the corner that wall that cometh from the circumcision, and that was made the city of the great King, which had been the sides of the North. Therefore also in another Scripture is it said, "Out of the North come clouds of golden colour: great is the glory and honour of the Almighty." [1567] For great is the glory of the physician, when from being despaired of the sick recovers. "Out of the North come clouds," and not black clouds, not dark clouds, not lowering, but "of golden colour." Whence but by grace illumined through Christ? See, "the sides of the North are the city of the great King."...

4. Let the Psalm then follow, and say, "God shall be known in her houses." Now in her "houses," because of the mountains, because of the two walls, because of the two sons. "God shall be known in her houses," but he commendeth grace, therefore he added, "when He shall take her up." For what would that city have been, unless He had taken her up? Would it not immediately have fallen, unless it had such foundation? For "other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." [1568] Let none then glory in his own merits; but "he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord." [1569] ...The Lord then hath taken up this city, and is known therein, that is, His grace is known in that city: for whatever that city hath, which glorieth in the Lord, it hath not of itself. For because of this it is said, "What hast thou that thou didst not receive?" [1570]

5. "For, lo, the kings of the earth are gathered together" (ver. 3). Behold now those sides of the North, see how they come, see how they say, "Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord: and He will teach us His way, and we will walk in it." [1571] "And have come together in one." In what one, but that "corner-stone"? [1572] "They saw it, and so they marvelled" (ver. 4). After their marvelling at the miracles and glory of Christ, what followed? "They were troubled, they were moved" (ver. 5), "trembling took hold upon them." Whence took trembling hold upon them, but from the consciousness of sins? Let them run then, king after a king; kings, let them acknowledge the King. Therefore saith He elsewhere, "Yet have I been set by Him a King upon His holy hill of Sion." [1573] ...A King then was heard of, set up in Sion, to Him were delivered possessions even to the uttermost parts of the earth. Kings behoved to fear lest they should lose the kingdom, lest the kingdom be taken from them. As wretched Herod feared, and for the Child slew the children. [1574] But fearing to lose his kingdom, he deserved not to know the King. Would that he too had adored the King with the Magi: not by ill-seeking the kingdom, slain the Innocents, and perished guilty. For as concerning him, he destroyed the Innocents: but as for Christ, even a Child, the children dying for Him did He crown. Therefore behoved kings to fear when it was said, "Yet have I been set a King by Him upon His holy hill of Sion," and inheritance to the uttermost parts of the earth shall He give Him, who set Him up King....Thence also this is said to them, "Understand now therefore, O ye kings; be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice unto Him with trembling." [1575] And what did they? "There pains as of a woman in travail." What are the pains "as of a woman in travail," but the pangs of a penitent? See the same conception of pain and travail: "Of Thy fear" (saith Isaiah) "we have conceived, we have travailed of the Spirit of salvation." [1576] So then the kings conceived from the fear of Christ, that by travailing they brought forth salvation by believing on Him whom they had feared. "There pains as of a woman in travail:" when of travail thou hearest, expect a birth. The old man travaileth, but the new man is born.

6. "With a strong wind Thou shalt break the ships of Tarshish" (ver. 6). Briefly understood, this is, Thou shalt overthrow the pride of the nations. But where in this history is mentioned the overthrowing of the pride of the nations? Because of "the ships of Tarshish." Learned men have enquired for Tarshish a city, that is, what city was signified by this name: and to some it has seemed that Cilicia is called Tarshish, because its metropolis is called Tarsus. Of which city was the Apostle Paul, being born in Tarsus of Cilicia. [1577] But some have understood by it Carthage, being haply sometimes so named, or in some language so signified. For in the Prophet Isaiah it is thus found: "Howl, ye ships of Carthage." [1578] But in Ezekiel [1579] by some interpreters the word is translated Carthage, by some Tarshish: and from this diversity it can be understood that the same which was called Carthage, is called Tharsus. But it is manifest, that in the beginning of its reign Carthage flourished with ships, and so flourished, that among other nations they excelled in trafficking and navigation. For when Dido, flying from her brother, escaped to the parts of Africa, where she built Carthage, the ships which had been prepared for commerce in his country she had taken with her for her flight, the princes of the country consenting to it; and the same ships also when Carthage was built failed not in traffic. And hence that city became too proud, so that justly by its ships may be understood the pride of the nations, presuming on things uncertain, as on the breath of the winds. Now let none presume on full sails, and on the seeming fair state of this life, as of the sea. Be our foundation in Sion: there ought we to be stablished, not to be "carried about with every wind of doctrine." [1580] Whoso then by the uncertain things of this life had been puffed up, let them be overthrown, and be all the pride of the nations subjected to Christ, who shall "with a strong wind break all the ships of Tarshish:" not of any city, but of "Tarshish." How "with a strong wind"? With very strong fear. For so all pride feared Him that shall judge, as on Him humble to believe, lest Him exalted it should fear.

7. "As we have heard, so have we seen" (ver. 7). Blessed Church! at one time thou hast heard, at another time thou hast seen. She heard in promises, seeth in performance: heard in Prophecy, seeth in the Gospel. For all things which are now fulfilled were before prophesied. Lift up thine eyes then, and stretch them over the world; see now His "inheritance even to the uttermost parts of the earth:" [1581] see now is fulfilled what was said, "All kings shall fall down before Him: all nations shall serve Him:" [1582] see fulfilled what was said, "Be Thou exalted, O God, above the heavens, and Thy glory above all the earth." [1583] See Him whose feet and hands were pierced with nails, whose bones hanging on the tree were counted, upon whose vesture lots were cast: [1584] see reigning whom they saw hanging; see sitting in Heaven [1585] whom they despised walking on earth: see thus fulfilled, "All the ends of the earth shall remember, and turn to the Lord, and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before Him." Seeing all this, exclaim with joy, "As we have heard, so have we seen." Justly the Church herself is so called out of the Gentiles....They to whom the Prophets were not sent, first heard and understood the Prophets: they who first heard not, afterwards hearing marvelled. They remained behind to whom they were sent, carrying the books, understanding not the truth: having the tables of the Testament, and not holding the inheritance. But we,..."As we have heard, so have we seen." And where hearest thou? where seest thou? "In the city of the Lord of Hosts, in the city of our God. God hath founded it for ever." Let not heretics insult, divided into parties, let them not exalt themselves who say, "Lo, here is Christ, or lo, there." [1586] Whoso saith, "Lo, here is Christ, or lo, there," inviteth to parties. Unity God promised. The kings are gathered together in one, not dissipated through schisms. But haply that city which hath held the world, shall sometime be overthrown? Far be the thought! "God hath founded it for ever." If then God hath founded it for ever, why fearest thou lest the firmament should fall?

8. "We have received Thy mercy, O God, in the midst of Thy people" (ver. 8). Who have received, and where received? Hath not the same Thy people received Thy mercy. If Thy people hath received Thy mercy, how then, "in the midst of Thy people"? As if they who received were one party, they in the midst of whom they received another. A great mystery, but yet well known. When hence also, that is, out of these verses, hath been extracted and brought forth what ye know; it will be not ruder, but sweeter. Now forsooth all are reckoned the people of God, who carry His Sacraments, but not all belong to His Mercy. All forsooth receiving the Sacrament of the Baptism of Christ, are called Christians, but not all live worthily of that Sacrament. There are some of whom saith the Apostle, "Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof." [1587] Yet on account of this form of godliness they are named among God's people. As to the floor, until the corn is threshed, belongs not the wheat only, but the chaff. But will it also belong to the garner? In the midst then of an evil people is a good people, which hath received the Mercy of God. He liveth worthily of the Mercy of God who heareth, and holdeth, and doeth what the Apostle saith, "We beseech you that ye receive not the Grace of God in vain." [1588] Whoso then receiveth not the Grace of God in vain, the same receiveth not only the Sacrament, but also the Mercy of God as well....So those who have the Sacraments, and have not good manners, are both said to be of God, and not of God; are both said to be His, and to be strangers: His because of His own Sacraments, strangers because of their own vice. So also strange daughters: [1589] daughters, because of the form of godliness; strange, because of their loss of virtue. Be the lily there; let it receive the Mercy of God: hold fast the root of a good flower, be not ungrateful for soft rain coming from heaven. Be thorns ungrateful, let them grow by the showers: for the fire they grow, not for the garner. In the midst of Thy people not receiving Thy mercy, we have received Thy mercy. For "He came unto His own, and His own received Him not," yet, in the midst of them, "as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God." [1590] ...

9. For when he had said, "We have received Thy mercy in the midst of Thy people," he signified that there is a people not receiving the mercy of God, in the midst of whom some do receive the mercy of God: and then lest it should occur to men that there are so few, as to be nearly none, how did He console them in the words following? "According to Thy Name, O God, so is Thy praise unto the ends of the earth" (ver. 9). What is this? ...That is, as Thou art known through all the earth, so Thou art also praised through all the earth, nor are there wanting who now praise Thee through all the earth. But they praise Thee who live well. For, "According to Thy Name, O God, so is Thy praise," not in a part, but "unto the ends of the earth." "Thy right hand is full of righteousness." That is, many are they also who shall stand at Thy right hand. Not only shall they be many who shall stand at Thy left hand, but there also shall be a full heap set at Thy right hand.

10. "Let mount Zion rejoice, and the daughters of Judah be glad, because of Thy judgments, O Lord" (ver. 10). O mount Zion, O daughters of Judah, ye labour now among tares, among chaff, among thorns ye labour: yet be glad because of God's judgments. God erreth not in judgment. Live ye separate, though separate ye were not born; not vainly hath a voice gone forth from your mouth and heart, "Destroy not my soul with sinners, nor my life with bloody men." [1591] He shall winnow with such art, carrying in His hand a fan, that not one grain of wheat shall fall into the heap of chaff prepared to be burned, nor one beard of chaff pass to the heap to be laid up in the garner. [1592] Be glad, O ye daughters of Judæa, because of the judgments of God that erreth not, and do not yet judge rashly. To you let it belong to collect, to Him let it belong to separate. But think not that the "daughters of Judah" are Jews. Judah is confession; all the sons of confession are all the sons of Judah. For "salvation is of the Jews," [1593] is nothing else than that Christ is of the Jews. This saith also the Apostle, "He is not a Jew which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh: but he is a Jew which is one inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter, whose praise is not of men, but of God." [1594] Be such a Jew; glory in the circumcision of the heart, though thou hast not the circumcision of the flesh. Let the daughters of Judah be glad, because of Thy judgments, O Lord.

11. "Walk about Zion, and embrace her" (ver. 11). Be it said to them who live ill, in the midst of whom is the people, which hath received the mercy of God. In the midst of you is a people living well, "Walk about Zion." But how? "embrace her." Not with scandals, but with love go round about her: that so those who live well in the midst of you ye may imitate, and by imitation of them, be incorporate with Christ, whose members they are. "Walk about Zion, go round about her: speak in the towers thereof." In the height of her bulwarks, set forth the praises thereof.

12. "Set your hearts upon her might" (ver. 12). Not that ye may have the form of godliness, deny the power thereof, [1595] but, "upon her might set your hearts. Speak ye in her towers." What is the might of this city? Whoso would understand the might of this city, let him understand the force of love. That is a virtue which none conquereth. Love's flame no waves of the world, no streams of temptation, extinguish. Of this it is said, "Love is strong as death." [1596] For as when death cometh, it cannot be resisted; by whatever arts, whatever medicines, you meet it; the violence of death can none avoid who is born mortal; so against the violence of love can the world do nothing. For from the contrary the similitude is made of death; for as death is most violent to take away, so love is most violent to save. Through love many have died to the world, to live to God; by this love inflamed, the martyrs, not pretenders, not puffed up by vain-glory, not such as they of whom it is written, "Though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing," [1597] but men whom truly a love of Christ and of the truth led on to this passion; what to them were the temptations of the tormentors? Greater violence had the eyes of their weeping friends, than the persecutions of enemies. For how many were held by their children, that they might not suffer? to how many did their wives fall upon their knees, that they might not be left widows? How many have their parents forbidden to die; as we know and read in the Passion of the Blessed Perpetua! [1598] All this was done; but tears, however great, and with whatever force flowing, when did they extinguish the ardour of love? This is the might of Sion, to whom elsewhere it is said, "Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces." [1599]

13. What here understand we, "Set your hearts upon her might, and distribute her houses"? That is, distinguish house from house. Do not confound. For there is a house having the form of godliness, and not having godliness; but there is a house having both form and godliness. Distribute, confound not. But then ye distribute and confound not, when ye "set your hearts upon her might;" that is, when through love ye are made spiritual. Then ye will not judge rashly, then ye will see that the evil harms not the good as long as we are in this floor. "Distribute her houses." There can be also another understanding. The two houses, one coming of the circumcision, one of the uncircumcision, it is commanded the Apostles to distribute. For when Saul was called, and made the Apostle Paul, agreeing in unity with his fellow Apostles, he so with thorn determined, that they should go to the circumcision, he to the uncircumcision. By that dispensation of their Apostleship, they distributed the houses of the city of the great King; and meeting in the corner, divided the Gospel in dispensation, in love united it. And truly this is rather to be understood; for it followeth and showeth that it is here said to the preachers, "distribute her houses: that ye may tell it to the generation following:" that is, that even to us, who were to come after them, their dispensation of the Gospel should reach: For not for those only they laboured, with whom they lived in the earth; nor the Lord for those Apostles only to whom He deigned to show Himself alive after His Resurrection, but for us also. For to them He spake, and signified us when He spake, "Lo, I am with you alway, even to the end of the world." [1600] Were they then to be here alway, even to the end of the world? Also He said, "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word." [1601] Therefore He considereth us, because He suffered on account of us. Justly then it is said, "That ye may tell it to the generation following."

14. Tell what? "For this is God, even our God" (ver. 13). The earth was seen, the earth's Creator was not seen; the flesh was held, God in the flesh was not acknowledged. For the flesh was held by those from whom had been taken the same flesh, for of the seed of Abraham was the Virgin Mary. At the flesh they stayed, the Divinity they did not understand. O Apostles, O mighty city, preach thou on the towers, and say, "This is God, even our God." So, even so as He was despised, as He lay a stone before the feet of the stumbling, that He might humble the hearts of the confessing; even so, "This is God, even our God." Certainly He was seen, as was said, "Afterward did He show Himself upon earth, and conversed with men." [1602] "This is God, even our God." He is also Man, and who is there will know Him? "This is God, even our God." But haply for a time as the false gods. For because they can be called gods, but cannot be so, for a time they are even called so. For what saith the Prophet, or what warneth He to be said to them? This shall ye say to them, "The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from those that are under the heavens." [1603] He is not such a god: for our God is above all gods. Above all what gods? "For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the Lord made the heavens." [1604] The same then is our God. "This is God, even our God." For how long? "For ever and ever: He shall rule us for ever." If He is our God, He is also our King. He protecteth us, being our God, lest we die; He ruleth us, being our King, lest we fall. But by ruling us He doth not break us; for whom He ruleth not, He breaketh. "Thou shalt rule them," saith He, "with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel." [1605] But there are whom He ruleth not; these He spareth not, as a potter's vessel dashing them in pieces. By Him then let us wish to be ruled and delivered, "for He is our God for ever and ever, and He shall rule us for ever."

Footnotes

[1554] Lat. XLVII. [1555] Gen. i. 6-8. [1556] Rom. xv. 1. [1557] E.V. "ground." [1558] 1 Tim. iii. 15. [1559] Matt. v. 14, 15. [1560] Rom. ix. 32. [1561] Matt. i. 16. [1562] Dan. ii. 35. [1563] Eph. ii. 14. [1564] Ps. cxviii. 22. [1565] Isa. xiv. 13, 14. [1566] Matt. xii. 29. [1567] Job xxxvii. 22. [1568] 1 Cor. iii. 11. [1569] 1 Cor. i. 31. [1570] 1 Cor. iv. 7. [1571] Isa. ii. 3. [1572] Eph. ii. 20. [1573] Ps. ii. 6. [1574] Matt. ii. 16. [1575] Ps. ii. 10, 11. [1576] Isa. xxvi. 17, 18. [1577] Acts xxi. 39. [1578] So LXX.; Heb. Tarshish. Isa. xxiii. 1. [1579] Ezek. xxxviii. 13. [Note the author's interest in all that bears upon his own field of labour.--C.] [1580] Eph. iv. 14. [1581] Ps. ii. 8. [1582] Ps. lxxii. 11. [1583] Ps. cviii. 5. [1584] Matt. xxvii. 35. [1585] Matt. xxvi. 64. [1586] Matt. xxiv. 23. [1587] 2 Tim. iii. 5. [1588] 2 Cor. vi. 1. [1589] Cant. ii. 2. [1590] John i. 11, 12. [1591] Ps. xxvi. 9. [1592] Matt. iii. 12. [1593] John iv. 22. [1594] Rom. ii. 28, 29. [1595] 2 Tim. iii. 5. [1596] Cant. viii. 6. [1597] 1 Cor. xiii. 3. [1598] Ruinart. Acta Martyrum, p. 86, which supports the reading adopted from the Oxford mss. Ben. has, "How many parents did their sons forbid." [See A.N.F. vol. iii., p. 700.--C.] [1599] Ps. cxxii. 7. [1600] Matt. xxviii. 20. [1601] John xvii. 20. [1602] Baruch iii. 37. [1603] Jer. x. 11. [1604] Ps. xcvi. 5. [1605] Ps. ii. 9. .


Psalm XLIX. [1606]

The First Part.

1. ..."Hear ye these things, all ye nations" (ver. 1). Not then you only who are here. For of what power is our voice so to cry out, as that all nations may hear? For Our Lord Jesus Christ hath proclaimed it through the Apostles, hath proclaimed it in so many tongues that He sent; and we see this Psalm, which before was only repeated in one nation, in the Synagogue of the Jews, now repeated throughout the whole world, throughout all Churches; and that fulfilled which is here spoken of, "Hear ye these words, all ye nations."...Of whom ye are: "With ears ponder, all ye that dwell in the world." This He seemeth to have repeated a second time, lest to have said "hear," before, were too little. What I say, he saith, "hear, with ears ponder," that is, hear not cursorily. What is, "with ears ponder"? It is what the Lord said, "he that hath ears to hear, let him hear:" [1607] for as all who were in His presence must have had ears, what ears did He require save those of the heart, when He said, "he that hath ears to hear, let him hear"? The same ears also this Psalm doth smite. "With ears ponder, all ye that dwell in the world." Perhaps there is here some distinction. We ought not indeed to narrow our view, but there is no harm in explaining even this view of the sense. Perhaps there is some difference between the saying, "all nations," and the saying, "all ye that dwell in the world." For perchance he would have us understand the expression, "dwell in," with a further meaning, so as to take all nations for all the wicked, but the dwellers of the world all the just. For he doth inhabit who is not held fast: but he that is occupied is inhabited, and doth not inhabit. Just as he doth possess whatever he hath, who is master of his property: but a master is one who is not held in the meshes of covetousness: while he that is held fast by covetousness is the possessed, and not the possessor....

2. Therefore let even the ungodly hear: "Hear ye this, all ye nations." Let the just also hear, who have not heard to no purpose, and who rather rule the world than are ruled by the world: "with ears ponder, all ye that dwell in the world."

3. And again he saith, "both all ye earthborn, and sons of men" (ver. 2). The expression "earthborn" he doth refer to sinners; the expression "sons of men" to the faithful and righteous. Ye see then that this distinction is observed. Who are the "earthborn"? The children of the earth. Who are the children of the earth? They who desire earthly inheritances. Who are the "sons of men"? They who appertain to the Son of Man. We have already before explained this distinction to your Sanctity, [1608] and have concluded that Adam was a man, but not the son of man; that Christ was the Son of Man, but was God also. For whosoever pertain to Adam, are "earthborn:" whosoever pertain to Christ, are "sons of men." Nevertheless, let all hear, I withhold my discourse from no one. If one is "earthborn," let him hear, because of the judgment: another is a "son of man," let him hear for the kingdom's sake. "The rich and poor together." Again, the same words are repeated. The expression "rich" refers to the "earthborn;" but the word "poor" to the "sons of men." By the "rich" understand the proud, by the "poor" the humble....He saith in another Psalm, "The poor shall eat and be satisfied." [1609] How hath he commended the poor? "The poor shall eat and be satisfied." What eat they? That Food which the faithful know. How shall they be satisfied? By imitating the Passion of their Lord, and not without cause receiving their recompense. "The poor shall eat and be satisfied, and they shall praise the Lord who seek Him." What of the rich? Even they eat. But how eat they? "All the rich upon the earth have eaten and worshipped." [1610] He said not, "Have eaten and are satisfied;" but, "have eaten and worshipped." They worship God indeed, but they will not display brotherly humaneness. These eat and worship; those eat and are filled: yet both eat. Of the eater what he eateth is required: let him not be forbidden by the distributor to eat, but let him be admonished to fear him who doth require his account. Let these words then be heard by sinners and righteous, nations, and those who inhabit the world, "earthborn and sons of men, the rich and the poor together:" not divided, not separated. That is for the time of the harvest to do, the hand of the winnower will effect that. [1611] Now together let rich and poor hear, let goats and sheep feed in the same pasture, until He come who shall separate the one on His right hand, the other on His left. [1612] Let them all hear together the teacher, lest separated from one another they hear the voice of the Judge.

4. And what is it they are now to hear? "My mouth shall speak of wisdom, and the meditation of my heart understanding" (ver. 3). And this repetition is perhaps made, lest perchance if he had said only "my mouth," thou shouldest suppose that one spake to thee who had understanding but in his lips. For many have understanding in their lips, but have not in their heart, of whom the Scripture saith, "This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me." [1613] What saith he then who speaketh to thee? when he hath said, "My mouth shall speak of wisdom," in order that thou mayest know that what is poured forth from the mouth floweth from the bottom of the heart, he hath added, "And the meditation of my heart of understanding."

5. "I will incline mine ear to the parable, I will show my proposition upon the harp" (ver. 4)....And why "to a parable"? Because "now we see through a glass darkly," [1614] as saith the Apostle; "whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord." [1615] For our vision is not yet that face to face, where there are no longer parables, where there no longer are riddles and comparisons. Whatever now we understand we behold through riddles. A riddle is a dark parable which it is hard to understand. Howsoever a man may cultivate his heart and apply himself to apprehend mysteries, so long as we see through the corruption of this flesh, we see but in part....But as He was seen by those who believed, and by those who crucified Him, when He was judged; so will He be seen, when He shall have begun to be judge, both by those whom He shall condemn, and by those whom He shall crown. But that vision of divinity, which He hath promised to them that love Him, when He saith, "He that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and he that loveth Me keepeth My commandments, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him:" [1616] this the ungodly shall not see. This manifestation is in a certain way familiar: He keepeth it for His own, He will not show it to the ungodly. Of what sort is the vision itself? Of what sort is Christ? Equal to the Father. Of what sort is Christ? "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." [1617] For this vision we sigh now, and groan so long as we sojourn here; to this vision we shall be brought home at the last, this vision now we see but darkly. If then we see now darkly, let us "incline our ear to the parable," and then let us "show our proposition upon the harp:" [1618] let us hear what we say, do what we enjoin.

6. And what hath he said? "And wherefore shall I fear in the evil day? The iniquity of my heel shall compass me" (ver. 5). He beginneth something obscurely. Therefore he ought the rather to fear if the iniquity of his heel shall compass him. Nay, for let not man fear, he saith, who hath not power to escape. For example, he who feareth death, what shall he do to escape death? Let him tell me how he is to escape what Adam oweth, he who is born of Adam. But let him consider that he is born of Adam, and hath followed Christ, and ought to pay what Adam oweth, and obtain what Christ hath promised. Therefore, he who feareth death can no wise escape: but he who feareth the damnation which the ungodly shall hear, "Go ye into everlasting fire," [1619] hath an escape. Let him not fear then. For why should he fear? Will the iniquity of his heel compass him? If then he avoid "the iniquity of his heel," and walk in the ways of God, he shall not come to the evil day: the evil day, the last day, shall not be evil to him....Now while they live, let them take heed to themselves, let them put away iniquity from their heel: let them walk in that way, let them walk in the way of which He saith Himself, "I am the way, the truth, and the life:" [1620] and let them not fear in the evil day, for He giveth them safety who became "The Way." Therefore let them avoid the iniquity of their heel. With the heel a man slippeth. Let your Love observe. What was said by God to the Serpent? "She shall mark thy head, and thou shalt mark her heel." [1621] The devil marketh thy heel, in order that when thou slippest he may overthrow thee. He marketh thy heel, do thou mark his head. What is his head? The beginning of an evil suggestion. When he beginneth to suggest evil thoughts, then do thou thrust him away before pleasure ariseth, and consent followeth; and so shalt thou avoid his head, and he shall not grasp thy heel. But wherefore said He this to Eve? Because through the flesh man doth slip. Our flesh is an Eve within us. "He that loveth his wife," he saith, "loveth himself." What meaneth "himself"? He continueth, and saith, "For no man ever yet hath hated his own flesh." [1622] Because then the devil would make us slip through the flesh, just as he made that man Adam to slip, through Eve; Eve is bidden to mark the head of the devil, because the devil marketh her heel. [1623] "If then the iniquity of our heel shall compass us, why fear we in the evil day," since being converted to Christ we are able not to do iniquity; and there will be nothing to compass us, and we shall joy and not sorrow in the last day?

7. But who are they whom the "iniquity of their heel shall compass"? "They who trust in their virtue, [1624] and in the abundance of their riches do glory" (ver. 6). Therefore such sins will I avoid, and the "iniquity of my heel" shall never compass me. What is avoiding such sins? Let us not trust in our own virtue, let us not glory in the abundance of our own riches, but let us glory in Him who hath promised to us, being humble, exaltation, and hath threatened condemnation to men exalted; and then iniquity of our heel shall never compass us.

8. There are some who rely on their friends, others rely on their virtue, others on their riches. This is the presumption of mankind which relieth not on God. He hath spoken of virtue, he hath spoken of riches, he speaketh of friends. "Brother redeemeth not, [1625] shall man redeem?" (ver. 7). Dost thou expect that man shall redeem thee from the wrath to come? If brother redeem thee not, shall man redeem thee? Who is the brother, who if He hath not redeemed thee, no man will redeem? It is He who said after His resurrection, "Go, tell My brethren." [1626] Our Brother He hath willed to be: and when we say to God, "Our Father," this is manifested in us. For he that saith to God, "Our Father;" saith to Christ, "Brother." [1627] Therefore let him that hath God for his Father and Christ for his Brother, not fear in the evil day. "For the iniquity of his heel shall not compass him;" for he relieth not on his virtue, nor glorieth in the abundance of his riches, nor vaunteth himself of his powerful friends. Let him rely on Him who died for him, that he might not die eternally: who for his sake was humbled, in order that he might be exalted; who sought him ungodly, in order that He might be sought by him faithful. Therefore if He redeem not, shall man redeem? Shall any man redeem, if the Son of man redeem not? If Christ redeem not, shall Adam redeem? "Brother redeemeth not, shall man redeem?" [1628]

9. "He shall not give to God his propitiation, and the price of the redemption of his soul" (ver. 8). He trusteth in his virtue, and in the abundance of his riches doth glory, who "shall not give to God his propitiation:" that is, satisfaction whereby he may prevail with God for his sins: "nor the price of the redemption of his soul," who relieth on his virtue, and on his friends, and on his riches. But who are they that give the price of the redemption of their souls? They to whom the Lord saith, "Make to yourselves friends of the Mammon of unrighteousness, that they may receive you into everlasting habitations." [1629] They give the price of the redemption of their soul who cease not to do almsdeeds. So those whom the Apostle chargeth by Timothy he would not have to be proud, lest they should glory in the abundance of their riches. Lastly, what they possessed he would not have to grow old in their hands: but that something should be made of it to be for the price of the redemption of their souls. For he saith, "Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded: nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy." [1630] And as if they had said, "What shall we then make of our riches?" he continueth, "Let them be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate," [1631] and they will not lose that. How know we? Hear what followeth. "Let them lay up for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on the true life." [1632] So shall they give the price of the redemption of their soul. And our Lord counselleth this: "Make for yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where thief approacheth not, neither moth corrupteth." [1633] God would not have thee lose thy wealth, but He hath given thee counsel to change the place thereof. Let your love understand. Suppose thy friend were just now to enter thy house, and find thou hadst placed thy store of grain in a damp place, and he knew the natural proneness of grain to decay, which thou perchance knewest not, he would give thee counsel of this sort, saying, "Brother, thou art losing what with great toil thou hast gathered, thou hast placed it in a damp place, in a few days this grain will decay." "And what am I to do, brother? "Raise it into a higher place." Thou wouldest hearken to thy friend suggesting that thou shouldest raise grain from a lower to a higher chamber, and dost thou not hearken to Christ charging thee to lift thy treasure from earth to heaven, where not what thou keepest in store may be paid to thee, but that thou mayest keep in store earth, mayest receive heaven, mayest keep in store things mortal, mayest receive things everlasting, that while thou lendest Christ to receive at thy hands but a small loan upon earth, He may repay thee a great recompense in Heaven? Nevertheless, they whom "the iniquity of their heel shall compass," because they trust in their virtue, and in the abundance of their riches do glory, and rely on human friends who are able to help them in nothing, "shall not give to God their propitiation, and the price of the redemption of their souls."

10. And what hath he said of such a man? "Yea, he hath laboured for ever, and shall live till the end" (ver. 9). His labour shall be without end, his life shall have an end. Wherefore saith he, "He shall live till the end"? Because such men think life to be nought but daily enjoyments. So when many poor and needy men of our times, unstable, and not looking to what God doth promise them for their labours, see rich men in daily feastings, in the splendour and glitter of gold and of silver, they say what? "These are the only people; [1634] they really live!" This is a saying, be it said no longer: we both warn you, and it remains to warn you, that it be said by fewer persons than it would be said, if we had not warned you. For we do not presume to say that we so say these words, as that it be not said, but that it be said by fewer persons: for it will be said even unto the end of the world. It is too little that he saith, "he liveth;" he addeth and saith, he thundereth, thinkest thou that he alone liveth? Let him live! his life will be ended: because he giveth not the price of the redemption of his soul, his life will end, his labour will not end. "He laboured for ever, and shall live till the end." How shall he live till the end? As he lived that was "clothed with purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day," [1635] who, being proud and puffed up, spurned the man full of sores lying before his gate, whose sores the dogs licked, and who longed for the crumbs which fell from his table. What did those riches profit him? Both changed places: the one was borne from the rich man's gate into Abraham's bosom, the other from his rich feasts was cast into the fire; the one was in peace, the other burned; the one was sated, the other thirsted; the one had laboured till the end, but he lived for ever; the other had lived till the end, but he laboured for ever. And what did it profit the rich man, who asked, while lying in torments in hell, that a drop of water should be poured upon his tongue from the finger of Lazarus, saying, "For I am burning here in this flame," [1636] and it was not granted to him? One longed for the drop from the finger, as the other had for the crumbs from the rich man's table; but the labour of the one is ended, and the life of the other is ended: the labour of this is for ever, the life of that is for ever. We who labour perchance here on the earth, have not our life here: and shall not be so placed hereafter, for our life shall be Christ for ever: while they who "will" have their life here, shall labour for ever and live till the end.

11. "For he shall not see death, though he shall have seen wise men dying" (ver. 10). The man who laboured for ever and shall live till the end, "shall not see death, though he shall have seen wise men dying." What is this? He shall not comprehend what death is, whenever he shall have seen wise men dying. For he saith to himself, "this fellow, for all he was wise and dwelled with wisdom and worshipped God with piety, is he not dead? Therefore I will enjoy myself while I live; for if they that are wise in other respects, could do anything, they would not have died." Just as the Jews saw Christ hanging on the Cross and despised Him, saying, "If this Man were the Son of God, He would come down from the Cross:" [1637] not seeing what death is. If they had seen what death is; if they had seen, I say. [1638] He died for a time, that He might live again for ever: they lived for a time, that they might die for ever. But because they saw Him dying, they saw not death, that is to say, they understood not what was very death. What say they even in Wisdom? "Let us condemn Him with a most shameful death, for by His own sayings He shall be respected;" [1639] for if he is indeed the Son of God, He will deliver Him from the hands of His adversaries: He will not suffer His Son to die, if He is truly His Son. But when they saw themselves insulting Him upon the Cross, and Him not descending from the Cross, they said, He was indeed but a Man. Thus was it spoken: and surely He could have come down from the Cross, He that could rise again from the tomb: but He taught us to bear with those who insult us; He taught us to be patient of the tongues of men, to drink now the cup of bitterness, and afterwards to receive everlasting salvation....

12. "The imprudent and unwise shall perish together." Who is "the imprudent"? He that looketh not out for himself for the future. Who is "the unwise"? He that perceiveth not in what evil case he is. But do thou perceive in what evil case thou art now, and look out that thou be in a good case for the future. By perceiving in what evil case thou art, thou wilt not be unwise: by looking out for thyself for the future, thou wilt not be imprudent. Who is he that looketh out for himself? That servant to whom his master gave what he should expend, and afterwards said to him, "Thou canst not be my steward, give an account of thy stewardship;" and who answered, "What shall I do? I cannot dig, to beg I am ashamed;" [1640] had, nevertheless, by even his master's goods made to himself friends, who might receive him when he was put out of his stewardship. Now he cheated his master in order that he might get to himself friends to receive him: fear not thou lest thou be cheating, the Lord Himself exhorteth thee to do so: He saith Himself to thee, "Make to thyself friends of the mammon of unrighteousness." [1641] Perhaps what thou hast got, thou hast gotten of unrighteousness: or perhaps this very thing is unrighteousness, that thou hast and another hath not, thou aboundest and another needeth. Of this mammon of unrighteousness, of these riches which the unrighteous call riches, make to thyself friends, and thou shalt be prudent: thou art gaining for thyself, and art not cheating. For now thou seemest to lose it. Wilt thou lose it if thou place it in a treasury? For boys, my brethren, no sooner find some money, wherewith to buy something, than they put it in a money-box, [1642] which they open not until afterwards: do they, because they see not what they have got, on that account lose it? Fear not: boys put in a money-box, and are secure: dost thou place it in the hand of Christ, and fear? Be prudent, and provide for thyself against the future in Heaven. Be therefore prudent, copy the ant, as saith the Scripture: [1643] "Store in summer, lest thou hunger in winter;" the winter is the last day, the day of tribulation; the winter is the day of offences and of bitterness: gather what may be there for thee for the future: but if thou doest not so, thou wilt perish both imprudent and unwise.

13. But that rich man [1644] too died, and a like funeral was made for him. See to what men have brought themselves: they regard not what a wicked life he led while he lived, but what pomp followed him when he died! O happy he, whom so many lament! But the other lived in such sort, that few lament. For all ought to lament a man living so sadly. But there is the funeral train; he is received in a costly tomb, he is wound in costly robes, he is buried in perfumes and spices. Secondly, what a monument he hath! How marbled! Doth he live in that same monument? He is therein dead. Men deeming these to be good things, have strayed from God, and have not sought the true good things, and have been deceived with the false. To this end see what followeth. He who gave not the price of the redemption of his soul, who understood not death, because he saw wise men dying, he became imprudent and unwise, in order that he might die with them. And how shall they perish, who "shall leave their riches to aliens"?...

14. But do those same aliens indeed serve them who are called their own? Hear in what they serve them, observe how they are ridiculed: why hath he said, "to strangers"? Because they can do them no good. Nevertheless, wherein do they seem to themselves to do good? "And their tombs shall be their house for ever" (ver. 11). Now because these tombs are erected, the tombs are a house. For often thou hearest a rich man saying, I have a house of marble which I must quit, and I think not for myself of an eternal house, where I shall alway be. When he thinketh to make for himself a monument of marble or of sculpture, he is deeming as it were of an eternal house: as if therein this rich man would abide! If he would abide there, he would not burn in hell. We must consider that the place where the spirit of an evil doer abideth, is not where the mortal body is laid: but "their tombs shall be their house for ever. Their dwelling places are from generation to generation." "Dwelling places" are wherein they abode for a season: "house" is wherein they will abide as it were for ever, that is to say, their tombs. Thus they leave their dwelling places, where they abode while they lived, to their families, and they pass as it were to everlasting houses, to their tombs. What profit to them are "their dwelling places, from generation to generation"? Now suppose a generation and generation are sons, grandsons there will be, and great grandsons; what do their dwelling places, what do they profit them? What? Hear: "they shall invoke their names in their lands." What is this? They shall take bread and wine to their tombs, and there they shall invoke the names of the dead. Dost thou consider how loudly was invoked the name of the rich man after his death, when men drank them drunk at his monument, and there came down not one drop upon his own burning tongue? Men minister to their own belly, not to the ghosts of their friends. The souls of the dead nothing doth reach, but what they have done of themselves while alive: but if they have done nought of themselves while alive, nothing doth reach them dead. But what do the survivors? They will but "invoke their names in their lands."

15. "And man though he was in honour perceived not, he was compared to the beasts without sense, and was made like to them" (ver. 12)....They ought, on the contrary, to have made ready for themselves an eternal house in good works, to have made ready for themselves everlasting life, to have sent before them expenditure, to have followed their works, to have ministered to a needy companion, to have given to him with whom they were walking, not to have despised Christ covered with sores before their gate, who hath said, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me." [1645] However, "man being in honour hath not understood." What is, "being in honour"? Being made after the image and likeness of God, man is preferred to beasts. For God hath not so made man as He made a beast: but God hath made man for beasts to minister to: is it to his strength then, and not to his understanding? Nay. But he "understood not;" and he who was made after the image of God, "is compared to the beasts without sense, and is made like unto them." Whence it is said elsewhere, "Be ye not like to horse and mule, in which there is no understanding." [1646]

16. "This their own way is an offence to them" (ver. 13). Be it an offence to them, not to thee. But when will it be so to thee too? If thou thinkest such men to be blessed. If thou perceivest that they be not blessed, their own way will be an offence to themselves; not to Christ, not to His Body, not to His members. "And afterwards they shall bless with their mouth." What meaneth, "Afterwards they shall bless with their mouth"? Though they have become such, that they seek nothing but temporal goods, yet they become hypocrites: and when they bless God, with lips they bless, and not with heart. Christians like these, when to them eternal life is commended, and they are told, that in the name of Christ they ought to be despisers [1647] of riches, do make grimaces in their hearts: and if they dare not do it with open face, lest they blush, or lest they should be rebuked by men, yet they do it in heart, and scorn; and there remaineth in their mouth blessing, and in their heart cursing.

Footnotes

[1606] Lat. XLVIII. [From a sermon preached before a bishop.] [1607] Matt. xi. 15. [1608] On Ps. viii. [1609] Ps. xxii. 26. [1610] Ps. xxii. 29. [1611] Matt. iii. 12. [1612] Matt. xxv. 32. [1613] Isa. xxix. 13. [1614] 1 Cor. xiii. 12. [1615] 2 Cor. v. 6. [1616] John xiv. 21. [1617] John i. 1. [1618] [He explains "the harp" elsewhere as the body, used by the soul "as the harper useth the harp"; and see p. 139, supra.--C.] [1619] Matt. xxv. 41. [1620] John xiv. 6. [1621] Gen. iii. 15. ["She shall mark," etc. So the Vulgate, but not in the older editions. The Septuagint is conclusive as to the ancient exposition of the Jews, for the neuter (sp(TM)rma) had a masculine pronoun (autos) as nominative to the verb. So Jerome, Dominus noster conteret Satanam. It is noteworthy that our author attaches no such force to his reading as Mariolatry demands.--C.] [1622] Eph. v. 28, 29. [1623] [See Hippolytus, A.N.F. vol. v. p. 166.--C.] [1624] Or, "might" (virtute). [1625] Oxf. mss. "hath not redeemed," and so through the paragraph. [1626] Matt. xxviii. 10. [1627] See on St. John, Hom. xxi. 3. [1628] [The Latin versions do not divide into verses such as our author seems to have made.--C.] [1629] Luke xvi. 9. [1630] 1 Tim. vi. 17. [1631] 1 Tim. vi. 18. [1632] 1 Tim. vi. 19. [1633] Luke xii. 33. [1634] Soli sunt isti. [1635] Luke xvi. 19. [1636] Luke xvi. 24. [1637] Matt. xxvii. 40, 42. [1638] Al. "if they had seen themselves." [1639] Wisd. ii. 20. [The Jews, even in their own book of Wisdom, show what they did to "the Just One." The whole passage is so remarkable, that we need not wonder at the esteem in which this book was held by the Fathers. St. James (v. 6) seems to refer to this passage."--C.] [1640] Luke xvi. 1, 2, etc. [1641] Luke xvi. 9. [1642] Thesaurario. [1643] Prov. vi. 8, xxx. 25. [1644] Luke xvi. 22. [1645] Matt. xxv. 40. [1646] Ps. xxxii. 9. [1647] Most mss. "there should be a despising."


The Second Part.

1. "Like sheep laid in hell, death is their shepherd" (ver. 14). Whose? Of those whose way is a stumbling-block to themselves. Whose? Of those who mind only things present, while they think not of things future: of those who think not of any life, but of that which must be called death. Not without cause, then, like sheep in hell, have they death to their shepherd. What meaneth, "they have death to their shepherd"? For is death either some thing or some power? Yea, death is either the separation of the soul from the body, or a separation of the soul from God, [1648] and that indeed which men fear is the separation of the soul from the body: but the real death, which men do not fear, is the separation of the soul from God. And ofttimes when men fear that which doth separate the soul from the body, they fall into that wherein the soul is separated from God. This then is death. But how is "death their shepherd"? If Christ is life, the devil is death. But we read in many places in Scripture, how that Christ is life. But the devil is death, not because he is himself death, but because through him is death. For whether that (death) wherein Adam fell was given man to drink by the persuasion of him: or whether that wherein the soul is separated from the body, still they have him for the author thereof, who first falling through pride envied him who stood, and overthrew him who stood with an invisible death, in order that he might have to pay [1649] the visible death. They who belong to him have death to their shepherd: but we who think of future immortality, and not without reason do wear the sign of the Cross of Christ on the forehead, have no shepherd but life. Of unbelievers death is the shepherd, of believers life is the shepherd. If then in hell are the sheep, whose shepherd is death, in heaven are the sheep, whose shepherd is life. What then? Are we now in heaven? In heaven we are by faith. For if not in heaven, where is the "Lift up your heart"? If not in heaven, whence with the Apostle Paul, "For our conversation is in heaven"? [1650] In body we walk on earth, in heart we dwell in heaven. We dwell there, if thither we send anything which holdeth us there. For no one dwelleth in heart, save where thought is: but there his thought is, where his treasure is. He hath treasured on earth, his heart doth not withdraw from earth: he hath treasured in heaven, his heart from heaven doth not come down: for the Lord saith plainly, "Where thy treasure is, there will thy heart be also." [1651]

2. They, then, whose shepherd is death, seem to flourish for a time, and the righteous to labour: but why? Because it is yet night. What meaneth, it is night? The merits of the righteous appear not, and the felicity of the unrighteous hath, as it were, a name. So long as it is winter, grass appeareth more verdant than a tree. For grass flourisheth through the winter, a tree is as it were dry through the winter: when in summer time the sun hath come forth with greater heat, the tree, which seemed dry through the winter, is bursting with leaves, and putteth forth fruits, but the grass withereth: thou wilt see the honour of the tree, the grass is dried. So also now the righteous labour, before that summer cometh. There is life in the root, it doth not yet appear in the branches. But our root is love. And what saith the Apostle? That we ought to have our root above, in order that life may be our shepherd, because our dwelling ought not to quit heaven, because in this earth we ought to walk as if dead; so that living above, below we may be dead; not so as that being dead above, we may live below....Our labour shall appear in the morning, and there shall be fruit in the morning: so that they that now labour shall hereafter reign, and they that now boast them and are proud, shall hereafter be brought under. For what followeth? "Like sheep laid in hell, death is their shepherd; and the righteous shall reign over them in the morning."

3. Endure thou the night, yearn for the morning. Think not because the night hath life, the morning too hath not life. Doth then he that sleepeth live, and he that riseth live not? Is not he that sleepeth more like death? [1652] And who are they that sleep? They whom the Apostle Paul rouseth, if they choose but to awake. For to certain he saith, "Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light." [1653] They then that are lightened by Christ watch now, but the fruit of their watchings appeareth not yet: in the morning it shall appear, that is, when doubtful things of this world shall have passed away. For these are very night: for do they not appear to thee like darkness?...But they on whom men have trampled, and who were ridiculed for believing, shall hear from Life Itself, whom they have for shepherd, "Come, ye blessed of My Father, receive the kingdom which was prepared for you from the foundation of the world." Therefore the righteous "shall reign over them," not now, but "in the morning." Let no one say, Wherefore am I a Christian? I rule no one, [1654] I would rule the wicked. Be not in haste, thou shalt reign, but "in the morning." "And the help of them shall grow old in hell from their glory." Now they have glory, in hell they shall grow old. What is "the help of them"? Help from money, help from friends, help from their own might. But when a man shall be dead, "in that day shall perish all his thoughts." [1655] How great glory he seemed to have among men, while he lived, so great oldness and decay of punishments shall he have, when he shall be dead in hell.

4. "Nevertheless, God shall redeem my soul" (ver. 15). Behold the voice of one hoping in the future: "Nevertheless, God shall redeem my soul." [1656] Perhaps it is the voice of one still wishing to be relieved from oppression. Some one is in prison, he saith, "God shall redeem my soul:" some one is in bond, "God shall redeem my soul:" some one is suffering peril by sea, is being tossed by waves and raging tempests, what saith he? "God shall redeem my soul." They would be delivered for the sake of this life. Not such is the voice of this man. Hear what followeth: "God shall redeem my soul from the hand of hell, when He shall have received me." He is speaking of this redemption, which Christ now showeth in Himself. For He hath descended into hell, and hath ascended into heaven. What we have seen in the Head we have found in the Body. For what we have believed in the Head, they that have seen, have themselves told us, and by themselves we have seen: "For we are" all "one body." [1657] But are they better that hear, we worse to whom it hath been told? Not so saith The Life Itself, Our Shepherd Himself. For He rebuketh a certain disciple of His, doubting and desiring to handle His scars, and when he had handled the scars and had cried out, saying, "My Lord and my God," [1658] seeing His disciple doubting, and looking to the whole world about to believe, "Because thou hast seen Me," He saith, "thou hast believed: blessed are they that see not, and believe." "But God shall redeem my soul from the land of hell, when He hath received me." Here then what? Labour, oppression, tribulation, temptation: expect nothing else. Where joy? In future hope....

5. ...Perchance thy heart saith, Wretch that I am, I suppose to no purpose I have believed, God doth not regard things human. God therefore doth awaken us: and He saith what? "Fear not, though a man have become rich" (ver. 16). For why didst thou fear, because a man hath become rich? Thou didst fear that thou hadst believed to no purpose, that perchance thou shouldest have lost the labour for thy faith, and the hope of thy conversion: because perchance there hath come in thy way gain with guilt, and thou couldest have been rich, if thou hadst seized upon that same gain with the guilt, and neededst not have laboured; and thou, remembering what God hath threatened, hast refrained from guilt, and hast contemned the gain: thou seest another man that hath made gain by guilt, and hath suffered no harm; and thou fearest to be good. "Fear not," saith the Spirit of God to thee, "though a man shall have become rich." Wouldest thou not have eyes but for things present? Things future He hath promised, who hath risen again; peace in this world, and repose in this life, He hath not promised. Every man doth seek repose; a good thing he is seeking, but not in the proper region thereof he is seeking it. There is no peace in this life; in Heaven hath been promised that which on earth we are seeking: in the world to come hath been promised that which in this world we are seeking.

6. "Fear not, though a man be made rich, and though the glory of his house be multiplied." Wherefore "fear not"? "For when he shall die, he shall not receive anything" (ver. 17). Thou seest him living, consider him dying. Thou markest what he hath here, mark what he taketh with him. What doth he take with him? He hath store of gold, he hath store of silver, numerous estates, slaves: he dieth, these remain, he knoweth not for whom. For though he leaveth them for whom he will, he keepeth them not for whom he will. For many have gained even what was not left them, and many have lost what was left them. All these things then remain, and he taketh with him what? Perhaps some one saith, He taketh that with him in which he is wound, and that which is expended upon him for a costly and marble tomb, to erect a monument, this he taketh with him. I say, not even this. For these things are presented to him without his feeling them. If thou deckest a man sleeping and not awake, he hath the decorations with him on the couch: perhaps the decorations are resting upon the body of him as he lieth, and perhaps he seeth himself in tatters during sleep. What he feeleth is more to him than what he feeleth not. Though even this when he shall have awaked will not be: yet to him sleeping, that which he saw in sleep was more than that which he felt not. Why then, brethren, should [1659] men say to themselves, Let money be spent at my death: why do I leave my heirs rich? Many things will they have of mine, let me too have something of my own for my body. What shall a dead body have? what shall rotting flesh have? what shall flesh not feeling have? If that rich man had anything, whose tongue was dry, then man hath something of his own. My brethren, do we read in the Gospel, that this rich man appeared in the fire with all-silken and fine-linen coverings? Was he of such sort in hell as he was in feastings at table? When he thirsted and desired a drop, all those things were not there. Therefore man carrieth not with him anything, nor doth the dead take with him that which the burial taketh. For where feeling is, there is the man; where is no feeling, the man is not. There lieth fallen the vessel which contained the man, the house which held the man. The body let us call the house, the spirit let us call the inhabitant of the house. The spirit is tormented in hell: what doth it profit him, that the body lieth in spices and perfumes, wound in costly linens? just as if the master of the house should be sent into banishment, and thou shouldest garnish the walls of his house. He in banishment is in need, and doth faint with hunger, he scarce findeth to himself one hovel where he may snatch a sleep, and thou sayest, "Happy is he, for his house hath been garnished." Who would not judge that thou wast either jesting or wast mad? Thou dost garnish the body, the spirit is tormented. Give something to the spirit, and ye have given something to the dead man. But what wilt thou give him, when he desired one drop, and received not? For the man scorned to send before him anything. Wherefore scorned? "because this their way is a stumbling-block to them." [1660] He minded not any but the present life, he thought not but how he might be buried, wound in costly vestments. His soul was taken from him, as the Lord saith: "Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be taken from thee, and whose shall those things be which thou hast provided?" [1661] And that is fulfilled which this Psalm saith: "Fear not, though a man be made rich, and though the glory of his house be multiplied: for when he shall die he shall not receive anything, nor shall his glory descend together with him."

7. Let your love observe: "For his soul shall be blessed in his life" (ver. 18). As long as he lived he did well for himself. This all men say, but say falsely. It is a blessing from the mind of the blesser, not from the truth itself. For what sayest thou? Because he ate and drank, because he did what he chose, because he feasted sumptuously, therefore he did well with himself. I say, he did ill for himself. Not I say, but Christ. He did ill for himself. For that rich man, when he feasted sumptuously every day, was supposed to do well with himself: but when he began to burn in hell, then that which was supposed to be well was found to be ill. For what he had eaten with men above, [1662] he digested in hell beneath. Unrighteousness I mean, brethren, on which he used to feast. He used to eat costly banquets with the mouth of flesh, with his heart's mouth he used to eat unrighteousness. What he ate with his heart's mouth with men above, this he digested amid those punishments in the places beneath. And verily he had eaten for a time, he digested ill for everlasting. Is then unrighteousness eaten? perhaps some one saith: what is it that he saith? Unrighteousness eaten? It is not I that say: hear the Scripture: "As a sour grape is vexation to the teeth, and smoke to the eyes, so is unrighteousness to them that use it." [1663] For he that shall have eaten unrighteousness, that is, he that shall have had unrighteousness wilfully, shall not be able to eat righteousness. For righteousness is bread. Who is bread? "I am the living bread which came down from heaven." [1664] Himself is the bread of our heart....Is then even righteousness eaten? If it were not eaten, the Lord would not have said, "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness." [1665] Therefore "since his soul shall be blessed in life," in life it "shall" be blessed, in death it shall be tormented....

8. "He shall confess to Thee, when Thou shalt have done him good." Be not of such sort, brethren: see ye how that to this end we say these words, to this end we sing, to this end we treat, to this end toil--do not these things. Your business doth prove you: sometimes in your business ye hear the truth, and ye blaspheme. The Church ye blaspheme. Wherefore? Because ye are Christians. "If so it be, I betake myself to Donatus's party: I will be a heathen." [1666] Wherefore? Because thou hast eaten bread, and the teeth are in pain. When thou sawest the bread itself, thou didst praise; thou beginnest to eat, and the teeth are in pain; that is, when thou wast hearing the Word of God thou didst praise: when it is said to thee, "Do this," thou blasphemest: do not so ill: say this, "The bread is good, but I cannot eat it." But now if thou seest with the eyes, thou praisest: when thou beginnest to close the teeth thou sayest, "Bad is this bread, and like him that made it." So it cometh to pass that thou confessest to God, when God doeth thee good and thou liest when thou singest, "I will alway bless God, His praise is ever in my mouth." [1667] How alway? If alway gain, alway He is blessed: if sometime there is loss, He is not blessed, but blasphemed. Forsooth thou blessest alway, forsooth His praise is ever in thy mouth! Thou wilt be such as just now he describeth: "He will confess to Thee, when Thou shalt have done him good."

9. "He shall enter even unto the generations of his fathers" (ver. 19): that is, he shall imitate his fathers. For the unrighteous, that now are, have brothers, have fathers. Unrighteous men of old, are the fathers of the present; and they that are now unrighteous, are the fathers of unrighteous posterity: just as the fathers of the righteous, the righteous of old, are the fathers of the righteous that now are; and they that now are, are the fathers of them that are to be. The Holy Spirit hath willed to show that righteousness is not evil when men murmur against her: but these men have their father from the beginning, even to the generation of their fathers. Two men Adam begat, and in one was unrighteousness, in one was righteousness: unrighteousness in Cain, righteousness in Abel. [1668] Unrighteousness seemed to prevail over righteousness, because Cain unrighteous slew Abel righteous [1669] in the night. Is it so in the morning? Nay, "but the righteous shall reign over them in the morning." [1670] The morning shall come, and it shall be seen where Abel is, and where Cain. So all men who are after Cain, and so all who are after Abel, even unto the end of the world. "He shall enter even unto the generations of his fathers: even to eternity he shall not see light." Because even when he was here, he was in darkness, taking pleasure in false goods, and not loving real goods: even so he shall go hence into hell: from the darkness of his dreams the darkness of torments shall receive him. Therefore, "even to eternity he shall not see light."

But wherefore this? What he hath written in the middle of the Psalm, [1671] the same also he hath writ at the end: "Man, though he was in honour, understood not, was compared to the beasts without sense, and was made like to them" (ver. 20). But ye, brethren, consider that ye be men made after the image and likeness of God. The image [1672] of God is within, is not in the body; is not in these ears which ye see, and eyes, and nostrils, and palate, and hands, and feet; but is made nevertheless: [1673] wherein is the intellect, wherein is the mind, wherein the power of discovering truth, wherein is faith, wherein is your hope, wherein your charity, there God hath His Image: there at least ye perceive and see that these things pass away; for so he hath said in another Psalm, "Though man walketh in an image, yet he is disquieted in vain: he heapeth up treasures, and knoweth not for whom he shall gather them." [1674] Be not disquieted, for of whatsoever kind these things be, they are transitory, if ye are men who being in honour understand. For if being men in honour ye understand not, ye are compared to the beasts without sense, and are made like to them.

Footnotes

[1648] Oxf. mss. add, "or a separation of the soul from God." [1649] Al. "destroy him with the visible death." [1650] Philip. iii. 20. [1651] Matt. vi. 12. [1652] Or, "a dead person." [1653] Eph. v. 14. [1654] Most mss. omit, "I rule no one." See Ser. 72, ad. Fr. in Erem. [1655] Ps. cxlvi. 4. [1656] [Compare ver. 7, p. 171, supra.--C.] [1657] Rom. xii. 5. [1658] John xx. 28. [1659] Oxf. mss. "do." [1660] Ps. xlix. 13. [1661] Luke xii. 20. [1662] Apud superos. [1663] Prov. x. 26. [1664] John vi. 51. [1665] Matt. v. 6. [1666] Those who became Donatists declared themselves not yet Christians, in order to be rebaptized. [1667] Ps. xxxiv. 1. [1668] 1 John iii. 12. [1669] Gen. iv. 8. [1670] Ps. xlix. 14. [1671] Ps. xlix. 12. [1672] Gen. i. 26. [1673] Most mss. "made a mind." [1674] Ps. xxxix. 6.


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