151. Let no man, set in Christs body, imagine these words to be alien from himself, since in truth it is the whole body of Christ placed in this humble state that speaketh: “O consider my humiliation, and deliver me: for I forget not Thy law” (Psa. 119.153). In this place we cannot understand any law of God so suitably, as that whereby it is immutably determined that “every one that exalteth himself, shall be abased; and every one that humbleth himself; shall be exalted.” 5356
152. “Avenge Thou,” he saith, “my cause, and deliver me” (Psa. 119.154). The former sentence is here almost repeated. And what is there said, “For I do not forget Thy law,” agreeth with what we read here, “Quicken me, according to Thy word.” For these words are the law of God, which he hath not forgot, so that he hath abased himself, and will therefore be exalted. But the words, “Quicken me,” pertain to this very exaltation; for the exaltation of the saints is everlasting life.
153. “Health,” he saith, “is far from the ungodly: for they regard not Thy righteousnesses” (Psa. 119.155). This separateth thee, that what they have not done, thou hast done, that is, thou hast regarded the righteousnesses of God. But “what hast thou that thou hast not received?” 5357 Art thou not he who a little before didst say, “I will keep Thy righteousnesses”? Thou therefore hast received from Him, unto whom thou didst call, the power to keep them. He therefore doth Himself separate thee from those from whom health is far, because they have not regarded the righteousnesses of God.
154. This he saw himself also. For I should not see it, save I saw it in Him, save I were in Him. For these are the words of the Body of Christ, whose members we are. He saw this, I say, and at once added, “Great are Thy mercies, O Lord” (Psa. 119.156). Even our seeking out Thy righteousnesses, then, cometh of Thy p. 586 mercies. “Quicken me according to Thy judgment.” For I know that Thy judgments will not be upon me without Thy mercy.
155. “Many there are that trouble me, and persecute me; yet do I not swerve from Thy testimonies” (Psa. 119.157). This hath been realized: we know it, we recollect it, we acknowledge it. The whole earth has been crimsoned by the blood of Martyrs; heaven is flowery with the crowns of Martyrs, the Churches are adorned with the memorials of Martyrs, seasons distinguished by the birthdays of Martyrs, cures more frequent 5358 by the merits of Martyrs. Whence this, save because that hath been fulfilled which was prophesied 5359 of that Man who hath been spread abroad around the whole world. We recognize this, and render thanks to the Lord our God. For thou, man, thou hast thyself said in another Psalm, “If the Lord Himself had not been on our side, they would have swallowed us up quick.” 5360 Behold the reason why thou hast not swerved from His testimonies, and hast won the palm of thy heavenly calling amid the hands of the many who persecuted and troubled thee.
156. “I have seen,” he saith, “the foolish, and I pined” (Psa. 119.158): or, as other copies read, “I have seen them that keep not covenant:” this is the reading of most. But who are they who have not kept covenant, save they who have swerved from the testimonies of God, not bearing the tribulation of their many persecutors? Now this is the covenant, that he who shall have conquered shall be crowned. They who, not bearing persecution, have by denial swerved from the testimonies of God, have not kept the covenant. These then the Psalmist saw, and pined, for he loved them. For that jealousy is good, springing from love, not from envy. He addeth in what respect they had failed to keep the covenant, “Because they kept not Thy word.” For this they denied in their tribulations.
157. And he commendeth himself as differing from them, and saith, “Behold, how I have loved Thy commandments” (Psa. 119.159). He saith not, I have not denied Thy words or testimonies, as the Martyrs were urged to do, and, when they refused, suffered intolerable torments: but he said this wherein is the fruit of all sufferings; for, “if I give up my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” 5361 The Psalmist, praising this virtue, saith, “Behold, how I have loved Thy commandments.” Then he asketh his reward, “O Lord, quicken me, according to Thy mercy.” These put me to death, do Thou quicken me. But if a reward be asked of mercy, which justice is bound to give; how much greater is that mercy, which enabled him to gain the victory, on account of which the reward was sought for?
158. “The beginning,” he saith, “of Thy words is truth; all the judgments of Thy righteousness endure for evermore” (Psa. 119.160). From truth, he saith, Thy words do proceed, and they are therefore truthful, and deceive no man, for in them life is announced to the righteous, punishment to the ungodly. These are the everlasting judgments of Gods righteousness.
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