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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. Thou art the GOD * that doest wonders. [Maundy Thursday. In the day of my trouble I sought the LORD with my hands.]

Monastic. The same.

Parisian. What is man, O LORD, that Thou art mindful of him; or the son of man, that Thou visitest him?

Ambrosian. I remembered GOD * and was glad.

Lyons. Be merciful * to our sins, O LORD.

Mozarabic. In the time of my trouble I sought the LORD * with my hands by night before Him, and I was not deceived.

1 I will cry unto GOD with my voice: even unto GOD will I cry with my voice, and he shall hearken unto me.

It matters little whether we read the verse thus, or, with the Vulgate, in the past tense throughout. Either way it represents to us the sure hope of a faithful soul in the promises of GOD. With my voice. And they note the stress on my voice. They who pray must do it for themselves,* must do it with the articulate, intelligent voice of a man, not with the inarticulate sound of a beast, must direct their petition to GOD Himself. And hence it is laid down by all Canonists that a cleric or religious who is bound to the recitation of certain offices does not satisfy his obligation by being merely present while another is reciting them, without taking any more direct share himself,* nor yet by silently reading the service, nor even by hasty and muttered recitation. He must cry to GOD with his voice, for “with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”* Hence the words are repeated in the verse, (Ay.) because in all true prayer there is first a silent cry of the heart, which later finds utterance in sound. So it is written that “the LORD said to Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto Me?”* though Moses had spoken no word. Who is the I that cried? It is spoken, they answer, of the mystical Adam, (P.) the type of mankind, crying from the creation till David, from David to CHRIST, and always to the Lord, as asking nothing save Himself,* that He should be our GOD and Master. And He heard me. How?

In fine namque sæculi*

Constituit incarnari

Suum natum unicum

Lumen de lumine verum.

Qui hominem redimeret

Et paradiso redderet,

Unde est ejectus

A serpente quum deceptus.

2 In the time of my trouble I sought the LORD: my sore ran, and ceased not in the night season; my soul refused comfort.

That time of trouble is the whole of our earthly life, (Ay.) but the Saints, instead of wasting it in vain complaints and angry murmurs, (C.) turn at once to GOD from their sorrows, and cast their burden on Him. The Vulgate has the day of trouble. And they point out how it is the day, (Ay.) as being the time for work, and because sorrow clears and enlightens the soul. My sore ran. This is certainly not the meaning of the passage. The Hebrew literally is: My hand was poured out: a metaphor denoting the act of stretching out. The LXX. and Vulgate therefore give the sense,* though not in its fulness, by reading, I sought the Lord with my hands before Him in the night, as it were groping eagerly for Him in the dark. S. Jerome and Symmachus agree in reading my hand was stretched out. It is the action of prayer that is implied,* but they add that good works also are here signified, and especially those of almsgiving. And they remind us how the doubting Apostle stretched out his hands to CHRIST when he was yet in the night of unbelief, (D. C.) and,* touching Him, said, (A.) “My LORD and my GOD.” In the night season. We call this life night,* to distinguish it from the brightness of the heavenly day. It is night till the day shines in the glorious coming of our LORD JESUS CHRIST. Would you see that it is night? If we had not a lantern here, (Ay.) we should have been in darkness. For Peter saith: (A.) “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.”*

Et dixi tam sæpe, Nitesce, nitesce, meus Sol!*

Sol mihi tam longos obtenebrare dies.

Exorere, exorere, et medios saltem exere vultus,

Vel scintilla tui sola sat esse potest?

Quin etiam tanti si luminis abnuis usum,

Sufficiet radios expetiisse tuos.

Ceased not. The LXX. and Vulgate read, And I was not deceived. By whom? By GOD, they reply for the most part, “for He is faithful that promised,”* and He answered my prayer. By any snare or deceit of the devil, (B.) trying to distract my attention from prayer, is the wise comment of one Saint. My soul refused comfort. That is,* earthly comfort, for he estranges himself from the kingdom of heaven who seeks comfort here. And that because, as S. Bernard observes, heavenly consolation is fastidious, and will not be granted to those who accept any other. And therefore, Gerhohus is at some pains to dwell here on fasting as an element of the spiritual life,* and the fit preparation for all the great Christian festivals.

3 When I am in heaviness, I will think upon GOD: when my heart is vexed, I will complain.

This rendering does not agree either with the Hebrew or the Vulgate. The literal sense is: I will think upon God, and will groan, I will ponder, and my spirit fainteth. The Vulgate reads: I remembered the Lord, and was glad: I was exercised, (G.) [sc. in prayer] and my spirit failed. Having turned from all earthly comfort, (R.) finding no help there, I fixed my thoughts on GOD only, and found true pleasure there. The LXX. reading, for I was exercised, is ἠδολέσχησα, which in classical Greek, is used in a bad sense, I prated. And so S. Augustine translates it garrivi. The spiritual joy of GOD’S presence has been too much for the newly-converted sinner, he speaks too fluently and eagerly of holy things, and thus exhausts his feelings, so that his spirit faints. Others, keeping to the truer sense of meditation, (A.) explain this fainting of the spirit to denote the utter failure of man’s powers to penetrate the deep things of GOD.* Or it may be taken of the sudden collapse of the soul when it turns even for an instant from the contemplation of divine things to indulge any earthly thought. And so, (Ay.) one writing on the Song of Songs cites this passage,* adding, “Does not the Bride seem to tell thee this,* when she draws her Beloved to the secret chamber? ‘I held Him, and would not let Him go, until I had brought Him into my mother’s house.’* She knew that she could not keep her Beloved abroad, either surely or wholly. And how hard it is for one that loves to halve the mind between CHRIST and the world! How hard it is, I say, to admit alien cares to the privileges of love, and to trouble the heavenly secret with worldly strife.”

4. Thou holdest mine eyes waking: I am so feeble, that I cannot speak.

This verse also differs from the Vulgate, which is, Mine eyes have prevented the watches, (Z.) I was troubled and spake not. Others may be content with taking their single turn of duty, I know the peril too well, (L.) and must myself see every guard relieved, “at even, or at midnight, or at the cock-crowing, or in the morning.”* And that is the best watch which is joined with fasting,* as it is written, “Watching for riches consumeth the flesh.” There is another reading here. Mine enemies have prevented the watches,* warning us of the ceaseless vigilance of our spiritual foes. I was troubled at the thought of my sins, and spake not, (A.) for very shame in the presence of GOD, even to pray, far less to excuse myself, (D. C.) or to lay the blame on others, or, again, to seek for any human consoler.

5 I have considered the days of old: and the years that are past.

The days of old, (G.) say they, refer to the time gone by in this world from Adam’s fall,* during which all things become old and frail, and the years that are past, or, as the Vulgate reads, the eternal years, to the unchangeable life for which man was created, where youth is perennial, and to that other awful existence, which is not life, but death for evermore. The literal sense, (D. C.) referring to the history of GOD’S dealings with His people, as profitable for study, because showing that He ever helped His Saints, is adopted by the Greek Fathers. But best and dearest of all is that interpretation which leads us to see here the contemplation of Him Who is the Ancient of Days, (Z.) Whose years shall not fail. (L.)

My GOD! how wonderful Thou art,

Thy Majesty how bright,

How beautiful Thy Mercy-seat

In depths of burning light!

How dread are Thine eternal years,

O everlasting LORD!

By prostrate spirits, clay and night,

Incessantly adored!

How beautiful, how beautiful,

The sight of Thee must be,

Thine endless wisdom, boundless power,

And awful purity!

6 I call to remembrance my song: and in the night I commune with mine own heart, and search out my spirits.

They take the song literally, (L.) as denoting some psalm which Asaph had once composed, and now recalled for his own consolation. It would be better to explain it of meditation on Him of whom it is written, “The LORD is my strength and song.”* The word is entirely omitted by the LXX. and Vulgate, which read merely I remembered, construed with the previous verse, (Ay.) and then, I meditated in the night with my heart, and pondered. Where, note, that the meditations of righteous and unrighteous men differ in this, that the unrighteous think of all the good they have done, and forget the evil, whereas the righteous remember and weep over their past sins, (R.) and do not think of the good works they have done, but of those which remain for them to do. And they observe how the verse marks the thoroughness of this meditation. It is in the night, (G.) with no disturbance or distraction, with my heart, not with any companion, nor yet with the powers of the head alone. And pondered, denoting that time was taken over the task. Then, after all this self-exanimation, comes the practical result. I hoed out my spirit (ἔσκαλλον) i.e., its weeds, say the LXX. I swept out my spirit (scopebam) as with a broom,* as the Vulgate takes it. And that broom, say they, is sincere confession of sin. That is the sweeping of the house which must precede its garnishing.* Cardinal Hugo points out the resemblance between a broom and confession in the following lines,* after urging that the passage relates only to venial sins, like the dust of the pavement, not to such deeper ones as have to be dug out of the soul:—

De virgis pannis, loca plana, noti vice verrit,

Dum purgat, fœdat, pellit pulices, et arachnem,

Scopa juvatur aquis, sonat, ferit, et lavat aras.

But all this is insufficient to content the soul which longs for the coming of CHRIST, whether it be looking forward, like Asaph, to His manifestation in the flesh, or desiring His closer union with itself, as all that love Him do. And thus there follows:

7 Will the LORD absent himself for ever: and will he be no more intreated?

8 Is his mercy clean gone for ever: and is his promise come utterly to an end for evermore?

9 Hath GOD forgotten to be gracious: and will he shut up his loving-kindness in displeasure?

Will the Lord absent Himself? For absent, the A. V. more correctly reads with the Vulgate, cast off. That is, observes the Gloss,* let man go, when man has cast himself off by his sins. Or, reject the prayers of the penitent, (D. C.) by refusing him the grace necessary to draw him back. And if He do it for a time, (G.) will He also do it for ever? He has done it for a time, in that He said, “Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”* He does it for a time still, in that He does not give us such a measure of grace as that we cannot fall. But He will not cast off for ever, (Ay.) because the time comes when He will be intreated, or, as the Vulgate reads, He will yet add to be more pleased. That will be, continues the Carmelite, in our country, when He will so stablish us that we can fall no more. That is already, (G.) more deeply says the Abbat of Reichensperg, for He Who in His just wrath cast off Adam for disobedience, hath recalled us to life by the obedience of one Man, and promising that He would be appeased by one of the seed of Abraham He fulfilled His pledge when He said, “This is My Beloved SON, in Whom I am well pleased.”* Is His mercy clean gone for ever? That mercy is the Incarnation, (C.) promised by the voice of the Prophets, but still unrevealed when the Psalmist spake. This is the promise, or, as the Syriac reads, the Word, which cannot fail. The Vulgate omits this phrase, and instead of evermore, (G.) reads with the A. V. thus: from generation to generation. The Mother of GOD will answer the question so put: “His mercy is on them that fear Him from generation to generation,”* upon the elder Hebrew son and the younger Gentile one alike. (L.)

Forgotten. The word teaches us that GOD has begun to be gracious, (B.) so that our prayer is not that He should now first show Himself thus, but that He should carry on and complete His mercy, not shutting up its riches from mankind in His displeasure at the guilt of original sin. They answer readily that GOD’S mercy is greater than His anger,* that He sends four blessings to counteract the three evils which befall man. Two outward troubles come on man, loss of goods or sickness of body. One inner sorrow, the worm of conscience, is added to them. But GOD’S four consolations surpass them, quiet enjoyment of temporal blessings, health of body, peace of conscience, and the sweetness of everlasting joy, so that He gives more in His graciousness than in His displeasure.

10 And I said, It is mine own infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most Highest.

O true medicine for the weakness of doubt! How better can we learn that it is only our own infirmity which makes us question the perfect love of GOD towards us, than by remembering the long and sorrowful three-and-thirty years which He, Who is the Right Hand of the Most Highest, spent in the form of a servant, that He might seek and save that which was lost? Not descending but for a moment, like His angelic messengers, but abiding Himself in His patience to help our infirmity.

He sent no Angel to our race,*

Of higher or of lower place,

But wore the robe of human frame,

And He Himself to this world came.

Nor willed He only to appear;

His pleasure was to tarry here;

And GOD and Man with us would be

The space of thirty years and three.

But this meaning, beautiful as it is, cannot be extracted from the Hebrew, nor from the old Versions. The passage is of extreme difficulty, and stands thus, literally, according to one reading: It is my suffering, the changing of the right hand of the Most High: and according to another,* the years of the right hand of the Most High. The former is the sense adopted by the Targum and by the Syriac Psalter, (Z.) and the intention there is to say, “It is for my sin, and in order to convert me, that the Hand of GOD is changed from working great marvels to deliver me from my enemies, as of old, to the chastisement of my offence.” If the word שִׁנוֹת be taken to mean years, instead of change, the intention will be nearly the same, as the passage will then run, “My sorrow comes from meditating on the years of GOD’S right hand, those years of old when He helped Israel whom He now chastises.” The LXX. and Vulgate read thus: And I said, Now have I begun, this is the change of the right hand of the Most High. He says, (A.) I have begun my course towards GOD, and this is the changing of His right hand, (G.) because He has begun to change me, and to bring me into a secure place, where no enemy need be feared. I have begun to understand that which was too deep for me before, how GOD’S mercy is greater than His anger, (Ay.) and that by the changing of the Eternal WORD, the Right Hand of the Most Highest, into the likeness of sinful man, and yet more, His changing me by washing me from my sins. Now, indeed, I have begun for the first time to live a spiritual life, to understand wisely, to know truly, going on the way of perfection, (D. C.) and beginning as it were afresh each day: changed from darkness to light, from sin to holiness, from carnal and animal to spiritual things, by the loving help and merciful presence of the Most High GOD.

11 I will remember the works of the LORD: and call to mind thy wonders of old time.

12 I will think also of all thy works: and my talking shall be of thy doings.

They take it of all GOD’S works,* of seeing His goodness and beauty in the whole creation, and then, more particularly, of His dealings with the Patriarchs and the children of Israel. The Carmelite limits it yet further, (G.) explaining it chiefly of those signs which were types of the Incarnation, as the burning bush, Aaron’s rod, (Ay.) and Gideon’s fleece, (D. C.) and then of the wondrous mysteries of grace disclosed in the Passion and Death of the Redeemer.

13 Thy way, O GOD, is holy: who is so great a God as our GOD?

The Prayer Book version weakens the first clause, which the A. V. renders better, Thy way is in the sanctuary. Of this way we have already spoken under Ps. 68:24. We may refer it further to the visions of the Revelation, showing the Lamb of GOD at one time close to the golden altar before the throne, and at another in the mystic procession on Mount Sion, followed by the white-robed Virgin escort.* That is His way, as He moves, Priest at once and Victim, in the ritual of heaven.

Cernite fulgentes ut eat sacer Agnus ad aras,*

Vinctaque post oleâ candida turba comas.

But the interpretation of the present passage by the Fathers is somewhat different. (A.) They take it. Thy way is in the Holy One, in Him Who said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the FATHER but by Me.”* Then,* His way will be in every holy soul which is conformed to CHRIST, (D. C.) which goes in the paths of righteousness opened by His example. CHRIST the Man is the Way, CHRIST the GOD is our Country. CHRIST is the Way in His lowliness, (Ay.) the Country in His Divinity. The Way, by which we come; the Country,* to which we go. Who is so great a God, in all nobleness, wisdom, beauty, majesty, blessedness, holiness, sweetness, (D. C.) as our God, Who is Three in Persons, One in substance? None, most surely, for GOD, Most High and Blessed,* excels all else incomparably, infinitely. “To whom then will ye liken Me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One.”

Alfa o Omega,* principio, mezzo, o fine,

Altissimo creator di ciascuno,

Amore immenso, le due divine

Persone leghi tu, trino sol uno;

A te, per te, gloria senza fine,

O infinito sommo ben eomuno

Da tutti gloriosi triunfanti

E dagli eletti quaggiù militanti.

Bontà eterna, bontà infinita,

Bontà increata, o bontà perfetta,

Bellezza somma, bellezza inaudita,

Bellezza immensa, a la qual suggetta,

Ogni bellezza o bontà finita,

Solo in te si ripos’ e diletta,

Bontà superna, bellezza divina,

A te, per te, gloria senza fina.

14 Thou art the GOD that doeth wonders: and hast declared thy power among the people.

Wonders in the land of Egypt, (D. C.) by overcoming Pharaoh, as it is written, “For this cause have I raised thee up, for to show in thee My power; and that My Name may be declared throughout all the earth:”* greater wonders under the Gospel by restoring sight to the blind, (A.) hearing to the deaf, health to the sick; and marvels yet stranger than these wrought on men’s souls, making the drunken sober, idolaters believing, plunderers charitable to the poor. And all this by His power, to wit, “CHRIST the power of GOD, and the wisdom of GOD,”* preached and declared amongst the people which are called, Jews and Greeks alike. And to all lowly hearers since,* who are not of the great ones, but are of the people, and among them, yet are none the less capable of receiving the Word.

15 Thou hast mightily delivered thy people: even the sons of Jacob and Joseph.

The A. V. more correctly reads,* as does the Vulgate, Thou hast with Thine arm redeemed Thy people. That arm is the Only-begotten SON, the “Arm of the LORD revealed”* to all the faithful, the arm stretched out once over Egypt to destroy, (A.) stretched out later upon the Cross to save. And it is well said, the sons of Jacob and Joseph, teaching us that He saved two peoples, distinct, though sprung from the same stock. Jacob denotes the believing children of Israel, Joseph the Gentile Church, hated, rejected, sold into bondage by its elder brethren, humbled, imprisoned, and then exalted and throned, a fitting type of Him Who is the Head of that Church, Who, suffering again in His Martyrs, is crowned anew in their victory. And they take it mystically also,* of the active Saints who wrestle with GOD, and of the contemplative ones,* who see visions of Him, both of whom He redeems.

16 The waters saw thee, O GOD, the waters saw thee, and were afraid: the depths also were troubled.

These words, applying in the first instance to the parting of the Red Sea, have been referred since to the mysteries of which that was a type. Thus they occur in the Baptismal Offices of the Church of Edessa,* as drawn up by the great Mar Jacob, and in those of the Maronite Use. S. Augustine tells us, (A.) as is his wont, that the waters mean the nations of the earth,* citing the Apocalypse in proof, and adds that the depths that are troubled are the consciences of sinners moved to confession. Others explain the depths to be the rulers and chief priests, (G.) Herod, Pilate, and Annas, Caiaphas, and the like,* who were troubled at the preaching of CHRIST, and then carry on the reference to the Gentile monarchs who received the Faith. And whereas the waters are mentioned first,* they do not forget to remind us that fishermen were the earliest believers in CHRIST. S. Ambrose tells us that the waters which see GOD and fear Him are the good qualities of the soul,* which are calmed, not disturbed, by knowledge of the Word; but that the depths which are troubled, denote the evil qualities, which see Him not, and therefore have no rest,* according to that saying, “The wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my GOD, to the wicked.”

17 The clouds poured out water, the air thundered: and thine arrows went abroad.

If we take the clouds here, (A.) as so often, to denote the Apostles, then the water will denote the gracious rain of the Gospel, poured out by them over all the earth; and the second clause will also tell of the boldness of their preaching who are called sons of thunder. And so the Paris Breviary, in the Common of Apostles:

Totum per orbem nuntii,*

Nubes velut, citi volant:

Verbo graves, Verbo DEO,

Tonant, coruscant, perpluunt.

The arrows will then denote the words of the Evangelists, which went abroad over the world. The LXX. and Vulgate read here pass through. That is, the Gospel message does not stop short in the ears, but pierces the heart. The first clause of this verse reads thus in the LXX. and Vulgate, (A.) The multitude of the sound of waters. It is, says S. Augustine, (Ay.) the mingled noise of confessions, hymns, and prayers going up unceasingly from the Church. It is the multitude of the nations themselves, converted to CHRIST, adds the Carmelite. S. Bruno of Asti,* connecting the words with the previous verse, singularly explains it of CHRIST’S Passion, saying, that when the depths, that is, the chief priests, had been troubled, they stirred up the multitude, so that the cry went up, as of the sound of many waters, “Crucify Him, crucify Him.” But the other interpretation accords better with that verse of the Revelation: “And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude,* and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia, for the LORD GOD omnipotent reigneth.”

18 The voice of thy thunder was heard round about: the lightnings shone upon the ground; the earth was moved, and shook withal.

The first clause of this verse is of great difficulty, and the Prayer Book rendering differs from all the other versions except that of Hesychius, who reads ἐν κύκλῳ. The A. V. reads in heaven instead of round about; the LXX., Syriac, and Vulgate translate, in the wheel. The Æthiopic rendering is in the chariots. The Hebrew is בַּנַּלְנַּל, which means a sphere, wheel, or anything that revolves. It is explained by Gesenius and Delitzsch of the whirlwind, (D. C.) and by Hupfeld of the rolling wheels of GOD’S chariot, herein agreeing with the Carthusian, and with the Æthiopic Psalter,* though the reference may rather be to the overthrow of Pharaoh’s chariots. The interpretation heaven, (Z.) as the sphere we behold, is that of Origen,* as also of R. Ezra and R. Kimchi. S. Augustine, (A.) ridiculing the notion of a chariot in the sky, explains the wheel to be the round world, (Cd.) through which the Gospel was sent. Olympiodorus takes it of human life in general. S. Albert,* citing that verse, “O my GOD, make them like unto a wheel,”* explains the words of the terrors of GOD’S judgments amongst the multitude of the wicked. I am not sure that Parez is not the happiest in his explanation, (P.) referring, as he does, to the vision of Ezekiel,* and reminding us of the Gospel chariot, borne by the four holy Evangelists.

Hi sunt enim, CHRISTE,*

Quadrigæ tuæ, salvatio

Quadrifidâ cruce,

Quam rotæ dant evangelicæ.

Auriga tui currus

Super hos equos

Scandens, Domine,

Viam fac equis tuis

In luto multo

Nostri pectoris.

Ut subvecti

Hoc in curru

Maris de tumultu,

Portum perpetuæ

Contingamus patriæ.

Thy lightnings. They explain it diversely, (A.) of the Apostles, of the miracles of CHRIST, (Ay.) of the mingled promises and threats of the Gospel, (L.) and of the rays of the Sun of Righteousness, visible to the world. The earth was moved. They take it first of the Jewish nation, (G.) occupied with the thought of a mere earthly deliverer, and then extend it to the stir and alarm of the whole Gentile world, beginning with Herod, (C.) and spreading over the Roman empire, at the advent of the new King. And it is also explained of each man’s body, trembling at the terrors of judgment to come. And shook withal. So that the idols fell from their altars, (P.) and were destroyed, like the Egyptians in the Red Sea.

19 Thy way is in the sea, and thy paths in the great waters: and thy footsteps are not known.

Let us hear Prudentius, singing of Him Who trod the lake of Galilee in human form, as He trod the Red Sea ages before invisibly:

Ambulat per stagna ponti, summa calcat fluctuum,*

Mobilis liquor profundi pendulam præstat viam,

Nec fatiscit unda sanctis pressa sub vestigiis.

And as Thou didst walk visibly upon the sea,” (G.) exclaims Gerhohus, “and gavest unto Peter the Apostle to do the like, so now Thou walkest invisibly, and makest Thy ministers also to walk upon the troubled hearts of the nations, which yield themselves to Thee, to be trodden by Thy feet, beautiful with the preparation of the Gospel, that the footsteps of Truth may be stamped on them in the ways of Thy commandments, and the paths of Thy counsels.” It is in the sea of bitter penitential tears, that His way to man’s heart lies; (Ay.) it is in the mighty waters of deep affliction and troubles that He comes to the trembling soul,* because He went through the floods of sorrow Himself, and thus knows our need,* according to that which is written: “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee.” Thy footsteps are not known. Because, (Lu.) wisely says Ludolph, the lowly wisdom of CHRIST is hidden from the wise and prudent of this world. And that especially is the case of them to whom He first came, (D. C.) and who received Him not.

20 Thou leddest thy people like sheep: by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

They remind us how both Moses and Aaron were types of CHRIST, (G.) our Lawgiver and High Priest, Who is alone the Good Shepherd, and they dwell, as is their wont, on the supposed meaning of the names, taking Moses to be “Lifted up,” and Aaron to be the “Mount of Strength.” The true interpretations, telling us of Him Who was “drawn out” of the grave, Who was the “Shining Light” to lighten the Gentiles, bring us to the same thought. On the whole verse there is no better comment than Origen’s. “The hand of Moses alone is not enough to draw out of Egypt. Aaron’s hand is needed also. Moses denotes knowledge of the Law,* Aaron familiarity with sacrifices and oblations to GOD. We need then, when going out of Egypt, not only to have knowledge of the Law and the Faith, but also the fruit of works pleasing to GOD. For if, departing from Egypt, and converted to GOD, I cast away pride, then I have sacrificed a bullock to GOD by the bands of Aaron: if I overcome wantonness and uncleanness, I will believe that I have offered a goat to the LORD by Aaron’s hands: if I conquer lust, a calf; if foolishness, then I shall appear to have sacrificed a sheep. When these sins of the soul are being purged, the hand of Aaron works in us; and the hand of Moses is with us, when we are enlightened by the Law to understand these things, and therefore each hand is necessary for them that come out of Egypt, that not only perfect faith and knowledge may be found in them, but perfect acts and deeds too.”

And so:

Glory be to the FATHER, the Most Highest; and to the SON, the Right Hand of the Most Highest; and to the HOLY GHOST, the Gladness wherewith I thought upon GOD, and was glad.

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








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