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NPNF1-08. St. Augustine: Exposition on the Book of Psalms
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Psalm XXVI.642642     Lat. XXV.

Of David himself.

1. It may be attributed to David himself, not the Mediator, the Man Christ Jesus, but the whole Church now perfectly established in Christ.

2. “Judge me, O Lord, for I have walked in my innocence” (ver. 1). Judge me, O Lord, for, after the mercy which Thou first showedst643643     Prærogasti. me, I have some desert of my innocence, the way whereof I have kept. “And trusting in the Lord I shall not be moved.” And yet not even so trusting in myself, but in the Lord, I shall abide in Him.

3. “Prove me, O Lord, and try me” (ver. 2). Lest, however, any of my secret sins should be hid from me, prove me, O Lord, and try me, making me known, not to Thee from whom nothing is hid, but to myself, and to men. “Burn my reins and my heart.” Apply a remedial purgation, as it were fire, to my pleasures and thoughts. “For Thy mercy is before mine eyes” (ver. 3). For, that I be not consumed by that fire, not my merits, but Thy mercy, whereby Thou hast brought me on to such a life, is before my eyes. “And I have been pleasing in Thy truth.” And since my own falsehood hath been displeasing to me, but Thy truth pleasing, I have myself been pleasing also with it and in it.

4. “I have not sat with the council of vanity” (ver. 4). I have not chosen to give my heart to them who endeavour to provide, what is impossible, how they may be blessed in the enjoyment of things transitory. “And I will not enter in with them that work wickedly.” And since this is the very cause of all wickedness, therefore I will not have my conscience hid, with them that work wickedly.

5. “I have hated the congregation of evil doers.” But to arrive at this council of vanity, congregations of evil doers are formed, which I have hated. “And I will not sit with the ungodly” (ver. 5). And, therefore, with such a council, with the ungodly, I will not sit, that is, I will not place my consent.644644     Placitum non collocabo. “And I will not sit with the ungodly.”

6. “I will wash mine hands amid the innocent” (ver. 6). I will make clean my works among the innocent: among the innocent will I wash mine hands, with which I shall embrace Thy glorious gifts.645645     Sublimia tua. “And I will compass Thy altar, O Lord.”646646     [We are “made unto our God, priests.”—C.]

7. “That I may hear the voice of Thy praise.” That I may learn how to praise Thee. “And that I may declare all Thy wondrous works” (ver. 7). And after I have learnt, I may set forth all Thy wondrous works.

8. “O Lord, I have loved the beauty of Thy house:” of Thy Church. “And the place of the habitation of Thy glory” (ver. 8): where Thou dwellest, and art glorified.

9. “Destroy not my soul with the ungodly” (ver. 9). Destroy not then, together with them that hate Thee, my soul, which hath loved the beauty of Thy house. “And my life with the men of blood.” And with them that hate their neighbour. For Thy house is beautified with the two commandments.647647     [Matt. xxii. 40.—C.]

10. “In whose hands is wickedness.” Destroy me not then with the ungodly and the men of blood, whose works are wicked. “Their right hand is full of gifts” (ver. 10). And that which was given them to obtain eternal salvation, they have converted into the receiving this world’s gifts, “supposing that godliness is a trade.”648648     1 Tim. vi. 5.

11. “But I have walked in mine innocence: deliver me, and have mercy on me” (ver. 11). Let so great a price of my Lord’s Blood avail for my complete deliverance: and in the dangers of this life let not Thy mercy leave me.

12. “My foot hath stood in uprightness.” My Love hath not withdrawn from Thy righteousness. “In the Churches I will bless Thee, O Lord” (ver. 12). I will not hide Thy blessing, O Lord, from those whom Thou hast called; for next to the love of Thee I join the love of my neighbour.


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