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Home > Fathers of the Church > Expositions on the Psalms (Augustine) > Psalm 106

Exposition on Psalm 106

1. This Psalm also has the title Allelujah prefixed to it: and this twice. But some say, that one Allelujah belongs to the end of the former Psalm, the other to the beginning of this. And they assert, that all the Psalms bearing this title have Allelujah at the end, but not all at the beginning; so that they will not allow any Psalm which has not Allelujah at the end, to have it at the beginning; supposing that what seems to belong to the commencement, really belongs to the end of the former Psalm. But until they persuade us by some sure proofs that this is true, we will follow the general custom, which, whenever it finds Allelujah, attributes it to the same Psalm, at the head of which it is found. For there are very few copies (and I have found this in none of the Greek copies, which I have been able to inspect) which have Allelujah at the end of the CLth Psalm; after which there is no other which belongs to the same canon. But not even this could outweigh custom, although all the copies had it so. For it might be that, with some reference to the praise of God, the whole book of Psalms, which is said to consist of five books (for they say that the books severally end where it is written Amen, Amen), might be closed with this last Allelujah, after all that has been sung; nor, on account of the end of the CLth Psalm, do I see that it is necessary that all the Psalms entitled Allelujah, should have Allelujah at the end. But when there is a double Allelujah at the head of a Psalm, why as our Lord sometimes once, sometimes twice over, says Amen, in the same way Allelujah may not sometimes be used once, sometimes twice, I know not: especially, since as in this CVth, both the Allelujahs are placed after the mark by which the number of the Psalm is described, whereas the one, if it belonged to the end of the former Psalm, ought to have been placed before the number; and the Allelujah which belonged to the Psalm of this number, should have been written after the number. But perhaps even in this an ignorant habit has prevailed, and some reason may be assigned of which we are as yet uninformed, so that the judgment of truth ought rather to be our guide than the prejudice of custom. In the mean time, before we are fully instructed in this matter, whenever we find Allelujah written, whether once or twice, after the number of the Psalm, according to the most usual custom of the Church, we will ascribe it to that Psalm to which the same number is prefixed; confessing that we both believe the mysteries of all the titles in the Psalms, and of the order of the same Psalms, to be important, and that we have not yet been able, as we wish, to penetrate them.

2. But I find these two Psalms, the CVth and CVIth so connected, that in one of them, the first, the people of God is praised in the person of the elect, of whom there is no complaint, whom I imagine to have been there in those with whom God was well pleased; 1 Corinthians 10:5 but in the following Psalm those are mentioned among the same people who have provoked God; though the mercy of God was not wanting even to these....This Psalm therefore begins like the former; Confess ye unto the Lord. But in that Psalm these words follow: And call upon His Name: whereas here, it is as follows, For He is gracious, and His mercy endures for ever Psalm 105:1. Wherefore in this passage a confession of sins may be understood; for after a few verses we read, We have sinned with our fathers, we have done amiss, and dealt wickedly; but in the words, For He is gracious, and His mercy endures for ever, there is chiefly the praise of God, and in His praise confession. Although when any one confesses his sins, he ought to do so with praise of God; nor is a confession of sins a pious one, unless it be without despair, and with calling upon the mercy of God. It therefore does contain His praise, whether in words, when it calls Him gracious and merciful, or in the feeling only, when he believes this....If that mercy be here understood, in respect of which no man can be happy without God; we may render it better, for ever: but if it be that mercy which is shown to the wretched, that they may either be consoled in misery, or even freed from it; it is better construed, to the end of the world, in which there will never be wanting wretched persons to whom that mercy may be shown. Unless indeed any man ventured to say, that some mercy of God will not be wanting even to those who shall be condemned with the devil and his angels; not a mercy by which they may be freed from that condemnation, but that it may be in some degree softened for them: and that thus the mercy of God may be styled eternal, as exercised over their eternal misery.. ..

3. Who can express the mighty acts of the Lord? Psalm 105:2. Full of the consideration of the Divine works, while he entreats His mercy, Who, he says, can express the mighty acts of the Lord, or make all His praises heard? We must supply what was said above, to make the sense complete here, thus, Who shall make all His praises heard? that is, who is sufficient to make all His praises heard? Shall make them heard, he says; that is, cause that they be heard; showing, that the mighty acts of the Lord and His praises are so to be spoken of, that they may be preached to those who hear them. But who can make all, heard? Is it that as the next words are, Blessed are they that always keep judgment, and do righteousness in every time Psalm 105:3; he perhaps meant those praises of His, which are understood as His works in His commandments? For it is God, says the Apostle, who works in you, Philippians 2:13 ...since He works in these things in a manner that cannot be spoken. Who will do all His praises heard? that is, who, when he has heard them, does all His praises? Which are the works of His commandments. As far as they are done, although all which are heard are not performed, He is to be praised, who works in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure. Philippians 2:13 For this reason, while he might have said, all His commandments, or, all the works of His commandments; he preferred saying, His praises....

4. But unless there were some difference between judgment and righteousness, we should not read in another Psalm, Until righteousness turn again unto judgment. The Scripture, indeed, loves to place these two words together; as, Righteousness and judgment are the habitation of His seat; and this, He shall make your righteousness as clear as the light, and your judgment as the noon-day; where there is apparently a repetition of the same sentiment. And perhaps on account of the resemblance of signification one may be put for the other, either judgment for righteousness, or righteousness for judgment: yet, if they be spoken of in their proper sense, I doubt not that there is some difference; viz. that he is said to keep judgment who judges rightly, but he to do righteousness who acts righteously. And I think that the verse, Until righteousness turn again unto judgment, may not absurdly be understood in this sense: that here also those are called blessed, who keep judgment in faith, and do righteousness in deed....

5. Next, since God justifies, that is, makes men righteous, by healing them from their iniquities, a prayer follows: Remember me, O Lord, according to the favour that You bear unto Your people Psalm 105:4: that is, that we may be among those with whom You are well pleased; since God is not well pleased with them all. O visit me with Your salvation. This is the Saviour Himself, in whom sins are forgiven, and souls healed, that they may be able to keep judgment, and do righteousness; and since they who here speak know such men to be blessed, they pray for this themselves....Visit us, then, with Your salvation, that is, with Your Christ. To see the felicity of Your chosen, and to rejoice in the gladness of Your people Psalm 105:5: that is, visit us for this reason with Your salvation, that we may see the felicity of Your chosen, and rejoice in the gladness of Your people. For felicity some copies read sweetness; as in the former passage, For He is gracious; where others read, for He is sweet. And it is the same word in the Greek, as is elsewhere read, The Lord shall show sweetness: which some have translated felicity, others bounty. But what means, Visit us to see the felicity of Your chosen: that is, that happiness which You give to Your elect: except that we may not remain blind, as those unto whom it is said, But now ye say we see: therefore your sin remains. John 9:41 For the Lord gives sight to the blind, not by their own merits, but in the felicity He gives to His chosen, which is the meaning of the felicity of Your chosen: as, the help of my countenance, is not of myself, but is my God. And we speak of our daily bread, as ours, but we add, Give unto us. Matthew 6:11 ...That You may be praised with Your inheritance. I wonder this verse has been so interpreted in many copies, since the Greek phrase is one and the same in these three verses....But since this seems a doubtful expression, if that sense be true according to which interpreters have preferred, That You may be praised, the two preceding verses also must be so understood, because, as I have said, there is one Greek expression in these three verses; so that the whole should be thus understood, Visit us with Your salvation, that You may see the felicity of Your chosen; that is, visit us for this purpose, that You may cause us to be there, and may see us there; that You may rejoice in the gladness of Your people, that is, that You may be said to rejoice, since they rejoice in You; that You may be praised with Your inheritance, that is, may be praised with it, since it may not be praised save for Your sake....

6. But let us hear what they next confess: we have sinned with our fathers: we have done amiss, and dealt wickedly Psalm 105:6. What means with our fathers?...Our fathers, he says, regarded not Your wonders in Egypt Psalm 105:7; and many other things also, he does relate of their sins. Or is, we have sinned with our fathers, to be understood as meaning, we have sinned like our fathers, that is, by imitating their sins? If it be so, it should be supported by some example of this mode of expression: which did not occur to me when I sought on this occasion an instance of any one saying that he had sinned, or done anything, with another, whom he had imitated by a similar act after a long interval of time. What means then, Our fathers understood not Your wonders; save this, they did not know what You wished to convince them of by these miracles? What indeed, save life eternal, and a good, not temporal, but immutable, which is waited for only through endurance? For this reason they impatiently murmured, and provoked, and they asked to be blessed with present and fugitive blessings, Neither were they mindful of the greatness of Your mercy. He reproves both their understanding and memory. Understanding there was need of, that they might meditate unto what eternal blessings God was calling them through these temporal ones; and of memory, that at least they might not forget the temporal wonders which had been wrought, and might faithfully believe, that by the same power which they had already experienced, God would free them from the persecutions of their enemies; whereas they forgot the aid which He had given them in Egypt, by means of such wonders, to crush their enemies. And they provoked, as they went up to the sea, even to the Red Sea. We ought especially to notice how the Scripture does censure the not understanding that which ought to have been understood, and the not remembering that which ought to have been remembered; which men are unwilling to have ascribed to their own fault, for no other reason than that they may pray less, and be less humble unto God, in whose sight they should confess what they are, and might by praying for His aid, become what they are not. For it is better to accuse even the sins of ignorance and negligence, that they may be done away with, than to excuse them, so that they remain; and it is better to clear them off by calling upon God, than to clench them by provoking Him.

He adds, that God acted not according to their unbelief. Nevertheless, he says, He saved them for His Name's sake: that He might make His power to be known Psalm 105:8: not on account of any deservings of their own.

7. He rebuked the Red Sea also, and it was dried up Psalm 105:9. We do not read that any voice was sent forth from Heaven to rebuke the sea; but he has called the Divine Power by which this was effected, a rebuke: unless indeed any one may choose to say, that the sea was secretly rebuked, so that the waters might hear, and yet men could not. The power by which God acts is very abstruse and mysterious, a power which He causes that even things devoid of sense instantly obey at His will. So He led them through the deeps, as through a wilderness. He calls a multitude of waters the deeps. For some wishing to give the sense of this whole verse, have translated, So He led them forth amid many waters. What then does through the deeps, as through a wilderness, mean, except that that had become as a wilderness from its dryness, where before had been the watery deeps?

8. And He saved them from the hating ones Psalm 105:10. Some translators, in order to avoid an expression unusual in Latin, have rendered the word, by a circumlocution, And He saved them from the hand of those that hated them, and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy. What price was given in this redemption? Is it a prophecy, since this deed was a figure of Baptism, wherein we are redeemed from the hand of the devil at a great price, which price is the Blood of Christ? Whence this is more consistently figured forth, not by any sea indiscriminately, but by the Red Sea; since blood has a red colour.

9. As for those that troubled them, the waters overwhelmed them: there was not one of them left Psalm 105:11; not of all the Egyptians, but of those who pursued the departing Israelites, desirous either of taking or of killing them.

10. Then believed they in His words Psalm 105:12. The expression seems barely Latin, for he says not believed His word, or on His words, but in His words; yet it is very frequent in Scripture. And praised praise unto Him; such an expression as when we say, This servitude he served, such a life he lived. He is here alluding to that well-known hymn, commencing, I will sing unto the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously: the horse and the rider has He thrown into the sea.

11. They acted hastily: they forgot His works Psalm 105:13: other copies read more intelligibly, They hastened, they forgot His works, and would not abide His counsel. For they ought to have thought, that so great works of God towards themselves were not without a purpose, but that they invited them to some endless happiness, which was to be waited for with patience; but they hastened to make themselves happy with temporal things, which give no man true happiness, because they do not quench insatiable longing: for whosoever, says our Lord, shall drink of this water, shall thirst again. John 4:4, 13

12. Lastly, And they lusted a lust in the wilderness, and they tempted God in the dry land Psalm 105:14. The dry land, or land without water, and desert, are the same: so also are, they lusted a lust, and, they tempted God. The form of speech is the same as above, they praised a praise.

13. And He gave them their desire, and sent fullness withal into their souls Psalm 105:15. But He did not thus render them happy: for it was not that fullness of which it is said, Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Matthew 5:6 In this passage he does not speak of the rational soul, but of the soul as giving animal life to the body; to the substance of which belong meat and drink, according to what is said in the Gospel, Is not the soul more than meat, and the body than raiment? Matthew 6:26 as if it belonged to the soul to eat, to the body to be clothed.

14. And they angered Moses in the tents, and Aaron the saint of the Lord Psalm 105:16. What angering, or, as some have more literally rendered it, what provocation, he speaks of, the following words sufficiently show.

15. The earth opened, he says, and swallowed up Dathan, and covered over the congregation of Abiram Psalm 105:17: swallowed up answers to covered over. Both Dathan and Abiram were equally concerned in a most sacrilegious schism.

16. And the fire was kindled in their company; the flame burnt up the sinners Psalm 105:18. This word is not in Scripture usually applied to those, who, although they live righteously, and in a praiseworthy manner, are not without sin. Rather, as there is a difference between those who scorn and scorners, between men who murmur and murmurers, between men who are writing and writers, and so forth; so Scripture is wont to signify by sinners such as are very wicked, and laden with heavy loads of sins.

17. And they made a calf in Horeb, and worshipped the graven image Psalm 105:19. Thus they changed their glory, in the similitude of a calf that eats hay Psalm 105:20. He says not into the likeness, but in the likeness. It is such a form of speech as where he said and they believed in His words. With great effect in truth he says not, they changed the glory of God when they did this; as the Apostle also says, They changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man: Romans 1:23 but their glory. For God was their glory, if they would abide His counsel, and hasten not....

18. They forgat God who saved them Psalm 105:21. How did He save them? Who did so great things in Egypt: Wondrous works in the land of Ham, and fearful things in the Red Sea Psalm 105:22. The things that are wondrous, are also fearful; for there is no wonder without a certain fear: although these might be called fearful, because they beat down their adversaries, and showed them what they ought to fear.

19. So He said, He would have destroyed them Psalm 105:23. Since they forgot Him who saved them, the Worker of wondrous works, and made and worshipped a graven image, by this atrocious and incredible impiety they deserved death. Had not Moses His chosen stood before Him in the breaking. He does not say, that he stood in the breaking, as if to break the wrath of God, but in the way of the breaking, meaning the stroke which was to strike them: that is, had he not put himself in the way for them, saying, Yet now, if You will forgive their sin—and if not, blot me, I pray You, out of Your book. Where it is proved how greatly the intercession of the saints in behalf of others prevails with God. For Moses, fearless in the justice of God, which could not blot him out, implored mercy, that He would not blot out those whom He justly might. Thus he stood before Him in the breaking, to turn away His wrathful indignation, lest He should destroy them.

20. Yea, they thought scorn of that pleasant land Psalm 105:24. But had they seen it? How then could they scorn that which they had not seen, except as the following words explain, and believed not in His words. Indeed, unless that land which was styled the land that flowed with milk and honey, Exodus 3:8 signified something great, through which, as by a visible token, He was leading those who understood His wondrous works to invisible grace and the kingdom of heaven, they could not be blamed for scorning that land, whose temporal kingdom we also ought to esteem as nothing, that we may love that Jerusalem which is free, the mother of us all, Galatians 4:26 which is in heaven, and truly to be desired. But rather unbelief is here reproved, since they gave no credence to the words of God, who was leading them to great things through small things, and hastening to bless themselves with temporal things, which they carnally savoured of, they abided not His counsel, as is said above.

21. But murmured in their tents, and hearkened not unto the voice of the Lord Psalm 105:25; who strongly forbade them to murmur.

22. Then lift He up His hand against them, to overthrow them in the wilderness Psalm 105:26; to cast out their seed among the nations: and to scatter them in the lands Psalm 105:27.

23. They were initiated also unto Baalpeor; that is, were consecrated to the Gentile idol; and ate the offerings of the dead Psalm 105:28. Thus they provoked Him to anger with their own inventions; and destruction was multiplied among them Psalm 105:29. As if He had deferred the lifting up of His hand which was to cast them down in the desert, and to cast out their seed among the nations, and to scatter them in the lands; as the Apostle says: And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient. Romans 1:28 'Destruction,' therefore, 'was multiplied among them,' when they were heavily punished for their heavy sins.

24. Then stood up Phineas, and appeased Him, and the shaking ceased Psalm 105:30. He has related the whole briefly, because he is not here teaching the ignorant, but reminding those who know the history. The word shaking here is the same as breaking before. For it is one word in the Greek. Lastly, so great was their wickedness, in being consecrated to the idol, and eating the sacrifices of the dead (that is, because the Gentiles sacrificed to dead men as to God), that God would not be otherwise appeased than as Phineas the Priest appeased Him, when he slew a man and a woman together whom he found in adultery. Numbers 25:8 If he had done this from hatred towards them, and not from love, while zeal for the house of God devoured him, it would not have been counted unto him for righteousness....Christ our Lord indeed, when the New Testament was revealed, chose a milder discipline; but the threat of hell is more severe, and this we do not read of in those threatenings held out by God in His temporal government.

25. And that was counted unto him for righteousness among all posterities for evermore Psalm 105:31. God counted this unto His Priest for righteousness, not only as long as posterity shall exist, but for evermore; for He who knows the heart, knows how to weigh with how much love for the people that deed was done.

26. And they angered Him at the waters of strife: so that Moses was vexed for their sakes Psalm 105:32; because they provoked his spirit, so that he spoke doubtfully with his lips Psalm 105:33. What is spoke doubtfully? As if God, who had done so great wonders before, could not cause water to flow from a rock. For he touched the rock with his rod with doubt, and thus distinguished this miracle from the rest, in which he had not doubted. He thus offended, thus deserved to hear that he should die, without entering into the land of promise. Deuteronomy 32:49-52 For being disturbed by the murmurs of an unbelieving people, he held not fast that confidence which he ought to have held. Nevertheless, God gives unto him, as unto His chosen, a good testimony even after his death, so that we may see that this wavering of faith was punished with this penalty only, that he was not allowed to enter that land, whither he was leading the people....

27. But they of whose iniquities this Psalm speaks, when they had entered into that temporal land of promise, destroyed not the heathen, which the Lord commanded them Psalm 105:34; but were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works Psalm 105:35. Insomuch that they worshipped their idols, which became to them an offense Psalm 105:36. Their not destroying them, but mingling with them, became to them an offense.

28. Yea, they offered their sons and their daughters unto devils Psalm 105:37; and shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they offered unto the idols of Canaan Psalm 105:38. That history does not relate that they offered their sons and daughters to devils and idols; but neither can that Psalm lie, nor the Prophets, who assert this in many passages of their rebukes. But the literature of the Gentiles is not silent respecting this custom of theirs. But what is it that follows? And the land was slain with bloods. We might suppose that this was a mistake of the writer, and that he had written interfecta for infecta, were it not for the goodness of God, who has willed His Scriptures to be written in many languages; were it not that we see it written as in the text in many Greek copies which we have inspected; the land was slain with bloods. What means then, the land was slain, unless this be referred to the men who dwelt in the land, by a metaphorical expression....For they themselves were slaying their own souls when they offered up their sons, and when they shed the blood of infants who were far from consent to this crime: whence it is said, They shed innocent blood. The land therefore was slain with bloods, and defiled by their works Psalm 105:39, since they themselves were slain in soul, and defiled by their works; and they went a whoring after their own inventions. By inventions are meant what the Greeks call πιτηδεύματα: for this word does occur in the Greek copies both in this and a former passage, where it is said, They provoked Him to anger with their own inventions; inventions in both instances signifying what they had initiated others in. Let no man therefore suppose inventions to mean what they had of themselves instituted, without any example before them to imitate. Whence other translators in the Latin tongue have preferred pursuits, affections, imitations, pleasures, to inventions: and the very same who here write inventions, have elsewhere written pursuits. I chose to mention this, lest the word inventions, applied to what they had not invented, but imitated from others, might raise a difficulty.

29. Therefore was the wrath of the Lord kindled against His own people Psalm 105:40. Our translators have been unwilling to use the word anger, for the Greek θυμὸς; though some have used it; while others translate by indignation or mind. Whichever of these terms be adopted, passion does not affect God; but the power of punishing has assumed this name metaphorically from custom.

30. Insomuch that He abhorred His own inheritance; and He gave them over into the hand of the heathen: and they that hated them were lords over them Psalm 105:41: and their enemies oppressed them, and they were brought low under their hands Psalm 105:42. Since he has called them the inheritance of God, it is clear that He abhorred them, and gave them over into their enemies' hands, not in order to their perdition, but for their discipline. Lastly, he says, Many a time did He deliver them. But they provoked Him with their own counsels Psalm 105:43. This is what he said above, They did not abide His counsel. Now a man's counsel is pernicious to himself, when he seeks those things which are his own only, not those which are God's. Philippians 2:21 In whose inheritance, which inheritance He Himself is to us, when He deigns His presence for our enjoyment, being with the Saints, we shall suffer no straitening from the society, by our love of anything as our own possession. For that most glorious city, when it has gained the promised inheritance, in which none shall die, none shall be born, will not contain citizens who shall individually rejoice in their own, for God shall be all in all. 1 Corinthians 15:28 And whoever in this pilgrimage faithfully and earnestly does long for this society, does accustom himself to prefer common to private interests, by seeking not his own things, but Jesus Christ's: lest, by being wise and vigilant in his own affairs, he provoke God with his own counsel; but, hoping for what he sees not, let him not hasten to be blessed with things visible; and, patiently waiting for that everlasting happiness which he sees not, follow His counsel in His promises, whose aid he prays for in his prayers. Thus he will also become humble in his confessions; so as not to be like those, of whom it is said, They were brought down in their wickedness.

31. Nevertheless, God, full of mercy, forsook them not. And He saw when they were in adversity, when He heard their complaint Psalm 105:44. And He thought upon His covenant, and repented, according to the multitude of His mercies Psalm 105:45. He says, He repented, because He changed that wherewith He seemed about to destroy them. With God indeed all things are arranged and fixed; and when He seems to act upon sudden motive, He does nothing but what He foreknew that He should do from eternity; but in the temporal changes of creation, which He rules wonderfully, He, without any temporal change in Himself, is said to do by a sudden act of will what in the ordained causes of events He has arranged in the unchangeableness of His most secret counsel, according to which He does everything according to defined seasons, doing the present, and having already done the future. And who is capable of comprehending these things? 2 Corinthians 2:16 Let us therefore hear the Scripture, speaking high things humbly, giving food for the nourishment of children, and proposing subjects for the research of the older: that everlasting covenant which He made with Abraham, not the old which is abolished, but the new which is hidden even in the old. And pitied them, etc. He did that which He had covenanted, but He had foreknown that He would yield this to them when they prayed in their adversity; since even their very prayer, when it was not uttered, but was still to be uttered, undoubtedly was known unto God.

32. So He gave them unto compassions, in the sight of all that had taken them captive Psalm 105:46. That they might not be vessels of wrath, but vessels of mercy. Romans 9:22-23 The compassions unto which He gave them are named in the plural for this reason, I imagine, because each one has a gift of his own from God, one in one way, another in another. 1 Corinthians 7:7 Come then, whosoever readest this, and dost recognise the grace of God, by which we are redeemed unto eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ, by reading in the writings, and by searching in the Prophets, and see the Old Testament revealed in the New, the New veiled in the Old; remember the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, where, when He drives him out of the hearts of the faithful, He says, Now is the prince of this world cast out: John 12:31 and again of the Apostle, when he says, Who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son. Colossians 1:13 Meditate on these and such like things, examine also the Old Testament, and see what is sung in that Psalm, the title of which is, When the temple was being built after the captivity: for there it is said, Sing unto the Lord a new song. And, that you may not think it does refer to the Jewish people only, he says, Sing unto the Lord, all the whole earth: sing unto the Lord, and praise His Name: declare, or rather, give the good news of, or, to transfer the very word used in the Greek, evangelize day from day, His salvation. Here the Gospel (Evangelium) is mentioned, in which is announced the Day that came from Day, our Lord Christ, the Light from Light, the Son from the Father. This also is the meaning of His salvation: for Christ is the Salvation of God, as we have shown above.. ..

33. Deliver us, O Lord our God, and gather us from among the nations (other copies read, from the heathen); that we may give thanks unto Your holy Name, and make our boast of Your praise Psalm 105:47. Then he has briefly added this very praise, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting, and world without end Psalm 105:48: by which we understand from everlasting to everlasting; because He shall be praised without end by those of whom it is said, Blessed are they that dwell in Your house: they will be always praising You. This is the perfection of the Body of Christ on the third day, when the devils had been cast out, and cures perfected, even unto the immortality of the body itself, the everlasting reign of those who perfectly praise Him, because they perfectly love Him; and perfectly love Him, because they behold Him face to face. For then shall be completed the prayer at the commencement of this Psalm: Remember us, O Lord, according to the favour that You bear unto Your people, etc. For from the Gentiles He does not gather only the lost sheep of the house of Israel, Matthew 15:24 but also those which do not belong to that fold; so that there is one flock, as is said, and one Shepherd. But when the Jews suppose that that prophecy belongs to their visible kingdom, because they know not how to rejoice in the hope of good things unseen, they are about to rush into the snares of him, of whom the Lord says, I have come in My Father's Name, and you receive Me not: if another shall come in his own name, him you will receive. John 5:24 Of whom the Apostle Paul says: that Man of Sin shall be revealed, the son of perdition, etc. And a little after he says, Then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the Spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming, etc. 2 Thessalonians 2:3-11 ...Through that Apostate, through him who exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, it seems to me, that the carnal people of Israel will suppose that prophecy to be fulfilled, where it is said, Deliver us, O Lord, and gather us from among the heathen; that under His guidance, before the eyes of their visible enemies, who had visibly taken them captive, they are to have visible glory. Thus they will believe a lie, because they have not received the love of truth, that they might love not carnal, but spiritual blessings....For Christ had other sheep that were not of this fold: John 10:16 but the devil and his angels had taken captive all those sheep, both among the Israelites and the Gentiles. The power, therefore, of the devil having been cast out of them, in the sight of the evil spirits who had taken them captive, their cry in this prophecy is, that they may be saved and perfected for evermore: Deliver us, O Lord our God, and gather us from among the heathen. Not, as the Jews imagine it, fulfilled through Antichrist, but through our Lord Christ coming in the name of His Father, Day from day, His salvation; of whom it is here said, O visit us in Your salvation! And let all the people say, the predestined people of the circumcision and of the uncircumcision, a holy race, an adopted people, So be it! So be it!

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Source. Translated by J.E. Tweed. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Vol. 8. Edited by Philip Schaff. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1888.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1801106.htm>.

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