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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.

Gregorian. O LORD, rebuke me not in Thine indignation. [Good Friday: They also that sought after my life did violence.]

Monastic. In Thine anger, rebuke me not, O LORD.

Parisian. O LORD my GOD, be not Thou far from me.

Ambrosian. Haste Thee to help me, O LORD GOD of my salvation.

Mozarabic. LORD, Thou knowest all my desire, and my groaning is not hid from Thee.

1 Put me not to rebuke, O LORD, in thine anger: neither chasten me in thy heavy displeasure.

Besides the usual commentators by whom we are assisted, we have, of course, for this Psalm, the little constellation of theologians who have treated the Penitential Psalms only. And in addition we have one admirable treatise by Andrew Rivet, better known by his Latinized name of Rivetus.

First, they desire to know in what sense this Psalm can be spoken of as a commemoration, seeing that it in no way commemorates either the events of David’s own life, or, as so many do,* the History of the Children of Israel. S. Gregory Nyssen affirms that it is simply intended as a breviate or short summary of prayer for a penitent—what such a one ought to remember when he presents himself before GOD. And then what it has to do with the Sabbath is not very clear. S. Chrysostom holds it to apply to the Great Sabbath “that followed the day of preparation;”* and thus to be occupied in our LORD’s Passion and Burial. They well observe that the bodily disease from which the Psalmist was suffering when he composed it is mercifully left uncertain, to the end that whatever be the diseases of our own soul, (L.) we may use it with a good courage. In most of the editions of the Vulgate it has twenty-one verses; and Innocent III. sees in this a triple Sabbath. Triple either in honour of the Blessed Trinity,* or with reference to the three Sabbaths which the true servant of GOD must of necessity have: that of rest amidst the warfare of this world, that of peace when that warfare is accomplished, but before the final consummation of blessedness;* and the eternal Sabbath of heaven. S. Basil compares this opening verse with the complaint of the sick man, who, knowing that he cannot recover without medicine, yet begs of the physician to temper its bitterness to his weakness. There is nothing more curious than to remark the worldwide difference between earlier and later commentators on this verse; the former, S. Augustine, for example, S. Gregory, S. Cæsarius of Arles, S. Felicianus of Orleans, and others, applying it to the sufferings of good men in this life, and absolutely asserting that with this life they will end, and the latter, such as Dominic Soto and Lorinus, applying it to purgatory and its penal fires. As to the verse itself, I have already spoken of it at the beginning of the sixth Psalm.

2 For thine arrows stick fast in me: and thy hand presseth me sore.

Thine arrows. And they see a great comfort in this expression. We may understand the arrows of temptation shot at us by Satan; (Z.) and yet in a certain sense they are GOD’s arrows also; because He will not permit them to be above our power of endurance, and will not only, if we call on Him, shelter us from them, but will cause them to turn to our more exceeding reward if we resist them. Nay,* Augustine fears not to call them, even in this sense, the arrows of the LORD’s deliverance. And we may take them also in another sense; arrows,* not of temptation, but the thoughts which GOD, by the ministry of Angels, injects into the minds of His servants, thoughts of love, of work to be done for Him, of sufferings to be endured for Him, and which yet are painful, in that they stir us up to exertions above or contrary to our own nature. And be thou well pleased, O Christian,* says one, when such arrows stick fast in thee. Suffer them not to fall from thee and to be lost; cherish the pain, for it is salutary; let patience have her perfect work, that thou mayest be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

[Thy hand presseth me sore, (D. C.) forcing the very arrows deeper into the wounds, instead of drawing them out and healing the sufferer.* Presseth, or as LXX. and Vulgate read, Thou hast strengthened Thine hand upon me, making my pain continuous instead of a momentary pang. And as GOD’s arrows for man’s sin are passibility and mortality, so He does not use them slightly,* but punishes with grievous sorrow, disease, and death. And we may aptly compare that saying of the Roman orator,* “Deorum tela in impiorum mentibus figuntur.” But we may also well contrast the penitent submission of David with the despairing cry of Julian the Apostate, when vainly striving to pluck the Persian javelin from his deadly wound,* “O Galilean, Thou hast conquered.”]

3 There is no health in my flesh, because of thy displeasure: neither is there any rest in my bones, by reason of my sin.

It is said by our Blessed LORD of sin not His own, but borne by Him, (C.) as the scapegoat carried the transgressions of the children of Israel. And He might well, when hanging on the Cross, say, There is no health in my Flesh; for this very cause, that of His people it had been said long before, (A.) “From the sole of the foot even unto the head, there is no soundness in it, but wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores.”* Any rest in my bones; or, as it is in the Vulgate, Peace to my bones. And Innocent III. here takes occasion to distinguish four kinds of men. The first,* those who have peace with sin, because they consent to and obey it; but not from sin, because their conscience upbraids them with its present guilt and future punishment. The second have peace both with sin and from sin, because they have so entirely and so long given themselves up to it, that their conscience is seared, as it were, with a hot iron. The third, those who neither have peace with it nor from it, because they constantly and valiantly resist it. The fourth, those who have no peace with it, because they must ever hate it, yet have peace from it, because they have now passed into that blessed world, where there is no more temptation. It is, no doubt, the fear of seeming to speak irreverently of our Blessed LORD, by putting texts like the present into His mouth, which has caused so great a departure from the mystical interpretation, that S. Augustine and his followers have attached to the Psalms. He here dwells at great length on the applicability of those texts which speak of sin to Him Who did no sin, but bare all.

4 For my wickednesses are gone over my head: and are like a sore burden, too heavy for me to bear.

There is one place where these words might so have been said, (A.) as never else, and that is, the Garden of Gethsemane; for there indeed, for a time, that Head which was once the joy of the Angels, and fairer than the children of men, was overwhelmed by the billows and waves of iniquity that went over it: as it is written, “Save me, O GOD, for the waters are come in even unto my soul.” S. Paulinus has a singular allegory in connection with this verse,* concerning the hair of Samson,—how, when it was severed from his head, his iniquities did indeed go over it: and this, taken in contrast with S. Mary Magdalene wiping our LORD’s feet with her hair, and thus transferring, as it were, to them, and by them so soon after to the Cross, (C.) the weight of her own guilt. And, if we take the words of sinners themselves, then they teach us the very same lesson that we learn from the history of the fall. As man, from desiring to be like GOD, lost his primitive glory and debased his condition; so here sin, which begins by inducing him that commits it to lift up his head in pride against GOD, ends by going over it, and being a sore burden, too heavy for him to bear.* “Choose, therefore,” says the most eloquent of the Greek Fathers, “between the light yoke and easy burden of the LORD, and the sore weight and heavy burden of sin; that talent of lead which Zechariah saw bound in the Ephah; that ponderous burden which made Jonah too heavy for the ship in the storm.”* And compare with this GOD’s denunciations of His anger against the various nations of old time, under the title of the “Burden of Nineveh,” “The Burden of Egypt,” (L.) and the like.

5 My wounds stink and are corrupt: through my foolishness.

The Jews will have it that David, in the course of the year that followed his sin with Bathsheba, and before he was convinced of it by the message of Nathan, was thus smitten with boils from head to foot: and to this, they say, the Psalm refers. S. Gregory takes the putrefaction here mentioned in the Vulgate,* of sins which, having been given up, are again fallen into; such as the Apostle means when he speaks of the sow that was washed returning to her wallowing in the mire; such as our LORD Himself tells us of, when the evil spirit cast out of a man takes to him seven spirits more wicked than himself, that they may enter into him again and dwell there;* and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Mediæval writers dwell at length on the various resemblances between the wounds of the body and the sins of the soul; how complete penitence not only heals the wound, but effaces the scar; how true penitence, but less complete, heals the wound indeed, so as to prevent all further danger or pain from it, but still leaves the scar, which shows what once has been; while unreal penitence brings to pass, as it were, a false cure, and leaves the unprobed wound to break out hereafter more dangerously than ever. But the noblest commentary on these words that was ever written by the pen of man is undoubtedly that marvellous book, the Confessions of S. Augustine.

[My wounds stink. These words, observes Origen,* prove the sincerity of repentance, for so long as the sinner wallows like a hog in the filth of sin, even its odour is pleasant to him, but when he begins to hate his sin, then all its surroundings become odious too, and he calls on the Heavenly Physician to heal him. It is fitting then that sweet and perfumed ointment should be applied to the fetid sores. What shall it be? Let the Bride answer.* “Thy Name is as ointment poured forth.”]

6 I am brought into so great trouble and misery: that I go mourning all the day long.

Here notice five evils arising from sin:* 1, the privation of grace, which leads to misery; 2, the difficulty of doing well, and its consequent trouble; 3, the impossibility of rising by any strength that nature has in itself, in that all the day long; 4, the wretchedness of an evil conscience in mourning; and 5, the pains of hell, which they say are expressed in the word I go. And to such as these, when the means of salvation is taught them, that text applies: “The soul that is greatly vexed, which goeth stooping and feeble, and the eyes that fail, and the hungry soul, will give Thee praise and righteousness, O LORD.”* And observe the depth of this misery: I go mourning all the day long: day, the type and symbol of gladness and joy, now turned into sorrow. There are others who, taking the Vulgate translation, (D. C.) I am bowed down continually, understand by it the beginning of the sinner’s return to GOD: bowed down, that is, by taking the LORD’s Cross, and bearing it after Him.

7 For my loins are filled with a sore disease: and there is no whole part in my body.

Or, as it is in the Vulgate, For my loins are filled with illusions: that is, with temptations; against which S. Paul arms the Christian with the fitting remedy,* Let your loins be girt about with truth. And referring to this it is that, where Behemoth, the type of Satan, is described, it is said, “Lo, now, his strength is in his loins:”* on which S. Gregory dwells at very great length. Innocent III., referring to the word illusions, calls the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, the three chief sophists that, by their delusive arguments, endeavour to seduce man into the way of destruction. And this, he says, is the syllogism that they propound: the world sets forth earthly pleasures as the major; the flesh proposes the carnal receptivity of those pleasures as the minor; and then Satan brings forward eternal death as the conclusion.

8 I am feeble and sore smitten: I have roared for the very disquietness of my heart.

9 LORD, thou knowest all my desire: and my groaning is not hid from thee.

10 My heart panteth, my strength hath failed me: and the sight of mine eyes is gone from me.

Of whom, they ask, can this be said, but of the Man of Sorrows?* Feeble, when so taken in the ship; feeble, when sitting by the well; feeble, when falling beneath the Cross.* And sore smitten. So, indeed, by the servant that smote JESUS, the Servant of servants, with the palm of his hand; when He was scourged by the soldiers; when His most blessed Head was smitten with the reed. But what was this to that infinitely more grievous stroke wherewith He was smitten by the FATHER, when that prophecy was fulfilled, “Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, and against the Man that is My fellow, saith the LORD of Hosts?”* And though it may seem at first sight that those words, I have roared, cannot apply to Him of Whom it is written that He held His peace, insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly,* yet they may well be spoken of that strong crying and tears, of which the Apostle also tells us. Thou knowest all my desire. How not? when the Only-begotten said, “I and My FATHER are one.” (A.) And even here we may take comfort in that saying of S. Paul, “Then shall I know, even as also I am known.”* Lord, Thou knowest all my desire. It may seem madness to the world; it may seem folly even to the wise; it may be so surrounded with difficulties as to appear impossible; but if Thou knowest it, it is enough. If Thou knowest it with the knowledge of approval, Thou wilt either fulfil it, or reward me without fulfilling it. If Thou knowest it, Thou also knowest the means by which it is to be brought to pass. Into Thy hands I commit it, and Thou wilt not disappoint it. Panteth: or, as it well is in S. Jerome’s translation, fluctuates: no unmeet metaphor for palpitation. (A.) All mediæval commentators speak of that suffering of our LORD on the Cross,* which emphatically fulfils that which David here tells. But even still more strikingly does this verse describe His passion, if that be true which modern physical science asserts, that, really and literally, the immediate cause of His death was a broken heart; that having happened to Him which, in some few other cases of great mental agony, has been known to occur, that one of the great valves of the heart burst.* The sight of mine eyes. “Because,” says the Master of the Sentences, “He was so surrounded by the darkness and cloud of sin.” It was this that shut out from Him the light of GOD’s favour, the brilliancy of heaven, even the common light of this world.* And S. Albert enters at great length into this part of our LORD’s sufferings: the darkening of His eyes while He hung on the Cross; the darkness of nature, which spoke of and symbolised the deep blackness of man’s sins.

[They apply these words also to the sinner, yearning to be reconciled to GOD, and they take the strength that fails as the incapacity for doing good,* and the vanished light to be the illumination of grace which has been darkened by sin. But a deeper expositor sees in the strength and light CHRIST Himself,* the desire of the mournful soul, which cries here, as in the Canticles, “My beloved had withdrawn Himself, and was gone, my soul failed.”*]

11 My lovers and my neighbours did stand looking upon my trouble: and my kinsmen stood afar off.

12 They also that sought after my life laid snares for me: and they that went about to do me evil talked of wickedness, and imagined deceit all the day long.

They see in this not only the flight of the Apostles,* when even our LORD Himself said, “Let these go their way,” and it is added, with that which is indeed, however unintentionally, the bitterest irony, “that the saying might be fulfilled which He spake, Of those whom Thou gavest me, I have lost none,”*—as if this were the only way to preserve the disciples firm in their allegiance to Him, that they should not have to bear outward witness to that allegiance,—but they also see those twelve legions of Angels, who were so ready to help, and whose help was refused, who therefore verily stood afar off.* Though S. Bernard speaks much more truly when he says that the Angels are represented by the lovers and friends, but man by the kinsmen. “For verily,”* as S. Paul says, “He took not upon Him the nature of Angels, but He took on Him the seed of Abraham.” Those who so dearly loved Him,—those who had sung Gloria in Excelsis at His birth,—those who were afterwards to appear, the one at the head and the other at the feet where His Body had lain, and who were still later to prophesy of His Second and more glorious Advent,—they now, if not allowed to assist in His trouble, yet stood looking upon it, as one of those mysteries which these blessed spirits desire to look into: even as was typified long before by the Seraphim who bent over the Ark of the Covenant, as if desirous to penetrate into that which it contained. But His kinsmen,—that is, the race of man, with regard to whom He was made bone of their bone, and flesh of their flesh,—they stood afar off, except, indeed, such as gathered round the Cross to mock and to revile. Have laid snares for me. And so it was, (Ay.) indeed, when the tempters were sent out that should feign themselves just men; when, from the Roman penny, from the woman taken in adultery, from the story of the seven brethren, a snare was laid, if it might be so, to take our LORD. S. Bernard applies it to those who now lay snares for every faithful priest of the Great Priest;* who endeavour to entangle him in his works, to perplex him in his actions, to make the straight crooked, and the plain places rough. Imagined deceit all the day long. They take it as a warning of the dangers of prosperity.* They that went about to do me evil are Satan and his hosts; and the day in which they principally imagine deceit is the season of prosperity. It is the same thing which we read in the 91st Psalm: (A.) “A thousand shall fall beside thee, and ten thousand at thy right hand.” When a thousand fall in the ordinary circumstances of life,* then ten thousand fall in the time of prosperity. As it is written in another place, “The wood devoured more people that day than the sword devoured.”*

13 As for me, I was like a deaf man, and heard not: and as one that is dumb, who doth not open his mouth.

14 I became even as a man that heareth not: and in whose mouth are no reproofs.

And so it is written, “Who is blind, but My servant, or deaf, as the messenger that I sent?”* Blind, in not being able to behold the difficulties which stand in his way; deaf,* in paying no attention to the objections and opposition raised by weak friends and strong enemies. And notice how the prophet repeats the question again, as if to emphasise it in its full depth of meaning, “Who is blind as he that is perfect, or blind as the LORD’S servant?” “And it is just this blindness and deafness,” (Ay.) exclaims the great Carmelite expositor, “of which thou, O Christian, standest in need. Though the mountain that opposeth thee be as lofty as Zorobabel’s, thou must not be able to behold it: though there be the thunder of the captains and the shouting amidst those hosts that come forth to bar thy passage towards the heavenly land, to thee they must be inaudible. In this manner it is that thou wilt best follow thy LORD; hearing indeed, and understanding not,—seeing indeed, but perceiving not.” And here also we have a reference to our LORD’s silence at the judgment-seat, when, “as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth.”*

15 For in thee, O LORD, have I put my trust: thou shalt answer for me, O LORD my GOD.

Oh! cries a mediæval writer, (D. C.) how many dear fors there are in the Bible! Notwithstanding all that has gone before, the false accusation, and the silent bearing up against them, (Ay.) here it comes—Thou shalt answer for me. It is as if the LORD said, I cannot answer for Myself. It was prophesied of Me, centuries ago, that, as a sheep before his shearers, so should I be dumb before them that should deprive Me of all things, yea, even of life itself. But Thou shalt answer for me: when there is darkness over the earth, from the sixth hour till the ninth hour; when the vail of the Temple is rent; when the earth quakes, and the graves are open. Thou hast answered for me already on the banks of the Jordan, when Thou didst say, This is My Beloved SON: on the mountain of Transfiguration, when there came the voice from the cloud: in the hill country of Judæa, when that sound descended from heaven, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.” And Thou shalt answer for Me again when at the Last Day Thou shalt commit all judgment into My hand, so that I, unrighteously judged before the tribunal of Pilate, shall righteously judge all nations; Thou still answering for Me, by the glory with which Thou shalt invest Me,* as Thou didst of old time by the humility in which Thou didst support Me. I have. Thou shalt. And they well observe, that in those words the whole Christian life is contained. I have committed my all to Thee;* Thou shalt return it to me with interest: “I have said, Thou art my GOD:” Thou hast said, I will keep thee as the apple of Mine eye. The Carmelite commentator, a little pleased to show his classical learning,* (Ay.) reminds us how Cicero tells us that in certain of the Greek republics he who slew a tyrant was at liberty to ask from the magistrates any reward that he chose. It is thus, says he, with GOD. Of all tyrants, the greatest is Satan: and he that shall so far slay him, as to destroy the power of the devil in his own soul, may indeed demand from GOD whatever he chooses, with the certainty of being heard. In that sense also, Thou shalt answer for me, O Lord my God.

16 I have required that they, even mine enemies, should not triumph over me: for when my foot slipped they rejoiced greatly against me.

I have required. And notice with what a holy boldness it is said;* as if it was more than asking or petitioning; as if he supplicated for something to which he had a right. And observe this: (D. C.) he says not, that I should triumph over them, but, that they should not triumph over me. It is the same thing that is written by another of the most famous adversaries of Satan, “Having done all, to stand.”* For he well knew that the final victory over the devil and all his powers must be reserved for the next world. Not to be conquered is the greatest victory that we may expect in this world.* When my foot slipped. He saith not, When I yielded; or, When I fell; but, When my foot slipped. For those enemies of ours know well to how fatal a result the least slip may lead; how far from the right way the slightest deviation from the King’s high road may conduct us. And notice, therefore, that it is not merely, they rejoiced, but, they rejoiced greatly against me. And none had greater occasion to know this than had David himself. He gave way to the idleness of advancing age and a hot season, when Joab went forth to make war against the enemies of the LORD, in besieging Rabbah of the children of Ammon. One slip—so slight that, in itself, it would have remained unnoticed. Then, instead of doing the business of the day in its day, he must needs give way to idleness by resting in the middle of the day: the result we know. And so again the foot of another Saint slipped when he, in a dark and cold night, must needs warm himself at the fire in the company of his LORD’s enemies. Well might the fiends rejoice greatly over him, when from that one slip they knew that the Prince of Apostles would continue to fall till he began to curse and swear, saying, I know not this Man of whom ye speak.

17 And I, truly, am set in the plague1: and my heaviness is ever in my sight.

We have already referred to the vision of S. Antony, in which he saw the whole earth covered with nets and traps: (D. C.) and here, David is not only exposed to them, but is taken in them. If we take it in the sense of the Latin, I am ready for correction, the verse marvellously applies to the Son of David. For of Him it is written, “JESUS, therefore, knowing all things which should come upon Him, went forth.”* He was ready for all and each of those sufferings from the very time when the salvation of man being devised by the counsel of the ever-blessed Trinity, the Author of our salvation said, “Here am I, send Me.”

18 For I will confess my wickedness: and be sorry for my sin.

They here take occasion to dwell on some of the signs of a true Confession. I will be sorry—not for the shame, (Ay.) not for the punishment, but for the sin. They observe that the confession of sins has three great drawbacks which hinder its utility: either that contrition does not precede, or satisfaction accompany, or emendation follow. Confession without contrition is to profess to have a wound,* says S. Bernard, of which the pain is not felt. Without satisfaction, says S. Augustine,* it is rather the profession than confession of sin. And without emendation, it is rather a charm than a cure: it is to omit half the divine law regarding sin. Whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall find mercy. Whoso confesseth them and forsaketh them not shall find the shame in this world of acknowledged guilt, and shall but be judged more strictly in the next with that terrible sentence: “Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant.”

19 But mine enemies live, and are mighty: and they that hate me wrongfully are many in number.

Mine enemies live. And here they dwell at great length on the different ways in which those spiritual enemies are to be met.* Some to be openly opposed; Resist the devil and he shall flee from you: some to be escaped from: “Flee fornication.” Mine enemies live: (Ay.) that always, whether I resist them or not; and are mighty; that, (D. C.) unless I keep them under by constant self-examination and watchfulness. And then put these words into our LORD’s mouth: Mine enemies both temporal and spiritual, both the devil and they that are of their father the devil, and who do his works; Satan, when he would have cast Me down from the pinnacle of the temple; the Jews, when they would have hurled Me down from the mount of precipitation: Satan, when he would have had Me out of these stones make bread; the Jews, when they called Me a man gluttonous.* Mine enemies live and are mighty, and they that hate me wrongfully. And then we are brought back again to those tender reproaches addressed by the LORD to His people,* to which so lately we had occasion to refer. How from Him all good, how from them all evil: how the greatness of the patience and mercy which shone forth from the LORD’s Passion was counterbalanced, as it were, by the greatness of their malevolence who were the instruments of that Passion.* Are many in number. From the soldiers who were sent forth to destroy the infants of Bethlehem and the coasts thereof, (P.) down to the multitudes that mocked and reviled on Mount Calvary, many in number indeed! Or, if we apply it to those ancient enemies who were cast out of heaven with their leader,* then we know that the number of those who followed Lucifer in his revolt were the third part of the heavenly host. Many: and therefore the many mansions in our LORD’s kingdom; therefore the loss of the Angels made up by the redemption of man.

[But. It is not a complaint,* but a thanksgiving. Here is GOD’s medicine, salutary, but painful. Because I have shown my wounds to the Physician, He is ready to heal me, in His own way, by causing me to suffer persecution, and that at the hands of those who are mighty, bitterly hostile, and many. And it has always been true, not only of single penitents, but of Churches turning back to GOD after long dalliance with the world. The moment they show tokens of renewed spiritual life, the world, till then ready to pamper and flatter them, turns on them in bitter and unmerited hatred, that persecution may kindle love yet more.]

20 They also that reward evil for good are against me: because I follow the thing that good is.

Here we have the True Daniel—(Ay.) “We shall not find any fault against him, except we find it concerning the law of his GOD.”* And notice the cruelty with which the Jews found this cause of blame. With the accusers of Daniel the complaint was straightforward; it was that the Prophet kept those commandments of GOD which contravened the laws of Darius. But with regard to our LORD, it was that He, the Brightness of His FATHER’s glory, and the express image of His Person, transgressed His FATHER’s laws; as, for example, in the commandments respecting the Sabbath. In the Vulgate, instead of,* I follow the thing that good is, we have, Because I spake that which is good. And if so, even more remarkably does it tell us of Him of Whom His very enemies wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of His Mouth, and the officers that were sent to apprehend Him were compelled to confess “that never man spake like this Man.”

21 Forsake me not, O LORD my GOD: be not thou far from me.

22 Haste thee to help me: O LORD GOD of my salvation.

I do not know that the whole latter part of this Psalm (D. C.) can be explained better than in the words of Denis à Ryckel:—My lovers and my neighbours, that is, the Jews who seen to be My friends, in that they profess to love GOD, and to expect His SON from heaven, did stand looking upon my trouble, when they gathered a council against Me to put Me to death, and when they cried out before Pilate, Crucify Him, crucify Him. And my kinsmen stood afar off; that is, they who were My disciples, but departed from Me, crying out, “This is a hard saying: who can hear it?”* As for me, I was like a deaf man and heard not; as Luke testifieth when he saith, “Herod questioned with JESUS in many words, but He answered him nothing;”* and Pilate, when he exclaimed, “Hearest Thou not how many things they witness against Thee?” For in Thee, O Lord, have I put my trust; as being perfect Man and in a certain sense like other men, a traveller to the celestial country: Thou shalt hear me, O Lord my God: that is, Thou shalt grant whatever I absolutely and deliberately desire. Mine enemies live and are mighty; that is the Jews, who said, “Come, let us kill Him, and the inheritance shall be ours;” and they that hate me wrongfully are many in number: that the word might be fulfilled which was written in their law, “They hated Me without a cause.” Forsake me not, O Lord my God, that is, Leave not My Body in the sepulchre, but quicken it on the third day. Be not Thou far from me, that is, Fulfil Thine own promise that Thou shalt not leave My soul in hell, neither shalt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption. Haste Thee to help me, so that I may bring all My saints, as yet detained in the land of darkness and the shadow of death, at My own resurrection into the light of life. O Lord God of my salvation—of Mine, in so far as I am very man; of Mine, in so far, also, as I am one with them whom I have redeemed, and who put their trust in Me. “See,” he continues, “how full of affection is this Psalm, how gloriously it teaches what the true penitent ought to be, how he should lament to the uttermost all his sins, and be prepared to suffer their penalty. And since this Psalm is one of the Penitential Psalms, we ought especially to labour that we may enter into its full meaning, for it is in some sense obscured. As to those who expound it of David, of very little profit is their interpretation, seeing it ought rather to be applied to Him Who is the King of all penitents, and the Receiver of those who return to Him.”

And therefore:

Glory be to the FATHER, the LORD GOD of our salvat on and to the SON, Who shall answer for us: and to the HOLY GHOST, Who will not be far from us;

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

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