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A Commentary On The Psalms From Primitive and Mediæval Writers Volumes 1 To 4 by Rev. J.M. Neale D.D.

Monastic. Arise, * Thou Judge of the world.

Ambrosian. Ferial. As preceding Psalm. [Easter Eve: They set up * over His head His accusation written, JESUS of Nazareth, King of the Jews.]

Lyons. Holiness becometh Thine house for ever.

Mozarabic. Wonderful are the liftings up of the sea, * wonderful in the heights is the LORD.

1a (1) The LORD is King, and hath put on glorious apparel: the LORD hath put on his apparel, and girded himself with strength.

The Psalmist,* as with a herald’s voice, proclaims publicly to all men that the LORD hath taken the insignia of a King, and after defeating in battle and casting out the prince of this world, hath reduced under His sway the kingdom which was always His possession. And so, under the type of a king, who assumes the royal insignia on the day of his proclamation, he declares that the LORD is clad in glorious apparel, as though adorned with kingly vestments. He styles His achievements and triumphant victory as glorious apparel, wherewith He is so adorned as a conquering king is wont to be decked in the robes of triumph. Or He is equipped with glittering and dazzling arms for the overthrow of His enemies, which view the next phrase confirms, He is clothed with strength (A. V., Vulg.) for the arms He puts on are not merely splendid, but strong. Finally, He hath girded Himself, to wit, with baldric and sword, to do battle with the foe. This apparel may perhaps apply better to His Resurrection, when, laying aside the garb of mortality, He was clad in the raiment of immortality, glorious at once and strong; glorious in kingly majesty, strong for joining battle against the enemy. Epiphanius refers the glorious apparel to the Incarnation, that of strength to the Resurrection. When He came on earth, (A.) some heard Him gladly; and to them He appeared in His beauty, while others reviled and slandered Him, for whose punishment He clothed Himself with His might. It is so still, wherever His Gospel is preached, according as men accept or reject it, for it is written, “We are unto GOD a sweet savour of CHRIST, (C.) in them that are saved, and in them that perish: to the one we are the savour of death unto death, and to the other the savour of life unto life.”* The LORD showed His might, when at His word “I am,” His enemies “went backward and fell to the ground.”* He girded Himself, (A.) in the might of that humility wherewith He overthrew the pride of Satan, when He stooped to wash the feet of His disciples. He clothed Himself with beauty and strength in the holiness and boldness of those Saints whom He joined to Himself,* especially His Apostles,* when He girded Himself to the task of establishing His kingdom on earth. These were His royal purple,* dyed in His own Blood as He was lifted, King, on His throne the Cross, and the valour of His Martyrs was the strength that compassed Him about. And as He was King from all eternity, beautiful and glorious in His Godhead, it is clear that we must interpret this beginning of His kingdom, this new clothing of His Person, of the Incarnation. And that Body which He assumed is called beauty εὐπρέπειαν, (decorem),* because of its showing us His image, because of its sinlessness, and because of the loving-kindness towards us testified in the mystery. (Cd.) Wherefore it is said of Him, “Thou art fairer than the children of men;”* and of His girding Himself, that “righteousness shall be the girdle of His loins,* and faithfulness the girdle of His reins.”* (A.) This is the girdle wherewith He complies with that invocation,* “Gird Thee with Thy sword upon Thy thigh, O Thou most mighty,”* as He goes armed with the Spirit of GOD to receive for Himself the Kingdom according to His own saying, “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth;” so that beginning from His hidden throne in the hearts of His elect, (D. C.) He spreads His empire by the voice of His preachers over the whole earth and amongst all nations.

1b (2) He hath made the round world so sure: that it cannot be moved.

That round world,* which aforetime was shaken under the rule of its prince, and was at strife through the warring opposition of divers opinions, and tossed about with the worship of numerous and unlike divinities, was made sure by the LORD when He became King,* so that it cannot be moved, because it has now been given the steadfastness of truth, as worship is paid to the true GOD. Just so, the proclamation of a new king, whose title and power are unimpeachable, allays the strife of factions, contending before each for its own candidate, and joy spreads amongst the people, knowing that peace and justice will return. This kingdom cannot be moved, (D. C.) for it is founded on the Rock eternal, upon CHRIST Himself, Who stablishes His chosen in faith, so perfectly that they cannot be shaken by any temptations or fears so as to fall from Him by violence from without.

2 (3) Ever since the world began hath thy seat been prepared: thou art from everlasting.

Hence there is not that peril with CHRIST the King which besets other new monarchs as they begin their reign;* the danger of inexperience in governing. His throne is from everlasting,* and all the hoarded wisdom of eternity is His very own. His seat is fivefold, (D. C.) that of His divine throne,* co-equal with the FATHER, for “thus saith the LORD, The Heaven is My throne, (Ay.) and the earth My footstool;” that hallowed resting-place of His in the pure womb of Blessed Mary; that of His Cross; the believing heart of any of His faithful disciples, or, indeed the aggregate of all such hearts, making up the Holy Catholic Church; and the judicial seat allotted to Him, as Man, on the right hand of the FATHER. These latter thrones were prepared and predestined for Him since the world began, since the creation and fall of man necessitated His coming in flesh; but He does not Himself begin then, for He, co-eternal and consubstantial with the FATHER, is from everlasting, is,* not with the mere fact of existence, but with that plenitude of Being which is the life of all created things.

3 (4) The floods are risen, O LORD, the floods have lift up their voice: the floods lift up their waves.

4 (5) The waves of the sea are mighty, and rage horribly: but yet the LORD, who dwelleth on high, is mightier.

Herein we have set before us the roar and tumult of Jews and Pagans against the new Kingdom of CHRIST, (L.) and the climax of the triple repetition in the fourth verse denotes the gathering force of the deluge; first,* the angry commotion; then the loud accusations; lastly, the wild tumult; all too weak to resist the eye and voice of Him Who rebuketh the winds and waves, saying, “Peace, be still.” But the floods of the fourth verse are rivers, as rightly translated by LXX. and Vulgate, whereas those of the fifth verse are waves of the sea, and therefore more than one commentator has seen here a rivalry and opposition between the sweet waters of the one and the salt billows of the other. They will have it that the rivers flow from the well-head of living waters, (A.) that they are the rivers of that flood which makes glad the City of GOD,* swollen by the descending rain of Pentecost, the Apostles themselves, lifting up their voice, the voice of many waters (LXX., Vulg.) in the speech of many a land, to proclaim that the LORD is King, lifting up their waves to sweep away every barrier to the triumphant advance of the Gospel waters. Against them rise up in resistance the waves of the sea, trying to beat back the flood of sweet waters poured into their salt bosom, but vainly, for wonderful as are the liftings-up (LXX., Vulg.) of that wild sea of human rage, more wonderful still in the highest is the LORD Who is throned over all, and, through His mercy, those liftings-up of the very waves became wonderful in grace, by His conversion of the raging heathen into meek disciples of the Lamb, (C.) lifting them up to the very heavens, and that from the voices of many waters, (Z.) the vows made to Him from the baptismal fonts of countless churches in divers nations of the earth.

5 (6) Thy testimonies, O LORD, are very sure: holiness becometh thine house for ever.

Whatever the types and prophecies of the Old Testament, the words of the Evangelists, (D. C.) the teachings of the Apostles, the articles of the Creeds, allege concerning CHRIST the LORD, belonging as they do to faith, though incapable of proof by natural reason, as dealing with things hoped for and unseen, are proved by the marvellous works of the LORD Himself,* and yet more by His patient life and painful death. His predictions, too, are fulfilled, telling His disciples that they should have tribulations in this world, and therefore they look for the accomplishment of the remainder of His prophecy,* the victory and peace which He promises them in Himself. And because this is so, because His testimonies are true, holiness becometh His house,* that is, it is the fit and peculiar attribute of that sacred shrine of His most pure Body, wherein the Godhead tabernacled; it is the fit adornment of that Virgin Mother within whom He vouchsafed to dwell; it is the peculiar and distinguishing mark of His Church; it is the token of His true followers, who bear in mind the Apostle’s saying,* “Know ye not that ye are the temple of GOD, (Cd.) and that the Spirit of GOD dwelleth in you?”* And that no mere passing holiness, no temporary consecration, such as Shiloh, and Gibeon, and Sion had for a time, but that which is for ever, hallowed by the perpetual abiding Presence of GOD in Beatific Vision.

The LORD,* then, is King, for He assumed His Kingdom on the Cross; He put on glorious apparel in His Resurrection; He clothed weakness with strength, and girded Himself with eternity, and made the world sure in His Resurrection. And having His seat prepared, He ascended to the right hand of the FATHER in heaven. The floods of the Scriptures preached Him, and lifted up their voices for Him against the voice of many waters; more mightily, that is, than the gainsaying Gentiles. And thus CHRIST was made wonderful to the liftings-up of the sea, that is, to the kings and mighty men of this world; and not to them only, but wonderful in the highest, ascending the heavens as LORD, for then the testimonies of GOD were made very easy of belief, when He gave power of working cures upon mankind. And now that House of His which the Pharisees declared could not receive the holy precepts, hath accepted the Old Testament with its laws. Therefore now the Holy of holies befits it, that it may dwell there for evermore.

Wherefore:

Glory be to the FATHER, Who is from everlasting; glory be to the SON, the King Who hath girded Himself with strength; glory be to the HOLY GHOST, Who is the holiness of the house of GOD.

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be: world without end. Amen.








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