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 LVI. [2074]

1. Just as when we are going to enter into any house, we look on the title to see whose it is and to whom it belongeth, lest perchance inopportunely we burst into a place whereunto we ought not; and again, in order that we may not through timidity withdraw from that which we ought to enter: as if in a word we were to read, These estates belong to such an one or to such an one: so on the lintel of this Psalm we have inscribed, "At the end, for the people that from holy men were put afar off, to David himself, at the inscription of the Title, when the Allophyli held him in Gath." [2075] Let us therefore take knowledge of the people that from holy men were put afar off at the inscription of the Title. For this doth belong to that David whom now ye know how to understand spiritually. For there is here commended to our notice no other than He of whom hath been said, "The end of the Law is Christ for righteousness to every man believing." [2076] Therefore when thou hearest "at the end," unto Christ give heed, lest tarrying in the way thou arrive not at the end....

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2. Who are then the people that from holy men were put afar off at the inscription of the Title? Let the Title itself declare to us that people. For there was written a certain title at the Passion of the Lord, when the Lord was crucified: there was in that place a Title inscribed in Hebrew, in Greek, and in Latin, "The King of the Jews;" [2077] in three tongues as though by three witnesses the Title was confirmed: because "in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall stand every word." [2078] ...

3. What therefore meaneth that which to the title itself still belongeth, namely, that "the Allophyli held him in Geth"? Geth was a certain city of the Allophyli, [2079] that is, of strangers, to wit, of people afar from holy men. All they that refuse Christ for King become strangers. Wherefore strangers are they made? Because even that vine, though by Him planted, when it had become sour what heard it? "Wherefore hast thou been turned into sourness, O alien vine?" [2080] It hath not been said, My vine: because if Mine, sweet; if sour, not Mine; if not Mine, surely alien. "There held him," then, "Allophyli in Geth." We find indeed, brethren, David himself, son of Jesse, king of Israel, to have been in a strange land among the Allophyli, when he was sought by Saul, and was in that city and with the king of that city, [2081] but that there he was detained we read not. Therefore our David, the Lord Jesus Christ out of the seed of that David, not alone they held, but there hold Him still Allophyli in Geth. Of Geth we have said that it is a city. But the interpretation of this name, if asked for, signifieth "press."...How therefore here is He held in Geth? Held in a winepress is His Body, that is, His Church. What is, in a winepress? In pressings. But in a winepress fruitful is the pressing. A grape on the vine sustaineth no pressing, whole it seemeth, but nothing thence floweth: it is thrown into a winepress, is trodden, is pressed; harm seemeth to be done to the grape, but this harm is not barren; nay, if no harm had been applied, barren it would have remained.

4. Let whatsoever holy men therefore that are suffering pressing from those that have been put afar off from the saints, give heed to this Psalm, let them perceive here themselves, let them speak what here is spoken, that suffer what here is spoken of....Private enmities therefore let no one think of, when about to hear the words of this Psalm: "Know ye that for us the wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against princes and powers, and spiritual things of wickedness," [2082] that is, against the devil and his angels; because even when we suffer men that annoy us, he is instigating, he is inflaming, as it were his vessels he is moving. Let us give heed therefore to two enemies, him whom we see, and him whom we see not; man we see, the devil we see not; man let us love, of the devil beware; for man pray, against the devil pray, and let us say to God, "Have pity on me, O Lord, for man hath trodden me down" (ver. 1). Fear not because man hath trodden thee down: have thou wine, a grape thou hast become in order that thou shouldest be trodden. "All day long warring he hath troubled me," every one that hath been put afar off from the saints. But why should not here be understood even the devil himself? Is it because mention is made of "man"? [2083] doth therefore the Gospel err, because it hath said, "A man that is an enemy hath done this"? [2084] But by a kind of figure may he also be called a man, [2085] and yet not be a man. Whether therefore it was him whom he that said these words was beholding, or whether it was the people and each one that was put afar off from holy men, through which kind the devil troubleth the people of God, who cleave to holy men, who cleave to the Holy One, who cleave to the King, at the title of which King being indignant they were as though beaten back, and put afar off: let him say, "Have pity on me, O Lord, for man hath trodden me down:" and let him faint not in this treading down, knowing Him on whom he is calling, and by whose example he hath been made strong. The first cluster in the winefat pressed is Christ. When that cluster by passion was pressed out, [2086] there flowed that whence "the cup inebriating is how passing beautiful!" [2087] Let His Body likewise say, looking upon its Head, "Have pity on me, O Lord, for man hath trodden me down: all day long warring he hath troubled me." "All day long," at all times. Let no one say to himself, There have been troubles in our fathers' time, in our time there are not. If thou supposest thyself not to have troubles, not yet hast thou begun to be a Christian. And where is the voice of the Apostle, "But even all that will live godly in Christ, persecutions shall suffer." [2088] If therefore thou sufferest not any persecution for Christ, take heed lest not yet thou hast begun godly to live in Christ. But when thou hast begun godly to live in Christ, thou hast entered into the winepress; make ready thyself for pressings: but be not thou dry, lest from the pressing nothing go forth.

5. "Mine enemies have trodden me down all day long" (ver. 2). They that have been put afar off from holy men, these are mine enemies. All day long: already it hath been said, "From the height [2089] of the day." What meaneth, "from the height of the day"? Perchance it is a high thing to understand. And no wonder, because the height of the day it is. For perchance they for this reason have been put afar off from holy men, because they were not able to penetrate the height of the day, whereof the Apostles are twelve shining hours. Therefore they that crucified Him, as if man, in the day have erred. But why have they suffered darkness, so that they should be put afar off from holy men? Because on high the day was shining, Him in the height hidden they knew not. "For if they had known, never the Lord of Glory would they have crucified." [2090] ...

6. "For many men that war against me, shall fear" (ver. 3). Shall fear when? When the day shall have passed away, wherein they are high. For for a time high they are, when the time of their height is finished they will fear. "But I in Thee will hope, O Lord." He saith not, "But I will not fear:" but, "Many men, that war against me, shall fear." When there shall have come that day of Judgment, then "shall mourn for themselves all the tribes of the earth." [2091] When there shall have appeared the sign of the Son of Man in heaven, then secure shall be all holy men. For that thing shall come which they hoped for, which they longed for, the coming whereof they prayed for: but to those men no place for repentance shall remain, because in that time wherein fruitful might have been repentance, their heart they hardened against a warning Lord. Shall they too raise up a wall against a judging God? The godliness of this man do thou indeed acknowledge, and if in that Body thou art, imitate him. When he had said, "Many men, that war against me, shall fear:" he did not continue, "But I will not fear;" lest to his own powers ascribing his not fearing, he too should be amid high temporal things, and through pride temporal he should not deserve to come to rest everlasting: rather he hath made thee to perceive whence he shall not fear. "But I," he saith, "in thee will hope, O Lord:" he hath not spoken of his confidence: but of the cause of his confidence. For if I shall not fear, I may also by hardness of heart not fear, for many men by too much pride fear nothing....

7. "In God I will praise my discourses, in God I have [2092] hoped: I will not fear what flesh doeth to me" (ver. 4). Wherefore? Because in God I will praise my discourses. If in thyself thou praisest thy discourses: I say not that thou art not to fear; it is impossible that thou have not to fear. For thy discourses either false thou wilt have, and therefore thine own, because false: or if thy discourses shall be true, and thou shalt deem thyself not to have them from God but of thyself to speak; true they will be, but thou wilt be false: but if thou shalt have known that thou canst say nothing true in the wisdom of God, in the faith of the Truth, save that which from Him thou hast received, of whom is said, "For what hast thou which thou hast not received?" [2093] Then in God thou art praising thy discourses, in order that in God thou mayest be praised by the discourses of God...."In God I have hoped, I will not fear what flesh doeth to me." Wast thou not the same that a little before wast saying, "Have pity on me, O Lord, for man hath trodden me down; all day long warring he hath troubled me"? [2094] How therefore here, "I will not fear what flesh doeth to me"? What shall he do to thee? Thou thyself a little before hast said, "Hath trodden me down, hath troubled me." Nothing shall he do, when these things he shall do? He hath had regard to the wine which floweth from treading, and hath made answer, Evidently he hath trodden down, evidently hath troubled; but what to me shall he do? A grape I was, wine I shall be: "In God I have hoped, I will not fear what flesh doeth to me."

8. "All day long my words they abhorred" (ver. 5). Thus they are, ye know. Speak truth, preach truth, proclaim Christ to the heathen, proclaim the Church to heretics, proclaim to all men salvation: they contradict, they abhor my words. But when my words they abhor, whom think ye they abhor, save Him in whom I shall praise my discourses? "All day long my words they abhorred." Let this at least suffice, let them abhor words, no farther let them proceed, censure, reject! Be it far from them! Why should I say this? When words they reject, when words they hate, those words which from the fount of truth flow forth, what would they do to him through whom the very words are spoken? what but that which followeth, "Against me all the counsels of them are for evil?" If the bread itself they hate, how spare they the basket wherein it is ministered? "Against me all the counsels of them are for evil." If so even against the Lord Himself, let not the Body disdain that which hath gone before in the Head, to the end that the Body may cleave to the Head. Despised hath been thy Lord, and wilt thou have thyself be honoured by those men that have been put afar off from holy men? Do not for thyself wish to claim that which in Him hath not gone before. "The disciple is not greater than his Master; the servant is not greater than his Lord. If the Master of the family they have called Beelzebub, how much more them of His household?" [2095] Against me all the counsels of them are for evil."

9. "They shall sojourn, and shall hide" (ver. 6). To sojourn is to be in a strange land. Sojourners is a term used of those then that live in a country not their own. Every man in this life is a foreigner: in which life ye see that with flesh we are covered round, through which flesh the heart cannot be seen. Therefore the Apostle saith, "Do not before the time judge anything, until the Lord come, and He shall enlighten the hidden things of darkness, and shall manifest the thoughts of the heart; and then praise shall be to each one from God." [2096] Before that this be done, in this sojourning of fleshly life every one carrieth his own heart, and every heart to every other heart is shut. Furthermore, those men of whom the counsels are against this man for evil, "shall sojourn, and shall hide:" because in this foreign abode they are, and carry flesh, they hide guile in heart; whatsoever of evil they think, they hide. Wherefore? Because as yet this life is a foreign one. Let them hide; that shall appear which they hide, and they too will not be hidden. There is also in this hidden thing another interpretation, which perchance will be more approved of. For out of those men that have been put afar off from holy men, there creep in certain false brethren, and they cause worse tribulations to the Body of Christ; because they are not altogether avoided as if entirely aliens....Not even those men nevertheless let us fear, brethren: "I will not fear what flesh doeth to me." Even if they sojourn, even if they go in, even if they feign, even if they hide, flesh they are: do thou in the Lord hope, nothing to thee shall flesh do. But he bringeth in tribulation, bringeth in treading down. There is added wine, because the grape is pressed: thy tribulation will not be unfruitful: another seeth thee, imitateth thee: because thou also in order that thou mightest learn to bear such a man, to thy Head hast looked up, that first cluster, unto whom there hath come in a man that he might see, hath sojourned, and hath hidden, to wit, the traitor Judas. All men, therefore, that with false heart go in, sojourning and hiding, do not thou fear: the father of these same men, Judas, with thy Lord hath been: and He indeed knew him; although Judas the traitor was sojourning and hiding, nevertheless, the heart of him was open to the Lord of all: [2097] knowingly He chose one man, whereby He might give comfort to thee that wouldest not know whom thou shouldest avoid. For He might have not chosen Judas, because He knew Judas: for He saith to His disciples, "Have not I chosen you twelve, and one out of you is a devil?" [2098] Therefore even a devil was chosen. Or if chosen he was not, how is it that He hath chosen twelve, and not rather eleven? Chosen even he is, but for another purpose. Chosen were eleven for the work of probation, chosen one for the work of temptation. [2099] Whence could He give an example to thee, that wouldest not know what men thou shouldest avoid as evil, of what men thou shouldest beware as false and artificial, sojourning and hiding, except He say to thee, Behold, with Myself I have had one of those very men! There hath gone before an example, I have borne, to suffer I have willed that which I knew, in order that to thee knowing not I might give consolation. That which to Me he hath done, the same he will do to thee also: in order that he may be able to do much, in order that he may make much havoc, he will accuse, false charges he will allege....

10. "These same men shall mark my heel." For they shall sojourn and hide in such sort, that they may mark where a man slippeth. Intent they are upon the heel, to see when a slip may chance to be made; in order that they may detain the foot for a fall, or trip up the foot for a stumble; certes that they may find that which they may accuse. And what man so walketh, that nowhere he slippeth? For example, how speedily is a slip made even in tongue? For it is written, "Whosoever in tongue stumbleth not, the same is a perfect man." [2100] What man I pray would dare himself to call or deem perfect? Therefore it must needs be that every one slip in tongue. But let them that shall sojourn and shall hide, carp at all words, seeking somewhere to make snares and knotty false accusations, wherein they are themselves entangled before those whom they strive to entangle: in order that they may themselves be taken and perish before that they catch other men in order to destroy them....Whatever good thing I have said, whatever true thing I have said, of God I have said it, and from God have said it: whatever other thing perchance I have said, which to have said I ought not, as a man I have said, but under God I have said. He that strengtheneth one walking, doth menace one straying, forgive one acknowledging, recalleth the tongue, recalleth him that slipped....Attend thou unto the discourses of him whom thou blamest, whether perchance he may teach thee something to thy health. And what, he saith, shall he be able to teach to my health, that hath so slipped in word? This very thing perchance he is teaching thee to thy health, that thou be not a carper at words, but a gatherer of precepts. "As my soul hath undergone." I speak of that which I have undergone. He was speaking as one experienced: "As my soul hath undergone. They shall sojourn and hide." Let my soul undergo all men, men without barking, men within hiding, let it undergo. From without coming, like a river cometh temptation: on the Rock let it find thee, let it strike against, not throw thee down; the house hath been founded upon a Rock. [2101] Within he is, he shall sojourn and hide: suppose chaff is near thee, let there come in the treading of oxen, let there come in the roller of temptations; thou art cleansed, the other is crushed.

11. "For nothing Thou shalt save them" (ver. 7). He hath taught us even for these very men to pray. However "they shall sojourn and hide," however deceitful they be, however dissemblers and liers in wait they be; do thou pray for them, and do not say, Shall God amend even such a man, so evil, so perverse? Do not despair: give heed to Him whom thou askest, not him for whom thou askest. The greatness of the disease seest thou, the might of the Physician seest thou not? "They shall sojourn and hide: as my soul hath undergone." Undergo, pray: and there is done what? "For nothing Thou shalt save them." Thou shalt make them safe so as that nothing to Thee it may be, that is, so that no labour to Thee it may be. With men they are despaired of, but Thou with a word dost heal; Thou wilt not toil in healing, though we are astounded in looking on. There is another sense in this verse, "For nothing Thou shalt save them:" with not any merits of their going before Thou shalt save them....They shall not bring to Thee he-goats, rams, bulls, not gifts and spices shall they bring Thee in Thy temple, not anything of the drink-offering of a good conscience do they pour thereon; all in them is rough, all foul, all to be detested: and though they to Thee bring nothing whereby they may be saved; "For nothing Thou shalt save them," that is, with the free gift of Thy Grace....

12. "In anger the peoples Thou shalt bring down." Thou art angry and dost bring down, dost rage and save, dost terrify and call. Thou fillest with tribulations all things, in order that being set in tribulations men may fly to Thee, lest by pleasures and a wrong security they be seduced. From Thee anger is seen, but that of a father. A father is angry with a son, the despiser of his injunctions: being angry with him he boxeth him, striketh, pulleth the ear, draggeth with hand, leadeth to school. How many men have entered, how many men have filled the House of the Lord, in the anger of Him brought down, that is, by tribulations terrified and with faith filled? For to this end tribulation stirreth up; in order to empty the vessel which is full of wickedness, so as that it may be filled with grace.

13. "O God, my life I have told out to Thee" (ver. 8). For that I live hath been Thy doing, and for this reason I tell out my life to Thee. But did not God know that which He had given? What is that which thou tellest out to Him? Wilt thou teach God? Far be it. Therefore why saith he, "I have told out to Thee"? Is it perchance because it profiteth Thee that I have told out my life? And what doth it profit God? To the advantage of God it doth profit. I have told out to God my life, because that life hath been God's doing. In like manner as his life Paul the Apostle did tell out, saying, "I that before was a blasphemer and a persecutor and injurious," he shall tell out his life. "But mercy I have obtained." [2102] He hath told out his life, not for himself, but for Him: because he hath told it out in such sort, that in Him men believe, not for his own advantages, but for the advantages of Him...."O God, my life I have told out to Thee. Thou hast put my tears in Thy sight." Thou hast hearkened to me imploring Thee. "As also in Thy promise." Because as Thou hadst promised this thing, so Thou hast done. Thou hast said Thou wouldest hearken to one weeping. I have believed, I have wept, I have been hearkened unto; I have found Thee merciful in promising, true in repaying.

14. "Turned be mine enemies backward" (ver. 9). This thing to these very men is profitable, no ill to these men he is wishing. For to go before they are willing, therefore to be amended they are not willing. Thou warnest thine enemy to live well, that he amend himself: he scorneth, he rejecteth thy word: "Behold him that adviseth me; behold him from whom I am to hear the commandments whereby I shall live!" To go before thee he willeth, and in going before is not amended. He mindeth not that thy words are not thine, he mindeth not that thy life to God thou tellest out, not to thyself. In going before therefore he is not amended: it is a good thing for him that he be turned backward, and follow him whom to go before he willed. The Lord to His disciples was speaking of His Passion that was to be. Peter shuddered, and saith, "Far be it, O Lord;" [2103] he that a little before had said, "Thou art the Christ, Son of the living God," having confessed God, feared for Him to die, as if but a man. But the Lord who so came that He might suffer (for we could not otherwise be saved unless with His blood we were redeemed), a little before had praised the confession of Peter....But immediately when the Lord beginneth to speak of His Passion, he feared lest He should perish by death, whereas we ourselves should perish unless He died; and he saith, "Far be it, O Lord, this thing shall not be done." And the Lord, to him to whom a little before He had said, "Blessed thou art, and upon this Rock I will build my Church," saith, "Go back behind, Satan, an offence thou art to Me." Why therefore "Satan" is he, that a little before was "blessed," and a "Rock"? "For thou savourest not the things which are of God," He saith, "but those things which are of man." [2104] A little before he savoured the things which are of God: because "not flesh and blood hath revealed to thee, but My Father which is in the Heavens." When in God he was praising his discourse, not Satan but Peter, from petra: but when of himself and out of human infirmity, carnal love of man, which would be for an impediment to his own salvation, and that of the rest, Satan he is called. Why? Because to go before the Lord he willed, and earthly counsel to give to the heavenly Leader. "Far be it, O Lord, this thing shall not be done." Thou sayest, "Far be it," and thou sayest, "O Lord:" surely if Lord He is, in power He doeth: if Master He is, He knoweth what He doeth, He knoweth what He teacheth. But thou willest to lead thy Leader, teach thy Master, command thy Lord, choose for God: much thou goest before, go back behind. Did not this too profit these enemies? "Turned be Mine enemies backward;" but let them not remain backward. For this reason let them be turned backward, lest they go before; but so that they follow, not so that they remain.

15. "In whatsoever day I shall have called upon Thee, behold I have known that my God art Thou" (ver. 9). A great knowledge. He saith not, "I have known that God Thou art:" but, "that my God art Thou." For thine He is, when thee He succoureth: thine He is, when thou to Him art not an alien. Whence is said, "Blessed the people of whom is the Lord the God of the same." [2105] Wherefore "of whom is"? For of whom is He not? Of all things indeed God He is: but of those men the God peculiarly He is said to be, that love Him, that hold Him, that possess Him, that worship Him, as though belonging to His own House: the great family of Him are they, redeemed by the great blood of the Only Son. How great a thing hath God given to us, that His own we should be, and He should be ours! But in truth foreigners afar have been put from holy men, sons alien they are. See what of them is said in another Psalm: "O Lord, deliver me," he saith, "from the hand of alien sons, of whom the mouth hath spoken vanity, and the right hand of them is a right hand of iniquity." [2106] ...

16. Let us therefore love God, brethren, purely and chastely. There is not a chaste heart, if God for reward it worshippeth. How so? Reward of the worship of God shall not we have? We shall have evidently, but it is God Himself whom we worship. Himself for us a reward shall be, because "we shall see Him as He is." [2107] Observe that a reward [2108] thou shalt obtain....I will tell you, brethren: in these human alliances consider a chaste heart, of what sort it is towards God: certainly human alliances are of such sort, that a man doth not love his wife, that loveth her because of her portion: a woman her husband doth not chastely love, that for these reasons loveth him, because something he hath given, or because much he hath given. Both a rich man is a husband, and one that hath become a poor man is a husband. How many men proscribed, by chaste wives have been the more beloved! Proved have been many chaste marriages by the misfortunes of husbands: that the wives might not be supposed to love any other object more than their husband, not only have they not forsaken, but the more have they obeyed. If therefore a husband of flesh freely is loved, if chastely he is loved; and a wife of flesh freely is loved, if chastely she is loved; in what manner must God be loved, the true and truth-speaking Husband of the soul, making fruitful unto the offspring of everlasting life, and not suffering us to be barren? Him, therefore, so let us love, as that any other thing besides Himself be not loved: and there takes place in us that which we have spoken of, that which we have sung, because even here the voice is ours: "In whatsoever day I shall have called upon Thee, behold, I have known that my God art Thou." This is to call upon God, freely to call upon Him. Furthermore, of certain men hath been said what? "Upon the Lord they have not called." [2109] The Lord they seemed as it were to call unto themselves and they besought Him about inheritances, about increasing money, about lengthening this life, about the rest of temporal things: and concerning them the Scripture saith what? "Upon the Lord they have not called." Therefore there followeth what? "There they have feared with fear, where there was no fear." What is, "where there was no fear"? Lest money should be stolen from them, lest anything in their house should be made less; lastly, lest they should have less of years in this life, than they hoped for themselves: but there have they trembled with fear, where there was no fear...."In God I will praise the word, in the Lord I will praise the discourse" (ver. 10): "in God I have hoped, I will not fear what man doeth unto me" (ver. 11). Now this is the very sense which above [2110] hath been repeated.

17. "In me, O God, are Thy vows, which I will render of praise to Thee" (ver. 12). "Vow ye, and render to the Lord your God." [2111] What vow, what render? Perchance those animals which were offered at the altars aforetime? No such thing offer thou: in thyself is what thou mayest vow and render. From the heart's coffer bring forth the incense of praise; from the store of a good conscience bring forth the sacrifice of faith. Whatsoever thing thou bringest forth, kindle with love. In thyself be the vows, which thou mayest render of praise to God. Of what praise? For what hath He granted thee? "For Thou hast rescued my soul from death" (ver. 13). This is that very life which he telleth out to Him: "O God, my life I have told out to Thee." [2112] For I was what? Dead. Through myself I was dead: through Thee I am what? Alive. Therefore "in me, O God, are Thy vows, which I will render of praise to Thee." Behold I love my God: no one doth tear Him from me: that which to Him I may give, no one doth tear from me, because in the heart it is shut up. With reason is said with that former confidence, "What should man do unto me?" [2113] Let man rage, let him be permitted to rage, be permitted to accomplish that which he attempteth: what is he to take away? Gold, silver, cattle, men servants, maid servants, estates, houses, let him take away all things: doth he by any means take away the vows, which are in me, which I may render of praise to God? The tempter was permitted to tempt a holy man, Job; [2114] in one moment he took away all things: whatever of possessions he had had, he carried off: took away inheritance, slew heirs; and this not little by little, but in a crowd, at one blow, at one swoop, so that all things were on a sudden announced: when all was taken away, alone there remained Job, but in him were vows of praise, which he might render to God, in him evidently there were: the coffer of his holy breast the thieving devil had not rifled, full he was of that wherefrom he might sacrifice. Hear what he had, hear what he brought forth: "The Lord hath given, the Lord hath taken away; as hath pleased the Lord, so hath been done: be the name of the Lord blessed." [2115] O riches interior, whither thief doth not draw near! God Himself had given that whereof He was receiving; He had Himself enriched him with that whereof to Him he was offering that which He loved. Praise from thee God requireth, thy confession God requireth. But from thy field wilt thou give anything? He hath Himself rained in order that thou mayest have. From thy coffer wilt thou give anything? He hath Himself put in that which thou art to give. What wilt thou give, which from Him thou hast not received? "For what hast thou which thou hast not received?" [2116] From the heart wilt thou give? He too hath given faith, hope, and charity: this thou must bring forth: this thou must sacrifice. But evidently all the other things the enemy is able to take away against thy will; this to take away he is not able, unless thou be willing. These things a man will lose even against his will: and wishing to have gold, will lose gold; and wishing to have house, will lose house: faith no one will lose, except him that shall have despised her.

18. "Because Thou hast rescued my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from slipping: that I may be pleasing before God in the light of the living" (ver. 13). With reason he is not pleasing to alien sons, that are put afar off from holy men, because they have not the light of the living, whence they may see that which to God is pleasing. "Light of the living," is light of the immortal, light of holy men. He that is not in darkness, is pleasing in the light of the living. A man is observed, and the things which belong to him; no one knoweth of what sort he is: God seeth of what sort he is. Sometimes even the devil himself he escapeth; except he tempt, he findeth not: just as concerning that man of whom just now I have made mention:..."Doth Job by any means worship God for nought?" [2117] For this was true light, this the light of the living, that gratis he should worship God. God saw in the heart of His servant His gratuitous worship. For that heart was pleasing in the sight of the Lord in the light of the living: the devil's sight he escaped, because in darkness he was. God admitted the tempter, not in order that He might Himself know that which He did know, but in order that to us to be known and imitated He might set it forth. Admitted was the tempter; he took away everything, there remained the man bereft of possessions, bereft of family, bereft of children, full of God. A wife certainly was left. [2118] Merciful do ye deem the devil, that he left him a wife? He knew through whom he had deceived Adam....With wound smitten from head even unto feet, whole nevertheless within, he made answer to the woman tempting, out of the light of the living, out of the light of his heart: "thou hast spoken as though one of the unwise women," [2119] that is, as though one that hath not the light of the living. For the light of the living is wisdom, and the darkness of unwise men is folly. Thou hast spoken as though one of the unwise women: my flesh thou seest, the light of my heart thou seest not. For she then might more have loved her husband, if the interior beauty she had known, and had beheld the place where he was beautiful before the eyes of God: because in Him were vows which he might render of praise to God. How entirely the enemy had forborne to invade that patrimony! How whole was that which he was possessing, and that because of which yet more to be possessed he hoped for, being to go on "from virtues unto virtue." [2120] Therefore, brethren, to this end let all these things serve us, that God gratis we love, in Him hope always, neither man nor devil fear. Neither the one nor the other doeth anything, except when it is permitted: permitted for no other reason can it be, except because it doth profit us. Let us endure evil men, let us be good men: because even we have been evil. Even as nothing [2121] God shall save men, of whom we dare to despair. Therefore of no one let us despair, for all men whom we suffer let us pray, from God let us never depart. Our patrimony let Him be, our hope let Him be, our safety let Him be. He is Himself here a comforter, there a remunerator, everywhere Maker-alive, and of life the Giver, not of another life, but of that whereof hath been said, "I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life:" [2122] in order that both here in the light of faith, and there in the light of sight, as it were in the light of the living, in the sight of the Lord we may be pleasing.

Footnotes

[2074] Lat. LV. A discourse to the people of Carthage. A Paris ms. has the title, "Incipit Carthagine Sermo habitus in Basilicâ Restitutâ, Feriâ V. de Psalmo LV.--Ben. [2075] 1 Sam. xxi. 10. [2076] Rom. x. 4. [2077] John xix. 19. [2078] Matt. xviii. 16; Deut. xix. 15. [2079] The usual name of the Philistines in LXX. and Vulgate. [2080] Jer. ii. 21. [2081] 1 Sam. xxi. 10. [2082] Eph. vi. 12. [2083] So mss. edd. "because he is not called man." [2084] Matt. xiii. 28. [2085] [Angels are so called. Dan. ix. 21, Acts x. 26. Compare Mark xvi. 5; Rev. xix. 10; also this vol. p. 117, note 7, supra.--C.] [2086] Isa. lxiii. 3. [2087] Ps. xxiii. 5. [2088] 2 Tim. iii. 12. [2089] Or, "depth." [2090] 1 Cor. ii. 8. [2091] Matt. xxiv. 30. [2092] Or, "will hope," mss. [2093] 1 Cor. iv. 7. [2094] Ps. lvi. 1. [2095] Matt. x. 24, 25. [2096] 1 Cor. iv. 5. [2097] Oxf. mss. "guilty before the Lord." [2098] John vi. 70. [2099] [See A.N.F. vol. i. pp. 40, 117, 153, 157, vi. 207.--C.] [2100] Jas. iii. 2. [2101] Matt. vii. 25. [2102] 1 Tim. i. 13. [2103] Matt. xvi. 22. [2104] Matt. xvi. 23. [2105] Ps. cxliv. 15. [2106] Ps. cxliv. 11. [2107] 1 John iii. 2. [2108] Al. "what reward." [2109] Ps. xiv. 4. [2110] Ps. lvi. 4, p. 220, supra. [2111] Ps. lxxvi. 11. [2112] Ps. lvi. 8, p. 222, supra. [2113] Ps. lvi. 11. [2114] Job i. 12. [2115] Job i. 21. [2116] 1 Cor. iv. 7. [2117] Job i. 9. [2118] Job ii. 9. [2119] Job ii. 10. [2120] Ps. lxxxiv. 7. [2121] Pro nihilo. [2122] John xiv. 6. .


Psalm LVII. [2123]

1. We have heard in the Gospel just now, brethren, how loveth us our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, God with the Father, Man with us, out of our own selves, now at [2124] the right hand of the Father; ye have heard how much He loveth us....

2. Because then this Psalm is singing of the Passion of the Lord, see what is the title that it hath: "at the end." The end is Christ. [2125] Why hath He been called end? Not as one that consumeth, but one that consummateth....

3. "At the end, corrupt not, for David himself, for the inscription of the title; when he fled from the face of Saul into a cavern." We referring to holy Scripture, do find indeed how holy David, that king of Israel, from whom too the Psalter of David hath received the name thereof, had suffered for persecutor Saul the king of his own people, as many of you know that have either read or have heard the Scriptures. King David had then for persecutor Saul: and whereas the one was most gentle, the other most ferocious: the one mild, the other envious; the one patient, the other cruel; the one beneficent, the other ungrateful: he endured him with so much mildness, that when he had gotten him into his hands him he touched not, hurt not. [2126] ...What reference hath this to Christ? If all things which then were being done, were figures of things future, we find there Christ, and by far in the greatest degree. For this, "corrupt not for the inscription of the title," I see not how it belongeth to that David. For not any "title" was inscribed over David himself which Saul would "corrupt." But we see in the Passion of the Lord that there had been written a title, "King of the Jews:" [2127] in order that this title might put to the blush these very men, seeing that from their King they withheld not their hands. For in them Saul was, in Christ David was. For Christ, as saith the Apostolic Gospel, is, as we know, as we confess, of the seed of David after the flesh; [2128] for after the Godhead He is above David, above all men, above heaven and earth, above angels, above all things visible and invisible....And because already it had been sung through the Holy Spirit, "Unto the end, corrupt not, for the inscription of the title:" Pilate answered them, "What I have written, I have written:" [2129] why do ye suggest to me falsehood? I corrupt not truth.

4. What therefore is, "When he fled from the face of Saul into a cavern"? Which thing indeed the former David also did: but because in him we find not the inscription of the title, in the latter let us find the flight into the cavern. [2130] For that cavern wherein David hid himself did figure somewhat. But wherefore hid he himself? It was in order that he might be concealed and not be found. What is to be hidden in a cavern? To be hidden in earth. For he that fleeth into a cavern, with earth is covered so that he may not be seen. But Jesus did carry earth, flesh which He had received from earth: and in it He concealed Himself, in order that by Jews He might not be discovered as God. "For if they had known, never the Lord of glory would they have crucified." [2131] Why therefore the Lord of glory found they not? Because in a cavern He had hidden Himself, that is, the flesh's weakness to their eyes He presented, but the Majesty of the Godhead in the body's clothing, as though in a hiding-place of the earth, He hid....But wherefore even unto death willed He to be patient? It was in order that He might flee from the face of Saul into a cavern. For a cavern may be understood as a lower part of the earth. And certainly, as is manifest and certain to all, His Body in a Tomb was laid, which was cut in a Rock. This Tomb therefore was the Cavern; thither He fled from the face of Saul. For so long the Jews did persecute Him, even until He was laid in a cavern. Whence prove we that so long they persecuted Him, until therein He was laid? Even when dead, and, on the Cross hanging, with lance they wounded Him. [2132] But when shrouded, the funeral celebrated, He was laid in a cavern, no longer had they anything which to the Flesh they might do. Rose therefore the Lord again out of that cavern unhurt, uncorrupt, from that place whither He had fled from the face of Saul: concealing Himself from ungodly men, whom Saul prefigured, but showing Himself to His members. For the members of Him rising again by His members were handled: for the members of Him, the Apostles, touched Him rising again and believed; [2133] and behold nothing profited the persecution of Saul. Hear we therefore now the Psalm; because concerning the title thereof enough we have spoken, as far as the Lord hath deigned to give.

5. "Have pity on me, O God, have pity on me, for in Thee hath trusted my Soul" (ver. 1). Christ in the Passion saith, "Have pity on Me, O God." To God, God saith, "Have pity on Me!" He that with the Father hath pity on thee, in thee crieth, "Have pity on Me." For that part of Him which is crying, "Have pity on Me," is thine: from thee this He received, for the sake of thee, that thou shouldest be delivered, with Flesh He was clothed. The flesh itself crieth: "Have pity on Me, O God, have pity on me:" Man himself, soul and flesh. For whole Man did the Word take upon Him, and whole Man the Word became. Let it not therefore be thought that there Soul was not, because the Evangelist thus saith: "The Word was made flesh, and dwelled in us." [2134] For man is called flesh, as in another place saith the Scripture, "And all flesh shall see the salvation of God." [2135] Shall anywise flesh alone see, and shall Soul not be there?...Thou hearest the Master praying, learn thou to pray. For to this end He prayed, in order that He might teach how to pray: because to this end He suffered, in order that He might teach how to suffer; to this end He rose again, in order that He might teach how to hope for rising again. "And in the shadow of Thy wings I will hope, until iniquity pass over." This now evidently whole Christ doth say: here is also our voice. For not yet hath passed over, still rife is iniquity. And in the end our Lord Himself said there should be an abounding of iniquity: "And since iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold; but he that shall have persevered unto the end, the same shall be saved." [2136] But who shall persevere even unto the end, even until iniquity pass over? He that shall have been in the Body of Christ, he that shall have been in the members of Christ, and from the Head shall have learned the patience of persevering. Thou passest away, and behold passed are thy temptations; and thou goest into another life whither have gone holy men, if holy thou hast been. Into another life have gone Martyrs; if Martyr thou shalt have been, thou also goest into another life. Because "thou" hast passed away hence, hath by any means iniquity therefore passed away? There are born other unrighteous men, as there die some unrighteous men. In like manner therefore as some unrighteous men die and others are born: so some just men go, and others are born. Even unto the end of the world neither iniquity will be wanting to oppress, nor righteousness to suffer....

6. "I will cry to God most high" (ver. 2). If most high He is, how heareth He thee crying? Confidence hath been engendered by experience: "to God," he saith, "who had done good to me." If before that I was seeking Him, He did good to me, when I cry shall He not hearken to me? For good to us the Lord God hath done in sending to us our Saviour Jesus Christ, that He might die for our offences, and rise again for our justification. [2137] For what sort of men hath He willed His Son to die? For ungodly men. But ungodly men were not seeking God, and have been sought of God. For He is Most High in such sort, as that not far from Him is our misery and our groaning: because "near is the Lord to them that have bruised the heart." [2138] "God that hath done good to me."

7. "He hath sent from heaven and hath saved me" (ver. 3). Now the Man Himself, now the Flesh Itself, now the Son of God after His partaking of ourselves, of Him it is manifest, how He was saved, and hath sent from heaven the Father and hath saved Him, hath sent from heaven, and hath raised Him again: but in order that ye may know, that also the Lord Himself hath raised again Himself; both truths are written in Scripture, both that the Father hath raised Him again, and that Himself Himself hath raised again. Hear ye how the Father hath raised Him again: the Apostle saith, "He hath been made," he saith, "obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross: wherefore God also hath exalted Him, and hath given Him a name which is above every name." [2139] Ye have heard of the Father raising again and exalting the Son; hear ye how that He too Himself His flesh hath raised again. Under the figure of a temple He saith to the Jews, "Destroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up." [2140] But the Evangelist hath explained to us what it was that He said: "But this," he saith, "He spake of the Temple of His Body." Now therefore out of the person of one praying, out of the person of a man, out of the person of the flesh, He saith, "He hath saved me. He hath given unto reproach those that trampled on me." Them that have trampled on Him, that over Him dead have insulted, that Him as though man have crucified, because God they perceived not, them He hath given unto reproach. See ye whether it has not been so done. The thing we do not believe as yet to come, but fulfilled we acknowledge it. The Jews raged against Christ, they were overbearing against Christ. Where? In the city of Jerusalem. For where they reigned, there they were puffed up, there their necks they lifted up. After the Passion of the Lord thence they were rooted out; and they lost the kingdom, wherein Christ for King they would not acknowledge. In what manner they have been given unto reproach, see ye: dispersed they have been throughout all nations, nowhere having a settlement, nowhere a sure abode. But for this reason still Jews they are, in order that our books they may carry to their confusion. For whenever we wish to show Christ prophesied of, we produce to the heathen these writings. And lest perchance men hard of belief should say that we Christians have composed these books, so that together with the Gospel which we have preached we have forged the Prophet, through whom there might seem to be foretold that which we preach: by this we convince them; namely, that all the very writings wherein Christ hath been prophesied are with the Jews, all these very writings the Jews have. We produce documents from enemies, to confound other enemies. In what sort of reproach therefore are the Jews? A document the Jew carrieth, wherefrom a Christian may believe. Our librarians they have become, just as slaves are wont behind their masters to carry documents, in such sort that these faint in carrying, those profit by reading. [2141] Unto such a reproach have been given the Jews: and there hath been fulfilled that which so long before hath been foretold, "He hath given unto reproach those that trampled on me." But how great a reproach it is, brethren, that this verse they should read, and themselves being blind should look upon their mirror! For in the same manner the Jews appear in the holy Scripture which they carry, as appeareth the face of a blind man in a mirror: by other men it is seen, by himself not seen.

8. Thou wast inquiring perhaps when he said, "He hath sent from heaven and hath saved me." What hath He sent from heaven? Whom hath He sent from heaven? An Angel hath He sent, to save Christ, and through a servant is the Lord saved? For all Angels are creatures [2142] serving Christ. For obedience there might have been sent Angels, for service they might have been sent, not for succour: as is written, "Angels ministered unto Him," [2143] not like men merciful to one indigent, but like subjects to One Omnipotent. What therefore "hath He sent from heaven, and hath saved me"? Now we hear in another verse what from heaven He hath sent. "He hath sent from heaven His mercy and His truth." [2144] For what purpose? "And hath drawn out my soul from the midst of the lions' whelps." [2145] "Hath sent," he saith, "from heaven His mercy and His truth:" and Christ Himself saith, "I am Truth." There was sent therefore Truth, that it should draw out my soul hence from the midst of the lions' whelps: there was sent mercy. Christ Himself we find to be both mercy and truth; mercy in suffering with us, and truth in requiting us....Who are the lions' whelps? That lesser [2146] people, unto evil deceived, unto evil led away by the chiefs of the Jews: so that these are lions, those lions' whelps. All roared, all slew. For we are to hear even here the slaying of these very men, presently in the following verses of this Psalm.

9. "And hath drawn out," he saith, "my soul from the midst of the lions' whelps" (ver. 4). Why sayest thou, "And hath drawn out my soul"? For what hadst thou suffered, that thy soul should be drawn out? "I have slept troubled." Christ hath intimated His death....

10. Whence "troubled"? Who troubling? Let us see in what manner he brandeth an evil conscience upon the Jews, wishing to excuse themselves of the slaying of the Lord. For to this end, as the Gospel speaketh, to the judge they delivered Him, that they might not themselves seem to have killed Him....Let us question Him, and say, since Thou hast slept troubled, who have persecuted Thee? who have slain Thee? was it perchance Pilate, who to soldiers gave Thee, on the Tree to be hanged, with nails to be pierced? Hear who they were, "Sons of men" (ver. 5). Of them He speaketh, whom for persecutors He suffered. But how did they slay, that steel bare not? They that sword drew not, that made no assault upon Him to slay; whence slew they? "Their teeth are arms and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword." Do not consider the unarmed hands, but the mouth armed: from thence the sword proceeded, wherewith Christ was to be slain: in like manner also as from the mouth of Christ, that wherewith the Jews were to be slain. For He hath a sword twice whetted: [2147] and rising again He hath smitten them, and hath severed from them those whom He would make His faithful people. They an evil sword, He a good sword: they evil arrows, He good arrows. For He hath Himself also arrows good, words good, whence He pierceth the faithful heart, in order that He may be loved. Therefore of one kind are their arrows, and of another kind their sword. "Sons of men, their teeth are arms and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sabre." Tongue of sons of men is a sharp sabre, and their teeth arms and arrows. When therefore did they smite, save when they clamoured, "Crucify, crucify"? [2148]

11. And what have they done to Thee, O Lord? Let the Prophet here exult! For above, all those verses the Lord was speaking: a Prophet indeed, but in the person of the Lord, because in the Prophet is the Lord...."Be exalted," he saith, "above the Heavens, O God." Man on the Cross, and above the Heavens, God. Let them continue on the earth raging, Thou in Heaven be judging. Where are they that were raging? where are their teeth, the arms and arrows? Have not "the stripes of them been made the arrows of infants"? For in another place a Psalm [2149] this saith, desiring to prove them vainly to have raged, and vainly unto frenzies to have been driven headlong: for nothing they were able to do to Christ when for the time crucified, and afterwards when He was rising again, and in Heaven was sitting. How do infants make to themselves arrows? Of reeds? [2150] But what arrows? or what powers? or what bows? or what wound? "Be Thou exalted above the Heavens, O God, and above all the earth Thy glory" (ver. 6). Wherefore exalted above the Heavens, O God? Brethren, God exalted above the Heavens we see not, but we believe: but above all the earth His glory to be not only we believe, but also see. But what kind of madness heretics are afflicted with, I pray you observe. They being cut off from the bond of the Church of Christ, and to a part holding, the whole losing, will not communicate with the whole earth, where is spread abroad the glory of Christ. [2151] But we Catholics are in all the earth, because with all the world we communicate, wherever the Glory of Christ is spread abroad. [2152] For we see that which then was sung, now fulfilled. There hath been exalted above the Heavens our God, and above all the earth the Glory of the Same. O heretical insanity! That which thou seest not thou believest with me, that which thou seest thou deniest: thou believest with me in Christ exalted above the Heavens, a thing which we see not; and deniest His Glory over all the earth, a thing which we see.

12. ...Let your Love see the Lord speaking to us, and exhorting us by His example: "A trap [2153] they have prepared for My feet, and have bowed down My Soul" (ver. 7). They wished to bring It down as if from Heaven, and to the lower places to weigh It down: "They have bowed My Soul: they have digged before My face a pit and themselves have fallen into it." Me have they hurt, or themselves? Behold He hath been exalted above the Heavens, God, and behold above all the earth the Glory of the Same: the kingdom of Christ we see, where is the kingdom of the Jews? Since therefore they did that which to have done they ought not, there hath been done in their case that which to have suffered they ought: themselves have dug a ditch, and themselves have fallen into it. For their persecuting Christ, to Christ did no hurt, but to themselves did hurt. And do not suppose, brethren, that themselves alone hath this befallen. Every one that prepareth a pit for his brother, it must needs be that himself fall into it....

13. But the patience of good men with preparation of heart accepteth the will of God: and glorieth in tribulations, saying that which followeth: "Prepared is my heart, O God, I will sing and play" (ver. 8). What hath he done to me? He hath prepared a pit, my heart is prepared. He hath prepared pit to deceive, shall I not prepare heart to suffer? He hath prepared pit to oppress, shall I not prepare heart to endure? Therefore he shall fall into it, but I will sing and play. Hear the heart prepared in an Apostle, because he hath imitated his Lord: "We glory," he saith, "in tribulations: because tribulation worketh patience: patience probation, probation hope, but hope maketh not ashamed: because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts through the Holy Spirit, which hath been given to us." [2154] He was in oppressions, in chains, in prisons, in stripes, in hunger and thirst, in cold and nakedness, [2155] in every wasting of toils and pains, and he was saying, "We glory in tribulations." Whence, but that prepared was his heart? Therefore he was singing and playing.

14. "Rise up, my glory" (ver. 9). He that had fled from the face of Saul into a cavern, saith, "Rise up, my glory:" glorified be Jesus after His Passion. "Rise up, psaltery and harp." He calleth upon what to rise? Two organs I see: but Body of Christ one I see, one flesh hath risen again, and two organs have risen. The one organ then is the psaltery, the other the harp. Organs [2156] is the word used for all instruments of musicians. Not only is that called an organ, which is great, and blown into with bellows; [2157] but whatsoever is adapted to playing and is corporeal, whereof for an instrument the player maketh use, is said to be an organ. But distinguished from one another are these organs. [2158] ...What therefore do these two organs figure to us? For Christ the Lord our God is waking up His psaltery and His harp; and He saith, "I will rise up at the dawn." I suppose that here ye now perceive the Lord rising. We have read thereof in the Gospel: [2159] see the hour of the Resurrection. How long through shadows was Christ being sought? He hath shone, be He acknowledged; "at the dawn" He rose again. But what is psaltery? what is harp? Through His flesh two kinds of deeds the Lord hath wrought, miracles and sufferings: miracles from above have been, sufferings from below have been. But those miracles which He did were divine; but through Body He did them, through flesh He did them. The flesh therefore working things divine, is the psaltery: the flesh suffering things human is the harp. Let the psaltery sound, let the blind be enlightened, let the deaf hear, let the paralytics be braced to strength, the lame walk, the sick rise up, the dead rise again; this is the sound of the Psaltery. Let there sound also the harp, let Him hunger, thirst, sleep, be held, scourged, derided, crucified, buried. When therefore thou seest in that Flesh certain things to have sounded from above, certain things from the lower part, one flesh hath risen again, and in one flesh we acknowledge both psaltery and harp. And these two kinds of things done have fulfilled the Gospel, and it is preached in the nations: for both the miracles and the sufferings of the Lord are preached.

15. Therefore there hath risen psaltery and harp in the dawn, and he confesseth to the Lord; and saith what? "I will confess to Thee among the peoples, O Lord, and will play to Thee among the nations: for magnified even unto the Heavens hath been Thy mercy, and even unto the clouds Thy truth" (ver. 10). Heavens above clouds, and clouds below heavens: and nevertheless to this nearest heaven belong clouds. But sometimes clouds rest upon the mountains, even so far in the nearest air are they rolled. But a Heaven above there is, the habitations of Angels, Thrones, Dominions, Principalities, Powers. This therefore may perchance seem to be what should have been said: "Unto the Heavens Thy truth, and even unto the clouds Thy mercy." For in Heaven Angels praise God, seeing the very form of truth, without any darkness of vision, without any admixture of unreality: they see, love, praise, are not wearied. There is truth: but here in our own misery surely there is mercy. For to a miserable one must be rendered mercy. For there is no need of mercy above, where is no miserable one. I have said this because that it seemeth as though it might have been more fittingly said, "Magnified even unto the Heavens hath been Thy truth, and even unto the clouds Thy mercy." For "clouds" we understand to be preachers of truth, men bearing that flesh in a manner dark, whence God both gleameth in miracles, and thundereth in precepts. [2160] ...Glory to our Lord, and to the Mercy of the Same, and to the Truth of the Same, because neither hath He forsaken by mercy to make us blessed through His Grace, nor defrauded us of truth: because first Truth veiled in flesh came to us and healed through His flesh the interior eye of our heart, in order that hereafter face to face we may be able to see It. [2161] Giving therefore to Him thanks, let us say with the same Psalm the last verses, which sometime since too I have said, "Be Thou exalted above the Heavens, O God, and above all the earth Thy glory" (ver. 11). For this to Him the Prophet said so many years before; this now we see; this therefore let us also say.

Footnotes

[2123] Lat. LVI. Sermon to the Commonalty. [2124] Circa. [2125] Rom. x. 4. [2126] 1 Sam. xxiv. 4, 7. [2127] Matt. xxvii. 37; John xix. 19. [2128] Rom. i. 3; Matt. i. 1. [2129] John xix. 22. [2130] 1 Sam. xxiv. 3. [2131] 1 Cor. ii. 8. [2132] John xix. 34. [2133] Luke xxiv. 39. [2134] John i. 14. [2135] Isa. xl. 5, lii. 10; Luke iii. 6. [2136] Matt. xxiv. 12. [2137] Rom. iv. 25. [2138] Ps. xxxiv. 18. [2139] Phil. ii. 8, 9. [2140] John ii. 19. [2141] [See p. 132, note 3, supra.--C.] [2142] Lat. "a creature." [2143] Matt. iv. 11. [2144] Ps. lvii. 3. [2145] Ps. lvii. 4. [2146] Minutus. [2147] Rev. i. 16. [2148] Matt. xxvii. 22; John xix. 6. [2149] [Vulgate and Septuagint, Ps. lxiv. 7.--C.] [2150] Cannæ. [2151] Against the Donatists. [2152] [This comes home with terrible import to that portion of the Church which has made itself the whole Church with a novel creed, and broken communion with the Easterns.--C.] [2153] Muscipulam. [2154] Rom. v. 3. [2155] 2 Cor. xi. 27. [2156] Organa. [2157] [Of which see a primitive example in Parker's Glossary of Architecture (vol. i. p. 264), Oxford, 1845. The use of organs in churches is very modern. The Greeks exclude them still. St. Thomas Aquinas testifies their non-use in the Latin churches in the thirteenth century.--C.] [2158] [See p. 139, supra.--C.] [2159] Mark xvi. 2. [2160] [Psa. xxxvi. p. 88, 7, supra.--C.] [2161] 1 Cor. xiii. 12. .


Psalm LVIII. [2162]

1. The words which we have sung must be rather hearkened to by us, than proclaimed. For to all men as it were in an assemblage of mankind, the Truth crieth, "If truly indeed justice ye speak, judge right things, ye sons of men" (ver. 1). For to what unjust man is it not an easy thing to speak justice? or what man if questioned about justice, when he hath not a cause, would not easily answer what is just? Inasmuch as the hand of our Maker in our very hearts hath written this truth, "That which to thyself thou wouldest not have done, do not thou to another." [2163] Of this truth, even before that the Law was given, no one was suffered to be ignorant, in order that there might be some rule whereby might be judged even those to whom Law had not been given. [2164] But lest men should complain that something had been wanting for them, there hath been written also in tables that which in their hearts they read not. For it was not that they had it not written, but read it they would not. There hath been set before their eyes that which in their conscience to see they would be compelled; and as if from without the voice of God were brought to them, to his own inward parts hath man been thus driven, the Scripture saying, "For in the thoughts of the ungodly man there will be questioning." [2165] Where questioning is, there is law. But because men, desiring those things which are without, even from themselves have become exiles, there hath been given also a written law: not because in hearts it had not been written, but because thou wast a deserter from thy heart, thou art seized by Him that is everywhere, and to thyself within art called back. Therefore the written law, what crieth it, to those that have deserted the law written in their hearts? [2166] "Return ye transgressors to the heart." [2167] For who hath taught thee, that thou wouldest have no other man draw near thy wife? Who hath taught thee, that thou wouldest not have a theft committed upon thee? Who hath taught thee, that thou wouldest not suffer wrong, and whatever other thing either universally or particularly might be spoken of? For many things there are, of which severally if questioned men with loud voice would answer, that they would not suffer. Come, if thou art not willing to suffer these things, art thou by any means the only man? dost thou not live in the fellowship of mankind? He that together with thee hath been made, is thy fellow; and all men have been made after the image of God, [2168] unless with earthly coverings they efface that which He hath formed. That which therefore to thyself thou wilt not have to be done, do not thou to another. For thou judgest that there is evil in that, which to suffer thou art not willing: and this thing thou art constrained to know by an inward law; that in thy very heart is written. Thou wast doing somewhat, and there was a cry raised in thy hands: how art thou constrained to return to thy heart when this thing thou sufferest in the hands of others? Is theft a good thing? No! I ask, is adultery a good thing? All cry, No! Is man-slaying a good thing? All cry, that they abhor it. Is coveting the property of a neighbour a good thing? No! is the voice of all men. Or if yet thou confessest not, there draweth near one that coveteth thy property: be pleased to answer what thou wilt have. All men therefore, when of these things questioned, cry that these things are not good. Again, of doing kindnesses, not only of not hurting, but also of conferring and distributing, any hungry soul is questioned thus: "thou sufferest hunger, another man hath bread, and there is abundance with him beyond sufficiency, he knoweth thee to want, he giveth not: it displeaseth thee when hungering, let it displease thee when full also, when of another's hungering thou shalt have known. A stranger wanting shelter cometh into thy country, he is not taken in: he then crieth that inhuman is that city, at once among barbarians he might have found a home. He feeleth the injustice because he suffereth; thou perchance feelest not, but it is meet that thou imagine thyself also a stranger; and that thou see in what manner he will have displeased thee, who shall not have given that, which thou in thy country wilt not give to a stranger." I ask all men. True are these things? True. Just are these things? Just. But hear ye the Psalm. "If truly therefore justice ye speak, judge right things, ye sons of men." Be it not a justice of lips, but also of deeds. For if thou actest otherwise than thou speakest, good things thou speakest, and ill thou judgest....

2. But now to the present case let us come, if ye please. For the voice is that sweet voice, so well known to the ears of the Church, the voice of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the voice of His Body, the voice of the Church toiling, sojourning upon earth, living amid the perils of men speaking evil and of men flattering. Thou wilt not fear a threatener, if thou lovest not a flatterer. He therefore, of whom this is the voice, hath observed and hath seen, that all men speak justice. For what man doth dare not to speak it, lest he be called unjust? When, therefore, as though he were hearing the voices of all men, and were observing the lips of all men, he cried out to them, "If truly indeed justice ye speak,"--if not falsely justice ye speak, if not one thing on lips doth sound, whilst another thing is concealed in hearts,--"judge right things, ye sons of men." Hear out of the Gospel His own voice, the very same as is in this Psalm: "Hypocrites," saith the Lord to the Pharisees, "how are ye able good things to speak, when ye are evil men?....Either make the tree good, and the fruit thereof good: or make the tree evil, and the fruit thereof evil." [2169] Why wilt thou whiten thee, wall of mud? I know thy inward parts, I am not deceived by thy covering: I know what thou holdest forth, I know what thou coverest. "For there was no need for Him, that any one to Him should bear testimony of man: for He knew Himself what was in man." [2170] For He knew what was in man, who had made man, and who had been made Man, in order that He might seek man....

3. But now ye do what? Why these things to you do I speak? "Because in heart iniquities ye work on earth" (ver. 2). Iniquities perchance in heart alone? Hear what followeth: both their heart hands do follow, and their heart hands do serve, the thing is thought of, and it is done; or else it is not done, not because we would not, but because we could not, Whatever thou willest and canst not, for done God doth count it. "For in heart Iniquities ye work on earth." What next? "Iniquities your hands knit together." What is, "knit together"? From sin, sin, and to sin, sin, because of sin. What is this? A theft a man hath committed, a sin it is: he hath been seen, he seeketh to slay him by whom he hath been seen: there hath been knit together sin with sin: God hath permitted him in His hidden judgment to slay that man whom he hath willed to slay: he perceiveth that the thing is known, he seeketh to slay a second also; he hath knit together a third sin: while these things he is planning, perchance that he may not be found out, or that he may not be convicted of having done it, he consulteth an astrologer; there is added a fourth sin: the astrologer answereth perchance with some hard and evil responses, he runneth to a soothsayer, that expiation may be made; the soothsayer maketh answer that he is not able to expiate: a magician is sought. And who could enumerate those sins which are knit together with sins? "Iniquities your hands do knit together." So long as thou knittest together, thou bindest sin upon sin. Loose thyself from sins. But I am not able, thou sayest. Cry to Him. "Unhappy man I, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" [2171] For there shall come the Grace of God, so that righteousness shall be thy delight, as much as thou didst delight in iniquity; and thou, a man that out of bonds hast been loosed, shall cry out to God, "Thou hast broken asunder my bonds." [2172] "Thou hast broken asunder my bonds," is what else but, "Thou hast remitted my sins"? Hear why chains they are: the Scripture maketh answer, "with the chains of his sins each one is bound fast." [2173] Not only bonds, but chains [2174] also they are. Chains are those which are made by twisting in: that is, because with sins sins thou wast knitting together....

4. "Alienated are sinners from the womb, they have gone astray from the belly, they have spoken false things" (ver. 3). And when iniquity they speak, false things they speak; because deceitful is iniquity: and when justice they speak, false things they speak; because one thing with mouth they profess, another thing in heart they conceal. "Alienated are sinners from the womb." What is this? Let us search more diligently: for perhaps he is saying this, because God hath foreknown men that are to be sinners even in the wombs of their mothers. [2175] For whence when Rebecca was yet pregnant, and in womb was bearing twins, was it said, "Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated"? [2176] For it was said, "The elder shall serve the younger." Hidden at that time was the judgment of God: but yet from the womb, that is, from the very origin, alienated are sinners. Whence alienated? From truth. Whence alienated? From the blessed country, from the blessed life. Perchance alienated they are from the very womb. And what sinners have been alienated from the womb? For what men would have been born, if therein they had not been held? Or what men to-day would be alive to hear these words to no purpose, unless they were born? Perchance therefore sinners have been alienated from a certain womb, wherein that charity was suffering pains, which speaketh through the Apostle, "Of whom again I am in labour, until Christ be formed in you." [2177] Expect thou therefore; be formed: do not to thyself ascribe a judgment which perchance thou knowest not. Carnal thou art as yet, conceived thou hast been: from that very time when thou hast received the name of Christ, by a sort of sacrament thou hast been born in the bowels of a mother. For not only out of bowels a man is born, but also in bowels. First he is born in bowels, in order that he may be able to be born of bowels. Wherefore it hath been said even to Mary, "For that which is born in thee, is of the Holy Spirit." [2178] Not yet of Her It had been born, but already in Her It had been born. Therefore there are born within the bowels of the Church certain little ones, and a good thing it is that being formed they should go forth, so that they drop not by miscarriage. Let the mother bear thee, not miscarry. If patient thou shalt have been, even until thou be formed, even until in thee there be the sure doctrine of truth, the maternal bowels ought to keep thee. But if by thy impatience thou shalt have shaken the sides of thy mother, with pain indeed she expelleth thee out, but more to thy loss than to hers.

5. For this reason therefore have they gone astray from the belly, because "they have spoken false things"? Or rather have they not for this reason spoken false things, because they have gone astray from the belly? For in the belly of the Church truth abideth. Whosoever from this belly of the Church separated shall have been, must needs speak false things: must needs, I say, speak false things; whoso either conceived would not be, or whom when conceived the mother hath expelled. Thence heretics exclaim against the Gospel (to speak in preference of those whom expelled we lament). We repeat to them: behold Christ hath said, "It behoved Christ to suffer, and from the dead to rise again the third day." [2179] I acknowledge there our Head, I acknowledge there our bridegroom: acknowledge thou also with me the Bride....

6. "Indignation to them after the similitude of a serpent" (ver. 4). A great thing ye are to hear. "Indignation to them after the similitude of a serpent." As if we had said, What is that which thou hast said? there followeth, "As if of a deaf asp." Whence deaf? "And closing its ears." Therefore deaf, because it closeth its ears. "And closing its ears." "Which will not hearken to the voice of men charming, and of the medicine medicated by the wise man" (ver. 5). As we have heard, because even men speak who have learned it with such research as they were able, but nevertheless it is a thing which the Spirit of God knoweth much better than any men. For it is not to no purpose that of this he hath spoken, but because it may chance that true is even that which we have heard of the asp. When the asp beginneth to be affected by the Marsian charmer, who calleth it forth with certain peculiar incantations, hear what it doeth....Give heed what is spoken to thee for a simile's sake, what is noted thee for avoidance. [2180] So therefore here also there hath been given a certain simile derived from the Marsian, who maketh incantation to bring forth the asp from the dark cavern; surely into light he would bring it: but it loving its darkness, wherein coiled up it hideth itself, when it will not choose to come forth, nevertheless refusing to hear those words whereby it feeleth itself to be constrained, is said to press one ear against the ground, and with its tail to stop up the other, and therefore as much as possible escaping those words, it cometh not forth to the charmer. To this as being like, the Spirit of God hath spoken of certain persons hearing not the Word of God, and not only not doing, but altogether, that they may not do it, refusing to hear.

7. This thing hath been done even in the first times of the faith. Stephen the Martyr was preaching the Truth, and to minds as though dark, in order to bring them forth into light, was making incantation: when he came to make mention of Christ, whom they would not hear at all, of them the Scripture saith what? of them relateth what? "They shut," he saith, "their ears." [2181] But what they did afterwards, the narrative of the passion of Stephen doth publish. They were not deaf, but they made themselves deaf....For this thing they did at the point where Christ was named. The indignation of these men was as the indignation of a serpent. Why your ears do ye shut? Wait, hear, and if ye shall be able, rage. Because they chose not to do aught but rage, they would not hear. But if they had heard, perchance they would have ceased to rage. The indignation of them was as the indignation of a serpent....

8. "God hath broken utterly the teeth of them in their own mouth" (ver. 6). Of whom? Of them to whom indignation is as the similitude of a serpent, and of an asp closing up its ears, so that it heareth not the voice of men charming, and of medicine medicated by the wise man. The Lord hath done to them what? "Hath broken utterly the teeth of them in their own mouth." It hath been done, this at first hath been done, and now is being done. But it would have sufficed, my brethren, that it should have been said, "God hath broken utterly the teeth of them." The Pharisees would not hear the Law, would not hear the precepts of truth from Christ, being like to that serpent and asp. For in their past sins they took delight, and present life they would not lose, that is, joys earthly for joys heavenly....What is, "in their own mouth"? In such sort, that with their own mouth against themselves they should make declaration: He hath compelled them with their mouth against themselves to give sentence. They would have slandered Him, because of the tribute: [2182] He said not, "It is lawful to pay tribute," or, "It is not lawful to pay tribute." And He willed to break utterly their teeth, wherewith they were gaping in order to bite; but in their own mouth He would do it. If He said, Let there be paid to Cæsar tribute, they would have slandered Him, because He had spoken evil to the nation of the Jews, by making it a tributary. For because of sin they were paying tribute, having been humbled, as to them in the Law had been foretold. We have Him, say they, a maligner of our nation, if He shall have bidden us to pay tribute: but if He say, Do not pay, we have Him for saying that we should not be under allegiance to Cæsar. Such a double noose as it were to catch the Lord they laid. But to whom had they come? To Him that knew how to break utterly the teeth of them in their own mouth. "Show to Me the coin," [2183] He saith. Why tempt ye Me, ye hypocrites?" Of paying tribute do ye think? To do justice are ye willing? the counsel of justice do ye seek? "If truly justice ye speak, judge right things, ye sons of men." But now because in one way ye speak, in another way judge, hypocrites ye are: "Why tempt ye Me, ye hypocrites?" Now I will break utterly your teeth in your mouth: "show to Me the coin." And they showed it to Him. And He saith not, it is Cæsar's: but asketh Whose it is? in order that their teeth in their own mouth might be utterly broken. For on His inquiring, of whom it had the image and inscription, they said, of Cæsar. Even now the Lord shall break utterly the teeth of them in their own mouth. Now ye have made answer, now have been broken utterly your teeth in your mouth. "Render unto Cæsar the things which are of Cæsar, and unto God the things which are of God." [2184] Cæsar seeketh his image; render it: God seeketh His image; render it. Let not Cæsar lose from you his coin: let not God lose in you His coin. And they found not what they might answer. For they had been sent to slander Him: and they went back, saying, that no one to Him could make answer. Wherefore? Because broken utterly had been the teeth of them in their own mouth. Of that sort is also the following: "In what power doest Thou these things? I also will ask of you one question, answer me." [2185] And He asked them of John, whence was the Baptism of John, from heaven, or of men? so that whatever they might answer might tell against themselves....

9. The Lord displeased that Pharisee, who to dinner had bidden Him, because a woman that was a sinner drew near to His feet, and he murmured against Him, saying, "If this man were a prophet, He would know what woman drew near to His feet." [2186] O thou that art no prophet, whence knowest thou that He knew not what woman drew near to His feet? Because indeed He kept not the purifying of the Jews, which outwardly was as it were kept in the flesh, and was afar from the heart, this thing he suspected of the Lord. And in order that I may not speak at length on this point, even in his mouth He willed to break utterly the teeth of him. For He set forth to him: "A certain usurer had two debtors, one was owing five hundred pence, the other fifty: both had not wherewithal to pay, he forgave both. Which loved him the more?" [2187] To this end the one asketh, that the other may answer: to this end he answereth that the teeth of him in his mouth may be broken utterly....

10. "The jaw-bones of lions the Lord hath broken utterly." [2188] Not only of asps. What of asps? Asps treacherously desire to throw in their venom, and scatter it, and hiss. Most openly raged the nations, and roared like lions. "Wherefore have raged the nations, and the peoples meditated empty things?" [2189] When they were lying in wait for the Lord. Is it lawful to give tribute to Cæsar, or is it not lawful? [2190] Asps they were, serpents they were, broken utterly were the teeth of them in their own mouth. Afterwards they cried out, "Crucify, Crucify." [2191] Now is there no tongue of asp, but roar of lion. But also "the jaw-bones of lions the Lord hath broken utterly." Perchance here there is no need of that which he hath not added, namely, "in the mouth of them." For men lying in wait with captious questions, were forced to be conquered with their own answer: but those men that openly were raging, were they by any means to be confuted with questions? Nevertheless, even their jaw-bones were broken utterly: having been crucified, He rose again, ascended into heaven, was glorified as the Christ, is adored by all nations, adored by all kings. Let the Jews now rage, if they are able. We have also in the case of heretics this as a warning and precedent, because themselves also we find to be serpents with indignation made deaf, not choosing to hear the "medicine medicated by the wise man:" and in their own mouth the Lord hath broken utterly the teeth of them....

11. "They shall be despised like water running down" (ver. 7). Be not terrified, brethren, by certain streams, which are called torrents: with winter waters they are filled up; do not fear: after a little it passeth by, that water runneth down; for a time it roareth, soon it will subside: they cannot hold long. Many heresies now are utterly dead: they have run in their channels as much as they were able, have run down, dried are the channels, scarce of them the memory is found, or that they have been. "They shall be despised like water running down." But not they alone; the whole of this age for a time is roaring, and is seeking whom it may drag along. Let all ungodly men, all proud men resounding against the rocks of their pride as it were with waters rushing along and flowing together, not terrify you, winter waters they are, they cannot alway flow: it must needs be that they run down unto their place, unto their end. And nevertheless of this torrent of the world the Lord hath drunk. For He hath suffered here, the very torrent He hath drunk, but in the way He hath drunk, but in the passage over: because in way of sinners He hath not stood. [2192] But of Him saith the Scripture what? "Of the torrent in the way He shall drink, therefore He shall lift up His Head;" [2193] that is, for this reason glorified He hath been, because He hath died; for this reason hath risen again, because He hath suffered....

12. "Like wax melted they shall be taken away" (ver. 8). For thou wast about to say, all men are not so made weak, like myself, in order that they may believe: many men do persevere in their evil, and in their malice. And of the same fear thou nothing: "Like wax melted they shall be taken away." Against thee they shall not stand, they shall not continue: with a sort of fire of their own lusts they shall perish. For there is here a kind of hidden punishment, [2194] of it the Psalm is about to speak now, to the end of it. There are but a few verses; be attentive. There is a certain punishment future, fire of hell, fire everlasting. For future punishment hath two kinds: either of the lower places it is, where was burning that rich man, who was wishing for himself a drop of water to be dropped on his tongue off the finger of the poor man, whom before his gate he had spurned, when he saith, "For I am tormented in this flame." [2195] And the second is that at the end, whereof they are to hear, that on the left hand are to be set: "Go ye into fire everlasting, that hath been prepared for the devil and his angels." [2196] Those punishments shall be manifest at that time, when we shall have departed out of this life, or when at the end of the world men shall have come to the resurrection of the dead. Now therefore is there no punishment, and doth God suffer sins utterly unpunished even unto that day? There is even here a sort of hidden punishment, of the same he is treating now....We see nevertheless sometimes with these punishments just men to be afflicted, and to these punishments unjust men to be strangers: for which reason did totter the feet of him that afterwards rejoicing saith, "How good is the God of Israel to men right in heart! But my own feet have been almost shaken, because I have been jealous in the case of sinners, beholding the peace of sinners." [2197] For he had seen the felicity of evil men, and well-pleased he had been to be an evil man, seeing evil men to reign, seeing that it was well with them, that they abounded in plenty of all things temporal, such as he too, being as yet but a babe, was desiring from the Lord: and his feet did totter, even until he saw what at the end is either to be hoped for or to be feared. For he saith in the same Psalm, "This thing is a labour before me, until I enter into the sanctuary of God, and understand unto the last things." [2198] It is not therefore the punishments of the lower places, not the punishments of that fire everlasting after the resurrection, not those punishments which as yet in this world are common to just men and unjust men, and ofttimes more heavy are those of just men than those of unjust men; but some punishment or other of the present life the Spirit of God would recommend to our notice. Give heed, hear ye me about to speak of that which ye know: but a more sweet thing it is when it is declared in a Psalm, which, before it was declared, was deemed obscure. For behold I bring forth that which already ye knew: but because these things are brought forth from a place where ye have never yet seen them, it cometh to pass that even known things, as if they were new things, do delight you. Hear ye the punishment of ungodly men: "Like wax," he saith, "melted they shall be taken away." I have said that through their lusts this thing to them is done. Evil lust is like a burning and a fire. Doth fire consume a garment, and doth not the lust of adultery consume the soul? Of meditated adultery when the Scripture was speaking it saith, "Shall one bind fire in his bosom, and his garments shall he not burn up?" [2199] Thou bearest in thy bosom live coals; burned through is thy vest; thou bearest in thought adultery, and whole then is thy soul? But these punishments few men do see: therefore them the Spirit of God doth exceedingly recommend to our notice. Hear the Apostle saying, "God hath given them up unto the lusts of their heart." [2200] Behold, the fire from the face of which like wax they are melting. For they loose themselves from a certain continence of chastity; therefore even these same men, going unto their lusts, as loose and melting are spoken of. Whence melting? whence loose? From the fire of lusts. "God hath given them up unto the lusts of their heart, so that they do those things which beseem not, being filled full of all iniquity."...

13. "There hath fallen upon them fire, and they have not seen the sun." Ye see in what manner he speaketh of a certain punishment of darkening. "Fire hath fallen upon them," fire of pride, a smoky fire, fire of lust, fire of wrath. How great a fire is it? He upon whom it shall have fallen, shall not see the sun. Therefore hath it been said, "Let not the sun go down upon your wrath." [2201] Therefore, brethren, fire of evil lust fear ye, if ye will not melt like wax, and to perish from the face of God. For there falleth upon you that fire, and the sun ye shall not see. What sun? Not that which together with thee see both beasts and insects, and good men and evil men: because "He maketh His sun to rise upon good men and evil men." [2202] But there is another sun, whereof those men are to speak, "And the sun hath not risen to us, passed away are all those things as it were a shadow. Therefore we have strayed from the way of truth, and the light of righteousness hath not shone to us, and the sun hath not risen to us." [2203] ...

14. "Before that the bramble [2204] bringeth forth your thorns: as though living, as though in anger, it shall drink them up" (ver. 9). What is the bramble? Of prickly plants it is a kind, upon which there are said to be certain of the closest thorns. At first it is a herb; and while it is a herb, soft and fair it is: but thereon there are nevertheless thorns to come forth. Now therefore sins are pleasant, and as it were they do not prick. A herb is the bramble; even now nevertheless there is a thorn. "Before that the bramble bringeth forth thorns:" is before that of miserable delights and pleasures the evident tortures come forth. Let them question themselves that love any object, and to it cannot attain; let them see if they are not racked with longing: and when they have attained to that which unlawfully they long for, let them mark if they are not racked with fear. Let them see therefore here their punishments; before that there cometh that resurrection, when in flesh rising again they shall not be changed. "For all we shall rise again, but not [2205] all we shall be changed." [2206] For they shall have the corruption of the flesh wherein to be pained, not that wherein to die: otherwise even those pains would be ended. Then the thorns of that bramble, that is, all pains and piercings of tortures shall be brought forth. Such thorns as they shall suffer that are to say, "These are they whom sometimes we had in derision:" [2207] thorns of the piercing of repentance, but of one too late and without fruit like the barrenness of thorns. The repentance of this time is pain healing: repentance of that time is pain penal. Wouldest thou not suffer those thorns? here be thou pierced with the thorns of repentance; in such sort that thou do that which hath been spoken of, "Turned I have been in sorrow, when the thorn was piercing: [2208] my sin I have known, and mine iniquity I have not covered: I have said, I will declare against me my shortcoming to the Lord, and Thou hast remitted the ungodliness of my heart." [2209] Now do so, now be pierced through, be there not in thee done that which hath been said of certain execrable men, "They have been cloven asunder, and have not been pierced through." [2210] Observe them that have been cloven asunder and have not been pierced through. [2211] Ye see men cloven asunder, and ye see them not pierced through. Behold beside the Church they are, and it doth not repent them, so as they should return whence they have been cloven asunder. The bramble hereafter shall bring forth their thorns. They will not now have a healing piercing through, they shall have hereafter one penal. But even now before that the bramble produceth thorns, there hath fallen upon them fire, that suffereth them not to see the sun, that is, the wrath of God is drinking up them while still living: fire of evil lusts, of empty honours, of pride, of their covetousness: and whatsoever is weighing them down, that they should not know the truth, so that they seem not to be conquered, so that they be not brought into subjection even by truth herself. For what is a more glorious thing, brethren, than to be brought in subjection and to be overcome by truth? Let truth overcome thee willing: for even unwilling she shall of herself overcome thee....

15. As yet the punishments of the lower places have not come, as yet fire everlasting hath not come: let him that is growing in God compare himself now with an ungodly man, a blind heart with an enlightened heart: compare ye two men, one seeing and one not seeing in the flesh. And what so great thing is vision of the flesh? Did Tobias by any means have fleshly eyes? [2212] His own son had, and he had not; and the way of life a blind man to one seeing did show. Therefore when ye see that punishment, rejoice, because in it ye are not.

Therefore saith the Scripture, "The just man shall rejoice when he shall have seen vengeance" (ver. 10). Not that future punishment; for see what followeth: "his hands he shall wash in the blood of the sinner." What is this? Let your love attend. When man-slayers are smitten, ought anywise innocent men to go thither and wash their hands? But what is, "in the blood of the sinner he shall wash his hands"? When a just man seeth the punishment of a sinner, he groweth himself; and the death of one is the life of another. For if spiritually blood runneth from those that within are dead, do thou, seeing such vengeance, wash therein thy hands; for the future more cleanly live. And how shall he wash his hands, if a just man he is? For what hath he on his hands to be washed, if just he is? "But the just man of faith shall live." [2213] Just men therefore he hath called believers: and from the time that thou hast believed, at once thou beginnest to be called just. For there hath been made a remission of sins. Even if out of that remaining part of thy life some sins are thine, which cannot but flow in, like water from the sea into the hold; nevertheless, because thou hast believed, when thou shalt have seen him that altogether is turned away from God to be slain in that blindness, there falling upon him that fire so that he see not the sun--then do thou that now through faith seest Christ, in order that thou mayest see in substance (because the just man liveth of faith), observe the ungodly man dying, and purge thyself from sins. So thou shalt wash in a manner thy hands in the blood of the sinner.

16. "And a man shall say, If therefore there is fruit to a just man" (ver. 10). Behold, before that there cometh that which is promised, before that there is given life everlasting, before that ungodly men are cast forth into fire everlasting, here in this life there is fruit to the just man. What fruit? "In hope rejoicing, in tribulation enduring." [2214] What fruit to the just man? "We glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation worketh patience, but patience probation, but probation hope: but hope confoundeth not: because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts through the Holy Spirit, that hath been given to us." [2215] Doth he rejoice that is a drunkard; and doth he not rejoice that is just? In love there is fruit to a just man. Miserable the one, even when he maketh himself drunken: blessed the other, even when he hungereth and thirsteth. The one wine-bibbing doth gorge, the other hope doth feed. Let him see therefore the punishment of the other, his own rejoicing, and let him think of God. He that hath given even now such joy of faith, of hope, of charity, of the truth of His Scriptures, what manner of joy is He making ready against the end? In the way thus He feedeth, in his home how shall He fill him? "And a man shall say, If therefore there is fruit to the just man." Let them that see believe, and see, and perceive. Rejoice shall the just man when he shall have seen vengeance. But if he hath not eyes whence he may see vengeance, he will be made sad, and will not be amended by it. But if he seeth it, he seeth what difference there is between the darkened eye of the heart, and the eye enlightened of the heart: between the coolness of chastity and the flame of lust, between the security of hope and the fear there is in crime. When he shall have seen this, let him separate himself, and wash his hands in the blood of the same. Let him profit by the comparison, and say, "Therefore there is fruit to the just man: therefore there is a God judging them in the earth." Not yet in that life, not yet in fire eternal, not yet in the lower places, but here in earth....

17. If somewhat too prolix we have been, pardon us. We exhort you in the name of Christ, to meditate profitably on those things which ye have heard. Because even to preach the truth is nought, if heart from tongue dissenteth; and to hear the truth nothing profiteth, if a man upon the rock build not. He that buildeth upon a Rock, is the same that heareth and doeth: [2216] but he that heareth and doeth not, buildeth upon sand: he that neither heareth nor doeth, buildeth nothing....

Footnotes

[2162] Lat. LVII. Sermon to the Commonalty, wherein everywhere he confuteth the Donatists. [2163] Tob. iv. 15. [2164] [Matt. vii. 12. The quotation from the father of Tobias shows this maxim, negative in its form, and reflecting the Mosaic law, which "made nothing perfect." It was probably Noahic, and was therefore known to Gentilism, as e.g. to Confucius. The glory of "the Golden Rule" is not merely that it gives a positive form to this law: Christ made it the energetic and characteristic principle of His Church towards humanity, and of all Christians towards all men.--C.] [2165] Wisd. i. 9. [2166] Rom. ii. 15. [2167] Isa. xlvi. 8. [2168] Gen. i. 26. [2169] Matt. xii. 33, 34. [2170] John ii. 25. [2171] Rom. vii. 24. [2172] Ps. cxvi. 16. [2173] Prov. v. 22. [2174] Criniculi. [2175] Gen. xxv. 23. [Here foreknowledge precedes predestination. See Clement, vol. ii. p. 497, A.N.F.--C.] [2176] Mal. i. 2; Rom. ix. 13. [2177] Gal. iv. 19. [2178] Matt. i. 20; Luke i. 35. [2179] Luke xxiv. 46. [2180] So. p. 133. [2181] Acts vii. 57. [2182] Matt. xxii. 17, 18. [2183] Matt. xxii. 19. [2184] Matt. xxii. 21. [2185] Matt. xxi. 23, 24; Mark xi. 28, 29. [2186] Luke vii. 39. [2187] Luke vii. 41, 42. [2188] Ps. lviii. 6. [2189] Ps. ii. 1. [2190] Matt. xxii. 17. [2191] Matt. xxvii. 23; John xix. 6. [2192] Ps. i. 1. [2193] Ps. cx. 7. [2194] Hidden punishment of sinners. [2195] Luke xvi. 24. [2196] Matt. xxv. 41. [2197] Ps. lxxiii. 1-3. [2198] Ps. lxxiii. 16, 17. [2199] Prov. vi. 27. [2200] Rom. i. 24. [2201] Eph. iv. 26. [2202] Matt. v. 45. [2203] Wisd. v. 6. [2204] Rhamnus. [2205] So several early writers and mss. But the balance of authority as well as the sense is in favour of the received reading. [2206] 1 Cor. xv. 51. [2207] Wisd. v. 3. [2208] Or, "being made to pierce." [2209] Ps. xxxii. 5. [2210] Ps. xxxv. 15. These words are in the Vulgate, for "they did tear me, and ceased not;" but St. Augustin does not notice them in his comment on the Psalm. [2211] Against the Donatists. [2212] Tob. iv. 3-19. [2213] Rom. i. 17. [2214] Rom. xii. 12. [2215] Rom. v. 3-5. [2216] Matt. vii. 24. .


Psalm LIX. [2217]

The First Part.

1. As the Scripture is wont to set mysteries of the Psalms on the titles, and to deck the brow of a Psalm with the high announcement of a Mystery, [2218] in order that we that are about to go in may know (when as it were upon the door-post we have read what within is doing) either of whom the house is, or who is the owner of that estate: so also in this Psalm there hath been written a title, of a title. For it hath, "At the end, corrupt not for David himself unto the inscription of the title." This is that which I have spoken of, title of Title. For what the inscription of this title is, which to be corrupted he forbiddeth, the Gospel to us doth indicate. For when the Lord was being crucified, a title by Pilate was inscribed and set, "King of the Jews," [2219] in three tongues, Hebrew, Greek, and Latin: [2220] which tongues in the whole world mostly do prevail....Therefore "corrupt not" is most proper and prophetic; since indeed even those Jews made suggestion at that time to Pilate, and said, "Do not write King of the Jews, but write, that Himself said that He was King of the Jews:" [2221] for this title, say they, hath established Him King over us. And Pilate, "What I have written, I have written." And there was fulfilled, "corrupt not."

2. Nor is this the only Psalm which hath an inscription of such sort, that the Title be not corrupted. Several Psalms thus are marked on the face, but however in all the Passion of the Lord is foretold. Therefore here also let us perceive the Lord's Passion, and let there speak to us Christ, Head and Body. So always, or nearly always, let us hear the words of Christ from the Psalm, as that we look not only upon that Head, the one mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus. [2222] ...But let us think of Christ, Head and whole Body, a sort of entire Man. For to us is said, "But ye are the Body of Christ and members," [2223] by the Apostle Paul. If therefore He is Head, we Body; whole Christ is Head and Body. For sometimes thou findest words which do not suit the Head, and unless thou shalt have attached them to the Body, thy understanding will waver: again thou findest words which are proper for the Body, and Christ nevertheless is speaking. In that place we must have no fear lest a man be mistaken: for quickly he proceedeth to adapt to the Head, that which he seeth is not proper for the Body....

3. Let us hear, therefore, what followeth: "When Saul sent and guarded his house in order that he might kill him." This though not to the Cross of the Lord, yet to the Passion of the Lord doth belong. For Crucified was Christ, and dead, and buried. That sepulchre was therefore as it were the house: to guard which the government of the Jews sent, when guards were set to the sepulchre of Christ. [2224] There is indeed a story in the Scripture of the Reigns, of the occasion when Saul sent to guard the house in order that he might kill David. [2225] ...But in like manner as Saul effected not his purpose of slaying David: so this could not the government of the Jews effect, that the testimony of guards sleeping should avail more than that of Apostles watching. For what were the guards instructed to say? We give to you, they say, as much money as ye please; and say ye, that while ye were sleeping there came His disciples, and took Him away. Behold what sort of witnesses of falsehood against truth and the Resurrection of Christ, His enemies, through Saul figured, did produce. Enquire, O unbelief, of sleeping witnesses, let them reply to thee of what was done in the tomb. Who, if they were sleeping, whence knew it? If watching, wherefore detained they not the thieves? Let him say therefore what followeth.

4. "Deliver me from mine enemies, my God, and from men rising up upon me, redeem Thou me" (ver. 1). There hath been done this thing in the flesh of Christ, it is being done in us also. For our enemies, to wit the devil and his angels, cease not to rise up upon us every day, and to wish to make sport of our weakness and our frailness, by deceptions, by suggestions, by temptations, and by snares of whatsoever sort to entangle us, while on earth we are still living. But let our voice watch unto God, and cry out in the members of Christ, under the Head that is in heaven, "Deliver me from mine enemies, my God, and from men rising up upon me, redeem Thou me."

5. "Deliver me from men working iniquity, and from men of bloods, save Thou me" (ver. 2). They indeed were men of bloods, who slew the Just One, in whom no guilt they found: they were men of bloods, because when the foreigner washed his hands, and would have let go Christ, they cried, "Crucify, Crucify:" [2226] they were men of bloods, on whom when there was being charged the crime of the blood of Christ, they made answer, giving it to their posterity to drink, "His blood be upon us and upon our sons." [2227] But neither against His Body did men of bloods cease to rise up; for even after the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ, the Church suffered persecutions, and she indeed first that grew out of the Jewish people, of which also our Apostles were. There at first Stephen was stoned, [2228] and received that of which he had his name. For Stephanus doth signify a crown. Lowly stoned but highly crowned. Secondly, among the Gentiles rose up kingdoms of Gentiles, before that in them was fulfilled that which had been foretold, "There shall adore Him all the kings of the earth, all nations shall serve Him:" [2229] and there roared the fierceness of that kingdom against the witnesses of Christ: there was shed largely and frequently the blood of Martyrs: wherewith when it had been shed, being as it were sown, the field of the Church more productively put forth, and filled the whole world as we now behold. From these therefore, men of bloods, is delivered Christ, not only Head, but also Body. From men of bloods is delivered Christ, both from them that have been, and from them that are, and from them that are to be; there is delivered Christ, both He that hath gone before, and He that is, and He that is to come. For Christ is the whole Body of Christ; and whatsoever good Christians that now are, and that have been before us, and that after us are to be, are an whole Christ, who is delivered from men of bloods; nor is this voice void, "And from men of bloods save Thou me."

6. "For behold they have hunted my soul....There have rushed upon me strong men" (ver. 3). We must not however pass on from these strong men: diligently we must trace who are the strong men rising up. Strong men, upon whom but upon weak men, upon powerless men, upon men not strong? And praised nevertheless are the weak men, and condemned are the strong men. If it would be perceived who are strong men, at first the devil himself the Lord hath called a strong man: "No one," He saith, "is able to go into the house of a strong man, and to carry off his vessels, unless first he shall have bound the strong man." [2230] He hath bound therefore the strong man with the chains of His dominion: and his vessels He hath carried off, and His own vessels hath made them. For all unrighteous men were vessels of the devil....But there are among mankind certain strong men of a blameable and damnable strength, that are confident indeed, but on temporal felicity. That man doth not [2231] seem to you to have been strong, of whom now from the Gospel [2232] hath been read: how his estate brought forth abundance of fruits, and he being troubled, hit upon the design of rebuilding, so that, having pulled down his old barns, he should construct new ones more capacious, and, these having been finished, should say to his soul, "Thou hast many good things, soul, feast, be merry, be filled."...There are also other men strong, not because of riches, not because of the powers of the body, not because of any temporally pre-eminent power of station, but relying on their righteousness. This sort of strong men must be guarded against, feared, repulsed, not imitated: of men relying, I say, not on body, not on means, not on descent, not on honour; for all such things who would not see to be temporal, fleeting, falling, flying? but relying on their own righteousness...."Wherefore," say they, doth your Master eat with publicans and sinners? [2233] O ye strong men, to whom a Physician is not needful! This strength to soundness belongeth not, but to insanity. For even than men frenzied nothing can be stronger, more mighty they are than whole men: but by how much greater their powers are, by so much nearer is their death. May God therefore turn away from our imitation these strong men....The same are therefore the strong men, that assailed Christ, commending their own justice. Hear ye these strong men: when certain men of Jerusalem were speaking, having been sent by them to take Christ, and not daring to take Him (because when he would, then was He taken, that truly was strong): Why therefore, say they, "could ye not take Him?" And they made answer, "No one of men did ever so speak as He." And these strong men, "Hath by any means any one of the Pharisees believed on Him, or any one of the Scribes, but this people knowing not the Law?" [2234] They preferred themselves to the sick multitude, that was running to the Physician: whence but because they were themselves strong? and what is worse, by their strength, all the multitude also they brought over unto themselves, and slew the Physician of all....

7. What next? "Neither iniquity is mine, nor sin mine, O Lord" (ver. 4). There have rushed on indeed strong men on their own righteousness relying, they have rushed on, but sin in me they have not found. For truly those strong men, that is, as it were righteous men, on what account would they be able to persecute Christ, unless it were as if a sinner? But, however, let them look to it how strong they be, in the raging of fever not in the vigour of soundness: let them look to it how strong they be, and how as though just against an unrighteous man they have raged. [2235] But, however, "neither iniquity is mine, nor sin mine, O Lord. Without iniquity I did run, and I was guided." Those strong men therefore could not follow me running: therefore a sinner they have deemed me, because my steps they have not seen.

8. "Without iniquity I did run, and was guided; rise up to meet me, and see." To God is said this. But why? If He meet not, is He unable to see? It is just as if thou wast walking in a road, and from afar by some one thou couldest not be recognised, thou wouldest call to him and wouldest say, Meet me, and see how I am walking; for when from afar thou espiest me, my steps thou art not able to see. So also unless God were to meet, would He not see how without iniquity he was guided, and how without sin he was running? This interpretation indeed we can also accept, namely, "Rise up to meet me," as if "help me." But that which he hath added, "and see," must be understood as, make it to be seen that I run, make it to be seen that I am guided: according to that figure wherein this also hath been said to Abraham, "Now I know that thou fearest God." [2236] God saith, "Now I know:" whence, but because I have made thee to know? For unknown to himself every one is before the questioning of temptation: just as of himself Peter [2237] in his confidence was ignorant, and by denying learned what kind of powers he had, in his very stumbling he perceived that it was falsely he had been confident: he wept, and in weeping he earned profitably to know what he was, and to be what he was not. Therefore Abraham when tried, became known to himself: and it was said by God, "Now I know," that is, now I have made thee to know. In like manner as glad is the day because it maketh men glad; and sad is bitterness because it maketh sad one tasting thereof: so God's seeing is making to see. "Rise up, therefore," he saith, "to meet me, and see" (ver. 5). What is, "and see"? And help me, that is, in those men, in order that they may see my course, may follow me; let not that seem to them to be crooked which is straight, let not that seem to them to be curved which keepeth the rule of truth.

9. Something else I am admonished to say in this place of the loftiness of our Head Himself: for He was made weak even unto death, and He took on Him the weakness of flesh, in order that the chickens of Jerusalem He might gather under His wings, like a hen showing herself weak with her little ones. [2238] For have we not observed this thing in some bird at some time or other, even in those which build nests before our eyes, as the house-sparrows, as swallows, so to speak, our annual guests, as storks, as various sorts of birds, which before our eyes build nests, and hatch eggs, feed chickens, as the very doves which daily we see; and some bird to become weak with her chickens, have we not known, have we not looked upon, have we not seen? In what way doth a hen experience this weakness? Surely a known fact I am speaking of, which in our sight is daily taking place. How her voice groweth hoarse, how her whole body is made languid? The wings droop, the feathers are loosened, and thou seest around the chickens some sick thing, and this is maternal love which is found as weakness. Why was it therefore, but for this reason, that the Lord willed to be as a Hen, saying in the Holy Scripture, "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often have I willed to gather thy sons, even as a hen her chickens under her wings, and thou hast not been willing." But He hath gathered all nations, like as a hen her chickens....

10. "And Thou, Lord God of virtues, God of Israel." Thou God of Israel, that art thought to be but God of one nation, which worshippeth Thee, when all nations worship idols, Thou God of Israel, "Give heed unto the visiting all nations." Fulfilled be that prophecy wherein Isaiah in Thy person speaketh to Thy Church, Thy holy City, that barren one of whom many more are the sons of Her forsaken than of her that hath a husband. To Her indeed hath been said, "Rejoice, thou barren, that bearest not," [2239] etc., more than of the Jewish nation which hath a Husband, which hath received the Law, more than of that nation which had a visible king. For thy king is hidden, and more sons to thee there are by a hidden Bridegroom....The Prophet addeth, "Enlarge the place of Thy tabernacle, and Thy [2240] courts fix thou: there is no cause for thee to spare, extend further thy cords, and strong stakes set thou again and again on the right and on the left." [2241] Upon the right keep good men, on the left keep evil men, [2242] until there come the fan: [2243] occupy nevertheless all nations; bidden to the marriage be good men and evil men, filled be the marriage with guests; [2244] it is the office of servants to bid, of the Lord to sever. "Cities which had been forsaken Thou shall inhabit:" [2245] forsaken of God, forsaken of Prophets, forsaken of Apostles, forsaken of the Gospel, full of demons. For Thou shalt prevail; and blush not because abominable Thou hast been. Therefore though there have risen up upon thee strong men, blush not: when against the name of Christ laws were enacted, when ignominy and infamy it was to be a Christian. "Blush not because abominable Thou hast been: for confusion for everlasting Thou shalt forget, of the ignominy of Thy widowhood Thou shall not be mindful."...

11. "Have not pity upon all men that work iniquity." Here evidently He is terrifying. Whom would He not terrify? What man falling back upon his own conscience would not tremble? Which even if to itself it is conscious of godliness, strange if it be not in some sort conscious of iniquity. For whosoever doeth sin, also doeth iniquity. [2246] "For if Thou shalt have marked iniquities, O Lord, what man shall abide it?" [2247] And nevertheless a true saying it is, and not said to no purpose, and neither is nor will it be possible to be void, "Have not pity upon all men that work iniquity." But He had pity even upon Paul, who at first as Saul wrought iniquity. For what good thing did he, whence he might deserve of God? Did he not hate His Saints unto death? [2248] did he not bear letters from the chief of the priests, to the end that wheresoever he might find Christians, to punishment he should hurry them? When bent upon this, when thither proceeding, breathing and panting slaughter, as the Scripture testified of him, was he not from Heaven with a mighty voice summoned, thrown down, raised up; blinded, lightened; slain, made alive; destroyed, restored? In return for what merit? Let us say nothing; himself rather let us hear: "I that before have been," he saith, "a blasphemer, and persecutor; and injurious, but mercy I have obtained." [2249] Surely "Thou wouldest not have pity upon all men that work iniquity:" this in two ways may be understood: either that in fact not any sins doth God leave unpunished; or that there is a sort of iniquity, on the workers whereof God hath indeed no pity.

12. All iniquity, be it little or great, punished must needs be, either by man himself repenting, or by God avenging. For even he that repenteth punisheth himself. Therefore, brethren, let us punish our own sins, if we seek the mercy of God. God cannot have mercy on all men working iniquity as if pandering to sins, or not rooting out sins. In a word, either thou punishest, or He punisheth....

13. But let us see now another way in which this sentence may be understood. There is a certain iniquity, on the worker whereof it cannot be that God have mercy. Ye enquire, perchance, what that is? It is the defending of sins. When a man defendeth his sins, great iniquity he worketh: that thing he is defending which God hateth. And see how perversely, how iniquitously. Whatever of good he hath done, to himself he would have it to be ascribed; whatever of evil, to God. For in this manner men defend sins in the person of God, which is a worse sin....Therefore thou defendest thy sin in such sort, that thou layest blame on God. So the guilty is excused, so that the Judge may be charged. However on men working iniquity God hath no pity at all.

14. "Let them be converted at the evening" (ver. 6). Of certain men he is speaking that were once workers of iniquity, and once darkness, being converted in the evening. What is, "in the evening"? Afterward. What is "at the evening"? Later. For before, before that they crucified Christ, they ought to have acknowledged their Physician. Wherefore, when He had been crucified--rising again, into Heaven ascending--after that He sent His Holy Spirit, wherewith were fulfilled they that were in one house, and they began to speak with the tongues of all nations, there feared the crucifiers of Christ; they were pricked through with their consciences, they besought counsel of safety from the Apostles, they heard, "Repent, and be baptized each one of you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and your sins shall be remitted unto you." [2250] After the slaying of Christ, after the shedding of the blood of Christ, remitted are your sins...."Let these be converted," therefore, they also "at evening." Let them yearn for the grace of God, perceive themselves to be sinners; let those strong men be made weak, those rich men be made poor, those just men acknowledge themselves sinners, those lions be made dogs. "Let them be converted at evening, and suffer hunger as dogs. And they shall go around the city." What city? That world, which in certain places the Scripture calleth "the city of standing round:" [2251] that is, because in all nations everywhere the world had encompassed the one nation of Jews, where such words were being spoken, and it was called "the city of standing round." Around this city shall go those men, now having become hungry dogs. In what manner shall they go around? By preaching. Saul out of a wolf was made a dog at evening, that is, being late converted by the crumbs of his Lord, in His grace he ran, and went around the city. [2252]

15. "Behold, themselves shall speak in their mouth, and a sword is on the lips of them" (ver. 7). Here is that sword twice whetted, whereof the Apostle saith, "And the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God." [2253] Wherefore twice whetted? Wherefore, but because smiting out of both Testaments? With this sword were slain those whereof it was said to Peter, "Slay, and eat." [2254] "And a sword is on the lips of them. For who hath heard?" They all speak in their mouth, "Who hath heard?" That is, they shall be wroth with men that are slow to believe. They that a little before were even themselves unwilling to believe, do feel disgust from men not believing. And truly, brethren, so it is. Thou seest a man slow before he is made a Christian; thou criest to him daily, hardly he is converted: suppose him to be converted, and then he would have all men to be Christians, and wondereth that not yet they are. It hath chanced out to him at evening to have been converted: but because he hath been made hungering like a dog, he hath also on his lips a sword; he saith, "Who hath heard?" What is, "Who hath heard?" "Who hath believed our hearing, and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?" [2255] "For who hath heard?" The Jews believe not: they have turned them to the nations, and have preached. The Jews did not believe; and nevertheless through believing Jews the Gospel went around the city, and they said, "For who hath heard?" "And Thou, Lord, shall deride them" (ver. 8). All nations are to be Christian, and ye say, "Who hath heard?" What is, "shall deride them"? "As nothing Thou shalt esteem all nations." Nothing for Thee it shall be; because a most easy thing it will be for all nations to believe in Thee.

16. "My strength to Thee I will keep" (ver. 9). For those strong men have fallen for this reason; because their strength to Thee they have not kept: that is, they that upon me have risen up and rushed, on themselves have relied. But I "my strength to Thee will keep:" because if I withdraw, I fall; if I draw near, stronger I am made. For see, brethren, what there is in a human soul. It hath not of itself light, hath not of itself powers: but all that is fair in a soul, is virtue and wisdom: but it neither is wise for itself, nor strong for itself, nor itself is light to itself, nor itself is virtue to itself. There is a certain origin and fountain of virtue, there is a certain root of wisdom, there is a certain, so to speak, if this also must be said, region of unchangeable truth: from this the soul withdrawing is made dark, drawing near is made light. [2256] "Draw near to Him, and be made light:" because by withdrawing ye are made dark. Therefore, "my strength, I will keep to Thee:" not from Thee will I withdraw, not on myself will I rely. "My strength, to Thee I will keep: because, O God, my lifter up [2257] Thou art." For where was I, and where am I? Whence hast Thou taken me up? What iniquities of mine hast Thou remitted? Where was I lying? To what have I been raised up? I ought to have remembered these things: because in another Psalm is said, "For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord hath taken me unto Him." [2258]

17. "My God, the mercy of Him shall [2259] come before me" (ver. 10). Behold what is, "My strength, to Thee I will keep:" on myself I will in no ways at all rely. For what good thing have I brought, that thou shouldest have mercy on me, and shouldest justify me? What in me hast Thou found, save sins alone? Of Thine there is nothing else but the nature which Thou hast created: the other things are mine own evil things which Thou hast blotted out. I have not first risen up to Thee, but to awake me Thou hast come: for "His mercy shall come before me." Before that anything of good I shall do, "His mercy shall come before me." What answer here shall the unhappy Pelagius make? "My God hath shown to me among mine enemies" (ver. 11). How great mercy He hath put forth concerning me, among mine enemies He hath showed. Let one gathered compare himself with men forsaken, and one elect with men rejected: let the vessel of mercy compare itself with the vessels of wrath; and let it see how out of one lump God hath made one vessel unto honour, another unto dishonour.

"For so God, willing to show wrath, and to manifest His power, hath brought in, in much patience, the vessels of wrath, which have been perfected unto perdition." [2260] And wherefore this? "In order that He might make known His riches upon the vessels of mercy." If therefore vessels of wrath He hath brought in, wherein He might make known His riches upon the vessels of mercy, most rightly hath been said, "His mercy shall come before me: My God hath showed to me among mine enemies:" that is however great mercy He hath had concerning me, to me He hath showed it among these men concerning whom He hath not had mercy. For unless the debtor be in suspense, he is less grateful to him by whom the debt hath been forgiven. "My God hath showed to me among mine enemies."

18. But of the enemies themselves what? "Slay them not, lest sometime they forget Thy law." He is making request for his enemies, he is fulfilling the commandment....Slay not them of whom the sins Thou slayest. But what is it to be slain? To forget the law of the Lord. It is real death, to go into the pit of sin; this indeed may be also understood of the Jews. Why of the Jews, "Slay not them, lest sometime they forget Thy law"? Those very enemies of mine, that have slain me, do not Thou slay. Let the nation of the Jews remain: certes conquered it hath been by the Romans, certes effaced is the city of them, Jews are not admitted into their city, and yet Jews there are. For all those provinces by the Romans have been subjugated. Who now can distinguish the nations in the Roman empire the one from the other, inasmuch as all have become Romans and all are called Romans? The Jews nevertheless remain with a mark; nor in such sort conquered have they been, as that by the conquerors they have been swallowed up. Not without reason is there that Cain, on whom, when he had slain his brother, God set a mark in order that no one should slay him. [2261] This is the mark which the Jews have: they hold fast by the remnant of their law, they are circumcised, they keep Sabbaths, they sacrifice the Passover; they eat unleavened bread. These are therefore Jews, they have not been slain, they are necessary to believing nations. Why so? In order that He may show to us among our enemies His mercy. "My God hath shown to me in mine enemies." He showeth His mercy to the wild-olive grafted on branches that have been cut off because of pride. Behold where they lie, that were proud, behold where thou hast been grafted, that didst lie: and be not thou proud, lest thou shouldest deserve to be cut off.

19. "Scatter them abroad in Thy virtue" (ver. 11). Now this thing hath been done: throughout all nations there have been scattered abroad the Jews, witnesses of their own iniquity and our truth. They have themselves writings, out of which hath been prophesied Christ, and we hold Christ. And if sometime perchance any heathen man shall have doubted, when we have told him the prophecies of Christ, at the clearness whereof he is amazed, and wondering hath supposed that they were written by ourselves, then out of the copies of the Jews we prove, how this thing so long time before had been foretold. See after what sort by means of our enemies we confound other enemies. "Scatter them abroad in Thy virtue:" take away from them "virtue," take away from them their strength. "And bring them down, my protector, O Lord." "The transgressions of their mouth, the discourse of their lips: and let them be taken in their pride: and out of cursing and lying shall be declared consummations, in the anger of consummation, and they shall not be" (ver. 12). Obscure words these are, and I fear lest they be not well instilled....

Footnotes

[2217] Lat. LVIII. Delivered after the discovery of the error of Pelagius. [2218] Sacramenti. [2219] Matt. xxvii. 37. [2220] John xix. 20. [2221] John xix. 21. [2222] 1 Tim. ii. 5. [2223] 1 Cor. xii. 27. [2224] Matt. xxvii. 66. [2225] 1 Sam. xix. 11. [2226] Matt. xxvii. 23. [2227] Matt. xxvii. 25. [2228] Acts vii. 58. [2229] Ps. lxxi. 11. [2230] Matt. xii. 29. [2231] Perhaps "doth not that man." [2232] Luke xii. 16. [2233] Matt. ix. 11. [2234] John vii. 45-49. [2235] Oxf. mss. "and how far they were righteous and raging against one unrighteous" (et quam justi contra iniquum sævierint). The common reading is scarcely grammatical. [2236] Gen. xxii. 12. [2237] Matt. xxvi. 35-69. [2238] Matt. xxiii. 37. [2239] Isa. liv. 1. [2240] "Hangings" some mss. [2241] Isa. liv. 2. [2242] Matt. xxv. 33. [2243] Matt. iii. 12. [2244] Matt. xxii. 9. [2245] Isa. liv. 3. [2246] 1 John iii. 4. [2247] Ps. cxxx. 3. [2248] Acts ix. 1. [2249] 1 Tim. i. 13. [2250] Acts ii. 38. [2251] E.V. "strong city." Ps. xxxi. 21, lx. 9, cviii. 10. [2252] Acts ix. 1, 20. [2253] Eph. vi. 17. [2254] Acts x. 13. [2255] Isa. liii. 1. [2256] Ps. xxxiv. 5. [2257] Or, "taker up." [2258] Ps. xxvii. 10. [2259] Or, "prevent." [2260] Rom. ix. 22. [2261] Gen. iv. 15.


The Second Part.

1. For, behold, the Jews are enemies, whom this Psalm seemeth to imply; the law of God they hold, and therefore of them hath been said, "Slay not them, lest sometime they forget Thy law:" in order that the nation of Jews might remain, and by it remaining the number of Christians might increase. Throughout all nations they remain certainly, and Jews they are, nor have they ceased to be what they were: that is, this nation hath not so yielded to Roman institutions, as to have lost the form of Jews; but hath been subjected to the Romans so as that it still retaineth its own laws; which are the laws of God. But what in their case hath been done? "Ye tithe mint and cummin, and have forsaken the weightier matters of the law, mercy, and judgment, straining a gnat, but swallowing a camel." [2262] This to them the Lord saith. And in truth so they are; they hold the law, hold the Prophets; read all things, sing all things: the light of the Prophets therein they see not, which is Christ Jesus. Not only Him now they see not, when he is sitting in Heaven: but not even at that time saw they Him, when among them humble He was walking, and they were made guilty by shedding the blood of the Same; but not all. This even to-day we commend to the notice of your Love. Not all: because many of them were turned to Him whom they slew, and by believing on Him, they obtained pardon even for the shedding of His blood: and they have given an example for men; how they ought not to despair that sin of whatsoever kind would be remitted to them, since even the killing of Christ was remitted to them confessing....

2. What in them wilt Thou slay? The Crucify, Crucify, [2263] which they cried out, not them that cried out. For they willed to blot out, cut off, destroy Christ: but Thou, by raising to life Christ, whom they willed to destroy, dost slay the "transgressions of their mouth, the discourse of their lips." For in that He whom they cried out should be destroyed, liveth, they are taken with dread: and that He whom on earth they despised, in heaven is adored by all nations, they wonder: thus are there slain the transgressions of them, and the discourse of their lips. What is, "let them be taken in their pride"? Because to no purpose have strong men rushed on, and it hath fallen out to them as it were to think themselves to have done somewhat, and they have prevailed against the Lord. They were able to crucify a man, weakness might prevail and virtue [2264] be slain; and they thought themselves somewhat, as it were strong men, as it were mighty men, as it were prevailing, as it were a lion prepared for prey, as it were fat bulls, as of them in another place he maketh mention: "Fat bulls have beset me." [2265] But what have they done in the case of Christ? Not life, but death they have slain....And what now hath come to pass in those men that have been converted? For it was told to them that He whom they slew rose again. They believed Him to have risen again, because they saw that He, being in Heaven, thence sent the Holy Spirit, and filled those that on Him believed; and they found themselves to have condemned nought, and to have done nought. Their doing issued in emptiness, the sin remained. Because therefore the doing was made void, but the sin remained upon the doers; they were taken in their pride, they saw themselves under their iniquity. [2266] It remained therefore for them to confess the sin, and for Him to pardon, that had given Himself up to sinners, and to forgive His death, having been slain by men dead, and making alive men dead. They were taken therefore in their pride.

3. "And out of cursing and lying shall be declared consummations, in anger of consummation, and they shall not be." This too with difficulty is understood, to what is joined the "and they shall not be." What shall they not be? Let us therefore examine the context above: when they shall have been taken in their pride, "there shall be declared out of cursing and lying consummations." What are consummations? Perfections: for to be consummated, is to be perfected. One thing it is to be consummated, another thing to be consumed. For a thing is consummated which is so finished as that it is perfected: a thing is consumed which is so finished that it is not. Pride would not suffer a man to be perfected, nothing so much hindereth perfection. For let your Love attend a little to what I am saying; and see an evil very pernicious, very much to be guarded against. What sort of evil do ye think it is? How long could I enlarge upon how much evil there is in pride? The devil on that account alone is to be punished. Certes he is the chief of all sinners: certes he is the tempter to sin: to him is not ascribed adultery, not wine-bibbing, not fornication, not the robbing of others' goods: by pride alone he fell. And since pride's companion is envy, it must needs be that a proud man should envy....In a word, all vices in evil-doings are to be feared, pride in well-doings is more to be feared. It is no wonder, then, that so humble is the Apostle, as to say, "When I am made weak, then I am strong." [2267] For lest he should himself be tempted by this sin, what sort of medicine doth he say was applied to him against swelling by the Physician, who knew what He was healing? "Lest by the greatness," he saith, "of the revelations I should be exalted, there was given to me a thorn of my flesh, the angel of Satan, to buffet me: wherefore thrice the Lord I besought, that it should depart from me: and He said to me, My grace is sufficient for thee, for virtue in weakness is made perfect." [2268] See what the consummations are. An Apostle, the teacher of Gentiles, father of the faithful through the Gospel, received a thorn of the flesh whereby he might be buffeted. Which of us would dare to say this, unless he had not been ashamed to confess this? For if we shall have said that Paul had not suffered this; while to him as it were honour we give, a liar we make him. But because truthful he is, and truth he hath spoken; it behoveth us to believe that there was given to him an angel of Satan, lest by the greatness of the revelations he should be exalted. Behold how much to be feared is the serpent of pride....

4. What is, "in the anger of consummation shall be declared consummations"? There is an anger of consummation, and there is an anger of consuming. For every vengeance of God is called anger: sometimes God avengeth, to the end that He may make perfect; sometimes He avengeth, to the end that He may condemn. How doth He avenge, to the end that He may make perfect? "He scourgeth every son whom He receiveth." [2269] How doth He avenge, to the end that He may condemn? When He shall have set ungodly men on the left hand, and shall have said to them, "Go ye into fire everlasting, that hath been prepared for the devil and his angels." [2270] This is the anger of consuming, not that of consummation. But "there shall be declared consummations in the anger of consummation;" it shall be preached by the Apostles, that "where sin hath abounded, grace shall much more abound," [2271] and the weakness of man hath belonged to the healing of humility. Those men thinking of this, and finding out and confessing their iniquities, "shall not be." "Shall not be" what? In their pride.

5. "And they shall know how God shall have dominion of Jacob, and of the ends of the earth" (ver. 13). For before they thought themselves just men, because the Jewish nation had received the Law, because it had kept the commandments of God: it is proved to them that it hath not kept them, since in the very commandments of God Christ it perceived not, because "blindness in part has happened to Israel." [2272] Even the Jews themselves see that they ought not to despise the Gentiles, of whom they deemed as of dogs and sinners. For just as alike they have been found in iniquity, so alike they will attain unto salvation. "Not only to Jews," saith the Apostle, "but also even to Gentiles." [2273] For to this end the Stone which the builders set at nought, hath even been made for the Head of the corner, [2274] in order that two in itself It might join: for a corner doth unite two walls. The Jews thought themselves exalted and great: of the Gentiles they thought as weak, as sinners, as the servants of demons, as the worshippers of idols, and yet in both was there iniquity. Even the Jews have been proved sinners; because "there is none that doeth good, there is not even so much as one:" [2275] they have laid down their pride, and have not envied the salvation of the Gentiles, because they have known their own and their weakness to be alike: and in the Corner Stone being united, they have together worshipped the Lord....

6. "They shall be converted at evening" (ver. 14): that is, even if late, that is, after the slaying of our Lord Jesus Christ: "They shall be converted at evening: and hereafter they shall suffer hunger as dogs." But "as dogs," not as sheep or calves: "as dogs," as Gentiles, as sinners; because they too have known their sin that thought themselves righteous....It is a good thing therefore for a sinner to be humbled; and no one is more incurable than he that thinketh himself whole. "And they shall go around the city." Already we have explained "city;" [2276] it is the "city of standing round;" all nations.

7. "They shall be scattered abroad in order that they may eat" (ver. 15); that is, in order that they may gain others, in order that into their Body they may change believers. "But if they shall not be filled, they shall murmur." Because above also he had spoken of the murmur of them, saying, "For who hath heard?" "And Thou, O Lord," he saith, "shall deride them, saying, Who hath heard?" [2277] Wherefore? Because, as nothing Thou shall count all nations. Let the Psalm be concluded. See ye the Corner [2278] exulting, now with both walls rejoicing. The Jews were proud, humbled they have been; Gentiles were despairing, raised up they have been: let them come to the Corner, there let them meet, there run together, there find the kiss of peace; from different parts let them come, but with differing not come, those of Circumcision, these of uncircumcision. Far apart were the walls, but before that to the Corner they came: but in the Corner let them hold themselves, and now let the whole Church from both walls, say what? "But I will sing of Thy power, and I will exult in the morning of Thy mercy" (ver. 16). In the morning when temptations have been overcome, in the morning when the night of this world shall have passed away; in the morning when no longer the lyings in wait of robbers and of the devil and of his angels we dread, in the morning when no longer by the lamp of prophecy we walk, but Himself the Word of God as it were a Sun we contemplate. "And I will exult in the morning of Thy mercy." With reason in another Psalm is said, "In the morning I will stand by Thee, and I will meditate." [2279] With reason also of the Lord Himself the Resurrection was at dawn, that there should be fulfilled that which hath been said in another Psalm, "In the evening shall tarry weeping and in the morning exultation." [2280] For at even the disciples mourned our Lord Jesus Christ as dead, at dawn at Him rising again they exulted. "For Thou hast become my taker up, and my refuge in the day of my tribulation."

8. "My Helper, to Thee I will play, because Thou, O God, art my taker up" (ver. 17). What was I, unless Thou didst succour? How much despaired of was I, unless Thou didst heal? Where was I lying, unless Thou didst come to me? Certes with a huge wound I was endangered, but that wound of mine did call for an Almighty Physician. To an Almighty Physician nothing is incurable....Lastly, thinking of all good things whatsoever we may have, either in nature or in purpose, or in conversion itself, in faith, in hope, in charity, in good morals, in justice, in fear of God; all these to be only by His gifts, he hath thus concluded: "My God is my mercy:" He being filled with the good things of God hath not found what he might call his God, save "his mercy." O name, under which no one must despair! If thou say, my salvation, I perceive that He giveth salvation; if thou say, my refuge, I perceive that thou takest refuge in Him; if thou say, my strength, I perceive that He giveth to thee strength: "my mercy," is what? All that I am is of Thy mercy....

Footnotes

[2262] Matt. xxiii. 23, 24. [2263] Matt. xxvii. 23; John xix. 5. [2264] Or, "strength." [2265] Ps. xxii. 12. [2266] Acts i. 9, ii. 4, 37. [2267] 2 Cor. xii. 10. [2268] 2 Cor. xii. 7-9. [2269] Heb. xii. 6. [2270] Matt. xxv. 41. [2271] Rom. v. 20. [2272] Rom. xi. 25. [2273] Rom. ii. 10. [2274] Ps. cxviii. 22. [2275] Ps. xiv. 3. [2276] See p. 240, note 2. [2277] Ps. lix. 7. [2278] Eph. ii. 20. [2279] Ps. v. 3. [2280] Ps. xxx. 5. .


Psalm LX. [2281]

1. David the king was one man, but not one man he figured; sometimes to wit he figured the Church of many men consisting, extended even unto the ends of the earth: but sometimes One Man he figured, Him he figured that is Mediator of God and men, the Man Christ Jesus. [2282] In this Psalm therefore, or rather in this Psalm's title, certain victorious actions of David are spoken of:..."To the end, in behalf of those men that shall be changed unto the title's inscription, unto teaching for David himself, when he burned up Mesopotamia in Syria, and Syria Sobal, and turned Joab, and smote Edom, in the valley of salt-pits twelve thousand." We read of these things in the books of the Reigns, [2283] that all those persons whom he hath named, were defeated by David, that is, Mesopotamia in Syria, and Syria Sobal, Joab, [2284] Edom. These things were done, and just as they were done, so there they have been written, so they are read: let him read that will. Nevertheless, as the Prophetic Spirit in the Psalms' titles is wont to depart somewhat from the expression of things done, and to say something which in history is not found, and hence rather to admonish us that titles of this kind have been written not that we may know things done, but that things future may be prefigured....But here this thing is inserted for this especial reason, that there it is not written [2285] that he burned up Mesopotamia in Syria, and Syria Sobal. But now let us begin to examine these things after the significations of things future, and to bring out the dimness of shadows into the light of the word.

2. What is "to the end" ye know. For "the end of the law is Christ." [2286] Those that are changed ye know. For who but they that do pass from old life into new?..."For ye were sometime darkness, but now light in the Lord." [2287] But they are changed "into the title's inscription,"...who into the kingdom of Christ do pass over from the kingdom of the devil. It is well that they are changed unto this title's inscription. But they are changed, as followeth, "unto teaching." He added, "for David himself unto teaching:" that is, are changed not for themselves, but for David himself, and are changed unto teaching....When therefore would Christ have changed us, unless He had done that which He spake of, "Fire I have come to send into the world"? [2288] If therefore Christ came to send into the world fire, to wit to its health and profit, we must inquire not how He is to send the world into fire, but how into the world fire. Inasmuch as therefore He came to send fire into the world, let us inquire what is Mesopotamia which was burned up, what is Syria Sobal? The interpretations therefore of the names let us examine according to the Hebrew language, wherein first this Scripture was written. Mesopotamia [2289] they say is interpreted, "exalted calling." Now the whole world by calling hath been exalted, Syria [2290] is interpreted "lofty." But she which was lofty, burned up hath been and humbled. Sobal is interpreted "empty antiquity." Thanks to Christ that hath burned her. Whenever old bushes are burned up, green places succeed; and more speedily and more plentifully, and more fully green, fresh ones spring out, when fire hath gone before them to the burning up of the old. Let not therefore the fire of Christ be feared, hay it consumeth. "For all flesh is hay, and all the glory of man as flower of hay." [2291] He burneth up therefore those things with that fire. "And turned Joab." Joab is interpreted enemy. There was turned an enemy, as thou wilt understand it. If turned unto flight, the devil it is: if converted to the faith, a Christian it is. How unto flight? From the heart of a Christian: "The Prince of this world," He saith, "now hath been cast out." [2292] But how can a Christian turned to the Lord be an enemy turned? Because he hath become a believer that had been an enemy. "Smote Edom." Edom is interpreted "earthly." That earthly one ought to be smitten. For why should one live earthly, that ought to live heavenly? There hath been slain therefore life earthly, let there live life heavenly. "For as we have borne the image of the earthly, let us bear also the image of Him that is from Heaven." [2293] See it slain: "Mortify your members which are upon earth." [2294] But when he had smitten Edom, he smote "twelve thousand in the valley of salt-pits." Twelve thousand is a perfect number, to which perfect number also the number of the twelve Apostles is ascribed: for not to no purpose is it, but because through the whole world was to be sent the Word. But the Word [2295] of God, which is Christ, is in clouds, that is, in the preachers of truth. But the world of four parts doth consist. The four parts thereof are exceeding well known to all, and often in the Scriptures they are mentioned: they are the same as the name of the four winds, East, West, North, and South. To all these four parts was sent the Word, so that in the Trinity all might be called. The number twelve four times three do make. With reason therefore twelve thousand [2296] earthly things were smitten, the whole world was smitten: for from the whole world was chosen out the Church, mortified from earthly life. Why "in the valley of salt-pits"? A valley is humility: salt-pits signify savour. For many men are humbled, but emptily and foolishly, in empty oldness they are humbled. One suffereth tribulation for money, suffereth tribulation for temporal honour, suffereth tribulation for the comforts of this life; he is to suffer tribulation and to be humbled: why not for the sake of God? why not for the sake of Christ? why not for the savour of salt? Knowest thou not that to thee hath been said, "Ye are the salt of earth," and, "If the salt shall have been spoiled, for no other thing will it be of use, but to be cast out"? [2297] A good thing it is therefore wisely to be humbled. Behold now are not heretics being humbled? Have not laws been made even by men to condemn them, against whom divine laws do reign, which even before had condemned them? Behold they are humbled, behold they are put to flight, behold persecution they suffer, but without savour; for folly, for emptiness. For now the salt hath been spoiled: therefore it hath been cast out, to be trodden down of men. We have heard the title of the Psalm, let us hear also the words of the Psalm.

3. "God, Thou hast driven us back, and hast destroyed us" (ver. 1). Is that David speaking that smote, that burned up, that defeated, and not they to whom He did these things, that is to say, their being smitten and driven back, that were evil men, and again their being made alive and returning in order that they might be good men? That destruction indeed that David made, strong of hand, our Christ, whose figure that man was bearing; He did those things, He made this destruction with His sword and with His fire: for both He brought into this world. Both "Fire I am come to send into the world," [2298] thou hast in the Gospel: and "A sword I have come to send into the earth," [2299] thou hast in the Gospel. He brought in fire, whereby might be burned up Mesopotamia in Syria, and Syria Sobal: He brought in a sword whereby might be smitten Edom. Now again this destruction was made for the sake of "those that are changed unto the title's inscription." Hear we therefore the voice of them: to their health smitten they were, being raised up let them speak. Let them say, therefore, that are changed into something better, changed unto the title's inscription, changed unto teaching for David himself; let them say, "Thou hast had mercy upon us." Thou hast destroyed us, in order that Thou mightest build us; Thou hast destroyed us that were ill builded, hast destroyed empty oldness; in order that there may be a building unto a new man, building to abide for everlasting....

4. "Thou hast moved the earth, and hast troubled it" (ver. 2). How hath the earth been troubled? In the conscience of sinners. Whither go we? Whither flee we, when this sword hath been brandished, "Repent, for near hath drawn the kingdom of Heaven"? [2300] "Heal the crushings [2301] thereof, for moved it hath been." Unworthy it is to be healed, if moved it hath not been: but thou speakest, preachest, threatenest us with God, of coming judgment holdest not thy peace, of the commandment of God thou warnest, from these things thou abstainest not; and he that heareth, if he feareth not, if he is not moved, is not worthy to be healed. Another heareth, is moved, is stung, smiteth the breast, sheddeth tears....

5. The first labour is, that thou shouldest be displeasing to thyself, that sins thou shouldest battle out, that thou shouldest be changed into something better: the second labour, in return for thy having been changed, is to bear the tribulations and temptations of this world, and amid them to hold on even unto the end. Of these things therefore when he was speaking, while pointing out such things, he addeth what? "Thou hast shown to Thy people hard things" (ver. 3): to Thy people now, made tributary after the victory of David. "Thou hast shown to Thy people hard things." Wherein? In persecutions which the Church of Christ hath endured, when so much blood of martyrs was spilled. "Thou hast given us to drink of the wine of goading." "Of goading" is what? Not of killing. For it was not a killing that destroyeth, but a medicine that smarteth. [2302] "Thou hast given us to drink of the wine of goading."

6. Wherefore this? "Thou hast given to men fearing Thee, a sign that they should flee from the face of the bow" (ver. 4). Through tribulations temporal, he saith, Thou hast signified to Thine own to flee from the wrath of fire everlasting. For, saith the Apostle Peter, "Time it is that Judgment begin with the House of God." [2303] And exhorting the Martyrs to endurance, when the world should rage, when slaughters should be made at the hands of persecutors, when far and wide blood of believers should be spilled, when in chains, in prisons, in tortures, many hard things Christians should suffer, in these hard things, I say, lest they should faint, Peter saith to them, "Time it is that Judgment begin with the House of God," etc. [2304] What therefore is to be in the Judgment? The bow is bended, still in menacing posture it is, not yet in aiming. And see what there is in the bow: is there not an arrow to be shot forward? The string however is stretched back in a contrary direction to that in which it is going to be shot; and the more the stretching thereof hath gone backward, with the greater swiftness it starteth forward. What is it that I have said? The more the Judgment is deferred, with so much the greater swiftness it is to come. Therefore even for temporal tribulations to God let us render thanks, because He hath given to His people a sign, "that they should flee from the face of the bow:" in order that His faithful ones having been exercised in tribulations temporal, may be worthy to avoid the condemnation of fire everlasting, which is to find out all them that do not believe these things.

7. "That Thy beloved may be delivered: save me with Thy right hand, and hearken unto me" (ver. 5). With Thy right hand save me, Lord: so save me as that at the right hand I may stand. Not any safety temporal I require, in this matter Thy Will be done. For a time what is good for us we are utterly ignorant: for "what we should pray for as we ought we know not:" [2305] but "save me with Thy right hand," so that even if in this time I suffer sundry tribulations, when the night of all tribulations hath been spent, on the right hand I may be found among the sheep, not on the left hand among the goats. [2306] "And hearken unto me." Because now I am deserving that which Thou art willing to give; not "with the words of my transgressions" I am crying through the day, so that Thou hearken not, and "in the night so that Thou hearken not," [2307] and that not for folly to me," but truly for my warning, by adding savour from the valley of salt-pits, so that in tribulation I may know what to ask: but I ask life everlasting; therefore hearken unto me, because Thy right hand I ask....

8. "God hath spoken in His Holy One" (ver. 6)....In what Holy One of His? "God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself." [2308] In that Holy One, of whom elsewhere ye have heard, "O God, in the Holy One is Thy way." [2309] "I will rejoice and will divide Sichima....and the valley of tabernacles I will measure out." Sichima is interpreted shoulders. But according to history, Jacob returning from Laban his father-in-law with all his kindred, hid the idols in Sichima [2310] which he had from Syria, where for a long time he had dwelled, and at length was coming from thence. But tabernacles he made there because of his sheep and herds, and called the place Tabernacles. [2311] And these I will divide, saith the Church. What is this, "I will divide Sichima"? If to the story where the idols were hidden is the reference, the Gentiles it signifieth; I divide the Gentiles. I divide, is what? "For not in all men is there faith." [2312] I divide, is what? Some will believe, others will not believe....The shoulders are divided, in order that their sins may burthen some men, while others may take up the burden of Christ. For godly shoulders He was requiring when He said, "For My yoke is gentle, and My burden is light." [2313] Another burden oppresseth and loadeth thee, but Christ's burden relieveth thee: another burden hath weight, Christ's burden hath wings. For even if thou pull off the wings from a bird, thou dost remove a kind of weight; and the more weight thou hast taken away, the more on earth it will abide. She that thou hast chosen to disburden lieth there: she flieth not, because thou hast taken off a weight: let there be given back the weight, and she flieth. Such is Christ's burden; let men carry it, and not be idle: let them not be heeded that will not bear it; let them bear it that will, and they shall find how light it is, how sweet, how pleasant, how ravishing unto Heaven, and from earth how transporting....Perchance because of the sheep of Jacob, "the valley of Tabernacles" is to be understood of the nation of the Jews, and the same is divided: for they have passed from thence that have believed, the rest have remained without.

9. "Mine is Galaad" (ver. 7). These names are read in the Scriptures of God. Galaad hath the voice of an interpretation of its own and of a great Mystery: for it is interpreted "the heap of testimony." How great a heap of testimony in the Martyrs? "Mine is Galaad," mine is a heap of testimony, mine are the true Martyrs....Then meanly esteemed was the Church among men, then reproach on Her a Widow was being thrown, because Christ's She was, because the sign of the Cross on her brow She was wearing: not yet was there honour, censure there was then: when therefore not honour, but censure there was, then was made a heap of witness; and through the heap of witness was the Love of Christ enlarged; and through the enlargement of the Love of Christ, were the Gentiles possessed. There followeth, "And mine is Manasses;" which is interpreted forgotten. For to Her had been said, "Confusion for everlasting Thou shalt forget, and of the reproach of Thy widowhood Thou shalt not be mindful." [2314] There was therefore a confusion of the Church once, which now hath been forgotten: for of Her confusion and of the "reproach" of Her widowhood now She is not mindful. For when there was a sort of confusion among men, a heap of witness was made. Now no longer doth any even remember that confusion, when it was a reproach to be a Christian, now no one remembereth, now all have forgotten, now "Mine is Manasses, and Ephraim the strength of My head." Ephraim is interpreted fruitfulness. Mine, he saith, is fruitfulness, and this fruitfulness is the strength of My Head. For My Head is Christ. And whence is fruitfulness the strength of Him? Because unless a grain were to fall into the earth, it would not be multiplied, alone it would remain. [2315] Fall then to earth did Christ in His Passion, and there followed fruit-bearing in the Resurrection. He was hanging and was being despised: the grain was within, it had powers to draw after it all things. How in a grain do numbers of seeds lie hid, something abject it appeareth to the eyes, but a power [2316] turning into itself matter and bringing forth fruit is hidden; so in Christ's Cross virtue [2317] was hidden, there appeared weakness. O mighty grain! Doubtless weak is He that hangeth, Doubtless before Him that people did wag the head, Doubtless they said, "If Son of God He is, let Him come down from the Cross." [2318] Hear the strength of Him: that which is a weak thing of God, is stronger than men. [2319] With reason so great fruitfulness hath followed: it is mine, saith the Church.

10. "Juda is my king: Moab the pot of my hope" (ver. 7). What Juda? He that is of the tribe of Juda. What Juda, but He to whom Jacob himself said, "Juda, thy brethren shall praise thee"? [2320] What therefore should I fear, when Juda my king saith, "Fear not them that kill the body"? [2321] "Moab the pot of my hope." Wherefore "pot"? Because tribulation. Wherefore "of my hope"? Because there hath gone before Juda my king....Moab is perceived in the Gentiles. For that nation was born of sin, [2322] that nation was born of the daughters of Lot, who lay with their father drunken, abusing a father. Better were it to have remained barren, than thus to have become mothers. But this was a kind of figure of them that abuse the law. For do not heed that law in the Latin language is of the feminine gender: in Greek of the masculine gender it is: but whether it be of the feminine gender in speaking, or of the masculine, the expression maketh no difference to the truth. For law hath rather a masculine force, because it ruleth, is not ruled. But moreover, the Apostle Paul saith what? "Good is the law, if any one use it lawfully." [2323] But those daughters of Lot unlawfully used their father. But in the same manner as good works begin to grow when a man useth well the law: so arise evil works, when a man ill useth the law. Furthermore, they ill using their father, that is, ill using the law, engendered the Moabites, by whom are signified evil works. Thence the tribulation of the Church, thence the pot boiling up. Of this pot in a certain place of prophecy is said, "A pot heated by the North wind." [2324] Whence but by the quarters of the devil, who hath said, "I will set my seat at the North"? [2325] The chiefest tribulations therefore arise against the Church from none except from those that ill use the law....

11. "Into Idumæa I will stretch out my shoe" (ver. 8). The Church speaketh, "I will come through even unto Idumæa." Let tribulations rage, let the world boil with offences, even unto those very persons that lead an earthly life (for Idumæa is interpreted earthly), even unto those same, "even unto Idumæa, I will stretch out my shoe." Of what thing the shoe except of the Gospel? "How beautiful the feet of them that tell of peace, that tell of good things," [2326] and "the feet shod unto the preparation of the Gospel of peace." [2327] ...In these times we see, brethren, how many earthly men do perpetrate frauds for the sake of gain, for frauds perjuries; on account of their fears they consult fortune-tellers, astrologers: all these men are Edomites, earthly; and nevertheless all these men adore Christ, under His own shoe they are; now even unto Idumæa is stretched out His shoe. "To Me Allophyli have been made subject." Who are "Allophyli"? Men of other race, not belonging to My race. [2328] They "have been made subject," because many men adore Christ, and are not to reign with Christ.

12. "Who will lead Me down into the city of standing round?" (ver. 9). What is the city of standing round? If ye remember already, I have made mention thereof in another Psalm, [2329] wherein hath been said, "And they shall go around the city." For the city of standing round is the compassing around of the Gentiles, which compassing around of the Gentiles in the middle thereof had the one nation of the Jews, worshipping one God: the rest of the compassing around of the Gentiles to idols made supplication, demons they did serve. And mystically it was called the city of standing round; because on all sides the Gentiles had poured themselves around, and had stood around that nation which did worship one God...."Who will lead me down even unto Idumæa?"

13. "Wilt not Thou, O God, that hast driven us back? And wilt not Thou, O God, march forth in our powers?" (ver. 10). Wilt not Thou lead us down, that hast driven us back? But wherefore "hast driven us back"? Because Thou hast destroyed us. [2330] Wherefore hast destroyed us? Because angry Thou hast been, and hast had pity on us. Thou therefore wilt lead down, that hast driven back; Thou, O God, that wilt not march forth in our powers, wilt lead down. What is, "wilt not march forth in our powers"? The world is to rage, the world is to tread us down, there is to be a heap of witnesses, builded of the spilled blood of martyrs, and the raging heathen are to say, "Where is the God of them?" [2331] Then "Thou wilt not march forth in our powers:" against them Thou wilt not show Thyself, Thou wilt not show Thy power, such as Thou hast shown in David, in Moses, in Joshua the son of Nun, when to their might the Gentiles yielded, and when the slaughter had been ended, and the great laying waste repaired, into the land which Thou promisedst Thou leddest in Thy people. This thing then Thou wilt not do, "Thou wilt not march forth in our powers," but within Thou wilt work. What is, "wilt not march forth"? Wilt not show Thyself. For indeed when in chains the Martyrs were being led along, when they were being shut up in prison, when they were being led forth to be mocked, when to the beasts they were exposed, [2332] when they were being smitten with the sword, when with fire they were being burned, were they not despised as though forsaken, as though without helper? In what manner was God working within? in what manner within was He comforting? in what manner to these men was He making sweet the hope of life everlasting? in what manner was He not forsaking the hearts of them, where the man was dwelling [2333] in silence, well if good, ill if evil? Was He then by any means forsaking, because He was not marching forth in the powers [2334] of them? By not marching forth in the powers of them, did He not the more lead down the Church even unto Idumæa, lead down the Church even unto the city of standing around? For if the Church chose to war and to use the sword, She would seem to be fighting for life present: but because she was despising life present, therefore there was made a heap of witness for the life that shall be.

14. Thou therefore, O God, that wilt not march forth in our powers, "Give to us aid from tribulation, and vain is the safety of man" (ver. 11). Go now they that salt have not, and desire safety temporal for their friends, which is empty oldness. "Give to us aid:" from thence whence Thou wast supposed to forsake, thence succour. "In God we will do valour, [2335] and Himself to nothing shall bring down our enemies" (ver. 12). We will not do valour with the sword, not with horses, not with breastplates, not with shields, not in the mightiness of an army, not abroad. But where? Within, where we are not seen. Where within? "In God we will do virtue:" and as if abjects, and as if trodden down, men as if of no consideration we shall be, but "Himself to nothing shall bring down our enemies." In a word, this thing hath been done to our enemies. Trodden down have been the Martyrs: by suffering, by enduring, by persevering even unto the end, in God they have done valour. Himself also hath done that which followeth: to nothing He hath brought down the enemies of them. Where are now the enemies of the Martyrs, except perchance that now drunken men with their cups do persecute those whom at that time frenzied men did use with stones to persecute?

Footnotes

[2281] Lat. LIX. Sermon preached to the people a little while after the exposition of the former Psalm. [2282] 1 Tim. ii. 5. [2283] Vide 2 Sam. viii. [2284] He seems to take "Joab" as in the accusative, as though it were not the name of David's officer, but of some conquered nation. [2285] i.e., elsewhere. [2286] Eis to t(TM)los, LXX. Rom. x. 4. [2287] Eph. v. 8. [2288] Luke xii. 49. [2289] Aram Naharaim. [2290] Aram. [2291] Isa. xl. 6. [2292] John xii. 31. [2293] 1 Cor. xv. 49. [2294] Col. iii. 5. [2295] Ezek. xxxvii. 9. [2296] [See p. 181, note 12, supra.--C.] [2297] Matt. v. 13. [2298] Luke xii. 49. [2299] Matt. x. 34. [2300] Matt. iii. 2. [2301] Contritiones. [2302] Lit. "burneth." [2303] 1 Pet. iv. 17. [2304] 1 Pet. iv. 18. He quotes the whole passage. [2305] Rom. viii. 26. [2306] Matt. xxv. 33. [2307] Ps. xxii. 2. [2308] 2 Cor. v. 19. [2309] Ps. lxxvii. 13. [2310] Gen. xxxv. 4. [2311] Succoth. [2312] 2 Thess. iii. 2. [2313] Matt. xi. 30. [2314] Isa. liv. 4. [2315] John xii. 24. [2316] Vis. [2317] Virtus. [2318] Matt. xxvii. 40. [2319] 1 Cor. i. 25. [2320] Gen. xlix. 8. [2321] Matt. x. 28. [2322] Gen. xix. 37. [2323] 1 Tim. i. 8. [2324] Jer. i. 13. [2325] Isa. xiv. 13. [2326] Rom. x. 15. [2327] Eph. vi. 15. [2328] [See Ps. lvi. p. 219, supra.--C.] [2329] VidePs. lix. 6, p. 240, supra. [2330] Ps. lx. 1. [2331] Ps. lxxix. 10. [2332] Subrigebantur. [2333] Oxf. mss. "dwelleth." [2334] Or, "hosts" (virtutibus). [2335] Virtutem. .


Psalm LXI. [2336]

1. The title of it doth not detain us. For it is "Unto the end, in hymns, to David himself. "In hymns," to wit in praises. "Unto the end," to wit unto Christ....But the voice in this Psalm (if we are among the members of Him, and in the Body, even as upon His exhortation we have the boldness to trust) we ought to acknowledge to be our own, not that of any foreigner. But I have not so called it our own, as if it were of those only that are now in presence; but our own, as being of us that are throughout the whole world, that are from the East even unto the West. And in order that ye may know it thus to be our voice, He speaketh here as if one Man: but He is not One Man; but even as One, the Unity is speaking. But in Christ we all are one man: because of this One Man the Head is in Heaven, and the members are yet toiling on earth: and because they are toiling see what He saith. [2337]

2. "Hearken, O God, to my supplication, give heed to my prayer" (ver. 1). Who saith? He, as if One. See whether one: "From the ends of the earth to Thee I have cried, while my heart was being vexed" (ver. 2). Now therefore not one: but for this reason one, because Christ is One, of whom all we are the members. For what one man crieth from the ends of the earth? There crieth not from the ends of the earth any but that inheritance, of which hath been said to the Son Himself, "Demand of Me, and I will give to Thee the nations for Thine inheritance, and for Thy possession the boundaries of the earth." [2338] This therefore Christ's possession, this Christ's inheritance, this Christ's Body, this Christ's one Church, this the Unity which we are, is crying from the ends of the earth....But wherefore have I cried this thing? "While my heart was being vexed." He showeth himself to be throughout all nations in the whole round world, in great glory, but in great tribulation. For our life in this sojourning cannot be without temptation: because our advance is made through our temptation, nor does a man become known to himself unless tempted, nor can he be crowned except he shall have conquered, nor can he conquer except he shall have striven, nor can he strive except he shall have experienced an enemy, and temptations. This Man therefore is being vexed, that from the ends of the earth is crying, but nevertheless He is not forsaken. For ourselves who are His Body He hath willed to prefigure also in that His Body wherein already He hath both died and hath risen again, and into Heaven hath ascended, in order that whither the Head hath gone before, thither the members may be assured that they shall follow. Therefore us He did transfer by a figure into Himself, when He willed to be tempted of Satan.

3. But now there was read in the Gospel, how the Lord Jesus Christ in the wilderness was being tempted of the devil. [2339] Christ entirely was tempted of the devil. For in Christ thou wast being tempted, because Christ of thee had for Himself flesh, of Himself for thee salvation; of thee for Himself death, of Himself for thee life; of thee for Himself revilings, of Himself for thee honours; therefore of thee for Himself temptation, of Himself for thee victory. If in Him tempted we have been, in Him we overcome the devil...."On the Rock Thou hast exalted me." Now therefore here we perceive who is crying from the ends of the earth. Let us call to mind the Gospel: "Upon this Rock I will build My Church." [2340] Therefore She crieth from the ends of the earth, whom He hath willed to be builded upon a Rock. But in order that the Church might be builded upon the Rock, who was made the Rock? Hear Paul saying: "But the Rock was Christ." [2341] On Him therefore builded we have been. For this reason that Rock whereon we have been builded, [2342] first hath been smitten with winds, flood, rain, when Christ of the devil was being tempted. Behold on what firmness He hath willed to stablish thee. With reason our voice is not in vain, but is hearkened unto: for on great hope we have been set: "On the Rock Thou hast exalted me."...

4. "Thou hast led me down, because Thou hast been made my hope: a tower of strength from the face of the enemy" (ver. 3). My heart is vexed, saith that Unity from the ends of the earth, and I toil amid temptations and offences: the heathen envy, because they have been conquered; the heretics lie in wait, hidden in the cloak of the Christian name: within in the Church itself the wheat suffereth violence from the chaff: amid all these things when my heart is vexed, I will cry from the ends of the earth. But there forsaketh me not the Same that hath exalted me upon the Rock, in order to lead me down even unto Himself, because even if I labour, while the devil through so many places and times and occasions lieth in wait against me, He is to me a tower of strength, to whom when I shall have fled for refuge, not only I shall escape the weapons of the enemy, but even against him securely I shall myself hurl whatever darts I shall please. For Christ Himself is the tower, Himself for us hath been made a tower from the face of the enemy, who is also the Rock whereon hath been builded the Church. Art thou taking heed that thou be not smitten of the devil? Flee to the Tower; never to that tower will the devil's darts follow thee: there thou wilt stand protected and fixed. But in what manner shalt thou flee to the Tower? Let not a man, set perchance in temptation, in body seek that Tower, and when he shall not have found it, be wearied, or faint in temptation. Before thee is the Tower: call to mind Christ, and go into the Tower. [2343] ...

5. "A sojourner I will be in Thy tabernacle even unto ages" (ver. 4). Ye see how he, of whom we have spoken, is he that crieth. Which of us is a sojourner even unto ages? For a few days here we live, and we pass away: for sojourners here we are, inhabitants in Heaven we shall be. Thou art a sojourner in that place where thou art to hear the voice of the Lord thy God, "Remove." For from that Home everlasting in the Heavens no one will bid thee to remove. Here therefore a sojourner thou art. Whence also is said in another Psalm, "A sojourner I am with Thee and a stranger, as all my fathers were." [2344] Here therefore sojourners we are; there the Lord shall give to us mansions everlasting: "Many are," He saith, "the mansions in My Father's house." [2345] Those mansions not as though to sojourners He will give, but as though to citizens to abide for everlasting. Here however, brethren, because for no small time the Church was to be on this earth, but because here shall be the Church even unto the end of the world: [2346] therefore here He hath said, "A dweller I will be in Thy tabernacle even unto ages." [2347] ...Well, of a few days thou wouldest choose that the temptations should be: but how would She gather together all Her sons, unless for a long time She were to be here, unless even unto the end She were to be prolonged? Do not envy the rest of mankind that hereafter shall be: do not, because thou hast already passed over, wish to cut down the bridge of mercy: [2348] be it here even for ever. And what of temptations, which needs must abound, by how much the more offences come? For Himself saith, "Because iniquity hath abounded, the love of many shall wax cold." [2349] But that Church, which crieth from the ends of the earth, is in these circumstances whereof he speaketh in continuation. "But he that shall have persevered even unto the end, the same shall be saved." But whence shalt thou persevere?..."I shall be covered up in the veiling of Thy wings." Behold the reason why we are in safety amid so great temptations, until there come the end of the world, and ages everlasting receive us; namely, because we are covered up in the veiling of His Wings. There is heat in the world, but there is a great shade under the wings of God.

6. "For Thou, O God, hast hearkened to my prayer" (ver. 5). What prayer? That wherewith he beginneth: "Hearken, O God, to my supplication."..."Thou hast given inheritance to men fearing Thy name." Let us continue therefore in the fear of God's name: the eternal Father deceiveth us not. Sons labour, that they may receive the inheritance of their parents, to whom when dead they are to succeed: are we not labouring to receive an inheritance from that Father, to whom not dying we succeed; but together with Him in the very inheritance for everlasting are to live?

7. "Days upon days of the King Thou shalt add to the years of Him" (ver. 6). This is therefore the King of whom we are the members. A King Christ is, our Head, our King. Thou hast given to Him days upon days; not only those days in that time that hath end, but days upon those days without end. "I will dwell," he saith, "in the house of the Lord, for length of days." [2350] Wherefore for length of days, but because now is the shortness of days? For everything which hath an end, is short: but of this King are days upon days, so that not only while these days pass away, Christ reigneth in His Church, but the Saints shall reign together with Him in those days which have no end....For years of God have been also spoken of: "But Thou art the very Same, and Thy years shall not fail." [2351] In the same manner as years, so days, so one day. Whatsoever thou wilt thou sayest of eternity. Whatever thou wilt thou sayest for this reason, because whatever thou shalt have said, it is too little that thou hast said. For thou must needs say somewhat, to the end that there may be something whereby thou mayest meditate on that which cannot be told. "Even unto the day of generation and of generation." Of this generation and of the generation that shall be: of this generation which is compared to the moon, because as the moon is new, waxeth, is full, waneth, and vanisheth, so are these mortal generations; and of the generation wherein we are born anew by rising again, and shall abide for everlasting with God, when now no longer we are like the moon, but like that of which saith the Lord, "Then the righteous shall shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father." [2352] For the moon by a figure in the Scriptures is put for the mutability of this mortal state....

8. "He shall abide for everlasting in the sight of God" (ver. 7); according to what, or because of what? "His mercy and truth who shall seek for Him?" He saith also in another place, "All the ways of the Lord are mercy and truth, to men seeking His testament and His testimonies." [2353] Large is the discourse of truth and mercy, but shortness we have promised. Briefly hear ye what is truth and mercy: because no small thing is that which hath been said, "All the ways of the Lord are mercy and truth." Mercy is spoken of, because our merits God regarded not, but His own goodness, in order that He might forgive us all our sins, and might promise life everlasting: but truth is spoken of, because He faileth not to render those things which He hath promised. Let us acknowledge it here, and let us do it; so that, just as to us God hath shown forth His mercy and His truth, mercy in forgiving our sins, truth in showing forth His promises; so also, I say, let us execute mercy and truth, mercy concerning the weak, concerning the needy, concerning even our enemies; truth in not sinning, and in not adding sin upon sin....Who is therefore he that doeth this, save one out of those few, of whom is said, "He that shall have continued unto the end, the same shall be saved"? With reason here also "His mercy and truth who shall seek for Him?" Why is there "for Him"? "Who shall seek," would be sufficient. Why hath he added, "for Him," but because many men seek to learn His mercy and truth in His books? And when they have learned, for themselves they live, not for Him; [2354] their own things they seek, not the things which are of Jesus Christ: [2355] they preach mercy and truth, and do not mercy and truth. But by preaching it, they know it: for they would not preach it, unless they knew it. But he that loveth God and Christ, in preaching the mercy and truth of the Same, doth himself seek her for Him, not for himself: that is, not in order that himself may have by this preaching temporal advantages, but in order that he may do good to His members, that is, His faithful ones, by ministering with truth of that which he knoweth: in order that he that liveth, no longer for himself may live, but for Him that for all men hath died. [2356]

9. "So I will play music to Thy name, that I may render my vows from day unto day" (ver. 8). If thou playest music to the name of God, play not for a time. Wilt thou for ever play? wilt thou for everlasting play? Render to Him thy vows from day unto day. What is, render to Him thy vows from day unto day? From this day unto that day. Continue to render vows in this day, until thou come to that day: that is, "He that shall have continued even unto the end, the same shall be saved." [2357]

Footnotes

[2336] Lat. LX. Sermon to the Commonalty. [2337] Or, "they say," mss. [2338] Ps. ii. 8. [2339] Matt. iv. 1. [2340] Matt. xvi. 18. [2341] 1 Cor. x. 4. [Rhetorically he may say this of Cephas; but as of Peter's confession elsewhere, so here, dogmatically he understands only Christ. Compare p. 223, supra.--C.] [2342] Matt. vii. 24. [2343] [Zech. ix. 12.--C.] [2344] Ps. xxxix. 12. [2345] John xiv. 2. [2346] Sæculi. [2347] Sæcula. [2348] Many omit "of mercy." [2349] Matt. xxiv. 12. [2350] Ps. xxvii. 4. [2351] Ps. cii. 27. [2352] Matt. xiii. 43. [2353] Ps. xxv. 10. [2354] 2 Cor. v. 15. [2355] Philip. ii. 21. [2356] 2 Cor. v. 15. [2357] Matt. xxiv. 13. .


Psalm LXII. [2358]

1. The title of it is, "Unto the end, in behalf of Idithun, a Psalm to David himself." I recollect that already [2359] to you hath been explained what Idithun is....Let us see how far he hath leaped over, and whom he hath "leaped over," and in what place, though he hath leaped over certain men, he is situate, whence as from a kind of spiritual and secure position he may behold what is below....He being set, I say, in a certain fortified place, doth say, "Shall not my soul be subject to God?" (ver. 1). For he had heard, "He that doth exalt himself shall be humbled; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted:" [2360] and fearful lest by leaping over he should be proud, not elated by those things which were below, but humble because of Him that was above; to envious men, as it were threatening to him a fall, who were grieved that he had leaped over, he hath made answer, "Shall not my soul be subject to God?"..."For from Himself is my salvation." "For Himself is my God and my salvation, my taker up, I shall not be moved more" (ver. 2). I know who is above me, I know who stretcheth forth His mercy to men that know Him, I know under the coverings of whose wings I should hope: "I shall not be moved more."...

2. Therefore, down from the higher place fortified and protected, he, to whom the Lord hath been made a refuge, he, to whom is God Himself for a fortified place, [2361] hath regard to those whom he hath leaped over, and looking down upon them speaketh as though from a lofty tower: for this also hath been said of Him, "A Tower of strength from the face of the enemy:" [2362] he giveth heed therefore to them, and saith, "How long do ye lay upon a man?" (ver. 3). By insulting, by hurling reproaches, by laying wait, by persecuting, ye lay upon a man burthens, ye lay upon a man as much as a man can bear: [2363] but in order that a man may bear, under him is He that hath made man. If to a man ye look, "slay ye, all of you." Behold, lay upon, rage, "slay ye, all of you." "As though a wall bowed down, and as a fence smitten against;" lean against, smite against, as if going to throw down. And where is, "I shall not be moved more"? But wherefore? "I shall not be moved more." Because Himself is God my Saving One, my taker up, therefore ye men are able to lay burdens upon a man; can ye anywise lay upon God, who protecteth man? "Slay ye, all of you." What is that size of body in one man so great as that he may be slain by all? But we ought to perceive our person, the person of the Church, the person of the Body of Christ. For one Man with His Head and Body is Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the Body and the Members of the Body: two in one Flesh, [2364] and in one voice, and in one passion, and, when iniquity shall have passed over, in one rest. The sufferings therefore of Christ are not in Christ alone; nay, there are not any save in Christ. For if Christ thou understandest to be Head and Body, the sufferings of Christ are not, save in Christ: but if Christ thou understand of Head alone, the sufferings of Christ are not in Christ alone. For if the sufferings of Christ are in Christ alone, to wit in the Head alone; whence saith a certain member of Him, Paul the Apostle, "In order that I may supply what are wanting of the oppressions of Christ in my flesh"? [2365] If therefore in the members of Christ thou art, whatsoever man thou art that art hearing these words, whosoever thou art that dost hear these words (but however, thou dost hear, if in the members of Christ thou art): whatsoever thing thou sufferest from those that are not in the members of Christ, was wanting to the sufferings of Christ. Therefore it is added because it was wanting; thou fillest up the measure, thou causest it not to run over: thou sufferest so much as was to be contributed out of thy sufferings to the whole suffering of Christ, that hath suffered in our Head, and doth suffer in His members, that is, in our own selves. Unto this our common republic, as it were each of us according to our measure payeth that which we owe, and according to the powers which we have, as it were a quota [2366] of sufferings we contribute. The storehouse [2367] of all men's sufferings will not be completely made up, save when the world shall have been ended....That whole City therefore is speaking, from the blood of righteous Abel even to the blood of Zacharias. [2368] Thence also hereafter from the blood of John, through the blood of the Apostles, through the blood of Martyrs, through the blood of the faithful ones of Christ, one City speaketh, one man saith, "How long do ye lay upon a man? Slay ye, all of you." Let us see if ye efface, let us see if ye extinguish, let us see if ye remove from the earth the name thereof, let us see if ye peoples do not meditate of empty things, [2369] saying, "When shall She die, and when shall perish the name of Her?" [2370] "As though She were a wall bowed down, and a fence smitten against," [2371] lean ye against Her, smite against Her. Hear from above: [2372] "My taker up, I shall not be moved more:" for as though a heap of sand I have been smitten against that I might fall, and the Lord hath taken me up.

3. "Nevertheless, mine honour they have thought to drive back" (ver. 4). Conquered while they slay men yielding, by the blood of the slain multiplying the faithful, yielding to these and no longer being able to kill; "Nevertheless, mine honour they have thought to drive back." Now because a Christian cannot be killed, pains are taken that a Christian should be dishonoured. For now by the honour of Christians the hearts of ungodly men are tortured: now that spiritual Joseph, after his selling by his brethren, after his removal from his home into Egypt as though into the Gentiles, after the humiliation of a prison, [2373] after the made-up tale of a false witness, after that there had come to pass that which of him was said, "Iron passed through the soul of him:" [2374] now he is honoured, now he is not made subject to brethren selling him, but corn he supplieth to them hungering. [2375] Conquered by his humility and chastity, uncorruptness, temptations, sufferings, now honoured they see him, and his honour they think to check....Is it all against one man, or one man against all; or all against all, or one against one? Meanwhile, when he saith, "ye lay upon a man," it is as it were upon one man: and when he saith, "Slay all ye," it is as if all men were against one man: but nevertheless it is also all against all, because also all are Christians, but in One. But why must those divers errors hostile to Christ be spoken of as all together? Are they also one? Truly them also as one I dare to speak of: because there is one City and one city, one People and one people, King and king. One City and one city is what? Babylon one, Jerusalem one. By whatsoever other mystical names besides She is called, yet One City there is and one city; over this the devil is king, over that Christ is King....

4. Give heed, brethren, give heed, I entreat you. For it delighteth me yet to speak a few words to you of this beloved City. For "most glorious things of Thee have been spoken, City of God." [2376] And, "if I forget Thee, O Jerusalem, let mine own right hand forget me." [2377] For dear is the one Country, and truly but one Country, the only Country: besides Her whatsoever we have, is a sojourning in a strange land. I will say therefore that which ye may acknowledge, that of which ye may approve: I will call to your minds that which ye know, I will not teach that which ye know not. "Not first," saith the Apostle, "that which is spiritual, but that which is natural, [2378] afterwards that which is spiritual." [2379] Therefore the former city is greater by age, because first was born Cain, and afterwards Abel: [2380] but in these the elder shall serve the younger. [2381] The former greater by age, the latter greater in dignity. Wherefore is the former greater by age? Because "not first that which is spiritual, but that which is natural." [2382] Wherefore is the latter greater in dignity? Because "the elder shall serve the younger." [2383] ...Cain first builded a city, and in that place he builded where no city was. But when Jerusalem was being builded, it was not builded in a place where there was not a city, but there was a city at first which was called Jebus, whence the Jebusites. This having been captured, overcome, made subject, there was builded a new city, as though the old were thrown down; and it was called Jerusalem, [2384] vision of peace, City of God. Each one therefore that is born of Adam, not yet doth belong to Jerusalem: for he beareth with him the offshoot [2385] of iniquity, and the punishment of sin, having been consigned to death, and he belongeth in a manner to a sort of old city. But if he is to be in the people of God; his old self will be thrown down, and he will be builded up new. For this reason therefore Cain builded a city where there was not a city. For from mortality and from naughtiness every one setteth out, in order that he may be made good hereafter. "For as by the disobedience of one man many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One Man many shall be made just." [2386] And all we in Adam do die: [2387] and each one of us of Adam was born. Let him pass over to Jerusalem, he shall be thrown down old, and shall be builded new. As though to conquered Jebusites, in order that there may be builded up Jerusalem, is said, "Put ye off the old man, and put on the new." [2388] And now to them builded in Jerusalem, and shining by the light of Grace, is said, "Ye have been sometime darkness, but now light in the Lord." [2389] The evil city therefore from the beginning even unto the end doth run on, and the good City by the changing of evil men is builded up. And these two cities are meanwhile mingled, at the end to be severed; against each other mutually in conflict, the one for iniquity, the other for the truth. And sometimes this very temporal mingling bringeth it to pass that certain men belonging to the city Babylon, do order matters belonging to Jerusalem, and again certain men belonging to Jerusalem, do order matters belonging to Babylon. Something difficult I seem to have propounded. Be ye patient, until it be proved by examples. "For all things" in the old people, as writeth the Apostle, "in a figure used to befall them: but they have been written for our amendment, upon whom the end of the world hath come." [2390] Regard therefore that people as also set to intimate an after people; and see then what I say. There were great [2391] kings in Jerusalem: it is a known fact, they are enumerated, are named. They all were, I say, wicked citizens of Babylon, and they were ordering matters of Jerusalem: all men from thence to be dissevered at the end, to no one but to the devil do belong. Again we find citizens of Jerusalem to have ordered certain matters belonging to Babylon. For those three children, Nabuchodonosor, overcome by a miracle, made the ministers of his kingdom, and set them over his Satraps; and so there were ordering the matters of Babylon citizens of Jerusalem. [2392] Observe now how this is being fulfilled and done in the Church, and in these times....Every earthly commonwealth, sometime assuredly to perish, whereof the kingdom is to pass away, when there shall come that kingdom, whereof we pray, "Thy kingdom come;" [2393] and whereof hath been foretold, "And of His kingdom shall be no end:" [2394] an earthly commonwealth, I say, hath our citizens conducting the affairs of it. For how many faithful, how many good men, are both magistrates in their cities, and are judges, and are generals, and are counts, and are kings? All that are just and good men, having not anything in heart but the most glorious things, which of Thee have been said, City of God. [2395] And as if they were doing bond-service [2396] in the city which is to pass away, even there by the doctors of the Holy City they are bidden to keep faith with those set over them, "whether with the king as supreme, or with governors as though sent by God for the punishment of evil men, but for the praise of good men: " [2397] or as servants, that to their masters they should be subject, [2398] even Christians to Heathens, and the better should keep faith with the worse, for a time to serve, for everlasting to have dominion. For these things do happen until iniquity do pass away. [2399] Servants are commanded to bear with masters unjust and capricious: the citizens of Babylon are commanded to be endured by the citizens of Jerusalem, showing even more attentions, than if they were citizens of the same Babylon, as though fulfilling the precept, "He that shall have exacted of thee a mile, go with him other twain." [2400] ...

5. "I have run in thirst." [2401] For they were rendering evil things for good things: [2402] for them was I thirsting: mine honour they thought to drive back: I was thirsting to bring them over into my body. For in drinking what do we, but send into our members liquor that is without, and suck it into our body? Thus did Moses in that head of the calf. [2403] The head of the calf is a great sacrament. [2404] For the head of the calf was the body of ungodly men, in the similitude of a calf eating hay, [2405] seeking earthly things: because all flesh is hay. [2406] ...And what now is more evident, than that into that City Jerusalem, of which the people Israel was a type, by Baptism men were to be made to pass over? Therefore in water it was scattered, in order that for drink it might be given. For this even unto the end this man thirsteth; he runneth and thirsteth. For many men He drinketh, but never will He be without thirst. For thence is, "I thirst, woman, give Me to drink." [2407] That Samaritan woman at the well found the Lord thirsting, and by Him thirsting she was filled: she first found Him thirsting, in order that He might drink her believing. And when He was on the Cross, "I thirst," [2408] He said, although they gave not to Him that for which He was thirsting. For for themselves He was thirsting: but they gave vinegar, not new wine, wherewith are filled up the new bottles, but old wine, but old to its loss. [2409] For old vinegar also is said of the old men, of whom hath been said, "For to them is no changing;" [2410] namely, that the Jebusites should be overthrown, and Jerusalem be builded. [2411]

6. So also the Head of this body even unto the end from the beginning runneth in thirst. And as if to Him were being said, Why in thirst? what is wanting to Thee, O Body of Christ, O Church of Christ? in so great honour, in so great exaltation, in so great height also even in this world established, what is wanting to Thee? There is fulfilled that which hath been foretold of thee, "There shall adore Him all kings of the earth, all nations shall serve Him." [2412] ...They that at Jerusalem's festivals fill up the Churches, at Babylon's festivals fill up the theatres: and for all they serve, honour, obey Her--not only those very persons that bear the Sacraments of Christ, and hate the commandments of Christ, but also they, that bear not even the mere Sacraments, Heathen though they be, Jews though they be,--they honour, praise, proclaim, "but with their mouths they were blessing." I heed not the mouth, He knoweth that hath instructed me, "with their heart they were cursing." In that place they were cursing, where "mine honour they thought to drive back."

7. What dost Thou, O Idithun, Body of Christ, leaping over them? What dost Thou amid all these things? What wilt Thou? wilt faint? wilt Thou not persevere even unto the end? wilt Thou not hearken, "He that shall have persevered even unto the end, the same shall be saved," [2413] though for that iniquity aboundeth, the love of many shall wax cold? [2414] And where is it that Thou hast leaped over them? where is it that Thy conversation is in Heaven? [2415] But they cleave unto earthly things, as though earthborn they mind the earth, and are earth, the serpent's food. [2416] What dost thou amid these things?..."Nevertheless, to God my soul shall be made subject" (ver. 5). And who would endure so great things, either open wars, or secret lyings-in-wait? Who would endure so great things amid open enemies, amid false brethren? Who would endure so great things? Would a man? and if a man would, would a man of himself? I have not so leaped over that I should be lifted up, and fall: "To God my soul shall be made subject: for from Himself is my patience." What patience is there amid so great scandals, except that "if for that which we do not see we hope, through patience we look for it"? [2417] There cometh my pain, there will come my rest also; there cometh my tribulation, there will come my cleansing also. For doth gold glitter in the furnace of the refiner? In a necklace it will glitter, in an ornament it will glitter: let it suffer however the furnace, in order that being cleansed from dross it may come into light. This is the furnace, there is there chaff, there gold, there fire, into this bloweth the refiner: in the furnace burneth the chaff, and the gold is cleansed; the one into ashes is turned, of dross the other is cleansed. The furnace is the world, the chaff unrighteous men, the gold just men; the fire tribulation, the refiner God: that which therefore the refiner willeth I do; wherever the Maker setteth me I endure it. I am commanded to endure, He knoweth how to cleanse. Though there burn the chaff to set me on fire, and as if to consume me; that into ashes is burned, I of dross am cleansed. Wherefore? Because "to God my soul shall be made subject: for from Himself is my patience."

8. "For Himself is my God and My Saving One, my Taker up, I will not remove hence" (ver. 6). Because "Himself is my God," therefore He calleth me: "and my Saving One," therefore He justifieth me: "and my Taker up," therefore He glorifieth me. For here I am called and am justified, but there I am glorified; and from thence where I am glorified, "I will not remove." For a sojourner I am with Thee on earth as all my fathers were. Therefore from my lodging I shall remove, from my Heavenly home I shall not remove. "In God is my salvation and my glory" (ver. 7). Saved I shall be in God, glorious I shall be in God: for not only saved, but also glorious, saved, because a just man I have been made out of an ungodly man, by Him justified; [2418] but glorious, because not only justified, but also honoured. For "those whom He hath predestined, those also He hath called." [2419] Calling them, what hath He done here? "Whom He hath called, the same also He hath justified; but whom He hath justified, the same also He hath glorified." Justification therefore to salvation belongeth, glorifying to honour. How glorifying to honour belongeth, it is not needful to discuss. How justification belongeth to salvation, let us seek some proof. Behold there cometh to mind out of the Gospel: there were some who to themselves were seeming to be just men, and they were finding fault with the Lord because He admitted to the feast sinners, and with publicans and sinners was eating; to such men therefore priding themselves, strong men of earth very much lifted up, much glorying of their own soundness, such as they counted it, not such as they had, the Lord answered what? "They that are whole need not a Physician, but they that are sick." [2420] Whom calleth He whole, whom calleth He sick? He continueth and saith, "I have not come to call just men, but sinners unto repentance." [2421] He hath called therefore "the whole" just men, not because the Pharisees were so, but because themselves they thought so to be; and for this reason were proud, and grudged sick men a physician, and being more sick than those, they slew the Physician. He hath called whole, however, righteous men, sick, the sinners. My being justified therefore, saith that man that leapeth over, from Himself I have: my being glorified, from Himself I have: "For God is my salvation and my glory." "My salvation," so that saved I am: "my glory," so that honoured I am. This thing hereafter: now what? "God of my help, and my hope is in God;" until I attain unto perfect justification and salvation. "For by hope we are saved: but hope which is seen, is not hope." [2422] ...

9. "Hope ye in Him all the council of the people" (ver. 8). Imitate ye Idithun, leap over your enemies; men fighting against you, stopping up your way, men hating you, leap ye over: "Hope in Him all the council of the people: pour out before Him your hearts:"...By imploring, by confessing, by hoping. Do not keep back your hearts within your hearts: "Pour out before Him your hearts." That perisheth not which ye pour out. For He is my Taker up. If He taketh up, why fearest thou to pour out? "Cast upon the Lord thy care, and hope in Him." [2423] What fear ye amid whisperers, slanderers hateful to God, [2424] where they are able openly assailing, where they are unable secretly lying in wait, falsely praising, truly at enmity, amid them what fear ye? "God is our Helper." Do they anywise equal God? Are they anywise stronger than He? "God is our Helper," be ye without care. "If God is for us, who is against us?" [2425] "Pour out before Him your hearts," by leaping over unto Him, by lifting up your souls: "God is our helper."..."Nevertheless, vain are the sons of men, and liars are the sons of men in the balances, in order that they may deceive, being at one because of vanity" (ver. 9). Certainly many men there are: behold there is that one man, that one man that was cast forth from the multitude of guests. [2426] They conspire, they all seek things temporal, and they that are carnal things carnal, and for the future they hope them, whosoever do hope: even if because of variety of opinions they are in division, nevertheless because of vanity they are at one. Divers indeed are errors and of many forms, and the kingdom against itself divided shall not stand: [2427] but alike in all is the will vain and lying, belonging to one king, with whom into fire everlasting it is to be thrown headlong [2428] --"these men because of vanity are at one." And for them see how He thirsteth, see how He runneth in thirst.

10. He turneth therefore Himself to them, thirsting for them: "Do not hope in iniquity" (ver. 10). For my hope is in God. Ye that will not draw near and pass over, "do not hope in iniquity." For I that have leapt over, my hope is in God; and is there anywise iniquity with God? [2429] This thing let us do, that thing let us do, of that thing let us think, thus let us adjust our lyings in wait; "Because of vanity being at one." Thou thirstest: they that think of those things against thee are given up by those whom thou drinkest, "Do not hope in vanity." Vain is iniquity, nought is iniquity, mighty is nothing save righteousness. Truth may be hidden for a time, conquered it cannot be. Iniquity may flourish for a time, abide it cannot. "Do not hope upon iniquity: and for robbery be not covetous." Thou art not rich, and wilt thou rob? What findest thou? What losest thou? O losing gains! Thou findest money, thou losest righteousness. "For robbery be not covetous."...Therefore, vain sons of men, lying sons of men, neither rob, nor, if there flow riches, set heart upon them: no longer love vanity, and seek lying. For "blessed is the man who hath the Lord God for his hope, and who hath not had regard unto vanities, and lying follies." [2430] Ye would deceive, ye would commit a fraud, what bring ye in order that ye may cheat. Deceitful balances. For "lying," he saith, "are the sons of men in the balances," in order that they may cheat by bringing forth deceitful balances. By a false balance ye beguile men looking on: know ye not that one is he that weigheth, Another He that judgeth of the weight? He seeth not, for whom thou weighest, but He seeth that weigheth thee and him. Therefore neither fraud nor robbery covet ye any longer, nor on those things which ye have set your hope: [2431] I have admonished, have foretold, saith this Idithun.

11. What followeth? "Once hath God spoken, these two things I have heard, that power is of God (ver. 11), and to Thee, O Lord, is mercy, for Thou shalt render to each one after his works" (ver. 12)...."Once hath God spoken." What sayest thou, Idithun? If thou that hadst leapt over them art saying, "Once He hath spoken;" I turn to another Scripture and it saith to me, "In many quarters and in many ways formerly God hath spoken to the fathers in the prophets." [2432] What is, "Once hath God spoken"? Is He not the God that in the beginning of mankind spake to Adam? [2433] Did not the Selfsame speak to Cain, to Noe, to Abraham, to Isaac, to Jacob, to all the Prophets, and to Moses? [2434] One man Moses was, and how often to him spake God? Behold even to one man, not once but ofttimes God hath spoken. Secondly, He hath spoken to the Son when standing here, "Thou art My beloved Son." [2435] God hath spoken to the Apostles, He hath spoken to all the Saints, even though not with voice sounding through the cloud, nevertheless in the heart where He is Himself Teacher. [2436] What is therefore, "Once hath God spoken"? Much hath that man leapt over in order to arrive at that place, where once God hath spoken. Behold briefly I have spoken to your Love. Here among men, to men ofttimes, in many ways, in many quarters, through creatures of many forms God hath spoken: by Himself once God hath spoken, because One Word God hath begotten....For it could not be but that God did Himself know that which by the Word He made: [2437] but if that which He made He knew, in Him there was that which was made before it was made. For if in Him was not that which was made before it was made, how knew He that which He made? For thou canst not say that God made things He knew not. God therefore hath known that which He hath made. And how knew He before He made, if there cannot be known any but things made? But by things made there cannot be known any but things previously made, by thee, to wit, who art a man made in a lower place, and set in a lower place: but before that all these things were made, they were known by Him by whom they were made, and that which He knew He made. Therefore in that Word by which He made all things, before that they were made, were all things; and after they have been made there are all things; but in one way here, in another there, in one way in their own nature wherein they have been made, in another in the art by which they have been made. Who could explain this? We may endeavour: go ye with Idithun, and see.

12. ...For even the Lord saith, "Many things I have to say to you, but ye cannot bear them now." [2438] What is therefore, "These two things I have heard"? These two things which to you I am about to say not of myself to you I say, but what things I have heard I say. "Once hath God spoken:" One Word hath He, the Only-begotten God. In that Word are all things, because by the Word were made all things. One Word hath He, "in whom all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden." [2439] One Word He hath, "once hath God spoken." "These two things," which to you I am about to say, these I have heard: not of myself I speak, not of myself I say: to this belongeth the "I have heard." [2440] But the friend of the Bridegroom standeth and heareth Him, that he may speak the truth. For he heareth Him, lest by speaking a lie, of his own he should speak: [2441] lest thou shouldest say, Who art thou that sayest this thing to me? whence dost thou say this to me? I have heard these two things, and I that speak to thee that I have heard these two things, am one who also doth know that once God hath spoken. Do not despise a hearer saying to thee certain two things for thee so necessary; him, I say, that by leaping over the whole creation hath attained unto the Only-begotten Word of God, where he hath learned that "once God hath spoken."

13. Let him therefore now say certain two things. For greatly to us belong these two things. "For power is of God, and to Thee, O Lord, is mercy." Are these the two things, power and mercy? These two evidently: perceive ye the power of God, perceive ye the mercy of God. In these two things are contained nearly all the Scriptures. Because of these two things are the Prophets, because of these two, the Patriarchs, because of these the Law, because of these Himself our Lord Jesus Christ, because of these the Apostles, because of these all the preaching and spreading of the word of God in the Church, because of these two, because of the power of God, and His mercy. His power fear ye, His mercy love ye. Neither so on His mercy rely, as that His power ye despise: nor so the power fear ye, as that of mercy ye despair. With Him is power, with Him mercy. This man He humbleth, and that man He exalteth: [2442] this man He humbleth with power, that man He exalteth in mercy. "For if God, willing to show wrath and to prove His power, hath in much patience borne with the vessels of wrath, which have been perfected unto perdition" [2443] --thou hast heard of power: inquire for mercy--"and that He might make known," He saith, "His riches unto the vessels of mercy." It belongeth therefore to His power to condemn unjust men. And to Him who would say, What hast thou done? "For thou, O man, who art thou that should make answer to God?" [2444] Fear therefore and tremble at His power: but hope for His mercy. The devil is a sort of power; ofttimes however he wisheth to hurt, and is not able, because that power is under power. For if the devil could hurt as much as he would; no one of just men would remain, nor could any one of the faithful be on earth. The same through his vessels smiteth against, as it were, a wall bowed down: but he only smiteth against, so far as he receiveth power. But in order that the wall may not fall, the Lord will support: for He that giveth power to the tempter, doth Himself to the tempted extend mercy. For according to measure the devil is permitted to tempt. And, "Thou wilt give us to drink in tears in a measure." [2445] Do not therefore fear the tempter permitted to do somewhat: for thou hast a most merciful Saviour. So much he is permitted to tempt as is profitable for thee, that thou mayest be exercised, mayest be proved; in order that by thyself thou mayest be found out, that knowest not thyself. For where, or from whence, ought we to be secure, except by this power and mercy of God? After that Apostolic saying, "Faithful is God, that doth not suffer you to be tempted above that which ye are able." [2446] ...Fear not the enemy: so much he doeth as he hath received power to do, Him fear thou that hath the chief power: Him fear, that doeth as much as He willeth, and that doeth nothing unjustly, and whatever He shall have done, is just. We might suppose something or other to be unjust: inasmuch as God hath done it, believe it to be just.

14. Therefore, thou sayest, if any one slay an innocent man, doeth he justly or unjustly? Unjustly certainly. Wherefore doth God permit this?...The counsel of God to tell to thee, O man, I am not able: this thing however I say, both that the man hath done unjustly that hath slain an innocent person, and that it would not have been done unless God permitted it: and though the man hath done unjustly, yet God hath not unjustly permitted this. Let the reason lie concealed in that person whoever it be, for whose sake thou art moved, whose innocence doth much move thee. For to thee speedily I might make answer. He would not have been slain unless he were guilty: but thou thinkest him innocent. I might speedily say this to thee. For thou couldest not examine his heart, sift his deeds, weigh his thoughts, so that thou couldest say to me, unjustly he was slain. I might easily therefore make answer: but there is forced upon my view a certain Just One, without dispute just, without doubt just, who had no sin, slain by sinners, betrayed by a sinner; Himself Christ the Lord, of whom we cannot say that He hath any iniquity, for "those things which He robbed not He paid," [2447] is made an objection to my answer. And why should I speak of Christ? "With thee I am dealing," thou sayest. And I with thee. About Him thou proposest a question, about Him I am solving the question. For therein the counsel of God we know, which except by His own revealing we should not know: so that when thou shalt have found out that counsel of God, whereby He hath permitted His innocent Son to be slain by unjust men, and such a counsel as pleaseth thee, and such a counsel as cannot displease thee, if thou art just, thou mayest believe that in other things also by His counsel God doeth the same, but it escaped thee. Ah! brethren, need there was of the blood of a just one to blot out the handwriting of sins; need there was of an example of patience, of an example of humility; need there was of the Sign of the Cross to beat down the devil and his angels; need for us there was of the Passion of our Lord; for by the Passion of the Lord redeemed hath been the world. How many good things hath the Passion of the Lord done! And yet the Passion of this Just One would not have been, unless unrighteous men had slain the Lord. What then? is this good thing which to us hath been granted by the Lord's Passion to be ascribed to the unjust slayers of Christ? Far be it. They willed, God permitted. They guilty would have been, even if only they had willed it: but God would not have permitted it, unless just it had been....Accordingly, my brethren, both Judas the foul traitor to Christ, and the persecutors of Christ, malignant all, ungodly all, unjust all, are to be condemned all: and nevertheless the Father His own proper Son hath not spared, but for the sake of us all He hath delivered Him up. [2448] Order if thou art able; distinguish if thou art able (these things): render to God thy vows, which thy lips have uttered: see what the unjust hath here done, what the Just One. The one hath willed, the Other hath permitted: the one unjustly hath willed, the Other justly hath permitted. Let unjust will be condemned, just permission be glorified. For what evil thing hath befallen Christ, in that Christ hath died? Both evil were they that evil willed to do, and yet nothing of evil did He suffer on whom they did it. Slain was mortal flesh, slaying death by death, giving a lesson of patience, sending before an example of Resurrection. How great good things of the Just One were wrought by the evil things of the unjust! This is the great mystery [2449] of God: that even a good thing which thou doest He hath Himself given it to thee, and by thy evil He doeth good Himself. Do not therefore wonder, God permitteth, and in judgment permitteth: He permitteth, and in measure, number, weight, He permitteth. With Him is not iniquity: [2450] do thou only belong to Him; on Himself thy hope set thou, let Himself be thy Helper, thy Salvation: in Him be there the fortified place, the tower of strength, [2451] thy refuge let Himself be, and He will not suffer thee to be tempted above that which thou art able to bear, but will make with the temptation also an escape, that thou mayest be able to support it: [2452] so that His suffering thee to bear temptation, be His power; His suffering not any more on thee to be done than thou art able to bear, be His mercy: "for power is of God, and to Thee, O Lord, is mercy, because Thou wilt render to each one after his works."

15. That thirst of the Church, would fain drink up that man also whom ye see. [2453] At the same time also, in order that ye may know how many in the mixed multitude of Christians with their mouth do bless, and in their heart curse, this man having been a Christian and a believer returneth as a penitent, and being terrified by the power of the Lord, turneth him to the mercy of the Lord. For having been led astray by the enemy when he was a believer, long time he hath been an astrologer, led astray, leading astray, deceived, deceiving, he hath allured, hath beguiled, many lies he hath spoken against God, That hath given to men power of doing that which is good, and of not doing that which is evil. He used to say, that one's own will did not adultery, but Venus; one's own will did not manslaying, but Mars; and God did not what is just, but Jupiter; and many other blasphemous things, and not light ones. From how many Christians do ye think he hath pocketed money? How many from him have bought a lie, to whom we used to say, "Sons of men, how long are ye dull of heart, wherefore love ye vanity, and seek a lie"? [2454] Now, as of him must be believed, he hath shuddered at his lie, and being the allurer of many men, he hath perceived at length that by the devil he hath himself been allured, and he turneth to God a penitent. We think, brethren, that because of great fear of heart it hath come to pass. For what must we say? If out of a heathen an astrologer were converted, great indeed would be the joy: but nevertheless it might appear, that, if he had been converted, he was desiring the clerical office in the Church. A penitent he is, he seeketh not anything save mercy alone. He must be recommended therefore both to your eyes and hearts. Him whom ye see in hearts love ye, with eyes guard ye. See ye him, mark ye him, and whithersoever he shall have gone his way, to the rest of the brethren that now are not here, point him out: and such diligence is mercy; lest that leader astray drag back [2455] his heart and take it by storm. Guard ye him, let there not escape you his conversation, his way: in order that by your testimony it may be proved to us that truly to the Lord he hath been turned. For report will not be silent about his life, when to you he is thus presented both to be seen and to be pitied. Ye know in the Acts of the Apostles how it is written, that many lost men, that is, men of such arts, and followers of naughty doctrines, brought unto the Apostles all their books; and there were burned so many volumes, that it was the writer's task to make a valuation of them, and write down the sum of the price. [2456] This truly was for the glory of God, in order that even such lost men might not be despaired of by Him that knew how to seek that which had been lost. Therefore this man had been lost, is now sought, found, [2457] led hither, he bringeth with him books to be burned, by which he had been to be burned, so that when these have been thrown into the fire, he may himself pass over into a place of refreshment. Know ye that he, brethren, once knocked at the Church door before Easter: [2458] for before Easter he began to ask of the Church Christ's medicine. But because the art wherein he had been practised is of such sort as that it was suspected of lying and deceit, he was put off that he might not tempt; at length however he was admitted, that he might not more dangerously be tempted. Pray for him through Christ. Straightway to-day's prayer pour out for him to the Lord our God. For we know and are sure, that your prayer effaceth all his impieties. The Lord be with you.

Footnotes

[2358] Lat. LXI. Sermon to the people. [2359] On Ps. xxxix. p. 113, supra. [2360] Matt. xxiii. 12. [2361] Ps. xc. 1. [2362] Ps. lxi. 3. [2363] Some mss. "cannot." [2364] Gen. ii. 24; Eph. v. 31. [2365] Col. i. 24. [2366] Canonem. [2367] Pariatoria. [2368] Matt. xxiii. 35. [2369] Ps. ii. 1. [2370] Ps. xli. 5. [2371] Ps. cxviii. 13. [2372] 1, p. 251, supra. [2373] Gen. xxxvii. 36, xxxix. 20. [2374] Ps. cv. 18. [2375] Gen. xlii. 5. [2376] Ps. lxxxvii. 3. [2377] Ps. cxxxvii. 5. [2378] Or, "animal." [2379] 1 Cor. xv. 46. [2380] Gen. iv. 1, 2. [2381] Gen. xxv. 23. [2382] 1 Cor. xv. 46. [2383] Gen. xxv. 23. [2384] Josh. xviii. 28. [2385] Traducem. [2386] Rom. v. 19. [2387] 1 Cor. xv. 22. [2388] Col. iii. 9, 10; Eph. iv. 22, 24. [2389] Eph. v. 8. [2390] 1 Cor. x. 11. [2391] Magni. Ben conj. Mali, "evil." [2392] Dan. ii. 48, iii. 30. [2393] Matt. vi. 10. [2394] Luke i. 33. [2395] Ps. lxxxvii. 3. [2396] Angariam. [2397] 1 Pet. ii. 13, 14. [2398] Eph. vi. 5. [2399] Ps. lvii. 1. [2400] Matt. v. 41. [2401] Thus Septuagint; E.V. "Their delight is in lies." [2402] Ps. xxxv. 12. [2403] Exod. xxxii. 10. [2404] [The non-technical use of this word, here and elsewhere, by our author must be noted. Just so the Anglican Church speaks of matrimony as a sacrament, while jealously guarding the two which are sacraments, kat' exochen.--C.] [2405] Ps. cvi. 20. [2406] Isa. xl. 6. [2407] John iv. 7. [2408] John xix. 28. [2409] Matt. ix. 17. [2410] Ps. lv. 19. [2411] 2 Sam. v. 9. [2412] Ps. lxxii. 11. [2413] Matt. x. 22. [2414] Matt. xxiv. 12. [2415] Philip. iii. 20. [2416] Gen. iii. 14. [2417] Rom. viii. 25. [2418] Rom. iv. 2. [2419] Rom. viii. 30. [2420] Matt. ix. 13. [2421] Matt. ix. 12. [2422] Rom. viii. 24. [2423] Ps. lv. 22. [2424] Rom. i. 29, 30. [2425] Rom. viii. 31. [2426] Matt. xxii. 11. [2427] Matt. xii. 25. [2428] Matt. xxv. 41. [2429] Rom. ix. 14. [2430] Ps. xl. 4. [2431] Luke xii. 15. St. Augustin, habet. [2432] Heb. i. 1. [2433] Gen. iii. 17. [2434] Gen. iv. 6, etc. [2435] Matt. iii. 17. [2436] Magister. [2437] John i. 3. [2438] John xvi. 12. [2439] Col. ii. 3. [2440] John viii. 26. [2441] John viii. 44. [2442] Ps. lxxv. 7. [2443] Rom. ix. 22. [2444] Rom. ix. 20. [2445] Ps. lxxx. 5. [2446] 1 Cor. x. 13. [2447] Ps. lxix. 4. [2448] Rom. viii. 32. [2449] Magnum, Al. regnum, "the royal power." [2450] Rom. ix. 14. [2451] Ps. lxi. 3. [2452] 1 Cor. x. 13. [2453] When an astrologer was pointed out among the people about him, he added this. [2454] Ps. iv. 2. [2455] Al. "return to." [2456] Acts xix. 19. [2457] Luke xv. 32. [2458] [A glimpse of the ancient discipline. The public confession of the man is made through the bishop. Bingham, Antiquities, etc., b. xxi. cap. 1, 12 et seq.--C.] .


Psalm LXIII. [2459]

1. This psalm hath the title, "For David himself, when he was in the desert of Idumæa." By the name of Idumæa is understood this world. For Idumæa was a certain nation of men going astray, where idols were worshipped. In no good sense is put this Idumæa. If not in a good sense it is put, it must be understood that this life, wherein we suffer so great toils, and wherein to so great necessities we are made subject, by the name of Idumæa is signified. [2460] Even here is a desert where there is much thirst, and ye are to hear the voice of One now thirsting in the desert. But if we acknowledge ourselves as thirsting, we shall acknowledge ourselves as drinking also. For he that thirsteth in this world, in the world to come shall be satisfied, according to the Lord's saying, "Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for the same shall be satisfied." [2461] Therefore in this world we ought not to love fulness. Here we must thirst, in another place we shall be filled. But now in order that we may not faint in this desert, He sprinkleth upon us the dew of His word, and leaveth us not utterly to dry up, so that there should not be in our case any seeking of us again, but that we may so thirst as that we may drink. But in order that we may drink, with somewhat of His Grace we are sprinkled: nevertheless we thirst. And what saith our soul to God?

2. "God, my God, unto Thee from the light I watch" (ver. 1). What is to watch? It is, not to sleep. What is to sleep? There is a sleep of the soul; there is a sleep of the body. Sleep of body we all ought to have: because if sleep of body is not taken, a man fainteth, the body itself fainteth. For our frail body cannot long sustain a soul watching and on the stretch on active works; if for a long time the soul shall have been intent on active pursuits, the body being frail and earthly holdeth her not, sustaineth her not for ever in activity, and fainteth and falleth. Therefore God hath granted sleep to the body, whereby are recruited the members of the body, in order that they may be able to sustain the soul watching. But of this let us take heed, namely, that our soul herself sleep not: for evil is the sleep of the soul. Good is the sleep of the body, whereby is recruited the health of the body. But the sleep of the soul is to forget her God. Whatsoever soul shall have forgotten her God, sleepeth. Therefore the Apostle saith to certain persons that forgot their God, and being as it were in sleep, did act the follies of the worship of idols--the Apostle, I say, saith to certain persons, "Rise, thou that sleepest, and rise up from the dead, and Christ shall enlighten thee." [2462] Was the Apostle waking up one sleeping in body? Nay, but he was waking a soul sleeping, inasmuch as he was waking her, in order that she might be lightened by Christ. Therefore as to these same watchings saith this man, "God, my God, unto Thee from the light I watch." For thou wouldest not watch of thyself, unless there should arise thy Light, to wake thee from sleep. For Christ lighteneth souls, and maketh them to watch: but if His light He taketh away, they slumber. For for this cause to Him there is said in another psalm, "Lighten mine eyes, that I may never slumber in death." [2463] ...

3. "My soul hath thirsted for Thee" (ver. 2). Behold that desert of Idumæa. See how here he thirsteth: but see what good thing is here, "Hath thirsted for Thee." For there are they that thirst, but not for God. For every one that willeth anything to be granted to him, is in the heat of longing; the longing itself is the thirst of the soul. And see ye what [2464] longings there are in the hearts of men: one longeth for gold, another longeth for silver, another longeth for possessions, another inheritance, another abundance of money, another many herds, another a wife, another honours, another sons. Ye see those longings, how they are in the hearts of men. All men are inflamed with longing, and scarce is found one to say, "My soul hath thirsted for Thee." For men thirst for the world: and perceive not themselves to be in the desert of Idumæa, where their souls ought to thirst for God....

4. Wisdom therefore must be thirsted after, righteousness must be thirsted after. With it we shall not be satisfied, with it we shall not be filled, save when this life shall have been ended, and we shall have come to that which God hath promised. For God hath promised equality with Angels: [2465] and now the Angels thirst not as we do, they hunger not as we do; but they have the fulness of truth, of light, of immortal wisdom. Therefore blessed they are, and out of so great blessedness, because they are in that City, the Heavenly Jerusalem, afar from whence we now are sojourning in a strange land, they observe us sojourners, and they pity us, and by the command of the Lord they help us, in order that to this common country sometime we may return, and there with them sometime with the Lord's fountain of truth and eternity we may be filled. Now therefore let our soul thirst: whence doth our flesh also thirst, and this in many ways? "In many ways for Thee," he saith, "my flesh also." Because to our flesh also is promised Resurrection. As to our soul is promised blessedness, so also to our flesh is promised resurrection....For if God hath made us that were not, is it a great thing for Him to make again us that were? Therefore let not this seem to you to be incredible, because ye see dead men as it were decaying, and passing into ashes and into dust. Or if any dead man be burned, or if dogs tear him in pieces, do ye think that from this he will not rise again? All things which are dismembered, and into a sort of dust do decay, are entire with God. For into those elements of the world they pass, whence at first they have come, when we were made: we do not see them; but yet God will bring them forth, He knoweth whence, because even before we were, He created us from whence He knew. Such a resurrection of the flesh therefore to us is promised, as that, although it be the same flesh that now we carry [2466] which is to rise again, yet it hath not the corruption which now it hath. For now because of the corruption of frailty, if we eat not, we faint and are hungry; if we drink not, we faint and are thirsty; if long time we watch, we faint and sleep; if long time we sleep, we faint, therefore we watch....Secondly, see how without any standing is our flesh: for infancy passeth away into boyhood, and thou seekest infancy, and infancy is not, for now instead of infancy is boyhood: again this same also passeth into youth, thou seekest boyhood and findest not: the young man becometh a middle-aged man, thou seekest the young man and he is not: the middle-aged man becometh an old man, thou seekest a middle-aged man and findest not: and an old man dieth, thou seekest an old man and findest not: our age therefore standeth not still: everywhere is weariness, everywhere faintness, everywhere corruption. Observing what a hope of resurrection God promiseth to us, in all those our manifold faintings we thirst for that incorruption: and so our flesh manifoldly doth thirst for God.

5. Nevertheless, my brethren, the flesh of a good Christian and a believer even in this world for God doth thirst: for if the flesh hath need of bread, if it hath need of water, if it hath need of wine, if it hath need of money, if this flesh hath need of a beast, from God it ought to seek it, not from demons and idols and I know not what powers of this world. For there are certain who when they suffer hunger in this world, leave God and ask Mercury or ask Jove to give unto them, or her whom they call "Heavenly," [2467] or any the like demons: not for God their flesh thirsteth. But they that thirst for God, [2468] everywhere ought to thirst for Him, both soul and flesh: for to the soul also God giveth His bread, that is the Word of Truth: and to the flesh God giveth the things which are necessary, for God hath made both soul and flesh. For the sake of thy flesh thou askest of demons: hath God made the soul, and the demons made the flesh? He that hath made the soul, the Same hath made the flesh also: He that hath made both of them, the Same feedeth both of them. Let either part of us thirst for God, and after labour manifold let either simply be filled.

6. But where thirsteth our soul, and our flesh manifoldly, not for any one but for Thee, O Lord, that is our God? it thirsteth where? "In a land desert, and without way, and without water." Of this world we have spoken, the same is Idumæa, this is the desert of Idumæa, whence the Psalm hath received its title. "In a land desert." Too little it is to say "desert," where no man dwelleth; it is besides, both "without way, and without water." O that the same desert had even a way: O that into this a man running, even knew where he might thence get forth!...Evil is the desert, horrible, and to be feared: and nevertheless God hath pitied us, and hath made for us a way in the desert, Himself our Lord Jesus Christ: [2469] and hath made for us a consolation in the desert, in sending to us preachers of His Word: and hath given to us water in the desert, by fulfilling with the Holy Spirit His preachers, in order that there might be created in them a well of water springing up unto life everlasting. [2470] And, lo! we have here all things, but they are not of the desert....

7. "Thus in a holy thing I have appeared to Thee, that I might see Thy power and Thy glory" (ver. 3)....Unless a man first thirst in that desert, that is in the evil wherein he is, he never arriveth at the good, which is God. But "I have appeared to Thee," he saith, "in a holy thing." Now in a holy thing is there great consolation. "I have appeared to Thee," is what? In order that Thou mightest see me: and for this reason Thou hast seen me, in order that I might see Thee. "I have appeared to Thee, that I might see." He hath not said, "I have appeared to Thee, that Thou mightest see:" but, "I have appeared to Thee, that I might see Thy power and Thy glory." Whence also the Apostle, "But now," he saith, "knowing God, nay, having been known of God." [2471] For first ye have appeared to God, in order that to you God might be able to appear. "That I might see Thy power and Thy glory." In truth in that forsaken place, that is, in that desert, if as though from the desert a man striveth to obtain enough for his sustenance, he will never see the power of the Lord, and the glory of the Lord, but he will remain to die of thirst, and will find neither way, nor consolation, nor water, whereby he may endure in the desert. But when he shall have lifted up himself to God, so as to say to Him out of all his inward parts, "My soul hath thirsted for Thee; how manifoldly for Thee also my flesh!" lest perchance even the things necessary for the flesh of others he ask, and not of God, or else long not for that resurrection of the flesh, which God hath promised to us: when, I say, he shall have lifted up himself, he will have no small consolations.

8. ...But ye have heard but now when the Gospel was being read in what terms He hath notified His Majesty: "I and My Father are One." [2472] Behold how great a Majesty and how great an Equality with the Father hath come down to the flesh because of our infirmity. Behold how greatly beloved we have been, before that we loved God. If before that we loved God, so much by Him we were beloved, as that His Son, Equal with Himself, He made a Man for our sake, what doth He reserve for us now loving Him? Therefore many men think it to be a very small thing that the Son of God hath appeared on earth; because they are not in the Holy One, to them hath not appeared the power of the Same and the glory of the Same: that is, not yet have they a heart made holy, whence they may perceive the eminence of that virtue, and may render thanks to God, nor that to which for their own sakes so great an One came, unto what a nativity, unto what a Passion, they are not able to see, His glory and His power. [2473]

9. "For better is Thy mercy than [2474] lives." Many are the lives of men, but one life God promiseth: and He giveth not this to us as if for our merits but for His mercy....For what is so just a thing as that a sinner should be punished? Though a just thing it be that a sinner should be punished, it hath belonged to the mercy of Him not to punish a sinner but to justify him, and of a sinner to make a just man, and of an ungodly man to make a godly man. Therefore "His mercy is better than lives." What lives? Those which for themselves men have chosen. One hath chosen for himself a life of business, another a country life, another a life of usury, another a military life; one this, another that. Divers are the lives, but "better is Thy" life "than" our "lives."..."My lips shall praise Thee." My lips would not praise Thee, unless before me were to go Thy mercy. By Thy gift Thee I praise, through Thy mercy Thee I praise. For I should not be able to praise God, unless He gave me to be able to praise Him.

10. "So I will speak good of Thee in my life, and in Thy name I will lift up my hands" (ver. 5). Now in my life which to me Thou hast given, not in that which I have chosen after the world with the rest among many lives, but that which Thou hast given to me through Thy mercy, that I should praise Thee. "So I will speak good of Thee in my life." What is "so"? That to Thy mercy I may ascribe my life wherein Thee I praise, not to my merits. "And in Thy name I will lift up my hands." Lift up therefore hands in prayer. Our Lord hath lifted up for us His hands on the Cross, and stretched out were His hands for us, and therefore were His hands stretched out on the Cross, in order that our hands might be stretched out unto good works: because His Cross hath brought us mercy. Behold, He hath lifted up hands, and hath offered for us Himself a Sacrifice to God, and through that Sacrifice have been effaced all our sins. Let us also lift up our hands to God in prayer: and our hands being lifted up to God shall not be confounded, if they be exercised in good works. For what doth he that lifteth up hands? Whence hath it been commanded that with hands lifted up we should pray to God? For the Apostle saith, "Lifting up pure hands without anger and dissension." [2475] It is in order that when thou liftest up hands to God, there may come into thy mind thy works. For whereas those hands are lifted up that thou mayest obtain that which thou wilt, those same hands thou thinkest in good works to exercise, that they may not blush to be lifted up to God. "In thy name I will lift up my hands." Those are our prayers in this Idumæa, in this desert, in the land without water and without way, where for us Christ is the Way, [2476] but not the way of this earth.

11. ...Already our fathers are dead, but God liveth: here we could not always have fathers, but there we shall alway have one living Father, when we have our father-land....What sort of country is that? But thou lovest here riches. God Himself shall be to thee thy riches. But thou lovest a good fountain. What is more passing clear than that wisdom? What more bright? Whatsoever is an object of love here, in place of all thou shalt have Him that hath made all things, "as though with marrow and fatness my soul should be filled: and lips of exultation shall praise Thy name." In this desert, in Thy name I will lift up my hands: let my soul be filled as though with marrow and fatness, "and my lips with exultation shall praise Thy name." For now is prayer, so long as there is thirst: when thirst shall have passed away, there passeth away praying and there succeedeth praising. "And lips of exultation shall praise Thy name."

12. "If I have remembered Thee upon my bed, in the dawnings I did meditate on thee (ver. 7): because Thou hast become my helper" (ver. 8). His "bed" he calleth his rest. When any one is at rest, let him be mindful of God; when any one is at rest, let him not by rest be dissolved, and forget God: if mindful he is of God when he is at rest, in his actions on God he doth meditate. For the dawn he hath called actions, because every man at dawn beginneth to do something. What therefore hath he said? If therefore I was not mindful on my bed, in the dawn also I did not meditate on Thee. Can he that thinketh not of God when he is at leisure, in his actions think of God? But he that is mindful of Him when he is at rest, on the Same doth meditate when he is doing, lest in action he should come short. Therefore he hath added what? "Because Thou has become my helper." For unless God aid our good works, they cannot be accomplished by us. And worthy things we ought to work: that is, as though in the light, since by Christ showing the way we work. Whosoever worketh evil things, in the night he worketh, not in the dawn; according to the Apostle, saying, "They that are drunken, in the night are drunken; and they that sleep, in the night do sleep; let us that are of the day, be sober." [2477] He exhorteth us that after the day we should walk honestly: "As in the day, honestly let us walk." [2478] And again, "Ye," he saith, "are sons of light, and sons of day; we are not of night nor of darkness." [2479] Who are sons of night, and sons of darkness? They that work all evil things. To such a degree they are sons of night, that they fear lest the things which they work should be seen....No one therefore in the dawn worketh, except him that in Christ worketh. But he that while at leisure is mindful of Christ, on the Same doth meditate in all his actions, and He is a helper to him in a good work, lest through his weakness he fail. "And in the covering of Thy wings I will exult." I am cheerful in good works, because over me is the covering of Thy wings. If thou protect me not, forasmuch as I am a chicken, the kite will seize me. For our Lord Himself saith in a certain place to that Jerusalem, a certain city, where He was crucified: "Jerusalem," He saith, "Jerusalem, how often I have willed to gather thy sons, as though a hen her chickens, and thou wouldest not." [2480] Little ones we are: therefore may God protect us under the shadow of His wings. What when we shall have grown greater? A good thing it is for us that even then He should protect us, so that under Him the greater, alway we be chickens. For alway He is greater, however much we may have grown. Let no one say, let Him protect me while I am a little one: as if sometime he would attain to such magnitude, as should be self-sufficient. Without the protection of God, nought thou art. Alway by Him let us desire to be protected: then alway in Him we shall have power to be great, if alway under Him little we be. "And in the covering of Thy wings I will exult."

13. "My soul hath been glued on behind Thee" (ver. 9). See ye one longing, see ye one thirsting, see ye how he cleaveth to God. Let there spring up in you this affection. If already it is sprouting, let it be rained upon and grow: let it come to such strength, that ye also may say from the whole heart, "My soul hath been glued on behind Thee." Where is that same glue? The glue itself is love. Have thou love, wherewith as with glue thy soul may be glued on behind God. Not with God, but behind God; that He may go before, thou mayest follow. For he that shall have willed to go before God, by his own counsel would live, and will not follow the commandments of God. Because of this even Peter was rebuked, when he willed to give counsel to Christ, who was going to suffer for us...."Far be it from Thee, O Lord, be Thou merciful to Thyself." And the Lord, "Go back behind Me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things which are of God, but the things which are of men." [2481] Wherefore, the things which are of men? Because to go before Me thou desirest, go back behind Me, in order that thou mayest follow me: so that now following Christ he might say, "My soul hath been glued on behind Thee." With reason he addeth, "Me Thy right hand hath taken up." This Christ hath said in us: that is in the Man [2482] which He was bearing for us, which He was offering for us, He hath said this. The Church also said this in Christ, she saith it in her Head: for she too hath suffered here great persecutions, and by her individual members even now she suffereth....

14. "But themselves in vain have sought my soul. They shall go unto the lower places of the earth" (ver. 9). Earth they were unwilling to lose, when they crucified Christ: into the lower places of the earth they have gone. What are the lower places of the earth? Earthly lusts. Better it is to walk upon earth, than by lust to go under earth. For every one that in prejudice of his salvation desireth earthly things, is under the earth: because earth he hath put before him, earth upon himself he hath put, and himself beneath he hath laid. They therefore fearing to lose earth, said what of the Lord Jesus Christ, when they saw great multitudes go after Him, forasmuch as He was doing wonderful things? "If we shall have let Him go alive, there will come the Romans, and will take away from us both place and nation." [2483] They feared to lose earth, and they went under the earth: there befell them even what they feared. For they willed to kill Christ, that they might not lose earth; and earth they therefore lost, because Christ they slew. For when Christ had been slain, because the Lord Himself had said to them, "The kingdom shall be taken from you, and shall be given up to a nation doing righteousness:" [2484] there followed them great calamities of persecutions: there conquered them Roman emperors, and kings of the nations: they were shut out from that very place where they crucified Christ, and now that place is full of Christian praisers: it hath no Jew, it hath been cleared of the enemies of Christ, it hath been fulfilled with the praisers of Christ. Behold, they have lost at the hands of the Romans the place, because Christ they slew, who to this end slew, that they might not lose the place at the hands of the Romans. Therefore, "They shall enter into the lower places of the earth."

15. "They shall be delivered unto the hands of the sword" (ver. 10). In truth, thus it hath visibly befallen them, they have been taken by storm by enemies breaking in. "Portions of foxes they shall be." Foxes he calleth the kings of the world, that then were when Judæa was conquered. Hear in order that ye may know and perceive, that those he calleth foxes. Herod the king the Lord Himself hath called a fox. "Go ye," He saith, "and tell that fox." [2485] See and observe, my brethren: Christ as King they would not have, and portions of foxes they have been made. For when Pilate the deputy governor in Judæa slew Christ at the voices of the Jews, he said to the same Jews, "Your King shall I crucify?" [2486] Because He was called King of the Jews, and He was the true King. And they rejecting Christ said, "We have no king but Cæsar." They rejected a Lamb, chose a fox: deservedly portions of foxes they were made.

16. "The King in truth," [2487] is so written, because they chose a fox, a King in truth they would not have. "The King in truth:" that is, the true King, to whom the title was inscribed, when He suffered. For Pilate set this title inscribed over His Head, "The King of the Jews," in the Hebrew, Greek, and Latin tongues: in order that all they that should pass by might read of the glory of the King, and the infamy of the Jews themselves, who, rejecting the true King, chose the fox Cæsar. "The King in truth shall rejoice in God." They have been made portions of foxes...."Stopped up is the mouth of men speaking unjust things." No one dareth now openly to speak against Christ, now all men fear Christ. "For stopped up is the mouth of men speaking unjust things." When in weakness the Lamb was, even foxes were bold against the Lamb. There conquered the Lion of the tribe of Judah, [2488] and the foxes were silenced.

Footnotes

[2459] Lat. LXII. Sermon to the Commonalty. [2460] 1 Sam. xxi. 7. See on "the Edomite," p. 199. [2461] Matt. v. 6. [2462] Eph. v. 14. [2463] Ps. xiii. 3. [2464] Quanta. [2465] Luke xx. 36. [2466] [The same as to identity (i.e., of continuity), not the same as to material. But see Tertullian, vol. iii. 562.--C.] [2467] Ed. Ben. refers to Tertullian, Apol. xxiii., where Virgo Coelestis is represented as "promising rain," and St. Augustin, De Civ. Dei, ii. 4, where the same goddess is mentioned as worshipped together with Berecynthia, the mother of the gods. [An intimation of the lingerings of heathenism, now Paganism, the religion of Rustics. But how easily this Virgo Coelestis became a new idolatry among Christians is here illustrated. Compare Coleridge's paraphrase of Schiller, "The fair humanities of old religion," etc.--C.] [2468] Oxf. mss. Deo. [2469] John xiv. 6. [2470] John iv. 14. [2471] Gal. iv. 9. [2472] John x. 30. [2473] The construction here seems imperfect. [2474] Lat. "above." [2475] 1 Tim. ii. 8. [2476] John xiv. 6. [2477] 1 Thess. v. 7, 8. [2478] Rom. xiii. 13. [2479] 1 Thess. v. 5. [2480] Matt. xxiii. 37. [2481] Matt. xvi. 22, 23. [2482] He does not mean by this phrase to attribute a twofold personality to our Lord, as appears from his Retractations on Ps. i. 1. [2483] John xi. 48. [2484] Matt. xxi. 43. [2485] Luke xiii. 32. [2486] John xix. 15. [2487] Rex vero. [2488] Rev. v. 5. .


Psalm LXIV. [2489]

1. Though chiefly the Lord's Passion is noticed in this Psalm, neither could the Martyrs have been strong, unless they had beheld Him, that first suffered; nor such things would they have endured in suffering, as He did, unless they had hoped for such things in the Resurrection as He had showed of Himself: but your Holiness [2490] knoweth that our Head is our Lord Jesus Christ, and that all that cleave unto Him are the members of Him the Head ....And let no one say, that now-a-days in tribulation of passions we are not. For alway ye have heard this fact, how in those times the whole Church together as it were was smitten against, but now through individuals she is tried. Bound indeed is the devil, that he may not do as much as he could, that he may not do as much as he would: nevertheless, he is permitted to tempt as much as is expedient to men advancing. It is not expedient for us to be without temptations: nor should we beseech God that we be not tempted, but that we be not "led into temptation." [2491]

2. Say we, therefore, ourselves also: "Hearken, O God, to my prayer, while I am troubled; from fear of the enemy deliver my soul" (ver. 1). Enemies have raged against the Martyrs: for what was that voice of Christ's Body praying? For this it was praying, to be delivered from enemies, and that enemies might not have power to slay them. Were they not therefore hearkened to, because they were slain; and hath God forsaken His servants of a contrite heart, and despised men hoping in Him? Far be it. For "who hath called upon God, and hath been forsaken; who hath hoped in Him, and hath been deserted by Him?" [2492] They were hearkened to therefore, and they were slain; and yet from enemies they were delivered. Others being afraid gave consent, and lived, and yet the same by enemies were swallowed up. The slain were delivered, the living were swallowed up. Thence is also that voice of thanksgiving, "Perchance alive they would have swallowed us up." [2493] ...Therefore for this prayeth the voice of the Martyrs, "From fear of the enemy deliver Thou my soul:" not so that the enemy may not slay me, but that I may not fear an enemy slaying. For that to be fulfilled in the Psalm the servant prayeth, which but now in the Gospel the Lord was commanding. What but now was the Lord commanding? "Fear not them that kill the body, but the soul are not able to kill; but Him rather fear ye, that hath power to kill both body and soul in the hell of fire." [2494] And He repeated, "Yea, I say unto you, fear Him." [2495] Who are they that kill the body? Enemies. What was the Lord commanding? That they should not be feared. Be prayer offered, therefore, that He may grant what He hath commanded. "From fear of the enemy deliver my soul." Deliver me from fear of the enemy, and make me submit to the fear of Thee. I would not fear him that killeth the body, but I would fear Him that hath power to kill both body and soul in the hell of fire. For not from fear would I be free: but from fear of the enemy being free, under fear of the Lord a servant.

3. "Thou hast protected me from the gathering together of malignants, and from the multitude of men working iniquity" (ver. 2). Now upon Himself our Head let us look. Like things many Martyrs have suffered: but nothing doth shine out so brightly as the Head of Martyrs; in Him rather let us behold what they have gone through. Protected He was from the multitude of malignants, God protecting Himself, the Son Himself and the Manhood [2496] which He was carrying protecting His flesh: because Son of Man He is, and Son of God He is; Son of God because of the form of God, Son of Man because of the form of a servant: having in His power to lay down His life: and to take it again. [2497] To Him what could enemies do? They killed body, soul they killed not. Observe. Too little therefore it were for the Lord to exhort the Martyrs with word, unless He had enforced it by example. Ye know what a gathering together there was of malignant Jews, and what a multitude there was of men working iniquity. What iniquity? That wherewith they willed to kill the Lord Jesus Christ. "So many good works," He saith, "I have shown to you, for which of these will ye to kill Me?" [2498] He endured all their infirm, [2499] He healed all their sick, He preached the Kingdom of Heaven, He held not His peace at their vices, so that these same should have been displeasing to them, rather than the Physician by whom they were being made whole: for all these His remedies being ungrateful, like men delirious in high fever raving at the physician, they devised the plan of destroying Him that had come to heal them; as though therein they would prove whether He were indeed a man, that could die, or were somewhat above men, and would not suffer Himself to die. The word of these same men we perceive in the wisdom of Solomon: "with death most vile," say they, "let us condemn Him; let us question Him, for there will be regard in the discourses of Him; for if truly Son of God He is, let Him deliver Him." [2500] Let us see therefore what was done.

4. "For they have whet like a sword their tongues" (ver. 3). Which saith another Psalm also, "Sons of men; their teeth are arms and arrows, and their tongue is a sharp sword." [2501] Let not the Jews say, we have not killed Christ. For to this end they gave Him to Pilate the judge, in order that they themselves might seem as it were guiltless of His death....But if he is guilty because he did it though unwillingly, are they innocent who compelled him to do it? By no means. But he gave sentence against Him, and commanded Him to be crucified: and in a manner himself killed Him; ye also, O ye Jews, killed Him. Whence did ye kill Him? With the sword of the tongue: for ye did whet your tongues. And when did ye smite, except when ye cried out, "Crucify, Crucify"? [2502]

5. But on this account we must not pass over that which hath come into mind, lest perchance the reading of the Divine Scriptures should disquiet any one. One Evangelist saith that the Lord was crucified at the sixth hour, [2503] and another at the third hour: [2504] unless we understand it, we are disquieted. And when the sixth hour was already beginning, Pilate is said to have sat on the judgment-seat: and in reality when the Lord was lifted up upon the tree, it was the sixth hour. But another Evangelist, looking unto the mind of the Jews, how they wished themselves to seem guiltless of the death of the Lord, by his account proveth them guilty, saying, that the Lord was crucified at the third hour. But considering all the circumstance of the history, how many things might have been done, when before Pilate the Lord was being accused, in order that He might be crucified; we find that it might have been the third hour, when they cried out, "Crucify, Crucify." Therefore with more truth they killed at the time when they cried out. The ministers of the magistrate at the sixth hour crucified, the transgressors of the law at the third hour cried out: that which those did with hands at the sixth hour, these did with tongue at the third hour. More guilty are they that with crying out were raging, than they that in obedience were ministering. This is the whole of the Jews' sagacity, this is that which they sought as some great matter. Let us kill and let us not kill: so let us kill, as that we may not ourselves be judged to have killed.

6. "They have bended the bow, a bitter thing, in order that they may shoot in secret One unspotted" (ver. 4). The bow he calleth lyings in wait. For he that with sword fighteth hand to hand, openly fighteth: he that shooteth an arrow deceiveth, in order to strike. For the arrow smiteth, before it is foreseen to come to wound. But whom could the lyings in wait of the human heart escape? Would they escape our Lord Jesus Christ, who had no need that any one should bear witness to Him of man? "For Himself knew what was in man," [2505] as the Evangelist testifieth. Nevertheless, let us hear them, and look upon them in their doings as if the Lord knew not what they devise. The expression he used, "They have bended the bow," is the same as, "in secret:" as if they were deceiving by lyings in wait. For ye know by what artifices they did this, how with money they bribed a disciple that clave to Him, in order that He might be betrayed to them, [2506] how they procured false witnesses; with what lyings in wait and artifices they wrought, "in order that they might shoot in secret One unspotted." Great iniquity! Behold from a secret place there cometh an arrow, which striketh One unspotted, who had not even so much of spot as could be pierced with an arrow. A Lamb indeed He is unspotted, wholly unspotted, alway unspotted; not one from whom spots have been removed but that hath contracted not any spots. For He hath made many unspotted by forgiving sins, being Himself unspotted by not having sins. "Suddenly they shall shoot Him, and shall not fear." O heart hardened, to wish to kill a Man that did raise the dead! "Suddenly:" that is, insidiously, as if unexpectedly, as if not foreseen. For the Lord was like to one knowing not, being among men knowing not what He knew not and what He knew: yea, knowing not that there was nothing that He knew not, and that He knew all things, and to this end had come in order that they might do that which they thought they did by their own power.

7. "They have confirmed to themselves malignant discourse" (ver. 5). There were done so great miracles, they were not moved, they persisted in the design of the evil discourse. He was given up to the judge: the judge trembleth, and they tremble not that have given Him up to the judge: trembleth power, and ferocity trembleth not: he would wash his hands, and they stain their tongues. But wherefore this? "They have confirmed to themselves malignant discourse." How many things did Pilate, how many things that they might be restrained! What said he? what did he? But "they have confirmed to themselves malignant discourse: Crucify, crucify." [2507] The repetition is the confirmation of the "malignant discourse." Let us see in what manner "they have confirmed to themselves malignant discourse." "Your King shall I crucify?" They said, "We have no king but Cæsar alone." [2508] He was offering for King the Son of God: to a man they betook themselves: worthy were they to have the one, and not have the Other. "I find not anything in this Man," saith the judge, "wherefore He is worthy of death." [2509] And they that "confirmed malignant discourse," said, "His blood be upon us and upon our sons." [2510] "They confirmed malignant discourse," not to the Lord, but to "themselves." For how not to themselves when they say, "Upon us and upon our sons"? That which therefore they confirmed, to themselves they confirmed: because the same voice is elsewhere, "They dug before my face a ditch, and fell into it." Death killed not the Lord, but He death: but them iniquity killed, because they would not kill iniquity....

8. "They told, in order that they might hide traps: they said, Who shall see them?" (ver. 5). They thought they would escape Him, whom they were killing, that they would escape God. Behold, suppose Christ was a man, like the rest of men, and knew not what was being contrived for Him: doth God also know not? O heart of man! wherefore hast thou said to thyself, Who seeth me? when He seeth that hath made thee? "They said, Who shall see them?" [2511] God did see, Christ also was seeing: because Christ is also God. But wherefore did they think that He saw not? Hear the words following.

9. "They have searched out iniquity, they have failed, searching searchings" (ver. 6): that is, deadly and acute designs. Let Him not be betrayed by us, but by His disciple: let Him not be killed by us, but by the judge: let us do all, and let us seem to have done nothing....

10. But what befell them? "They failed searching searchings." Whence? Because he saith, "Who shall see them?" that is, that no one saw [2512] them. This they were saying, this among themselves they thought, that no one saw them. See what befalleth an evil soul: it departeth from the light of truth, and because itself seeth not God, it thinketh that itself is not seen by God....

11. For what followeth? "There shall draw near a man and a deep heart." They said, Who shall see us? They failed in searching searchings, evil counsels. There drew near a man to those same counsels, He suffered Himself to be held as a man. For He would not have been held except He were man, or have been seen except He were man, or have been smitten except He were man, or have been crucified or have died except He were man. There drew near a man therefore to all those sufferings, which in Him would have been of no avail except He were Man. But if He were not Man, there would not have been deliverance for man. There hath drawn near a Man "and a deep heart," that is, a secret "heart:" presenting before human faces Man, keeping within God: concealing the "form of God," wherein He is equal with the Father, [2513] and presenting the form of a servant, wherein He is less than the Father. For Himself hath spoken of both: but one thing there is which He saith in the form of God, another thing in the form of a servant. He hath said in the form of God, "I and the Father are one:" [2514] He hath said in the form of a servant, "For the Father is greater than I." [2515] Whence in the form of God saith He, "I and the Father are one"?...

12. "Arrows of infants have been made the strokes of them" (ver. 7). Where is that savageness? where is that roar of the lion, of the people roaring and saying, "Crucify, Crucify"? [2516] Where are the lyings in wait of men bending the bow? Have not "the strokes of them been made the arrows of infants"? Ye know in what manner infants make to themselves arrows of little canes. What do they strike, or whence do they strike? What is the hand, or what the weapon? what are the arms, or what the limbs?

13. "And the tongues of them have been made weak upon them" (ver. 8). Let them whet now their tongues like a sword, let them confirm to themselves malignant discourse. Deservedly to themselves they have confirmed [2517] it, because "the tongues of them have been made weak upon them." Could this be strong against God? "Iniquity," he saith, "hath lied to itself;" [2518] "their tongues have been made weak upon them." Behold, the Lord hath risen, that was killed....What thinkest thou of Him who from the cross came not down, and from the tomb rose again? What therefore did they effect? But even if the Lord had not risen again, what would they have effected, except what the persecutors of the martyrs have also effected? For the Martyrs have not yet risen again, and nevertheless they have effected nothing; of them not yet rising again we are now celebrating the nativities. Where is the madness of their raging? To what did they bring those their searchings, in which searchings they failed, so that even, when the Lord was dead and buried, they set guards at the tomb? For they said to Pilate, "That deceiver;" by this name the Lord Jesus Christ was called, for the comfort of His servants when they are called deceivers; they say therefore to Pilate, "That deceiver said when yet living, After three days I will rise again:" [2519] ...They set for guards soldiers at the sepulchre. At the earth quaking, the Lord rose again: such miracles were done about the sepulchre, that even the very soldiers that had come for guards were made witnesses, if they chose to tell the truth: but the same covetousness which had led captive a disciple, the companion of Christ, led captive also the soldier that was guard of the sepulchre. We give you, they say, money; [2520] and say ye, while yourselves were sleeping there came His disciples, and took Him away....Sleeping witnesses ye adduce: truly thou thyself hast fallen asleep, that in searching such devices hast failed. If they were sleeping, what could they see? if nothing they saw, how are they witnesses? But "they failed in searching searchings:" failed of the light of God, failed in the very completion of their designs: when that which they willed, nowise they were able to complete, surely they failed. Wherefore this? Because "there drew near a Man and a deep heart, and God was exalted."...

14. "And every man feared" (ver. 9). They that feared not, were not even men. "Every man feared;" that is, every one using reason to perceive the things which were done. Whence they that feared not, must rather be called cattle, rather beasts savage and cruel. A lion ramping and roaring is that people as yet. But in truth every man feared: that is, they that would believe, that trembled at the judgment to come. "And every man feared: and they declared the works of God."..."And every man hath feared: and they have declared the works of God, and His doings they have perceived." What is, "His doings they have perceived"? Was it, O Lord Jesus Christ, that Thou wast silent, and like a sheep for a victim wast being led, and didst not open before the shearer Thy mouth, [2521] and we thought Thee to be set in smiting and in grief, [2522] and knowing how to bear weakness? [2523] Was it that Thou wast hiding Thy beauty, O Thou beautiful in form before the sons of men? [2524] Was it that Thou didst not seem to have beauty nor grace? [2525] Thou didst bear on the Cross men reviling and saying, "If Son of God He is, let Him come down from the Cross." [2526] ...This thing they, that would have had Him come down from the Cross, perceived not: but when He rose again, and being glorified ascended into Heaven, they perceived the works of God.

15. "The just man shall rejoice in the Lord" (ver. 10). Now the just man is not sad. For sad were the disciples at the Lord's being crucified; overcome with sadness, sorrowing they departed, they thought they had lost hope. He rose again, even when appearing to them He found them sad. He held the eyes of two men that walked in the way, so that by them he was not known, and He found them groaning and sighing, and He held them until He had expounded the Scriptures, and by the same Scriptures had shown that so it ought to have been done as it was done. [2527] For He showed in the Scriptures, how after the third day it behoved the Lord to rise again. [2528] And how on the third day would He have risen again, if from the Cross He had come down?...Therefore let us all rejoice in the Lord, let us all after the faith be One Just Man, and let us all in one Body hold One Head, and let us rejoice in the Lord, not in ourselves: because our Good is not ourselves to ourselves, but He that hath made us. Himself is our good to make us glad. And let no one rejoice in himself, no one rely on himself, no one despair of himself: let no one rely on any man, whom he ought to bring in to be the partner of his own hope, not the giver of the hope.

16. Now because the Lord hath risen again, now because He hath ascended into Heaven, now because He hath showed that there is another life, now because it is evident that His counsels, wherein He lay concealed in deep heart, were not empty, because to this end That Blood was shed to be the price of the redeemed; now because all things are evident, because all things have been preached, because all things have been believed, under the whole of heaven, "the just man shall rejoice in the Lord, and shall hope in Him; and all men shall be praised that are right in heart."...God is displeasing to thee, and thou art pleasing to thyself, of perverted and crooked heart thou art: and this is the worse, that the heart of God thou wouldest correct by thy heart, to make Him do what thou wilt have whereas thou oughtest to do what He willeth. What then? Thou wouldest make crooked the heart of God which alway is right, according to the depravity of thy own heart? How much better to correct thy heart by the rectitude of God? Hath not thy Lord taught thee this, of Whose Passion but now were we speaking? Was He not bearing thy weakness, when He said, "Sad is My soul even unto death"? [2529] Was He not figuring thyself in Himself, when He was saying, "Father, if it be possible, let there pass from Me this cup"? [2530] For the hearts of the Father and of the Son were not two and different: but in the form of a servant He carried thy heart, that He might teach it by His example. Now behold trouble found out as it were another heart of thine, which willed that there should pass away that which was impending: but God would not. God consenteth not to thy heart, do thou consent to the heart of God.

17. What followeth? If "there shall be praised all men right in heart," there shall be condemned the crooked in heart. Two things are set before thee now, choose while there is time....If of crooked heart thou hast become, there will come that Judgment, there will appear all the reasons on account of which God doeth all these things: and thou that wouldest not in this life correct thy heart by the rectitude of God, and prepare thyself for the right hand, where "there shall be praised all men right in heart," wilt be on the left, where at that time thou shalt hear, "Go ye into fire everlasting, that hath been prepared for the devil and his angels." [2531] And will there be then time to correct the heart? Now therefore correct, brethren, now correct. Who doth hinder? Psalm is chanted, Gospel is read, Reader crieth, Preacher crieth; long-suffering is the Lord; thou sinnest, and He spareth; still thou sinnest, still He spareth, and still thou addest sin to sin. How long is God long-suffering? Thou wilt find God just also. We terrify because we fear; teach us not to fear, and we terrify no more. But better it is that God teach us to fear, than that any man teach us not to fear....Thou bringest forth grain, barn expect thou; bringest forth thorns, fire expect thou. But not yet hath come either the time of the barn or the time of the fire: now let there be preparation, and there will not be fear. In the name of Christ both we who speak are living, and ye to whom we speak are living: for amending our plan, and changing evil life into a good life, is there no place, is there no time? Can it not, if thou wilt, be done to-day? Can it not, if thou wilt, be now done? What must thou buy in order to do it, what specifics [2532] must thou seek? To what Indies must thou sail? What ship prepare? Lo, while I am speaking, change the heart; and there is done what so often and so long while is cried out for, that it be done, and which bringeth forth everlasting punishment if it be not done.

Footnotes

[2489] Lat. LXIII. Sermon to the Commonalty while keeping the festival of the holy Martyrs. [2490] [Preached in the presence of a bishop, thus addressed.--C.] [2491] Matt. vi. 13. [2492] Ecclus. ii. 10. [2493] Ps. cxxiv. 3. [2494] Matt. x. 28. [2495] Luke xii. 5. [2496] Homine. See on Ps. i. Retrs. [2497] John x. 18. [2498] John x. 32. [2499] Oxf. mss. "infirmities." [2500] Wisd. ii. 20, 18. [2501] Ps. lvii. 4. [2502] Luke xxiii. 21. [2503] John xix. 14. [2504] Mark xv. 25. [2505] John ii. 25. [2506] Matt. xxvi. 14, 15. [2507] Luke xxiii. 21. [2508] John xix. 15. [2509] Luke xxiii. 14, 20, 22. [2510] Matt. xxvii. 25. [2511] Eas(the traps). Oxf. mss. "us." [2512] Oxf. mss. "will see." [2513] Philip. ii. 6. [2514] John x. 30. [2515] John xiv. 28. [2516] Luke xxiii. 21; John xix. 6. [2517] Or, strengthened. [2518] Ps. xxvii. 12, Vulgate. [2519] Matt. xxvii. 63. [2520] Matt. xxviii. 12, 13. [2521] Isa. liii. 7. [2522] Isa. liii. 4. [2523] Isa. liii. 3. [2524] Ps. xlv. 2. [2525] Isa. liii. 2. [2526] Matt. xxvii. 40. [2527] Luke xxiv. 16, etc. [2528] Luke xxiv. 46. [2529] Matt. xxvi. 38. [2530] Matt. xxvi. 39. [2531] Matt. xxv. 41. [2532] Symplasia, probably meaning "compounds;" older edition, emplastra; Oxf. and some other mss., Templa Asiæ, "Temples of Asia."


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