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NPNF1-08. St. Augustine: Exposition on the Book of Psalms
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Psalm XVI.504504     Lat. XV.

The inscription of the title, of David himself.505505     [“Michtam of David,” which Bishop Wordsworth derives from Catham, and illustrates by Job xix. 23.—C.]

1. Our King in this Psalm speaks in the character of the human506506     Susceptionis humanæ. nature He assumed, of whom the royal title at the time of His passion was eminently set forth.

2. Now He saith as follows; “Preserve me, O Lord, for in Thee have I hoped” (ver. 1): “I have said to the Lord, Thou art my God, for Thou requirest not my goods” (ver. 2): for with my goods Thou dost not look to be made blessed.

3. “To the saints who are on His earth” (ver. 3): to the saints who have placed their hope in the land of the living, the citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem, whose spiritual conversation is, by the anchor of hope, fixed in that country, which is rightly called God’s earth; although as yet in this earth too they be conversant in the flesh. “He hath wonderfully fulfilled all My wishes in them.” To those saints then He hath wonderfully fulfilled all My wishes in their advancement, whereby they have perceived, how both the humanity of My divinity hath profited them that I might die, and the divinity of the humanity that I might rise again.

4. “Their infirmities have been multiplied”507507     So Oxford mss. (ver. 4): their infirmities have been multiplied not for their destruction, but that they might long for the Physician. “Afterwards they made haste.” Accordingly after infirmities multiplied they made haste, that they might be healed. “I will not gather together their assemblies by blood.” For their assemblies shall not be carnal, nor will I gather them together as one propitiated by the blood of cattle.508508     Isa. i. 11, 12. “Nor will I be mindful of their names within My lips.” But by a spiritual change what they have been shall be forgotten; nor by Me shall they be any more called either sinners, or enemies, or men; but righteous, and My brethren, and sons of God through My peace.

5. “The Lord is the portion of Mine inheritance, and of My cup” (ver. 5). For together with Me they shall possess the inheritance, the Lord Himself. Let others choose for themselves portions, earthly and temporal, to enjoy: the portion of the Saints is the Lord eternal. Let others drink of deadly pleasures, the portion of My cup is the Lord. In that I say, “Mine,” I include the Church: for where the Head is, there is the body also. For into the inheritance will I gather together their assemblies, and by the inebriation of the cup I will forget their old names. “Thou art He who will restore to Me My inheritance:” that to these too, whom I free, may be known “the glory wherein I was with Thee before the world was made.”509509     John xvii. 5. For Thou wilt not restore to Me that which I never lost, but Thou wilt restore to these, who have lost it, the knowledge of that glory: in whom because I am, Thou wilt restore to Me.

6. “The lines have fallen to me in glorious places” (ver. 6). The boundaries of my possession have fallen in Thy glory as it were by lot, like as God is the possession of the Priests and Levites.510510     Numb. xviii. 20. “For Mine inheritance is glorious to Me.” “For Mine inheritance is glorious,” not to all, but to them that see; in whom because I am, “it is to Me.”

7. “I will bless the Lord, who hath given Me understanding” (ver. 7): whereby this inheritance may be seen and possessed. “Yea moreover too even unto night my reins have chastened Me.” Yea besides understanding, even unto death, My inferior part, the assumption of flesh, hath instructed Me, that I might experience the darkness of mortality, which that understanding hath not.

8. “I foresaw the Lord in My sight always” (ver. 8). But coming into things that pass away, I removed not Mine eye from Him who abideth ever, foreseeing this, that to Him I should return after passing through the things temporal. “For He is on My right hand, that I should not be moved.” For He favoureth Me, that I should abide fixedly in Him.

9. “Wherefore My heart was glad, and My tongue exulted” (ver. 9). Wherefore both in My thoughts is gladness, and in my words exultation. “Moreover too My flesh shall rest in hope.” Moreover too My flesh shall not fail unto destruction, but shall sleep in hope of the resurrection.

10. “For Thou wilt not leave My soul in hell” (ver. 10). For Thou wilt neither give My soul for a possession to those parts below. “Neither wilt Thou grant Thine Holy One to see corruption.” Neither wilt Thou suffer that sanctified body, whereby others are to be also sanctified, to see corruption. “Thou hast made known to Me the paths of life” (ver. 11). Thou hast made known through Me the paths of humiliation, that511511     Oxford mss. “that by it.” men might return to life, from whence they fell through pride; in whom because I am, “Thou hast made known to Me.” “Thou wilt fill Me with joy with Thy countenance.” Thou wilt fill them with joy, that they should seek nothing further, when they shall see Thee “face to face;” in whom because I am, “Thou wilt fill Me.” “Pleasure is at Thy right hand even to the end.” Pleasure is in Thy favour and mercy in this life’s journey, leading on even to the end of the glory of Thy countenance.512512     [Compare Acts ii. 25 and xiii. 34.—C.]


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