Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. VIII:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Expositions on the Book of Psalms.: Vav.
42. “And let Thy loving mercy come also unto us, O Lord” (Psa. 119.41). This sentence seems annexed to the foregoing: for he doth not say, Let it come unto me, but, “And let it come unto me.”…What then doth he here pray for, save that through His loving mercy who commanded, he may perform the commandments which he hath coveted? For he explaineth in some degree what he meant by adding, “even Thy salvation, according to Thy word:” that is, according to Thy promise. Whence the Apostle desireth us to be understood as the children of promise: 5180 that we may not imagine that what we are is our own work, but refer the whole to the grace of God.…Christ Himself is the Salvation of God, so that the whole body of Christ may say, “By the grace of God I am what I am.” 5181
43. “And so shall I make answer,” he saith, “to them that reproach me with the word” (Psa. 119.42). It is doubtful whether it be “reproach me with a word;” or, “I will answer with a word;” but either signifieth Christ. They to whom Christ crucified is a stumbling-block or foolishness, 5182 reproach us with Him; ignorant that “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt in us;” 5183 the Word which “was in the beginning,” and “was with God, and was God.” 5184 But although they may not reproach us with the Word which is unknown unto them, because His Divinity is not known unto those by whom His weakness on the Cross is despised; let us nevertheless make answer of the Word, and let us not be terrified or confounded by their reproaches. For “if they had known” the Word, “they p. 567 would never have crucified the Lord of glory.” 5185 …Therefore, when the Psalmist had said, “I will make answer unto them that reproach me with the word:” he at once addeth, “For my trust is in Thy words,” which meaneth exactly, in Thy promises.
44. “O take not the word of Thy truth away out of my mouth even exceedingly” (Psa. 119.43). He saith, out of my mouth, because the unity of the body is speaking, among whose members those also are counted who failed at the hour by denying, but by penitence afterwards came again to life, or even, by renewing their confession, received the palm of martyrdom, which they had lost. The word of truth, therefore, was not “even exceedingly,” or, as some copies have it, even every way, that is not altogether taken from the mouth of Peter, in whom was the type of the Church; because although he denied for the hour, being disturbed with fear, yet by weeping he was restored, 5186 and by confessing was afterwards crowned. The whole body of Christ therefore speaketh.…Next followeth, “for I have hoped in Thy judgments.” Or, as some have more strictly rendered it from the Greek, “I have hoped more;” 5187 a word which, although compounded in a somewhat unusual way, yet answers the necessary purpose of conveying the truth in a translation.…Behold the saints and the humble in heart when they have trusted in Thee, have not failed in persecutions: behold also those who from trusting in themselves have failed, and nevertheless have belonged to the Very Body, have wept when they became known unto themselves, and have found Thy grace a more solid support, because they have lost their own pride.
45. “So shall I alway keep Thy law” (Psa. 119.44): that is, if Thou wilt not take the word of Thy truth out of my mouth. “Yea, unto age, and age of age:” he showeth what he meant by “alway.” For sometimes by “alway” is meant, as long as we live here; but this is not, “unto age, and age of age.” 5188 For it is better thus translated than as some copies have, “to eternity, and to age of age,” since they could not say, and to eternity of eternity. That law therefore should be understood, of which the Apostle saith, “Love is the fulfilling of the law.” 5189 For this will be kept by the saints, from whose mouth the word of truth is not taken, that is, by the Church of Christ Herself, not only during this world, that is, until this world is ended; but for another also which is styled, “world without end.” 5190 …
46. “And I walked at liberty: for I sought Thy precepts” (Psa. 119.45).…“And I walked at liberty.” Here the copulative conjunction, “and,” is not used as a connecting particle; for he doth not say, and I will walk, as he had said, “and I will keep Thy commandments for ever and ever:” or if this latter verse be in the optative mood, and may I keep Thy law; he doth not add, And may I walk at liberty, as if he had desired and prayed for both of these things; but he saith, “And I walked at liberty.” If this conjunction were not used here, and if the sentence were introduced free from any such connection with what preceded, “I walked at liberty,” the reader would never be induced by anything unusual in the mode of speech to think he should seek for some hidden sense. Doubtless, then, he wished what he hath not said to be understood, that is, that his prayers had been heard; and he then added what he had become: as if he were to say, When I prayed for these things, Thou heardest me, “And I walked at liberty;” and so with the remaining expressions which he hath added to the same purpose.
47. …Whence after he had said, “And I walked at liberty,” he subjoined the reason, “For I sought out Thy commandments.” Some copies have not “commandments” but “testimonies:” but we find “commandments” in most, and especially in the Greek; and who would hesitate rather to believe this tongue, as prior to our own, 5191 and that from which these Psalms have been rendered into Latin? If then we wish to know how he sought out these commandments, or how they ought to be sought out, let us consider what our good Master, who both taught and gave them, saith: “Ask, and it shall be given you.” 5192 And a little lower, “If ye then,” He saith, “being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in Heaven give good things to them that ask Him.” 5193 Where He evidently showeth, that the words He had spoken, seek, ask, knock, belong only to earnestness in asking, that is, in praying. Moreover, another Evangelist saith not, He will give good things to them that ask Him; which may be understood in many ways, either as earthly or spiritual blessings; but has excluded other interpretations, and very carefully expressed what our Lord wished us to pray earnestly and instantly for, in these words: “How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him.” 5194 …
48. “I spoke of Thy testimonies also,” he saith, “before kings, and I was not ashamed” (Psa. 119.46): as one who had sought and had p. 568 received grace to answer those who reproached him with the word, and the promise that the word of truth should not be taken from his mouth. Struggling for this truth even unto death, not even before kings was he ashamed to speak of it. For testimonies, whereof he doth avow that he was speaking, are in Greek styled μαρτύρια, a word which we now employ instead of the Latin. The name of “Martyrs,” unto whom Jesus foretold, that they should confess Him even before kings, 5195 is derived hence.
49. “And I meditated,” he saith, “on Thy commandments, which I have loved” (Psa. 119.47). “My hands also have I lifted up unto Thy commandments, which I have loved” (Psa. 119.48); or, as some copies read, “which I have loved exceedingly,” or “too much,” or “vehemently,” as they have chosen to render the Greek word σφόδρα. He then loved the commandments of God because he walked at liberty; that is, through the Holy Spirit, through whom love itself is shed abroad, 5196 and enlargeth the hearts of the faithful. But he loved, both in thought and in acts. With a view to thought, he saith, “And I meditated:” as to action, “My hands also have I lifted up.” But to both sentences, he hath annexed the words, “which I have loved:” for “the end of the commandment is love out of a pure heart.” 5197 …The following words, “And my study was in Thy statutes,” relate to both. This expression most of the translators have preferred to this, “I rejoiced in,” or “I talked of,” a version which some have given from the Greek ἠδολ™σχουν. For he who keepeth the commandments of God, which he loveth, both in thought and in works taking delight in them, is exercised with joy, and with a certain abundance of speech, in the judgments of God.
Rom. ix. 8.566:5181
1 Cor. xv. 10.566:5182
1 Cor. i. 23.566:5183
John i. 14.566:5184
John i. 1.567:5185
1 Cor. ii. 8.567:5186
Matt. xxvi. 70-75.567:5187
Supersperavi. Gr. ἐπήλπισα; literally, as he takes it, “over-hoped.”567:5188
The phrase in sæculum sæculi is that which we usually render “world without end,” or, “for ever and ever.”567:5189
Rom. xiii. 10.567:5190
Lit. “age of age.”567:5191
[A noteworthy tribute to the Septuagint as compared with the Vulgate.—C.]567:5192
Matt. vii. 7.567:5193
Matt. vii. 11.567:5194
Luke xi. 13. [The sevenfold gifts.—C.]568:5195
Matt. x. 18.568:5196
Rom. v. 5.568:5197
1 Tim. i. 5.
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