Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. VIII:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Expositions on the Book of Psalms.: Daleth.
p. 564 Daleth.
25. “My soul cleaveth to the pavement: O quicken Thou me according to Thy word” (Psa. 119.25). What meaneth, “My soul cleaveth to the pavement, O quicken Thou me according to Thy word”?…If we look upon the whole world as one great house, we see that the heavens represent its vaulting, the earth therefore will be its pavement. He wisheth therefore to be rescued from earthly things, and to say with the Apostle, “Our conversation 5155 is in heaven.” To cling therefore to earthly things is the souls death; the contrary of which evil, life is prayed for, when he saith, “O quicken Thou me.”
26. …The body itself also, because it is of the earth, is reasonably understood by the word pavement; since, because it is still corruptible and weigheth down the soul, 5156 we justly groan while in it, and say unto God, “O quicken Thou me.” For we shall not be without our bodies when we shall be for evermore with the Lord; 5157 but then because they will not be corruptible, nor will they weigh down our souls, if we view it strictly, we shall not cleave unto them, but they rather unto us, and we unto God.…
27. For what he was by himself, he confesseth in the following words: “I have acknowledged my ways, and Thou heardest me” (Psa. 119.26). Some copies indeed read, “Thy ways:” but more, and the best Greek, read “my ways,” that is, evil ways. For he seemeth to me to say this; I have confessed my sins, and Thou hast heard me; that is, so that Thou wouldest remit them. “O teach me Thy statutes.” I have acknowledged my ways: Thou hast blotted them out: teach me Thine. So teach me, that I may act; not merely that I may know how I ought to act. For as it is said of the Lord, that He knew not sin, 5158 and it is understood, that He did no sin; so also he ought truly to be said to know righteousness, who doeth it. This is the prayer of one who is improving.…
28. Finally he addeth, “Intimate to me the way of Thy righteousness” (Psa. 119.27); or, as some copies have it, “instruct me;” which is expressed more closely from the Greek, “Make me to understand the way of Thy righteousnesses; so shall I be exercised in Thy wondrous things.” These higher commandments, which he desireth to understand by edification, he calleth the wondrous things of God. There are then some righteousnesses of God so wondrous, that human weakness may be believed incapable of fulfilling them by those who have not tried. Whence the Psalmist, struggling and wearied with the difficulty of obeying them, saith, “My soul hath slumbered for very heaviness: O stablish Thou me with Thy word!” (Psa. 119.28). What meaneth, hath slumbered? save that he hath cooled in the hope which he had entertained of being able to reach them. But, he addeth, “Stablish Thou me with Thy word:” that I may not by slumbering fall away from those duties which I feel that I have already attained: stablish Thou me therefore in those words of Thine that I already hold, that I may be able to reach unto others through edification.
29. “Take Thou from me the way of iniquity” (Psa. 119.29). And since the law of works hath entered in, that sin might abound; 5159 he addeth, “And pity me according to Thy law.” By what law, save by the law of faith? Hear the Apostle: “Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works. Nay: but by the law of faith.” 5160 This is the law of faith, whereby we believe and pray that it may be granted us through grace; that we may effect that which we cannot fulfil through ourselves; that we may not, ignorant of Gods righteousness, and going about to stablish our own, fail to submit ourselves unto the righteousness of God. 5161
30. But after he had said, “And pity me according to Thy law;” he mentioneth some of those blessings which he hath already obtained, that he may ask others that he hath not yet gained. For he saith, “I have chosen the way of truth: and Thy judgments I have not forgotten” (Psa. 119.30). “I have stuck unto Thy testimonies: O Lord, confound me not” (Psa. 119.31): may I persevere in striving toward the point whereunto I am running: may I arrive whither I am running! So then “it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.” 5162 He next saith, “I will run the way of Thy commandments, when Thou hast widened my heart” (Psa. 119.32). I could not run hadst Thou not widened my heart. The sense of the words, “I have chosen the way of truth, and Thy judgments I have not forgotten: I have stuck unto Thy testimonies,” is clearly explained in this verse. For this running is along the way of the commandments of God. And because he doth allege unto the Lord rather His blessings than his own deservings; as if it were said unto him, How hast thou run that way, by choosing, and by not forgetting the judgments of God, and by sticking to His testimonies? Couldest thou do these things by thyself? I could not, he replieth. It is not therefore through my own will, as though it needed no aid of Thine; but because “Thou has widened my heart.” The widening of the heart is the delight we take in righteousness. This is the gift of God, the effect of which is, that we are not straitened in His commandments through p. 565 the fear of punishment, but widened through love, and the delight we have in righteousness.…
Citizenship. Philip. iii. 20.564:5156
Wisd. ix. 15.564:5157
1 Thess. iv. 17.564:5158
2 Cor. v. 21.564:5159
Rom. v. 20.564:5160
Rom. iii. 27.564:5161
Rom. x. 3.564:5162
Rom. ix. 16.
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