Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. VIII:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Expositions on the Book of Psalms.: Jod.
p. 572 Jod.
72. …“Thy hands have made me, and fashioned me” (Psa. 119.73). The hands of God are the power of God. Or if the plural number moveth them, since it is not said, Thy hand, but, “Thy hands;” let them understand by the hands of God the power and wisdom of God, both of which titles are given to one Christ, 5227 who is also understood under the figure, Arm of the Lord. 5228 Or let them understand by the hands of God, the Son and the Holy Spirit; since the Holy Spirit worketh conjointly with the Father and the Son: whence saith the Apostle, “But all these worketh that one and the self-same Spirit:” 5229 he said, “one and the self-same;” lest as many spirits as works might be imagined, not that the Spirit worketh without the Father and the Son. It is easy therefore to see how the hands of God are to be understood: provided, at the same time, that He be not denied to do those things through His Word which He doth by His hands: nor be considered not to do those things with His hands, which He doth through His word.…But is this said in respect of Adam? from whom since all men were propagated, what man, since Adam was made, may not say that he himself also was made by reason of procreation and generation from Adam? Or may it rightly be said, in this sense, “Thy hands have made me, and fashioned me,” namely, that every man is born even of his parents not without the work of God, God creating, they generating? Since, if the creative 5230 power of God be withdrawn from things, they perish: nor is anything at all, either of the worlds elements, or of parents, or of seeds, produced, if God doth not create it.…
73. The Greek version hath a more concise expression for our, “Give me understanding,” συν™τισον με, expressing “give understanding” by the single word συν™τισον, which the Latin cannot do; as if one could not say, Heal me; and it were necessary to say, Give me health, as it is here said, “Give me understanding;” or, make me whole, as here it may be said, make me intelligent. This indeed an Angel could do: for he said to Daniel, “I am come to give thee understanding;” 5231 and this word is in the Greek, as it is here also, συν™τισαί σε; as if the Latin translator were to render θεραπεῦσαί σε by sanitatem dare tibi. For the Latin interpreter would not make a circumlocution by saying, to give thee understanding, if, as we say from health, “to heal thee,” so one could say from intellect, “to intellectuate thee.” But if an Angel could do this, what reason is there that this man should pray that this be done for him by God? Is it because God had commanded the Angel to do it? Just so: for Christ is understood to have given this command to the Angel. 5232 …
74. “That I may learn Thy commandments.” Since Thou, saith he, hast formed me, do Thou new form me; that that may be done in Christs Body, which the Apostle speaks of, “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” 5233
75. “They that fear Thee,” he saith, “will see me, and be glad” (Psa. 119.74): or, as other copies have it, “will be joyful: because I have hoped in Thy word:” that is, in the things which Thou hast promised, that they may be the sons of promise, the seed of Abraham, in whom all nations are blessed. 5234 Who are they who fear God, and whom will they see and be glad, because he hath put his trust in the word of God? Whether it be the body of Christ, that is, the Church, whose words these are through Christ, or within it, and concerning it, these are as it were the words of Christ concerning Himself; are not they themselves among those who fear God?…The same persons, who see the Church and are glad, are the Church. But why said he not, They who fear Thee see me, and are glad: whereas he hath written, “fear Thee,” in the present tense; while the verbs “shall see,” and shall “be glad,” are futures? Is it because in the present state there is fear, as long as “mans life is a temptation upon earth;” 5235 but the gladness which he desired to be understood, will be then, when “the righteous shall shine in the kingdom of their Father like the sun.” 5236 …
76. “I know,” she saith, “O Lord, that Thy judgments are righteous, and that in Thy truth Thou hast humbled me” (Psa. 119.75). “O let Thy merciful kindness be my comfort, according to Thy word unto Thy servant” (Psa. 119.76). Mercy and truth are so spoken of in the Divine Word, that, while they are found in many passages, especially in the Psalms, it is also so read in one place, “All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth.” 5237 And here indeed he hath placed truth first, whereby we are humbled unto death, by the judgment of Him whose judgments are righteousness: next mercy, whereby we are renewed unto life, by the promise of Him whose blessing is His grace. For this reason he saith, “according to Thy Word unto Thy servant:” that is, according to that which Thou hast promised unto Thy servant. Whether therefore it be regeneration whereby we are here adopted among the sons of God, or faith and hope and charity, which three are built up in us, although they p. 573 come from the mercy of God; nevertheless, in this stormy and troublesome life they are the consolations of the miserable, not the joys of the blessed.
77. But since those things are destined to happen after and through these, he next saith, “O let Thy loving mercies come upon me, and I shall live” (Psa. 119.77). For then indeed I shall truly live, when I shall not be able to fear lest I die. This is styled life absolutely and without any addition; nor is any life save that which is everlasting and blessed understood, as though it alone were to be called life, compared with which that which we now lead ought rather to be called death than life: according to those words in the Gospel, “If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.” 5238 …
78. He then goeth on as follows: “Let the proud be confounded, for they have unrighteously practised iniquity against me: but I will be occupied in Thy commandments” (Psa. 119.78). Behold, what he saith, the meditation of the law of God, or rather, his meditation the law of God.
79. “Let such as fear Thee,” he saith, “and have known Thy testimonies, be turned unto me” 5239 (Psa. 119.79). But who is he who saith this? For no mortal will venture to say this, or if he say it, should be listened to. Indeed, it is He who above also hath interposed His own words, saying, “I am a partaker with all them that fear Thee.” Because He was made sharer in our mortal state, that we might also become partakers in His Divine Nature, we became sharers in One unto life, He a sharer in many unto death. He it is unto whom they that fear God turn, and who know the testimonies of God, so long before predicted of Him through the Prophets, a little before displayed in His presence through miracles.
80. “O let my heart,” he saith, “be unspotted in Thy righteousnesses, that I be not ashamed” (Psa. 119.80). He returneth to the words of His body, that is, His holy people, and now prayeth that his heart may be made unspotted, that is, the heart of His members; “in the righteousnesses of God,” not in their own strength: for He hath prayed for this, not presumed upon it. In the words he hath added, “that I be not ashamed,” there is a resemblance to some of the earlier verses of this Psalm. 5240 Whereas there, in the words, “O that,” he signifieth a wish, he hath here expressed himself in the more open words of one praying: “O let my heart be sound:” so that in neither of these two sentences, each of which is one and the same, there is found the boldness of one who trusteth in his own free will against grace. While he saith there, “so shall I not be confounded:” he saith here, “that I be not ashamed.” The heart then of the members and the body of Christ is made unspotted, through the grace of God, by means of the very Head of that Body, that is, through Jesus Christ our Lord, by the “laver of regeneration,” 5241 wherein all our past sins have been blotted out; through the aid of the Spirit, whereby we lust against the flesh, that we be not overcome in our fight; 5242 through the efficacy of the Lords Prayer, wherein we say, “Forgive us our trespasses.” 5243 Thus regeneration having been given to us, our conflict having been aided, prayer having been poured forth, our heart is made unspotted, so that we be not ashamed. 5244
1 Cor. i. 24.572:5228
Isa. liii. 1. “Where it is read, And unto whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?”572:5229
1 Cor. xii. 11.572:5230
Dan. x. 14.572:5232
Dan. 8:15, 16.572:5233
Rom. xii. 2.572:5234
Gen. 12:3, Gen. 26:4.572:5235
Job vii. 1. [Here our author reasons against the idea of unconditional election to eternal life.—C.]572:5236
Matt. xiii. 43.572:5237
Ps. xxv. 10.573:5238
Matt. xix. 17.573:5239
[He says: “In some copies, both Greek and Latin, we have found convertantur mihi, which I consider to mean just the same as if it were, ad me.”—C.]573:5240
See Ps. 119:5, 6.573:5241
Tit. iii. 5.573:5242
Gal. v. 17.573:5243
Matt. vi. 12.573:5244
Luke 6:37, 38.
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