Expositions on the Book of Psalms, 69-75

Author: Augustine

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

Transliteration of Greek words: All phonetical except: w = omega; h serves three puposes: 1. = Eta; 2. = rough breathing, when appearing initially before a vowel; 3. = in the aspirated letters theta = th, phi = ph, chi = ch. Accents are given immediately after their corresponding vowels: acute = ' , grave = `, circumflex = ^. The character ' doubles as an apostrophe, when necessary.



[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. We have been born into this world, and added to the people of God, at that period wherein already the herb from a grain of mustard seed hath spread out its branches; wherein already the leaven, which at first was contemptible, hath leavened three measures,[25] that is, the whole round world repeopled by the three sons of Noe:[26] for from East and West and North and South shall come they that shall sit down with the Patriarchs,[27] while those shall have been driven without, that have been born of their flesh and have not imitated their faith. Unto his glory then of Christ's Church our eyes we have opened; and that barren one, for whom joy was proclaimed and foretold, because she was to have more sons than she that had the husband?[28] her we have found to be such an one as hath forgotten the reproaches and infamy of her widowhood: and so we may perhaps wonder when we chance to read in any prophecy the words of Christ's humiliation, or our own. And it may be, that we are less affected by them; because we have not come at that time when these things were read with zest, in that tribulation abounded. But again if we think of the abundance of tribulations, and observe the way wherein we are walking (if indeed we do walk in it), how narrow it is, and how through straits and tribulations it leadeth unto rest everlasting,[29] and how that very thing which in human affairs is called felicity, is more to be feared than misery; since indeed misery ofttimes doth bring out of tribulation a good fruit, but felicity doth corrupt the soul with a perverse security, and giveth place for the Devil the Tempter--when, I say, we shall have judged prudently and rightly, as the salted victim[30] did, that "human life upon earth is trial,"[31] and that no one is at all secure, nor ought to be secure, until he be come to that country, whence no one that is a friend goeth forth, into which no one that is an enemy is admitted, even now in the very glory of the Church we acknowledge the voices of our tribulation: and being members of Christ, subject to our Head in the bond of love, and mutually supporting one another, we will say from the Psalms, that which here we have found the Martyrs said, who were before us; that tribulation is common to all men from the beginning even unto the end. ...

2. The Title of the Psalm is: "Unto the end, in behalf of those that shall be changed, to David himself." Now of the change for the better hear thou; for change either is for the worse or for the better. ... That we have been changed then for the worse, to ourselves let us ascribe: that for the better we are changed, let us praise God. "For those," then," that shall be changed," this Psalm is. But whence hath this change been made but by the Passion of Christ? The very word Pascha in Latin is interpreted passage. For Pascha[1] is not a Greek word but a Hebrew. It soundeth indeed in the Greek language like Passion, because pa'schein signifieth to suffer: but if the Hebrew expression be examined, it pointeth to something else. Pascha doth intimate passage. Of which even John the Evangelist hath admonished us, who (just before the Passion when the Lord was coming to the supper wherein He set forth the Sacrament of His Body and Blood) thus speaketh: "But when there had come the hour, wherein Jesus was to pass from this world to the Father."[2] He hath expressed then the "passage" of the Pascha. But unless He passed Himself hence to the Father, who came for our sake, how should we have been able to pass hence, who have not come down for the sake of taking up anything, but have fallen? But He Himself fell not; He but came down, in order that He might raise up him that had fallen. The passage therefore both of Him and of us is hence to the Father, from this world to the kingdom of Heaven, from life mortal to life everlasting, froth life earthly to life heavenly, from life corruptible to life incorruptible, from intimacy with tribulations to perpetual security. Accordingly, "In behalf of them that shall be changed," the Psalm's title is. The cause therefore of our change, that is, the very Passion of the Lord and our own voice in tribulations in the text of the Psalm let us observe, let us join in knowing, join in groaning, and in hearing, in joint-knowing, joint-groaning, let us be changed, in order that there may be fulfilled in us the Title of the Psalm, "In behalf of them that shall be changed."

3. "Save me, O God, for the waters have entered in even unto my soul" (ver. 1). That grain is despised now, that seemeth to give forth humble words. In the garden it is buried, though the world will admire the greatness of the herb, of which herb the seed was despised by the Jews. For in very deed observe ye the seed of the mustard, minute, dull coloured, altogether despicable, in order that therein may be fulfilled that which hath been said, We have seen Him, and He had neither form nor comeliness.[3] But He saith, that waters have come in even unto His soul; because those multitudes, which under the name of waters He hath pointed out, were able so far to prevail as to kill Christ. ... Whence then doth He so cry out, as though He were suffering something against His will, except because the Head doth prefigure the Members? For He suffered because He willed: but the Martyrs even though they willed not; for to Peter thus He foretold his passion: "When thou shalt be old," He saith, "another shall gird thee, and lead thee whither thou wilt not."[4] For though we desire to cleave to Christ, yet we are unwilling to die: and therefore willingly or rather patiently we suffer, because no other passage is given us, through which we may cleave to Christ. For if we could in any other way arrive at Christ, that is, at life everlasting, who would be willing to die? For while explaining our nature, that is, a sort of association of soul and body, and in these two parts a kind of intimacy of gluing and fastening together, the Apostle saith, that "we have a House not made with hands, everlasting in the Heavens:"[5] that is, immortality prepared for us, wherewith we are to be clothed at the end, when we shall have risen from the dead; and he saith, "Wherein we are not willing to be stripped, but to be clothed upon, that the mortal may be swallowed up of life."[6] If it might so be, we should so will, he saith, to become immortal, as that now that same immortality might come, and now as we are it should change us, in order that this our mortal body by life should be swallowed up, and the body should not be laid aside through death, so as at the end again to have to be recovered. Although then from evil to good things we pass, nevertheless the very passage is somewhat bitter, and hath the gall which the Jews gave to the Lord in the Passion, hath something sharp to be endured, whereby they are shown that gave Him vinegar to drink.[7] ... For here both sweet are temporal pleasures, and bitter are temporal tribulations: but who would not drink the cup of tribulation temporal, fearing the fire of hell; and who would not contemn the sweetness of the world, longing for the sweetness of life eternal? From hence that we may be delivered let us cry: lest perchance amidst oppressions we consent to iniquity, and truly irreparably we be swallowed up.

4. Fixed I am in the clay of the deep, and there is no substance" (ver. 2). What called the clay? Is it those very persons that have persecuted? For out of clay man hath been made.[1] But these men by falling from righteousness have become the clay of the deep, and whosoever shall not have consented to them persecuting and desiring to draw him to iniquity, out of his clay doth make gold. For the clay of the same shall merit to be converted into a heavenly form,[2] and to be made associate of those of whom saith the Title of the Psalm, "in behalf of them that shall be changed." But at the time when these were the clay of the deep. I stuck in them: that is, they held Me, prevailed against Me, killed Me. "Fixed" then "I am in the clay of the deep, and there is no substance." What is this, "there is no substance "? Can it be that clay itself is not a substance? What is then, "fixed I am"? Can it be that Christ hath thus stuck? Or hath He stuck, and was not, as hath been said in the book of Job, "the earth delivered into the hands of the ungodly man"?[3] Was He fixed in body, because it could be held, and suffered even crucifixion? For unless with nails He had been fixed, crucified He had not been. Whence then "there is no substance"? Is that clay not a substance? But we shall understand, if it be possible, what is, "and there is no substance," if first we shall have understood what is a substance. For there is substance spoken of even of riches, as we say, he hath substance, and he hath lost substance. ...

5. God is a sort of substance: for that which is no substance, is nothing at all. To be a substance then is to be something. Whence also in the Catholic Faith against the poisons of certain heretics thus we are builded up, so that we say, Father and Son and Holy Spirit are of one substance. What is, of one substance? For example, if gold is the Father, gold is also the Son, gold also the Holy Spirit. Whatever the Father is because He is God, the same is the Son, the same the Holy Spirit. But when He is the Father, this is not what He is. For Father He is called not in reference to Himself, but in reference to the Son: but in reference to Himself God He is called. Therefore in that He is God, by the same He is a substance. And because of the same substance the Son is, without doubt the Son also is God. But yet in that He is Father, because it is not the name of the substance, but is referred to the Son; we do not say that the Son is Father in the same manner as we say the Son is God. Thou askest what the Father is; we answer, God. Thou askest what is the Father and the Son: we answer, God. If questioned of the Father alone, answer thou God: if questioned of both, not Gods, but God, answer thou. We do not reply as in the case of men, when thou inquirest what is father Abraham, we answer a man; the substance of him serveth for answer: thou inquirest what is his son Isaac, we answer, a man; of the same substance are Abraham and Isaac: thou inquirest what is Abraham and Isaac, we answer not man, but men. Not so in things divine. For so great in this case is the fellowship of substance, that of equality it alloweth, plurality alloweth not. If then it shall have been said to thee, when thou tellest me that the Son is the same as the Father, in fact the Son also is the Father; answer thou, according to the substance I have told thee that the Son is the same as the Father, not according to that term which is used in reference to something else. For in reference to Himself He is called God, in reference to the Father is called Son. And again, the Father in reference to Himself is called God, in reference to the Son He is called Father. The Father as He is called in reference to the Son, is not the Son: the Son as He is called in reference to the Father, is not the Father: what the Father is called in reference to Himself and the Son in reference to Himself, the same is Father and Son, that is, God. What is then, "there is no substance"? After this interpretation of substance, how shall we be able to understand this passage of the Psalm, "Fixed I am in the clay of the deep, and there is no substance"? God made man,[4] He made substance; and O that he had continued in that which God made Him! If man had continued in that which God made him, in him would not have been fixed He whom God begot. But moreover because through iniquity man fell from the substance wherein he was made[5] (for iniquity itself is no substance; for iniquity is not a nature which God formed, but a perverseness which man made); the Son of God came to the clay of the deep, and was fixed; and that was no substance wherein He was fixed, because in the iniquity of them He was fixed. "All things by Him were made, and without Him there was made nothing."[6] All natures by Him were made, iniquity by Him was not made, because iniquity was not made.[7] Those substances by Him were made, which praise Him. The whole creation praising God is commemorated by the, three children in the furnace,[8] and from things earthly to things heavenly, or from things heavenly to things earthly reacheth the hymn of them praising God. Not that all these things have sense to praise; but because all things being well meditated upon, do beget praise, and the heart by considering creation is fulfilled to overflowing with a hymn to the Creator. All things do praise God, but only the things which God hath made. Do ye observe in that hymn that covetousness praiseth God? There even the serpent praiseth God, covetousness praiseth not. For all creeping things are there named in the praise of God: there are named all creeping things; but there are not there named any vices. For vices out of ourselves and out of our own will we have: and vices are not a substance. In these was fixed the Lord, when He suffered persecution: in the vice of the Jews, not in the substance of men which by Him was made.

6. "I have come into the depth of the sea, and the tempest hath made Me to sink down." Thanks to the mercy of Him who came into the depth of the sea, and vouchsafed to be swallowed by the sea whale, but was vomited forth the third day.[1] He came into the depth of the sea, in which depth we were thrust down, in which depth we had suffered shipwreck: He came thither Himself, and the tempest made Him to sink down: for there He suffered waves, those very men; tempests, the voices of men saying, "Crucify, Crucify."[2] Though Pilate said, I find not any cause in this Man why He should be killed: there prevailed the voices of them, saying, "Crucify, Crucify." The tempest increased, until He was made to sink down that had come into the depth of the sea. And the Lord suffered in the hands of the Jews that which He suffered not when upon the waters He was walking:[3] the which not only He had riot suffered Himself, but had not allowed even Peter to suffer it.

7. "I have laboured, crying, hoarse have become my jaws" (ver. 3). Where was this? When was this? Let us question the Gospel. For the Passion of our Lord in this Psalm we perceive. And, indeed, that He suffered we know; that there came in waters even unto His Soul, because peoples prevailed even unto His death, we read, we believe; in the tempest that He was sunk down, because tumult prevailed to His killing, we acknowledge: but that He laboured in crying, and that His jaws were made hoarse, not only we read not, but even on the contrary we read, that He answered not to them a word, in order that there might be fulfilled that which in another Psalm hath been said, "I have become as it were a man not hearing, and having not in his mouth reproofs."[4] And that which in Isaiah hath been prophesied," like a sheep to be sacrificed He was led, and like a lamb before one shearing Him, so He opened not His mouth."[5] If He became like a man not hearing, and having not in His mouth reproofs, how did He labour crying, and how were His jaws made hoarse? Is it that He was even then silent, because He was hoarse with having cried so much in vain? And this indeed we know to have been His voice on the Cross out of a certain Psalm:' "0 God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?"[6] But how great was that voice, or of how long duration, that in it His jaws should have become hoarse? Long while He cried, "Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees:"[7] long while He cried, "Woe unto the world because of offences."[8] And truly hoarse in a manner He cried, and therefore was not understood, when the Jews said, What is this that He saith? "Hard is this saying, who is able to hear it?"[9] We know not what He saith. He said all these words: but hoarse were His jaws to them that understood not His words. "Mine eyes have failed from hoping in My God." Far be it that this should be taken of the person of the Head: far be it that His eyes should have failed from[10] hoping in His God: in whom rather there was God reconciling the world to Himself,[11] and Who was the Word made flesh and dwelled in us, so that not only God was in Him, but also He was Himself God. Not so then: the eyes of Himself, our Head, failed not from hoping in His God: but the eyes of Him have failed in His Body, that is, in His members. This voice is of the members, this voice is of the Body, not of the Head. How then do we find it in His Body and members? ...

8. Thus "there have been multiplied above the hairs of My head they that hate Me gratis" (ver. 4). How multiplied? So as that they might add to themselves even one out of the twelve[12] "There have been multiplied above the hairs of My head they that hate Me for nought." With the hairs of His head He hath compared His enemies. With reason they were shorn when in the place of Calvary He was crucified.[13] Let the members accept this voice, let them learn to be hated gratis. For now, O Christian, if it must needs be that the world hate thee, why dost thou not make it hate thee gratis, in order that in the Body of thy Lord and in this Psalm sent before concerning Him, thou mayest acknowledge thy own voice? How shall it come to pass that the world hate thee gratis? If thou no wise huttest any one, and art still hated: for this is gratis, without cause. ...

9. "O God, Thou hast known mine improvidence" (ver. 5). Again out of the mouth of the Body. For what improvidence is there in Christ? Is He not Himself the Virtue of God, and the Wisdom of God? Doth He call this His improvidence, whereof the Apostle speaketh, "the foolishness of God is wiser than men"?[1] Mine improvidence, that very thing which in Me they derided that seem to themselves to be wise, Thou hast known why it was done. For what was so much like improvidence, as, when He had it in His power with one word to lay low the persecutors, to suffer Himself to be held, scourged, spit upon, buffeted, with thorns to be crowned, to the tree to be nailed? It is like improvidence, it seemeth a foolish thing; but this foolish thing excelleth all wise men. Foolish indeed it is: but even when grain falleth into the earth, if no one knoweth the custom of husbandmen, it seemeth foolish. ... Improvidence it appeareth; but hope maketh it not to be improvidence. He then spared not Himself: because even the Father spared Him not, but delivered Him up for us all.[2] And of the Same, "Who loved me," saith the Apostle, "and delivered up Himself for me:"[3] for except a grain shall have fallen into the land so that it die, fruit, He saith, it will not yield.[4] This is the improvidence. "And my transgressions from Thee are not concealed." It is plain, clear, open, that this must be perceived to be out of the mouth of the Body. Transgressions none had Christ: He was the bearer of transgressions, but not the committer. "Are not concealed:" that is, I have confessed to Thee, all my transgressions, and before my mouth Thou hast seen them in my thought, hast seen the wounds which Thou wast to heal. But where? Even in the Body, in the members: in those believers out of whom there was now cleaving to Him that member, who was confessing his sins.

10. "Let them not blush in[5] Me, that wait for Thee, O Lord, Lord of virtues" (ver. 6). Again, the voice of the Head, "Let them not blush in Me:" let it not be said to them, Where is He on whom ye were relying? Let it not be said to them, Where is He that was saying to you, Believe yet[6] God, and in Me believe?[7] "Let them not blush in Me, that wait for Thee," O Lord, Lord of virtues. Let them not be confounded concerning Me, that seek Thee, O God of Israel." This also may be understood of the Body, but only if thou consider the Body of Him not one man: for in truth one man is not the Body of Him, but a small member, but the Body is made up of members. Therefore the full Body of Him is the whole Church. With reason then saith the Church, "Let them not blush in Me, that wait for Thee, O Lord, Lord of virtues." ...

11. "For because of Thee I have sustained upbraiding, shamelessness hath covered my face" (ver. 7). No great thing is that which is spoken of in "I have sustained:" but that which is spoken of in "for Thy sake I have sustained," is. For if thou sustainest because thou hast sinned; for thine own sake thou sustainest, not for the sake of God. For to you what glory is there, saith Peter, if sinning ye are punished, and ye bear it? But if thou sustainest because thou hast kept the commandment of God, truly for the sake of God thou sustainest; and thy reward remaineth for everlasting, because for the sake of God thou hast sustained revilings.[8] For to this end He first sustained in order that we might learn to sustain. ..."Shamelessness hath covered my face." Shamelessness is what? Not to be confused. Lastly, it seemeth to be as it were a fault, when we say, the man is shameless. Great is the shamelessness of the man, that he doth not blush. Therefore shamelessness is a kind of folly. A Christian ought to have this shamelessness, when he cometh among men to whom Christ is an offence. If he shall have blushed because of Christ, he will be blotted out from the book of the living. Thou must needs therefore have shamelessness when Thou art reviled because of Christ; when they say, Worshipper of the Crucified, adorer of Him that died ill, venerator of Him that was slain! here if thou shalt blush thou art a dead man. For see the sentence of Him that deceiveth no one. "He that shall have been ashamed of Me before men, I will also be ashamed of him before the Angels of God."[9] Watch therefore thyself whether there be in thee shamelessness; be thou boldfaced,[10] when thou hearest a reproach concerning Christ; yea be boldfaced. Why fearest thou for thy forehead which thou hast armed with the sign of the Cross? ...

12. "An alien I have become to My brethren, and a stranger to the sons of My mother" (ver. 8). To the sons of the Synagogue He became a stranger. ... Why so? Why did they not acknowledge? Why did they call Him an alien? Why did they dare to say, we know not whence He is? "Because the zeal of Thine House hath eaten Me up:" that is, because I have persecuted in them their own iniquities, because I have not patiently borne those whom I have rebuked, because I have sought Thy glory in Thy House, because I have scourged them that in the Temple dealt unseemly:[11] in which place also there is quoted, "the zeal of Thine House hath eaten Me up." Hence an alien, hence a Stranger; hence, we know not whence He is. They would have acknowledged whence I am, if they had acknowledged that which Thou hast commanded. For if I had found them keeping Thy commandments, the zeal of Thine House would not have eaten Me up. "And the reproaches of men reproaching Thee haven fallen upon Me." Of this testimony Paul the Apostle hath also made use (there hath been read but now the very lesson), and saith, "Whatsoever things aforetime have been written, have been written that we might be instructed."[1] ... Why "Thee"? Is the Father reproached, and not Christ Himself? Why have "the reproaches of men reproaching Thee fallen upon Me"? Because, "he that hath known Me, hath known the Father also:"[2] because no one hath reviled Christ without reviling God: because no one honoureth the Father, except he that honoureth the Son also.[3]

13. "And I have covered in fasting My Soul, and it became to Me for a reviling" (ver. 10). His fasting was, when there fell away all they that had believed in Him; because also it was His hunger, that men should believe in Him: because also it was His thirst, when He said to the woman, I thirst, "give Me to drink:"[4] yea for her faith He was thirsting. And from the Cross when He was saying, "I thirst,"[5] He was seeking the faith of them for whom He had said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."[6] But what did those men give to drink to Him thirsty? Vinegar. Vinegar is also called old.[7] With reason of the old man they gave to drink, because they willed not to be new. Why willed they not to become new? Because to the title of this Psalm whereon is written, "For them that shall be changed," they belonged not. Therefore, "I have covered in fasting My Soul." Lastly, He put from Him even the gall which they offered: He chose rather to fast than to accept bitterness. For they enter not into His Body that are embittered,[8] whereof in another place a Psalm saith, "They that are embittered shall not be exalted in themselves."[9] Therefore, "I have covered in fasting My Soul: and it became to Me for a reviling." This very thing became to Me for a reviling, that I consented not to them, that is, from them I fasted. For he that consenteth not to men seducing to evil, fasteth from them; and through this fasting earneth reviling, so that he is upbraided because he consenteth not to the evil thing.

14. "And I have set sackcloth my garment" (ver. 11). Already before[10] we have said something of the sackcloth, from whence there is this, "But I, when they were troubling Me, was covering myself with sackcloth, and was humbling My Soul in fasting. I have set sackcloth for My garment:" that is, have set against them My flesh, on which to spend their rage, I have concealed My divinity. "Sackcloth," because mortal the flesh was: in order that by sin He might condemn sin in the flesh.[11] "And I have set sackcloth my garment: and I have been made to them for a parable," that is, for a derision. It is called a parable, whenever a comparison is made concerning some one, when he is evil spoken of. "So may this man perish," for example, "as that man did," is a parable: that is, a comparison and likeness in cursing. "I have been made to them," then, "for a parable."

15. "Against Me were reviling they that were sitting in the gate" (ver. 12). "In the gate" is nothing else but in public. "And against Me they were chanting,[12] they that were drinking wine." Do ye think, brethren, that this hath befallen Christ alone? Daily to Him in His members it happeneth: whenever perchance it is necessary for the servant of God to forbid excess of wine and luxuries in any village or town, where there hath not been heard the Word of God, it is not enough that they sing, nay more even against him they begin to sing, by whom they are forbidden to sing. Compare ye now His fasting and their wine.

16. "But I with My prayer with Thee,[13] O Lord" (ver. 13). But I was with Thee. But how? With Thee by praying. For when thou art evil spoken of, and knowest not what thou mayest do; when at thee are hurled reproaches, and thou findest not any way of rebuking him by whom they are hurled; nothing remaineth for thee but to pray. But remember even for that very man to pray. "But I with my prayer with Thee, O Lord. It is the time of Thy good pleasure, O God." For behold the grain is being buried, there shall spring up fruit. "It is the time of Thy good pleasure, O God." Of this time even the Prophets have spoken, whereof the Apostle maketh mention: "Behold now the time acceptable, behold now the day of salvation."[14] "It is the time of Thy good pleasure, O God. In the multitude of Thy mercy." This is the time of good pleasure, "in the multitude of Thy mercy." For if there were not a multitude of Thy mercy, what should we do for the multitude of our iniquity? "In the multitude of Thy mercy; Hearken to me in the truth of Thy Salvation." Because He hath said, "of Thy mercy," he hath added truth also: for "mercy and truth" are all the ways of the Lord.[15] Why mercy? In forgiving sins. Why truth? In fulfilling the promises.

17. "Save Thou Me from the mire, that I may not stick" (ver. 14). From that whereof above he had spoken, "Fixed I am in the clay of the deep, and there is no substance."[1] Furthermore, since ye have duly received the exposition of that expression, in this place there is nothing further for you to hear particularly. From hence he saith that he must be delivered, wherein before he said that he was fixed: "Save Thou Me from the mire, that I may not stick." And he explaineth this himself: "Let Me be rescued from them that hate Me." They were themselves therefore the clay wherein he had stuck. But the following perchance suggesteth itself. A little before he had said, Fixed I am; now he saith, Save Thou Me from the mire, that I may not stick:" whereas after the meaning of what was said before he ought to have said, Save Thou Me from the mire where I had stuck, by rescuing Me, not by causing that I stick not. Therefore He had stuck in flesh, but had not stuck in spirit. He saith this, because of the infirmity of His members. Whenever perchance thou art seized by one that urgeth thee to iniquity, thy body indeed is taken, in regard to the body thou art fixed in the clay of the deep: but so long as thou consentest not, thou hast not stuck; but if thou consentest, thou hast stuck. Let then thy prayer be in that place, in order that as thy body is now held, so thy soul may not be held, so thou mayest be free in bonds.

18. "Let not the tempest of waters drown Me" (ver. 15). But already he had been drowned. "I have come into the depth of the sea," thou hast said, and "the tempest hath drowned Me," thou hast said. It hath drowned after the flesh, let it not drown after the Spirit. They to whom was said, If they shall have persecuted you in one city, flee ye into another;[2] had this said to them, that neither in flesh they should stick, nor in spirit. For we must not desire to stick even in flesh; but as far as we are able we ought to avoid it. But if we shall have stuck, and shall have fallen into the hands of sinners: then in body we have stuck, we are fixed in the clay of the deep, it remaineth to entreat for the soul that we stick not, that is, that we consent not, that the tempest of water drown us not, so that we go into the deep of the clay. "Neither let the deep swallow Me, nor the pit close her mouth upon Me." What is this, brethren? What hath he prayed against? Great is the pit of the depth of human iniquity: every one, if he shall have fallen into it, will fall into the deep. But yet if a man being there placed confesseth his sins to his God, the pit will not shut her mouth upon him: as is written in another Psalm, "From the depths I have cried to Thee, O Lord; Lord, hearken unto my voice."[3] But if there is done in him that which another passage of Scripture saith, "When a sinner shall have come into the depth of evil things, he will despise,"[4] upon him the pit hath shut her mouth. Why hath she shut her mouth? Because she hath shut his mouth. He hath lost confession, really dead he is, and there is fulfilled in him that which elsewhere is spoken of," From a dead man, as from one that is not, there perisheth confession."[5]...

19. "Hearken unto me, O Lord, for sweet is Thy mercy" (ver. 16). He hath given this as a reason why He ought to be hearkened unto, because sweet is the mercy of God. ... To a man set in trouble the mercy of God must needs be sweet. Concerning this sweetness of the mercy of God see ye what in another place the Scripture saith: "Like rain in drought, so beautiful is the mercy of God in trouble."[6] That which there he saith to be "beautiful," the same he saith here to be "sweet." Not even bread would be sweet, unless hunger had preceded. Therefore even when the Lord permitteth or causeth us to be in any trouble, even then He is merciful: for He doth not withdraw nourishment, but stirreth up longing. Accordingly what saith he now, "Hearken to me, O Lord, for sweet is Thy mercy"? Now do not Thou defer hearkening, in so great trouble I am, that sweet to me is Thy mercy. For to this end Thou didst defer to succour, in order that to me that wherewith Thou didst succour might be sweet: but now no longer is there cause why Thou must defer; my trouble hath arrived at the appointed measure of distress, let Thy mercy come to do the work of goodness. "After the multitude of Thy pities have regard unto me:" not after the multitude of my sins.

20. "Turn not away Thy face from Thy child"[7] (ver. 17). And this is a commending of humility; "from Thy child," that is, "from Thy little one:" because now I have been rid of pride through the discipline of tribulation, "turn not away Thy face from Thy child." This is that beautiful mercy of God, whereof he spake above. For in the following verse he explaineth that whereof he spake: "For I am troubled, speedily hearken Thou unto me." What is "speedily"? Now there is no cause why Thou must defer it: I am troubled, my affliction hath gone before; let Thy mercy follow.

21. "Give heed to my soul, and redeem her," doth need no exposition: let us see therefore what followeth. "Because of mine enemies deliver me" (ver. 18). This petition is evidently wonderful, neither briefly to be touched upon, nor hastily to be skipped over; truly wonderful: "Because of mine enemies deliver me." What is, "Because of mine enemies deliver me"? ... I see no reason for this petition, "Because of mine enemies deliver me:" unless we understand it of something else, which when I shall have spoken by the help of the Lord, He shall judge in you, that dwelleth in you.[1] There is a kind of secret deliverance of holy men: this for their own sakes is made. There is one public and evident: this is made because of their enemies, either for their punishment, or for their deliverance. For truly God delivered not the brothers in the book of Maccabees from the fires of the persecutor.[2] ... But again the Three Children openly were delivered from the furnace of fire;[3] because their body also was rescued, their safety was public. The former were in secret crowned, the latter openly delivered: all however saved. ... There is then a secret deliverance, there is an open deliverance. Secret deliverance doth belong to the soul, open deliverance to the body as well. For in secret the soul is delivered, openly the body. Again, if so it be, in this Psalm the voice of the Lord let us acknowledge: to the secret deliverance doth belong that whereof he spake above," Give heed to my soul, and redeem her." There remaineth the body's deliverance: for on His arising and ascending into the Heavens, and sending the Holy Ghost from above, there were converted to His faith they that at His death did rage, and out of enemies they were made friends through His grace, not through their righteousness.[4] Therefore he hath continued, "Because of mine enemies deliver me. Give heed to my soul," but this in secret: but "because of mine enemies deliver" even my body. For mine enemies it will profit nothing if soul alone Thou shalt have delivered; that they have done something, that they have accomplished something, they will believe. "What profit is there in my blood, while I go down into corruption?"[5] Therefore "give heed to my soul, and redeem her," which Thou alone knowest: secondly also, "because of mine enemies deliver me," that my flesh may not see corruption.

22. "Thou knowest my reproach, and my confusion, and my shame" (yet. 19). What is reproach? What is confusion? What shame? Reproach is that which the enemy casteth in the teeth. Confusion is that which gnaweth the conscience. Shame is that which causeth even a noble brow to blush, because of the upbraiding with a pretended crime. There is no crime; or even if there is a crime, it doth not belong to him, against whom it is alleged: but yet the infirmity of the human mind ofttimes is made ashamed even when a pretended crime is alleged; not because it is alleged, but because it is believed. All these things are in the Body of the Lord. For confusion in Him could not be, in whom guilt was not found. There was alleged as a crime against Christians, the very fact that they were Christians. That indeed was glory: the brave gladly received it, and so received it as that they blushed not at all for the Lord's name. For fearlessness had covered the face of them, having the effrontery of Paul, saying, "for I blush not because of the Gospel: for the virtue of God it is for salvation to every one believing."[6] O Paul, art not thou a venerator of the Crucified? Little it is, he saith, for me not to blush for it: nay, therein alone I glory, wherefore the enemy thinketh me to blush. "But from me far be it to glory, save in the Cross of Jesus Christ, through whom to me the world is crucified, and I to the world."[7] At such a brow as this then reproach alone could be hurled. For neither could there be confusion in a conscience already made whole, nor shame in a brow so free. But when it was being alleged against certain that they had slain Christ, deservedly they were pricked through with evil conscience, and to their health confounded and converted, so that they could say, "Thou hast known my confusion." Thou therefore, O Lord, hast known not only my reproach but also my confusion, in certain shame also: who, though in me they believe, publicly blush to confess me before ungodly men, human tongue having more influence with them than promise divine. Behold ye therefore them: even such are commended to God, not that so He may leave them, but that by aiding them He may make them perfect. For a certain man believing and wavering hath said, "I believe, O Lord, help Thou mine unbelief."[8]

23. "In Thy sight are all they that trouble Me" (ver. 20). Why I have reproach, Thou knowest; why confusion, "Thou knowest; why shame, Thou knowest: therefore deliver Thou me because of mine enemies, because Thou knowest these things of me, they know not; and thus, because they are themselves in Thy sight, not knowing these things, they will not be able to be either confounded or corrected, unless openly Thou shalt have delivered me because of mine enemies. "Reproach my heart hath expected, and misery." What is, "hath expected"? Hath foreseen these things as going to be, hath foretold them as going to be. For He came not for any other purpose. If He had been unwilling to die, neither would He have willed to be born: for the sake of resurrection He did both. For there were two particular things known to us among mankind, but one thing unknown. For we knew that men were born and died: that they rose again and lived for everlasting we knew not. That He might show to us that which we knew not, He took upon Him the two things which we knew. To this end therefore He came. "Reproach my heart hath expected and misery." But the misery of whom? For He expected misery, but rather of the crucifiers, rather of the persecutors, that in them should be misery, in Him mercy. For pitying the misery of them even while hanging on the Cross, He saith, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."[1] What then did it profit, that I expected? That is, what did it profit that I foretold? What did it profit that I said to this end I had come? I came to fulfil that which I said, "I waited for one that together should be made sorrowful, and there was not; and men comforting, and I found not:" that is, there was none. For that which in the former verse He said, "I waited for one that together should be made sorrowful," the same is in the following verse, "and men comforting." But that which in the former verse is, "and there was not;" the same in the following verse is, "and I found not." Therefore another sentence is not added, but the former is repeated. Which sentence if we reconsider, a question may arise. For were His disciples nowise made sorrowful when He was led to the Passion, when on the tree hanged, when dead? So much were they made sorrowful, that Mary Magdalene, who first saw Him, rejoicing told them as they were mourning what she had seen.[2] The Gospel speaketh of these things: it is not our presumption, not our suspicion: it is evident that the disciples grieved, it is evident that they mourned. Strange women were weeping, when to the Passion He was being led, unto whom turning He saith, "Weep ye, but for yourselves, do not for Me."[3] ... Peter certainly loved very much, and without hesitation threw himself to walk on the waves,[4] and at the voice of the Lord he was delivered: and though following Him when led to the Passion, with the boldness of love, yet being troubled, thrice he denied Him. Whence, except because an evil thing it seemed to him to die? For he was shunning that which he thought an evil thing. This then even in the Lord he was lamenting, which he was himself shunning. On this account even before he had said, "Far be it from Thee, O Lord, merciful be Thou to Thyself: there shall not come to pass this thing:"[5] at which time he merited to hear, "Satan;" after that he had heard, "Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona." Therefore in that sorrowfulness which the Lord felt because of those for whom He prayed, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do:"[1] no companion He found. "And I waited for one that together should be made sorrowful, and there was not." There was not at all. "And men comforting, and I found not." Who are men comforting? Men profiting. For they comfort us, they are the comfort of all preachers of the Truth.

24. "And they gave for My food gall, and in My thirst they gave Me vinegar to drink" (ver. 22). This was done indeed to the letter. And the Gospel declareth this to us. But we must understand, brethren, that the very fact that I found not comforters, that the very fact that I found not one that together should be made sorrowful, this was My gall, this to Me was bitter, this was vinegar: bitter because of grief, vinegar because of their old man. For we read, that to Him indeed gall was offered, as the Gospel speaketh; but for drink, not for food.[6] Nevertheless, we must so take and consider that when fulfilled, which here had been before predicted, "They gave for My food gall:" and in that very action, not only in this saying, we ought to seek for a mystery, at secret things to knock, to enter the rent veil of the Temple, to see there a Sacrament, both in what there hath been said and in what there hath been done. "They gave," He saith, "for My food gall:" not the thing itself which they gave was food, for it was drink: but "for food they gave it." Because already the Lord had taken food, and into it there had been thrown gall. But He had taken Himself pleasant food, when He ate the Passover with His disciples: therein He showed the Sacrament of His Body.[7] Unto this food so pleasant, so sweet, of the Unity of Christ, of which the Apostle maketh mention, saying, "For one bread, One Body, being many we are;"[8] unto this pleasant food who is there that addeth gall, except the gainsayers of the Gospel, like those persecutors of Christ? For less the Jews sinned in crucifying Him walking on earth, than they that despise Him sitting in Heaven. That which then the Jews did, in giving above the food which He had already taken that bitter draught to drink, the same they do that by evil living bring scandal upon the Church: the same do embittered heretics, "But let them not be exalted in their own selves."[9] They give gall after so delectable meat. But what doth the Lord? He admitteth them not to His Body. In this mystery, when they presented gall, the Lord Himself tasted, and would not drink.[6] If we did not suffer them, neither at all should we taste: but because it is necessary to suffer them, we must needs taste. But because in the members of Christ such sort cannot be, they can be tasted, received into the Body they cannot be. "And they gave for My food gall, and in My thirst they gave Me vinegar to drink." I was thirsting, and vinegar I received: that is, for the faith of them I longed, and I found oldness.

25. "Let the table of them be made in their own presence for a trap" (ver. 23). Like the trap which for Me they set, in giving Me such a draught, let such a trap be for them. Why then, "in their own presence"? "Let the table of them be made for a trap," would have been sufficient. They are such as know their iniquity, and in it most obstinately do persevere: in their own presence there is made a trap for them. These are they that, being too destructive, "go down into Hell alive."[1] Lastly, of persecutors what hath been said? Except that the Lord were in us, perchance alive they had swallowed us up.[2] What is alive? Consenting to them, and knowing that we ought not to consent to them. Therefore in their own presence there is made a trap, and they are not amended. Even though in their own presence there is a trap, let them not fall into it. Behold they know the trap, and thrust out foot, and bow their necks to be caught. How much better were it to turn away from the trap, to acknowledge sin, to condemn error, to be rid of bitterness, to pass over into the Body of Christ, to seek the Lord's glory! But so much prevaileth presumption of mind, that even in their own presence the trap is, and they fall into it. "Let the eyes of them be darkened, that they see not,"[3] followeth here: that whereas without benefit they have seen, it may chance to them even not to see. "Let the table of them," therefore, "be made in their own presence for a trap." It is not from one wishing, but from one prophesying: not in order that it may come to pass, but because it will come to pass. This we have often remarked, and ye ought to remember it: lest that which the prescient mind saith in the Spirit of God, it should seem with ill will to imprecate. ... Let it then be done to them, "both for a requital and for a stumbling-block." And is this by any means unjust? It is just. Why? For it is "for a requital." For not anything would happen to them, which was not owed. "For a requital" it is done, "and for a stumbling-block:" for they are themselves a stumbling-block to themselves. "Let the eyes of them be darkened, that they see not, and the back of them alway bow Thou down" (ver. 24). This is a consequence. For they, whose eyes have been darkened that they see not, it followeth, must have their back bowed down. How so? Because when they have ceased to take knowledge of things above, they must needs think of things below. He that well heareth, "lift up the heart," a bowed back hath not. For with stature erect he looketh for the hope laid up for him in Heaven; most especially if he send before him his treasure, whither his heart followeth.[4] But, on the other hand, they perceive not the hope of future life; already being blinded, they think of things below: and this is to have a bowed back: from which disorder the Lord delivered that woman. For Satan hath bound her eighteen years, and her that was bowed down[5] He raised up:[6] and because on the Sabbath He did it, the Jews were scandalized; suitably were they scandalized at her being raised up, themselves being bowed. "Pour forth upon them Thine anger, and let; the indignation of Thine anger overtake them" (ver. 25), are plain words: but nevertheless, in "overtake them" we perceive them as it were fleeing. But whither are they to flee? Into Heaven? Thou art there. Into Hell? Thou art present. Their wings they will not take to fly straight:[7] "Let the indignation of Thine anger overtake them," let it not permit them to escape.

26. "Let the habitation of them become forsaken"[8] (ver. 26). This is now evident. For in the same manner as He hath mentioned not only a secret deliverance of His, saying, "Give heed to My soul, and redeem her;"[9] but also one open after the body, adding, "because of mine enemies deliver me:" so also to these men He foretelleth how there are to be certain secret misfortunes, whereof a little before He was speaking. ... For the blindness of the Jews was secret vengeance: but the open was what? "Let their habitation become forsaken, and in their tabernacles let there not be any one to inhabit." There hath come to pass this thing in the very city Jerusalem, wherein they thought themselves mighty in crying against the Son of God, "Crucify, Crucify;"[10] and in prevailing because they were able to kill Him that raised dead men. How mighty to themselves, how great, they seemed! There followed afterwards the vengeance of the Lord, stormed was the city, utterly conquered the Jews, slain were I know not how many thousands of men. No one of the Jews is permitted to come thither now: where they were able to cry against the Lord, there by the Lord they are not permitted to dwell. They have lost the place of their fury: and O that even now they would know the place of their rest! What profit to them was Caiaphas in saying," "If we shall have let go this man thus, there will come the Romans, and take away from us both place and kingdom"?[1] Behold, both they did not let Him go alive, and He liveth: and there have come the Romans, and have taken from them both place and kingdom. But now we heard, when the Gospel was being read, "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often would I have gathered together thy sons, as a hen her chickens under her wings, and thou wouldest not? Behold there is left to you your house forsaken."[2]

27. Why so? "For Him whom Thou hast smitten they have themselves persecuted, and upon the pain of my wounds they have added" (ver. 27). How then have they sinned if they have persecuted one by God smitten? What sin is ascribed to their mind? Malice. For the thing was done in Christ which was to be. To suffer indeed He had come, and He punished him through whom He suffered. For Judas the traitor was punished, and Christ was crucified: but us He redeemed by His blood, and He punished him in the matter of his price. For he threw down the price of silver, for which by him the Lord had been sold;[3] and he knew not the price wherewith he had himself by the Lord been redeemed.[4] This thing was done in the case of Judas. But when we see that there is a sort of measure of requital in all men, and that not any one can be suffered to rage more than he hath received power to do: how have they "added," or what is that smiting of the Lord? Without doubt He is speaking in the person of him from whom He had received a body, from whom He had taken unto Him flesh, that is in the person of mankind, of Adam himself who was smitten with the first death because of his sin.[5] Mortal therefore here are men born, as born with their punishment: to this punishment they add, whosoever do persecute men. For now here man would not have had to die, unless God had smitten him. Why then dost thou, O man, rage more than this? Is it little for a man that some time he is to die? Each one of us therefore beareth his punishment: to this punishment they would add that persecute us. This punishment is the smiting of the Lord. For the Lord smote man with the sentence: "What day ye shall have touched it," He saith, "with death ye shall die."[6] Out of this death He had taken upon Him flesh, and our old man hath been crucified together with Him.[7] By the voice of that man He hath said these words, "Him whom Thou hast smitten they have themselves persecuted, and upon the pain of My wounds they have added." Upon what pain of wounds? Upon the pain of sins they have themselves added. For sins He hath called His wounds. But do not look to the Head, consider the Body; according to the voice whereof hath been said by the Same in that Psalm, wherein He showed there was His voice, because in the first verse thereof He cried from the Cross, "God, My God, look upon Me, why hast Thou forsaken Me?"[8] There in continuation He saith, "Afar from My safety are the words of Mine offences." ...

28. "Lay Thou iniquity upon their iniquity" (ver. 28). What is this? Who would not be afraid? To God is said, "Lay Thou iniquity upon their iniquity." Whence shall God lay iniquity? For hath He iniquity to lay? For we know that to be true which hath been spoken through Paul the Apostle, "What then shall we say? Is there anywise iniquity with God? Far be it."[9] Whence then, "Lay Thou iniquity upon iniquity"? How must we understand this? May the Lord be with us, that we may speak, and because of your weariness may be able to speak briefly. Their iniquity was that they killed a just Man: there was added another, that they crucified the Son of God. Their raging was as though against a man: but "if they had known, the Lord of Glory they had never crucified."[10] They with their own iniquity willed to kill as it were a man: there was laid iniquity upon their own iniquity, so that the Son of God they should crucify. Who laid this iniquity upon them? He that said, "Perchance they will reverence My Son,"[11] Him I will send. For they were wont to kill servants sent to them, to demand rent and profit. He sent the Son Himself, in order that Him also they might kill. He laid iniquity upon their own iniquity. And these things did God do in wrath, or rather in just requital? For, "May it be done to them," He saith, "for a requital and for a stumbling-block."[12] They had deserved to be so blinded as not to know the Son of God. And this God did, laying iniquity upon their iniquity; not in wounding, but in not making whole. For in like manner as thou increasest a fever, increasest a disorder, not by adding disorder, but by not relieving: so because they were of such sort as that they merited not to be healed, in their very naughtiness in a manner they advanced; as it is said, "But evil men and wicked doers advance for the worse:"[13] and iniquity is laid upon their own iniquity. "And let them not enter in[14] Thy righteousness." This is a plain thing.

29. "Let them be blotted out from the book of the living" (ver. 29). For had they been some time written therein? Brethren, we must not so take it, as that God writeth any one in the book of life, and blotteth him out. If a man said, "What I have written I have written,"[1] concerning the title where it had been written, "King of the Jews:" doth God write any one, and blot him out? He foreknoweth, He hath predestined all before the foundation of the world that are to reign with His Son in life everlasting.[2] These He hath written down, these same the Book of Life doth contain. Lastly, in the Apocalypse, what saith the Spirit of God, when the same Scripture was speaking of the oppressions that should be from Antichrist? "There shall give consent[3] to him all they that have not been written in the book of life."[4] So then without doubt they will not consent that have been written. How then are these men blotted out from that book wherein they were never written? This hath been said according to their own hope, because they thought of themselves that they were written. What is, "let them be blotted out from the book of life"? Even to themselves let it be evident, that they were not there. By this method of speaking hath been said in another Psalm, "There shall fall from Thy side a thousand, and tens of thousands from on Thy right hand:"[5] that is, many men shall be offended, even out of that number who thought that they would sit with Thee, even out of that number who thought that they would stand at Thy right hand, being severed from the left-hand goats:[6] not that when any one hath there stood, he shall afterwards fall, or when any one with Him hath sat, he shall be cast away; but that many men were to fall into scandal, who already thought themselves to be there, that is, many that thought that they would sit with Thee, many that hoped that they would stand at the right hand, will themselves fall. So then here also they that hoped as though by the merit of their own righteousness themselves to have been written in the book of God, they to whom is said, "Search the Scriptures, wherein ye think yourselves to have life eternal:"[7] when their condemnation shall have been brought even to their own knowledge, shall be effaced from the book of the living, they shall know themselves not to be there. For the verse which followeth explaineth what hath been said: "And with just men let them not be written." I have said then "Let them be effaced," according to their hope but according to Thy justice I say what?

30. "Poor and sorrowful I am" (ver. 30). Why this? Is it that we may acknowledge that through bitterness of soul this poor One doth speak evil? For He hath spoken of many things to happen to them. And as if we were saying to Him, "Why such things?"--"Nay, not so much!" He answereth, "poor and sorrowful I am." They have brought Me to want, unto this sorrow they have set Me down, therefore I say these words. It is not, however, the indignation of one cursing, but the prediction of one prophesying. For He was intending to recommend to us certain things which hereafter He saith of His poverty and His sorrow, in order that we may learn to be poor and sorrowful. For, "Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven."[8] And," Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted." This therefore He doth Himself before now show to us: and so, "poor and sorrowful I am." The whole Body of Him saith this. The Body of Christ in this earth is poor and sorrowful. But let Christians be rich. Truly if Christians they are, they are poor; in comparison with the riches celestial for which they hope, all their gold they count for sand. "And the health of Thy countenance, O God, hath taken Me up." Is this poor One anywise forsaken? When dost thou deign to bring near to thy table a poor man in rags? But again, this poor One the health of the countenance of God hath taken up: in His countenance He hath hidden His need. For of Him hath been said, "Thou shalt hide them in the hiding place of Thy countenance."[9] But in that countenance what riches there are would ye know? Riches here give thee this advantage, that thou mayest dine on what thou wilt, whenever thou wilt: but those riches, that thou mayest never hunger. "The health of Thy countenance, O God, hath taken Me up." For what purpose? In order that no longer I may be poor, no longer sorrowful? "I will praise the name of the Lord with a song, I will magnify Him in praise" (ver. 31). Now it hath been said, this poor One praiseth the name of the Lord with a song, he magnifieth Him in praise. When would He have ventured to sing, unless He had been refreshed from hunger? "I will magnify Him with praise." O vast riches! What jewels of God's praise hath he brought out of his inward treasures! These are my riches! "The Lord hath given, the Lord hath taken away."[10] Then miserable he hath remained? Far be it. See the riches: "As it hath pleased the Lord, so hath been done, be the name of the Lord blessed."

31. "And it shall please God:" that I shall praise Him, shall please: "above a new calf, bearing horns and hoofs." More grateful to Him shall be the sacrifice of praise than the sacrifice of a calf. "The sacrifice of praise shall glorify me."[11] "Immolate to God the sacrifice of praise."[12] So then His praise going forth from my mouth shall please God more than a great victim led up to His altar. ... Therefore above this calf my praising shall please Thee, such as hereafter will be, after poverty and sorrow, in the eternal society of Angels, where neither adversary there shall be in battle to be tossed, nor sluggard from earth to be stirred up. "Let the needy see and rejoice" (ver. 32). Let them believe, and in hope be glad. Let them be more needy, in order that they may deserve to be filled: lest while they belch out pride's satiety, there be denied them the bread whereon they may healthily live. "Seek the Lord," ye needy, hunger ye and thirst;[1] for He is Himself the living bread that came down from Heaven.[2] "Seek ye the Lord, and your soul shall live." Ye seek bread, that your flesh may live: the Lord seek ye, that your soul may live.[3]

32. "For the Lord hath hearkened to the poor" (ver. 33). He hath hearkened to the poor, and He would not have hearkened to the poor, unless they were poor. Wilt thou be hearkened to? Poor be thou: let sorrow cry out from thee, and not fastidiousness. "And His fettered ones He hath not despised." Being offended at His servants, He hath put them in fetters: but them crying from the fetters He hath not despised. What are these fetters? Mortality, the corruptibleness of the flesh are the fetters wherewith we have been bound. And would ye know the weight of these fetters? Of them is said, "The body which is corrupted weigheth down the soul."[4] Whenever men in the world will to be rich, for these fetters they are seeking rags. But let the rags of the fetters suffice: seek so much as is necessary for keeping off want, but when thou seekest superfluities, thou longest to load thy fetters. In such a prison then let the fetters abide even alone. "Sufficient for the day be the evil thereof."[5] "Let there praise Him heavens and earth, sea and all things creeping in them" (ver. 34). The true riches of this poor man are these, to consider the creation, and to praise the Creator. "Let there praise Him heavens and earth, sea and all things creeping therein." And doth this creation alone praise God, when by considering of it God is praised?

33. Hear thou another thing also: "for God shall save Sion" (ver. 35). He restoreth His Church, the faithful Gentiles He doth incorporate with His Only-Begotten; He beguileth not them that believe in Him of the reward of His promise. "For God shall save Sion; and there shall be builded the cities of Juda." These same are the Churches. Let no one say, when shall it come to pass that there be builded the cities of Juda? O that thou wouldest acknowledge the Edifice, and be a living stone, that thou mightest enter into Her. Even now the cities of Juda are being built. For Juda is interpreted confession. By confession of humility there are being builded the cities of Juda: in order that there may remain without the proud, who blush to confess. "For God shall save Sion." What Sion? Hear in the following words: "and the seed of His servants shall possess Her, and they that love His name shall dwell therein" (ver. 36). ...


1. Thanks to the "Corn of wheat,"[7] because He willed to die and to be multiplied: thanks to the only Son of God, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who disdained not to undergo our death, in order that He might make us worthy of His life. Behold Him that was single until He went hence; as He said in another Psalm, "Single I am until I go hence;" [8] for He was a single corn of wheat in such sort as that He had in Himself a great fruitfulness of increase; in how many corns imitating the Passion of Him we exult, when we celebrate the nativities of the Martyrs! Many therefore members of Him, under one Head our Saviour Himself, being bound together in the bond of love and peace (as ye judge it fit that ye know, for ye have often heard), are one man: and of the same, as of one man, the voice is ofttimes heard, in the Psalms, and thus one crieth as though it were all, because all in one are one. ...

2. There is then in this Psalm the voice of men troubled, and so indeed of Martyrs amid sufferings in peril, but relying on their own Head. Let us hear them, and speak with them out of sympathy of heart, though it be not with similarity of suffering. For they are already crowned, we are still in peril: not that such sort of persecutions do vex us as have vexed them, but worse perchance in the midsts of all kinds of so great scandals. For our own times do more abound in that woe, which the Lord cried: "Woe to the world because of scandals."[9] And," Because iniquity hath abounded, the love of man shall wax cold."[10] For not even that holy Lot at Sodom suffered corporal persecution from any one, or had it been told him that he should not dwell there:[11] the persecution of him were the evil doings of the Sodomites. Now then that Christ sitteth in Heaven, now that He is glorified, now that necks of kings are made subject to His yoke, and their brows placed beneath His sign, now that not any one remaineth to dare openly to trample upon Christians, still, however, we groan amid instruments and singers, still those enemies of the Martyrs, because with words and steel they have no power, with their own wantonness do persecute them. And O that we were sorrowing for Heathens alone: it would be some sort of comfort, to wait for those that not yet have been signed with the Cross of Christ; when they should be signed, and when, by His authority attached, they should cease to be mad. We see besides men wearing or their brow the sign of Him, at the same time on that same brow wearing the shamelessness of wantonness, and on the days and celebrations of the Martyrs not exulting but insulting. And amid these things we groan, and this is our persecution, if there is in us the love which saith, "Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is scandalized, and I burn not?"[1] Not any servant of God, then, is without persecution: and that is a true saying which the Apostle saith, "But even all men that will to live godly in Christ, shall suffer persecution."[2].

3. "O God, to my aid make speed" (ver. 1). For need we have for an everlasting aid in this world. But when have we not? Now however being in tribulation, let us especially say, "O God, to my aid make speed." "Let them be confounded and fear that seek my soul." Christ is speaking: whether Head speak or whether Body speak; He is speaking that hath said, "Why persecutest thou Me?"[3] He is speaking that hath said, "Inasmuch as ye have done it to one of the least of Mine, to Me ye have done it."[4] The voice then of this Man is known to be of the whole man, of Head and of Body: that need not often be mentioned, because it is known. "Be they confounded," he saith, "and fear that seek my soul." In another Psalm He saith, "I was looking unto the right and saw, and there was not one that would know Me flight hath perished from Me, and there is not one to seek out My soul."[5] There of persecutors He saith, that there was not one to seek out His soul: but here, "Let them be confounded and fear that seek My soul." ... And where is that which thou hast heard from thy Lord, "Love ye your enemies, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that persecute you "?[6] Behold thou sufferest persecution, and cursest them from whom thou sufferest: how dost thou imitate the Passions of thy Lord that have gone before, hanging on the cross and saying, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."[7] To persons saying such things the Martyr replieth and saith, thou hast set before me the Lord, saying, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do:" understand thou my voice also, in order that it may be thine too: for what have I said concerning mine enemies? "Let them be confounded and fear." Already such vengeance hath been taken on the enemies of the Martyrs. That Saul that persecuted Stephen, he was confounded and feared. He was breathing out slaughters,[8] he was seeking some to drag and slay: a voice having been heard from above, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me,"[3] he was confounded and laid low, and he was raised up to obedience, that had been inflamed unto persecuting. This then the Martyrs desire for their enemies, "Let them be confounded and fear." For so long as they are not confounded and fear, they must needs defend their actions: glorious they think themselves, because they hold, because they bind, because they scourge, because they kill, because they dance, because they insult, and because of all these doings they be some time confounded and fear.[9] For if they be confounded, they will also be converted: because converted they cannot be, unless they shall have been confounded and shall have feared. Let us then wish these things to our enemies, let us wish them without fear. Behold I have said, and let me have said it with you, may all that still dance and sing and insult the Martyrs "be confounded and fear :" at last within these walls confounded may they beat their breasts!

4. "Let them be turned away backward and blush that think evil things to me" (ver. 2). At first there was the assault of them persecuting, now there hath remained the malice of them thinking. In fact, there are in the Church distinct seasons of persecutions following one another.[10] There was made an assault on the Church when kings were persecuting: and because kings had been foretold as to persecute and as to believe, when one had been fulfilled the other was to follow. There came to pass also that which was consequent; kings believed, peace was given to the Church, the Church began to be set in the highest place of dignity, even on this earth, even in this life: but there is not wanting the roar of persecutors, they have turned their assaults into thoughts. In these thoughts, as in a bottomless pit, the devil hath been bound," he roareth and breaketh not forth. For it hath been said concerning these times of the Church, "The sinner shall see, and shall be angry."[12] And shall do what? That which he did at first? Drag, bind, smite? He doeth not this. What then? "With his teeth he shall gnash, and shall pine away." And with these men the Martyr is, as it were, angry, and yet for these men the Martyr prayeth. For in like manner as he hath wished well to those men concerning whom he hath said, "Let them be confounded and fear that seek nay soul:"[1] so also now, "Let them be turned backward, and blush, that think evil things to me." Wherefore? In order that they may not go before, but follow. For he that censureth the Christian religion, and on his own system willeth to live, willeth as it were to go before Christ, as though He indeed had erred and had been weak and infirm, because He either willed to suffer or could suffer in the hands of the Jews; but that he is a clever man for guarding against all these things; in shunning death, even in basely lying to escape death, and slaying his soul that he may live in body, he thinketh himself a man of singular and prudent measures. He goeth before in censuring Christ, in a manner he outstrippeth Christ: let him believe in Christ, and follow Christ. For that which had been desired but now for persecutors thinking evil things, the same the Lord Himself said to Peter. Now in a certain place Peter willed to go before the Lord. ... A little before, "Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but My Father which is in Heaven:" now in a moment, "Go back behind Me, Satan."[2] What is, "Go back behind Me"? Follow Me. Thou wiliest to go before Me, thou wiliest to give Me counsel, it is better that thou follow My counsel: this is, "go back," go back behind Me. He is silencing one outstripping, in order that he may go backward; and He is calling him Satan, because he willeth to go before the Lord. A little before, "blessed;" now, "Satan." Whence a little before, "blessed"? Because, "to thee," He saith, "flesh and blood hath not revealed it, but My Father which is in Heaven." Whence now, "Satan"? Because "thou savourest not," He saith, "the things which are of God, but the things which are of men." Let us then that would duly celebrate the nativities of the Martyrs, long for the imitation of the Martyrs; let us not wish to go before the Martyrs, and think ourselves to be of better understanding than they, because we shun sufferings in behalf of righteousness and faith which they shunned not. Therefore be they that think evil things, and in wantonness feed their hearts, "turned backward and blush." Let them hear from the Apostle afterwards saying, "But what fruit had ye some time in those things at which ye now blush?"

5. What followeth? "Let them be turned away forthwith blushing, that say to me, Well, well" (ver. 3). Two are the kinds of persecutors, revilers and flatterers. The tongue of the flatterer doth more persecute than the hand of the slayer: for this also the Scripture hath called a furnace. Truly when the Scripture was speaking of persecution, it said, "Like gold in a furnace it hath proved them" (speaking of Martyrs being slain), "and as the holocaust's victim it hath received them."[3] Hear how even the tongue of flatterers is of such sort: "The proving," he saith, "of silver and of gold is fire; but a man is proved by the tongue of men praising him."[4] That is fire, this also is fire: out of both thou oughtest to go forth safe. The censurer hath broken thee, thou hast been broken in the furnace like an earthen vessel. The Word hath moulded thee, and there hath come the trial of tribulation: that which hath been formed, must needs be seasoned; if it hath been well moulded, there hath come the fire to strengthen. Whence He said in the Passion, "Dried up like a potsherd hath been My virtue."[5] For Passion and the furnace of tribulation had made Him stronger. ...

6. And what cometh to pass when they are all turned back and blush, whether it be they that seek my soul, or they that think evil things to me, or they that with perverse and feigned benevolence with tongue would soften the stroke which they inflict, when they shall have been themselves turned away and confounded; there shall come to pass what? "Let them exult and be joyous in Thee:" not in me, not in this man or in that man; but in whom they have been made light that were darkness. "Let them exult and be joyous in Thee, all that seek Thee" (ver. 4). One thing it is to seek God, another thing to seek man. "Let them be joyous that seek Thee." They shall not be joyous then that seek themselves,[6] whom Thou hast first sought before they sought Thee. Not yet did that sheep seek the Shepherd, it had strayed from the flock, and He went down to it;[7] He sought it, and carried it back upon His shoulders. Will He despise thee, O sheep, seeking Him, who hath first sought thee despising Him and not seeking Him? Now then begin thou to seek Him that first hath sought thee, and hath carried thee back on His shoulders. Do thou that which He speaketh of, "They that are My sheep hear My voice, and follow Me."[8] If then thou seekest Him that first hath sought thee, and hast become a sheep of His, and thou hearest the voice of thy Shepherd, and followest Him; see what He showeth to thee of Himself, what of His Body, in order that as to Himself thou mayest not err, as to the Church thou mayest not err, that no one may say to thee, that is Christ which is not Christ, or that is the Church which is not the Church. For many men have said that Christ had no flesh, and that Christ hath not risen in His Body: do not thou follow the voices of them. Hear thou the voice of Himself the Shepherd, that was clothed with flesh, in order that He might seek lost flesh. He hath risen again, and He saith, "Handle ye and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see Me have."[1] He showeth Himself to thee, the voice of Him follow thou. He showeth also the Church, that no one may deceive thee by the name of Church. "It behoved," He saith, "Christ to suffer, and to rise again from the dead the third day, and that there should be preached repentance and remission of sins through all nations, beginning with Jerusalem."[2] Thou hast the voice of Thy Shepherd, do not thou follow the voice of strangers:[3] and a thief thou shalt not fear, if thou shalt have followed the voice of the Shepherd. But how shalt thou follow? If thou shalt neither have said to any man, as if it were by his own merit, Well, well: nor shalt have heard the same with joy, so that thy head be not made fat with the oil of a sinner.[4] "Let all them exult and be joyous in Thee, that seek Thee; and let them say"--let them say what, that exult? "Be the Lord alway magnified!" Let all them say this, that exult and seek Thee. What? "Be the Lord alway magnified; yea, they that love Thy salvation." Not only, "Be the Lord magnified;" but also, "alway." ... A sinner thou art, be He magnified in order that He may call; thou confessest, be He magnified in order that He may forgive: now thou livest justly, be He magnified in order that He may direct: thou perseverest even unto the end, be He magnified in order that He may glorify. "Be the Lord," then, "alway magnified; yea, they love His saving health." For from Him they have salvation, not from themselves. The saving health of the Lord our God, is the Saviour our Lord Jesus Christ: whosoever loveth the Saviour, confesseth himself to have been made whole; whosoever confesseth himself to have been made whole, confesseth himself to have been sick.[5] Not their own saving health, as if they could save themselves of themselves: not as it were the saving health of a man, as though by him they could be saved. "Do not," he saith, "confide in princes, and in the sons of men, in whom there is no safety."[6] Why so? "Of the Lord is safety, and upon Thy people is Thy blessing."[7]

7. Behold, "Be the Lord magnified:" wilt thou never, wilt thou nowhere? In Him was something, in me nothing: but if in Him is whatsoever I am, be He, not I. But thou then what? "But I am needy and poor" (ver. 5). He is rich, He abounding, He needing nothing. Behold my light, behold whence I am illumined; for I cry, "Thou shalt illumine my candle, O Lord."[8] What then of thee? "But I am needy and poor." I am like an orphan, my soul is like a widow destitute and desolate: help I seek, alway mine infirmity I confess. There have been forgiven me my sins, now I have begun to follow the commandments of God: still, however, I am needy and poor. Why still needy and poor? Because "I see another law in my members fighting against the law of my mind."[9] Why needy and poor? Because, "blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness."[10] Still I hunger, still I thirst: my fulness hath been put off, not taken away. "O God, aid Thou me." Most suitably also Lazarus is said to be interpreted, "one aided:" that needy and poor man, that was transported into the bosom of Abraham;[11] and beareth the type of the Church, which ought alway to confess that she hath need of aid. This is true, this is godly. "I have said to the Lord, My God Thou art." Why? "For my goods Thou needest not."[12] He needeth not us, we need Him: therefore He is truly Lord. For thou art not the very true Lord of thy servant: both are men, both needing God. But if thou supposest thy servant to need thee, in order that thou mayest give him bread; thou also needest thy servant, in order that he may aid thy labours. Each one of you doth need the other. Therefore neither of you is truly lord, and neither of you truly servant. Hear thou the true Lord, of whom thou art the true servant: "I have said to the Lord, My God Thou art." Why art Thou Lord? "Because my goods Thou needest not"? But what of thee? "But I am needy and poor." Behold the needy and poor: may God feed, may God alleviate, may God aid: "O God," he saith, "aid Thou me."

8. "My helper and deliverer art Thou; O Lord, delay not." Thou art the helper and deliverer: I need succour, help Thou; entangled I am, deliver Thou. For no one will deliver from entanglings except Thee. There stand round about us the nooses of divers cares, on this side and on that we are torn as it were with thorns and brambles, we walk a narrow way, perchance we have stuck fast in the brambles: let us say to God, "Thou art my deliverer." He that showed us the narrow way? hath taught us to follow it. ...

9. What is, "delay not"? Because many men say, it is a long time till Christ comes. What then: because we say, "delay not," will He come before He hath determined to come? What meaneth this prayer, "delay not"? May not Thy coming seem to me to be too long delayed. For to thee it seemeth a long time, to God it seemeth not long, to whom a thousand years are one day, or the three hours of a watch.[1] But if thou shalt not have had endurance, late for thee it will be: and when to thee it shall be late, thou wilt be diverted from Him, and wilt be like unto those that were wearied in the desert, and hastened to ask of God the pleasant things which He was reserving for them in the Land; and when there were not given on their journey the pleasant things, whereby perchance they would have been corrupted, they murmured against God, and went back in heart unto Egypt:[2] to that place whence in body they had been severed, in heart they went back. Do not thou, then, so, do not so: fear the word of the Lord, saying, "Remember Lot's wife."[3] She too being on the way, but now delivered from the Sodomites, looked back; in the place where she looked back, there she remained: she became a statue of salt, in order to season thee. For to thee she hath been given for an example, in order that thou mayest have sense, mayest not stop infatuated on the way. Observe her stopping and pass on: observe her looking back, and do thou be reaching forth unto the things before, as Paul was.[4] What is it, not to look back. "Of the things behind forgetful," he saith. Therefore thou followest, being called to the heavenly reward, whereof hereafter thou wilt glory. For the same Apostle saith, "There remaineth for me a crown of righteousness, which in that day the Lord, the just Judge, shall render to me."[5]


1. In all the holy Scriptures the grace of God that delivereth us commendeth itself to us, in order that it may have us commended. This is sung of in this Psalm, whereof we have undertaken to speak. ... This grace the Apostle commendeth: by this he got to have the Jews for enemies, boasting of the letter of the law and of their own justice. This then commending in the lesson which hath been read, he saith thus: "For I am the least of the Apostles, that am not worthy to be called an Apostle, because I persecuted the Church of God."[7] "But therefore mercy," he saith, "I obtained, because ignorant I did it in unbelief."[8] Then a little afterwards, "Faithful the saying is, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am first."[9] Were there before him not any sinners? What then, was he the first then? Yea, going before all men not in time, but in evil disposition. "But therefore," he saith, "mercy I obtained," in order that in me Christ Jesus might show all long-suffering, for the imitation of those that shall believe in Him unto life eternal: that is, every sinner and unjust man, already despairing of himself, already having the mind of a gladiator,[10] so as to do whatsoever he willeth, because he must needs be condemned, may yet observe the Apostle Paul, to whom so great cruelty and so very evil a disposition was forgiven by God; and by not despairing of himself may he be turned unto God. This grace God doth commend to us in this Psalm also. ...

2. The title then of this Psalm is, as usual, a title intimating on the threshold what is being done in the house: "To David himself for the sons of Jonadab, and for those that were first led captive." Jonadab (he is commended to us in the prophecy of Jeremiah) was a certain man, who had enjoined his sons not to drink wine, and not to dwell in houses, but in tents. But the commandment of the father the sons kept and observed, and by this earned a blessing from the Lord.[11] Now the Lord had not commanded this, but their own father. But they so received it as though it were a commandment from the Lord their God; for even though the Lord bad not commanded that they should drink no wine and should dwell in tents; yet the Lord had commanded that sons should obey their father. In this case alone a son ought not to obey his father, if his father should have commanded anything contrary to the Lord his God. For indeed the father ought not to be angry, when God is preferred before him. But when a father doth command that which is not contrary to God; he must be heard as God is: because to obey one's father God hath enjoined. God then blessed the sons of Jonadab because of their obedience, and thrust them in the teeth of His disobedient people, reproaching them, because while the sons of Jonadab were obedient to their father, they obeyed not their God. But while Jeremiah was treating of these topics, he had this object in regard to the people of Israel, that they should prepare themselves to be led for captivity into Babylon, and should not hope for any other thing, but that they were to be captives. The title then of this Psalm seemeth from thence to have taken its hue, so that when he had said, "Of the sons of Jonadab;" he added, "and of them that were first led captive:" not that the sons of Jonadab were led captive, but because to them that were to be led captive there were opposed the sons of Jonadab, because they were obedient to their father: in order that they might understand that they had been made captive, because they were not obedient to God. It is added also that Jonadab is interpreted, "the Lord's spontaneous one." What is this, the Lord's spontaneous one? Serving God freely with the will. What is, the Lord's spontaneous one? "In me are, O God, Thy vows, which I will render of praise to Thee." What is, the Lord's spontaneous one? "Voluntarily I will sacrifice to Thee."[2] For if the Apostolic teaching admonisheth a slave to serve a human master, not as though of necessity, but of good will, and by freely serving make himself in heart free; how much more must God be served with whole and full and free will, who seeth thy very will? ... The first man made us captive, the second man hath delivered us from captivity. "For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive." But in Adam they die through the flesh's nativity, in Christ they are delivered through the heart's faith. It was not in thy power not to be born of Adam: it is in thy power to believe in Christ. Howsoever much then thou shall have willed to belong to the first man, unto captivity thou wilt belong. And what is, shall have willed to belong? or what is, shalt belong? Already thou belongest: cry out, "Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?"[3] Let us hear then this man crying out this.

3. "O God, in Thee I have hoped, O Lord, I shall not be confounded for everlasting" (ver. 1). Already I have been confounded, but not for everlasting. For how is he not confounded, to whom is said, "What fruit had ye in these things wherein ye now blush?"[4] What then shall be done, that we may not be confounded for everlasting? "Draw near unto Him, and be ye enlightened, and your faces shall not blush."[5] Confounded ye are in Adam, withdraw from Adam, draw near unto Christ, and then ye shall not be confounded. "In Thee I have hoped, O Lord, I shall not be confounded for everlasting." If in myself I am now[6] confounded, in Thee I shall not be confounded for everlasting.

4. "In Thine own righteousness deliver me, and save me" (ver. 2). Not in mine own, but in Thine own: for if in mine own, I shall be one of those whereof he saith, "Being ignorant of God's righteousness, and their own righteousness willing to establish, to the righteousness of God they were not made subject."[7] Therefore, "in Thine own righteousness," not in mine. For mine is what? Iniquity hath gone before. And when I shall be righteous, Thine own righteousness it will be: for by righteousness given to me by Thee I shall be righteous; and it shall be so mine, as that it be Thine, that is, given to me by Thee. For I believe on Him that justifieth an ungodly man, so that my faith is counted for righteousness.[8]Even so then the righteousness shall be mine, not however as though mine own, not as though by mine own self given to myself: as they thought who through the letter made their boast, and rejected grace. ... It is a small thing then that thou acknowledge the good thing which is in thee to be from God, unless also on that account thou exalt not thyself above him that hath not yet, who perchance when he shall have received, will outstrip thee. For when Saul was a stoner of Stephen,[9] how many were the Christians of whom he was persecutor! Nevertheless, when he was converted, all that had gone before he surpassed. Therefore say thou to God that which thou hearest in the Psalm, "In Thee I have hoped, O Lord, I shall not be confounded for everlasting: in Thine own righteousness," not in mine, "deliver me, and save me." "Incline unto me Thine ear." This also is a confession of humility. He that saith, "Incline unto me," is confessing that he is lying like a sick man laid at the feet of the Physician standing. Lastly, observe that it is a sick man that is speaking: "Incline unto me Thine ear, and save me."

5. "Be Thou unto me for a protecting God" (ver. 3). Let not the darts of the enemy reach unto me: for I am not able to protect myself. And a small thing is "protecting:" he hath added, "and for a walled place, that Thou mayest save me." "For a walled place" be Thou to me, be Thou my walled place. ... Behold, God Himself hath become the place of thy fleeing unto, who at first was the fearful object of thy fleeing from. "For a walled place," he saith, be Thou to me, "that Thou mayest save me." I shall not be safe except in Thee: except Thou shalt have been my rest, my sickness shall not be able to be made whole. Lift me from the earth; upon Thee I will lie, in order that I may rise unto a walled place. What can be better walled? When unto that place thou shalt have fled for refuge, tell me what adversaries thou wilt dread? Who will lie in wait, and come at thee? A certain man is Said from the summit of a mountain to have cried out, when an Emperor was passing by, "I speak not[10] of thee:" the other is said to have looked back and to have said, "Nor I of thee." He had despised an Emperor with glittering arms, with mighty army. From whence? From a strong place. If he was secure on a high spot of earth, how secure art thou on Him by whom heaven and earth were made? I, if for myself I shall have chosen another place, shall not be able to be safe. Choose thou indeed, O man, if thou shalt have found one, a place better walled. There is not then a place whither to flee from Him, except we flee to Him. If thou wilt escape Him angry, flee to Him appeased. "For my firmament and my refuge Thou art." "My firmament" is what? Through Thee I am firm, and by Thee I am firm. "For my firmament and my refuge Thou art:" in order that I may be made firm by Thee, in whatever respects I shall have been made infirm in myself, I will flee for refuge unto Thee. For firm the grace of Christ maketh thee, and immovable against all temptations of the enemy. But there is there too human frailness, there is there still the first captivity, there is there too the law in the members fighting against the law of the mind, and willing to lead captive in the law of sin:[1] still the body which is corrupt presseth down the soul.[2] Howsoever firm thou be by the grace of God, so long as thou still bearest an earthly vessel, wherein the treasure of God is, something must be dreaded even from that same vessel of clay.[3] Therefore" my firmament Thou art," in order that I may be firm in this world against all temptations. But if many they are, and they trouble me: "my refuge Thou art." For I will confess mine infirmity, to the end that I may be timid like a "hare," because I am full of thorns like a "hedgehog." And as in another Psalm is said, "The rock is a refuge for the hedgehogs and the hares:"[4] but the Rock was Christ.[5]

6. "O God, deliver me from the hand of the sinner" (ver. 4). Generally, sinners, among whom is toiling he that is now to be delivered from captivity: he that now crieth, "Unhappy man I, who shall deliver me from the body of this death? The grace of God through Jesus Christ our Lord."[6] Within is a foe, that law in the members; there are without also enemies: unto what cryest thou? Unto Him, to whom hath been cried, "From my secret sins cleanse me, O Lord, anti from strange sins spare Thy servant."[7] ... But these sinners are of two kinds: there are some that have received Law, there are others that have not received: all the heathen have not received Law, all Jews and Christians have received Law. Therefore the general term is sinner; either a transgressor of the Law, if he hath received Law; or only unjust without Law, if he hath not received the Law. Of both kinds speaketh the Apostle, and saith, "They that without Law have sinned, without Law shall perish, and they that in the Law have sinned, by the Law shall be judged."[8] But thou that amid both kinds dost groan, say to God that which thou hearest in the Psalm, "My God, deliver me from the hand of the sinner." Of what sinner? "From the hand of him that transgresseth the Law, and of the unjust man." He that transgresseth the Law is indeed also unjust; for not unjust he is not, that transgresseth the Law: but every one that transgresseth the Law is unjust, not every unjust man doth transgress the Law. For, "Where there is not a Law," saith the Apostle, "neither is there transgression."[9] They then that have not received Law, may be called unjust, transgressors they cannot be called. Both are judged after their deservings. But I that from captivity will to be delivered through Thy grace, cry to Thee, "Deliver me from the hand of the sinner." What is, from the hand of him? From the power of him, that while he is raging, he lead me not unto consenting with him; that while he lieth in wait, he persuade not to iniquity. "From the hand of the sinner and of the unjust man." ...

7. Lastly, there followeth the reason why I say this: "for Thou art my patience" (ver. 5). Now if He is patience rightly, He is that also which followeth, "O Lord, my hope from my youth." My patience, because my hope: or rather my hope, because my patience. "Tribulation," saith the Apostle, "worketh patience, patience probation, but probation hope, but hope confoundeth not."[10] With reason in Thee I have hoped, O Lord, I shall not be confounded for everlasting. "O Lord, my hope from my youth." From thy youth is God thy hope? Is He not also from thy boyhood, and from thine infancy? Certainly, saith he. For see what followeth, that thou mayest not think that I have said this, "my hope from my youth," as if God noways profiled mine infancy or my boyhood; hear what followeth: "In Thee I have been strengthened from the womb." Hear yet: "From the belly of my mother Thou art my Protector" (ver. 6). Why then, "from my youth," except it was the period from which I began to hope in Thee? For before in Thee I was not hoping, though Thou wast my Protector, that didst lead me safe unto the time, when I learned to hope in Thee. But from my youth I began in Thee to hope, from the time when Thou didst arm me against the Devil, so that in the girding of Thy host being armed with Thy faith, love, hope, and the rest of Thy gifts, I waged conflict against Thine invisible enemies, and heard from the Apostle, "There is not for us a wrestling against flesh and blood, but against principalities, and powers," etc.[11] There a young man it is that doth fight against these things: but though he be a young man, he falleth, unless He be the hope of Him to whom he crieth, "O Lord, my hope from my youth." "In Thee is my singing alway." Is it only from the time when I began to hope in Thee until now? Nay, but "alway." What is, "alway"? Not only in the time of faith, but also in the time of sight. For now, "So long as we are in the body we are absent from the Lord: for by faith we walk, not by sight: "[1] there will be a time when we shall see that which being not seen we believe: but when that hath been seen which we believe, we shall rejoice: but when that hath been seen which they believed not, ungodly men shall be confounded. Then will come the substance whereof there is now the hope. But, "Hope which is seen is not hope. But if that which we see not we hope for, through patience we wait for it."[2] Now then thou groanest, now unto a place of refuge thou runnest, in order that thou mayest be saved; now being in infirmity thou entreatest the Physician: what, when thou shall have received perfect soundness also, what when thou shall have been made "equal to the Angels of God,"[3] wilt thou then perchance forget that grace, whereby thou hast been delivered? Far be it.

8. "As it were a monster I have become unto many" (ver. 7). Here in time of hope, in time of groaning, in time of humiliation, in time of sorrow, in time of infirmity, in time of the voice from the fetters--here then what? "As it were a monster I have become unto many." Why, "As it were a monster"? Why do they insult me that think me a monster? Because I believe that which I see not. For they being happy in those things which they see, exult in drink, in wantonness, in chamberings, in covetousness, in riches, in robberies, in secular dignities, in the whitening of a mud wall, in these things they exult: but I walk in a different way, contemning those things which are present, and fearing even the prosperous things of the world, and secure in no other thing but the promises of God. And they, "Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die."[4] What sayest thou? Repeat it: "let us eat," he saith, "and drink." Come now, what hast thou said afterwards? "for to-morrow we die." Thou hast terrified, not led me astray. Certainly by the very thing which thou hast said afterwards, thou hast stricken me with fear to consent with thee. "For to-morrow we die," thou hast said: and there hath preceded, "Let us eat and drink." For when thou hadst said, "Let us eat and drink;" thou didst add, "for to-morrow we die." Hear the other side from me, "Yea let us fast and pray, 'for to-morrow we die.' " I keeping this way, strait and narrow, "as it were a monster have become unto many: but Thou art a strong helper." Be Thou with me, O Lord Jesus, to say to me, faint not in the narrow way, I first have gone along it, I am the way itself,[5] I lead, in Myself I lead, unto Myself I lead home. Therefore though "a monster I have become unto many;" nevertheless I will not fear, for "Thou art a strong Helper."

9. "Let my mouth be fulfilled with praise, that with hymn I may tell of Thy glory, all the day long Thy magnificence" (ver. 8). What is "all the day long"? Without intermission. In prosperity, because Thou dost comfort: in adversity, because Thou dost correct: before I was in being, because Thou didst make; when I was in being, because Thou didst give health: when I had sinned, because Thou didst forgive; when I was converted, because Thou didst help; when I had persevered, because Thou didst crown.

10. My hope from my youth, "cast me not away in time of old age" (ver. 9). What is this time of old age? "When my strength shall fail, forsake Thou not me." Here God maketh this answer to thee, yea indeed let thy strength fail, in order that in thee mine may abide: in order that thou mayest say with the Apostle, "When I am made weak, then I am mighty."[6] Fear not, that thou be cast away in that weakness, in that old age. But why? Was not thy Lord made weak on the Cross? Did not most mighty men and fat bulls before Him, as though a man of no strength, made captive and oppressed, shake the head and say, "If Son of God He is, let Him come down from the Cross"?[7] Has he deserted because He was made weak, who preferred not to come down from the Cross, lest He should seem not to have displayed power, but to have yielded to them reviling? What did He hanging teach thee, that would not come down, but patience amid men reviling, but that thou shouldest be strong in thy God? Perchance too in His person was said, "As it were a monster I have become unto many, and Thou art a strong Helper."[8] In His person according to His weakness, not according to His power; according to that whereby He had transformed us into Himself, not according to that wherein He had Himself come down. For He became a monster unto many. And perchance the same was the old age of Him; because on account of its oldness it is not improperly called old age, and the Apostle saith, "Our old man hath been crucified together with Him."[9] If there was there our old man, old age was there; because old, old age.[10] Nevertheless, because a true saying is, "Renewed as an eagle's shall be Thy youth;"[1] He rose Himself the third day, promised a resurrection at the end of the world. Already there hath gone before the Head, the members are to follow. Why dost thou fear lest He should forsake thee, lest He cast thee away for the time of old age, when thy strength shall have failed? Yea at that time in thee will be the strength of Him, when thy strength shall have failed.

11. Why do I say this? "For mine enemies have spoken against me, and they that were keeping watch for My soul, have taken counsel together (ver. 10): saying, God hath forsaken Him, persecute Him, and seize Him, for there is no one to deliver Him" (ver. 11). This hath been said concerning Christ. For He that with the great power of Divinity, wherein He is equal to the Father, had raised to life dead persons, on a sudden in the hands of enemies became weak, and as if having no power, was seized. When would He have been seized, except they had first said in their heart, "God hath forsaken Him?" Whence there was that voice on the Cross, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?[2] So then did God forsake Christ, though "God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself,"[3] though Christ was also God. out of the Jews indeed according to the flesh, "Who is over all things, God blessed for ever,"[4]--did God forsake Him? Far be it. But in our old man our voice it was, because our old man was crucified together with Him:[5] and of that same our old man He had taken a Body, because Mary was of Adam. Therefore the very thing which they thought, from the Cross He said, "Why hast Thou forsaken Me?"[6] Why do these men think Me left alone to their evil? What is, think Me forsaken in their evil? "For if they had known, the Lord of glory they had never crucified.[7] Persecute and seize Him." More familiarly however, brethren, let us take this of the members of Christ, and acknowledge our own voice in these words: because even He used such words in our person, not in His own power and majesty; but in that which He became for our sakes, not according to that which He was, who hath made us.

12. "O Lord, my God, be not far from me" (ver. 12). So it is, and the Lord is not far off at all. For, "The Lord is nigh unto them that have bruised the heart."[8] "My God, unto my help look Thou." "Be they confounded and fail that engage[9] my soul" (ver. 13). What hath he desired? "Be they confounded and fail." Why hath he desired it? "That engage my soul"? What is, "That engage my soul "? Engaging as it were unto some quarrel. For they are said to be engaged that are challenged to quarrel. If then so it is, let us beware of men that engage our soul. What is, "That engage our soul"? First provoking us to withstand God, in order that in our evil things God may displease us. For when art thou right, so that to thee the God of Israel may be good, good to men fight in heart?[10] When art thou right? Wilt thou hear? When in that good which thou doest, God is pleasing to thee; but in that evil which thou sufferest, God is not displeasing to thee. See ye what I have said, brethren, and be ye on your guard against men that engage your souls. For all men that deal with you in order to make you be wearied in sorrows and tribulations, have this aim, namely, that God may be displeasing to you in that which ye suffer, and there may go forth from your mouth, "What is this? For what have I done?" Now then hast thou done nothing of evil, and art thou just, He unjust? A sinner I am, thou sayest, I confess, just I call not myself. But what, sinner, hast thou by any means done so much evil as he with whom it is well? As much as Gaiuseius?" I know the evil doings of him, I know the iniquities of him, from which I, though a sinner, am very far; and yet I see him abounding in all good things, and I am suffering so great evil things. I do not then say, O God, "what have I done" to Thee, because I have done nothing at all of evil; but because I have not done so much as to deserve to suffer these things. Again, art thou just, He unjust? Wake up, wretched man, thy soul hath been engaged! I have not, he saith, called myself just. What then sayest thou? A sinner I am, but I did not commit so great sins, as to deserve to suffer these things. Thou sayest not then to God, just I am, and Thou art unjust: but thou sayest, unjust I am, but Thou art more unjust. Behold thy soul hath been engaged, behold now thy soul wageth war. What? Against whom? Thy soul, against God; that which hath been made against Him by whom it was made. Even because thou art in being to cry out against Him, thou art ungrateful. Return, then, to the confession of thy sickness, and beg the healing hand of the Physician. Think thou not they are happy who flourish for a time. Thou art being chastised, they are being spared: perchance for thee chastised and amended an inheritance is being kept in reserve. ... Lastly, see what followeth, "Let them put on confusion and shame, that think evil things to me." "Confusion and shame," confusion because of a bad conscience, shame because of modesty. Let this befall them, and they will be good. ...

13. "But I alway in Thee will hope, and will add to all Thy praise" (ver. 14). What is this? "I will add to all Thy praise," ought to move us. More perfect wilt thou make the praise of God? Is there anything to be superadded? If already that is all praise, wilt thou add anything? God was praised in all His good deeds, in every creature of His, in the whole establishment of all things, in the government and regulation of ages, in the order of seasous, in the height of Heaven, in the fruitfulness of the regions of earth, in the encircling of the sea, in every excellency of the creature everywhere brought forth, in the sons of men themselves, in the giving of the Law, in delivering His people from the captivity of the Egyptians, and all the rest of His wonderful works: not yet He had been praised for having raised up flesh unto life eternal. Be there then this praise added by the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ: in order that here we may perceive His voice above all past praise: thus it is that we rightly understand this also. ...

14. "My mouth shall tell out Thy righteousness" (ver. 15): not mine. From thence I will add to all Thy praise: because even that I am righteous, if righteous I am, is Thy righteousness in me, not mine own: for Thou dost justify the ungodly.[1] "All the day long Thy salvation." What is, "Thy salvation "? Let no one assume to himself, that he saveth himself, "Of the Lord is Salvation."[2] Not any one by himself saveth himself, "Vain is man's salvation."[3] "All the day long Thy Salvation:" at all times. Something of adversity cometh, preach the Salvation of the Lord: something of prosperity cometh, preach the Salvation of the Lord. Do not preach in prosperity, and hold thy peace in adversity: otherwise there will not be that which hath been said, "all the day long." For all the day long is day together with its own night. Do we when we say, for example, thirty days have gone by, mention the nights also; do we not under the very term days include the nights also? In Genesis what was said? "The evening was made, and the morning was made, one day."[4] Therefore a whole day is the day together with its own night: for the night doth serve the day, not the day the night. Whatever thou doest in mortal flesh, ought to serve righteousness: whatever thou doest by the commandment of God, be it not done for the sake of the advantage of the flesh, lest day serve night. Therefore all the day long speak of the praise of God, to wit, in prosperity and in adversity; in prosperity, as though in the day time; in adversity, as though in the night time: all the day long nevertheless speak of the praise of God, so that thou mayest not have sung to no purpose, "I will bless God at every time, alway the praise of Him is in my mouth."[5] ...

15. Therefore, he saith, "For I have not known tradings."[6] What are these tradings? Let traders hear and change their life; and if they have been such, be not such; let them not know what they have been, let them forget; lastly, let them not approve, not praise; let them disapprove, condemn, be changed, if trading is a sin. For on this account, O thou trader, because of a certain eagerness for getting, whenever thou shalt have suffered loss, thou wilt blaspheme; and there will not be in thee that which hath been spoken of, "all the day long Thy praise." But whenever for the price of the goods which thou art selling, thou not only liest, but even falsely swearest; how in thy mouth all the day long is there the praise of God? While, if thou art a Christian, even out of thy mouth the name of God is being blasphemed, so that men say, see what sort of men are Christians! Therefore if this man for this reason speaketh the praise of God all the day long, because he hath not known tradings; let Christians amend themselves, let them not trade. But a trader saith to me, behold I bring indeed from a distant quarter merchandise unto these places, wherein there are not those things which I have brought, by which means I may gain a living: I ask but as reward for my labour, that I may sell dearer than I have bought: for whence can I live, when it hath been written, "the worker is worthy of his reward"?[7] But he is treating of lying, of false swearing. This is the fault of me, not of trading: for I should not, if I would, be unable to do without this fault. I then, the merchant, do not shift mine own fault to trading: but if I lie, it is I that lie, not the trade. For I might say, for so much I bought, but for so much I will sell; if thou pleasest, buy. For the buyer hearing this truth would not be offended, and not a whit less all men would resort to me: because they would love truth more than gain. Of this then, he saith, admonish me, that I lie not, that I forswear not; not to relinquish business whereby I maintain myself. For to what dost thou put me when thou puttest me away from this? Perchance to some craft? I will be a shoemaker, I will make shoes for men. Are not they too liars? are not they too false-swearers? Do they not, when they have contracted to make shoes for one man, when they have received money from another man, give up that which they were making, and undertake to make for another, and deceive him for whom they have promised to make speedily? Do they not often say, to-day I am about it, to- day I'll get them done? Secondly, in the very sewing do they not commit as many frauds? These are their doings and these are their sayings: but they are themselves evil, not the calling which they profess. All evil artificers, then, not fearing God, either for gain, or for fear of loss or want, do lie, do forswear themselves; there is no continual praise of God in them. How then dost thou withdraw me from trading? Wouldest thou that I be a farmer, and murmur against God thundering, so that, fearing hail, I consult a wizard, in order to learn what to do to protect me against the weather; so that I desire famine for the poor, in order that I may be able to sell what I have kept in store? Unto this dost thou bring me? But good farmers, thou sayest, do not such things. Nor do good traders do those things. But why, even to have sons is an evil thing, for when their head is in pain, evil and unbelieving mothers seek for impious charms and incantations? These are the sins of men, not of things. A trader might thus speak to me--Look then, O Bishop, how thou understand the tradings which thou hast read in the Psalm: lest perchance thou understand not, and yet forbid me trading. Admonish me then how I should live; if well, it shall be well with me: one thing however I know, that if I shall have been evil, it is not trading that maketh me so, but my iniquity. Whenever truth is spoken, there is nothing to be said against it.

16. Let us inquire then what he hath called tradings, which indeed he that hath not known, all the day long doth praise God. Trading[1] even in the Greek language is derived from action, and in the Latin from want of inaction: but whether it be from action or want of inaction, let us examine what it is. For they that are active traders, rely as it were upon their own action, they praise their works, they attain not to the grace of God. Therefore traders are opposed to that grace which this Psalm doth commend. For it doth commend that grace, in order that no one may boast of his own works. Because in a certain place is said, "Physicians shall not raise to life,"[2] ought men to abandon medicine? But what is this? Under this name are understood proud men, promising salvation to men, whereas "of the Lord is Salvation."[3] ... With reason the Lord drave from the Temple them to whom He said, "It is written, My House shall be called the House of prayer, but ye have made it a house of trading; "[4] that is, boasting of your works, seeking no inaction, nor hearing the Scripture speaking against your unrest and trading, "be ye still, and see that I am the Lord."[5] ...

17. But there is in some copies, "For I have not known literature." Where some books have "trading," there others "literature:" how they may accord is a hard matter to find out; and yet the discrepancy of interpreters perchance showeth the meaning, introduceth no error. Let us inquire then how to understand literature also, lest we offend grammarians in the same way as we did traders a little before: because a grammarian too may live honourably in his calling, and neither forswear nor lie. Let us examine then the literature which he hath not known, in whose mouth all the day long is the praise of God. There is a sort of literature of the Jews: for to them let us refer this; there we shall find what hath been said: just as when we were inquiring about traders, on the score of actions and works, we found that to be called detestable trading, which the Apostle hath branded, saying, "For being ignorant of God's righteousness, and willing to establish their own, to the righteousness of God they were not made subject."[6] ... Just as then we found out the former charge against traders, that is men boasting of action, exalting themselves because of business which admitteth no inaction, unquiet men rather than good workmen; because good workmen are those in whom God worketh; so also we find a sort of literature among the Jews. ... Moses wrote five books: but in the five porches encircling the pool,[7] sick men were lying, but they could not be healed. See how the letter remained, convicting the guilty, not saving the unrighteous. For in those five porches, a figure of the five books, sick men were given over rather than made whole. What then in that place did make whole a sick man? The moving of the water. When that pool was moved there went down a sick man, and there was made whole one, one[8] because of unity: whatsoever other man went down unto that same moving was not made whole. How then was there commended the unity of the Body crying from the ends of the earth? Another man was not healed, except again the pool were moved. The moving of the pool then did signify the perturbation of the people of the Jews when the Lord Jesus Christ came. For at the coming of an Angel the water in the pool was perceived to be moved. The water then encircled with five porches was the Jewish nation encircled by the Law. And in the porches the sick lay, and in the water alone when troubled and moved they were healed. The Lord came, troubled was the water; He was crucified, may He come down in order that the sick man may be made whole. What is, may He come down? May He humble Himself. Therefore whosoever ye be that love the letter without grace, in the porches ye will remain, sick ye will be, lying ill, not growing well. ... For the same figure also it is that Eliseus at first sent a staff by his servant to raise up the dead child. There had died the son of a widow his hostess; it was reported to him, to his servant he gave his staff: go thou, he saith, lay it on the dead child. Did the prophet not know what he was doing? The servant went before, he laid the staff upon the dead, the dead arose not. "For if there had been given a law which could have made alive, surely out of the law there had been righteousness."[1] The law sent by the servant made not alive: and yet he sent his staff by the servant, who himself afterwards followed, and made alive.[2] For when that infant arose not, Eliseus came himself, now bearing the type of the Lord, who had sent before his servant with the staff, as though with the Law: he came to the child that was lying dead, he laid his limbs upon it. The one was an infant, the other a grown man: he contracted and shortened in a manner the size of his full growth, in order that he might fit the dead child. The dead then arose, when he being alive adapted himself to the dead: and the Master did that which the staff did not; and grace did that which the letter did not. They then that have remained in the staff, glory in the letter; and therefore are not made alive. But I will to glory concerning Thy grace. ... In that same grace I glorying "literature have not known:" that is, men on the letter relying, and from grace recoiling, with whole heart I have rejected.

18. With reason there followeth, "I will enter into the power of the Lord:" not mine own, but the Lord's. For they gloried in their own power of the letter, therefore grace joined to the letter they knew not. ... But because "the letter killeth, but the Spirit maketh alive:"[3] "I have not known literature, and I will enter into the power of the Lord." Therefore this verse following doth strengthen and perfect the sense, so as to fix it in the hearts of men, and not suffer any other interpretation to steal in from any quarter. "O Lord, I will be mindful of Thy righteousness alone" (ver. 16). Ah! "alone." Why hath he added "alone," I ask you? It would suffice to say, "I will be mindful of Thy righteousness." "alone," he saith, entirely: there of mine own I think not. "For what hast thou which thou hast not received? But if also thou hast received, why dost thou glory as if thou hast not received."[4] Thy righteousness alone doth deliver me, what is mine own alone is nought but sins. May I not glory then of my own strength, may I not remain in the letter; may I reject "literature," that is, men glorying of the letter, and on their own strength perversely, like men frantic, relying: may I reject such men, may I enter into the power of the Lord, so that when I am weak, then I may be mighty; in order that Thou in me mayest be mighty, for, "I will be mindful of Thy righteousness alone."

19. "O God, Thou hast taught me from my youth" (ver. 17). What hast thou taught me? That of Thy righteousness alone I ought to be mindful. For reviewing my past life, I see what was owing to me, and what I have received instead of that which was owing to me. There was owing punishment, there hath been paid grace: there was owing hell, there hath been given life eternal. "O God, Thou hast taught me from my youth." From the very beginning of my faith, wherewith Thou hast renewed me, Thou didst teach me that nothing had preceded in me, whence I might say that there was owing to me what Thou hast given. For who is turned to God save from iniquity? Who is redeemed save from captivity? But who can say that unjust was his captivity, when he forsook his Captain and fell off to the deserter? God is for our Captain,[5] the devil a deserter: the Captain gave a commandment, the deserter suggested guile:[6] where were thine ears between precept and deceit? was the devil better than God? Better he that revolted[7] than He that made thee? Thou didst believe what the devil promised, and didst find what God threatened. Now then out of captivity being delivered, still however in hope, not yet in substance, walking by faith, not yet by sight, "O God," he saith, "Thou hast taught me from my youth." From the time that I have been turned to Thee,[8] renewed by Thee who had been made by Thee, re-created who had been created, re-formed who had been formed: from the time that I have been converted, I have learned that no merits of mine have preceded, but that Thy grace hath come to me gratis, in order that I might be mindful of Thy righteousness alone.

20. What next after youth? For, "Thou hast taught me," he saith, "from my youth:" what after youth? For in that same first conversion of thine thou didst learn, how before conversion thou wast not just, but iniquity preceded, in order that iniquity being banished, there might succeed love: and having been renewed into a new man, only in hope, not yet in substance, thou didst learn how nothing of thy good had preceded, and by the grace of God thou wast converted to God: now perchance since the time that thou hast been converted wilt thou have anything of thine own, and on thy own strength oughtest thou to rely? Just as men are wont to say, now leave me, it was necessary for thee to show me the way; it is sufficient, i will walk in the way. And he that hath shown thee the way, "wilt thou not that I conduct thee to the place?" But thou, if thou art conceited, "let me alone, it is enough, I will walk in the way." Thou art left, and through thy weakness again thou wilt lose the way. Good were it for thee that He should have conducted thee, who first put thee in the way. But unless He too lead thee, again also thou wilt stray: say to Him then, "Conduct me, O Lord, in Thy way, and I will walk in Thy truth."[1] But thy having entered on the way, is youth, the very renewal and beginning of the faith. For before thou wast walking through thy own ways a vagabond; straying through woody places, through rough places, torn in all thy limbs, thou wast seeking a home, that is, a sort of settlement of thy spirit, where thou mightest say, it is well; and being in security mightest say it, at rest from every uneasiness, from every trial, in a word from every captivity; and thou didst not find. What shall I say? Came there to thee one to show thee the way? There came to thee the Way itself, and thou wast set therein by no merits of thine preceding, for evidently thou wast straying. What, since the time that thou hast set foot therein dost thou now direct thyself? Doth He that hath taught thee the way now leave thee? No, he saith: "Thou hast taught me from my youth; and even until now I will tell forth Thy wonderful works." For a wonderful thing is that which still Thou doest; namely, that Thou dost direct me, who in the way hast put me: and these are Thy wonderful works. What dost thou think to be the wonderful works of God? What is more wonderful among God's wonderful works, than the raising the dead? But am I by any means dead, thou sayest? Unless dead thou hadst been, there would not have been said to thee, "Rise, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall enlighten thee."[2] Dead are all unbelievers, all unrighteous men; in body they live, but in heart they are extinct. But he that raiseth a man dead according to the body, doth bring him back to see this light and to breathe this air: but he that raiseth is not himself light and air to him; he beginneth to see, as he saw before. A soul is not so resuscitated. For a soul is resuscitated by God; though even a body is resuscitated by God: but God, when He doth resuscitate a body, to the world doth bring it back: when He doth resuscitate a soul, to Himself He bringeth it back. If the air of this world be withdrawn, there dieth body: if God be withdrawn, there dieth soul. When then God doth resuscitate a soul, unless there be with her He that hath resuscitated, she being resuscitated liveth not. For He doth not resuscitate, and then leave her to live to herself: in the same manner as Lazarus, when he was resuscitated after being four days dead, was resuscitated by the Lord's corporal presence. ... The Lord withdrew from that same city or from that spot, did Lazarus cease to live? Not so is the soul resuscitated: God doth resuscitate her, she dieth if God shall have withdrawn. For I will speak boldly, brethren, but yet the truth. Two lives there are, one of the body, another of the soul: as the life of the body is the soul, so the life of the soul is God: in like manner as, if the soul forsake, the body dieth: so the soul dieth, if God forsake. This then is His grace, namely, that He resuscitate and be with us. Because then He doth resuscitate us from our past death, and doth renew in a manner our life, we say to Him, "O God, Thou hast taught me from my youth." But because He doth not withdraw from those whom He resuscitateth, lest when He shall have withdrawn from them they die, we say to Him, "and even until now I will tell forth Thy wonderful works:" because while Thou art with me I live, and of my soul Thou art the life, which will die if she be left to herself. Therefore while my life is present, that is, my God, "even until now," what next?

21. "And even unto oldness[3] and old age"[4] (ver. 18). These are two terms for old age, and are distinguished by the Greeks. For the gravity succeeding youth hath another name among the Greeks, and after that same gravity the last age coming on hath another name; for presbu'ths signifieth grave, and ge'rwn old. But because in the Latin language the distinction of these two terms holdeth not, both words implying old age are inserted, oldness and old age: but ye know them to be two ages. "Thou hast taught me Thy grace from my youth; and even until now;" after my youth, "I will tell forth Thy wonderful works," because Thou art with me in order that I may not die, who hast come in order that I may rise: "and even unto oldness and old age," that is, even unto my last breath, unless with me Thou shalt have been, there will not be any merit of mine; may Thy grace alway remain with me. Even one man would say this, thou, he, I; but because this voice is that of a certain great Man, that is, of the Unity itself, for it is the voice of the Church; let us investigate the youth of the Church. When Christ came, He was crucified, dead, rose again, called the Gentiles, they began to be converted, became Martyrs strong in Christ, there was shed faithful blood, there arose a harvest for the Church: this is Her youth. But seasons advancing let the Church confess, let Her say, "Even until now I will tell forth Thy wonderful works." Not only in youth, when Paul when Peter, when the first Apostles told: even in advancing age I myself, that is, Thy Unity, Thy members, Thy Body, "will tell forth Thy marvellous works." What then? "And even unto oldness and old age," I will tell forth Thy wonderful works: even until the end of the world here shall be the Church. For if She were not to be here even unto the end of the world; to whom did the Lord say, "Behold, I am with you always, even unto the consummation of the world "? Why was it necessary that these things should be spoken in the Scriptures? Because there were to be enemies of the Christian Faith who would say, "for a short time are the Christians, hereafter they shall perish, and there shall come back idols, there shall come back that which was before. How long shall be the Christians?"[1] " Even unto oldness and old age:" that is, even unto the end of the world When thou, miserable unbeliever, dost expect Christians to pass away, thou art passing away thyself without Christians: and Christians even unto the end of the world shall endure; and as for thee with thine unbelief when thou shalt have ended thy short life, with what face wilt thou come forth to the Judge, whom while thou wast living thou didst blaspheme? Therefore "from my youth, and even until now, and even unto oldness and old age, O Lord, forsake not me." It will not be, as mine enemies say, even for a time. "Forsake not me, until I tell forth Thine arm to every generation that is yet to come." And the Arm of the Lord hath been revealed to whom?[2] The Arm of the Lord is Christ. Do not Thou then forsake me: let not them rejoice that say, "only for a set time the Christians are." May there be persons to tell forth Thine arm. To whom? "To every generation that is yet to come." If then it be to every generation that is yet to come, it will be even unto the end of the world: for when the world is ended, no longer any generation will come on.

22. "Thy power and Thy righteousness" (ver. 19). That is, that I may tell forth to every generation that is yet to come, Thine arm. And what hath Thine arm effected? This then let me tell forth, that same grace to every generation succeeding: let me say to every man that is to be born, nothing thou art by thyself, on God call thou, thine own are sins, merits are God's:[3] punishment to thee is owing, and when reward shall have come, His own gifts He will crown, not thy merits. Let me say to every generation that is to come, out of captivity thou hast come, unto Adam thou didst belong. Let me say this to every generation that is to come, that there is no strength of mine, no righteousness of mine; but "Thy strength and Thy righteousness, O God, even unto the most high mighty works which Thou hast made." "Thy power and Thy righteousness," as far as what? even unto flesh and blood? Nay, "even unto the most high mighty works which Thou hast made." For the high places are the heavens, in the high places are the Angels, Thrones, Dominions, Principalities, Powers: to Thee they owe it that they are; to Thee they owe it that they live, to Thee they owe it that righteously they live, to Thee they owe it that blessedly they live. "Thy power and Thy righteousness," as far as what? "Even unto the most high mighty works which Thou hast made." Think not that man alone belongeth to the grace of God. What was Angel before he was made? What is Angel, if He forsake him who hath created? Therefore "Thy power and Thy justice even unto the most high mighty works which Thou hast made."

23. And man exalteth himself: and in order that he may belong to the first captivity, he heareth the serpent suggesting, "Taste, and ye shall be as Gods."[4] Men as Gods? "O God, who is like unto Thee?" Not any in the pit, not in Hell, not in earth, not in Heaven, for all things Thou hast made. Why doth the work strive with the Maker? "O God, who is like unto Thee?" But as for me, saith miserable Adam, and Adam is[5] every man, while I perversely will to be like unto Thee, behold what I have become, so that from captivity to Thee I cry out: I with whom it was well under a good king, have been made captive under my seducer; and cry out to Thee, because I have fallen from Thee. And whence have I fallen from Thee? While I perversely seek to be like unto Thee. ...

24. Ill straying, ill presuming, doomed to die by withdrawing from the path[6] of righteousness: behold he breaketh the commandment, he hath shaken off from his neck the yoke of discipline, uplifted with high spirit he hath broken in sunder the reins of guidance: where is he now? Truly captive he crieth, "O Lord, who is like unto Thee?" I perversely willed to be like unto Thee, and I have been made like unto a beast! Under Thy dominion, under Thy commandment, I was indeed like: "But a man in honour set hath not perceived, he hath been compared to beasts without sense, and hath been made like unto them."(1) Now out of the likeness of beasts cry though late and say, "O God, who is like unto Thee?"

25. "How great troubles hast Thou shown to me, many and evil!" (ver. 20). Deservedly, proud servant. For thou hast willed perversely to be like thy God, who hadst been made after the image of thy Lord.(2) Wouldest thou have it to be well with thee, when withdrawing from that good? Truly God saith to thee, if thou withdrawest from Me, and it is well with thee, I am not thy good. Again, if He is good, and in the highest degree good, and of Himself to Himself good, and by no foreign good thing good, and is Himself our chief good; by withdrawing from Him, what wilt thou be but evil? Also if He is Himself our blessedness, what will there be to one withdrawing from Him, except misery? Return thou then after misery, and say, "O Lord, who is like unto Thee? How great troubles hast Thou shown to me, many and evil!"

26. But this was discipline; admonition, not desertion. Lastly, giving thanks, he saith what? "And being turned Thou hast made me alive, and from the bottomless places of the earth again Thou hast brought me back." But when before? What is this "again"? Thou hast fallen from a high place, O man, disobedient slave, O thou proud against thy Lord, thou hast fallen. There hast come to pass in thee," every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled:" may there come to pass in thee, "every one that humbleth himself shall be exalted."(3) Return thou from the deep. I return, he saith, I return, I acknowledge; "0 God, who is like unto Thee? How great troubles hast Thou shown to me, many and evil! and being turned Thou hast made me alive, and from the bottomless places of the earth again Thou hast brought me back." "We perceive," I hear. Thou hast brought us back from the bottomless places of the earth, hast brought us back from the depth and drowning of sin. But why "again"? When had it already been done? Let us go on, if perchance the latter parts of the Psalm itself do not explain to us the thing which here we do not yet perceive, namely, why he hath said "again." Therefore let us hear: "How great troubles Thou hast shown to me, many and evil! And being turned Thou hast made me alive, and from the bottomless places of the earth again Thou hast brought me back." What then? "Thou hast multiplied Thy righteousness, and being turned Thou hast comforted me, and from the bottomless places of the earth again Thou hast brought roe back" (ver. 21). Behold a second "again"! If we labour to unravel this "again" when written once, who will be able to unravel it when doubled? Now "again" itself is a redoubling, and once more there is written "again." May He be with us from whom is grace, may there be with us the arm also which we are telling forth to every generation that is to come: may He be with us Himself, and as with the key of His Cross open to us the mystery that is locked up. For it was not to no purpose that when He was crucified the veil of the temple was rent in the midst, but to show that through His Passion the secret things of all mysteries were opened.(4) May He then Himself be with men passing over unto Him, be the veil taken away:(5) may our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ tell us why such a voice of the Prophet hath been sent before, "Thou hast shown to me troubles many and evil: and being turned Thou hast made me alive, and from the bottomless places of the earth again Thou hast brought me back." Behold this is the first "again" which hath been written. Let us see what this is, and we shall see why there is a second "again."

27. ... Therein Christ died, wherein thou art to die: and therein Christ rose again, wherein thou art to rise again. By His example He taught thee what thou shouldest not fear, for what thou shouldest hope. Thou didst fear death, He died: thou didst despair of rising again, He rose again. But thou sayest to me, He rose again, do I by any means rise again? But He rose again in that which for thee He received of thee. Therefore thy nature in Him hath preceded thee; and that which was taken of thee, hath gone up before thee: therein therefore thou also hast ascended. Therefore He ascended first, and we in Him: because that flesh is of the human race. ... Behold one "again." Hear of its being fulfilled from the Apostle: "If then ye have risen with Christ, the things which are above seek ye, where Christ is sitting on the right hand of God; the things which are above mind ye, not the things which are upon the earth."(6) He then hath gone before: already we also have risen again, but still in hope. Hear the Apostle Paul saying this same thing: "Even we ourselves groan in ourselves, looking for the adoption, the redemption of our body." What is it then that Christ hath granted to thee? Hear that which followeth: "For by hope we are saved: but hope which is seen is not hope. For that which a man seeth, why doth he hope for? But if that which we see not we hope for, through patience we wait for it." We have been brought back therefore again from the bottomless places in hope. Why again? Because already Christ had gone before. But because we shall rise again in substance, for now in hope we are living, now after faith we are walking; we have been brought back from the bottomless places of the earth, by believing in Him who before us hath risen again from the bottomless place of the earth ....Thou hast: heard one "again," thou hast heard the other: "again;" one "again" because of Christ going before; and the other, yet however in hope, and a thing which remaineth to be in substance. "Thou hast multiplied Thy righteousness,"(1) already in me believing, already in those that, first have risen again in hope. ... "Thou hast multiplied Thy righteousness, and being turned Thou hast comforted me:" and because of the body to rise again at the end, "even from the bottomless places of the earth again Thou hast brought me back.

28. "For I will confess to Thee in the vessels of a Psalm Thy truth" (ver. 22). The vessels of a Psalm are a Psaltery. But what is a Psaltery? An instrument of wood and strings.(2) What doth it signify? There is some difference between it and a harp: ... there seemeth to be signified by the Psaltery the Spirit, by the harp the flesh. And because he had spoken of two bringings back of ours from the bottomless places of the earth, one after the Spirit in hope, the other after the body in substance; hear thou of these two: "For I will confess to Thee in the vessels of a Psalm Thy truth." This after the Spirit: concerning the body what? "I will psalm to Thee on a harp, Holy One of Israel."

29. Again hear this because of that same "again" and "again." "My lips shall exult when I shall psalm to Thee" (ver. 23). Because lips are wont to be spoken of both belonging to the inner and to the outward man, it is uncertain in what sense lips have been used: there followeth therefore, "And my soul which Thou hast redeemed." Therefore regarding the inward ups having been saved in hope, brought back from the bottomless places of the earth in faith and love, still however waiting for the redemption of our body? we say what? Already he hath said, "And my soul which Thou hast redeemed." But lest thou shouldest think the soul alone redeemed, wherein now thou hast heard one "again," "but still," he saith; why still? "but still my tongue also:" therefore now the tongue of the body: "all day long shall meditate of Thy righteousness" (ver. 24): that is, in eternity without end. But when shall this be? Hereafter at the end of the world, at the resurrection of the body and the changing into the Angelic state. Whence is it proved that this is spoken of the end, "but still my tongue also all day long shall meditate of Thy righteousness"? "When they shall have been confounded and shall have blushed, that seek evil things for me." When shall they be confounded, when shall they blush, save at the end of the world? For in two ways they shall be confounded, either when they shall believe in Christ, or when Christ shall have come. For so long as the Church is here, so long as grain groaneth amid chaff, so long as wheat groaneth amid tares,(4) so long as vessels of mercy groan amid vessels of wrath made for dishonour,(5) so long as lily groaneth amid thorns, there will not be wanting enemies to say," When shall he die, and his name perish?"(6) "Behold there shall come the time when Christians shall be ended and shall be no more: as they began at a set time, so even unto a particular time they shall be." But while they are saying these things and without end(7) are dying, and while the Church is continuing preaching the Arm of the Lord s to every generation that is to come; there shall come Himself also at last in His glory,(9) there shall rise again all the dead, each with his cause: there shall be severed good men to the right hand, but evil men to the left, and they shall be confounded that did insult, they shall blush that did mock: and so my tongue after resurrection shall meditate of Thy righteousness, all day long of Thy praise, "when they shall have been confounded and shall have blushed, that seek evil things for me."


1. "For Salomon" indeed this Psalm's title is fore-noted: but things are spoken of therein which could not apply to that Salomon king of Israel after the flesh, according to those things which holy Scripture speaketh concerning him: but they can most pertinently apply to the Lord Christ. Whence it is perceived, that the very word Salomon is used in a figurative sense, so that in him Christ is to be taken. For Salomon is interpreted peace-maker: and on this account such a word to Him most truly and excellently cloth apply, through Whom, the Mediator, having received remission of sins, we that were enemies are reconciled to God. For "when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son."(11) The Same is Himself that Peace-maker .... Since then we have found out the true Salomon, that is, the true Peacemaker: next let us observe what the Psalm cloth teach concerning Him.

2. "O God, Thy judgment to the King give Thou, and Thy justice to the King's Son" (ver. I). The Lord Himself in the Gospel saith, "The Father judgeth not any one, but all judgment He hath given to the Son:"(12) this is then, "O God, Thy judgment to the King give Thou." He that is King is also the Son of the King: because God the Father also is certainly King. Thus it hath been written, that the King made a marriage for His Son.(1) But after the manner of Scripture the same thing is repeated. For that which he hath said in, "Thy judgment;" the same he hath otherwise expressed in, "Thy justice:" and that which he hath said in, "the King," the same he hath otherwise expressed in, "to the King's Son." ... But these repetitions do much commend the divine sayings, whether the same words, or whether in other words the same sense be repeated: and they are mostly found in the Psalms, and in the kind of discourse whereby the mind's affection is to be awakened.

3. Next there followeth, "To judge Thy people in justice, and Thy poor in judgment" (ver. 2). For what purpose the royal Father gave to the royal Son His judgment and His justice is sufficiently shown when he saith," To judge Thy people in justice;" that is, for the purpose of judging Thy people. Such an idiom is found in Salomon: "The Proverbs of Salomon, son of David, to know wisdom and discipline:"(2) that is, the Proverbs of Salomon, for the purpose of knowing wisdom and discipline. So, "Thy judgment give Thou, to judge Thy people:" that is, "Thy judgment" give Thou for the purpose of judging Thy people. But that which he saith before in, "Thy people," the same he saith afterwards in, "Thy poor:" and that which he saith before in, "in justice;" the same afterward in, "in judgment:" according to that manner of repetition. Whereby indeed he showeth, that the people of God ought to be poor, that is, not proud, but humble. For, "blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven."(3) In which poverty even blessed Job was poor even before he had lost those great earthly riches. Which thing for this reason I thought should be mentioned, because there are certain persons who are more ready to distribute all their goods to the poor,(4) than themselves to become the poor of God. For they are puffed up with boasting wherein they think their living well should be ascribed to themselves, not to the grace of God: and therefore now they do not even live well, however great the good works which they seem to do. ...

4. But seeing that he hath changed the order of the words (though he had first said, "O God, Thy judgment to the King give Thou, and Thy justice to the King's 'Son," putting judgment first, then justice), and hath put justice first, then judgment, saying, "To judge Thy people in justice, and Thy poor in judgment:" he doth more clearly show that he hath called judgment justice, proving that there is no difference made by the order in which the word is placed, because it signifieth the same thing. For it is usual to say "wrong judgment" of that which is unjust: but justice iniquitous or unjust we are not wont to speak of. For if wrong and unjust it be; no longer must it be called justice. Again, by putting clown judgment and repeating it under the name of justice, or by putting down justice and repeating it under the name of judgment, he clearly showeth that he specially nameth that judgment which is wont to be put instead of justice, that is, that which cannot be understood of giving an evil judgment. For in the place where He saith, "Judge not according to persons, but right judgment judge ye;"(5) He showeth that there may be a wrong judgment, when He saith, "right judgment judge ye:" lastly, the one He doth forbid, the other He doth enjoin. But when without any addition He speaketh of judgment, He would at once have just judgment to be understood: as is that which He saith, "Ye forsake the weightier matters of the Law, mercy and judgment."(6) That also which Jeremiah saith is, "making his riches not with judgment."(7) He saith not, making his riches by wrong or unjust judgment, or not with judgment right or just, but not with judgment: calling not anything judgment but what is right and just.

5. "Let the mountains bear peace to the people, and the hills justice" (ver. 3). The mountains are the greater, the hills the less. These are without doubt those which another Psalm hath, "little with great."(8) For those mountains did exult like rams, and those hills like lambs of the sheep, at the departure of Israel out of Egypt, that is, at the deliverance of the people of God from this world's servitude. Those then that are eminent in the Church for passing sanctity, are the mountains, who are meet to teach other men also,(9) by so speaking as that they may be faithfully taught, by so living as that they may imitate them to their profit: but the hills are they that follow the excellence of the former by their own obedience. Why then "the mountains peace: and the hills justice"?(10) Would there perchance have been no difference, even if it had been said thus, Let the mountains bear justice to the people and the hills peace? For to both justice, and to both peace is necessary: and it may be that under another name justice herself may have been called peace. For this is true peace, not such as unjust men make among them. Or rather with a distinction not to be overlooked must that be understood which he saith, "the mountains peace, and the hills justice"? For men excelling in the Church ought to counsel for peace with watchful care; lest for the sake of their own distinctions by acting proudly they make schisms and dissever the bond of union. But let the hills so follow them by imitation and obedience, that they prefer Christ to them: lest being led astray by the empty authority of evil mountains (for they seem to excel), they tear themselves away from the Unity of Christ. ...

6. Thus also most pertinently may be understood, "let the mountains bear peace to the people," namely, that we understand the peace to consist in the reconciliation whereby we are reconciled to God: for the mountains receive this for His people. ... "Let the mountains, therefore, receive peace for the people, and the hills justice:" so that in this manner, both being at one, there may come to pass that which hath been written, "justice and peace have kissed one another."(1) But that which other copies have, "let the mountains receive peace for the people, and let the hills:" I think must be understood of all sorts of preaching of Gospel peace, whether those that go before, or those that follow after. But in these copies this followeth, "in justice He shall judge the poor of the people." But those copies are more approved of which have that which we have expounded above, "let the mountains bear peace to the people, and the hills justice." But some have, "to Thy people;" some have not to "Thy," but only "to the people."

7. "He shall judge the poor of the people, and shall save the sons of the poor" (ver. 4). The poor and the sons of the poor seem to me to be the very same, as the same city is Sion and the daughter of Sion. But if it is to be understood with a distinction, the poor we take to be the mountains, but the sons of the poor the hills: for instance, Prophets and Apostles, the poor, but the sons of them, that is, those that profit under their authority, the sons of the poor. But that which hath been said above, "shall judge;" and afterwards, "shall save;" is as it were a sort of exposition in what manner He shall judge. For to this end He shall judge, that He may save, that is, may sever from those that are to be destroyed and condemned, those to whom He giveth "salvation ready to be revealed at the" last time.(2) For by such men to Him is said, "Destroy not with ungodly men my soul:"(3) and, "Judge Thou me, O God, and sever my cause from the nation unholy."(4) We must observe also that he saith not, He shall judge the poor people, but, "the poor of the people." For above when he had said, "to judge Thy people in justice and Thy poor in judgment,"(5) the same he called the people of God as His poor, that is, only the good and those that belong to the right hand side. But because in this world those for the right and those for the left feed together, who, like lambs and goats at the last are to be put asunder;(6) the whole, as it is mingled together, he hath called by the name of the People. And because even here he putteth judgment in a good sense, that is, for the purpose of saving: therefore he saith, "He shall judge the poor of the people," that is, shall sever for salvation those that are poor among the people. "And He shall humble the false-accuser." No false-accuser can be more suitably recognised here than the devil. False accusation in his business. "Doth Job worship God gratis?"(7) But the Lord Jesus doth humble him, by His grace aiding His own, in order that they may worship God gratis, that is, may take delight in the Lord.(8) He humbled him also thus; because when in Him the devil, that is, the prince of this world, had found nothing? he slew Him by the false accusations of the Jews, whom the false-accuser made use of as his vessels, working in the sons of unbelief.(10) ...

8. "And He shall endure to the sun," or, "shall endure with the sun" (ver. 5). For thus some of our writers have thought would be more exactly translated that which in the Greek is sumparamenei^. But if in Latin it could have been expressed in one word, it must have been expressed by compermanebit: however, because in Latin the word cannot be expressed, in order that the sense at least might be translated, it hath been expressed by, "He shall endure with the sun." For He shall co-endure to the sun is nothing else but, "He shall endure with the sun." But what great matter is it for Him to endure with the sun, through whom all things were made, and without whom nothing was made,(11) save that this prophecy hath been sent before for the sake of those who think that the religion of the Christian name up to a particular time in this world will live, and afterwards will be no more?(12) "He shall endure" therefore "with the sun," so long as the sun riseth and setteth, that is, so long as these times revolve, there shall not be wanting the Church of God, that is, Christ's body on earth. But that which he addeth, "and before the moon, generations of generations:" he might have expressed by, and before the sun, that is, both with the sun and before the sun: which would have been understood by both with times and before times. That then which goeth before time is eternal: and that is truly to be held eternal which by no time is changed, as, "in the beginning was the Word."(1) But by the moon he hath chosen rather to intimate the waxings and wanings of things mortal. Lastly, when he had said, "before the moon," wishing in a manner to explain for what purpose he inserted the moon, "generations," he saith, "of generations." As though he were saying, before the moon, that is, before the generations of generations which pass away in the departure and succession of things mortal, like the lunar wanings and waxings. And thus what is better to be understood by His enduring before the moon, than that He taketh precedence of all mortal things by immortality? Which also as followeth may not impertinently be taken, that whereas now, having humbled the false-accuser, He sitteth at the right hand of the Father, this is to endure with the sun. For the brightness of the eternal glory is understood to be the Son:(2) as though the Sun were the Father, and the Brightness of Him His Son. But as these things may be spoken of the invisible Substance of the Creator, not as of that visible creation wherein are bodies celestial, of which bright bodies the sun hath the pre-eminence, from which this similitude hath been drawn: just as they are drawn even from things earthly, to wit, stone, lion, lamb, man having two sons, and the like: therefore having humbled the false-accuser, He endureth with the sun: because having vanquished the devil by the Resurrection, He sitteth at the right hand of the Father,(3) where He dieth no more, and death no longer over Him shall have dominion.(4) This too is before the moon, as though the First-born from the dead were going before the Church, which is passing on in the departure and succession of mortals. These are "the generations of generations." Or perchance it is because generations are those whereby we are begotten mortally; but generations of generations those whereby we are begotten again immortally. And such is the Church which He went before, in order that He might endure before the moon, being the First-born of the dead. To be sure, that which is in the Greek geneas genew^n, some have interpreted, not "generations," but, "of a generation of generations:" because geneas is of ambiguous case in Greek, and whether it be the genitive singular ths genea^s, that is, of the generation, or the accusative plural ta`s genea`s that is, the generations, doth not clearly appear, except that deservedly that sense hath been preferred wherein, as though explaining What he had called "the moon," he added in continuation, "generations of generations,"

9. "And He shall come down like rain into a fleece, and like drops distilling upon the earth" (ver. 6). He hath called to our minds and admonished us, that what was done by Gedeon the Judge, in Christ hath its end. For he asked a sign of the Lord, that a fleece laid on the floor should alone be rained upon, and the floor should be dry; and again, the fleece alone should be dry, and the floor should be rained upon; and so it came to pass.(5) Which thing signified, that, being as it were on a floor in the midst of the whole round world, the dry fleece was the former people Israel. The same Christ therefore Himself came down like rain upon a fleece, when yet the floor was dry: whence also He said, "I am not sent but to the sheep which were lost of the house of Israel."(6) There He chose out a Mother by whom to receive the form of a servant, wherein He was to appear to men: there the disciples, to whom He gave this same injunction, saying, "Into the way of the nations go ye not away, and into the cities of the Samaritans enter ye not: go ye first to the sheep which are lost of the house of Israel."(7) When He saith, go ye first to them, He showeth also that hereafter, when at length the floor was to be rained upon, they would go to other sheep also, which were not of the old people Israel, concerning whom He saith, "I have other sheep which are not of this fold, it behoveth Me to bring in them also, that there may be one flock and one Shepherd."(8) Hence also the Apostle: "for I say," he saith, "that Christ was a minister of the Circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises of the fathers."(9) Thus rain came down upon the fleece, the floor being yet dry. But inasmuch as he continueth, "but that the nations should glorify God for His mercy:"(10) that when the time came on, that should be fulfilled which by the Prophet He saith, "a people whom I have not known hath served Me, in the hearkening of the ear it hath obeyed Me:"(11) we now see, that of the grace of Christ the nation of the Jews hath remained dry, and the whole round world through all nations is being rained upon by clouds full of Christian grace. For by another word he hath indicated the same rain, saying, "drops distilling:" no longer upon the fleece, but "upon the earth." For what else is rain but drops distilling? But that the above nation under the name of a fleece is signified, I think is either because they were to be stripped of the authority of teaching, just as a sheep is stripped of its skin; or because in a secret place He was hiding that same rain, which He willed not should be preached to uncircumcision, that is, be revealed to uncircumcised nations.

10. "There shall arise in His days justice and abundance of peace, until the moon be taken away" (ver. 7). The expression tollatur some have interpreted by "be taken away," but others by "be exalted," translating one Greek word, which is there used, antanairethh(i)^, just as each of them thought good. But they who have said, "be removed," and they who have said, "be taken away," do not so very much differ. For by the expression, "be removed," custom doth teach us that there should be rather implied, that a thing is taken away and is no more, than that it is raised to a higher place: but "be taken away" can be understood in no other way at all, than that a thing is destroyed: that is, it is no more: but by "be exalted," only that it is raised to a higher place. Which indeed when it is put in a bad sense is wont to signify pride: as is the passage, "In thy wisdom be not exalted."(1) But in a good sense it belongeth to a more exceeding honour, as, for instance, when anything is being raised; as is, "In the nights exalt ye your hands unto holy places, and bless ye the Lord."(2) Here then if we have understood the expression, "be removed," what will be, "until the moon be removed," but that it be so dealt with that it be no more? For perchance he willed this also to be perceived, that mortality is to be no longer, "when the last enemy shall be destroyed, death:"(3) so that abundance of peace may be brought down so far as that nothing may withstand the felicity of the blessed from the infirmity of mortality: which will come to pass in that age, of which we have the faithful promise of God through Jesus Christ our Lord, concerning which it is said, "There shall arise in His days justice and abundance of peace:" until, death being utterly overcome and destroyed, all mortality be consumed. But if under the term moon, not the mortality of the flesh through which the Church is now passing, but the Church Herself in general hath been signified, which is to endure for everlasting, being delivered from this mortality, thus must be taken the expression, "There shall arise in His days justice and abundance of peace, until the moon be exalted;" as though it were said, There shall arise in His days justice, to conquer the contradiction and rebellion of the flesh, and whereby there may be made a peace so increasing and abundant, until the moon be exalted, that is, until the Church be lifted up, through the glory of the Resurrection to reign with Him, who went before Her in this glory, the first-born of the dead, that He might sit at the right hand of the Father;(4) thus with the sun s enduring before the moon, in the place whereunto hereafter was to be exalted the moon also.

11. "And He shall be Lord from sea even unto sea, and from the river even unto the ends of the round world" (ver. 8): He to wit concerning whom he had said, "There shall arise in His days justice and abundance of peace, until the moon be exalted."(6) If the Church here is properly signified under the term moon, in continuation he showed how widely that same Church He was going to spread abroad, when He added, "and He shall be Lord from sea even unto sea." For the land is encircled by a great sea which is called the Ocean: from which there floweth in some small part in the midst of the lands, and maketh those seas known to us, which are frequented by ships. Again, in "from sea even unto sea" He hath said, that from any one end of the earth even unto any other end, He would be Lord, whose name and power in the whole world were to be preached and to prevail exceedingly. To which, that there might not be understood in any other manner, "from sea even unto sea:" He immediately added, "and from the river even unto the ends of the round world." Therefore that which He saith in "even unto the ends of the round world," the same He had said before in "from sea even unto sea." But in that which now He saith, "from the river," He hath evidently expressed that He willed Christ to publish at length His power from that place from whence also He began to choose His disciples, to wit from the river Jordan, where upon the Lord, on His baptism, when the Holy Ghost descended, there sounded a voice from Heaven, "This is My beloved Son."(7) From this place then His doctrine and the authority of the heavenly ministry setting out, is enlarged even unto the ends of the round world, when there is preached the Gospel of the kingdom in the whole world, for a testimony unto all nations: and then shall come the end.(8)

12. "In His presence shall fall down the Ethiopians, and His enemies shall lick the earth" (ver. 9). By the Ethiopians, as by a part the whole, He hath signified all nations, selecting that nation to mention especially by name, which is at the ends of the earth. By "in His presence shall fall down" hath been signified, shall adore Him. And because there were to be schisms in divers quarters of the world, which would be jealous of the Church Catholic spread abroad in the whole round world, and again those same schisms dividing themselves into the names of men, and by loving the men under whose authority they had been rent, opposing themselves to the glory of Christ which is throughout all lands; so when He had said, "in His presence shall fall down the Ethiopians," He added, "and His enemies shall lick the earth:" that is, shall love men, so that they shall be jealous of the glory of Christ, to whom hath been said, "Be Thou exalted above the Heavens, O God, and above all the earth Thy glory."(1) For man earned to hear, "Earth thou art, and unto earth thou shall go."(2) By licking this earth, that is, being delighted with the vainly talking authority of such men, by loving them, and by counting them for the most pleasing of men, they gainsay the divine sayings, whereby the Catholic Church hath been foretold, not as to be in any particular quarter of the world, as certain schisms are, but in the whole universe by bearing fruit and growing so as to attain even unto the very Ethiopians, to wit, the remotest and foulest of mankind.(3)

13.(4) "The kings of Tharsis and the isles shall offer gifts, the kings of the Arabians and of Saba shall lead(5) presents" (ver. 10). This no longer requireth an expounder but a thinker; yea it doth thrust itself upon the sight not only of rejoicing believers, but also of groaning unbelievers--except perchance we must inquire why there hath been said, "shall lead presents." For there are wont to be led those things which can walk. For could it by any means have been spoken with reference to the sacrifice of victims? Far be it that such "righteousness" should arise in His days. But those gifts which have been foretold as to be led, seem to me to signify men, whom into the fellowship of the Church of Christ the authority of kings doth lead: although even persecuting kings have led gifts, knowing not what they did, in sacrificing the holy Martyrs. "And there shall adore Him all kings of the earth, all nations shall serve Him" (ver. 11).

14. But while he is explaining the reasons why so great honour is paid Him by kings, and He is served of all nations: "because He hath delivered," he saith, "the needy man from the mighty, and the poor man, to whom was no helper"(ver. 12). This needy and poor man is the people of men believing in Him. In this people are also kings adoring Him. For they do not disdain to be needy and poor, that is, humbly confessing sins, and needing the glory of God(6) and the grace of God, in order that this King, Son of the King, may deliver them from the mighty one. For this same mighty one is he who above was called the Slanderer: whom mighty to subdue men to himself, and to hold them bound in captivity, not his virtue did make, but men's sins. The same is himself also called strong; therefore here mighty also. But He that hath humbled the slanderer and hath entered into the house of the strong man to bind him and to spoil his vessels,(7) He "hath delivered the needy and the poor man." For this neither the virtue of any one could accomplish, nor any just man, nor any Angel. When then there was no helper, by His coming He saved them Himself.

15. But it might occur to one; if because of sins man was held by the devil, have sins pleased Christ, who saved the needy man from the mighty? Far be it. But "He it is that shall spare the helpless and poor man" (ver. 13): that is, shall remit sins to the man, humble and not trusting in his own merits, or hoping for salvation because of his own virtue, but needing the grace of his Saviour. But when he hath added, "and the souls of the poor He shall save:" he hath recommended to our notice both the aids of grace; both that which is for the remission of sins, when he saith, "He shall spare the poor and needy man;" and that which doth consist in the imparting of righteousness, when he hath added, "and the souls of the poor He shall save." For no one is meet of himself for salvation (which salvation is perfect righteousness), unless God's grace aid: because the fulness of the law is nought but love, which doth not exist in us of ourselves, but is shed abroad in our hearts through the Holy Spirit which hath been given unto us.(8)

16. "From usuries and iniquity He shall redeem the souls of them" (ver. 14). What are these usuries but sins, which are also called debts?(9) But I think they have been called usuries, because more of ill is found in the punishments than hath been committed in the sins. For, for example's sake, while a man-slayer killeth only the body of a man, but can no wise hurt the soul; of himself both soul and body is destroyed in hell. Because of such despisers of present commandment and deriders of future punishment hath been said, "I coming would have exacted with usuries,"(10) from these usuries are redeemed the souls of the poor by that blood which hath been shed for the remission of sins. He shall redeem, I say, from usuries, by remitting sins which owed larger punishments: but He shall redeem from iniquity, by helping them by grace even to do righteousness. Therefore the same two things have been repeated which were said above. For in that which is above, "He shall spare the helpless and poor man,"(11) there is understood "from usuries:" but in that which there he saith, "and the souls of the poor He shall save;" there seemeth to have been implied, "from iniquity:" so that the words "He shall redeem," are understood with both. So when He shall spare the poor and helpless man, and shall save the souls of the poor: thus "from usuries and iniquity He shall redeem the souls of them. And honourable shall be the name of Him in the presence of them." For they give honour to His name for so great benefits, and they respond that "meet and right it is"(1) to render thanks to the Lord their God. Or, as some copies have it, "and honourable is the name of them in the presence of Him:" for even if Christians seem despicable to this world, the name of them in the presence of Him is honourable, who to them hath given it, no longer remembering those names in His lips, whereby before they used to be called, when they were bound fast by the superstitions of the Gentiles, or signed with names derived from their own evil deserts, before they were Christians, which name is honourable in the presence of Him, even if it seemeth despicable to enemies.

17. "And He shall live, and there shall be given to Him of the gold of Arabia" (ver. 15). There would not have been said, "and He shall live "(for of whom could not this be said, though living for ever so brief a space of time on this earth?) unless that life were being recommended to our notice, wherein He "dieth no more, and death over Him shall have no more dominion."(2) And thus, "and He shall live,': that was despised in death: for, as another Prophet saith, "there shall be taken away from the earth the life of Him."(3) But what is, "and there shall be given to Him of the gold of Arabia"? For the fact that from thence even the former Salomon received gold, in this Psalm hath been in a figure transferred unto another true Salomon, that is the true Peace-maker. For the former did not have dominion "from the river even unto the ends of the round world."(4) Thus then hath been prophesied, that even the wise men of this world in Christ would believe. But by Arabia we understand the Gentiles; by gold wisdom which doth as much excel among all doctrines as gold among metals. Whence hath been written, "Receive ye prudence as silver,(5) and wisdom as proved gold."(6) " And they shall pray concerning Himself alway." That which the Greek hath, peri` autou^, some have interpreted by "concerning Himself," some "for Himself," or "for Him." But what is, "concerning Himself," except perchance that for which we pray, saying, "Thy kingdom come"?(7) For Christ's coming shall make present to believers the kingdom of God. But how to understand "for Him" is difficult; except that when prayer is made for the Church, for Himself prayer is made, because she is His Body. For concerning Christ and the Church hath been sent before a great Sacrament,(8) "there shall be two in one flesh." But now that which followeth, "all the day long," that is, in all time, "they shall bless Him," is sufficiently evident.

18. "And there shall be a firmament on the earth, on the tops of the mountains" (ver. 16). For, "all the promises of God in Him are Yea,"(9) that is, in Him are confirmed: because in Him hath been fulfilled whatever hath been prophesied for our salvation. For the tops ;of the mountains it is meet to understand as the authors of the divine Scriptures, that is, those persons through whom they were supplied: wherein He is indeed Himself the Firmament: for unto Him all things that have been divinely written are ascribed. But this He willed should be on earth; because for the sake of those that are upon earth, they were written. Whence He came also Himself upon earth, in order that He might confirm all these things, that is, in Himself might show them to have been fulfilled. "For it was necessary," He saith, "for all things to be fulfilled which were written in the Law, and the Prophets, and Psalms, concerning Me:"(10) that is, "in the tops of the mountain."(11) For so there cometh in the last time the evident Mount of the Lord, prepared on the summit of the mountains: of which here he speaketh, "in the tops of the mountains." "Highly superexalted above Libanus shall be His fruit." Libanus we are wont to take as this world's dignity: for Libanus is a mountain bearing tall trees, and the name itself is interpreted whiteness.(12) For what marvel, if above every brilliant state of this world there is superexalted the fruit of Christ, of which fruit the lovers have contemned all secular dignities? But if in a good sense we take Libanus, because of the "cedars of Libanus which He hath planted:"(13) what other fruit must be understood, that is being exalted above this Libanus, except that whereof the Apostle speaketh when he is going to speak concerning that love of his, "yet a pre-eminent way to you I show"?(14) For this is put forward even in the first rank of divine gifts, in the place where he saith, "but the fruit of the Spirit of love:"(15) and with this are conjoined the remaining words as consequent. "And they shall flourish from the city like hay of the earth." Because city is used ambigously, and there is not annexed of Him, or of God, for there hath not been said, "from the city" of Him, or "from the city" of God, but only "from the city:" in a good sense it is understood, in order that from the city of God, that is, from the Church, they may flourish like grass; but grass bearing fruit, as is that of wheat: for even this is called grass(1) in Holy Scripture; as in Genesis(2) there is a command for the earth to bring forth every tree and every grass, and there is not added every wheat: which without doubt would not have been passed over unless under the name of grass this also were understood; and in many other passages of the Scriptures this is found. But if we must take, "and they shall flourish like the grass of the earth," in the same manner as is said, "all flesh is grass, and the glory of a man like the flower of grass :"(3) certainly then that city must be understood which doth intimate this world's society: for it was not to no purpose that Cain was the first to build a city.(4) Thus the fruit of Christ being exalted above Libanus, that is, above enduring trees and undecaying timbers, because He is the everlasting fruit, all the glory of a man according to the temporal exaltation of the world is compared to grass; for by believers and by men already hoping for life eternal temporal felicity is despised, in order that there may be fulfilled that which hath been written, "all flesh is grass, and all the glory of flesh as the flower of grass the grass hath dried, the flower hath fallen off, but the word of the Lord doth endure for ever." There is the fruit of Him exalted above Libanus. For always flesh hath been grass, and the glory of flesh as the flower of grass: but because it was not clearly proved what felicity ought to have been chosen and preferred, the flower of grass was esteemed for a great matter: not only it was by no means despised, but it was even chiefly sought after. As if therefore at that time He shall have begun to be thus, when there is reproved and despised whatever used to flourish in the world, thus hath been said, "superexalted above Libanus shall be the fruit of Him, and they shall flourish from the city like grass of the earth:" that is, glorified above all things shall be that which is promised for everlasting, and compared to the grass of the earth shall be whatever is counted a great matter in the world.

19. "Be," therefore, "the name of Him blessed for ever: before the sun endureth the name of Him" (ver. 17). By the sun times are signified. Therefore for everlasting endureth the name of Him. For eternity doth precede times, and is not bounded by time. "And there shall be blessed in Him all the tribes of the earth." For in Him is fulfilled that which hath been promised to Abraham. "For He saith not, In seeds, as though in many; but as though in one, And to thy Seed, which is Christ."(5) But to Abraham is said, "In thy Seed shall be blessed all the tribes of the earth."(6) And not the sons of the flesh but the sons of promise are counted in the Seed.(7) "All nations shall magnify Him." As if in explanation there is repeated that which above hath been said. For because they shall be blessed in Him, they shall magnify Him; not of themselves making Him to be great, that of Himself is great, but by praising and confessing Him to be great. For thus we magnify God: thus also we say, "Hallowed be Thy name,"(8) which is indeed always holy.

20. "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who hath done wonderful things alone" (ver. 18). Contemplating all things above spoken of, a hymn bursteth(9) forth; and the Lord God of Israel is blessed. For that is being fulfilled which hath been spoken to that barren woman, "and He that hath delivered Thee, the God of Israel, shall Himself be called of the whole earth."(10) "He doeth" Himself "marvellous things alone:" for whosoever do them, He doth Himself work in them, "who doeth wonderful things alone." "And blessed be the name of His glory(11) for everlasting, and for age of age" (ver. 19). For what else should the Latin interpreters have said, who could not have said for everlasting, and for everlasting of everlasting? For it soundeth as if one thing were meant in the expression "for everlasting," and another thing in the expression "for age:" but the Greek hath eis to`n aiw^na, kai` eis to`n aiw^na tou^ aiw^nos, which perchance more meetly might have been rendered by, "for age, and for age of age:" so that by "for age," might have been understood as long as this age(12) endureth; but "for age of age," that which after the end of this is promised to be. "And there shall be fufilled with the glory of Him every land: so be it, so be it." Thou hast commanded, O Lord, so it is coming to pass: so it is coming to pass, until that which began with the river, may attain fully even unto the ends of the round world.


1. This Psalm hath an inscription, that is, a title, "There have failed the hymns of David, the son of Jesse.(14) A Psalm(15) of Asaph himself." So many Psalms we have on the titles whereof is written the name David, nowhere there is added, "son of Jesse," except in this alone. Which we must believe hath not been done to no purpose, nor capriciously. For everywhere God doth make intimations to us, and to the understanding thereof doth invite the godly study of love. What is, "there have failed the hymns of David, the son of Jesse"? Hymns are praises of God accompanied with singing: hymns are songs containing the praise of God. If there be praise, and it be not of God, it is no hymn: if there be praise, and God's praise, and it be not sung, it is no hymn. It must needs then, if it be a hymn, have these three things, both praise, and that of God, and singing. What is then, "there have failed the hymns"? There have failed the praises which are sung unto God. He seemeth to tell of a thing painful, and so to speak deplorable. For he that singeth praise, not only praiseth, but only praiseth with gladness: he that singeth praise, not only singeth, but also loveth him of whom he singeth. In praise, there is the speaking forth of one confessing; in singing, the affection of one loving. "There have failed" then "the hymns of David," he saith: and he hath added, "the son of Jesse." For David was king of Israel, son of Jesse,(1) at a certain time of the Old Testament, at which time the New Testament was therein hidden, like fruit in a root. For if thou seek fruit in a root, thou wilt not find, and yet dost thou not find any fruit in the branches, except that which hath gone forth from the root. ... And in like manner as Christ Himself to be born after the flesh was hidden in the root, that is in the seed of the Patriarchs, and at a certain time must be revealed, as at the fruit appearing, according as it is written, "there hath flourished a shoot from the root of Jesse:"(2) so also the New Testament itself which is in Christ, in those former times was hidden, being known to the Prophets alone, and to the very few godly men, not by the manifestation of things present, but by the revelation of things future. For what meaneth it, brethren (to mention but one thing), that Abraham sending his faithful servant to espouse a wife for his only son, maketh him swear to him, and in the oath saith to him, "Put thy hand under my thigh, and swear"?(3) What was there in the thigh of Abraham, where he put his hand in swearing? What was there there, except that which even then was promised to him, "In thy seed shall be blessed all nations"?(4) Under the name of thigh, flesh is signified. From the flesh of Abraham, through Isaac and Jacob, and not to mention many names, through Mary was our Lord Jesus Christ.

2. But that the root was in the Patriarchs, how shall we show? Let us question Paul. The Gentiles now believing in Christ, and desiring as it were to boast over the Jews who crucified Christ; although also from that same people there came another wall, meeting in the corner, that is, in Christ Himself, the wall of uncircumcision, that is, of the Gentiles, coming from a different quarter: when, I say, the nations were lifting up themselves, he doth thus depress them. "For if thou," he saith, "being cut out of the natural wild olive, hast been grafted in among them, do not boast against the branches: for if thou boastest, thou dost not bear the root, but the root thee."(5) Therefore he speaketh of certain branches broken off from the root of the Patriarchs because of unbelief, and the wild olive therein grafted in, that it might be partaker of the fatness of the olive, that is, the Church coming out of the Gentiles. And who doth graft the wild olive on the olive? The olive is wont to be grafted on the wild olive; the wild olive on the olive we never saw. For whosoever may have done so will find no berries but those of the wild olive. For that which is grafted in, the same groweth, and of that kind the fruit is found. There is not found the fruit of the root but of the graft. The Apostle showing that God. did this thing by His Omnipotence, namely, that the wild olive should be grafted into the root of the olive, and should not bear wild berries, but olive--ascribing it to the Omnipotence of God, the Apostle saith this, "If thou hast been cut out of the natural wild olive and against nature hast been grafted into a good(6) olive, do not boast," he saith, "against the branches."(7) ...

3. In the time then of the Old. Testament, brethren, the promises from our God to that carnal people were earthly and temporal. There was promised an earthly kingdom, there was promised that land into which they were also led, after being delivered from Egypt: by Jesus(8) son of Nave they were led into the land of promise, where also earthly Jerusalem was builded, where David reigned: they received the land, after being delivered from Egypt, by passing through the Red Sea. ... Such were also those promises, which were not to endure, through which however were figured future promises which were to endure, so that all that course of temporal promises was a figure and a sort of prophecy of things future. Accordingly when that kingdom was failing, where reigned David, the son of Jesse, that is, one that was a man, though a Prophet, though holy, because he saw and foresaw Christ to come, of whose seed also after the flesh He was to be born: nevertheless a man, nevertheless not yet Christ, nevertheless not yet our King Son of God, but king David son of Jesse: because then that kingdom was to fail, through the receiving of which kingdom at that time God was praised by carnal men; for this thing alone they esteemed a great matter, namely, that they were delivered temporally from those by whom they were being oppressed, and that they had escaped from persecuting enemies through the Red Sea, and had been led through the desert, and had found country and kingdom: for this alone they praised God, not yet perceiving the thing which God was designing beforehand and promising in these figures. In the failing therefore of those things for which the carnal people, over whom reigned that David, was praising God, "there failed the hymns of David," not the Son of God, but the "son of Jesse." ...

4. Whose voice is the Psalm? "Of Asaph."(1) What is Asaph? As we find in interpretations from the Hebrew language into the Greek, and those again translated to us from the Greek into the Latin, Asaph is interpreted Synagogue. It is the voice therefore of the Synagogue. But when thou hast heard Synagogue, do not forthwith abhor it, as if it were the murderer of the Lord. That Synagogue was indeed the murderer of the Lord, no man doubteth it: but remember, that from the Synagogue were the rams whereof we are the sons. Whence it is said in a Psalm, "Bring ye to the Lord the sons of rams."(2) What rams are thence? Peter, John, James, Andrew, Bartholomew, and the rest of the Apostles. Hence also he too at first Saul, afterwards Paul: that is, at first proud, afterwards humble. ...Therefore even Paul came to us from the Synagogue, and Peter and the other Apostles from the Synagogue. Therefore when thou hast heard the voice of the Synagogue, do not look to the deserving thereof, but observe the offspring. There is speaking therefore in this Psalm, the Synagogue, after the failing of the hymns of David, the son of Jesse that is, after the failing of things temporal, through which God was wont to be praised by the carnal people. But why did these fail, except in order that others might be sought for? That there might be sought for what? Was it things which were not there? No, but things which were there being hidden in figures: not which were not yet there,(3) but which there as it were in a sort were concealed in certain secret things of mysteries. What things? "These," saith the Apostle himself, "were our figures."(4) ...

5. It was the Synagogue therefore, that is, they that there worshipped God after a godly sort, but yet for the sake of earthly things, for the sake of these present things (for there are ungodly men who seek the blessings of present things from demons: but this people was on this account better than the Gentiles, because although it were blessings present and temporal, yet they sought them from the One God, who is the Creator of all things both spiritual and corporal). When therefore those godly men after the flesh were observing--that is that Synagogue which was made up of good men, men for the time good, not spiritual men, such as were the Prophets therein, such as were the few that understood the kingdom heavenly, eternal--that Synagogue, I say, observed what things it received from God, and what things God promised to that people, abundance of things earthly, land, peace, earthly felicity: but in all these things were figures, and they not perceiving what was there concealed in things figured, thought that God gave this for a great matter, and had nothing better to give to men loving Him and serving Him: they remarked and saw certain sinners, ungodly, blasphemers, servants of demons, sons of the Devil, living in great naughtiness and pride, yet abounding in such things earthly, temporal, for which sort of things they were serving God themselves: and there sprang up a most evil thought in the heart, which made the feet to totter, and almost slip out of God's way. And behold this thought was in the people of the Old Testament: I would it be not in our carnal brethren, when now openly there is being proclaimed the felicity of the New Testament. ...

6. "How good is the God of Israel!" But to whom? "To men right in heart" (ver. 1). To men perverse what? Perverse He seemeth. So also in another Psalm He saith: "With a holy man holy Thou shall be, and with the innocent man innocent Thou shall be, and with the perverse man perverse Thou shalt be."(5) What is, perverse Thou shall be with the perverse man? Perverse the perverse man shall think Thee. Not that by any means God is made perverse. Far be it: what He is, He is. But in like manner as the sun appeareth mild to one having clear, sound, healthy, strong eyes, but against weak eyes doth dart hard spears, so to say; the former looking at it it doth invigorate, the latter it doth torture, though not being itself Changed, but the man being changed: so when thou shalt have begun to be perverse, and to thee God shall seem to be perverse, thou art changed, not He. That therefore to thee will be punishment which to good men is joy. He calling to mind this thing, saith, "How good is the God of Israel to men right in heart!"

7. But what to thee? "But my feet were almost moved" (ver. 2). When were the feet moved, except when the heart was not right? Whence was the heart not right? Hear: "My steps were well nigh overthrown." What he hath meant by "almost," the same he hath meant by "well nigh:" and what he hath meant by "my feet were almost moved," the same he hath meant by "my steps were overthrown." Almost my feet were moved, almost my steps were overthrown. Moved were the feet: but whence were the feet moved and the steps overthrown? Moved were the feet to going astray, overthrown were the steps to falling: not entirely, but "almost." But what is this? Already I was going to stray, I had not gone: already I was failing, I had not fallen.

8. But why even this? "For I was jealous," he saith, "in the case of sinners, looking on the peace of sinners" (ver. 3). I observed sinners, I saw them to have peace. What peace? Temporal, transient, falling, and earthly: but yet such as I also was desiring of God. I saw them that served not God to have that which I desired in; order that I might serve God: and my feet were moved and my steps were almost overthrown. But why sinners have this, he saith briefly: "Because there is no avoidance of their death, and there is a firmament in their scourge" (ver. 4). Now I have perceived, he saith, why they have peace, and flourish on the earth; because of their death there is no avoidance, because death sure and eternal doth await them, which neither doth avoid them, nor can they avoid it, "because there is no avoidance of their death, and there is a firmament in their scourge." And there is a firmament in their scourge. For their scourge is not temporal, but firm for everlasting. Because of these evil things then which are to be to them eternal, now what? "In the labours of men they are not, and with men they shall not be scourged" (ver. 5). Doth not even the devil himself escape scourging with men, for whom nevertheless an eternal punishment is being prepared?

9. Wherefore on this account what do these men, while they are not scourged, while they labour not with men? "Therefore," he saith "there hath holden them pride" (ver. 6). Observe these men, proud, undisciplined; observe the bull, devoted for a victim, suffered to stray at liberty; and to damage whatever he may, even up to the day of his slaughter. Now it is a good thing, brethren, that we should hear in the very words of a prophet of this bull as it were, whereof I have spoken. For thus of him the Scripture doth make mention in another place: he saith that they are, as it were, made ready as for a victim, and that they are spared for an evil liberty.(1) "Therefore," he saith, "there hath holden them pride." What is, "there hath holden them pride"? "They have been clothed about with their iniquity and ungodliness." He hath not said, covered; but, "clothed about," on all sides covered up with their ungodliness. Deservedly miserable, they neither see nor are seen, because they are clothed about; and the inward parts of them are not seen. For whosoever could behold the inward parts of evil men, that are as it were happy for a time, whosoever could see their torturing consciences, whosoever could examine their souls racked with such mighty perturbations of desires and fears, would see them to be miserable even when they are called happy. But because "they are clothed about with their iniquity and ungodliness," they see not; but neither are they seen. The Spirit knew them, that saith these words concerning them: and we ought to examine such men with the same eye as that wherewith we know that we see, if there is taken from our eyes the covering of ungodliness. ...

10. At first these men are being described. "There shall go forth as if out of fat their iniquity" (ver. 7). ... A poor beggar committeth a theft; out of leanness hath gone forth the iniquity: but when a rich man aboundeth in so many things, why doth he plunder the things of others? Of the former the iniquity out of leanless, of the other out of fatness, hath gone forth. Therefore to the lean man when thou sayest, Why hast thou done this? Humbly afflicted and abject he replieth, Need hath compelled me. Why hast thou not feared God? Want was urgent. Say to a rich man, Why doest thou these things, and fearest not God?--supposing thee to be great enough to be able to say it--see if he even deigneth to hear; see if even against thyself(2) there will not go forth iniquity out of his fatness. For now they declare war with their teachers and reprovers, and become enemies of them that speak the truth, having been long accustomed to be coaxed with the words of flatterers, being of tender ear, of unsound heart. Who would say to a rich man, Thou hast ill done in robbing other men's goods? Or perchance if any man shall have dared to speak, and he is such a man as he could not withstand, what doth he reply? All that he saith is in contempt of God. Why? Because he is proud. Why? Because he is fat. Why? Because he is devoted for a victim. "They have passed over unto purpose of heart." Here within they have passed over. What is, "they have passed over"? They have crossed over the way. What is, "they have passed over"? They have exceeded the bounds of mankind, men like the rest they think not themselves. They have passed over, I say, the bounds of mankind. When thou sayest to such a man, Thy brother this beggar is; when thou sayest to such a man, Thy brother(1) this poor man is; the same parents ye have had, Adam and Eve: do not heed thy haughtiness, do not heed the vapour unto which thou hast been elevated; although an establishment waiteth about thee, although countless gold and silver, although a marbled house doth contain thee, although fretted ceilings cover thee, thou and the poor man together have for covering that roof of the universe, the sky; but thou art different from the poor man in things not thine own, added to thee from without: thyself see in them, not them in thee. Observe thyself, how thou art in relation to the poor man; thyself, not that which thou hast. For why dost thou despise thy brother? In the bowels of your mothers ye were both naked. Forsooth, even when ye shall have departed this life, and these bodies shall have rotted, when the soul hath been breathed forth, let the bones of the rich and poor man be distinguished! I am speaking of the equality of condition, of that very lot of mankind, wherein all men are born:(2) for both here doth a man become rich, and a poor man will not alway be here: and as a rich man doth not come rich, so neither doth he depart rich; the very same is the entrance of both, and like is the departure. I add, that perchance ye will change conditions. Now everywhere the Gospel is being preached: observe a certain poor man full of sores, who was lying before the gate of a rich man? and was desiring to be filled with crumbs, which used to fall from the table of the rich man; observe also that likeness(4) of thine who was clothed with purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day. It chanced, I say, for that poor man to die, and to be borne by the Angels into the bosom of Abraham: but the other died and was buried; for the other's burial perchance no one cared. ... Brethren, how great was the toil of the poor man! Of how long duration were the luxuries of the rich man! But the condition which they have received in exchange is everlasting. ... Deservedly too late he will say, "Send Lazarus,"(5) "let him tell even my brethren;" since to himself there is not granted the fruit of repentance. For it is not that repentance(6) is not given, but everlasting will be the repentance, and no salvation after repentance. Therefore these men "have passed over unto purpose of heart."

11. "They have thought and have spoken spitefulness" (ver. 8). But men do speak spitefulness even with fear: but these men how? "Iniquity on high they have spoken." Not only they have spoken iniquity; but even openly, in the hearing of all, proudly; "I will do it;" "I will show you;" "thou shall know with whom thou hast to do;" "I will not let thee live." Thou(7) mightest have but thought such things, not have given utterance to them! Within the chambers of thought at least the evil desire might have been confined, he might have at least restrained it within his thought. Why? Is he perchance lean? "There shall go forth as if out of fatness the iniquity of them." "Iniquity on high they have spoken."

12. "They have set against Heaven their mouth, and their tongue hath passed over above the earth "(ver. 9). For this, "hath passed over above the earth" is, they pass over all earthly things? What is it to pass over all earthly things? He doth not think of himself as a man that can die suddenly, when he is speaking; he doth menace as if he were alway to live: his thought doth transcend earthly frailty, he knoweth not with what sort of vessel he is enwrapped; he knoweth not what hath been written in another place concerning such men: "His spirit shall go forth, and he shall return unto his earth, in that day shall perish all his thoughts."(8) But these men not thinking of their last clay, speak pride,(9) and unto Heaven they set their mouth, they transcend the earth. If a robber were not to think of his last day, that is, the last day of his trial, when sent to prison, nothing would be more monstrous than he: and yet he might escape. Whither dost thou flee to escape death? Certain will that day be. What is the long time which thou hast to live? How much is the long time which hath an end, even if it were a long time? To this there is added that it is nought: and the very thing which is called long time is not a long time, and is uncertain. Why doth he not think of this? Because he hath set against Heaven his mouth, and his tongue hath passed over above the earth. "And full days shall be found in them."

13. "Therefore there shall return hither My people" (ver. 10). Now Asaph himself is returning hither. For he saw these things abound to unrighteous men, he saw them abound to proud men: he is returning to God, and is beginning to inquire and discuss. But when? "When full days shall be found in them." What is "full days"? "But when there came the fulness of time, God sent His Son."(10) This is the very fulness of time, when He came to teach men that things temporal should be despised, that they should not esteem as a great matter whatever object evil men covet, that they should suffer whatever evil men fear. He became the way, He recalled us to inward thought, admonished us of what should be sought of God. And see from what thought reacting upon itself, and in a manner recalling the waves of its impulse, he doth pass over unto choosing true things.

14. "And they said, How hath God known, and is there knowledge in the Most High?" (ver. 11). See through what thought they pass. Behold unjust men are happy, God doth not care for things human. Doth He indeed know what we do? See what things are being said. We are inquiring, brethren, "How hath God known," etc. (no longer let Christians say it). For how doth it appear to thee that God knoweth not, and that there is no knowledge in the Most High? He replieth, "Lo! themselves they are sinners, and in the world they have gotten abundant riches, (ver. 12). Both sinners they are, and in the world they have gotten abundant riches. He confessed that he willed not to be a sinner in order that he might have riches. A carnal soul for things visible and earthly would have sold its justice. What sort of justice is that which is retained for the sake of gold, as if gold were a more precious thing than justice herself, or as if when a man denieth the deposit of another man's goods, he to whom he denied them should suffer a greater loss, than he that denieth them to him. The former doth lose a garment, the latter fidelity. "Lo! they are themselves sinners, and in the world they have gotten abundant riches." On this account therefore God knoweth not, and on this account there is no knowledge in the Most High.

15. "And I said, therefore(1) without cause I have justified my heart" (ver. 13). In that I serve God, and have not these things; they serve him not, and they abound in these things: "therefore without cause I have justified my heart, and have washed among the innocent my hands." This without cause I have done. Where is the reward of my good life? Where is the wage of my service? I live well and am in need; and the unjust man doth abound. "And I have washed among the innocent my hands. And I have been scourged all the day long" (ver. 14). From me the scourges of God do not impart. I serve well, and I am scourged; he serveth not, and is honoured. He hath proposed to himself a great question. The soul is disturbed, the soul doth pass over things which are to pass away unto despising things earthly and to desiring things eternal. There is a passage of the soul herself in this thought; where she doth toss in a sort of tempest she will reach the harbour. And it is with her as it is with sick persons, who are less violently sick, when recovery is far off: when recovery is at hand they are in higher fever; physicians call it the "critical(2) accession" through which they pass to health: greater fever is there, but leading to health: greater heat, but recovery is at hand. So also is this man enfevered. For these are dangerous words, brethren, offensive, and almost blasphemous, "How hath God known?" This is why I say, "and almost;" He hath not said, God hath not known: he hath not said, there is no knowledge in the Most High: but as if inquiring, hesitating, doubting. This is the same as he said a little before, "My steps were almost overthrown."(3) He doth not affirm it, but the very doubt is dangerous. Through danger he is passing to health. Hear now the health: "Therefore in vain I have justified my heart, and have washed among the innocent my hands: and I have been scourged all the day long, and my chastening was in the morning." Chastening is correction. He that is being chastened is being corrected. What is, "in the morning"? It is not deferred. That of the ungodly is being deferred, mine is not deferred: the former is too late or is not at all; mine is in the morning.

16. "If I said, I shall declare thus; behold, the generation of Thy sons I have reprobated" (ver. 15): that is, I will teach thus. How wilt thou teach? that there is no knowledge in the Most High, that God doth not know? Wilt thou propound this opinion, that without cause men live justly who do live justly; that a just man hath lost his service, because God doth. more show favour to evil men, or else He doth care for no one? Wilt thou tell this, declare this? He doth restrain himself by an authority repressing him. What authority? A man wisheth some time to break out in this sentiment: but he is recalled by the Scriptures directing us alway to live well, saying, that God doth care for things human, that He maketh a distinction between a godly man and an ungodly man. Therefore this man also wishing to put forth this sentiment, doth recollect himself. And what saith he? "I have reprobated the generation of Thy sons." If I shall declare thus, the generation of just men I shall reprobate. As also some copies have it, "Behold, the generation of thy sons with which I have been in concert:" that is, with which consisting of Thy sons I have been in concert; that is, with which I have agreed, to which I have been conformed: I have been out of time with all, if so I teach. For he doth sing in concert who giveth the tune together; but he that giveth not the tune together doth not sing in concert. Am I to say something different from that which Abraham said, from that which Isaac said, from that which Jacob said, from that which the Prophets said? For all they said that God doth care for things human, am I to say that He careth not? Is there greater wisdom in me than in them? Greater understanding in me than in them? A most wholesome authority hath called back his thought from ungodliness. And what followeth? That he might not reprobate, he did what? "And I undertook to know" (ver. 16). May God be with him in order that he may know. Meanwhile, brethren, from a great fall he is being withheld, when he doth not presume that he already knoweth, but hath undertaken to know that which he knew not. For but now he was willing to appear as if knowing, and to declare that God hath no care of things human. For this hath come to be a most naughty and ungodly doctrine of unrighteous men. Know, brethren, that many men dispute and say that God careth not for things human, that by chances all things are ruled, or that our wills have been made subject to the stars, that each one is not dealt with according to his deserts, but by the necessity of his stars,--an evil doctrine, an impious doctrine. Unto these thoughts was going that man whose feet were almost moved, and whose steps were all but overthrown, into this error he was going; but because he was not in tune with the generation of the sons of God, he undertook to know, and condemned the knowledge wherein with God's just men he agreed not. And what he saith let us hear; how that he undertook to know, and was helped, and learned something, and declared it to us. "And I undertook," he saith, "to know." "In this labour is before me." Truly a great labour; to know in what manner both God doth care for things human, and it is well with evil men, and good men labour. Great is the importance of the question; therefore, "and this labour is before me." As it were there is standing in my face a sort of wall, but thou hast the voice of a Psalm, "In my God I shall pass over the wall."(1)

17. ... And he hath done this; for he saith how long labour is before him; "until I enter into the sanctuary of God, and understand upon the last things" (ver. 17). A great thing it is, brethren: now for a long time I labour, he saith, and before my face I see a sort of insuperable labour, to know in what manner both God is just, and doth care for things human, and is not unjust because men sinning and doing wicked actions have happiness on this earth; but the godly and men serving God are wasted ofttimes in trials and in labours; a great difficulty it is to know this, but only "until I enter into the Sanctuary of God." For in the Sanctuary what is presented to thee, in order that thou mayest solve this question? "And I understand," he saith, "upon the last things:" not present things. I, he saith, from the Sanctuary of God stretch out mine eye unto the end, I pass over present things. All that which is called the human race, all that mass of mortality is to come to the balance, is to come to the scale, thereon will be weighed the works of men. All things now a cloud doth enfold: but to God are known the merits of each severally. "And I understand," he saith, "upon the last things:" but not of myself; for before me there is labour. Whence "may I understand upon the last things"? Let me enter into the Sanctuary of God. In that place then he understood also the reason why these men now are happy.

18. To wit, "because of deceitfulness Thou hast set upon them" (ver. 18). Because deceitful they are, that is fraudulent; because deceitful they are, they suffer deceits. What is this, because fraudulent they are they suffer a fraud? They desire to play a fraud upon mankind in all their naughtinesses, they themselves also suffer a fraud, in choosing earthly good things, and in forsaking the eternal. Therefore, brethren, in their very playing off a fraud they suffer a fraud. In that which but now I said, brethren, "What manner of wit(2) hath he who to gain a garment doth lose his fidelity?" hath he whose garment he hath taken suffered a fraud, or he that is smitten with so great a loss? If a garment is more precious than fidelity, the former doth suffer the greater loss: but if incomparably good faith doth surpass the whole world, the latter shall seem to have sustained the loss of a garment; but to the former is said, "What doth it profit a man if he gain the whole world, but suffer the loss of his own soul?"(3) Therefore what hath befallen them? "Because of deceitfulness Thou hast set for them: Thou didst throw them down while they were being exalted." He hath not said, Thou didst throw them down because they were lifted up: not as it were after that they were lifted up Thou didst throw them down; but in their very lifting up they were thrown down.For thus to be lifted up is already to fall.

19. "How have they become a desolation suddenly?" (ver. 19). He is wondering at them, understanding unto the last things. "They have vanished." Truly like smoke, which while it mounteth upward, doth vanish, so they have vanished. How doth he say, "They have vanished"? In the manner of one who understandeth the last things: "they have perished because of their iniquity." "Like as the dream of one rising up" (ver. 20). How have they vanished? As vanisheth the dream of one rising up. Fancy a man in sleep to have seen himself find treasures; he is a rich man, but only until he awaketh. "Like as the dream of one rising up:" so they have vanished, like the dream of one awaking. It is sought then and it is not: there is nothing in the hands, nothing in the bed. A poor man he went to sleep, a rich man in sleep he became: had he not awoke, he were a rich man: he woke up, he found the care which he had lost while sleeping. And these men shall find the misery which they had prepared for themselves. When they shall have awoke from this life, that thing doth pass away which was grasped as if in sleep. "Like as the dream of one rising up." And that there might not be said, "What then? a small thing doth their glory seem to thee, a small thing doth their state seem to thee, small things seem to thee inscriptions, images, statues, distinctions, troops of clients?" "O Lord," he saith, "in Thy city their image(1) Thou shall bring to nothing." ... He hath taken away the pride of rich men, he giveth counsel.(2) As if they(3) were saying, We are rich men, thou dost forbid us to be proud, dost prohibit us from boasting of the parade of our riches what then are we to do with these riches? Is it come to this, that there is nothing which they may do therewith? "Be they rich," he saith, "in good works; let them readily distribute communicate."(4) And what doth this profit? "Let them treasure unto themselves a good foundation for the future, that they may lay hold of true life."(5) Where ought they to lay up treasure for themselves? In that place whereunto he set his eye, when entering into the Sanctuary of God. Let there shudder all our rich brethren, abounding in money, gold, silver, household, honours, let them shudder at that which but now hath been said, "Thou shall bring to nothing their image." Are they not worthy to suffer these things, to wit that God bring to nothing their image in His city, because also they have themselves brought to nothing the image of God in their earthly city?

20. "Because my heart was delighted" (ver. 21). He is saying with what things he is tempted: "because my heart was delighted," he saith, "my reins also were changed." When those temporal things delighted me, my reins were changed. It may also be understood thus: "because my heart was delighted" in God, "my reins also were changed, that is, my lusts were changed, and I became wholly chaste. "My reins were changed." And hear how. "And I was brought unto nothing, and I knew not" (ver. 22). I, the very man, who now say these things of rich men, once longed for such things: therefore "even I was brought to nothing" when my steps were almost overthrown. "And I was brought unto nothing, and I knew not." We must not therefore despair even of them, against whom I was saying such things.

21. What is, "I knew not"? "As it were a beast I became to Thee, and I am alway with Thee "(ver. 23). There is a great difference between this man and others. He became as it were a beast in longing for earthly things, when being brought to nothing he knew not things eternal: but he departed not from his God, because he did not desire these things of demons, of the devil. For this I have already brought to your notice. The voice is from the Synagogue, that is, from that people which served not idols. A beast indeed I became, when desiring from my God things earthly: but I never departed from That my God.

22. Because then, though having become a beast, I departed not from my God, there followeth, "Thou hast held the hand of my right hand." He hath not said my right hand, but "the hand of my right hand." If the hand of the right hand it is, a hand hath a hand. "The hand Thou hast held of my right hand," in order that Thou mightest conduct me. For what hath he put hand? For power. For we say that a man hath that in his hand which he hath in his power: just as the devil said to God concerning Job, "Lay to Thine hand, and take away the things which he hath."(6) What is, lay to Thine hand? Put(7) forth power. The hand of God he hath called the power of God: as hath been written in another place, "death and life are in the hands of the tongue."(8) Hath the tongue hands? But what is, in the hands of the tongue? In the power of the tongue. What is, in the power of the tongue? "Out of thy mouth thou shalt be justified, and out of thy mouth thou shall be condemned."(9) "Thou hast held," therefore, "the hand of my right hand," the power of my right hand. What was my right hand? That I was alway with Thee. Unto the left I was holding, because I became a beast, that is, because there was an earthly concupiscence in me: but the right was mine, because I was alway with thee. Of this my fight hand Thou hast held the hand, that is, hast directed the power. What power? "He gave them power to become sons of God."(10) He is beginning now to be among the sons of God, belonging to the New Testament. See in what manner the hand of his right hand was held. "In Thy will Thou hast conducted me." What is, "in thy will"? Not in my merits. What is, "in Thy will"? Hear the apostle, who was at first a beast longing for things earthly, and living after the Old Testament. He saith what? "I that at first was a blasphemer, and persecutor, and injurious: but mercy I obtained."(1) What is, "in Thy will"? "By the grace of God I am what I am."(2) "And in(3) glory Thou hast taken me up." Now to what glory he was taken up, and in what glory, who can explain, who can say? Let us await it, because in the Resurrection it will be, in the last things it will be.

23. And he is beginning to think of that same Heavenly felicity, and to reprove himself, because he hath been a beast, and hath longed for things earthly. "For what have I in Heaven, and from Thee what have I willed upon earth?" (ver. 35). By your voice I see that ye have understood.(4) He compared with his earthly will the heavenly reward which he is to receive; he saw what was there being reserved for him; and while thinking and burning at the thought of some ineffable thing, which neither eye hath seen, nor ear heard, nor into the heart of man hath ascended? he hath not said, this or that I have in Heaven, but," what have I in Heaven?" What is that thing which I have in Heaven? What is it? How great is it? Of what sort is it? "And," since that which I have in heaven doth not pass away, "from Thee what have I willed upon earth?"(6)... Thou reservest, he saith, for me in Heaven riches immortal, even Thyself, and I have willed from Thee on earth that which even ungodly men have, which even evil men have, which even abandoned men have, money, gold, silver, jewels, households, which even many. wicked men have: which even many profligate women have, many profligate men: these things as a great matter I have desired of my God upon earth: though my God reserveth Himself for me in Heaven!

24. "My heart and my flesh hath failed, O God of my heart" (ver. 26). This then for me in Heaven hath been reserved, "God of my heart, and my portion is my God." What is it, brethren? Let us find out our riches, let mankind choose their parts. Let us see men torn with diversity of desires: let some choose warservice, some advocacy, some divers and sundry offices of teaching, some merchandise, some farming, let them take their portions in human affairs: let the people of God cry, "my portion is my God." Not for a time "my portion;" but "my portion is my God for everlasting." Even if I alway have gold, what have I? Even if I did not alway have God, how great a good should I have? To this is added, that He promiseth Himself to me, and He promiseth that I shall have this for everlasting. So great a thing I have, and never have it not. Great felicity: "my portion is God!" How long? "For everlasting." For behold and see after what sort He hath loved him; He hath made his heart chaste: "God of my heart, and my portion is God for everlasting." become chaste for His heart hath become chaste, for nought now God is loved, from Him is not sought any other reward. He that doth seek any other reward from God, and therefore is willing to serve God, more precious doth make that which he willeth to receive, than Him from whom he willeth to receive. What then, is there no reward belonging to God? None except Himself. The reward belonging to God, is God Himself. This he loveth, this he esteemeth; if any other thing he shall have loved, the love will not be chaste. Thou art receding from the Fire immortal, thou wilt grow cold, wilt be corrupted. Do not recede. Recede not, it will be thy corruption, it will be thy fornication. Now he is returning, now he is repenting, now he is choosing repentance, now he is saying, "my portion is God." And after what sort is he delighted with that Same, whom he hath chosen for his portion.

25. "Behold, they that put themselves afar from Thee shall perish" (ver. 27). He therefore departed from God, but not far: for "I have become as it were a beast," he saith, and "I am alway with Thee."(7) But they have departed afar, because not only things earthly they have desired, but have sought them from demons and the Devil. "They that put themselves afar from Thee shall perish." And what is it, to become afar from God? "Thou hast destroyed every man that committeth fornication away from Thee." To this fornication is opposed chaste love. What is chaste love? Now the soul doth love her Bridegroom: what doth she require of Him, from Her Bridegroom whom she loveth? Perchance in like manner as women choose for themselves men either as sons-in-law or as bridegrooms: she perchance chooseth riches, and loveth his gold, and estates, and silver and cattle and horses, and household, and the like. Far be it. He doth love Him alone, for nought he doth love Him: because in Him he hath all things, for "by Him were made all things."(8)

26. But thou doest what? "But for me to cleave to God is a good thing" (ver. 28). This is whole good. Will ye have more? I grieve at your willing. Brethren, what will ye have more? Than to cleave to God nothing is better, when we shall see Him face to face.(9) But now what? For yet as a stranger I am speaking: "to cleave," he saith, "to God is a good thing:" but now in my sojourning (for not yet hath come the substance), I have "to put in God my hope." So long therefore as thou hast not yet cloven, therein put thy hope. Thou art wavering, cast forward an anchor to the land.(1) Not yet dost thou cleave by presence, cleave fast by hope. "To put in God my hope." And by doing what here wilt thou put in God thy hope? What will be thy business, but to praise Him whom thou lovest, and to make others to be fellow-lovers of Him with thee? Lo, if thou shouldest love a charioteer, wouldest thou not carry along other men to love him with thee? A lover of a charioteer whithersoever he goeth doth speak of him in order that as well as he others also may love him. For nought are loved abandoned men, and from God is reward required in order that He may be loved? Love thou. God for nought, grudge God to no one. ... For what followeth? "In order that I may tell forth all Thy praises in the courts of the daughter of Sion." "In the courts:" for the preaching of God beside the Church is vain. A small thing it is to praise God and to tell forth all His praise. In the courts of the daughter of Sion tell thou forth. Make for unity, do not divide the people; but draw them unto one, and make them one. I have forgotten how long I have been speaking. Now the Psalm being ended, even judging by this closeness,(2) I suppose I have held a long discourse: but it doth not suffice for your zeal; ye are too impetuous.(3) O that with this impetuosity ye would seize upon the kingdom of Heaven.


1. This Psalm's Title is, "Of the Understanding of Asaph." Asaph in Latin is translated congregation, in Greek Synagogue. Let us see what this Synagogue hath understood. But let us understand firstly Synagogue: from thence we shall understand what the Synagogue hath understood. Every congregation is spoken of under the general name of Synagogue: one both of beasts and of men may be called a congregation; but here there is no congregation of beasts when we heard "understanding." ... For this the Psalm's Title doth prescribe, saying, "Of the understanding of Asaph." It is therefore a certain understanding congregation whereof we are about to hear the voice. But since properly Synagogue is said of the congregation of the people of Israel, so that wheresoever we may have heard Synagogue, we are no longer wont to understand any but the people of the Jews; let us see whether perchance the voice in this Psalm be not of that same people. But of what sort of Jews and of what sort of people of Israel? For they are not of the chaff, but perchance of the grain;(5) not of the broken branches, but perchance of those that are strengthened. "For not all that are of Israel are Israelites."(6) ... There are therefore certain Israelites, of whom was he concerning whom was said, "Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom guile is not."(7) I do not say in the same manner as we are Israelites, for we also are the seed of Abraham. For to the Gentiles the Apostle was speaking, when he said, "Therefore the seed of Abraham ye are, heirs according to promise."(8) According to this therefore all we are Israelites, that follow the footsteps of the faith of our father Abraham. But let us understand here the voice of the Israelites in the same manner as the Apostle saith, "For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin."(9) Here therefore let us understand that whereof the Prophets have spoken, "a remnant shall be saved."(10) Of the remnant therefore saved let us hear in this place the voice; in order that there may speak that Synagogue which had received the Old Testament, and was intent upon carnal promises; and by this means it came to pass that their feet were shaken. For in another Psalm, where too the title hath Asaph, there is said what? "How good is the God of Israel to men right in heart. But my feet were almost moved."(11) And as if we were saying, whence were thy feet moved? "Well nigh," he saith, "my steps were overthrown, because I was jealous in the case of sinners, looking on the peace of sinners."(12) For while according to the promises of God belonging to the Old Testament he was looking for earthly felicity, he observed it to abound with ungodly men; that they who worshipped not God were enriched with those things which he was looking for from God: and as though without cause he had served God, his feet tottered. ... But opportunely it hath chanced not by our own but by God's dispensation, that just now we heard out of the Gospel, that "the Law was given by Moses, Grace and Truth came by Jesus Christ"(13) For if we distinguish between the two Testaments, Old and New, there are not the same Sacraments(14) nor the same promises;(15) nevertheless, the same commandments(16) for the most part. ... When examined they are either all found to be the same, or there are scarce any in the Gospel which have not been spoken by the Prophets. The Commandments are the same, the Sacraments are not the same, the Promises are not the same. Let us see wherefore the commandments are the same; because according to these we ought to serve God. The Sacraments are not the same, for some Sacraments there are giving Salvation, others promising a Saviour. The Sacraments of the New Testament give Salvation, the Sacraments of the Old Testament did promise a Saviour.(1) When therefore thou hast now the things promised, why dost thou seek the things promising, having now the Saviour? ... God through the New Testament hath taken out of the hands of His sons those things which are like the playthings of boys, in order that He might give something more useful to them growing up, on that account must He be supposed not to have given those former things Himself. He gave both Himself. But the Law itself through Moses was given, Grace and Truth came through Jesus Christ:(2) Grace because there is fulfilled through love that which by the letter was being enjoined, Truth because there is being rendered that which was promised. This thing therefore this Asaph hath understood. In a word, all things which to the Jews had been promised have been taken away. Where is their kingdom? Where the Temple? Where the Anointing? Where is Priest? Where are now the Prophets among them? From what time there came He that by the Prophets was foretold, in that nation there is now nothing of these things; now she hath lost things earthly, and not yet doth seek things Heavenly.

2. Thou shouldest not therefore hold fast things earthly, although God doth bestow them. ... See ye how that in fearing to lose things earthly, the Jews slew the King of Heaven. And what was done to them? They lost even those very things earthly: and in the place where they slew Christ, there they were slain: and when, being unwilling to lose the land, they slew the Giver of life, that same land being slain they lost; and at that very time when they slew Him, in order that by that very time they might be admonished of the reason wherefore they suffered these things. For when the city of the Jews was overthrown, they were celebrating the Passover, and with many thousands of men the whole nation itself had met together for the celebration of that festival.(3) In that place God (through evil men indeed, but yet Himself good; through unjust men, but Himself just and justly) did so take vengeance upon them, that there were slain many thousands of men, and the city itself was overthrown. Of this thing in this Psalm "the understanding of Asaph" doth complain, and in the very plaint the understanding as it were doth distinguish things earthly from things heavenly, doth distinguish the Old Testament from the New Testament: in order that thou mayest see through what things thou art passing, what thou shouldest look for, what to forsake, to what to cleave. Thus then he beginneth.

3. "Wherefore hast Thou repelled us, O God, unto the end? "(ver. 1). "Hast repelled unto the end," in the person of the congregation which is properly called Synagogue. "Wherefore hast Thou repelled us, O God, unto the end?" He censureth not, but inquireth "wherefore," for what purpose, because of what hast Thou done this? What hast Thou done? "Thou hast repelled us unto the end." What is, "unto the end"? Perchance even unto the end of the world. Hast Thou repelled us unto Christ, who is the End to every one believing?(4) For, "Wherefore hast Thou repelled us, O God, unto the end?" "Thy spirits hath been wroth at the sheep of Thy flock." Wherefore wast Thou wroth at the sheep of Thy flock, but because to things earthly we were cleaving, and the Shepherd we knew not?

4. "Remember Thou Thy congregation, which Thou hast possessed from the beginning" (ver. 2). Can this by any means be the voice of the Gentiles? Hath He possessed the Gentiles from the beginning? Nay, but He hath possessed the seed of Abraham, the people of Israel even according to the flesh, born of the Patriarchs our fathers: of whom we have become the sons, not by coming out of their flesh, but by imitating their faith. But those, possessed by God from the beginning, what befell them? "Remember Thy congregation which Thou hast possessed from the beginning. Thou hast redeemed the rod of Thine inheritance." That same congregation of Thine, being the rod of Thine inheritance, Thou hast redeemed. This same congregation he hath called "the rod of the inheritance." Let us look back to the first thing that was done, when He willed to possess that same congregation, delivering it from Egypt, what sign He gave to Moses, when Moses said to Him, "What sign shall I give that they may believe me, that Thou hast sent me? And God saith to him, What dost thou bear in thine hand? A rod. Cast it on to the ground," etc.(6) What doth it intimate? For this was not done to no purpose. Let us inquire of the writings of God. To what did the serpent persuade man? To death.(7) Therefore death is from the serpent. If death is from the serpent, the rod in the serpent is Christ in death.(1) Therefore also when by serpents in the desert they were being bitten and being slain, the Lord commanded Moses to exalt a brazen serpent in the desert, and admonish the people that whosoever by a serpent had been bitten, should look thereupon and be made whole.(2) Thus also it was done: thus also men, bitten by serpents, were made whole of the venom by looking upon a serpent.(3) To be made whole of a serpent is a great Sacrament. What is it to be made whole of a serpent by looking upon a serpent? It is to be made whole of death by believing in one dead. And nevertheless Moses feared and red.(4) What is it that Moses fled from that serpent? What, brethren, save that which we know to have been done in the Gospel? Christ died and the disciples feared, and withdrew from that hope wherein they had been.(5) ... But, at that time some thousands of the Jews themselves, the crucifiers of Christ, believed: and because they had been found at hand, they so believed as that they sold all that they had, and the price of their goods before the feet of the Apostles they laid.(6) Because then this thing was hidden, and the redemption of the rod of God was to be more conspicuous in the Gentiles: he explaineth of what he saith that which he hath said, "Thou hast redeemed the rod of Thine inheritance." This he hath said not of the Gentiles in whom it was evident. But of what? "Mount Sion." Yet even Mount Sion can be otherwise understood. "That one which(7) Thou hast dwelled in the same." In the place where the People was aforetime, where the Temple was set up, where the Sacrifices were celebrated, where at that time were all those necessary things giving promise of Christ. A promise, when the thing promised is bestowed is now become superfluous. ...

5. "Lift up Thine hand upon their pride at the end" (ver. 3). As Thou didst repel us at the end, so "lift up Thine hand upon the pride of them at the end." The pride of whom? Of those by whom Jerusalem was overthrown. But by whom was it, but by the kings of the Gentiles? Well was the hand of Him lifted up upon the pride of them at the end: for they too have now known Christ. "For the end of the Law is Christ for righteousness to every one believing."(8) How well doth he wish for them As if angry he is speaking, and he is seeming to speak evil:(9) and O that there would come to pass the evil which he speaketh: nay now in the name of Christ that it is coming to pass let us rejoice. Now they holding the sceptre are being made subject to the Word of the Cross: now is coming to pass that which was foretold, "there shall adore Him all the kings of the earth, all nations shall serve Him."(10) Now on the brows of kings more precious is the sign of the Cross, than the jewel of a crown. "Lift up Thine hand upon the pride of them at the end. How great things hath the enemy of malice wrought in Thy holy places!" In those which were Thy holy places, that is, in the temple, in the priesthood, in all those sacraments which were at that time. In good sooth the enemy at that time wrought. For the Gentiles at that time who did this, were worshipping false Gods, were adoring idols, were serving demons: nevertheless they wrought many evil things on the Saints of God. When could they if they had not been permitted? But when would they have been permitted, unless those holy things, at first promised, were no longer necessary, when He that had promised was Himself holden? Therefore, "how great things hath the enemy of malice wrought in Thy holy places!"

6. "And all they have boasted, that hate Thee" (ver. 4). Observe the servants of demons, the servants of idols: such as at that time the Gentiles were, when they overthrew the temple and city of God, "and they boasted." "In the midst of Thy festival." Remember what I said, that Jerusalem was overthrown at the time when the very festival was being celebrated: at which festival they crucified the Lord. Gathered together they raged, gathered together they perished. "They have set signs, their own signs, and they have not known" (ver. 5). They had signs to place there, their standards, their eagles, their own dragons, the Roman signs; or even their statues which at first in the temple they placed; or perchance "their signs" are the things which they heard from the prophets of their demons. "And they have not known." Have not known what? How "thou shouldest have had no power against Me, except it had been given thee from above."(11) They knew not how that not on themselves honour was conferred, to afflict, to take, or overthrow the city, but their ungodliness was made as it were the axe of God. They were made the instrument of Him enraged, not so as to be the kingdom of Him pacified. For God doth that which a man also ofttime doth. Sometimes a man in a rage catcheth up a rod lying in the way, perchance any sort of stick, he smiteth therewith his son, and then throweth the stick into the fire and reserveth the inheritance for his son: so sometime God through evil men doth instruct good men, and through the temporal power of them that are to be condemned He worketh the discipline of them that are to be saved. For why do you suppose, brethren, that discipline was even thus inflicted upon that nation, in order that it might perish utterly? How many out of this nation did afterwards believe, how many are yet to believe? Some are chaff, others grain; over both however there cometh in the threshing-drag; but under one threshing-drag the one is broken up, the other is purged. How great a good hath God bestowed upon us by the evil of Judas the traitor! By the very ferocity of the Jews how great a good was bestowed upon believing Gentiles! Christ was slain in order that there might be on the Cross One for him to look to who had been stung by the serpent.(1) ...

7. Now let us hasten over the verses following after the destruction of Jerusalem, for the reason that they are both evident, and it doth not please me to tarry over the punishment even of enemies. "As if in a forest of trees with axes, they have cut down the doors thereof at once; with mattock and hammer they have thrown Her down" (ver. 6). That is, conspiring together, with firm determination, "with mattock and hammer" they have thrown Her down. "They have burned with fire Thy Sanctuary, they have defiled on the ground the Tabernacle of Thy name" (ver. 7).

8. "They have said in their heart (the kindred of them is in one)"-- Have said what? "Come ye, let us suppress the solemnities of the Lord from the land" (ver. 8). "Of the Lord," hath been inserted in the person of this man, that is, in the person of Asaph. For they raging would not have called Him the Lord whose temple they were overthrowing. "Come ye, let us suppress all the solemnities of the Lord from the land." What of Asaph? What understanding hath Asaph in these words? What? Doth he not profit even by the discipline accorded? Is not the mind's crookedness made straight? Overthrown were all things that were at first: nowhere is there priest, nowhere Altar of the Jews, nowhere victim, nowhere Temple. Is there then no other thing to be acknowledged which succeeded this departing? Or indeed would this promissory sign have been taken away, unless there had come that which was being promised? Let us see therefore in this place now the understanding of Asaph, let us see if he profiteth by tribulation. Observe what he saith: "Our signs we have not seen, no longer is there prophet, and us He will not know as yet" (ver. 9). Behold those Jews who say that they are not known as yet, that is, that they are yet in captivity, that not yet they are delivered, do yet expect Christ. Christ will(2) come, but He will come as Judge; the first time to call, afterwards to sever. He will come, because He hath come,(3) and that He will come is evident; but hereafter from above He will come. Before thee He was, O Israel. Thou wast bruised because thou didst stumble against Him lying down: that thou mayest not be ground to powder, observe Him coming from above. For thus it was foretold by the prophet: "Whoever shall stumble upon that stone shall be bruised, and upon whomsoever it shall have come, it shall grind him to powder."(4) He doth bruise when little, He shall grind to powder when great. Now thy signs thou seest not, now there is no prophet: and thou sayest, "and us He will not know as yet:" because yourselves know not Him as yet. "No longer is there a prophet; and us He will not know as yet."

9. "How long, O God, shall the enemy revile?" (ver. 10). Cry out as if forsaken, as if deserted: cry out like a sick man, who hast chosen rather to smite the physician than to be made whole: not as yet doth He know thee. See what He hath done, who doth not know thee as yet. For they to whom there hath been no preaching of Him, shall see; and they that have not heard shall understand: and thou yet criest out, "No longer is there a prophet, and us He will not know as yet."(5) Where is thine understanding? "The adversary doth provoke Thy name at the end."(6) For this purpose the adversary doth provoke Thy name at the end, that being provoked Thou mayest reprove, reproving Thou mayest know them at the end: or certainly, "at the end," in the sense of even unto the end.

10. "Wherefore dost Thou turn away Thine hand, and Thy right hand from the midst of Thy bosom unto the end?" (ver. 11). Again, another sign which was given to Moses. For in like manner as above from the rod was a sign, so also from the right hand now. For when that thing had been done concerning the rod, God gave a second sign: "thrust," He saith, "thine hand into thy bosom, and he thrust it: draw it forth, and he drew it forth: and it was found white,"(7) that is, unclean. For whiteness on the skin is leprosy,(8) not fairness of complexion. For the heritage of God itself, that is, His people, being cast out became unclean. But what saith He to him? Draw it back into thy bosom. He drew it back, and it was restored to its own colour. When doest Thou this, saith this Asaph? How long dost Thou alienate Thy fight hand from Thy bosom, so that being without unclean it remaineth? Draw it back, let it return to its colour, let it acknowledge the Saviour. "Wherefore dost thou turn away Thine hand, and Thy right hand from the midst of Thy bosom unto the end?" These words he crieth, being blind, not understanding, and God doeth what He doeth. For wherefore came Christ? "Blindness in part happened unto Israel, in order that the fulness of the Gentiles might enter in, and so all Israel might be saved."(1) Therefore now, O Asaph, acknowledge that which hath gone before, in order that thou mayest at least follow, if thou wast not(2) able to go before. For not in vain came Christ, or in vain was Christ slain, or in vain did the corn fall into the ground; but it fell that it might rise manifold.(3) A serpent was lifted up in the desert, in order that it might cure of the poison him that was smitten.(4) Observe what was done. Do not think it to be a vain thing that He came: lest He find thee evil, when He shall have come a second time.

11. Asaph hath understood, because on the Title of the Psalm there is, "understanding of Asaph." And what saith he? "But God, our King before the worlds, hath wrought Salvation in the midst of the earth" (ver. 12). On the one hand we cry, "No longer is there prophet, and us He will not know as yet:"(5) but on the other hand, "our God, our King, who is before the worlds" (for He is Himself in the beginning of the Word(6) by whom were made the worlds), "hath wrought Salvation in the midst of the earth." "God therefore, our King before the worlds," hath done what? "hath wrought Salvation in the midst of the earth:" and I am yet crying as if forsaken! ... Now the Gentiles are awake, and we are snoring, and as though God hath. forsaken us, in dreams we are delirious. "He hath wrought Salvation in the midst of the earth."

12. Now therefore, O Asaph, amend thyself according to thy understanding, tell us what sort of Salvation God hath wrought in the midst of the earth. When that earthly Salvation of yours was overthrown, what did He do, what did He promise? "Thou didst confirm in Thy virtue the sea" (ver. 13). As though the nation of the Jews were as it were dry land severed from the waves, the Gentiles in their bitterness were the sea, and on all sides they washed about that land: behold," Thou hast confirmed in Thy virtue the sea," and the land remained thirsting for Thy rain. "Thou hast confirmed in Thy virtue the sea, Thou hast broken in pieces the heads of dragons in the water." Dragons' heads, that is, demons' pride, wherewith the Gentiles were possessed, Thou hast broken in pieces upon the water: for those persons whom they were possessing, Thou by Baptism hast delivered.

13. What more after the heads of dragons? For those dragons have their chief, and he is himself the first great dragon. And concerning him what hath He done that hath wrought Salvation in the midst of the earth? Hear: "Thou hast broken the head of the dragon" (ver. 14). Of what dragon? We understand by dragons all the demons that war under the devil: what single dragon then, whose head was broken, but the devil himself ought we to understand? What with him hath He done? "Thou hast broken the head of the dragon." That is, the beginning of sin. That head is the part which received the curse, to wit that the seed of Eve should mark the head of the serpent? For the Church was admonished to shun the beginning of sin. Which is that beginning of sin, like the head of a serpent? The beginning of all sin is pride.(8) There hath been broken therefore the head of the dragon, hath been broken pride diabolical. And what with him hath He done, that hath wrought Salvation in the midst of the earth? "Thou hast given him for a morsel to the Ethiopian peoples." What is this? How do I understand the Ethiopian peoples? How but by these all nations? And properly by black men: for Ethiopians are black. They are themselves called to the faith who were black; the very same indeed, so that there is said to them, "for ye were sometime darkness, but now light in the Lord."(9) ... Thence was also that calf which the people worshipped, unbelieving, apostate, seeking the gods of the Egyptians, forsaking Him who had delivered them from the slavery of the Egyptians: whence there was enacted that great Sacrament. For when Moses was thus wroth with them worshipping and adoring the idol,(10) and, inflamed with zeal for God, was punishing temporally, in order that he might terrify them to shun death everlasting; yet the head itself of the calf he cast into the fire, and ground to powder, destroyed, strawed on the water, and gave to the people to drink: so there was enacted a great Sacrament. O anger prophetic, and mind not perturbed but enlightened! He did what? Cast it into the fire, in order that first the form itself may be obliterated; piece by piece grind it down, in order that little by little it may be consumed: cast it into the water, give to the people to drink! What is this but that the worshippers of the devil were become the body of the same? In the same manner as men confessing Christ become the Body of Christ; so that to them is said, "but ye are the Body of Christ and the members."(1) The body of the devil was to be consumed, and that too by Israelites was to be consumed. For out of that people were the Apostles, out of that people the first Church. ... Thus the devil is being consumed with the loss of his members. This was figured also in the serpent of Moses. For the magicians did likewise, and casting down their rods they exhibited serpents: but the serpent of Moses swallowed up the rods of all those magicians.(2) Let there be perceived therefore even now the body of the devil: this is what is coming to pass, he is being devoured by the Gentiles who have believed, he hath become meat for the Ethiopian peoples. This again, may be perceived in, "Thou hast given him for meat to the Ethiopian peoples," how that now all men bite him. What is, bite him? By reproving, blaming, accusing. Just as hath been said, by way of prohibition indeed, but yet the idea expressed: "but if ye bite and eat up one another, take heed that ye be not consumed of one another."(3) What is, bite and eat up one another? Ye go to law with one another, ye detract from one another, ye heap revilings upon one another. Observe therefore now how that with these bitings the devil is being consumed. What man, when angry with his servant, even a heathen, would not say to him, Satan?(4) Behold the devil given for meat. This saith Christian, this saith Jew, this saith heathen:(4) him he worshippeth, and with him he curseth! ...

14. "Thou hast cleft the fountains and torrents" (ver. 15): in order that they might flow with the stream of wisdom, might flow with the riches of the faith, might water the saltness of the Gentiles, in order that they might convert all unbelievers into the sweetness of the faith by their watering. ... In some men the Word of God becometh a well of water springing up unto life eternal;(5) but others hearing the Word, and not so keeping it as that they live well, yet not keeping silence with tongue, they become torrents. For they are properly called torrents which are not perennial: for sometimes also in a secondary sense torrent is used for river: as hath been said, "with the torrent of Thy pleasures Thou shalt give them to drink."(6) For that torrent shall not ever be dried up. But torrents properly are those rivers named, which in summer fail, but with winter rains are flooded and run. Thou seest therefore a man sound in faith, that will persevere even unto the end, that will not forsake God in any trial; for the sake of the truth, not for the sake of falsehood and error, enduring all difficulties. Whence is this man so vigorous, but because the Word hath become in him a well of water springing up unto life eternal?(5) But the other receiveth the Word, he preacheth, he is not silent, he runneth: but summer proveth whether he be fountain or torrent. Nevertheless through both be the earth watered, by Him who hath wrought Salvation in the midst of the earth: let the fountains overflow, let the torrents run.

15. "Thou hast dried up the rivers of Etham" (ver. 15). ... What is Etham? For the word is Hebrew. What is Etham interpreted? Strong, stout. Who is this strong and stout one, whose rivers God drieth up? Who but that very dragon? For "no one entereth into the house of a strong man that he may spoil his vessels, unless first he shall have bound fast the strong man."(7) This is that strong man on his own virtue relying, and forsaking God: this is that strong man, who saith, "I will set my seat by the north, and I will be like the Most High."(8) Out of that very cup of perverse strength he hath given man to drink. Strong they willed to be, who thought that they would be Gods by means of the forbidden food. Adam became strong, over whom was reproachfully said, "Behold, Adam hath become like one of us."(9) ... As though they were strong, "to the righteousness of God they have not been made subject."(10) Observe ye that a man hath put out of the way his own strength, and remained weak, needy, standing afar off, not daring even to raise his eyes to Heaven; but smiting his breast, and saying, "O Lord, merciful be Thou to me a sinner."(11) Now he is weak, now he confesseth his weakness, he is not strong: dry land he is, be he watered with fountains and torrents. They are as yet strong who rely on their own virtue. Be their rivers dried up, let there be no advancement in the doctrines of the Gentiles, of wizards, of astrologers, of magic arts: for dried up are the rivers of the strong man: "Thou hast dried up the rivers of Etham." Let there dry up that doctrine; let minds be flooded with the Gospel of truth.

16. "Thine own is the day and Thine own is the night" (ver. 16). Who is ignorant of this, seeing that He hath Himself made all these things; for by the Word were made all things?(12) To that very One Himself who hath wrought Salvation in the midst of the earth, to Him is said, "Thine own is the night." Something here we ought to perceive which belongeth to that very Salvation which He hath wrought in the midst of the earth. "Thine own is the day." Who are these? The spiritual. "And Thine own is the night." Who are these? The carnal. ... "Thou hast made perfect sun and moon:" the sun, spiritual men, the moon, carnal men. As yet carnal he is, may he not be forsaken, and may he too be made perfect. The sun, as it were a wise man: the moon, as it were an unwise man: Thou hast not however forsaken. For thus it is written, "A wise man endureth as the sun, but a foolish man as the moon is changed."(1) What then? Because the sun endureth, that is, because the wise man endureth as the sun, a foolish man is changed like the moon, is one as yet carnal, as yet unwise, to be forsaken? And where is that which hath been said by the Apostle, "To the wise and unwise a debtor I am"?(2)

17. "Thou hast made all the ends of the earth" (ver. 17). ... Behold in what manner He hath made the ends of the earth, that hath wrought Salvation in the midst of the earth. "Thou hast made all the ends of the earth. Summer and spring Thou hast made them." Men fervent in the Spirit are the summer. Thou, I say, hast made men fervent in the Spirit: Thou hast made also the novices in the Faith, they are the "spring." "Summer and Spring Thou hast made them." They shall not glory as if they have not received: "Thou hast made them."

18. "Mindful be Thou of this Thy creature" (ver. 18). Of what creature of Thine? "The enemy hath reviled the Lord." O Asaph, grieve over thine old blindness in understanding: "the enemy hath reviled the Lord." It was said to Christ in His own nation, "a sinner is this Man: we know not whence He is:" we know Moses, to him spake God; this Man is a Samaritan.(3) "And the unwise people hath provoked Thy name." The unwise people Asaph was at that time, but not the understanding of Asaph at that time. What is said in the former Psalm? "As it were a beast I have become unto Thee, and I am alway with Thee:"(4) because He went not to the gods and idols of the Gentiles. Although he knew not, being like a beast, yet he knew again as a man. For he said, "alway I am with Thee, like a beast:" and what afterwards in that place in the same Psalm, where Asaph is? "Thou hast held the hand of my right hand, in Thy will Thou hast conducted me, and with glory Thou hast taken me up."(5) In Thy will, not in my righteousness: by Thy gift, not by my work. Therefore here also, "the enemy hath reviled the Lord: and the unwise people hath provoked Thy name." Have they all then perished? Far be it. ... For even the Apostle Paul through unbelief had been broken, and through faith unto the root he was restored. So evidently "the unwise people provoked Thy name," when it was said, "If Son of God He is let Him come down from the Cross."(6)

19. But what sayest thou, O Asaph, now in understanding? "Deliver not to the beasts a soul confessing to Thee" (ver. 19). ... To what beasts, save to those the heads whereof were broken in pieces upon the water? For the same devil is called, beast, lion, and dragon. Do not, he saith, give to the Devil and his Angels a soul confessing to Thee. Let the serpent devour, if still I mind things earthly, if for things earthly I long, if still in the promises of the Old Testament, after the revealing of the New, I remain. But forasmuch as now I have laid down pride, and my own righteousness I will not acknowledge, but Thy Grace; against me let proud beasts have no power. "The souls of Thy poor forget Thou not unto the end." Rich we were, strong we were: but Thou hast dried up the rivers of Etham: no longer we establish our own righteousness, but we acknowledge Thy Grace; poor we are, bearken to Thy beggars. Now we do not dare to lift our eyes to Heaven, but smiting our breasts we say, "O Lord, be Thou merciful to me a sinner."(7)

20. "Have regard unto Thy Testament"(8) (ver. 20). Fulfil that which Thou hast promised: the tables we have, for the inheritance we are looking. "Have regard unto Thy Testament," not that old one: not for the sake of the land of Canaan I ask, not for the sake of the temporal subduing of enemies, not for the sake of carnal fruitfulness of sons, not for the sake of earthly riches, not for the sake of temporal welfare: "Have regard unto Thy Testament," wherein Thou hast promised the kingdom of Heaven. Now I acknowledge Thy Testament: now understanding is Asaph, no beast is Asaph, now he seeth that which was spoken of, "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, and I will accomplish with the House of Israel and of Juda a new Testament, not after the Testament which I ordered(9) with their Fathers."(10) "Have regard unto Thy Testament: for they that have been darkened have been filled of the earth of unrighteous houses:" because they had unrighteous hearts. Our "houses" are our hearts: therein gladly dwell they that are blessed with pure heart.(11) "Have regard," therefore, "unto Thy Testament:" and let the remnant be saved:(12) for many men that give heed to earth are darkened, and filled with earth. For there hath entered into their eyes dust, and it hath blinded them, and they have become dust which the wind sweepeth from the face of the earth.(13) "They that have been darkened have been filled of the earth of unrighteous houses." For by giving heed to earth they have been darkened, concerning whom there is said in another Psalm, "Let their eyes be blinded, that they see not, and their back ever bow Thou down."[1] With earth, then, "they that have been darkened have been filled, with the earth of unrighteous houses:" because they have unrighteous hearts. ...

21. "Let not the humble man be turned away confounded" (ver. 21). For them pride hath confounded. "The needy and helpless man shall praise Thy name." Ye see, brethren, how sweet ought to be poverty: ye see that poor and helpless men belong to God, but "poor in spirit, for of them is the Kingdom of Heaven."[2] Who are the poor in spirit? The humble, men trembling at the words of God, confessing their sins, neither on their own merits, nor on their own righteousness relying. Who are the poor in spirit? They who when they do anything of good, praise God, when anything of evil, accuse themselves. "Upon whom shall rest My Spirit," saith the Prophet, "but upon the humble man, and peaceful, and trembling at My words?"[3] Now therefore Asaph hath understood, now to the earth he adhereth not, now the earthly promises out of the Old Testament he requireth not. ...

22. "Arise, O Lord, judge Thou my cause"[4] (ver. 22) .... Because I am not able to show my God, as if I were following an empty thing, they revile me. And not only Heathen, or Jew, or heretic; but sometimes even a Catholic brother doth make a grimace when the promises of God are being preached, when a future resurrection is being foretold.[5] And still even he, though already washed with the water of eternal Salvation, bearing the Sacrament of Christ, perchance saith, "and what man hath yet risen again?" And, "I have not heard my father speaking out of the grave, since I buried him!" "God hath given to His servants a law for time, to which[6] let them betake themselves: for what man cometh back from beneath?" And what shall I do with such men? Shall I show them what they see not? I am not able: for not for the sake of them ought God to become visible .... I see not, he saith: what am I to believe? Thy soul is seen then, I suppose? Fool, thy body is seen: thy soul who doth see? Since therefore thy body alone is seen, why art thou not buried? He marvelleth that I have said, If body alone is seen, why art thou not buried? And he answereth (for he knoweth as much as this), Because I am alive. How know I that thou art alive, of whom I see not the soul? How know I? Thou wilt answer, Because I speak, because I walk, because I work. Fool, by the operations of the body I know thee to be living, by the works of creation canst thou not know the Creator? And perchance he that saith, when I shall be dead, afterwards I shall be nothing; hath both learned letters, and hath learned this doctrine from Epicurus, who was a sort of doting philosopher, or rather lover of folly not of wisdom, whom even the philosophers themselves have named the hog: who said that the "chief good" was pleasure of body; this philosopher they[7] have named the hog, wallowing in carnal mire. From him perchance this lettered man hath learned to say, I shall not be, after I have died. Dried be the rivers of Etham! Perish those doctrines of the Gentiles, flourish the plantations of Jerusalem! Let them see what they can, in heart believe what they cannot see! Certainly all those things which throughout the world now are seen, when God was working Salvation in the midst of the earth, when those things were being spoken of, they were not then as yet: and behold at that time they were foretold, now they are shown as fulfilled, and still the fool saith in his heart, "there is no God."[8] Woe to the perverse hearts: for so will there come to pass the things which remain, as there have come to pass the things which at that time were not, and were being foretold as to come to pass. Hath God indeed performed[9] to us all the things which He promised, and concerning the Day of Judgment alone hath He deceived us? Christ was not on the earth; He promised, He hath performed: no virgin had conceived; He promised, He hath performed: the precious Blood had not been shed whereby there should be effaced the handwriting of our death; He promised, He hath performed: not yet had flesh risen again unto life eternal; He promised, He hath performed: not yet had the Gentiles believed; He promised, He hath performed: not yet heretics armed with the name of Christ, against Christ were warring; He foretold, He hath performed: not yet the idols of the Gentiles from the earth had been effaced; He foretold, He hath performed: when all these things He hath foretold and performed, concerning the Day of Judgment alone hath He lied? It will come by all means as these things came; for even these things before they came to pass were future, and as future were first foretold, and afterwards they came to pass. It will come, my brethren. Let no one say, it will not come: or, it will come, but far off is that which will come. But to thyself it is near at hand to go hence. ... If thou shall have done that which the devil doth suggest, and shalt have despised that which God hath commanded; there will come the Judgment Day, and thou wilt find that true which God hath threatened, and that false which the devil hath promised. ... "Remember Thy reproaches, those which are from the imprudent man all the day long." For still Christ is reviled: nor will there be wanting all the day long, that is, even unto the end of time, the vessels of wrath. Still is it being said, "Vain things the Christians do preach:" still is it being said, "A fond thing is the resurrection of the dead." "Remember Thy reproaches." But what reproaches, save those "which are from the imprudent man all the day long?" Doth a prudent man say this? Nay, for a prudent man is said to be one far-seeing. If a prudent man is one far- seeing, by faith he seeth afar: for with eyes scarce that before the feet is seen.

23. "Forget not the voice of them that implore Thee" (ver. 23). While they groan for and expect now that which Thou hast promised from the New Testament, and walk by that same Faith, "do Thou not forget the voice of them imploring Thee." But those still say, "Where is Thy God? Let the pride of them that hate Thee come up always to Thee." Do not forget even their pride. Nor doth He forget: no doubt He doth either punish or amend.


1. .... The Title of this Psalm thus speaketh: "At the end,[2] corrupt not." What is, "corrupt not?" That which Thou hast promised, perform. But when? "At the end." To this then let the mind's eye be directed, "unto the end." Let all the things which have occurred in the way be passed over, in order that we may attain to the end. Let proud men exult because of present felicity, let them swell with honours, glitter in gold, overflow with domestics, be encircled with the services of clients: these things pass away, they pass away like a shadow. When that end shall have come, when all who now hope in the Lord are to rejoice, then to them shall come sorrow without end. When the meek shall have received that which the proud deride, then the vapouring of the proud shall be turned into mourning. Then shall there be that voice which we know in the Book of Wisdom: for they shall say at that time when they see the glory of the Saints, who, when they were in humiliation, endured them; who, when they were exalted, consented not--at that time then they shall say, "These are they whom sometime we have had in derision."[3] Where they also say, "What hath pride profited us, and the boasting of riches hath bestowed upon us what?" All things have passed away like a shadow. Because on things corruptible they relied, their hope shall be corrupted: but our own hope at that time shall be substance. For in order that the promise of God may remain whole and sure and certain towards us, we have said out of a heart[4] of faith, "at the end corrupt not." Fear not, therefore, lest any mighty man should corrupt the promises of God. He doth not corrupt, because He is truthful; He hath no one more mighty by whom His promise may be corrupted: let us be then sure concerning the promises of God; and let us sing now from the place where the Psalm beginneth.

2. "We will confess to Thee, O Lord, we will confess to Thee, and will invoke Thy name" (ver. 1 ). Do not invoke, before thou confess: confess, and invoke. For Him whom thou art invoking, unto thyself thou callest. For what is it to invoke, but unto thyself to call? If He is invoked by thee, that is, if He is called to thee, unto whom doth He draw near? To a proud man He draweth not near. High indeed He is, one lifted up attaineth not unto Him. In order that we may reach all exalted objects, we raise ourselves, and if we are not able to reach them, we look for some appliances or ladders, in order that being exalted we may reach exalted objects: contrariwise God is both high, and by the lowly He is reached. It is written, "Nigh is the Lord to them that have bruised the heart."[5] The bruising of the heart is Godliness, humility. He that bruiseth himself is angry with himself. Let him make himself angry in order that he may make Him merciful; let him make himself judge, in order that he may make Him Advocate. Therefore God doth come when invoked. Unto whom doth He come? To the proud man He cometh not.

... Take heed therefore what ye do: for if He knoweth, He is not unobservant.[6] It is better therefore that He be unobservant than known. For what is that same being unobservant, but not knowing? What is, not to know? Not to animadvert. For even as the act of one avenging animadversion is wont to be spoken of. Here one praying that He be unobservant: "Turn away Thy face from my sins."[7] What then wilt thou do if He shall have turned away His face from thee? A grievous thing it is, and to be feared, lest He forsake thee. Again, if He turn not away His face, He animadverteth. God knoweth this thing, God can do this thing, namely, both turn away face from one sinning, and not turn away from one confessing. ... Confess therefore and invoke. For by confessing thou purgest the Temple, into which He may come, when invoked. Confess and invoke. May He turn away face from thy sins, not turn away from thee: turn away face from that which thou hast wrought,[1] not turn away from that which He hath Himself wrought.[2] For thee, as man, He hath Himself wrought, thy sins thou hast thyself wrought ....

3. But that there is a strengthening of the sense in repetition, by many passages of the Scriptures we are taught. Thence is that which the Lord saith, "Verily, Verily."[3] Thence in certain Psalms is, "So be it, So be it."[4] To signify the thing, one "So be it" would have been sufficient: to signify confirmation, there hath been added another" So be it." ... Count less passages of such sort there are throughout all the Scriptures. With these it is sufficient that we have commended to your notice a way of speaking which ye may observe in all like cases: now to the substance attend: "We will confess to Thee," he saith, "and we will invoke." I have said why before invocation confession doth precede: because whom thou dost invoke, him thou dost invite. But he willeth not to come when invoked, if thou shall have been lifted up: lifted up if thou shall have been, thou wilt not be able to confess. And thou deniest not any things to God that He knoweth not. Therefore thy confession doth not teach Him, but it purgeth thee.

4. ... Hear ye now the words of Christ. For these seemed not as it were to be His words,[5] "We will confess to Thee, O God, we will confess to Thee, and will invoke Thy name." Now beginneth the discourse in the person of the Head. But whether Head speaketh or whether members speak, Christ speaketh: He speaketh in the person of the Head, He speaketh in the person of the Body. But what hath been said? There shall be two in one flesh.[6] "This is a great Sacrament:" "I," he saith, "speak in Christ and in the Church."[7] And He Himself in the Gospel, "Therefore no longer two, but one flesh." [8] For in order that ye may know these in a manner to be two persons, and again one by the bond of marriage, as one He speaketh in Isaiah, and saith, "As upon a Bridegroom he hath bound upon me a mitre, and as a Bride he hath clothed me with an ornament."[9] A Bridegroom He hath called Himself in the Head, a Bride in the Body. He is speaking therefore as One, let us hear Him, and in Him let us also speak. Let us be the members of Him, in order that this voice may possibly be ours also. "I will tell forth," he saith, "all Thy marvellous things." Christ is preaching Himself, He is preaching Himself even in His members now existing, in order that He may guide unto Him others, and they may draw near that were not, and may be united with those members of Him, through which members of Him the Gospel hath been preached; and there may be made one Body under one Head, in one Spirit, in one Life.

5. And he saith what? "When I shall have received," he saith, "the time, [10] I will judge justices" (ver. 2). When shall He judge justices? When He shall have received the time. Not yet is the precise time. Thanks to His mercy: He first preacheth justices, and then He judgeth justices. For if He willed to judge before He willed to preach, who would be found that should be delivered: who would meet Him that should be absolved? Now therefore is the time of preaching: "I will tell," he saith," all Thy marvellous works." Hear Him telling, hear Him preaching: for if thou shalt have despised Him, "when I shall have received the time," He saith, "I will judge justices." I forgive, He saith, now sins to one confessing, I will not spare hereafter one despising. ... He hath received a time as Son of Man; He doth govern times as Son of God. Hear how as Son of Man He hath received the time of judging. He saith in the Gospel, "He hath given to Him power to execute judgment, because Son of Man He is."[11] According to His nature as Son of God, He hath never received power of judging, because He never lacked the power of judging: according to His nature as Son of Man He hath received a time, as of being born, and of suffering, as of dying, and of rising again, and of ascending, so of coming and of judging. In Him His Body also saith these words, for not without them He will judge. For He saith in the Gospel, "Ye shall sit upon twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel."[12] Therefore whole Christ saith, that is, Head and Body in the Saints, "when I shall have received the time, I will judge justices."

6. But now what? "The earth hath flowed down" (ver. 3). If the earth hath flowed down, whence hath it flowed down except by sins? Therefore also they are called delinquencies. To delinquish is as it were by a kind of liquidity[13] to slip down from the stability of firmness in virtue and righteousness. For it is through desire of lower things that every man sinneth: as he is strengthened by the love of higher things, so he falleth down and as it were melteth away by desire of lower things. This flux of things by the sins of man the merciful forgiver observing, being a merciful forgiver of sins, not yet an exactor of punishments, He observeth and saith: The earth herself indeed hath flowed down by them that dwell in her. That which followeth is an exposition, not an addition. As though thou wert saying, in what manner hath the earth flowed down? Have the foundations been withdrawn, and hath anything therein been swallowed up in a sort of gulf? What I mean by earth is all they that dwell therein. I have found, he saith, the earth sinful. And I have done what? "I have strengthened the pillars thereof." What are the pillars which He hath strengthened? Pillars He hath called the Apostles. So the Apostle Paul concerning his fellow- Apostles saith, "who seemed to be pillars."[1] And what would those pillars have been, except by Him they had been strengthened? For on occasion of a sort of earthquake even these very pillars rocked: at the Passion of the Lord all the Apostles despaired. Therefore those pillars which rocked at the Passion of the Lord, by the Resurrection were strengthened. The Beginning of the building hath cried out through the pillars thereof, and in all those pillars the Architect Himself hath cried out. For the Apostle Paul was one pillar of them when he said, "Would ye receive a proof of Him that speaketh in me--Christ?"[2] Therefore, "I," he saith, "have strengthened the pillars thereof:" I have risen again, I have shown that death is not to be feared, I have shown to them that fear, that not even the body itself doth perish in the dying. There terrified them wounds, there strengthened them scars. The Lord Jesus could have risen again without any scar: for what great matter were it for that power, to restore the frame of the body to such perfect soundness, as that no trace at all of past wound should appear? He had power whence He might make it whole even without scar: but He willed to have that whereby He might strengthen the rocking pillars.

7. We have heard now, brethren, that which day by day is not kept secret: let us hear now what He hath cried through these pillars. ... He crieth what? "I have said to unjust men, Do not unjustly" (ver. 4). ... But already they have done, and they are guilty: already there hath flowed down the earth, and all they that dwell therein. Pricked to the heart were they that crucified Christ,[3] they acknowledged their sin, they learned something of the Apostle, that they might not despair of the pardon of the Preacher.[4] For as Physician He had come, and therefore had not come to the whole. "For there is no need," He saith, "to the whole of a physician, but to them that are sick. I have not come to call righteous men, but sinners to repentance."[5] Therefore, "I have said to unjust men, Do not unjustly." They heard not. For of old to us it was spoken: we heard not, we fell, were made mortal, were begotten mortal: the earth flowed down. Let them hear the Physician even now in order that they may rise, Him that came to the sick man, Him whom they would not hear when whole in order that they might not fall, let them hear when lying down in order that they may rise. ... "I have said to unjust men, Do not unjustly; and to the delinquent, Do not exalt your horn." There shall be exalted in you the horn of Christ, if your horn be not exalted. Your horn is of iniquity, the horn of Christ is of majesty.

8. "Be not therefore lifted up: speak not iniquity against God" (ver. 5). ... What saith He in another Psalm? "These things thou hast done," having enumerated certain sins. "These things thou hast done," He saith, "and was silent."[6] What is, "I was silent"? He is never silent with commandment, but meanwhile He is silent with punishment: He is keeping still from vengeance, He doth not pronounce sentence against the condemned. But this man saith thus, I have done such and such things, and God hath not taken vengeance; behold I am whole, nought of ill hath befallen me. "These things thou hast done, and I was silent: thou hast suspected iniquity, that I shall be like unto thee." What is, "that I shall be like unto thee"? Because thou art unjust, even Me thou hast deemed unjust; as though an approver of thy misdeeds, and no adversary, no avenger thereof. And what afterwards saith He to thee? "I will convict thee, and will set thee before thine own face"?[6] What is this? Because now by sinning behind thy back thou settest thyself, seest not thyself, examinest not thyself; I will set thee before thyself, and will bring upon thee punishment from thyself. So also here, "Speak not iniquity against God." Attend. Many men speak this iniquity; but dare not openly, lest as blasphemers they be abhorred by godly men: in their heart they gnaw upon these things, within they feed upon such impious food; it delighteth them to speak against God, and if they break not out with tongue, in heart they are not silent. Whence in another Psalm is said, "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God." [7] The fool hath said, but he hath feared men: he would not say it where men might hear; and he said it in that place where He might Himself hear concerning whom he said it. Therefore here also in this Psalm (dearly beloved attend), whereas that which He said, "Do not speak iniquity against God," this He saw many men do in heart, He hath also added, "for neither from East, nor from West, nor from the deserts of the mountains (ver. 6), for God is Judge" (ver. 7). Of thine iniquities God is Judge. If God He is, everywhere He is present. Whither wilt thou take thyself away from the eyes of God, so that in some quarter thou mayest speak that which He may not hear? If from the East God judgeth, withdraw into the West, and say what thou wilt against God: if froth the West, go into the East, and there speak: if from the deserts of the mountains He judgeth, go into the midst of the peoples, where thou mayest murmur to thyself. From no place judgeth He that everywhere is secret, everywhere open; whom it is allowed no one to know as He is, and whom no one is permitted not to know. Take heed what thou doest. Thou art speaking iniquity against God. "The Spirit of the Lord hath filled the round world" (another Scripture saith this), "and that which containeth all things hath knowledge of the voice: wherefore he that speaketh unjust things cannot be hid."[1] Do not therefore think God to be in places: He is with thee such an one as thou shall have been. What if such an one as thou shalt have been? Good, is, thou shall have been good; and evil to thee He will seem, if evil thou shall have been; but a Helper, if good thou shalt have been; an Avenger, if evil thou shall have been. There thou hast a Judge in thy secret place. Willing to do something of evil, from the public thou retirest into thy house, where no enemy may see; from those places of thine house which, are open and before the eyes of men, thou removest thyself into a chamber; thou fearest even in thy chamber some witness from some other quarter, thou retirest into thy heart, there thou meditatest: He is more inward than thy heart. Whithersoever therefore thou shalt have fled, there He is. From thyself whither wilt thou flee? Wilt thou not follow thyself whithersoever thou shalt flee? But since there is One more inward even than thyself, there is no place whither thou mayest flee from God angry, but to God reconciled. There is no place at all whither thou mayest flee. Wilt thou flee from Him? Flee to Him. ... What then shall we do now? "Let us come before His face," en exomologh'sei, come before in confession: He shall come gentle whom thou hadst made angry. "Neither from the deserts of the mountains, for God is Judge:" not from the East, not from the West, not from the deserts of the mountains. Wherefore? "For God is Judge." If in any place He were, He would not be God: but because God is Judge, not man, do not expect Him out of places. His place thou wilt be, if thou art good, if after having confessed[2] thou shalt have invoked Him.

9. "One He humbleth, and another He exalteth" (ver. 7). Whom humbleth, whom exalteth this Judge? Observe these two men in the temple, and ye see whom He humbleth and whom He exalteth. "They went up into the Temple to pray," He saith, "the one a Pharisee, and the other a Publican. ... "Verily I say unto you, that Publican went down justified more than that Pharisee: for every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted."[3] Thus hath been explained a verse of this Psalm. God the Judge doth what? "One He humbleth, and another He exalteth:" He humbleth the proud, He exalteth the humble.

10. "For the cup in the hand of the Lord of pure wine is full of mixed" (ver. 8). Justly so. "And He hath poured out of this Upon this man; nevertheless, the dreg thereof hath not been emptied; there shall drink all the sinners of earth." Let us be somewhat recruited; there is here some obscurity. ... The first question that meeteth us is this, "of pure wine it is full of mixed." How "of pure," if "of mixed"? But when he saith, "the cup in the hand of the Lord" (to men instructed in the Church of Christ I am speaking), ye ought not indeed to paint in your heart God as it were circumscribed with a human form, lest, though the temples are shut up, ye forge images in your hearts. This cup therefore doth signify something. We will find out this. But "in the hand of the Lord," is, in the power of the Lord. For the hand of God is spoken of for the power of God. For even in reference to men ofttimes is said, in hand he hath it: that is, in his power he hath it, when he chooseth he doth it. "Of pure wine it is full of mixed." In continuation he hath himself explained: "He hath inclined," he saith, "from this unto this man; nevertheless the dreg thereof hath not been emptied." Behold how it was full of mixed wine. Let it not therefore terrify you that it is both pure and mixed: pure because of the genuineness thereof, mixed because of the dreg. What then in that place is the wine, and what the dreg? And what is, "He hath inclined from this unto this man," in such sort that the dreg thereof was not emptied?

11. Call ye to mind from whence he came to this: "one He humbleth, and another He exalteth."[4] That which was figured to us in the Gospel through two men, a Pharisee and a Publican,[5] this let us, taking in a wider sense, understand of two peoples, of Jews and of Gentiles: the people of the Jews that Pharisee was, the people of the Gentiles that Publican. ... As those by being proud have withdrawn, so these by confessing have drawn near. The cup therefore full of pure wine in the hand of the Lord, as far as the Lord giveth me to understand,[1] ... the cup of pure wine full of the mixed, seemeth to me to be the Law, which was given to the Jews, and all that Scripture of the Old Testament, as it is called; there are the weights of all manner of sentences. For therein the New Testament lieth concealed, as though in the dreg of corporal Sacraments. The circumcision of the flesh is a thing of great mystery,[2] and there is understood from thence the circumcision of the heart. The Temple of Jerusalem is a thing of great mystery, and there is understood from it the Body of the Lord. The land of promise[3] is understood to be the Kingdom of Heaven. The sacrifice of victims and of beasts hath a great mystery: but in all those kinds of sacrifices is understood that one Sacrifice and only victim of the Cross, the Lord, instead of all which sacrifices we have one; because even those figured these, that is, with those these were figured. That people received the Law, they received commandments just and good.[4] What is so just as, thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not speak false testimony, honour thy father and mother, thou shalt not covet the property of thy neighbour, one God thou shalt adore, and Him alone thou shalt serve,[5] all these things belong to the wine. But those things carnal have as it were sunk down in order that they might remain with them, and there might be poured forth from thence all the spiritual understanding. But "the cup in the hand of the Lord," that is, in the power of the Lord: "of pure wine," that is, of the mere Law: "is full of mixed," that is, is together with the dreg of corporal Sacraments. And because the one He humbleth, the proud Jew, and the other He exalteth, the confessing Gentile; "He hath inclined from this unto this," that is, from the Jewish people unto the Gentile people. Hath inclined what? The Law. There hath distilled from thence a spiritual sense. "Nevertheless, the dreg thereof hath not been emptied," for all the carnal Sacraments have remained with the Jews. "There shall drink all the sinners of the earth." Who shall drink? "All the sinners of the earth." Who are the sinners of the earth? The Jews were indeed sinners, but proud: again, the Gentiles were sinners, but humble. All sinners shall drink, but see, who the dreg, who the wine. For those by drinking the dreg have come to nought: these by drinking the wine have been justified. I would dare to speak of them even as inebriated, and I shall not fear: and O that all ye were thus inebriated. Call to mind, "Thy cup inebriating, how passing beautiful!"[6] But why? Do ye think, my brethren, that all those who by confessing Christ even willed to die, were sober? So drunk they were, that they knew not their friends. All their kindred, who strove to divert them from the hope of Heavenly rewards by earthly allurements, were not acknowledged, were not heard by them drunken. Were they not drunken, whose heart had been changed? Were they not drunken, whose mind had been alienated from this world? "There shall drink," he saith, "all the sinners of the earth." But who shall drink the wine? Sinners shall drink, but in order that they may not remain sinners; in order that they may be justified, in order that they may not be punished.

12. "But I," for all drink, but separately I, that is, Christ with His Body, "for ever will rejoice, I will Psalm to the God of Jacob" (ver. 9): in that promise to be at the end, whereof is said, "corrupt not."[7] "And all the horns of sinners I will break, and there shall be exalted the horns of the Just" (ver. 10). This is, the one He humbleth, the other He exalteth. Sinners would not have their horns to be broken, which without doubt will be broken at the end. Thou wilt not have Him then break them, do thou to-day break them. For thou hast heard above, do not despise it: "I have said to unjust men, Do not unjustly, and to the delinquents, Do not exalt the horn."[8] When thou hast heard, do not exalt the horn, thou hast despised and hast exalted the horn: thou shalt come to the end, where there shall come to pass, "All the horns of sinners I will break, and there shall be exalted the horns of the Just." The horns of sinners are the dignities of proud men: the horns of the Just are the gifts of Christ. For by horns exultations are understood. Thou hatest on earth earthly exultation, in order that thou mayest have the heavenly. Thou lovest the earthly, He doth not admit thee to the Heavenly: and unto confusion will belong thy horn which is broken, just as unto glory it will belong, if thy horn is exalted. Now therefore there is time for making choice, then there will not be. Thou wilt not say, I will be let go and will make choice. For there have preceded the words, "I have said to the unjust." If I have not said, make ready an excuse, make ready a defence: but if I have said, seize first upon confession, lest thou come unto damnation; for then confession will be too late, and there will be no defence.

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.