Expositions on the Book of Psalms, 60-68

Author: Augustine

(NOTE: The electronic text obtained from The Electronic Bible Society was not completely corrected. EWTN has corrected all discovered errors.)



[Translated by the Rev. J. E. Tweed, M.A., chaplain of Christ Church, Oxford; T. Scratton, Esq., M.A., of Christ Church; the Rev. H.M. Wilkins, M.A., of Merton College, Oxford; ?the Rev. Charles Marriot, of Oriel College; ?the Rev. H. Walford, Vice-Principal of St. Edmund's Hall; at least one anonymous contributor. Abridged from the six volumes of the Oxford Series by A. Cleveland Coxe, D.D.]



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.(2) 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,(3) that all those persons whom he hath named, were defeated by David, that is, Mesopotamia in Syria, and Syria Sobal, Joab,(4) 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 s 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."(6) 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."(7) 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"?(8) 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(9) they say is interpreted, "exalted calling." Now the whole world by calling hath been exalted, Syria(10) 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."(11) 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."(12) 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."(1) See it slain: "Mortify your members which are upon earth."(2) 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(3) 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(4) 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"?(5) 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,"(6) thou hast in the Gospel: and "A sword I have come to send into the earth,"(7) 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"?(8) "Heal the crushings(9) 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.(1) "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."(2) 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.(3) 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:"(4) 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.(5) "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,"(6) 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."(7) In that Holy One, of whom elsewhere ye have heard, "O God, in the Holy One is Thy way."(8) "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(9) 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.(10) 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."(11) 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."(12) 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 shall forget, and of the reproach of Thy widowhood Thou shall not be mindful."(1) There was therefore a confusion of the Church once, which now hath been forgotten: for of Her confusion and of the "reproach" of Her widow-hood 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.(2) 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(3) turning into itself matter and bringing forth fruit is hidden; so in Christ's Cross virtue(4) 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."(5) Hear the strength of Him: that which is a weak thing of God, is stronger than men.(6) 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"?(7) What therefore should I fear, when Juda my king saith, "Fear not them that kill the body"?(8) 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,(9) 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."(10) 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."(11) Whence but by the quarters of the devil, who hath said, "I will set my seat at the North"?(12) The chiefest tribulations therefore arise against the Church from none except from those that ill use the law. ...

11. "Into Idumaea I will stretch out my shoe" (ver. 8). The Church speaketh, "I will come through even unto Idumaea." Let tribulations rage, let the world boil with offences, even unto those very persons that lead an earthly life (for Idumaea is interpreted earthly), even unto those same," even unto Idumaea, 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,"(13) and "the feet shod unto the preparation of the Gospel of peace."(14)... 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 Idumaea is stretched out His shoe. "To Me Allophyli have been made subject." Who are "Allophyli"? Men of other race, not belonging to My race.(15) 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,(1) 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 Idumaea?"

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.(2) 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?"(3) 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,(4) 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(5) in silence, well if good, ill if evil? Was He then by any means forsaking, because He was not marching forth in the powers(6) of them? By not marching forth in the powers of them, did He not the more lead down the Church even unto Idumaea, 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,(7) 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?


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.(1)

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."(2) 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.(3) 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."(4) 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."(5) On Him therefore builded we have been. For this reason that Rock whereon we have been builded,(6) 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.(7) ...

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."(1) 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."(2) 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:(3) therefore here He hath said, "A dweller I will be in Thy tabernacle even unto ages."(4) ... 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:(5) 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."(6) 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 shall 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,"(7) 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."(8) 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."(9) 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."(10) 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;(1) their own things they seek, not the things which are of Jesus Christ:(2) 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.(1)

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."(3)


1. The title of it is, "Unto the end, in behalf of Idithun, a Psalm to David himself." I recollect that already s 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:"(6) 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 thy 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,(7) 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:"(8) 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(9) bear: 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,(10) 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"?(11) 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(1) of sufferings we contribute. The storehouse(2) 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.(3) 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,(4) saying, "When shall She die, and when shall perish the name of Her?"(5) "As though She were a wall bowed down, and a fence smitten against,"(6) lean ye against Her, smite against Her. Hear from above:(7) "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,(8) 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:"(9) now he is honoured, now he is not made subject to brethren selling him, but corn he supplieth to them hungering.(10) 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."(11) And, "if I forget Thee, O Jerusalem, let mine own right hand forget me."(12) 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,(13) afterwards that which is spiritual."(14) Therefore the former city is greater by age, because first was born Cain, and afterwards Abel:(15) but in these the elder shall serve the younger.(16) 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."(14) Wherefore is the latter greater in dignity? Because "the eider shall serve the younger."(16) ... 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,(17) 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(1) 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."(2) And all we in Adam do die:(3) 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."(4) 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."(5) 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."(6) Regard therefore that people as also set to intimate an after people; and see then what I say. There were great(7) 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.(8) 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;"(9) and whereof hath been foretold, "And of His kingdom shall be no end:"(10) 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.(11) And as if they were doing bond-service(12) 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:(13)" or as servants, that to their masters they should be subject,(14) 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.(15) 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."(16)...

5. "I have run in thirst."(17) For they were rendering evil things for good things:(18) 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.(19) The head of the calf is a great sacrament.(20) For the head of the calf was the body of ungodly men, in the similitude of a calf eating hay,(21) seeking earthly things: because all flesh is hay.(22) ... 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."(23) 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,"(1) 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.(2) For old vinegar also is said of the old men, of whom hath been said, "For to them is no changing;"(3) namely, that the Jebusites should be overthrown, and Jerusalem be builded.(4)

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."(5) ... 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,"(6) though for that iniquity aboundeth, the love of many shall wax cold?(7) And where is it that Thou hast leaped over them? where is it that Thy conversation is in Heaven?(8) But they cleave unto earthly things, as though earthborn they mind the earth, and are earth, the serpent's food.(9) 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"?(10) 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;(11) but glorious, because not only justified, but also honoured. For "those whom He hath predestined, those also He hath called."(12) 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."(1) Whom calleth He whole, whom calleth He sick? He continueth and saith, "I have not come to call just men, but sinners unto repentance."(2) 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."(3) ...

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."(4) What fear ye amid whisperers, slanderers hateful to God,(5) 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?"(6) "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.(7) 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:(8) 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(9)--"these men because of vanity are at one." And for them see how the thirsteth, see how He runneth in thirst.

10. He turneth therefore Himself to them, thirsting for them: "Do not hope in iniquity" (vet. 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?(10) 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."(11) 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:(12) 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 shall 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."(1) What is, "Once hath God spoken"? Is He not the God that in the beginning of mankind spake to Adam?(2) Did not the Selfsame speak to Cain, to Noe, to Abraham, to Isaac, to Jacob, to all the Prophets, and to Moses?(3) 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."(4) 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.(5) 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:(6) 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."(7) 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. Ill 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."(8) 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."(9) 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:(10) 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:" 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(12)"--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?"(13) 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."[1] 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."[2] ... 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,"[3] 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 shall 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.[4] 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 s 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:[6] 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,[1] 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:[2] 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.[3] 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" ?[4] 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[5] 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.[6] 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,[7] 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:[8] 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.


1. This psalm hath the title, "For David himself, when he was in the desert of Idumaea." By the name of Idumaea is understood this world. For Idumaea was a certain nation of men going astray, where idols were worshipped. In no good sense is put this Idumaea. 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 Idumaea is signified.[10] 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."[1] 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."[2] 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."(3) ...

3. "My soul hath thirsted for Thee" (ver. 2). Behold that desert of Idumaea. 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[4] 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 Idumaea, 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:[5] 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[6] 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,"[1] or any the like demons: not for God their flesh thirsteth. But they that thirst for God,[2] 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 Idumaea, this is the desert of Idumaea, 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:[3] 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.[4] 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."[5] 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."[6] 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.[1]

9. "For better is Thy mercy than[2] 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."[3] 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 Idumaea, in this desert, in the land without water and without way, where for us Christ is the Way,[4] 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 shall 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."[1] He exhorteth us that after the day we should walk honestly: "As in the day, honestly let us walk."[2] And again, "Ye," he saith, "are sons of light, and sons of day; we are not of night nor of darkness."[3] 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."[4] 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 I 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."[5] 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 lie 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[6] 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."[7] 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:"[8] 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 Judaea 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."[1] 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 Judaea slew Christ at the voices of the Jews, he said to the same Jews, "Your King shall I crucify?"[2] Because He was called King of the Jews, and He was the true King. And they rejecting Christ said, "We have no king but Caesar." They rejected a Lamb, chose a fox: deservedly portions of foxes they were made.

16. "The King in truth,"[3] 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 Caesar. "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,[4] and the foxes were silenced.


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[6] 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."[7]

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?"[8] 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."[9] 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."[10] And He repeated, "Yea, I say unto you, fear Him."[11] 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[1] 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.[2] 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?"[3] He endured all their infirm,[4] 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."[5] 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."[6] 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"?[7]

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,[8] and another at the third hour: [9] 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,"[10] 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,[1] 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."[2] 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 Caesar alone."[3] 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."[4] And they that "confirmed malignant discourse," said, "His blood be upon us and upon our sons."[5] "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?"[6] 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[7] 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,[8] 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: "[1] He hath said in the form of a servant, "For the Father is greater than I."[2] 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"?[3] 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[4] 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;"[5] "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:"[6] ... 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; 7 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 Jesu Christ, that Thou wast silent, and like a sheep for a victim wast being led, and didst not open before the shearer Thy mouth,[8] and we thought Thee to be set in smiting and in grief,[9] and knowing how to bear weakness? 10 Was it that Thou wast hiding Thy beauty, O Thou beautiful in form before the sons of men?[11] Was it that Thou didst not seem to have beauty nor grace?[12] Thou didst bear on the Cross men reviling and saying," If Son of God He is, let Him come down from the Cross."[13] ... 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.[14] For He showed in the Scriptures, how after the third day it behoved the Lord to rise again.[15] 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"?[1] Was He not figuring thyself in Himself, when He was saying, "Father, if it be possible, let there pass from Me this cup"?[2]. 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."[3] 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[4] 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.


1. The voice of holy prophecy must be confessed in the very title of this Psalm. It is inscribed, "Unto the end, a Psalm of David, a song of Jeremiah and Ezekiel, on account of the people of transmigration when they were beginning to go forth." How it fired with our fathers[6] in the time of the transmigration to Babylon, is not known to all, but only to those that diligently study the Holy Scriptures, either by hearing or by reading. For the captive people Israel from the city of Jerusalem was led into slavery unto Babylon.[7] But holy Jeremiah prophesied, that after seventy years the people would return out of captivity, and would rebuild the very city Jerusalem, which they had mourned as having been overthrown by enemies. But at that time there were prophets in that captivity of the people dwelling in Babylon, among whom was also the prophet Ezekiel. But that people was waiting until there should be fulfilled the space of seventy years, according to the prophecy of Jeremiah.[1] It came to pass, when the seventy years had been completed, the temple was restored which had been thrown down: and there returned from captivity a great part of that people. But whereas the Apostle saith, "these things in figure happened unto them, but they have been written for our sakes, upon whom the end of the world hath come: "2 we also ought to know first our captivity, then our deliverance: we ought to know the Babylon wherein we are captives, and the Jerusalem for a return to which we are sighing. For these two cities, according to the letter, in reality are two cities. And the former Jerusalem indeed by the Jews is not now inhabited. For after the crucifixion of the Lord vengeance was taken upon them with a great scourge, and being rooted up from that place where, with impious licentiousness being infuriated, they had madly raged against their Physician, they have been dispersed throughout all nations, and that land hath been given to Christians: and there is fulfilled what the Lord had said to them, "Therefore the kingdom shall be taken away from you, and it shall be given to a nation doing justice."[3] But when they saw great multitudes then following the Lord, preaching the kingdom of Heaven, and doing wonderful things, the rulers of that city said," If we shall have let Him go, all men will go after Him, and there shall come the Romans, and shall take from us both place and nation."[4] That they might not lose their place, they killed the Lord; and they lost it, even because they killed. Therefore that city, being one earthly, did bear the figure of a certain city everlasting in the Heavens: but when that which was signified began more evidently to be preached, the shadow, whereby it was being signified, was thrown down: for this reason in that place now the temple is no more, which had been constructed for the image of the future Body of the Lord. We have the light, the shadow hath passed away: nevertheless, still in a kind of captivity we are: "So long as we are," he saith, "in the body, we are sojourning afar from the Lord."[5]

2. And see ye the names of those two cities, Babylon and Jerusalem. Babylon is interpreted confusion, Jerusalem vision of peace. Observe now the city of confusion, in order that ye may perceive the vision of peace; that ye may endure that, sigh for this. Whereby can those two cities be distinguished? Can we anywise now separate them from each other? They are mingled, and from the very beginning of mankind mingled they run on unto the end of the world. Jerusalem received beginning through Abel, Babylon through Cain: for the buildings of the cities were afterwards erected. That Jerusalem in the land of the Jebusites was builded: for at first it used to be called Jebus,[6] from thence the nation of the Jebusites was expelled, when the people of God was delivered from Egypt, and led into the land of promise. But Babylon was builded in the most interior regions of Persia, which for a long time raised its head above the rest of nations. These two cities then at particular times were builded, so that there might be shown a figure of two cities begun of old, and to remain even unto the end in this world, but at the end to be severed. Whereby then can we now show them, that are mingled? At that time the Lord shall show, when some He shall set on the right hand, others on the left. Jerusalem on the right hand shall be, Babylon on the left. ... Two loves make up these two cities: love of God maketh Jerusalem, love of the world maketh Babylon. Therefore let each one question himself as to what he loveth: and he shall find of which he is a citizen: and if he shall have found himself to be a citizen of Babylon, let him root out cupidity, implant charity: but if he shall have found himself a citizen of Jerusalem, let him endure captivity, hope for liberty. ... Now therefore let us hear of, brethren, hear of, and sing of, and long for, that city whereof we are citizens. And what are the joys which are sung of to us? In what manner in ourselves is formed again the love of our city, which by long sojourning we had forgotten? But our Father hath sent from thence letters to us, God hath supplied to us the Scriptures, by which letters there should be wrought in us a longing for return: because by loving our sojourning, to enemies we had turned our face, and our back to our fatherland. What then is here sung?

3. "For Thee a hymn is meet, O God, in Sion" (ver. 1). That fatherland is Sion: Jerusalem is the very same as Sion; and of this name the interpretation ye ought to know. As Jerusalem is interpreted vision of peace, so Sion Beholding?[7] that is, vision and contemplation. Some great inexplicable sight to us is promised: and this is God Himself that hath builded the city. Beauteous and graceful the city, how much more beauteous a Builder it hath! "For Thee a hymn is meet, O God," he saith. But where? "In Sion:" in Babylon it is not meet. For when a man beginneth to be renewed, already with heart in Jerusalem he singeth, with the Apostle saying, "Our conversation is in the Heavens."[8] For "in the flesh though walking," he saith, "not after the flesh we war."[9] Already in longing we are there, already hope into that land, as it were an anchor, we have sent before, lest in this sea being tossed we suffer shipwreck. In like manner therefore as of a ship which is at anchor, we rightly say that already she is come to land, for still she rolleth, but to land in a manner she hath been brought safe in the teeth of winds and in the teeth of storms; so against the temptations of this sojourning, our hope being grounded in that city Jerusalem causeth us not to be carried away upon rocks. He therefore that according to this hope singeth, in that city singeth: let him therefore say, "For Thee a hymn is meet, O God, in Sion." ...

4. "And to Thee shall there be paid a vow in Jerusalem." Here we vow, and a good thing it is that there we should pay. But who are they that here do vow and pay not? They that persevere not even unto the end[1] in that which they have vowed. Whence saith another Psalm "Vow ye, and pay ye unto the Lord your God:"[2] and, "to Thee shall it be paid in Jerusalem." For there shall we be whole, that is, entire in the resurrection of just men: there shall be paid our whole vow, not soul alone, but the very flesh also, no longer corruptible, because no longer in Babylon, but now a body heavenly and changed. What sort of change is promised? "For we all shall rise again," saith the Apostle, "but we shall not[3] all be changed. ... Where is, O death, thy sting?"[4] For now while there begin in use the first-fruits of the mind, from whence is the longing for Jerusalem, many things of corruptible flesh do contend against us, which will not contend, when death shall have been swallowed up in victory. Peace shall conquer, and war shall be ended. But when peace shall conquer, that city shall conquer which is called the vision of peace. On the part of death therefore shall be no contention. Now with how great a death do we contend! For thence are carnal pleasures, which to us even unlawfully do suggest many things: to which we give no consent, but nevertheless in giving no consent we contend. ...

5. "Hearken," he saith, "to my prayer, unto Thee every flesh shall come". (ver. 2). And we have the Lord saying, that there was given to Him "power over every flesh."[5] That King therefore began even now to appear, when there was being said, "Unto Thee every flesh shall come." "To Thee," he saith, "every flesh shall come." Wherefore to Him shall "every" flesh come? Because flesh He hath taken to Him. Whither shall there come every flesh? He took the first-fruits thereof out of the womb of the Virgin; and now that the first-fruits have been taken to Him, the rest shall follow, in order that the holocaust may be completed. Whence then "every flesh"? Every man. And whence every man? Have all been foretold, as going to believe in Christ? Have not many ungodly men been foretold, that shall be condemned also? Do not daily men not believing die in their own unbelief? After what manner therefore do we understand, "Unto Thee every flesh shall come"? By "every flesh" he hath signified, "flesh of every kind:" out of every kind of flesh they shall come to Thee. What is, out of every kind of flesh? Have there come poor men, and have there not come rich men? Have there come humble men, and not come lofty men? Have there come unlearned men, and not come learned men? Have there come men, and not come women? Have there come masters, and not come servants? Have there come old men, and not come young men; or have there come young men, and not come youths; or have there come youths, and not come boys; or have there come boys, and have there not been brought infants? In a word, have there come Jews[6] (for thence were the Apostles, thence many thousands of men at first betraying, afterwards believing[7]), and have there not come Greeks; or have there come Greeks, and not come Romans; or have there come Romans, and not come Barbarians? And who could number all nations coining to Him, to whom hath been said, "Unto Thee every flesh shall come"?

6. "The discourses of unjust men have prevailed over us, and our iniquities Thou shalt propitiate"[8] (ver. 3). ... Every man, in whatsoever place he is born, of that same land or region or city learneth the language, is habituated to the manners and life of that place. What should a boy do, born among Heathens, to avoid worshipping a stone, inasmuch as his parents have suggested that worship? from them the first words he hath heard, that error with his milk he hath sucked in; and because they that used to speak were elders, and the boy that was learning to speak was an infant, what could the little one do but follow the authority of elders, and deem that to be good which they recommended? Therefore nations that are converted to Christ afterwards, and taking to heart the impieties of their parents, and saying now what the prophet Jeremias himself said, "Truly a lie our fathers have worshipped, vanity which hath not profited them"[9]-- when, I say, they now say this, they renounce the opinions and blasphemies of their unjust parents. ... There have led us away men teaching evil things, citizens of Babylon they have made us, we have left the Creator, have adored the creature: have left Him by whom we were made, have adored that which we ourselves have made. For "the discourses of unjust men have prevailed over us:" but nevertheless they have not crushed us. Wherefore? "Our impieties Thou shalt propitiate," is not said except to some priest offering somewhat, whereby impiety may be expiated and propitiated. For impiety is then said to be propitiated, when God is made propitious to the impiety. What is it for God to be made propitious to impiety? It is, His becoming forgiving, and giving pardon. But in order that God's pardon may be obtained, propitiation is made through some sacrifice. There hath come forth therefore, sent from God the Lord, One our Priest; He took upon Him from us that which He might offer to the Lord we are speaking of those same first-fruits of the flesh from the womb of the Virgin. This holocaust He offered to God. He stretched out His hands on the Cross, in order that He might say, "Let My prayer be directed as incense in Thy sight, and the lifting up of My hands an evening sacrifice."[1] As ye know, the Lord about eventide hung on the Cross:[2] and our impieties were propitiated; otherwise they had swallowed up: the discourses of unjust men had prevailed over us; there had led us astray preachers of Jupiter, and of Saturn, and of Mercury: "the discourses of ungodly men had prevailed over us." But what wilt Thou do? "Our impieties Thou wilt propitiate." Thou art the priest, Thou the victim; Thou the offerer, Thou the offering.[3] ...

7. "Blessed is he whom Thou hast chosen, and hast taken to Thee" (ver. 4). Who is he that is chosen by Him and taken to Him? Was any one chosen[4] by our Saviour Jesus Christ, or was Himself after the flesh, because He is man, chosen and taken to Him? ... Or hath not rather Christ Himself taken to Him some blessed one, and the same whom He hath taken to Him is not spoken of in the plural number but in the singular? For one man He hath taken to Him, because unity He hath taken to Him. Schisms He hath not taken to Him, heresies He hath not taken to Him: a multitude they have made of themselves, there is not one to be taken to Him. But they that abide in the bond of Christ and are the members of Him, make in a manner one man, of whom saith the Apostle, "Until we all arrive at the acknowledging of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the age of the fulness of Christ."[5] Therefore one man is taken to Him, to which the Head is Christ; because "the Head of the man is Christ."[6] The same is that blessed man that "hath not departed in the counsel of ungodly men,"[7] and the like things which there are spoken of: the same is He that is taken to Him. He is not without us, in His own members we are, under one Head we are governed, by one Spirit we all live, one fatherland we all long for. ... And to us He will give what? "He shall inhabit," he saith, "in Thy courts." Jerusalem, that is, to which they sing that begin to go forth from Babylon: "He shall inhabit in Thy courts: we shall be filled with the good things of Thy House." What are the good things of the House of God? Brethren, let us set before ourselves some rich house, with what numerous good things it is crowded, how abundantly it is furnished, how many vessels there are there of gold and also of silver; how great an establishment of servants, how many horses and animals, in a word, how much the house itself delights us with pictures, marble, ceilings, pillars, recesses, chambers:--all such things are indeed objects of desire, but still they are of the confusion of Babylon, Cut off all such longings, O citizen of Jerusalem, cut them off; if thou wilt return, let not captivity delight thee. But hast thou already begun to go forth? Do not look back, do not loiter on the road. Still there are not wanting foes to recommend thee captivity and sojourning: no longer let there prevail against thee the discourses of ungodly men. For the House of God long thou, and for the good things of that House long thou: but do not long for such things as thou art wont to long for either in thy house, or in the house of thy neighbour, or in the house of thy patron. ...

8. "Thy holy Temple is marvellous in righteousness" (ver. 5). These are the good things of that House. He hath not said, Thy holy Temple is marvellous in pillars, marvellous in marbles, marvellous in glided ceilings; but is "marvellous in righteousness." Without thou hast eyes wherewith thou mayest see marbles, and gold: within is an eye wherewith may be seen the beauty of righteousness. If there is no beauty in righteousness, why is a righteous old man loved? What bringeth he in body that may please the eyes? Crooked limbs, brow wrinkled, head blanched with gray hairs, dotage everywhere full of plaints. But perchance because thine eyes this decrepit old man pleaseth not, thine ears he pleaseth: with what words? with what song? Even if perchance when a young man he sang well, all with age hath been lost. Doth perchance the sound of his words please thine ears, that can hardly articulate whole words for loss of teeth? Nevertheless, if righteous he is, if another man's goods he coveteth not, if of his own that he possesseth he distributeth to the needy, if he giveth good advice, and soundly judgeth, if he believeth the entire faith, if for his belief in the faith he is ready to expend even those very shattered limbs, for many Martyrs are even old men; why do we love him? What good thing in him do we see with the eyes of the flesh? Not any. There is therefore a kind of beauty in righteousness, which we see with the eye of the heart, and we love, and we kindle with affection: how much men found to love in those same Martyrs, though beasts tare their limbs! Is it possible but that when blood was staining all parts. when with the teeth of monsters their bowels gushed out, the eyes had nothing but objects to shudder at? What was there to be loved, except that in that hideous spectacle of mangled limbs, entire was the beauty of righteousness? These are the good things of the House of God, with these prepare thyself to be satisfied. ... "Blessed they which hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled."[1] "Thy holy Temple is marvellous in righteousness." And that same temple, brethren, do not imagine to be aught but yourselves. Love ye righteousness, and ye are the Temple of God.

9. "Hearken to us, O God, our Saviour" (ver. 5). He hath disclosed now Whom he nameth as God. The "Saviour" specially is the Lord Jesus Christ. It hath appeared now more openly of Whom he had said, "Unto Thee every flesh shall come."[2] That One Man that is taken unto Him into the Temple of God, is both many and is One. In the person of One he hath said, "Hearken, O God, i.e., to my hunger: "3 and because the same One of many is composed, now he saith," Hearken to us, O God, our Saviour." Hear Him now more openly preached: "Hearken to us, O God, our Saviour the Hope of all the ends of the earth and in the sea afar." Behold wherefore hath been said "Unto Thee every flesh shall come." From every quarter they come. "Hope of all the ends of the earth," not hope of one corner, not hope of Judaea alone, not hope of Africa alone, not hope of Pannonia, not hope of East or of West: but "Hope of all the ends of the earth, and in the sea afar:" of the very ends of the earth. "And in the sea afar:" and because in the sea, therefore afar. For the sea by a figure is spoken of this world, with saltness bitter, with storms troubled; where men of perverse and depraved appetites have become like fishes devouring one another. Observe the evil sea, bitter sea, with waves violent, observe with what sort of men it is filled. Who desireth an inheritance except through the death of another? Who desireth gain except by the loss of another? By the fall of others how many men wish to be exalted? How many, in order that they may buy, desire for other men to sell their goods? How they mutually oppress, and how they that are able do devour! And when one fish hath devoured, the greater the less, itself also is devoured by some greater. ... Because evil fishes that were taken within the nets they said they would not endure; they themselves have become more evil than they whom they said[4] they could not endure. For those nets did take fishes both good and evil. The Lord saith, "The kingdom of Heaven is like to a sein cast into the sea, which gathereth of every kind, which, when it had been filled, drawing out, and sitting on the shore, they gathered the good into vessels, but the evil they cast out: so it shall be," He saith, "in the consummation of the world."[5] He showeth what is the shore, He showeth what is the end of the sea. "The angels shall go forth, and shall sever the evil from the midst of the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Ha! ye citizens of Jerusalem that are within the nets, and are good fishes; endure the evil, the nets break ye not: together with them ye are in a sea, not together with them will ye be in the vessels. For" Hope" He is "of the ends of the earth," Himself is Hope "also in the sea afar." Afar, because also in the sea.

10. "Preparing mountains in His strength" (ver. 6). Not in their strength. For He hath prepared great preachers, and those same He hath called mountains; humble in themselves, exalted in Him. "Preparing mountains in His strength." What saith one of those same mountains? "We ourselves in our own selves have had the answer of death, in order that in ourselves we should not trust, but in God that raiseth the dead."[6] He that in himself doth trust, and in Christ trusteth not, is not of those mountains which He hath prepared in His strength. "Preparing mountains in His strength: girded about in power." "Power," I understand: "girded about," is what? They that put Christ in the midst, "girded about" they make Him, that is on all sides begirt. We all have Him in common, therefore in the midst He is: all we gird Him about that believe in Him: and because our faith is not of our strength, but of His power; therefore girded about He is in His power; not in our own strength.

11. "That troublest the bottom of the sea" (ver. 7). He hath done this: it is seen what He hath done. For He hath prepared mountains in His strength, hath sent them to preach: girded about He is by believers in power: and moved is the sea, moved is the world, and it beginneth to persecute His saints. "Girded about in power: that troublest the bottom of the sea." He hath not said, that troublest the sea; but "the bottom of the sea." The bottom of the sea is the heart of ungodly men. For just as from the bottom more thoroughly all things are stirred, and the bottom holdeth firm all things: so whatsoever hath gone forth: by tongue, by hands, by divers powers for the persecution of the Church, from the bottom hath gone forth. For if there were not the root of iniquity in the heart, all those things would not have gone forth against Christ. The bottom He troubled, perchance in order that the bottom He might also empty: for in the case of certain evil men He emptied the sea from the bottom, and made the sea a desert place. Another Psalm saith this, "That turneth sea into dry land."[1] All ungodly and heathen men that have believed were sea, have been made land; with salt waves at first barren, afterwards with the fruit of righteousness productive. "That troublest the bottom of the sea: the sound of its waves who shall endure? "Who shall endure," is what? What man shall endure the sound of the waves of the sea, the behests of the high powers of the world? But whence are they endured? Because He prepareth mountains in His strength. In that therefore which he hath said "who shall" endure? he saith thus: We ourselves of our own selves should not be able to endure those persecutions, unless He gave strength.

12. "The nations shall be troubled" (ver. 8). At first they shall be troubled: but those mountains prepared in the strength of Christ, are they troubled? Troubled is the sea, against the mountains it dasheth: the sea breaketh, unshaken the mountains have remained. "The nations shall be troubled, and all men shall fear." Behold now all men fear: they that before have been troubled do now all fear. The Christians feared not, and now the Christians are feared. All that did persecute do now fear. For He hath overcome that is girded about with power, to Him hath come every flesh in such sort, that the rest by their very minority do now fear. And all men shall fear, that inhabit the ends of the earth, because of Thy signs. For miracles the Apostles wrought, and thence all the ends of the earth have feared and have believed. "Outgoings in morning and in evening Thou shall delight :" that is, Thou makest delightful. Already in this life what is there being promised to us? There are outgoings in morning, there are outgoings in the evening. By the morning he signifieth the prosperity of the world, by the evening he signifieth the trouble of the world. ... At first when he was promising gain, it was morning to thee: but now evening draweth on, sad thou hast become. But He that hath given thee an outgoing in the morning, will give one also in the evening. In the same manner as thou hast contemned the morning of the world by the light of the Lord, so contemn the evening also by the sufferings of the Lord, in saying to thy soul, What more will this man do to me, than my Lord hath suffered for me? May I[2] hold fast justice, not consent to iniquity. Let him vent his rage on the flesh, the trap will be broken, and I will fly to my Lord, that saith to me, "Do not fear them that kill the body, but the soul are not able to kill."[3] And for the body itself He hath given security, saying, "A hair of your head shall not perish."[4] Nobly here he hath set down," "Thou wilt delight outgoings in morning and in evening." For if thou take not delight in the very outgoing, thou wilt not labour to go out thence. Thou runnest thy head into the promised gain, if thou art not delighted with the promise of the Saviour. And again thou yieldest to one tempting and terrifying, if thou find no delight in Him that suffered before thee, in order that He might make an outgoing for thee.

13. "Thou hast visited the earth, and hast inebriated it" (ver. 9). Whence hast inebriated the earth? "Thy cup inebriating how glorious it is!"[5] "Thou hast visited the earth, and hast inebriated it." Thou hast sent Thy clouds, they have rained down the preaching of the truth, inebriated is the earth. "Thou hast multiplied to enrich it." Whence? "The river of God is filled with water." What is the river of God? The people of God. The first people was filled with water, wherewith the rest of the earth might be watered. Hear Him promising water: "If any man thirst, let him come to Me and drink: he that believeth on Me, rivers of living water from his belly shall flow :"[6] if rivers, one river also; for in respect of unity many are one. Many Churches and one Church, many faithful and one Bride of Christ: so many rivers and one river. Many Israelites believed, and were fulfilled with the Holy Spirit; from thence they were scattered abroad through the nations, they began to preach the truth, and from the river of God that was filled with water, was the whole earth watered. "Thou hast prepared food for them: because thus is Thy preparing." Not because they have deserved of Thee, whom Thou hast forgiven sins: the merits of them were evil, but Thou for Thy mercy's sake, "because thus is Thy preparing," thus "Thou hast prepared food for them."

14. "The furrows thereof inebriate Thou" (ver. 10). Let there be made therefore at first furrows to be inebriated: let the hardness of our breast be opened with the share of the word of God, "The furrows thereof inebriate Thou: multiply the generations thereof." We see, they believe, and by them believing other men believe, and because of those others believe; and it is not sufficient for one man, that having become himself a believer, he should gain one. So is multiplied seed too: a few grains are scattered, and fields spring up. "In the drops thereof it shall rejoice, when it shall rise up." That is, before it be perchance enlarged to the bulk of a river, "when it shall rise up, in its drops," that is, in those meet for it, "it shall rejoice." For upon those that are yet babes, and upon the weak, are dropped some portions of the sacraments, because they cannot receive the fulness of the truth. Hear in what manner he droppeth upon babes, while they are rising up, that is, in their recent rising having small capacities: the Apostle saith, "To you I could not speak as if to spiritual, but as if to carnal, as if to babes in Christ."[1] When he saith, "to babes in Christ," he speaketh of them as already risen up, but not yet meet to receive that plenteous wisdom, whereof he saith, "Wisdom we speak among perfect men."[2] Let it rejoice in its drops, while it is rising up and is growing, when strengthened it shall receive wisdom also: in the same manner as an infant is fed with milk, and becometh fit for meat, and nevertheless at first out of that very meat for which it was not fit, for it milk is made.

15. "Thou shalt bless the crown of the year of Thy goodness" (ver. 11 ). Seed is now sowing, that which is sown is growing, there will be the harvest too. And now over the seed the enemy hath sown tares; and there have risen up evil ones among the good, false Christians, having like leaf, but not like fruit. For those are properly called tares,[3] which spring up in the manner of wheat, for instance darnel, for instance wild oats, and all such as have the first leaf the same. Therefore of the sowing of the tares thus saith the Lord: "There hath come an enemy, and hath sown over them tares; "[4] but what hath he done to the grain? The wheat is not choked by the tares, nay, through endurance of the tares the fruit of the wheat is increased. For the Lord Himself said to certain workmen desiring to root up the tares, "Suffer ye both to grow unto the harvest."[5] ... Conquer the devil, and thou wilt have a crown. "Thou shalt bless the crown of the year of Thy goodness." Again he maketh reference to the goodness of God, lest any one boast of his own merits. "Thy plains shall be filled with abundance."

16. "The ends of the desert shall grow fat, and the hills shall be encircled with exultation" (ver. 12). Plains, hills, ends of the desert, the same are also men. Plains, because of the equality: because of equality, I say, from thence just peoples have been called plains. Hills, because of lifting up: because God doth lift up in Himself those that humble themselves. Ends of the desert are all nations. Wherefore ends of the desert? Deserted they were, to them no Prophet had been sent they were in like case as is a desert where no man passeth by. No word of God was sent to the nations: to the people Israel alone the Prophets preached. We came to the Lord;[6] the wheat believed among that same people of the Jews. For He said at that time to the disciples, "Ye say, far off is the harvest: look back, and see how white are the lands to harvest." There hath been therefore a first harvest, there will be a second in the last age. The first harvest was of Jews, because there were sent to them Prophets proclaiming a coming Saviour. Therefore the Lord said to His disciples, "See how white are the lands to harvest:"[7] the lands, to wit, of Judaea. "Other men," He saith, "have laboured, and into their labours ye have entered."[8] The Prophets laboured to sow, and ye with the sickle have entered into their labours. There hath been finished therefore the first harvest, and thence, with that very wheat which then was purged, hath been sown the round world; so that there ariseth an other harvest, which at the end is to be reaped. In the second harvest have been sown tares, now here there is labour. Just as in that first harvest the Prophets laboured until the Lord came: so in that second harvest the Apostles laboured, and all preachers of the truth labour, even until at the end the Lord send unto the harvest His Angels. Aforetime, I say, a desert there was, "but the ends of the desert shall grow fat." Behold where the Prophets had given no sound, the Lord of the Prophets hath been received, "The ends of the desert shall grow fat, and with exultation the hills shall be encircled."

17. "Clothed have been the rams of the sheep" (ver. 13): "with exultation" must be understood. For with what exultation the hills are encircled, with the same are clothed the rams of the sheep. Rams are the very same as hills. For hills they are because of more eminent grace; rams, because they are leaders of the flocks. ... "They shall shout:" thence they shall abound with wheat, because they shall shout. What shall they shout? "For a hymn they shall say." For one thing it is to shout against God, another thing to say a hymn; one thing to shout iniquities, another thing to shout the praises of God. If thou shout in blasphemy, thorns thou hast brought forth: if thou shoutest in a hymn, thou aboundest in wheat.


1. This Psalm hath on the title the inscription, "For the end, a song of a Psalm of Resurrection." When ye hear "for the end," whenever the Psalms are repeated, understand it "for Christ:" the Apostle saying, "For the end of the law is Christ, for righteousness to every one believing."[2] In what manner therefore here Resurrection is sung, ye wilt hear, and whose Resurrection it is, as far as Himself deigneth to give and disclose. For the Resurrection we Christians know already hath come to pass in our Head, and in the members it is to be. The Head of the Church is Christ? the members of Christ are the Church. That which hath preceded in the Head, will follow in the Body. This is our hope; for this we believe, for this we endure and persevere amid so great perverseness of this world, hope comforting us, before that hope becometh reality. ... The Jews did hold the hope of the resurrection of the dead: and they hoped that themselves alone would rise again to a blessed life because of the work of the Law, and because of the justifications of the Scriptures, which the Jews alone had, and the Gentiles had not. Crucified was Christ, "blindness in part happened unto Israel, in order that the fulness of the Gentiles might enter in:"[4] as the Apostle saith. The resurrection of the dead beginneth to be promised to the Gentiles also that believe in Jesus Christ, that He hath risen again. Thence this Psalm is against the presumption and pride of the Jews, for the comfort of the Gentiles that are to be called to the same hope of resurrection.

2. ... Thence he beginneth, "Be joyful in God." Who? "Every land" (ver. 1). Not therefore Judaea alone. See, brethren, after what sort is set forth the universality of the Church in the whole world spread abroad: and mourn ye not only the Jews, who envied the Gentiles that grace, but still more for heretics wail ye. For if they are to be mourned, that have not been gathered together, how much more they that being gathered together have been divided? "Jubilate in God every land." What is "jubilate"? Into the voice of rejoicings break forth if ye cannot into that of words. For "jubilation" is not of words, but the sound alone of men rejoicing is uttered, as of a heart labouring and bringing forth into voice the pleasure of a thing imagined which cannot be expressed. "Be joyful in God every land:" let no one jubilate in a part: let every land be joyful, let the Catholic Church jubilate. The Catholic Church embraceth the whole: whosoever holdeth a part and from the whole is cut off, should howl, not jubilate.

3. "But play ye to His name" (ver. 2). What hath he said? By you "playing" let His name be blessed. But what it is to "play"? To play is also to take up an instrument which is called a psaltery, and by the striking and action of the hands to accompany voices. If therefore ye jubilate so that God may hear; play also something that men may both see and hear: but not to your own name. ... For if for the sake of yourselves being glorified ye do good works, we make the same reply as He made to certain of such men, "Verily I say unto you, they have received their reward: "[5] and again, "Otherwise no reward ye will have with your Father that is in Heaven."[6] Thou wilt say, ought I, then, to hide my works, that I do them not before men? No. But what saith He? "Let your works shine before men." In doubt then I shall remain. On one side Thou sayest to me, "Take heed that ye do not your righteousness before men: on the other side Thou sayest to me, "Let your good works shine before men;" what shall I keep? what do? what leave undone? A man can as well serve two masters commanding different things as one commanding different things. I command not, saith the Lord, different things. The end observe, for the end sing: with what end thou doest it, see thou. If for this reason thou doest it, that thou mayest be glorified, I have forbidden it: but if for this reason, that God may be glorified, I have commanded it. Play therefore, not to your own name, but to the name of the Lord your God. Play ye, let Him be lauded: live ye well, let Him be glorified. For whence have ye that same living well? If for everlasting ye had had it, ye would never have lived ill; if from yourselves ye had had it, ye never would have done otherwise than have lived well. "Give glory to His praise." Our whole attention upon the praise of God he directeth, nothing for us he leaveth whence we should be praised. Let us glory thence the more, and rejoice: to Him let us cleave, in Him let us be praised. Ye heard when the Apostle was being read, "See ye your calling, brethren, how not many wise after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, but the foolish things of the world God hath chosen to confound the wise."[7] ... But the Lord chose afterwards orators also; but they would have been proud, if He had not first chosen fishermen; He chose rich men; but they would have said that on account of their riches they had been chosen, unless at first He had chosen poor men: He chose Emperors afterwards; but better is it, that when an Emperor hath come to Rome, he should lay aside his crown, and weep at the monument of a fisherman, than that a fisherman should weep at the monument of an Emperor. "For the weak things of the world God hath chosen to confound the strong," etc.[1] ... And what followeth? The Apostle hath concluded, "That there might not glory before God any flesh." See ye how from us He hath taken away, that He might give glory: hath taken away ours, that He might give His own; hath taken away empty, that He might give full; hath taken away insecure, that He might give solid. ...

4. "Say ye to God, How to be feared are Thy works!" (ver. 3). Wherefore to be feared and not to be loved? Hear thou another voice of a Psalm: "Serve ye the Lord in fear, and exult unto Him with trembling."[2] What meaneth this? Hear the voice of the Apostle: "With fear," he saith, "and trembling, your own salvation work ye out." 3 Wherefore with fear and trembling? He hath subjoined the reason: "for God it is that worketh in you both to will and to work according to good will."[4] If therefore God worketh in thee, by the Grace of God thou workest well, not by thy strength. Therefore if thou rejoicest, fear also: lest perchance that which was given to a humble man be taken away from a proud one. ...Brethren, if against the Jews of old, cut off from the root of the Patriarchs, we ought not to exalt ourselves, but rather to fear and say to God, "How to be feared are Thy works:" how much less ought we not to exalt ourselves against the fresh wounds of the cutting off! Before there had been cut off Jews, graffed in Gentiles; from the very graft there have been cut off heretics; but neither against them ought we to exalt ourselves; lest perchance he deserve to be cut off, that delighteth to revile them that are cut off. My brethren, a bishop's voice, however unworthy, hath sounded to you:[5] we pray you to beware, whosoever ye are in the Church, do not revile them that are not within; but pray ye rather, that they too may be within. For God is able again to graft them in.[6] Of the very Jews the Apostle said this, and it was done in their case. The Lord rose again, and many believed: they perceived not when they crucified, nevertheless afterwards they believed in Him, and there was forgiven them so great a transgression. The shedding of the Lord's blood was forgiven the manslayers, not to say, God-slayers: "for if they had known, the Lord of glory they never would have crucified."[7] Now to the manslayers hath been forgiven the shedding of the blood of Him innocent: and that same blood which through madness they shed, through grace they have drunk. ...O fulness of Gentiles, say thou to God, "How to be feared are Thy works!" and so rejoice thou as that thou mayest fear, be not exalted above the branches cut off.

5. "In the multitude of thy power Thine enemies shall lie to Thee." For this purpose he saith, "to Thee thine enemies shall lie," in order that great may be Thy power. What is this? With more attention hearken. The power of our Lord Jesus Christ most chiefly appeared in the Resurrection, from whence this Psalm hath received its title. And rising again, He appeared to His disciples.[8] He appeared not to His enemies, but to His disciples. Crucified He appeared to all men, rising again to believers: so that afterwards also he that would might believe, and to him that should believe, resurrection might be promised. Many holy men wrought many miracles; no one of them when dead did rise again: because even they that by them were raised to life, were raised to life to die. ... Because therefore the Jews might say, when the Lord did miracles, Moses hath done these things, Elias hath done, Eliseus hath done them: they might for themselves say these words, because those men also did raise to life dead men, and did many miracles: therefore when from Him a sign was demanded, of the peculiar sign making mention which in Himself alone was to be, He saith, "This generation crooked and provoking[9] seeketh a sign, and a sign shall not be given to it, except the sign of Jonas the Prophet: for as Jonas was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights, so shall be also the Son of Man in the heart of the earth three days and three nights."[10] In what way was Jonas in the belly of the whale? Was it not so that afterwards alive he was vomited out? Hell[11] was to the Lord what the whale was to Jonas. This sign peculiar to Himself He mentioned, this is the most mighty sign. It is more mighty to live again after having been dead, than not to have been dead. The greatness of the power of the Lord as He was made Man, in the virtue of the Resurrection doth appear. ...

6. Observe also the very lie of the false witnesses in the Gospel, and see how it is about Resurrection. For when to the Lord had been said, "What sign showest Thou to us, that Thou doest these things?"[12] besides that which He had spoken about Jonah[13] through another similitude of this same thing also He spake, that ye might know this peculiar sign had been especially pointed out: "Destroy this Temple," He saith, "and in three days I will raise it up." And they said, "In forty and six years was builded this temple, and wilt Thou in three days raise it up?"[1] And the evangelist explaining what it was," But this," he saith, "spake Jesus of the Temple of His Body."[2] Behold this His power He said He would show to men in the same thing as that from whence He had given the similitude of a Temple, because of His flesh. which was the Temple of the Divinity hidden within. Whence the Jews outwardly saw the Temple, the Deity dwelling within they saw not. Out of those words of the Lord false witnesses made up a lie to say against Him, out of those very words wherein He mentioned His future Resurrection, in speaking of the Temple. For false witnesses, when they were asked what they had heard Him say, alleged against Him: "We heard Him saying, I will destroy this Temple, and after three days I will raise it up."[3] "After three days I will raise up," they had heard: "I will destroy," they had not heard: but had heard "destroy ye." One word they changed and a few letters, in order to support their false testimony. But for whom changest thou a word, O human vanity, O human weakness? For the Word, the Unchangeable, dost thou change a word? Thou changest thy word, dost thou change God's Word? ... Whereforé said they that Thou hadst said, "I will destroy;" and said not that which Thou saidest, "destroy ye"? It was, as it were, in order that they might defend themselves from the charge of destroying the Temple without cause. For Christ, because He willed it, died: and nevertheless ye killed Him. Behold we grant you, O ye liars, Himself destroyed the Temple. For it hath been said by the Apostle, "That loved me, and gave up Himself for me."[4] It hath been said of the Father, "That His own Son spared not, but gave Him up for us all."[5] ... By all means be it that Himself destroyed the Temple, Himself destroyed that said, "Power I have to lay down My Soul[6] and power I have again to take it: no one taketh it from Me, but I Myself lay it down from Me, and again I take it."[7] Be it that Himself hath destroyed the Temple in His Grace, in your malice. "In the multitude of Thy power thine enemies shall lie to Thee." Behold they lie, behold they are believed, behold Thou art oppressed, behold Thou art crucified, behold Thou art insulted, behold head is wagged at Thee, "If Son of God He is, let Him come down from the Cross."[8] Behold when Thou wilt, life Thou layest down, and with lance in the side art pierced, and Sacraments from Thy side flow forth;[9] Thou art taken down from the Tree, wound in linens, laid in the sepulchre, there are set guards lest Thy disciples take Thee away; there cometh the hour of Thy Resurrection, earth is shaken, tombs are cloven, Thou risest again in secret, appearest openly. Where then are those liars? Where is the false testimony of evil will? Have not Thine enemies in the multitude of Thy power lied to Thee?

7. Give them also those guards at the Tomb, let them recount what they have seen, let them take money and lie too.[10] ... They too were added to the lie of the enemies: increased was the number of liars, that increased might be the reward of believers. Therefore they lied, "in the multitude of Thy power" they lied: to confound liars Thou hast appeared to men of truth, and Thou hast appeared to those men of truth whom Thou hast made men of truth.

8. Let Jews remain in their lies: to Thee, because in the multitude of Thy power they lied, let there be done that which followeth, "Let every land worship Thee, and play to Thee, play to Thy name, O Most Highest" (ver. 4). A little before, Most Lowly, now Most Highest: Most Lowly in the hands of lying enemies; Most Highest above the head of praising Angels. O ye Gentiles, O most distant nations, leave lying Jews, come confessing. "Come ye, and see the works of the Lord: terrible in counsels above the sons of men" (ver. 5). Son of Man indeed He too hath been called, and verily Son of Man He became: very Son of God in the form of God;[11] very Son of Man in form of a servant: but do not judge of that form by the condition of others alike: "terrible" He is "in counsels above the sons of men." Sons of men took counsel to crucify Christ, being crucified He blinded the crucifiers. What then have ye done, sons of men, by taking keen counsels against your Lord, in whom was hidden Majesty, and to sight shown weakness? Ye were taking counsels to destroy, He to blind and save; to blind proud men, to save humble men: but to blind those same proud men, to the end that, being blinded they might be humbled, being humbled might confess, having confessed might be enlightened. "Terrible in counsels above the sons of men." Terrible indeed. Behold blindness in part to Israel hath happened:[12] behold the Jews, out of whom was born Christ, are without: behold the Gentiles, that were against Judaea, in Christ are within. "Terrible in counsels above the sons of men."

9. Wherefore what hath He done by the terror of His counsel? He hath turned the sea into dry land. For this followeth, "That hath turned the sea into dry land" (ver. 6). A sea was the world, bitter with saltness, troubled with tempest, raging with waves of persecutions, sea it was: truly into dry land the sea hath been turned, now there thirsteth for sweet water the world that with salt water was filled. Who hath done this? He "that hath turned the sea into dry land." Now the soul of all the Gentiles saith what? "My soul is as it were land without water to Thee."[1] "That hath turned the sea into dry land. In the river they shall pass over on foot." Those same persons that have been turned into dry land, though they were before sea, "in the river on foot shall pass over." What is the river? The river is all the mortality of the world. Observe a river: some things come and pass by, other things that are to pass by do succeed. Is it not thus with the water of a river, that from earth springeth and floweth? Every one that is born must needs give place to one going to be born: and all this order of things rolling along is a kind of river. Into this river let not the soul greedily throw herself, let her not throw herself, but let her stand still. And how shall she pass over the pleasures of things doomed to perish? Let her believe in Christ, and she will pass over on foot: she passeth over with Him for Leader, on foot she passeth over.

10. "There we will be joyous in Him." O ye Jews, of your own works boast ye: lay aside the pride of boasting of yourselves, take up the Grace of being joyous in Christ. For therein we will be joyous, but not in ourselves: "there we will be joyous in Him." When shall we joy? When we shall have passed over the river on foot. Life everlasting is promised, resurrection is promised, there our flesh no longer shall be a river: for a river it is now, while it is mortality. Observe whether there standeth still any age. Boys desire to grow up; and they know not how by succeeding years the span of their life is lessened. For years are not added to but taken from them as they grow: just as the water of a river alway draweth near, but from the source it withdraweth. And boys desire to grow up that they may escape the thraldom of elders; behold they grow up, it cometh to pass quickly, they arrive at youth: let them that have emerged from boyhood retain, if they are able, their youth: that too passeth away. Old age succeedeth:[2] let even old age be everlasting; with death it is removed. Therefore a river there is[3] of flesh that is born. This river of mortality, so that it doth not by reason of concupiscence of things mortal undermine and carry him away, he easily passeth over, that humbly, that is on foot, passeth over, He being leader that first hath passed over, that of the flood in the way even unto death hath drunk, and therefore hath lifted up the head.[4] Passing over therefore on foot that river, that is, easily passing over that mortality that glideth along, "there we will be joyous in Him." But now in what save in Him, or in the hope of Him? For even if we are joyous now, in hope we are joyous; but then in Him we shall be joyous. And now in Him, but through hope: "but then face to face."[5] "There we will be joyous in Him."

11. In whom? "In Him that reigneth in His virtue for everlasting" (ver. 7). For what virtue have we? and is it everlasting? If everlasting were our virtue, we should not have slipped, should not have fallen into sin, we should not have deserved penal mortality. He, of His good pleasure, took up that whereunto our desert threw us down.[6] "That reigneth in His virtue for everlasting." Of Him partakers let us be made, in whose virtue we shall be strong, but He in His own. We enlightened, He a light enlightening: we, being turned away from Him, are in darkness; turned away from Himself He cannot be. With the heat of Him we are warmed; from whence withdrawing we had grown cold, to the Same drawing near again we are warmed. Therefore let us speak to Him that He may keep us in His virtue, because "in Him we will be joyous that reigneth in His virtue for everlasting."

12. But this thing is not granted to believing Jews alone. ... "The eyes of Him do look upon the Gentiles." And what do we? The Jews will murmur; the Jews will say, "what He hath given to us, the same to them also; to us Gospel, to them Gospel; to us the Grace of Resurrection, and to them the Grace of Resurrection; doth it profit us nothing that we have received the Law, and that in the justifications of the Law we have lived, and have kept the commandments of the fathers? Nothing will it avail? The same to them as to us." Let them not strive, let them not dispute. "Let not them that are bitter be exalted in their own selves."[7] O flesh miserable and wasting, art thou not sinful? Why crieth out thy tongue? Let the conscience be listened to. "For all men have sinned, and need the glory of God."[8] Know thyself, human weakness. Thou didst receive the Law, in order that a transgressor also of the Law thou mightest be:[9] for thou hast not kept and fulfilled that which thou didst receive. There hath come to thee because of the Law, not the justification which the Law enjoineth, but the transgression which thou hast done. If therefore there hath abounded sin, why enviest thou Grace more abounding. Be not bitter, for "let not them that are bitter be exalted in their own selves." He seemeth in a manner to have uttered a curse in "Let not them that are bitter be exalted;" yea, be they exalted, but not "in themselves." Let them be humbled in themselves, exalted in Christ. For, "he that humbleth himself shall be exalted; and he that exalteth himself shall be humbled."[1] "Let not them that are bitter be exalted in their own selves."

13. "Bless our God, ye nations" (ver. 8). Behold, there have been driven back they that are bitter, reckoning hath been made with them: some have been converted, some have continued proud. Let not them terrify you that grudge the Gentiles Gospel Grace: now hath come the Seed of Abraham, in whom are blessed all nations.[2] Bless ye Him in, whom ye are blessed, "Bless our God, ye nations: and hear ye the voice of His praise." Praise not yourselves, but praise Him. What is the voice of His praise? That by His Grace we are whatever of good we are. "Who hath set my Soul unto life" (ver. 9) Behold the voice of his praise: "Who hath set my Soul unto life." Therefore in death she was: in death she was, in thyself. Thence it is that ye ought not to have been exalted in yourselves. Therefore in death she was, in thyself: where will it be in life, save in Him that said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life "?[3] Just as to certain believers the Apostle saith, "Ye were sometime darkness, but now light in the Lord."[4] ... "And hath not given unto motion my feet." He hath set my Soul unto life, He guideth the feet that they stumble not, be not moved and given unto motion; He maketh us to live, He maketh us to persevere even unto the end, in order that for everlasting we may live. ...

14. "For thou hast proved us, O God; Thou hast fired us as silver is fired" (ver. 10). Hast not fired us like hay, but like silver: by applying to us fire, Thou hast not turned us into ashes, but Thou hast washed off uncleanness, "Thou hast fired us, as silver is fired." And see in what manner God is wroth against them, whose Soul He hath set unto life. "Thou hast led us into a trap:" not that we might be caught and die, but that we might be tried and delivered from it. "Thou hast laid tribulations upon our back." For having been to ill purpose lifted up, proud we were: having been to ill purpose lifted up, we were bowed down, in order that being bowed down, we should be lifted up for good. "Thou hast laid tribulations on our back:" "Thou hast set men over our heads" (ver. 11). All these things the Church hath suffered in sundry and divers persecutions: She hath suffered this in Her individual members, even now doth suffer it. For there is not one, that in this life could say that he was exempt from these trials. Therefore there are set even men over our heads: we endure those whom we would not, we suffer for our betters those whom we know to be worse. But if sins be wanting, a man is justly superior: but by how much there are more sins, by so much he is inferior. And it is a good thing to consider ourselves to be sinners, and thus endure men set over our heads: in order that we also to God may confess that deservedly we suffer. For why dost thou suffer with indignation that which He doeth who is just? "Thou hast laid tribulations upon our back: Thou hast set men over our heads." God seemeth to be wroth, when He doeth these things: fear not, for a Father He is, He is never so wroth as to destroy. When ill thou livest, if He spareth, He is more angry. In a word, these tribulations are the rods of Him correcting, lest there be a sentence from Him punishing. ...

15. "We have passed through fire and water." Fire and water are both dangerous in this life. Certainly water seemeth to extinguish fire, and fire seemeth to dry up water. Thus also these are the trials, wherein aboundeth this life. Fire burneth, water corrupteth: both must be feared, both the burning of tribulation and the water of corruption. Whenever there is adversity, and anything which is called unhappiness in this world, there is as it were fire: whenever there is prosperity, and the world's plenty floweth about one, there is as it were water. See that fire burn thee not, nor water corrupt. ... Hasten not to the water: through fire pass over to the water, that thou mayest pass over the water also. Therefore also in the mystic rites[5] and in catechising and in exorcising,[6] there is first used fire. For whence ofttimes do the unclean spirits cry out, "I burn," if that is not fire? But after the fire of Exorcism we come to Baptism: so that from fire to water, from water unto refreshment. But as in the Sacraments, so it is in the temptations of this world: the straitness of fear draweth near first, in place of fire; afterwards fear being removed, we ought to be afraid lest worldly happiness corrupt. But when the fire hath not made thee burst, and when thou hast not sunk in the water, but hast swum out; through discipline thou passest over to rest, and passing over through fire and water, thou art led forth into a place of refreshment. For of those things whereof the signs are in the Sacraments, there are the very realities in that perfection of life everlasting. ... But we are not torpid there, but we rest: nor though it be called heat, shall we be hot there, but we shall be fervent in spirit. Observe that same heat in another Psalm: "nor is there any one that hideth himself from the heat thereof."[1] What saith also the Apostle? "In spirit fervent."[2] Therefore, "we have gone over through fire and water: and Thou hast led us forth into a cool place."

16. Observe how not only concerning a cool place, but neither of that very fire to be desired he hath been silent: "I will enter into Thy House in holocausts" (ver. 13). What is a holocaust? A whole sacrifice burned up, but with fire divine. For a sacrifice is called a holocaust, when the whole is burned. One thing are the parts of sacrifices, another thing a holocaust when the whole is burned and the whole consumed by fire divine, it is called a holocaust: when a part, a sacrifice. Every holocaust indeed is a sacrifice: but not every sacrifice a holocaust. Holocausts therefore he is promising, the Body of Christ is speaking, the Unity of Christ is speaking, "I will enter into Thy House in holocausts." All that is mine let Thy fire consume, let nothing of mine remain to me, let all be Thine. But this shall be in the Resurrection of just men, "when both this corruptible shall be clad in incorruption, and this mortal shall be clad in immortality: then shall come to pass that which hath been written, 'Death is swallowed up in victory.'"[3] Victory is, as it were, fire divine: when it swalloweth up our death also, it is a holocaust. There remaineth not anything mortal in the flesh, there remaineth not anything culpable in the spirit: the whole of mortal life shall be consumed, in order that in life everlasting it may be consummated, that from death we may be preserved in life.[4] These therefore will be the holocausts. And what shall there be "in the holocausts"?

17. "I will render to Thee my vows, which my lips have distinguished" (ver. 14). What is the distinction in vows? This is the distinction, that thyself thou censure, Him thou praise: perceive thyself to be a creature, Him the Creator: thyself darkness, Him the Enlightener, to whom thou shouldest say, "Thou shall light my lamp, O Lord my God, Thou shalt enlighten my darkness."[5] For whenever thou shalt have said, O soul, that from thyself thou hast light, thou wilt not distinguish. If thou wilt not distinguish, thou wilt not render distinct vows. Render distinct vows, confess thyself changeable, Him unchangeable: confess thyself without Him to be nothing, but Himself without thee to be perfect; thyself to need Him, but Him not to need thee. Cry to Him, "I have said to the Lord, My God art Thou, for my good things Thou needest not."[6] Now though God taketh thee to Him for a holocaust, He groweth not, He is not increased, He is not richer, He becometh not better furnished: whatsoever He maketh of thee for thy sake, is the better for thee, not for Him that maketh. If thou distinguishest these things, thou renderest the vows to thy God which thy lips have distinguished.

18. "And my mouth hath spoken in my tribulation." How sweet ofttimes is tribulation, how necessary! In that case what hath the mouth of the same spoken in his tribulation? "Holocausts marrowed I will offer to Thee" (ver. 15). What is "marrowed"? Within may I keep Thy love, it shall not be on the surface, in my marrow it shall be that I love Thee. For there is nothing more inward than our marrow: the bones are more inward than the flesh, the marrow is more inward than those same bones. Whosoever therefore on the surface loveth God, desireth rather to please men, but having some other affection within, he offereth not holocausts of marrow: but into whosesoever marrow He looketh, him He receiveth whole. "With incense and rams." The rams are the rulers of the Church: the whole Body of Christ is speaking: this is the thing which he offereth to God. Incense[7] is what? Prayer. "With incense and rams." For especially the rams do pray for the flocks. "I will offer to Thee oxen with he-goats." Oxen we find treading out corn, and the same are offered to God. The Apostle hath said, that of the preachers of the Gospel must be understood that which hath been written, "Of the ox treading out corn the mouth thou shalt not muzzle. Doth God care for oxen?"[8] Therefore great are those rams, great the oxen. What of the rest, that perchance are conscious of certain sins, that perchance in the very road have slipped, and, having been wounded, by penitence are being healed? Shall they too continue, and to the holocausts shall they not belong? Let them not fear, he hath added he-goats also. "I will offer to Thee oxen with he-goats." By the very yoking are saved the he-goats; of themselves they have no strength, being yoked to bulls they are accepted. For they have made friends of the mammon of iniquity, that the same may receive them into everlasting tabernacles? Therefore those he-goats shall not be on the left, because they have made to themselves friends of the mammon of iniquity. But what he-goats shall be on the left? They to whom shall be said, "I hungred, and ye gave me not to eat:"[10] not they that have redeemed their sins by almsdeeds.

19. "Come ye, hear, and I will tell, all ye that fear God" (ver. 16). Let us come, let us hear, what he is going to tell, "Come ye, hear, and I will tell." But to whom," Come ye, and hear"? "All ye that fear God." If God ye fear not, I will not tell. It is not possible that it be told to any where the fear of God is not. Let the fear of God open the ears, that there may be something to enter in, and a way whereby may enter in that which I am going to tell. But what is he going to tell? "How great things He hath done to my soul." Behold, he would tell: but what is he going to tell? Is it perchance how widely the earth is spread, how much the sky is extended, and how many are the stars, and what are the changes of sun and of moon? This creation fulfilleth its course: but they have very curiously sought it out, the Creator thereof have not known.[1] This thing hear, this thing receive, "O ye that fear God, how great things He hath done to my soul:" if ye will, to yours also. "How great things He hath done to my soul." "To Him with my mouth I have cried" (ver. 17). "And this very thing, he saith, hath been done to his soul; that to Him with his mouth he should cry, hath been done, he saith, to his soul. Behold, brethren, Gentiles we were, even if not in ourselves, in our parents. And what saith the Apostle? "Ye know, when Gentiles ye were, to idols without speech how ye went up, being led."[2] Let the Church now say, "how great things He hath done to my soul." "To Him with my mouth I have cried." I a man to a stone was crying, to a deaf stock I was crying, to idols deaf and dumb I was speaking: now the image of God hath been turned to the Creator thereof. I that was "saying to a stock, My father thou art; and to a stone, Thou hast begotten me:"[3] now say, "Our Father, which art in Heaven."[4] ... "To Him with my mouth I have cried, and I have exalted Him under my tongue." See how in secret He would be uncorrupt that offereth marrowed holocausts. This do ye, brethren, this imitate, so that ye may say, "Come ye, see how great things He hath done to my soul." For all those things of which he telleth, by His Grace are done in our soul. See the other things of which he speaketh.

20. "If I have beheld iniquity in my heart, may not the Lord hearken" (ver. 18). Consider now, brethren, how easily, how daily men blushing for fear of men do censure iniquities; He hath done ill, He hath done basely, a villain the fellow is: this perchance for man's sake he saith. See whether thou beholdest no iniquity in thy heart, whether perchance that which thou censurest in another, thou art meditating to do, and therefore against him dost exclaim, not because he hath done it, but because he hath been found out. Return to thyself, within be to thyself a judge. Behold in thy hid chamber, in the very inmost recess of the heart, where thou and He that seeth are alone, there let iniquity be displeasing to thee, in order that thou mayest be pleasing to God. Do not regard it, that is, do not love it, but rather despise it, that is, contemn it, and turn away from it. Whatever pleasing thing it hath promised to allure thee to sin; whatever grievous thing it hath threatened, to drive thee on to evil doing; all is nought, all passeth away: it is worthy to be despised, in order that it may be trampled upon; not to be eyed lest it be accepted.[5] ...

21. "Therefore God hath hearkened to me" (ver. 19). Because I have not beheld iniquity in my heart. "And He hath listened to the voice of my prayer." "Blessed be my God, that hath not thrust away my supplication and His mercy from me" (ver. 20). Gather the sense from that place, where he saith, "Come ye, hear, and I will tell you, all ye that fear God, how great things He hath done to my soul:"[6] he hath both said the words which ye have heard, and at the end thus he hath concluded: "Blessed be my God, that hath not thrust away my supplication and His mercy from me." For thus there arriveth at the Resurrection he that speaketh, where already we also are by hope: yea both it is we ourselves, and this voice is ours. So long therefore as here we are, this let us ask of God, that He thrust not from us our supplication, and His mercy, that is, that we pray continually, and He continually pity. For many become feeble in praying, and in the newness of their own conversion pray fervently, afterwards feebly, afterwards coldly, afterwards negligently: as if they have become secure. The foe watcheth: thou sleepest. The Lord Himself hath given commandment in the Gospel, how "it behoveth men always to pray and not to faint."[7] And he giveth a comparison from that unjust judge, who neither feared God, nor regarded man, whom that widow daily importuned to hear her; and he yielded for weariness, that was not influenced by pity: and the naughty judge saith to himself, "Though neither God I fear, nor men I regard, even because of the weariness which this widow daily putteth upon me, I will hear her cause, and will avenge her." And the Lord saith, "If a naughty judge hath done this, shall not your Father avenge His chosen, that to Him do cry day and night? Yea, I say unto you, He shall make judgment of them speedily." Therefore let us not hint m prayer. Though He putteth off what He is going to grant, He putteth it not away: being secure of His promise, let us not faint in praying, and this is by His goodness. Therefore he hath said, "Blessed is my God, that hath not thrust away my supplication and His mercy from me." When thou hast seen thy supplication "not thrust away from thee," be secure, that His mercy hath not been thrust away from thee.


1. Your Love remembereth, that in two Psalms,[2] which have been already treated of, we have stirred up our soul to bless the Lord, and with godly chant have said, "Bless thou, O my soul, the Lord." If therefore we have stirred up our soul in those Psalms to bless the Lord, in this Psalm is well said, "May God have pity on us, and bless us" (ver. 1). Let our soul bless the Lord, and let God bless us. When God blesseth us, we grow, and when we bless the Lord, we grow, to us both are profitable. He is not increased by our blessing, nor is He lessened by our cursing. He that curseth the Lord, is himself lessened: he that blesseth the Lord, is himself increased. First, there is in us the blessing of the Lord, and the consequence is that we also bless the Lord. That is the rain, this the fruit. Therefore there is rendered as it were fruit to God the Husbandman, raining upon and tilling us. Let us chant these words with no barren devotion, with no empty voice, but with true heart. For most evidently God the Father hath been called a Husbandman.[3] The Apostle saith, "God's husbandry ye are, God's building ye are."[4] In things visible of this world, the vine is not a building, and a building is not a vineyard: but we are the vineyard of the Lord, because He tilleth us for fruit; the building of God we are, since He who tilleth us, dwelleth in us. And what saith the same Apostle? "I have planted, Apollos hath watered, but the increase God hath given. Therefore neither he that planteth is anything, nor he that watereth, but He that giveth the increase, even God."[5] He it is therefore that giveth the increase. Are those perchance the husbandmen? For a husbandman he is called that planteth, that watereth: but the Apostle hath said, "I have planted, Apollos hath watered." Do we enquire whence himself hath done this? The Apostle maketh answer, "Yet not I, but the Grace of God with me."[6] Therefore whithersoever thou turn thee, whether through Angels, thou wilt find God thy Husbandman; whether through Prophets, the Same is thy Husbandman; whether through Apostles, the very Same acknowledge to be thy Husbandman. What then of us? Perchance we are the labourers of that Husbandman, and this too with powers imparted by Himself, and by Grace granted by Himself. ...

2. "Lighten His countenance upon us." Thou wast perchance going to enquire, what is "bless us"? In many ways men would have themselves to be blessed of God: one would have himself to be blessed, so that he may have a house full of the necessary things of this life; another desireth himself to be blessed, so that he may obtain soundness of body without flaw; another would have himself to be blessed, if perchance he is sick, so that he may acquire soundness; another longing for sons, and perchance being sorrowful because none are born, would have himself to be blessed so that he may have posterity. And who could number the divers wishes of men desiring themselves to be blessed of the Lord God? But which of us would say, that it was no blessing of God, if either husbandry should bring him fruit, or if any man's house should abound in plenty of things temporal, or if the very bodily health be either so maintained that it be not lost, or, if lost, be regained? ...

3. "Every soul that is blessed is simple," 7 not cleaving to things earthly nor with glued wings grovelling, but beaming with the brightness of virtues, on the twin wings of twin love doth spring into the free air; and seeth how from her is withdrawn that whereon she was treading, not that whereon she was resting, and she saith securely, "The Lord hath given, the Lord hath taken away; as it hath pleased the Lord, so hath been done: be the name of the Lord blessed." ... But let not perchance any weak man say, when shall I be of so great virtue, as was holy Job? The mightiness of the tree thou wonderest at, because but now thou hast been born: this great tree, whereat thou wonderest, under the branches and shade whereof thou coolest thyself, hath been a switch. But dost thou fear lest there be taken away from thee these things, when such thou shalt have become? Observe that they are taken away from evil men also. Why therefore dost thou delay conversion? That which thou fearest when good to lose, perchance if evil thou wilt lose still. If being good thou shalt have lost them, there is by thee the Comforter that hath taken them away: the coffer is emptied of gold; the heart is full of faith: without, poor thou art, but within, rich thou art: thy riches with thee thou carriest, which thou wouldest not lose, even if naked from shipwreck thou shouldest escape. Why doth not the loss, that perchance, if evil, thou wilt lose, find thee good; forasmuch as thou seest evil men also suffer loss? But with greater loss they are stricken: empty is the house, more empty the conscience is. Whatsoever evil man shall have lost these things, hath nothing to hold by without, hath nothing within whereon he may rest. He fleeth when he hath suffered loss from the place where before the eyes of men with the display of riches he used to vaunt himself; now in the eyes of men to vaunt himself he is not able: to himself within he returneth not, because he hath nothing. He hath not imitated the ant, he hath not gathered to himself grains, while it was summer.[1] What have I meant by, while it was summer? While he had quietude of life, while he had this world's prosperity, when he had leisure, when happy he was being called by all men, his summer it was. He should have imitated the ant, he should have heard the Word of God, he should have gathered. together grains, and he should have stored them within. There had come the trial of tribulation, there had come upon him a winter of numbness, tempest of fear, the cold of sorrow, whether it were loss, or any danger to his safety, or any bereavement of his family; or any dishonour and humiliation; it was winter; the ant falleth back upon that which in summer she hath gathered together; and within in her secret store, where no man seeth, she is recruited by her summer toils. When for herself she was gathering together these stores in summer, all men saw her: when on these she feedeth in winter, no one seeth. What is this? See the ant of God, he riseth day by day, he hasteneth to the Church of God, he prayeth, he heareth lection, he chanteth hymn, he digesteth that which he hath heard, with himself[2] he thinketh thereon, he storeth within grains gathered from the threshing-floor. They that providently hear those very things which even now are being spoken of, do thus, and by all men are seen to go forth to the Church, go back from Church, to hear sermon, to hear lection, to choose a book, open and read it: all these things are seen, when they are done. That ant is treading his path, carrying and storing up in the sight of men seeing him. There cometh winter sometime, for to whom cometh it not? There chanceth loss, there chanceth bereavement: other men pity him perchance as being miserable, who know not what the ant hath within to eat, and they say, miserable he whom this hath befallen, or what spirits, dost thou think, hath he whom this hath befallen? how afflicted is he? He measureth by himself, hath compassion according to his own strength; and thus he is deceived: because the measure wherewith he measureth himself, he would apply to him whom he knoweth not. ... O sluggard, gather in summer while thou art able; winter will not suffer thee to gather, but to eat that which thou shall have gathered. For how many men so suffer tribulation, that there is no opportunity either to read anything, or to hear anything, and they obtain no admittance, perchance, to those that would comfort them. The ant hath remained in her nest, let her see if she hath gathered anything in summer, whereby she may recruit herself in winter.

4. ... There is a double interpretation, both must be given: "lighten," he saith, "Thy face upon us," show to us Thy countenance. For God doth not ever light His countenance, as if ever it had been without light: but He lighteth it upon us, so that what was hidden from us, is opened to us, and that which was, but to us was hidden, is unveiled upon us, that is, is lightened. Or else surely it is, "Thy image lighten upon us:" so that he said this, in "lighten Thy countenance upon us:" Thou hast imprinted Thy countenance upon us; Thou hast made us after Thine image and Thy likeness,[3] Thou hast made us Thy coin; but Thine image ought not in darkness to remain: send a ray of Thy wisdom, let it dispel our darkness, and let there shine in us Thy image; let us know ourselves to be Thine image, let us hear what hath been said in the Song of Songs, "If Thou shalt not have known Thyself, O Thou fair one among women."[4] For there is said to the Church, "If Thou shalt not have known Thyself." What is this? If Thou shalt not have known Thyself to have been made after the image of God. O Soul of the Church, precious, redeemed with the blood of the Lamb immaculate, observe of how great value Thou art, think what hath been given for Thee. Let us say, therefore, and let us long that He "may lighten His face upon us." We wear His face: in like manner as, the faces of emperors are spoken of, truly a kind of sacred face is that of God in His own image: but unrighteous men know not in themselves the image of, God. In order that the countenance of God may be lightened upon them, they ought to say what? "Thou shalt light my candle, O Lord my God, Thou shalt light my darkness."[5] I am in the darkness of sins, but by the ray of Thy wisdom dispelled be my darkness, may Thy countenance appear; and if perchance through me it appeareth somewhat deformed, by Thee be there reformed that which by Thee hath been formed.

5. "That we may know on earth Thy way" (ver. 2). "On earth," here, in this life, "we may know Thy way." What is, "Thy way"? That which leadeth to Thee. May we acknowledge whither we are going, acknowledge where we are as we go; neither in darkness we can do. Afar Thou art from men sojourning, a way to us Thou hast presented, through which we must return to Thee. "Let us acknowledge on earth Thy way." What is His way wherein we have desired, "That we may know on earth Thy way"? We are going to enquire this ourselves, not of ourselves to learn it. We can learn of it from the Gospel: "I am the Way,"[1] the Lord saith: Christ hath said, "I am the Way." But dost thou fear lest thou stray? He hath added, "And the Truth." Who strayeth in the Truth? He strayeth that hath departed from the Truth. The Truth is Christ, the Way is Christ: walk therein. Dost thou fear lest thou die before thou attain unto Him? "I am the Life: I am," He saith, "the Way and the Truth and the Life." As if He were saying, "What fearest thou? Through Me thou walkest, to Me thou walkest, in Me thou restest." What therefore meaneth, "We may know on earth Thy Way," but "we may know on earth Thy Christ"? But let the Psalm itself reply: lest ye think that out of other Scriptures there must be adduced testimony, which perchance is here wanting: by repetition he hath shown what signified, "That we may know on earth Thy Way:" and as if thou wast inquiring, "In what earth, what way?" "In all nations Thy Salvation." In what earth, thou art inquiring? Hear: "In all nations." What way art thou seeking? Hear: "Thy Salvation.'' Is not perchance Christ his Salvation? And what is that which the old Symeon hath said, that old man, I say, in the Gospel, preserved full of years even unto the infancy of the Word?[2] For that old man took in his hands the Infant Word of God. Would He that in the womb deigned to be, disdain to be in the hands of an old man? The Same was in the womb of the virgin, as was in the hands of the old man, a weak infant both within the bowels, and in the old man's hand, to give us strength, by whom were made all things; and if all things, even His very mother. He came humble, He came weak, but clothed with a weakness to be changed into strength,[3] because "though He was crucified of weakness, yet He liveth of the virtue of God,"[4] the Apostle saith. He was then in the hands of an old man. And what saith that old man? Rejoicing that now he must be loosed from this world, seeing how in his own hand was held He by whom and in whom his Salvation was upheld; he saith what? "Now Thou lettest go," he saith," O Lord, Thy servant in peace, for mine eyes have seen Thy Salvation."[5] Therefore, "May God bless us, and have pity on us; may He lighten His countenance upon us, that we may know on earth Thy Way!" In what earth? "In all nations?" What Way? "Thy Salvation."

6. What followeth because the Salutation of God is known in all nations? "Let the peoples confess to Thee, O God" (ver. 3); "confess to Thee," he saith, "all peoples." There standeth forth a heretic, and he saith, In Africa I[6] have peoples: and another from another quarter, And I in Galatia have peoples. Thou in Africa, he in Galatia: therefore I require one that hath them everywhere. Ye have indeed dared to exult at that voice, when ye heard, "Let the peoples confess to Thee, O God." Hear the following verse, how he speaketh not of a part: "Let there confess to Thee all peoples." Walk ye in the Way together with all nations; walk ye in the Way together with all peoples, O sons of peace, sons of the One Catholic Church,[7] walk ye in the Way, seeing as ye walk. Wayfarers do this to beguile their toil. Sing ye in this Way; I implore you by that Same Way, sing ye in this Way: a new song sing ye, let no one there sing old ones: sing ye the love-songs of your fatherland, let no one sing old ones. New Way, new wayfarer, new song. Hear thou the Apostle exhorting thee to a new song: "Whatever therefore is in Christ is a new creature; old things have passed away, behold they have been made new." A new song sing ye in the way, which ye have learned "on the earth." In what earth? "In all nations." Therefore even the new song doth not belong to a part. He that in a part singeth, singeth an old song: whatever he please to sing, he singeth an old song, the old man singeth: divided he is, carnal he is. Truly in so far as carnal he is, so far he is old; and in so far as he is spiritual, so far new. See what saith the Apostle: "I could not speak to you as if to spiritual, but as if to carnal."[8] Whence proverb he them carnal? "For while one saith, I am of Paul; but another, I of Apollos: are ye not," he saith, "carnal?"[9] Therefore in the Spirit a new song sing thou in the safe way. Just as wayfarers sing, and ofttimes in the night sing. Awful round about all things do sound, or rather they sound not around, but are still around; and the more still the more awful; nevertheless, even they that fear robbers do sing.[10] How much more safely thou singest in Christ! That way hath no robber, unless thou by forsaking the way fallest in the hands of a robber. ... Why fear ye to confess, and in your confession to sing a new song together with all the earth; in all the earth, in Catholic peace, dost thou fear to confess to God, lest He condemn thee that hast confessed? If having not confessed thou liest concealed, having confessed thou wilt be condemned. Thou fearest to confess, that by not confessing canst not be concealed: thou wilt be condemned if thou hast held thy peace, that mightest have been delivered, by having confessed. "O God, confess to Thee all peoples."

7. And because this confession leadeth not to punishment, he continueth and saith, "Let the nations rejoice and exult" (ver. 4). If robbers after confession made do wail before man, let the faithful after confessing before God rejoice. If a than be judge, the torturer and his fear exact from a robber a confession: yea sometimes fear wringeth out confession, pain extorteth it: and he that waileth in tortures, but feareth to be killed if he confess, supporteth tortures as far as he is able: and if he shall have been overcome by pain, he giveth his voice for death. Nowise therefore is he joyful; nowise exulting: before he confesseth the claw teareth[1] him; when he hath confessed, the executioner leadeth him along a condemned felon: wretched in every case. But" let the nations rejoice and exult." Whence? Through that same confession. Why? Because good He is to whom they confess: He exacteth confession, to the end that He may deliver the humble; He condemneth one not confessing, to the end that He may punish the proud. Therefore be thou sorrowful before thou confessest; after having confessed exult, now thou wilt be made whole. Thy conscience had gathered up evil humours, with boil it had swollen, it was torturing thee, it suffered thee not to rest: the Physician applieth the fomentations of words? and sometimes He lanceth it, He applieth the surgeon's knife by the chastisement of tribulation: do thou acknowledge the Physician's hand, confess thou, let every evil humour go forth and flow away in confession: now exult, now rejoice, that which remaineth will be easy to be made whole. ... "Let the nations rejoice and exult, for Thou judgest the peoples in equity." And that unrighteous men may not fear, he hath added, "and the nations on the earth Thou directest." Depraved were the nations and crooked were the nations, perverse were the nations; for the ill desert of their depravity, and crookedness and perverseness, the Judge's coming they feared: there cometh the hand of the same, it is stretched out mercifully to the peoples, they are guided in order that they may walk the straight way; why should they fear the Judge to come, that have first acknowledged Him for a Corrector? To His hand let them give up themselves, Himself guideth the nations on the earth. But guided nations are walking in the Truth, are exulting in Him, are doing good works; and if perchance there cometh in any water (for on sea they are sailing) through the very small holes, through the crevices into the hold, pumping it out by good works, lest by more and more coming it accumulate, and sink the ship, pumping it out daily, fasting, praying, doing almsdeeds, saying with pure heart, "Forgive us our debts, as also we forgive our debtors"[3]--saying such words walk thou secure, and exult in the way, sing in the way. Do not fear the Judge: before thou wast a believer, thou didst find a Saviour. Thee ungodly He sought out that He might redeem, thee redeemed will He forsake so as to destroy? "And the nations on earth Thou directest."

8. He exulteth, rejoiceth, exhorteth, he repeateth those same verses in exhortation.[4] "The earth hath given her fruit" (ver. 6). What fruit? "Let all peoples confess to Thee." Earth it was, of thorns it was full; there came the hand of One rooting them up, there came a calling by His majesty and mercy, the earth began to confess; now the earth giveth her fruit. Would she give her fruit unless first she were rained on? Would she give her fruit, unless first the mercy of God had come from above? Let them read to me, thou sayest, how the earth being rained upon gave her fruit. Hear of the Lord raining upon her: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."[5] He raineth, and that same rain is thunder; it terrifieth: fear thou Him thundering, and receive Him raining. Behold, after that voice of a thundering and raining God, after that voice let us see something out of the Gospel itself. Behold that harlot of ill fame in the city burst into a strange house into which she had not been invited by the host, but by One invited she had been called;[6] called[7] not with tongue, but by Grace. The sick woman knew that she had there a place, where she was aware that her Physician was sitting at meat. She has gone in, that was a sinner; she dareth not draw near save to the feet: she weepeth at His feet, she washeth with tears, she wipeth with hair, she anointeth with ointment. Why wonderest thou? The earth hath given her fruit. This thing, I say, came to pass by the Lord raining there through His own mouth; there came to pass the things whereof we read in the Gospel; and by His raining through His clouds, by the sending of the Apostles and by their preaching the truth, the earth more abundantly hath given her fruit, and that crop now hath filled the round world.

9. The fruit of the earth was first in Jerusalem. For from thence began the Church: there came there the Holy Spirit, and filled full the holy men gathered together in one place; miracles were done, with the tongues of all men they spake.[8] They were filled full of the Spirit of God, the people were converted that were in that place, fearing and receiving the divine shower, by confession they brought forth so much fruit, that all their goods they brought together into a common stock, making distribution to the poor, in order that no one might call anything his own, but all things might be to them in common, and they might have one soul and one heart unto God.[1] For there had been forgiven[2] them the blood which they had shed, it had been forgiven them by the Lord pardoning, in order that now they might even learn to drink that which they had shed. Great in that place is the fruit: the earth hath given her fruit, both great fruit, and most excellent fruit. Ought by any means that earth alone to give her fruit? "May there bless us God, our God, may there bless us God" (ver. 7). Still may He bless us: for blessing in multiplication is wont most chiefly and properly to be perceived. Let us prove this in Genesis; see the works of God: God made light,[3] and God made a division between light and darkness: the light He called day, and the darkness He called night. It is not said, He blessed the light. For the same light returneth and changeth by days and nights. He calleth the sky the firmament between waters and waters: it is not said, He blessed the sky: He severed the sea from the dry land, and named both, the dry land earth, and the gathering together of the waters sea: neither here is it said, God blessed. ...

10. How should we will that to us He come? By living well, by doing well. Let not things past please us; things present not hold us; let us not "close the ear" as it were with tail,[4] let us not press down the ear on the ground; lest by things past we be kept back from hearing, lest by things present we be entangled and prevented from meditating on things future; let us reach forth unto those things which are before, let us forget things past.[5] And that for which now we toil, for which now we groan, for which now we sigh, of which now we speak, which in part, however small soever, we perceive, and to receive are not able, we shall receive, we shall thoroughly enjoy in the resurrection of the just. Our youth shall be renewed as an eagle's,[6] if only our old man we break[7] against the Rock of Christ. Whether those things be true, brethren, which are said of the serpent, or those which are said of the eagle, or whether it be rather a tale of men than truth, truth is nevertheless in the Scriptures, and not without reason the Scriptures have spoken of this: let us do whatever it signifieth, and not toil to discover how far that is true. Be thou such an one, as that thy youth may be able to be renewed as an eagle's. And know thou that it cannot lie renewed, except thine old man on the Rock shall have been broken off: that is, except by the aid of the Rock, except by the aid of Christ, thou wilt not be able to be renewed. Do not thou because of the pleasantness of the past life be deaf to the word of God: do not by things present be so held and entangled, as to say, I have no leisure to read, I have no leisure to hear. This is to press down the ear upon the ground. Do thou therefore not be such an one: but be such an one as on the other side thou findest, that is, so that thou forget things past, unto things before reach thyself out, in order that thine old man on the Rock thou mayest break off. And if any comparisons shall have been made for thee, if thou hast found them in the Scriptures, believe: if thou shalt not have found them spoken of except by report, do not very much believe them.[8] The thing itself perchance is so, perchance is not so. Do thou profit by it, let that comparison avail for thy salvation. Thou art unwilling to profit by this comparison, by some other profit, it mattereth not provided thou do it: and, being secure, wait for the Kingdom of God, lest thy prayer quarrel with thee. For, O Christian man, when thou sayest, Thy Kingdom come, how sayest thou, "Thy kingdom come"?[9] Examine thy heart: see, behold, "Thy kingdom come:" He crieth out to thee, "I come:" dost thou not fear? Often we have told Your Love: both to preach the truth is nothing, if heart from tongue dissent: and to hear the truth is nothing, if fruit follow not hearing. From this place exalted as it were we are speaking to you: but how much we are beneath your feet in fear, God knoweth, who is gracious to the humble; for the voices of men praising do not give us so much pleasure as the devotion of men confessing, and the deeds of men now righteous. And how we have no pleasure but in your advances, but by those praises how much we are endangered, He knoweth, whom we pray to deliver us from all dangers, and to deign to know and crown us together with you, saved from every trial, in His Kingdom.


1. Of this Psalm, the title seemeth not to need operose discussion: for simple and easy it appeareth. For thus it standeth: "For the end, for David himself a Psalm of a Song." But in many Psalms already we have reminded you what is "at the end: for the end of the Law is Christ for righteousness to every man believing:"[11] He is the end which maketh perfect, not that which consumeth or destroyeth. Nevertheless, if any one endeavoureth to inquire, what meaneth, "a Psalm of a Song:" why not either "Psalm" or "Song," but both; or what is the difference between Psalm of Song, and Song of Psalm, because even thus of some Psalms the titles are inscribed: he will find perchance something which we leave for men more acute and more at leisure than ourselves. ...

2. "Let God rise up, and let His enemies be scattered" (ver. 1). Already this hath come to pass, Christ hath risen up, "who is over all things, God blessed for ever,"[1] and His enemies have been dispersed through all nations, to wit, the Jews; in that very place, where they practised their enmities, being overthrown in war, and thence through all places dispersed: and now they hate, but fear, and in that very fear they do that which followeth, "And let them that hate Him flee from His face." The flight indeed of the mind is fear. For in carnal flight, whither flee they from the face of Him who everywhere showeth the efficacy[2] of His presence? "Whither shall I depart," saith he, "from Thy Spirit, and from Thy face whither shall I flee?"[3] With mind, therefore, not with body, they flee; to wit, by being afraid, not by being hidden; and not from that face which they see not, but from that which they are compelled to see. For the face of Him hath His presence in His Church been called. ...

3. "As smoke faileth, let them fail" (ver. 2). For they lifted up themselves from the fires of their hatred unto the vapouring of pride, and against Heaven setting their mouth, and shouting," Crucify, Crucify,"[4] Him taken captive they derided, Him hanging they mocked: and being soon conquered by that very Person against whom they swelled victorious, they vanished away. "As wax melteth from the face of fire, so let sinners perish from the face of God." Though perchance in this passage he hath referred to those men, whose hard-heartedness in tears of penitence is dissolved: yet this also may be understood, that he threateneth future judgment; because though in this world like smoke, in lifting up themselves, that is, in priding themselves, they have melted away, there will come to them at the last final damnation, so that from His face they will perish for everlasting, when in His own glory He shall have appeared, like fire, for the punishment of the ungodly, and the light of the righteous.

4. "Lastly, there followeth, "And let just men be joyous, and exult in the sight of God, let them delight in gladness" (ver. 3). For then shall they hear," Come, ye blessed of My Father, receive ye the kingdom."[5] "Let them be joyous," therefore, that have toiled, "and exult in the sight of God." For there will not be in this exultation, as though it were before men, any empty boasting; but (it will be) in the sight of Him who unerringly looketh into that which He hath granted. "Let them delight in gladness:" no longer exulting with trembling[6] as in this world, so long as "human life is a trial upon earth."[7] Secondly, he turneth himself to those very persons to whom he hath given so great hope, and to them while here living he speaketh and exhorteth: "Sing ye to God, psalm ye to His name" (ver. 4). Already on this subject in the exposition of the Title we have before spoken that which seemed meet. He singeth to God, that liveth to God: He psalmeth to His name, that worketh unto His Glory. In singing thus, in psalming thus, that is, by so living, by so working, "a way make ye to Him," he saith, "that hath ascended above the setting." A way make ye to Christ: so that through the beautiful feet of men telling good tidings,[5] the hearts of men believing many have a way opened to Him. For the Same is He that hath ascended above the "setting:" either because the new life of one turned to Him receiveth Him not, except the old life shall have set by his renouncing this world, or because He ascended above the setting, when by rising again He conquered the downfall of the body. "For The Lord is His name." Which if they had known, the Lord of glory they never would have crucified.[9]

5. "Exult ye in the sight of Him," O ye to whom hath been said, "Sing ye to God, psalm ye to the name of Him, a way make ye to Him that hath ascended above the setting," also "exult in the sight of Him:" as if "sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing."[10] For while ye make a way to Him, while ye prepare a way whereby He may come and possess the nations, ye are to suffer in the sight of men many sorrowful things. But not only faint not, but even exult, not in the sight of men, but in the sight of God. "In hope rejoicing, in tribulation enduring:"[11] "exult ye in the sight of Him." For they that in the sight of men trouble you, "shall be troubled by the face of Him, the Father of orphans and Judge of widows" (ver. 5). For desolate they suppose them to be, from whom ofttimes by the sword of the Word of God[12] both parents from sons, and husbands from wives, are severed: but persons destitute and widowed have the consolation "of the Father of orphans and Judge of widows:" they have the consolation of Him that say to Him," For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord hath taken up me:"[1] and they that have hoped in the Lord, continuing in prayers by night and by day:[2] by whose face those men shall be troubled when they shall have seen themselves prevail nothing, for that the whole world hath gone away after Him.[3] For out of those orphans and widows, that is, persons destitute of partnership in this world's hope, the Lord for Himself doth build a Temple: whereof in continuation he saith, "The Lord is in His holy place."

6. For what is His place he hath disclosed, when he saith, "God that maketh to dwell men of one mood in a house" (ver. 6): men of one mind, of one sentiment: this is the holy place of the Lord. For when he had said, "The Lord is in His holy place:" as though we were inquiring in what place, since He is everywhere wholly, and no place of corporal space containeth Him; forthwith he hath subjoined somewhat, that we should not seek Him apart from ourselves, but rather being of one mood dwelling in a house, we should deserve that He also Himself deign to dwell among us. This is the holy place of the Lord, the thing that most men seek to have, a place where in prayer they may be hearkened unto. ... For as in a great house of a man, the Lord thereof doth not abide in every place whatsoever, but in some place doubtless more private and honourable: so God dwelleth not in all men that are in His house (for He dwelleth not in the vessels of dishonour), but His holy place are they whom "He maketh to dwell of one mood," or "of one manner, in a house." For what are called tro'poi in Greek, by both modi and mores (moods and manners), in Latin may be interpreted. Nor hath the Greek writer, "Who maketh to dwell," but only "maketh to dwell." "The Lord," then, "is in His holy place." ...

7. But to prove that by His Grace He buildeth to Himself this place, not for the sake of the merits preceding of those persons out of whom He buildeth it, see what followeth: "Who leadeth forth men fettered, in strength." For He looseth the heavy bonds of sins, wherewith they were fettered so that they could not walk in the way of the commandments: but He leadeth them forth "in strength," which before His Grace they had not. "Likewise men provoking that dwell in the tombs:" that is, every way dead, taken up with dead works. For these men provoke Him to anger by withstanding justice: for those fettered men perchance would walk, and are not able, and are praying of God that they may be able, and are saying to Him, "From my necessities lead me forth."[4] By whom being heard, they give thanks, saying, "Thou hast broken asunder my bonds."[5] But these provoking men that dwell in the tombs, are of that kind, which in another passage the Scripture pointeth out, saying, "From a dead man, as from one that is not, confession perisheth."[6] Whence there is this saying, "When a sinner shall have come into the depth of evil things, he despiseth."[7] For it is one thing to long for, another thing to fight against righteousness: one thing from evil to desire to be delivered, another thing one's evil doings to defend rather than to confess: both kinds nevertheless the Grace of Christ leadeth forth in strength. With what strength, but that wherewith against sin even unto blood they are to strive? For out of each kind are made meet persons, whereof to construct His holy place; those being loosened, these being raised to life. For even of the woman, whom Satan had bound for eighteen years, by His command He loosed the bonds;[8] and Lazarus' death by His voice He overcame.[9] He that hath done these things in bodies, is able to do more marvellous things in characters, and to make men of one mood to dwell in a house: "leading forth men fettered in strength, likewise men provoking that dwell in the tombs."[10]

8. "O God, when Thou wentest forth before Thy people" (ver. 7). His going forth is perceived, when He appeareth in His works. But He appeareth not to all men, but to them that know how to spy out His works. For I do not now speak of those works which are conspicuous to all men, Heaven and earth and sea and all things that in them are; but the works whereby He leadeth forth men fettered in strength, likewise men provoking that dwell in the tombs, and maketh them of one manner to dwell in a house. Thus He goeth forth before His people, that is, before those that do perceive this His Grace. Lastly, there followeth, "When Thou wentest by in the desert, the earth was moved" (ver. 8). A desert were the nations, which knew not God: a desert they were, where by God Himself no law had been given, where no Prophet had dwelled, and foretold the Lord to come. "When," then, "Thou wentest by in the desert," when Thou wast preached in the nations; "the earth was moved," to the faith earthly men were stirred up. But whence was it moved? "For the heavens dropped from the face of God." Perchance here some one calleth to mind that time, when in the desert God was going over before His people, before the sons of Israel, by day in the pillar of cloud, by night in the brightness of fire;[11] and determineth that thus it is that "the heavens dropped from the face of God," for manna He rained upon His people:[12] that the same thing also is that which followeth, "Mount Sina from the face of the God of Israel,"[1] "with voluntary rain severing God to Thine inheritance" (ver. 9), namely, the God that on Mount Sina spake to Moses, when He gave the Law, so that the manna is the voluntary rain, which God severed for His inheritance, that is, for His people; because them alone He so fed, not the other nations also: so that what next he saith, "and it was weakened," is understood of the inheritance being itself weakened; for they murmuring, fastidiously loathed the manna, longing for victuals of flesh, and those things on which they had been accustomed to live in Egypt.[2] ... Lastly, all those men in the desert were stricken down, nor were any of them except two found worthy to go into the land of promise.[3] Although even if in the sons of them that inheritance be said to have been perfected, we ought more readily to hold to a spiritual sense. For all those things in a figure did happen to them; [4] until the day should break, and the shadows should be removed.[5]

9. May then the Lord open to us that knock; and may the secret things of His mysteries, as far as Himself vouchsafeth, be disclosed. For in order that the earth might be moved to the Truth when into the desert of the Gentiles the Gospel was passing, "the Heavens dropped from the face of God." These are the Heavens, whereof in another Psalm is sung, "The Heavens are telling forth the glory of God."[6] ... So here also, "the Heavens dropped;" but "from the face of God." For even these very persons have been "saved through faith, and this not of themselves, but God's gift it is, not of works, lest perchance any man should be lifted up. For of Himself we are the workmanship,"[7] "that maketh men of one mood to dwell in a house."[8]

10. But what is that which followeth," Mount Sina from the face of the God of Israel"? Must there be understood "dropped;" so that what he hath called by the name of Heavens, the same he hath willed to be understood under the name of Mount Sina also; just as we said that those are called. mountains, which were called Heavens? Nor in this sense ought it to move us that He saith "mountain," not mountains, while in that place they were called "Heavens," not Heaven: for in another Psalm also after it had been said, "The Heavens are telling forth the glory of God: "[6] after the manner of Scripture repeating the same sense in different words, subsequently there is said, "And the firmament telleth the works of His hands."[6] First he said "Heavens," not "Heaven:" and yet afterwards not "firmaments," but "firmament." For God called the firmament Heaven,[9] as in Genesis hath been written. Thus then Heavens and Heaven, mountains and mountain, are not a different thing, but the very same thing: just as Churches many, and the One Church, are not a different thing, but the very same thing. Why then "Mount Sina, which gendereth unto bondage "?[10] as saith the Apostle. Is perchance the Law itself to be understood in Mount Sina, as that which "the Heavens dropped from the face of God," in order that the earth might be moved? And is this the very moving of the earth, when men are troubled, because the Law they cannot fulfil? But if so it is, this is the voluntary rain, whereof in confirmation he saith, "Voluntary rain God severing to Thine inheritance:" because "He hath not done so to any nation, and His judgment He hath not manifested to them."[11] God therefore set apart this voluntary rain to His inheritance because He gave the Law. And "there was made weak," either the Law, or the inheritance. The Law may be understood to have been made weak, because it was not fulfilled; not that of itself it is weak, but because it maketh men weak, by threatening punishment, and not aiding through grace. For also the very word the Apostle hath used, where he saith, "For that which was impossible of the Law, wherein it was made weak through the flesh:"[12] willing to intimate that through the Spirit it is fulfilled: nevertheless, itself he hath said is made weak, because by weak men it cannot be fulfilled. But the inheritance, that is, the people, without any doubt is understood to have been made weak by the giving to them of the Law. For "the Law came in, that transgression might abound."[13] But that which followeth, "But Thou hast made it perfect," to the Law is thus referred, forasmuch as it is made perfect, that is, is fulfilled after that which the Lord saith in the Gospel, "I have not come to annul the Law, but to fulfil."[14] ... There is in these words yet another sense: which seemeth to me more to approve itself. For much more in accordance with the context, grace itself is understood to be the voluntary rain,[15] because with no preceding merits of works it is given gratis.[16] "For if grace, no longer of works: otherwise grace no longer is grace."[17] ... "But to humble men He giveth grace."[18] And it was made weak, but Thou hast made it perfect:" because "virtue in weakness is perfected."[19] Some copies indeed, both Latin and Greek, have not "Mount Sina;" but, "from the face of the God of Sina, from the face of the God of Israel." That is, "The Heavens dropped from the face of God:" and, as if enquiry were made of what God, "from the face of the God," he saith, "of Sina, from the face of the God of Israel," that is, from the face of the God that gave the Law to the people of Israel. Why then "the Heavens dropped from the face of God," from the face of this God, but because thus was fulfilled that which had been foretold, "Blessing He shall give that hath given the Law"?[1] The Law whereby to terrify a man that relieth on human powers; blessing, whereby He delivereth a man that hopeth in God. Thou then, O God, hast made perfect Thine inheritance; because it is made weak in itself, in order that it may be made perfect by Thee.

11. "Thine animals shall dwell therein" (ver. 10). "Thine," not their own; to Thee subject, not for themselves free; for Thee needy, not for themselves sufficient. Lastly, he continueth, "Thou hast prepared in Thine own sweetness for the needy, O God." "In Thine own sweetness," not in his meetness. For the needy he is, for he hath been made weak, in order that he may be made perfect: he hath acknowledged himself indigent, that he may be replenished. This is that sweetness, whereof in another place is said, "The Lord shall give sweetness, and our land shall give her fruit:"[2] in order that a good work may be done not for fear, but for love; not for dread of punishment, but for love of righteousness. For this is true and sound freedom. But the Lord hath prepared this for one wanting, not for one abounding, whose reproach is that poverty: of which sort in another place is said, "Reproach to these men that abound, and contempt to proud men."[3] For those he hath called proud, whom he hath called them that abound.

12. "The Lord shall give the Word" (ver. 11): to wit, food for His animals which shall dwell therein. But what shall these animals work to whom He shall give the word? What but that which followeth? "To them preaching the Gospel in much virtue." With what virtue, but with that strength wherein He leadeth forth men fettered? Perchance also here he speaketh of that virtue, wherewith in preaching the Gospel they wrought wondrous signs. Who then "shall give the Word to men preaching the Gospel with much virtue"? "The King," he saith, "of the virtues of the Beloved" (ver. 12). The Father therefore is King of the virtues of the Son. For the Beloved, when there is not specified any person that is beloved, by a substitution of name, of the Only Son is understood. Is not the Son Himself King of His virtues, to wit of the virtues serving Himself? Because with much virtue the King of Virtues shall give the Word to men preaching the Gospel, of Whom it hath been said, "The Lord of Virtues, He is the King of Glory?[4] But his not having said King of Virtues, but "King of the Virtues of the beloved," is a most usual expression in the Scriptures, if any one observe: which thing chiefly appeareth in those cases where even the person's own name is already expressed, so that it cannot at all be doubted that it is the same person of whom something is said. Of which sort also is that which in the Pentateuch in many passages is found: "And Moses did it, as the Lord commanded Moses." He said not that which is usual in our expressions, And Moses did, as the Lord commanded him; but, "Moses did as the Lord commanded Moses," as if one person were the Moses whom He commanded, and another person the Moses who did, whereas it is the very same. In the New Testament such expressions are most difficult to find.[5] ... "The King," therefore, "of the virtues of the Beloved," thus may be understood, as if it were to be said, the King of His virtues, because both King of Virtues is Christ, and the Beloved is the very same Christ. However, this sense hath not so great urgency, as that no other can be accepted: because the Father also may be understood as King of the virtues of His Beloved Son, to whom the Beloved Himself saith, "All Mine are Thine, and Thine Mine."[6] But if perchance it is asked, whether God the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ can be called King also, I know not whether any one would dare to withhold this name from Him in the passage where the Apostle saith, "But to the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God."[7] Because even if this be said of the Trinity itself, therein is also God the Father. But if we do not carnally understand, "O God, Thy Judgment to the King give Thou, and Thy justice to the Son of the King:"[8] I know not whether anything else hath been said than, "to Thy Son." King therefore is the Father also. Whence that verse of this Psalm, "King of the virtues of the Beloved;" in either way may be understood. When therefore he had said, "The Lord shall give the Word to men preaching the Gospel with much virtue:" because virtue itself by Him is ruled, and serveth Him by whom it is given; the Lord Himself, he saith, who shall give the Word to men preaching the Gospel with much virtue, is the King of the virtues of the Beloved.

13. In the next place there followeth, "Of the Beloved, and of the beauty of the House to divide the spoils." The repetition belongeth to eulogy.[9] ... But whether it be repeated, or whether it be received as spoken once, the word which hath been set down, namely, "Beloved,"[1] I suppose that thus must be understood that which followeth, "and of the beauty of a house to divide the spoils;" as if there were said, "Chosen even to divide the spoils of the beauty of a house," that is, Chosen even for dividing the spoils. For beautiful Christ hath made His House, that is, the Church, by dividing to Her spoils: in the same manner as the Body is beautiful in the distribution of the members. "Spoils" moreover those are called that are stripped off from conquered foes. What this is the Gospel adviseth us in the passage where we read, "No one goeth into the house of a strong man to spoil his vessels, unless first he shall have bound the strong man."[2] Christ therefore hath bound the devil with spiritual bonds, by overcoming death, and by ascending from Hell above the Heavens: He hath bound him by the Sacrament of His Incarnation, because though finding nothing in Him deserving of death, yet he was permitted to kill: and from him so bound He took away his vessels as though they were spoils. For he was working in the sons of disobedience,[3] of whose unbelief he made use to work his own will. These vessels the Lord cleansing by the remission of sins, sanctifying these spoils wrested from the foe laid prostrate and bound, these He hath divided to the beauty of His House; making some apostles, some prophets, some pastors and doctors,[4] for the work of the ministry, for the building up of the Body of Christ. For as the body is one, and hath many members, and though all the members of the body are many, the body is one: so also is Christ.[5] "Are all Apostles? Are all Prophets? Are all Powers? Have all the gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?"[6] "But all these things worketh one and the same Spirit, dividing to each one his own gifts, as He willeth."[7] And such is the beauty of the house, whereto the spoils are divided, that a lover thereof with this fairness being enkindled, crieth out, "O Lord, I have loved the grace of Thy House."[8]

14. Now in that which followeth, he turneth himself to address the members themselves, whereof the beauty of the House is composed, saying, "If ye sleep in the midst of the lots,[9] wings of a dove silvered, and between the shoulders thereof in the freshness of gold" (ver. 13). First, we must here examine the order of the words, in what manner the sentence is ended; which certainly awaiteth, when there is said, "If ye sleep:" secondly, in that which he saith, namely, "wings of dove silvered," whether in the singular number it must be understood as being, "of this wing"[10] thereof, or in the plural as, "these wings."[11] But the singular number the Greek excludeth, where always in the plural we read it written. But still it is uncertain whether it be these wings; or whether, "O ye wings," so as that he may seem to speak to the wings themselves. Whether therefore by the words which have preceded, that sentence be ended, so that the order is, "The Lord shall give the Word to men preaching the Gospel with much virtue, if ye sleep in the midst of the lots, O ye wings of a dove silvered:" or by these which follow, so that the order is, "If ye sleep in the midst of the lots, the wings of a dove silvered with snow shall be whitened in Selmon:" that is, the wings themselves shall be whitened, if ye sleep in the midst "of the lots:" so that he may be understood to say this to them that are divided to the beauty of the House, as it were spoils; that is, if ye sleep in the "midst of the lots," O ye that are divided to the beauty of the House, "through the manifestation of the Spirit unto profit,"[12] so that "to one indeed is given through the Spirit the word of wisdom, to another the word of knowledge," etc., if then ye sleep in the midst of the lots, then the wings of a dove silvered with snow shall be whitened in Selmon. It may also be thus: "If ye being the wings of a dove silvered, sleep in the midst of the lots, with snow they shall be whitened in Selmon," so as that those men be understood who through grace receive remission of sins. Whence also of the Church Herself, is said in the Song of Songs, "Who is She that goeth up whitened?" For this promise of God is held out through the Prophet, saying, "If your sins shall have been like scarlet, like snow I will whiten them." It may also thus be understood, so that in that which hath been said, "wings of a dove silvered," there be understood, ye shall be, so that this is the sense, O ye that like as it were spoils to the beauty of the house are divided, if ye sleep in the "midst of the lots," wings of a dove silvered ye shall be: that is, into higher places ye shall be lifted up, adhering however to the bond of the Church. For I think no other dove silvered can be better perceived here, than that whereof hath been said," One is My dove."[13] But silvered She is because with divine sayings she hath been instructed: for the sayings of the Lord in another place are called "silver with fire refined, purged sevenfold."[14] Some great good thing therefore it is, to sleep in the midst of the lots, which some would have to be the Two Testaments, so that to "sleep in the midst of the lots"[1] is to rest on the authority of those Testaments, that is, to acquiesce in the testimony of either Testament: so that whenever anything out of them is produced and proved, all strife is ended in peaceful acquiescence. ...

15. "Between the shoulders," however. This is indeed a part of the body, it is a part about the region of the heart, at the hinder parts however, that is, at the back: which part of that dove silvered he saith is "in the greenness of gold," that is, in the vigour of wisdom, which vigour I think cannot be better understood than by love. But why on the back, and not on the breast? Although I wonder in what sense this word is put in another Psalm, where there is said, "Between His shoulders He shall overshadow thee, and under His wings thou shalt hope:"[2] forasmuch as under wings there cannot be overshadowed anything but what shall be under the breast. And in Latin, indeed, "between the shoulders," perchance in some degree of both parts may be understood, both before and behind, that we may take shoulders to be the parts which have the head betwixt them; and in Hebrew perchance the word is ambiguous, which may in this manner also be understood: but the word that is in the Greek, meta'phrena, signifieth not anything but at the back, which is "between the shoulders." Is there for this reason there the greenness of gold, that is, wisdom and love, because in that place there are in a manner the roots of the wings? or because in that place is carried that light burden? For what are even the wings themselves, but the two commandments of love, whereon hangeth the whole Law and the Prophets?[3] what is that same light burden, but that same love[4] which in these two commandments is fulfilled? For whatever thing is difficult in a commandment, is a light thing to a lover. Nor on any other account is rightly understood the saying, "My burden is light,"[5] but because He giveth the Holy Spirit, whereby love is shed abroad in our hearts,[6] in order that in love we may do freely that which he that doeth in fear doeth slavishly; nor is he a lover of what is right, when he would prefer, if so be it were possible, that what is right should not be commanded.

16. It may also be required, when it hath not been said, if ye sleep in the lots, but "in the midst of the lots;" what this is, "in the midst of the lots." Which expression indeed, if more exactly it were translated from the Greek, would signify, "in the midst between the lots,"[7] which is in no one of the interpreters I have read: therefore I suppose, that what hath been said signifieth much the same, to wit the expression, "in the midst of the lots." Hence therefore what seemeth to me I will explain. Ofttimes this word is wont to be used for uniting and pacifying one thing and another, that they may not mutually disagree: as when God is establishing His covenant s between Himself and His people, this word the Scripture useth; for instead of that expression which is in Latin between Me and you, the Greek hath, in the midst of Me and you. So also of the sign of Circumcision, when God speaketh to Abraham, He saith, "There shall be a testament between Me and thee and all thy seed:"[9] which the Greek hath, in the midst of Me and thee, and the midst of thy seed. Also when He was speaking to Noe of the bow in the clouds to establish a sign,[10] this word very often He repeateth: and that which the Latin copies have, between Me and you, or between Me and every living soul, and whatever suchlike expressions there are used, is found in the Greek to be, in the middle of Me and you, which is ana` me'son. David also and Jonathan establish a sign between them,[11] that they may not disagree with a difference of thought: and that which in Latin is expressed, between both, in the middle of both, the Greek hath expressed in the same word, which is ana` me'son. But it was best that in this passage of the Psalms our translators said not, "among the lots," which expression is more suited to the Latin idiom; but, "in the midst of the lots," as though "in the midst between the lots," which rather is the reading in the Greek, and which is wont to be said in the case of those things which ought to have a mutual consent. ... But why in the "lots"[12] the Testaments should be perceived, though this word is Greek, and the Testament is not so named, the reason is, because through a testament is given inheritance, which in Greek is called klhronomi'a and an heir klhrono'mos. Now klh^ros in Greek is the term for lot, and lots according to the promise of God are called those parts of the inheritance which were distributed to the people.[13] Whence the tribe of Levi was commanded not to have lot among their brethren, because they were sustained by tithes from them. For, I think, they that have been ordained in the grades of the Ecclesiastical Ministry have been called both Clergy and Clerks, because Matthias by lot was chosen, who we read was the first that was ordained by the Apostles.[14] Henceforth, because of inheritance which is given by testament, as though by that which is made that which maketh, by the name of "lots" the Testaments themselves are signified.

17. Nevertheless, to me here another sense also occurreth, if I mistake not, to be preferred; understanding by cleri the inheritances themselves: so that, whereas the inheritance of the Old Testament, although in a shadow significant of the future, is earthly felicity; but the inheritance of the New Testament is everlasting immortality; to "sleep in the midst of the lots" is not too earnestly now to seek the former, and still patiently to look for the latter. ... And because so well they have slept, on them, as it were on wings now flieth, and with praises is exalted, the Church: to wit, the Dove silvered, in order that by this fame of theirs, posterity having been invited to imitate them, while in like manner the rest also sleep, there may be added wings whereby even unto the end of the world sublimely she may be preached.

18. "While He that is above the heavens[1] distinguisheth kings over Her, with snow they shall be made white in Selmon" (ver. 14). While He "above the heavens," He that ascended over all heavens that He might fulfil all things, "while He distinguisheth kings over Her," that is, over that same "Dove silvered." For the Apostle continueth and saith, and "He hath Himself given some for Apostles, and some Prophets, and some Evangelists, and some Pastors and Teachers."[2] For what other reason is there to distinguish kings over Her, save for the work of the Ministry, for the edification of the Body of Christ: when she is indeed Herself the Body of Christ? But they are called kings from ruling: and what more than the lusts of the flesh, that sin may not reign in their mortal body to obey the desires thereof, that they yield not their members instruments of iniquity unto sin, but yield themselves to God, as though from the dead living, and their members instruments of righteousness to God?[3] For thus shall the kings be distinguished from foreigners, because they draw not the yoke with unbelievers: secondly, in a peaceful manner being distinguished from one another by their proper gifts. For not all are Apostles, or all Prophets, or all Teachers, or all have gifts of healings, or all with tongues do speak, or all interpret.[4] "But all these things worketh one and the same Spirit, dividing proper gifts to each one as He willeth."[5] In giving which Spirit He that is above the Heavens distinguisheth kings over the Dove silvered. Of which Holy Spirit, when, sent to His Mother full of grace, the Angel was speaking, to her enquiring in what manner it could come to pass that she was announced as going to bear, seeing she knew not a man:[6] ... he saith, "The Holy Spirit shall come over upon thee, and the virtue of the Most Highest shall overshadow thee," that is, shall make a shadow for thee, "wherefore that Holy Thing which shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God."[7] That "shadow" again is understood of a defence against the heat of carnal lusts: whence not in carnal concupiscence, but in spiritual belief, the Virgin conceived Christ. But the shadow consisteth of light and body: and further, The "Word" that "was in the beginning,"[8] that true Light,[9] in order that a noonday shadow might be made for us; "the Word," I say, "was made Flesh, and dwelled in us."[10]

19. But this mountain he calleth the "mountain of God, a mountain fruitful, a mountain full of curds" (ver. 15), or "a mountain fat." But here what else would he call fat but fruitful? For there is also a mountain called by that name, that is to say, Selmon. But what mountain ought we to understand by "the mountain of God, a mountain fruitful, a mountain full of curds," but the same Lord Christ? Of whom also another Prophet saith, "There shall be manifest in the last times the mountain of the Lord prepared on the top of the mountains"?[11] He is Himself the "Mountain full of curds,"[12] because of the babes to be fed with grace as though it were with milk;[13] a mountain rich to strengthen and enrich them by the excellence of the gifts; for even the milk itself whence curd is made, in a wonderful manner signifieth grace; for it floweth out of the overflowing of the mother's Bowels, and of a sweet compassion unto babes freely it is poured forth. But in the Greek the case is doubtful, whether it be the nominative or the accusative: for in that language mountain is of the neuter gender, not of the masculine: therefore some Latin translators have not translated it, "unto the Mountain of God," but, "the Mountain of God." But I think, "unto Selmon the Mountain of God," is better, that is, "unto" the Mountain of God which is called Selmon: according to the interpretation which, as we best could, we have explained above.

20. Secondly, in the expression, "Mountain of God, Mountain full of curds," Mountain" fruitful," let no one dare from this to compare the Lord Jesus Christ with the rest of the Saints, who are themselves also called mountains of God. ... For there were not wanting men to call Him, some John Baptist, some Elias, some Jeremias, or one of the Prophets;[14] He turneth to them and saith, "Why do ye imagine[15] mountains full of curds, a mountain," he saith, "wherein it hath pleased God to dwell therein"? (ver. 16). "Why do ye imagine?"[1] For as they are a light, because to themselves also hath been said, "Ye are the Light of the world,"[2] but something different hath been called "the true Light which enlighteneth every man."[3] so they are mountains; but far different is the Mountain "prepared on the top of the mountains."[4] These mountains therefore in bearing that Mountain are glorious: one of which mountains saith, "but from me far be it to glory, save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom to me the world hath been crucified, and I to the world:"[5] so that "he that glorieth, not in himself, but in the Lord may glory."[6] "Why" then "do ye imagine mountains full of curds," that" Mountain wherein it hath pleased God to dwell therein"? Not because in other men He dwelleth not, but because in them through Him. "For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead,"[7] not in a shadow, as in the temple made by king Solomon,[8] but "bodily," that is, solidly and truly. ... "For there is One God, and One Mediator of God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,"[9] Mountain of mountains, as Saint of saints. Whence He saith, "I in them and Thou in Me."[10] . ... "Why then do ye imagine mountains full of curds, the mountain wherein it hath pleased God to dwell in Him?" For those mountains full of curds that Mountain the Lord shall inhabit even unto the end, that something they may be to whom He saith, "for without Me nothing ye are able to do."[11]

21. Thus cometh to pass that also which followeth: "The Chariot of God is of ten thousands manifold:" or "of tens of thousands manifold:" or, "ten times thousand times manifold" (ver. 17). For one Greek word, which hath there been used, muriopla'sion, each Latin interpreter hath rendered as best he could, but in Latin it could not be adequately expressed for a thousand with the Greeks is called chi'lia, but muria'des are a number of tens of thousands for one muria`s are ten thousands. Thus a vast number of saints and believers, who by bearing God become in a manner the chariot[12] of God, he hath signified under this name. By abiding in and guiding this, He conducteth it, as though it were His Chariot, unto the end, as if unto some appointed place. For, "the beginning is Christ; secondly, that are of Christ, at the appearing of Him; then the end."[13] This is Holy Church: which is that which followeth, "thousands of men rejoicing." For in hope they are joyful, until they be conducted unto the end, which now they look for through patience.[14] For admirably, when he had said, "Thousands of men rejoicing:" immediately he added, "The Lord is in them." That we may not wonder why they rejoice, "The Lord is in them." For through many tribulations we must needs enter into the kingdom of God? but, "The Lord is in them." Therefore even if they are as it were sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing,[16] though not now in that same end, to which they have not yet come, yet in hope they are rejoicing, and in tribulation patient: for, "The Lord is in them, in Sina in the holy place." In the interpretations of Hebrew names, we find Sina interpreted commandment: and some other interpretations it has, but I think this to be more agreeable to the present passage. For giving a reason why those thousands rejoice, whereof the Chariot of God doth consist, "The Lord," he saith, "is in them, in Sins in the holy place:" that is, the Lord is in them, in the commandment; which commandment is holy, as saith the Apostle: "Therefore the law indeed is holy, and the commandment is holy, and just, and good."[17] ...

22. In the next place, turning his address to the Lord Himself, "Thou hast gone up," he saith, "on high, Thou hast led captivity captive, Thou hast received gifts in men" (ver. 18). Of this the Apostle thus maketh mention, thus expoundeth in speaking of the Lord Christ.: "But unto each one of us," he saith, "is given grace after the measure of the giving of Christ: for which cause he saith, He hath gone up on high, He hath led captive captivity, He hath given gifts to men."[18] ... And let it not move us that the Apostle making mention of that same testimony saith not, "Thou hast received gifts in men;" but, "He hath given gifts unto men." For he with Apostolic authority hath spoken thus according to the faith that the Son is God with the Father. For in respect of this He hath given gifts to men, sending to them the Holy Spirit, which is the Spirit of the Father and of the Son. But forasmuch as the self-name Christ is understood in His Body which is the Church, wherefore also His members are His saints and believers, whence to them is said, "But ye are the Body of Christ, and the members,"[19] doubtless He hath Himself also received gifts in men. Now Christ hath gone up on high, and sitteth at the right hand of the Father:[20] but unless He were here also on the earth, He would not thence have cried, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?"[21] When the Same saith Himself, "Inasmuch as to one of My least ye have done it, to Me ye have done it:"[22] why do we doubt that He receiveth in His members, the gifts which the members of Him receive?

23. But what is, "Thou hast led captivity captive"? Is it because He hath conquered death, which was holding captive those over whom it reigned? Or hath he called men themselves captivity, who were being held captive under the devil? Which thing's mystery even the title of that Psalm[1] doth contain, to wit, "when the house was being builded after the captivity:" that is, the Church after the coming in of the Gentiles. Calling therefore those very men who were being held captive a captivity, as when "the service"[2] is spoken of there are understood those that serve also, that same captivity he saith by Christ hath been led captive. For why should not captivity be happy, if even for a good purpose men may be caught? Whence to Peter hath been said, "From henceforth thou shall catch men."[3] Led captive therefore they are because caught, and caught because subjugated, being sent under that gentle yoke,[4] being delivered from sin whereof they were servants, and being made servants of righteousness s whereof they were children. Whence also He is Himself in them, that hath given gifts to men, and hath received gifts in men. And thus in that captivity, in that servitude, in that chariot, under that yoke, there are not thousands of men lamenting, but thousands of men rejoicing. For the Lord is in them, in Sina, in the holy place.[6] ...

24. But what next doth he adjoin? "For they that believe not to dwell" (ver. 18): or, as some copies have, "For not believing to dwell:" for what else are men not believing, but they that believe not? To whom this hath been said, is not easy to perceive. For as though a reason were being given of the above words, when it had been said, "Thou hast led captivity captive, Thou hast received gifts in men:" there hath been added in continuation, "for they that believe not to dwell," that is, not believing that they should dwell. What is this? Of whom saith he this? Did that captivity, before it passed into a good captivity, show whence it was an evil captivity? For through not believing they were possessed by the enemy, "that worketh in the sons of unbelief: among whom ye were sometime, while ye were living among them."[7] By the gifts therefore of His grace, He that hath received gifts in men, hath led captive that captivity. For they believed not that they should dwell. For faith hath thence delivered them, in order that now believing they may dwell in the House of God, even they too becoming the House of God, and the Chariot of God, consisting of thousands of men rejoicing.

25. Whence he that was singing of these things, in the Spirit foreseeing them, even he too being fulfilled with joy hath burst forth s a hymn, saying, "The Lord God is blessed, blessed is the Lord God from day unto day" (ver. 19). Which some copies have, "by day daily," because the Greeks have it thus, hhme'ran kath' hhme'ran: which more exactly would be expressed by, "by day daily." Which expression I think signifieth the same as that which hath been said, to wit, "from day unto day." For daily this He doeth even unto the end, He leadeth captive captivity, receiving gifts in men.

26. And because He leadeth that chariot unto the end, He continueth and saith, "A prosperous journey there shall make for us the God of our healths, our God, the God of making men safe" (ver. 20). Highly is grace here commended. For who would be safe, unless He Himself should make whole? But that it might not occur to the mind, Why then do we die, if through His grace we have been made safe? immediately he added below, "and the Lord's is the outgoing of death:" as though he were saying, Why are thou indignant, O lot of humanity, that thou hast the outgoing of death? Even thy Lord's outgoing was no other than that of death. Rather therefore be comforted than be indignant: for even "the Lord's is the outgoing of death." "For by hope we have been saved: but if that which we see not we hope for, through patience we wait for it."[9] Patiently therefore even death itself let us suffer, by the example of Him, who though by no sin He was debtor to death, and was the Lord, from whom no one could take away life, but Himself laid it down of Himself, yet had Himself the outgoing of death.

27. "Nevertheless, God shall break in pieces the heads of His enemies, the scalp of hair of men walking on in their transgressions" (ver. 21): that is, too much exalting themselves, being too proud in their transgressions: wherein at least they ought to be humble, saying, "O Lord, be Thou merciful to me a sinner."[10]But He shall break in pieces their heads: for he that exalteth himself shall be humbled.[11] And thus though even of the Lord be the outgoing of death: nevertheless the same Lord, because He was God, and died after the flesh of His own will, not of necessity, "shall[12] break in pieces the heads of His enemies:" not only of those who mocked and crucified Him, and wagged their heads, and said, "If Son of God He is, let Him come down from the Cross;"[13] but also of all men lifting up themselves against His doctrine, and deriding His death as though it were of a man. For that very same One of whom hath been said, "Others He saved, Himself He cannot save,"[1] is the "God of our healths," and is the "God of saving men:" but for an example of humility and of patience, and to efface the handwriting of our sins, He even willed that the outgoing of death should be His own, that we: might not fear that death, but rather this from which He hath delivered us through that. Nevertheless, though mocked and dead, "He shall break[2] in pieces the heads of His enemies," of whom He saith, "Raise Thou me up, and I shall render to them:"[3] whether it be good things for evil things, while to Himself He subdueth the heads of them believing, or whether just things for unjust things, while He punisheth the heads of them proud. For in either way are shattered and broken the heads of enemies, when from pride they are thrown down, whether by humility being amended, or whether unto the lowest depths of hell being hurled.

28. "The Lord hath said, Out of Basan I will be turned" (ver. 22): or, as some copies have, "Out of Basan I will turn." For He turneth that we may be safe, of whom above hath been said, "God of our healths, and God of saving men."[4] For to Him elsewhere also is said, "O God of virtues, turn Thou us, and show Thy face, and safe we shall be."[5] Also in another place, "Turn us, O God of our healths."[6] But he hath said, "Out of Basan I will turn." Basan is interpreted confusion. What is then, I will turn out of confusion, but that there is confounded because of his sins, he that is praying of the mercy of God that they may be put away? Thence it is that the Publican dared not even to lift up his eyes to Heaven:[7] so, on considering himself, was he confounded; but he went down justified,[8] because "the Lord hath said, Out of Basan I will turn." Basan is also interpreted drought: and rightly the Lord is understood to turn out of drought, that is, out of scarcity. For they that think themselves to be in plenty, though they be famished; and full, though they be altogether empty; are not turned. ... "I will turn unto the deep of the sea." If, "I will turn," why, "unto the deep of the sea"? Unto Himself indeed the Lord turneth, when savingly He turneth, and He is not surely Himself the deep of the sea. Doth perchance the Latin expression deceive us, and hath there been put "unto the deep," for a translation of what signifieth "deeply "? For He doth not turn Himself: but He turneth those that in the deep of this world lie sunk down with the weight of sins, in that place where one that is turned saith, "From the depths I have cried to Thee, O Lord."[9] But if it is not, "I will turn," but, "I will be turned unto the deep of the sea;" our Lord is understood to have said, how by His own mercy He was turned even unto the deep of the sea, to deliver even those that were sinners in most desperate case. Though in one Greek copy I have found, not, "unto the deep," but "in the depths," that is, en buthoi^s: which strengtheneth the former sense, because even there God turneth to Himself men crying from the depths. And even if He be understood Himself there to be turned, to deliver such sort also, it is not beside the purpose: and so then He turneth, or else to deliver them is so turned, that His foot is stained in blood. Which to the Lord Himself the Prophet speaketh: "That Thy foot may be stained in blood" (ver. 23): that is, in order that they themselves who are turned to Thee, or to deliver whom Thou art turned, though in the deep of the sea by the burden of iniquity they may have been sunk, may make so great proficiency by Thy Grace (for where there hath abounded sin, there hath superabounded grace[10]), that they may become Thy foot among Thy members, to preach Thy Gospel, and for Thy name's sake drawing out a long martyrdom, even unto blood they may contend. For thus, as I judge, more meetly is perceived His foot stained in blood.

29. Lastly, he addeth, "The tongue of Thy dogs out of enemies by Himself," calling those very same that had been about to strive for the faith of the Gospel, even dogs, as though barking for their Lord. Not those dogs, whereof saith the Apostle, "Beware of dogs:"[11] but those that eat of the crumbs which fall from the table of their masters. For having confessed this, the woman of Canaan merited to hear, "O woman, great is thy faith, be it done to thee as thou wilt."[12] Dogs commendable, not abominable; observing fidelity towards their master, and before his house barking against enemies. Not i only "of dogs" he hath said, but "of Thy dogs:" nor are their teeth praised, but their tongue is: for it was not indeed to no purpose, not without a great mystery, that Gedeon was bidden to lead those alone, who should lap the water of the river like dogs;[13] and of such sort not more than three hundred among so great a multitude were found. In which number is the sign of the Cross because of the letter T, which in the Greek numeral characters signifieth three hundred. Of such dogs in another Psalm also said, "They shall be turned at even, and hunger they shall suffer as dogs." For even some dogs have been reproved by the Prophet Isaiah, not because they were dogs, but because they knew not how to bark, and loved to sleep.[15] In which place indeed he hath shown, that if they had watched and barked for their Lord, they would have been praiseworthy dogs: just as they are praised, of whom is said, "The tongue of Thy dogs." ...

30. "There have been seen Thy steps, O God" (ver. 24). The steps are those wherewith Thou hast come through the world, as though in that chariot Thou wast going to traverse the round world; which chariot of clouds He intimateth to be His holy and faithful ones in the Gospel, where He saith, "From this time[1] ye shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds."[2] Leaving out that coming wherein He shall be Judge of quick and dead,[3] "From this time," He saith, "ye shall see the Son of Man coming in clouds." These "Thy steps have been seen," that is, have been manifested, by the revealing the grace of the New Testament. Whence hath been said, "How beautiful are the feet of them that proclaim peace, that proclaim good things!"[4] For this grace and those steps were lying hid in the Old Testament: but when there came the fulness of time, and it pleased God to reveal His Son,[5] that He might be proclaimed among the Gentiles, "there were seen Thy steps, O God: the steps of my God, of the[6] King who is in the holy place." In what holy place, save in His Temple? "For the Temple of God is holy," he saith, "which ye are."[7]

31. But in order that those steps might be seen, "there went before princes conjoined with men psalming, in the midst of damsels players on timbrels" (ver. 25). The princes are the Apostles: for they went before, that the peoples might come in multitudes. "They went before" proclaiming the New Testament: "conjoined with men psalming," by whose good works that were even visible, as it were with instruments of praise, God was glorified. But those same princes are "in the midst of damsels players on timbrels," to wit, in an honourable ministry: for thus in the midst are ministers set over new Churches; for this is "damsels:" with flesh subdued praising God; for this is "players on timbrels," because timbrels are made of skin dried and stretched.

32. Therefore, that no one should take these words in a carnal sense, and by these words should conceive in his mind certain choral bands of wantonness, he continueth and saith, "In the Churches bless ye the Lord" (ver. 26): as though he were saying, wherefore, when ye hear of damsels, players on timbrels, do ye think of wanton pleasures? "In the Churches bless ye the Lord." For the Churches are pointed out to you by this mystic intimation: the Churches are the damsels, with new grace decked: the Churches are the players on the timbrels, with chastened flesh being spiritually tuneful. "In the Churches," then, "bless ye the Lord God from the wells of Israel." For from thence He first chose those whom He made wells. For from thence were chosen the Apostles; and they first heard, "He that shall have drunk of the water that I shall give him, shall never thirst, but there shall be made in him a well of water springing unto life everlasting."[8]

33. "There is Benjamin the younger in a trance" (ver. 27). There is Paul the last of the Apostles, who saith, "For even I am an Israelite, out of the seed of Abraham, out of the tribe of Benjamin."[9] But evidently "in a trance," all men being amazed at a miracle so great as that of his calling. For a trance is the mind's going out: which thing sometimes chanceth through fear; but sometimes through some revelation, the mind suffering separation from the corporal senses, in order that that which is to be represented may be represented to the spirit. Whence even thus may be understood that which here hath been written, namely, "in a trance;" for when to that persecutor there had been said [10] from Heaven, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me:"[11] there being taken from him the light of the eyes of flesh, he made answer to the Lord, whom in spirit he saw, but they that were with him heard the voice of him replying, though seeing no one to whom he was speaking. Here also the trance may be understood to be that one of his, whereof he himself speaking, saith, that he knew a man caught up even unto the third Heaven; but whether in the body, or whether out of the body, he knew not:[12] but that he being caught up into Paradise, heard ineffable words, which it was not lawful for a man to speak. "Princes of Juda the leaders of them, princes of Zabulon, princes of Nephthalim." Since he is indicating the Apostles as princes, wherein is even "Benjamin the younger in a trance," in which words that Paul is indicated no one doubteth; or when under the name of princes there are indicated in the Churches all men excelling and most worthy of imitation: what mean these names of the tribes of Israel? ... For the names are Hebrew: whereof Juda is said to be interpreted confession, Zabulon habitation of strength, Nephthalim my enlargement. All which words do intimate to us the most proper princes of the Church, worthy of their leadership, worthy of imitation, worthy of honours. For the Martyrs in the Churches hold the highest place, and by the crown of holy worth they do excel. But however in martyrdom the first thing is confession, and for this is next put on strength to endure whatsoever shall have chanced; then after all things have been endured, straits being ended, breadth followeth in reward. It may also thus be understood; that whereas the Apostle chiefly commendeth these three things, faith, hope, love;[1] confession is in faith, strength in hope, breadth in love. For of faith the substance is, that with the heart men believe unto righteousness, but with the mouth confession be made unto salvation.[2] But in sufferings of tribulations the thing itself is sorrowful, but the hope is strong. For, "if that which we see not we hope for, through patience we wait for it."[3] But breadth the shedding abroad of love in the heart doth give. For "love perfected casteth out fear:" which fear "hath torment,"[4] because of the straits of the soul. ...

34. "Command, O God, Thy Virtue" (ver. 28). For one is our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things,[5] and we in Him, of whom we read that He is "the Virtue of God and the Wisdom of God."[6] But how doth God command His Christ, save while He commendeth Him? For "God commendeth His love in us, in that while yet we were sinners, for us Christ died."[7] "How hath He not also with Him given to us all things?"[8] "Command, O God, Thy Virtue: confirm, O God, that which Thou hast wrought in us." Command by teaching, confirm by aiding.

35. "From Thy Temple in Jerusalem, to Thee kings shall offer presents" (ver. 29). Jerusalem, which is our free mother,[9] because the same also is Thy holy Temple: from that Temple then, "to Thee kings shall offer presents." Whatever kings be understood, whether kings of the earth, or whether those whom" He that is above the heavens distinguisheth over the dove silvered; " "to Thee kings shall offer presents." And what presents are so acceptable[10] as the sacrifices of praise? But there is a noise against this praise, from men bearing the name of Christian, and having diverse opinions. Be there done that which followeth, "Rebuke Thou the beasts of the cane"[11] (ver. 30). For both beasts they are, since by not understanding they do hurt: and beasts of the cane they are, since the sense of the Scriptures they wrest according to their own misapprehension. For in the cane the Scriptures are as reasonably perceived, as language in tongue, according to the mode of expression whereby the Hebrew or the Greek or the Latin tongue is spoken of, or the like; that is to say, by the efficient cause the thing which is being effected is implied. Now it is usual in the Latin language for writing to be called style, because with the stilus it is done: so then cane also, because with a cane it is done. The Apostle Peter saith, that "men unlearned and unstable do wrest the Scriptures to their own proper destruction:"[12] these are the beasts of the cane, whereof here is said, "Rebuke Thou the beasts of the cane."

36. Concerning these also is that which followeth, "The congregation of bulls amid the cows of the peoples, in order that there may be excluded they that have been tried with silver."[13] Calling them bulls because of the pride of a stiff and untamed neck: for he is referring to heretics. But by "the cows of the peoples," I think souls easily led astray must be understood, because easily they follow these bulls. For they lead not astray entire peoples, among whom are men grave and stable; whence hath been written, "In a people grave I will praise Thee: "[14] but only the cows which they may have found among those peoples. "For of these are they that steal into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, who are led with divers lusts, alway learning, and at the knowledge of the truth never arriving."[15] ... For, "may be excluded," hath been said, meaning, may appear, may stand forth: as he saith, "may be made manifest." Whence also, in the art of the silversmith, they are called exclusores, who out of the shapelessness of the lump are skilled to mould the form of a vessel. For many meanings of the holy Scriptures are concealed, and are known only to a few of singular intelligence, and are never vindicated so suitably and acceptably as when our diligence to make answer to heretics constraineth us. For then even they that neglect the pursuits of learning, shaking off their slumber, are stirred up to a diligent hearing, in order that their opponents may be refuted. In a word, how many senses of holy Scriptures concerning Christ as God have been vindicated against Photinus, how many concerning Christ as man against Manichaeus, how many concerning the Trinity against Sabellius, how many concerning the Unity of the Trinity against Arians, Eunomians, Macedonians? How many concerning the Catholic Church in the whole world spread abroad, against Donatists, and Luciferians, and others, whoever they be, that with like error dissent from the truth: how many against the rest of heretics, whom to enumerate or mention were too long a task, and for the present work unnecessary? ... Of whom, as it were bulls, that is, not subject to the peaceful and gentle yoke of discipline, the Apostle maketh mention, in the place where he hath said that such an one must be chosen for the Episcopate as is "able to exhort in sound doctrine and to convince the gainsayers. For there are many unruly;"[1] these are bulls with uplifted neck, impatient of plough and yoke: vain-talkers and leaders astray of minds; which minds this Psalm hath intimated under the name of cows. ...

37. "There shall come ambassadors out of Egypt, Ethiopia shall prevent the hands of Him" (ver. 31). Under the name of Egypt or of Ethiopia, he hath signified the faith of all nations, from a part the whole: calling the preachers of reconciliation ambassadors. "For Christ," he saith, "we have an embassy, God as it were exhorting through us: we beseech you for Christ to be reconciled to God."[2] Not then of the Israelites alone, whence the Apostles were chosen, but also from the rest of the nations that there should be preachers of Christian peace, in this manner hath been mystically prophesied. But by that which he saith, "shall prevent the hands of Him," he saith this, shall prevent the vengeance of Him: to wit, by turning to Him, in order that their sins may be forgiven, lest by continuing sinners they be punished. Which thing also in another Psalm is said," Let us come before[3] the face of Him in confession."[4] As by hands he signifieth vengeance, so by face, revelation and presence, which will be in the Judgment. Because then, by Egypt and Ethiopia he hath signified the nations of the whole world; immediately he hath subjoined, "to God (are) the kingdoms of the earth." Not to Sabellius, not to Arius, not to Donatus, not to the rest of the bulls stiff-necked, but "to God (are) the kingdoms of the earth." But the greater number of Latin copies, and especially the Greek, have the verses so punctuated, that there is not one verse in these words, "to God the kingdoms of the earth," but, "to God," is at the end of the former verse, and so there is said, "Ethiopia shall come before the hands of her to God," and then there followeth in another verse, "Kingdoms of the earth, sing ye to God, psalm ye to the Lord" (ver. 32). By which punctuation, doubtless to be preferred by the agreement of many copies, and those deserving of credit, there seemeth to me to be implied faith which precedeth works: because without the merits of good works through faith the ungodly is justified, just as the Apostle said, "To one believing in Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness:"[5] in order that afterwards faith itself through love may begin to work. For those alone are to be called good works,[6] which are done through love of God. But these faith must needs go before, so that from thence these may begin, not from these this. ... This is faith, whereof to the Church Herself is said in the Song of Songs, "Thou shalt come and shalt pass hence from the beginning of faith."[7] For She hath come[8] like the chariot of God in thousands of men rejoicing, having a prosperous course, and She hath passed over from this world to the Father: in order that there may come to pass in Her that which the Bridegroom Himself saith, who hath passed hence from this world to the Father? "I will that where I am, these also may be with Me:"[10] but from the beginning of faith. Because then in order that good works may follow, faith doth precede; and there are not any good works, save those which follow faith preceding: nothing else seemeth to have been meant in, "Ethiopia shall come before the hands of her to God," but, Ethiopia shall believe in God. For thus she "shall come before the hands of her," that is, the works of her. Of whom, except of Ethiopia herself? For this in the Greek is not ambiguous: for the word "of her"[11] there in the feminine gender most clearly hath been put down. And thus nothing else hath been said than" Ethiopia shall come before her hands to God," that is, by believing in God she shall come before her works. For, "I judge," saith the Apostle, "that a man is justified through faith without the works of the Law. Is He God of the Jews only? Is He not also of the Gentiles?"[12] So then Ethiopia, which seemeth to be the utmost limit of the Gentiles, is justified through faith, without the works of the Law. ... For the expression in Greek, chei^ra auth^s, which most copies have, both of "hand of her" and "her own hand" may be understood: but that which is uncommon in the Greek copies, cheira`s auth^s, by both "hands of her" and "her own[13] hands," in Latin may be expressed.

38. Henceforward, as if through prophecy all things had been discoursed of which now we see fulfilled, he exhorteth to the praise of Christ, and next He foretelleth His future Advent. "Kingdoms of earth, sing ye to God, psalm ye to the Lord: psalm ye to God, who hath ascended above the Heaven of Heavens to the East" (ver. 33). Or, as some copies have it, "who hath ascended above the Heaven of Heaven to the East." In these words he preceiveth not Christ, who believeth not His Resurrection and Ascension. But hath not "to the East," which he hath added, expressed the very spot; since in the quarters of the East is where He rose again, and whence He ascended? Therefore above the Heaven of Heaven He sitteth at the right hand of the Father. This is what the Apostle saith, "the Same is He that hath ascended above all Heavens."[1] For what of Heavens doth remain after the Heaven of Heaven? Which also we may call the Heavens of Heavens, just as He hath called the firmanent Heaven:[2] which Heaven, however, even as Heavens we read of, in the place where there is written, "and let the waters which are above the Heavens praise the name of the Lord."[3] And forasmuch as from thence He is to come,[4] to judge quick and dead, observe what followeth: "behold, He shall give His voice, the voice of power."[5] He that like a lamb before the shearer of Him was without voice,[6] "behold shall give His voice," and not the voice of weakness, as though to be judged; but "the voice of power," as though going to judge. For God shall not be hidden, as before, and in the judgment of men not opening His mouth; but "God shall come manifest, our God, and He shall not be silent."[7] Why do ye despair, ye unbelieving men? Why do ye mock? What saith the evil servant? "My Lord delayeth to come."[8] "Behold, He shall give His voice, the voice of power."

39. "Give ye glory to God, above Israel is the magnificence of Him" (ver. 34). Of whom saith the Apostle, "Upon the Israel of God."[9] For "not all that are out of Israel, are Israelites: "[10] for there is also an Israel after the flesh. Whence he saith, "See ye Israel after the flesh."[11] "For not they that are sons of the flesh, are sons of God, but sons of promise are counted for a seed."[12] Therefore at that time when without any intermixture of evil men His people shall be, like a heap purged by the fan,[13] like Israel in whom guile is not,[14] then most pre- eminent "above Israel" shall be "the magnificence" of "Him: and the virtue of Him in the clouds." For not alone He shall come to judgment, but with the elders of His people:[15] to whom He hath promised that they shall sit upon thrones to judge,[16] who even shall judge angels.[17] These be the clouds.

40. Lastly, lest of anything else the clouds be understood, he hath in continuation added, "Wonderful is God in His saints, the God of Israel" (ver. 35). For at that time even most truly and most fully there shall be fulfilled the name Israel itself, which is one "seeing God :" for we shall see Him as He is.[18] "He Himself shall give virtue[19] and strength to His people, blessed be God:" to His people now frail and weak. For "we have this treasure in earthen vessels."[20] But then by a most glorious changing even of our bodies, "He Himself shall give virtue and strength to His people." For this body is sown in weakness, shall rise in virtue.[21] He Himself then shall give the virtue which in His own flesh He hath sent before, whereof the Apostle saith, "the power of His Resurrection."[22] But strength whereby shall be destroyed the enemy death.[23] Now then of this long and difficultly understood Psalm we have at length by His own aid made an end. "Blessed be God. Amen."

Taken from "The Early Church Fathers and Other Works" originally published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co. in English in Edinburgh, Scotland, beginning in 1867. (LNPF I/VIII, Schaff). The digital version is by The Electronic Bible Society, P.O. Box 701356, Dallas, TX 75370, 214-407-WORD.