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Home > Fathers of the Church > Expositions on the Psalms (Augustine) > Psalm 33

Exposition on Psalm 33

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1. Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous: rejoice, O you righteous, not in yourselves, for that is not safe; but in the Lord. For praise is comely to the upright Psalm 32:1: these praise the Lord, who submit themselves unto the Lord; for else they are distorted and perverse.

2. Praise the Lord with harp: praise the Lord, presenting unto Him your bodies a living sacrifice. Romans 12:1 Sing unto Him with the psaltery for ten strings Psalm 32:2: let your members be servants to the love of God, and of your neighbour, in which are kept both the three and the seven commandments.

3. Sing unto Him a new song: sing unto Him a song of the grace of faith. Sing skilfully unto Him with jubilation Psalm 32:3: sing skillfully unto Him with rejoicing.

4. For the Word of the Lord is right: for the Word of the Lord is right, to make you that which of yourselves ye cannot be. And all His works are done in faith Psalm 32:4: lest any think that by the merit of works he has arrived at faith, when in faith are done all the works which God Himself loves.

5. He loves Mercy and Judgment: for He loves Mercy, which now He shows first; and Judgment, wherewith He exacts that which He has first shown. The earth is full of the Mercy of the Lord Psalm 32:5: throughout the whole world are sins forgiven unto men by the Mercy of the Lord.

6. By the Word of the Lord were the heavens made firm: for not by themselves, but by the Word of the Lord were the righteous made strong. And all the strength of them by the Breath of His Mouth Psalm 32:6. And all their faith by His Holy Spirit.

7. He gathers the waters of the sea together as into a bottle: He gathered the people of the world together, to confession of mortified sin, lest through pride they flow too freely. He lays up the deep in storehouses Psalm 32:7: and keeps in them His secrets for riches.

8. Let all the earth fear the Lord: let every sinner fear, that so he may cease to sin. Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him Psalm 32:8: not of the terrors of men, or of any creature, but of Him let them stand in awe.

9. For He spoke, and they were made: for no other one made those things which are to fear; but He spoke, and they were made. He commanded, and they were created Psalm 32:9: He commanded by His Word, and they were created.

10. The Lord brings the counsel of the heathen to nought; of them that seek not His Kingdom, but kingdoms of their own. He makes the devices of the people of none effect: of them that covet earthly happiness. And reproves the counsels of princes Psalm 32:10: of them that seek to rule over such peoples.

11. But the counsel of the Lord stands for ever; but the counsel of the Lord, whereby He makes none blessed but him that submits unto Himself, stands forever. The thoughts of His Heart to all generations Psalm 32:11: the thoughts of His Wisdom are not mutable, but endure to all generations.

12. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord: one nation is blessed, belonging to the heavenly city, which has not chosen save the Lord for their God: And the people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance Psalm 32:12: and which not of itself, but by the gift of God, has been chosen, that He by possessing it may not suffer it to be uncared for and miserable.

13. The Lord looks from Heaven; He beholds all the sons of men Psalm 32:13. From the souls of the righteous, the Lord looks mercifully upon all who would rise to newness of life.

14. From His prepared habitation: from His habitation of assumed Humanity, which He prepared for Himself. He looks upon all the inhabitants of the earth Psalm 32:14: He looks mercifully upon all who live in the flesh, that He may be over them in ruling them.

15. He fashions their hearts singly: He gives spiritually to their hearts their proper gifts, so that neither the whole body may be eye, nor the whole hearing; 1 Corinthians 12:17 but that one in this manner, another in that manner, may be incorporated with Christ. He understands all their works Psalm 32:15. Before Him are all their works understood.

16. A king shall not be saved by much strength: he shall not be saved who rules his own flesh, if he presume much upon his own strength. Neither shall a giant be saved by much strength Psalm 32:16: nor shall he be saved whoever wars against the habit of his own lust, or against the devil and his angels, if he trust much to his own might.

17. A horse is a deceitful thing for safety: he is deceived, who thinks either that through men he gains salvation received among men, or that by the impetuosity of his own courage he is defended from destruction. In the abundance of his strength shall he not be saved Psalm 32:17.

18. Behold, the Eyes of the Lord are upon them that fear Him: because if you seek salvation, behold, the love of the Lord is upon them that fear Him. Upon them that hope in His mercy Psalm 32:18: that hope not in their own strength, but in His mercy.

19. To deliver their souls from death, and to keep them alive in famine Psalm 32:19. To give them the nourishment of the Word, and of Everlasting Truth, which they lost while presuming on their own strength, and therefore have not even their own strength, from lack of righteousness.

20. My soul shall be patient for the Lord: that hereafter it may be filled with dainties incorruptible, meanwhile, while here it remains, my soul shall be patient for the Lord. For He is our Helper and Defender Psalm 32:20: our Helper He is, while we endeavour after Him; and our Defender, while we resist the adversary.

21. For our heart shall rejoice in Him: for not in ourselves, wherein without Him there is great need; but in Himself shall our heart rejoice. And we have trusted in His holy Name Psalm 32:21; and therefore have we trusted that we shall come to God, because unto us absent has He sent, through faith, His own Name.

22. Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us, according as we have hoped in You Psalm 32:22: let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us; for hope confounds not, because we have hoped in You.

About this page

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. <>.

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