The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Archive for October, 2016

Father de Piconio’s Commentary on Ephesians 6:10-20

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 22, 2016

Eph 6:10. For the rest, brethren, be strengthened in the Lord, and in the power of his virtue.
Eph 6:11. Put on you the armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
Eph 6:12. For not to us is the wrestling against flesh and blood; but against princes and powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual things of wickedness, in the heavenly places.
Eph 6:13. On this account take the armour of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and stand in all things perfect.

For the rest. The Apostle has laid the foundation of Christian morality on a sound basis, in accordance with the commands and appointments of the Creator of the world, in the injunctions given from the beginning of Chapter 4 to this point, in opposition to the false doctrine of the heretics. In conclusion, he now sets before his readers, with extraordinary energy of language, the critical nature of the warfare
they had to maintain against these pestilent errors, which he traces to their true origin, the machinations of the devil, who was endeavouring to overthrow the Christian religion in its infancy. So insidious was the danger they had to combat, that it would require all their resolution and all their watch fulness to preserve their faith. Be strengthened in the might of the power of the Lord. Not the strength only, but the consciousness of strength, and the courage and determination arising from that consciousness. Put on the armour of God, in the Greek the panoply, or complete armour. As if he said, we have a crafty foe to contend with, and no part must be left unguarded, lest you be wounded there, as Achilles received his death-wound in his heel, though the rest of his body was protected. Our struggle is not against flesh and
blood. Our foes are not men, who are flesh and blood, but evil spirits who cannot be killed, subtle, strong, malicious; though they may make use of evil men as their instruments. They are princes and powers, once of heaven, since of all the heavenly orders some angels accompanied Lucifer in his fall.
The world-rulers of this darkness. The Greek word κοσμοκρατορας, Saint Jerome thinks, was coined by Saint Paul, being used no where else than in this passage. Tertullian, on Marc v. has mundi tenentes. The term used in the Vulgate, mundi retores, should be construed as one word, as in the Greek, and this will account grammatically for the genitive which follows, tenebrarum harum. The Syriac has, the possessors of this dark world. Not that evil spirits are the possessors or rulers of the world by God s appointment, but only by usurpation and conquest, and that only over the souls of men who willingly submit to their power. Probably, therefore, by the this dark world, we are to understand the infidels, heretics, and idolaters, of whom the world was then full, in opposition to whom the faithful are called sons of light, sup. v. 8. Christ speaks of the devil as the prince of this world, Joh. 14:30. Spiritualia nequitia is a literal translation of the Greek; it is a Hebraism for spiritual wickedness, or wicked spirits. And they dwell in the heavenly places. The whole of this passage is almost an exact description of the powers or intelligences, whom the followers of Simon supposed to dwell in the planets, and determine the fate of mankind, and who were therefore the objects of their devotion, and the language of the Apostle implies that the confidence of the heretics was really reposed in evil spirits. Our foes are invisible, in the air around us, innumerable, my name is legion, completely depraved and wicked, invincibly crafty and cunning, so powerful that they rule the world, hate us irreconcilably, are resolutely bent on our destruction. How, then, Saint Chrysostom asks, can we hope to overcome them, if we live in pleasure, and unarmed? On this account take the armour of God, the description of which is given in the following verses, that you may be able to resist in the evil day. The evil day is either the day of temptation, or the day of persecution, which the Apostle foresaw; or possibly the day of death, when the spirits of darkness will assemble their forces for a final assault. And stand in all things perfect, that is perfectly and completely armed for the conflict. Or else, as the Greek has, having completed all, and fought your fight, you will stand in the judgment of the last day. The Syriac has: that when in all things you are fully prepared, you may be able to stand firm in the profession of the true faith.

Eph 6:14. Stand therefore with your loins girded in truth, and clothed in the cuirass of justice.
Eph 6:15. And your feet shod in the preparation of the gospel of peace.
Eph 6:16. In all taking the shield of faith, in which you may be able to extinguish all the fiery darts of the most wicked one.
Eph 6:17. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Stand, in order of battle, your loins girded in truth, a firm and resolute adherence to the one true Catholic and Apostolic faith, which you have received as God’s truth. Clothed in the cuirass, or coat of mail of justice, an habitual practice of the commands of God in all the relations of life, as set forth in the preceding chapters. Your feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace, continually ready to maintain the Gospel of Christ in opposition to heretics and pagans. This is doubtless said with especial reference to those of the Ephesian Christians who were most thoroughly acquainted with the evangelical doctrine, and able to instruct and convince their neighbours, but all could illustrate its teaching by a Christian life. It is called the Gospel of peace because it proclaimed God s peace to man, reconciliation in
Christ, and remission of sins. Boldness, confidence, and alacrity are required for such a task, but also the nature of the promises they proclaimed was calculated to supply these. One who walks barefoot over rough places must proceed with timidity and caution; but if well shod or booted, he will move with boldness and freedom. Tepidity and timidity are generally associated together, and so are fervour and fearlessness. In all, the Greek has upon or over all, take the shield of faith, the creed of the Catholic Church, which will meet and extinguish all the fiery darts of the wicked one. These fiery darts are the insidious arguments, in the guise of philosophy, by which the heretics supported their monstrous system of error. The title here given to the devil, in the Greek, the wicked one, is the same by which Christ designated him in the Lord’s prayer, on both occasions on which he delivered the formula, deliver us from the wicked one, Matt. 6:13, Lk 11:4. The Vulgate has here the most wicked. Take for a helmet the assured hope of everlasting salvation, as the Apostle explains 1 Thess 5:8. The sword of the Spirit is the word of God, by means of which Christ over came the devil in the temptation, and put him to flight.

Eph 6:18. With all prayer and entreaty praying at every time in spirit, and in it watching in all earnestness and entreaty on behalf of all the saints.
Eph 6:19. And for me, that speech may be given me in opening my mouth with confidence, to make known the mystery of the Gospel;
Eph 6:20. For which I discharge an embassy in chains, so that in it I may have boldness to speak as I ought.

The Apostle looked forward with some degree of nervous apprehension, as this passage clearly shews, to his approaching interview with Nero, to whom he considered himself, as it were, accredited as an ambassador from a still greater King. He was most anxious to deliver his message clearly, faithfully, and fully, knowing how much might possibly depend on it. He makes the same earnest petition, on the same occasion, in the Epistle to the Colossians, 4:3. The intercessions offered by the Church for the Apostle of the nations on this occasion were doubtless heard, for although neither the emperor, nor his minister, the philosopher Seneca, were converted to the faith of Christ, they treated the ambassador of Christ with respect, and set him at liberty to pursue his apostolic labours in many distant countries, until the outbreak of the persecution some few years later.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Notes on Ephesians, Notes on the Lectionary, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

St Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on Psalm 19

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 22, 2016

Ps 19:2 The heavens shew forth the glory of God, and the firmament declareth the work of his hands.

Being about to institute a comparison between the law of God and his heavens, and thence to extol his law, he sets out by saying, that such are the grandeur of the heavens, that they at once proclaim the grandeur of their Maker. The heavens show forth the glory of God;” that is to say, the heavens preeminently, beyond all the other works of God, by their grandeur and beauty make his glory known to us; “and the firmament declareth the work of his hands.” The same repeated, for heavens and firmament signify the same thing, namely, the whole celestial display, consisting of son, moon, stars, etc., for we read in Genesis, that “God called the firmament heaven,” and in it placed the sun, moon, and stars. The word “heaven,” and “heavens,” are used indiscriminately in the Psalms, and governed by verbs in the plural, as well as the singular number, as are all nouns of multitude. The firmament, comprising all the heavenly bodies, announces and declares to men the work of the hands of God; that is his principal and most beautiful work, from which we may form some idea of his greatness and his glory.

Ps 19:3 Day to day uttereth speech, and night to night sheweth knowledge.

What a beautiful announcement is that of God’s glory by the heavens. For three reasons. First because they announce it incessantly. Second, because they do it in the language of all nations. Third, because they announce it to the whole world. How do they do it incessantly? This verse shows us how, for the heavens announce his glory day and night by the beauty of the sun in the day, and that of the stars by night; but as the days and nights pass away, and are succeeded by others, the Psalmist most beautifully and poetically imagines one day having performed his course, and spent it in announcing the glory of God, and then hands over the duty to the following day to do likewise; and so with the night, having done her part, gives in charge to the following night to do the same; and thus, “Day to day uttereth speech:” when its course has run, it warns the following to be ready, “And night to night indicates knowledge.” When the night too has finished her task of praising God, she warns the following to be ready for the duty; and thus, without intermission, without interruption, day and night fall in, and lead the choir in chanting the praises of their Creator.

Ps 19:4 There are no speeches nor languages, where their voices are not heard.

He now proves that the preaching of the heavens is delivered in all languages, that is to say, can be understood by all nations, as if the heavens spoke in the language of every one of them: because all nations, when they behold the beauty and the excellence of the heavens, cannot but understand the excellence and the superiority of him who made them.

Ps 19:5 Their sound hath gone forth into all the earth: and their words unto the ends of the world.

The third source of praise of the eloquence of the heavens is, that they announce God’s glory, not only without intermission, and in all languages, but they do it, furthermore, all over the world. By sound is not meant noise, but the announcement of that glory that arises from beholding the beauty of the heavenly bodies. “Into all the earth,” and “Into the ends of the world,” mean the same, and is only a repetition of frequent use in the Psalms. St. Paul quotes this passage in proof of the preaching of Christ having reached all nations; from which we are to understand, that the apostles are allegorically meant here by the heavens. And in truth, the holy apostles and other holy preachers of the word, may deservedly be so compared to the heavens. For, by contemplation they are raised above the earth, ample through their charity, splendid through their wisdom, always serene through their peace of mind, through their intelligence quickly moved by obedience, thundering in their reproofs, flashing by their miracles, profuse in their gifts to others; and, in the spirit of true liberality, seeking nothing from them; free from the slightest speck, as regards sanctity of life; and, finally, the resting place of the supreme king, by reason of their perfect sanctity. “For the soul of the just is the seat of wisdom.”

19:6 He hath set his tabernacle in the sun: and he as a bridegroom coming out of his bridechamber, Hath rejoiced as a giant to run the way:

Though the whole heavens declare the glory of God, the most splendid object in them, the sun, does so especially. The sun, then, being the most excellent object in the entire world, there God “Set his tabernacle.” He calls it a tabernacle, not a house, because he dwells there only for a while, during this short time of our peregrination, when we see him “Through a glass,” the glass of creatures, of which the sun is the principal. But when we shall come to our country, we shall see God, not “In his tabernacle in the sun,” but in his own home, the home of eternity. The prophet proves that God “Set his tabernacle in the sun,” by three arguments: the first, derived from its beauty, the second, from its strength, the third, from its beneficence. “And he as a bridegroom coming out of his bride chamber.” Here is the argument from his beauty. He rises, beautiful, bright, ornamented as a bridegroom in his wedding garments; and what can be grander, more beautiful, or more striking than the rising sun?

Ps 19:7 His going out is from the end of heaven, And his circuit even to the end thereof: and there is no one that can hide himself from his heat.

A second argument front the sun’s power and strength, which performs an immeasurable journey daily at such speed, without the smallest fatigue. “He rejoiced as a giant,” or as a stout, robust person, full of alacrity, (for such is the force of the Hebrew,) such as is peculiar to those who enter on anything with pleasure. “His going out is from the end of heaven, and his circuit even to the end thereof.” By the end of heaven is meant the east, for there he rises, and never stops till he comes there again; and thus, “His circuit is even to the end thereof: and there is no one that can hide himself from his heat.” The last argument, taken from the service rendered unto all created things by the sun. For the sun, by his enlivening heat, so fosters and nourishes all things, that he may be called the common parent of all things, on land and in the sea. Hence, the sun so assiduously and carefully traverses the entire globe, visits all creation, “That nothing can hide itself;” that is, lose a share of his wonderful favors.

Ps 19:8 The law of the Lord is unspotted, converting souls: the testimony of the Lord is faithful, giving wisdom to little ones.

The comparison is now applied. Beautiful are the heavens, more beautiful is the sun, but far and away more beautiful is the law of the Lord. Bright are the heavens, more bright is the sun, but much more bright is the law of the Lord. Useful are the heavens to man, more useful is the sun, but more useful than any is the law of the Lord. He then enumerates six encomiums of the divine law. First, “The law of the Lord is unspotted, converting souls.” Most beautiful is the law of the Lord, without spot, without stain tolerating nothing sinful, as the laws of man do; and thus, when properly studied and considered, brings the soul to love it, and consequently to love God, its author. The second encomium is in the words, “The testimony of the Lord is faithful, giving wisdom to little ones.” By “testimony” we are to understand the same law, because, in the Scriptures, and especially in the Psalms, God’s law is not only called the law, the precept, the commandment, and the like, which other writers also apply to it; but is further styled the testimony, the justice, the justification, the judgment, as any one can see, especially in Psalm 118. It is called the “testimony,” because it bears testimony to men, what the will of God is, what he requires of us, what punishments he has in store for the wicked, what rewards for the just. He says then, “The testimony of the Lord is faithful;” that is, God’s law, that will most assuredly reward the good and punish the wicked. “Giving wisdom to little ones;” that means, giving to the poor in understanding the light of prudence to direct them in doing good, and avoiding evil. By “little ones” he means those who do not abound in the wisdom of the world; and by “wisdom” he means that spiritual prudence that helps us to reform our habits, and mould them to the shape of the law of God.

Ps 19:9 The justices of the Lord are right, rejoicing hearts: the commandment of the Lord is lightsome, enlightening the eyes.

The third encomium on the divine law is, that once we begin to love it, of which the first encomium treats, and to observe it, as treated of in the second, it diffuses a most extraordinary joy in the person, for nothing can be pleasanter than a good conscience. “The justices of the Lord;” that is, his law, his commandments, being most just, and making the observer of them just, “are right” and gladful; that is, “rejoicing the hearts;” for upright hearts harmonize with “right” precepts; and they, therefore, are glad, and rejoice when an occasion offers for the observance of the commandments. The fourth encomium is, “The commandment of the Lord is lightsome, enlightening the eyes.” The law of the Lord, through the bright light of divine wisdom, illuminates our intellectual vision, because it makes us understand God’s will, and what is really good and really bad. God’s law illuminates also in a preparatory manner, for wisdom will not approach the malevolent soul; and nothing proves such an obstacle to our knowing God, which is the essence of wisdom, as impurity of heart. “Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God.”

Ps 19:10 The fear of the Lord is holy, enduring for ever and ever: the judgments of the Lord are true, justified in themselves.

The fifth encomium is, that the law of the Lord causes the above named goods to be not only temporal but eternal; for the fear of the Lord, that makes one tremble at the idea of offending God, “endures forever and ever:” as to its reward, the rewards to be had from the observance of the law do not terminate with death, but hold forever, as he says in Psalm 9, “The patience of the poor shall not perish forever.” Both Greek and Hebrew imply, that the fear spoken of here is not that of a slave, but that of a child, without any admixture of servility; that of which Psalm 111 speaks, “Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord; he shall delight exceedingly in his commandments.” For he who works from servile fear does not observe the commandments freely, but unwillingly; but he who is influenced by filial fear “Delights exceedingly in his commandments;” that is, is most anxious and desirous to observe them. The last encomium is, that the law of the Lord, being true and just in itself, needs no justification from any other quarter. “The judgments of the Lord are true, justified in themselves.” “The judgments of the Lord”—meaning his commandments, because through them God judges man, and they are the standard and the rule whereby to distinguish virtue from vice, and good works from bad—“are justified in themselves;” they require no one to prove they are just, the pure fact of their being God’s commands being quite sufficient for it. Along with that, the ten commandments, that are mainly alluded to here being nothing more than the principles of the natural law, so abound in justice, that they hold in all times, places, and circumstances, so as to admit of no dispensation; whereas other laws are obliged to yield betimes to circumstances.

Ps 19:11 More to be desired than gold and many precious stones: and sweeter than honey and the honeycomb.

The conclusion from the foregoing. Since God’s law is so good, so much preferable to all the riches and delicacies of this world, for they are “More to be desired than gold and many precious stones: and sweeter than honey and the honey comb;” that is, not only sweeter than honey itself, but sweeter than it is in its purest state, when it is overflowing the honeycomb. The word honey comb is introduced to correspond with the words, “many precious stones,” in the first part of the verse. How far removed is this truth from the ideas of the carnal! What a number of such people to be found who, for a small lucre, or a trifling gratification, are ready to despise God’s commandments! And yet, nothing can be more true than that the observance of God’s law is of more service, and confers greater happiness than any amount of wealth or worldly pleasure.

Ps 19:12 For thy servant keepeth them, and in keeping them there is a great reward.

He proves by an example, or rather by his own experience, the truth of what he asserted. For, says he, your servant knows it by his own experience, having received innumerable favors from you, so long as he observed your commandments.

Ps 19:13 Who can understand sins? from my secret ones cleanse me, O Lord:

Having stated that he observed the commandments of God, he now corrects himself, and excepts sins of ignorance, which can hardly be guarded against, such as arise from human frailty.

Ps 19:14 And from those of others spare thy servant. If they shall have no dominion over me, then shall I be without spot: and I shall be cleansed form the greatest sin.

The meaning of “From those of others spare thy servant,” is not to ask of God to forgive us the sins of others, in which sense this passage is commonly quoted but we ask God to protect us from the company of the wicked. For men of good will, such as David was, should especially guard against being ignorant of their own offenses, and especially against being seduced by the wicked; and the meaning of the prayer is, from those of others, that is, from men of other habits, “Spare thy servant;” that is, by sparing him, keep those ill disposed people from the friendship of thy servant. He next assigns a reason for his fear of keeping up any familiarity with the wicked, for if those bad men “shall have no dominion over me,” that is to say, by their familiarity get no hold of and master me, and thus bring me to act with them, “then shall I be without spot,” and “cleansed from the greatest sin;” namely, mortal sin; for every mortal sin may be called “the greatest crime,” because it turns us away from our good and great God; and directly leads us to the fearful punishment of hell.

Ps 19:15 And the words of my mouth shall be such as may please: and the meditation of my heart always in thy sight. O Lord, my helper and my Redeemer.

Then shall I not only “be without spot,” but even the words of my mouth will be agreeable; and the hymns I chant to your praise, both with heart and voice, will be always pleasing to thee, coming as they will from a clear heart and simple mouth. May my canticles find favor with thee, through your own grace, and not through my merits; for, if I am “without spot,” “cleansed from the greatest sin,” and if my words are “such as may please,” the whole is thy gift, thy work, thy action, thou who art “my helper, my Redeemer:” my helper in prosperity, my Redeemer in adversity.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Notes on the Lectionary, NOTES ON THE PSALMS, Scripture, St Robert Bellarmine | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

St Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on Psalm 34

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 22, 2016

An exhortation to the praise and service of God

1 This is called an alphabetical Psalm, by reason of the first verse beginning with the first letter of the alphabet, the second, with the second letter, and so on—done, possibly, that it may be easier committed to memory, and be often chanted by the faithful. He commences by returning thanks with great affection. I will never forget God’s daily kindness, I will, rather “bless him at all times,” as long as I live, and he repeats it, saying, “his praise shall be always in my mouth.” The word always does not mean every moment, every day, every night, as if one had nothing else to do; but it means that he will do so in the proper time and place, to the end of his life, nay, more, as those Psalms will be sung to the end of time, David will thus, through others, “bless the Lord at all times.” This passage may be taken also in a spiritual sense, inasmuch as the just always praise God, when they are in the receipt of his favors as well as when they are afflicted by his trials, as Job did, when he said, “The Lord hath given, and the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord.”

2 I will not be alone in blessing God for his kindness to me at all times, but others too will bless him; for, whosoever shall hear of it will praise me for having baffled that wicked king; and will, at the same time, praise and bless God, who enabled me by such cleverness to save myself from him. “In the Lord shall my soul be praised;” I will be praised by all who shall hear of it; but “in the Lord,” for he, who by his signal providence, inspired me with the true counsels, and helped me to carry them out, so as to produce the desired effect, deserves the principal praise. The Hebrew implies, that the soul, that is, the entire person, is to be praised by itself; and the meaning then is, I will glory to a great extent for this fact, not in myself, but in the Lord, through whose protection and assistance I have escaped the danger. We learn from this passage that it is not always a sin to glory, or to speak in terms of praise of our own actions, and that it is then only sinful when we praise what deserves no praise, or when we do not acknowledge God to be the primary source of all good. “But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord; for not he that commendeth himself is approved, but he whom God commendeth.” The next sentence, “Let the meek hear and rejoice,” implies, that the announcement of such joy is specially made to those to whom such dangers are familiar; such as the patient and the meek, such as are often oppressed by those in power, and find a most willing helper in God. “Let the meek,” the humble, the servants of God, like me, hear what happened to me, “and rejoice,” bless God for it.

3 He directs his discourse to the meek he had just told to hear and to rejoice, and he exhorts them not only to praise God individually, but to join and unite with him in praising God. “O magnify the Lord with me.” Let us acknowledge the Lord, who alone is truly great to be really so, and he who alone is supreme, let us with our voices proclaim to be supreme, “and extol his name;” speak loudly of his knowledge and fame, of his power and majesty. God is much pleased that the faithful, not only in private, but also in public prayer in our churches, should praise and glorify him, “that with one mouth you may unanimously glorify God,” Rom. 15.

4 He now assigns a reason for wishing to bless God at all times, and that is, because he found him the best and most powerful of liberators. “I sought the Lord” when I was grievously harassed, I fled to the Lord, implored his assistance, approached him with confidence, “and he heard me” with his usual kindness and mercy; and the consequence was, that “he delivered me from all my troubles.” Saul, the king, with his own hand, and through his satellites, sought to kill me, but through God’s protection I escaped; in the hurry of my flight I could bring neither arms nor provisions with me, yet the mercy of God at once raised up Achimelech the priest, to supply me with both; soon after, by my own imprudence, I fell into the hands of Achis, king of the Philistines, but through the inspiration, help, and protection of the same God, by wonderful and unheard of stratagems, I escaped the danger. Thus God, my most kind Lord and loving Father, “has delivered me from all the troubles” that have hitherto befallen me.

5 He now commences a most beautiful and effective exhortation to love and fear God, and to cast all our solicitude on him. “Come ye to him,” or as it is in the Hebrew, “look on him.” Behold, the light of consolation and gladness, when you remove the cloud of sadness that was darkening you up; for light signifies gladness, according to Psalm 96, “Light is risen to the just, and joy to the right of heart.” The passage may also be explained in a higher and a mystical sense; “come ye to him,” through conversion, “and be enlightened,” by the grace of justification; for divine enlightenment confers spiritual life; hence, the apostle, Ephes. 5, says, “Rise thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ will enlighten thee;” and Christ himself says, “He that followeth me, walketh not in darkness, but shall have the light of life;” and in Psalm 35, “For with thee is the fountain of life, and in thy light we shall see light;” where life and light are used synonymously. Besides, Baptism was formerly called, “illumination;” because, through it, men dead in sin, were regenerated, and from the darkness of sin, come to the light of life; “come,” therefore, “to him,” by conversion and penance, and he will be converted to you; and by the brightness of his countenance, that imparts so much vitality, coming as it does, from the increate Son and source of life, he will “enlighten” and vivify you. “And your faces shall not be confounded;” come with confidence, fear no repulse, he will hear you, receive you, and will not cause the slightest blush on your countenance. The face is said to be “confounded,” when the petitioner is refused, and goes away with a blush. Thus, Bethsabee said to king Solomon, “I desire one small petition of thee, do not put me to confusion.”

6 He proves the necessity of having recourse to God when in trouble, by his own example. “This poor man,” himself, in so destitute a state, that he had to beg some food of a priest, “cried,” in faith and confidence, knocked by ardent prayer at the gate of divine mercy, and “the Lord” at once “heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.”

7 He already proved by example, he now proves by reason, that we should approach God in all confidence; because the Angel of the Lord, to whom [Psalm 90] he has given the just in charge, the moment he sees the soul in danger, is at once on the spot, and, as if with an encampment, so surrounds and protects it, that it can suffer no harm. Wonderful power of the Angels! One of them, equal to an army, whence it follows that those who fear God and have such a guard in waiting on them, should feel the greatest internal peace and security.

8 He goes on with his exhortation. Having said, “Come ye to him,” and having proved by his own experience, as well as by reason, that we should come to him in time of trouble, he now exhorts us to make a trial, and to prove by experience, that the fact is so. “O taste and see that the Lord is sweet.” Try it, look at it, judge for yourselves, and see; begin to reject all other consolations, and put all your trust in God alone; and “see,” that is, know, learn, “that the Lord is sweet” to those that depend on him. And, in fact, what sweeter can be imagined than a soul full of love, with a good conscience, a pure heart, and a candid faith, reposing in the bosom of the Supreme Good. Truly “blessed is the man that hopeth in him;” that is, in peace with God, and, in a certain hope, reposes in him. We stated that in the expression, “Come to him, and be enlightened,” another meaning may be found, referring to those who are enlightened by justification; and, in like manner, the expression, “O taste and see,” may be taken as referring to those who are more advanced; who, after being spiritually regenerated, begin to grow, and to require nourishment; according to 1 St. Peter, 2, “As new born infants desire the rational milk, without guile; that thereby you may grow unto salvation. If yet you have tasted that the Lord is sweet,” where St. Peter quotes this passage of the Psalm in the same sense that we have explained it. Even St. Paul, Heb. 6, identifies enlightening with tasting, “For it is impossible for those, who were once enlightened, have tasted also the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost.”

9 After exhorting them to try how sweet is the Lord, he now encourages them to fear him, that is, to observe his commandments; or, which amounts to the same, to persevere in the justice and love of God, that being the foundation of the confidence by which we approach to God, and taste of the sweetness of his benefits. This verse is most properly connected with the preceding, even in the more elevated sense, because, as it is by approaching we begin, and by tasting we advance, so it is by fear we are made perfect, not by servile fear, but by the pure and filial fear that is the characteristic of the saints and of the perfect. “Fear the Lord all ye his saints,” for that fear supposes perfect love, for the perfect lover fears vehemently lest he may offend his beloved in any way; and he, therefore, most diligently conforms himself to the will of God, and observes his word in every thing; and he that thus keeps his word, “in this is the perfect love of God,” as 1 St. John 2. has it. Speaking of this fear, Job 28, says, “Behold, the fear of the Lord is wisdom itself,” Eccli. 1, “The fullness of wisdom is to fear God,” and chap. 23, “There is nothing better than the fear of God;” and Isaias 2, speaking of Christ, says, “The spirit of the fear of the Lord will fill him,” and finally, Ecclesiastes, in the last chapter, says, “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is all man,” as if he said: The whole perfection of man, and all the good he may have in life consists in this, through fear of God to observe all his commandments, and the following words, “for there is no want to them that fear him,” convey the same in the higher meaning, for the essence of perfection is to feel no want. And, what want can the friend of God, who owns everything, feel, when the property of friends is common; and if the just appear sometimes to be in want, they really are not so, because they get patience, better than any riches, to bear it; nor can they be said to want riches, who do not desire or covet them, for the soul, and not the money box, ought to abound in riches. Still the same prophet, or rather the same Holy Spirit, who by his words instructs the learned by the very same words, but understood in an humbler sense, instructs the ignorant also, and exhorts them to fear God, “for there is no want to them that fear God;” that is, that God will supply his servants with the temporal things of the world, and will not desert them in time of necessity. And we have, both in the Scriptures, and in the lives of the saints, numberless examples of the wonderful providence of God in supplying his servants with the necessaries of life.

10 He proves the preceding by instituting a comparison between the wicked with those that fear the Lord. The latter will not only feel no want, but the former will, however rich they may have previously been, and by the repeated scourges of God will be reduced to extreme poverty. “The rich have wanted, and have suffered hunger;” that is, those who had been rich began to hunger and to need, because riches are fallacious and uncertain, and exposed to many and various dangers; “but they that seek the Lord shall not be deprived of any good;” they who put their hope, not in riches, but in God, as those do who fear God, they, however poor they may be, “shall not be deprived of any good;” that is, shall want no good. These words have a higher meaning also, namely, that those who are attached to the temporalities of this world always hunger and need, for they are always covetous and desirous of having more; but “they that seek the Lord,” as they seek a thing of infinite value, a thing greater than their desires, for, according to St. John, “God is greater than our heart,” they “shall not be deprived of any good,” because, as they cling to the Supreme Good, they possess all that is good.

11 The prophet having exhorted all to fear God, shows now the advantage of this fear, and in what it consists. “Come to me,” to the school of the Holy Spirit, the best school you can frequent; “hearken to me,” or rather to the Spirit of the Lord speaking through me, for so David himself says, in 2 Kings 23, “The Spirit of the Lord hath spoken by me, and his word by my tongue,” and when you do, “I will teach you to fear the Lord;” that is, in what it consists, and how useful is the fear of the Lord, to which I have so often and so earnestly invited you, as being the essence and the acme of all good and of all perfection.

12 He now explains the advantages and the end of the fear of the Lord, for it brings us long life and “good days;” that is, that life of bliss of which the just have a foretaste in this world, while they have in their hearts the “kingdom of God, which is justice, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost;” and will have complete possession of it in the world to come, “when death shall be absorbed in victory.” “Who is the man that desireth life?” I promised to teach you the fear of the Lord, and I now fulfil my promise, and I tell you, that the end of the fear of the Lord is, what all covet, but few secure, that is, a true and a happy life. Now, those who wish to secure it must adopt the means I am going to point out; they, then, who say they wish for a happy life, and will not take the road that leads to it, they seem to be anything but serious in what they say, when they pursue the shadow and the image, instead of the reality. I therefore ask, who is he that really and truly wishes for true life, that truly loves to see good days, happy, blessed days?

13–14 The holy prophet now teaches how the fear of the Lord leads men to life, “and to see good days;” and lays down that the perfect observance of the commandments of God, or, in other words, the abstaining from all sins, of thought, word, or deed, is the true path to life, according to the words of our Savior, “If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments;” now, such observance of the law, and such abandonment of sin, springs from the fear of the Lord, and, therefore, it is the fear of the Lord that, through the observance of his law, makes us come to true life and “good days.” “Keep thy tongue from evil.” Beware of offending God through your tongue, by lies, by perjury, by detraction, by opprobrious language, etc. He commences with the tongue, because the sins committed by it are of more frequent occurrence, and guarded against with more difficulty, for which reason St. James says, chap. 3, “If a man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man.” “And thy lips from speaking guile.” Having prohibited in general all manner of sins of the tongue, he makes special mention of the sin of lying, as being much more grievous itself, and productive of various other sins. “Turn away from evil.” From sins of word, he passes to sins of deed, and first admonishes us to avoid sins of commission, such as murder, adultery, etc.; and then he adds, “and do good;” to beware of sins of omission, such as neglecting to honor our parents; giving due worship to God at the proper time; neglect of prayer, alms, fasting, etc., and similar good works. “Seek after peace, and pursue it.” He finally warns us to avoid sins of thought, such as anger, hatred, envy, and other minor affections of the soul; that thus we may have and retain true peace and tranquillity in everything we are concerned with. With great propriety, the prophet says, “seek after peace;” because the duty of a good man is not so much to be actually at peace with all, as to wish for it, and to be anxious for it; because, very often, others will not suffer us to be at peace with them; and, therefore, the apostle, Rom. 12, says, “If it be possible, as much as is in you, have peace with all men;” and David himself, in Psalm 119, says, “With them that hated peace I was peaceable;” which peace we are unable to maintain, not only with others, but even with ourselves; for we cannot maintain perfect peace whilst we are in this vale of misery. Hence the apostle says, Rom. 7, “But I see another law in my members, fighting against the law of my mind.” However, though perfect peace with ourselves is impossible, we must seek for it, we must try to acquire it, by subduing the members, by fasts; by subjecting the flesh to the spirit, that it may learn not to rebel at all, or, at least, to rebel less than it does against the sway of the mind. Finally, we must, with all the powers of our soul, seek for the peace that awaits us in the heavenly Jerusalem; for they who long as they ought for that peace, readily despise all temporal good and evil; and thus, even in this world, possess that peace with God, the one thing principally established by filial fear.

15 He proves the assertion he made, viz., that they who avoid sin, and observe the commandments of God, have “life and good days;” and the reason is, because God constantly regards the just, and always hears their prayers; and how can they avoid having: “good days,” who spend their lives under an all powerful guardian? For if the just have any intimation of evils impending on them, and they cry to God, they find his ears open and attentive to them; if they do not know or expect the said evils, God watches for them, and saves them from many dangers themselves neither saw nor understood; for it is for such purpose “the eyes of the Lord are upon the just,” to guard them from the evils not reached by their own eves. Wonderful goodness of God; Who should not be delighted at loving so good a God with his whole heart, and fearing him with the affection of a child? Who, on reflecting on these things, would not exclaim with the prophet, “Pierce thou my flesh with thy fear?” and, in another Psalm, 85, “Let my heart rejoice, that it may fear thy name.” But the just are not always heard by God—yes, they are heard; and if God does not do for them what they ask, it is because it would not be expedient for themselves to have it done. He is like the physician, who hears the request of the patient praying to escape the bitter dose, and still does not hear him, in order that he may cure him.

16 By contrasting God’s dealings with the wicked, the prophet greatly enhances his dealings with the just; for, “as the eyes of the Lord are upon the just,” to protect them, so he watches over “those that do evil things;” that is, over the wicked, not to protect them, but “to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth;” that is, that they may be utterly ruined and perish, and, not only themselves, but their children and all their posterity, until their memory be completely abolished. This does not always happen, either because the wicked themselves repent before the day of vengeance, or because their children and posterity do not follow their example, or because God’s vengeance is stayed by some otherwise and sufficient reason; and the psalmist states here only what generally takes place, and which is laid down in the very beginning of the Decalogue, “I am the Lord thy God, mighty, jealous, visiting the iniquity of the fathers unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.”

17 He proves the assertion, that “the eyes of the Lord are upon the just,” by the examples of the fathers in sacred history, such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Josue, Gideon, and others; and, perhaps, in spirit, foresaw and proclaimed the delivery of Daniel from the den of the lions; of the three children from the fiery furnace; of Susanna, condemned to death through false witnesses. Perhaps, too, he had before him the example of the Machabees, who did not escape death and torments; as well as the apostles and martyrs, and Christ himself, who most unjustly suffered the most grievous torments at the hands of their enemies and persecutors. For they, in the truest sense, are delivered from all tribulation, who, as the Church celebrates them, “by a brief and holy death, possess a happy life.” They can most truly be said to have been heard when they cried, because they got what was so much superior to delivery from a temporal calamity. He gave them the precious gift of patience, and in reward of such patience a crown of everlasting glory.

18 He explains how God delivers the just from tribulation, and seems to enlarge on what he briefly threw out in Psalm 90, “I am with him in tribulation; I will deliver him, and I will glorify him;” that is, through patience I am with him in this life. “I will deliver him,” by the sleep of death; “and glorify him,” by a glorious resurrection. So he now says: “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a contrite heart;” that is, God never deserts the just when they are afflicted and troubled in heart by injuries and persecutions, but is always at hand, ministering patience, mingling with it his heavenly consolations, to enable them to bear up against their trials, which will not be of long duration, for, presently, he will “save the humble of spirit;” those identical humble and afflicted in heart and spirit, and rescue them from all their troubles.

19 This verse properly belongs to the last part of the preceding verse: “He will save the humble of spirit.” He will save them, however numerous their troubles may be, and will save them from all their troubles. For “God will wipe away all tears from their eyes.” Here we are reminded that the faithful in this life are not promised an exemption from want, disease, ignominy, persecution, calumny, oppression, but are only promised spiritual consolation here, and full and perfect delivery hereafter.

20 This seems to apply to the glory of their resurrection, to which, undoubtedly, the expression of our Savior, “A hair from your head shall not be lost,” also applies. For that cannot be called broken, which, at once, becomes stronger and more beautiful than it was before it was broken. And, therefore, though the bones and all the members of the just may be scattered, or devoured by wild beasts, or cast into the sea, or consumed in the fire, God, however, preserves them all in the bosom of his providence; not one of them will be lost, but will all be renewed entire and glorified, at the resurrection.

21 For fear the wicked may suppose their pain and torments would be ended by death, as the atheists, or those who disbelieve the providence of God or the immortality of the soul, falsely persuade themselves of, the prophet adds, “The death of the wicked is very evil,” because it is the beginning of eternal torments; just as “the death of the saints is precious,” because it is the beginning of eternal rest and glory. “And they that hate the just shall be guilty;” that means, they who harass and hate the just, who persecute them, who look upon themselves as having accomplished a good work, and as conquerors, when they depress, despoil, and destroy the just, in the long run, “they shall be guilty;” that is, will stray from the paths of true happiness, and will speak in the language of Wisdom 5, “Therefore we have erred from the way of truth; and the light of justice hath not shined unto us; and the sun of understanding hath not risen upon us. We wearied ourselves in the way of iniquity and destruction, and have walked through hard ways: but the way of the Lord we have not known. What hath pride profited us; or what advantage hath the boasting of riches brought us? All those things are passed away like a shadow.”

22 The Psalm concludes by predicting a lot to the just very different from that predicted for the wicked, “The Lord will redeem” from all slavery, consequently from all evil, “the souls of his servants,” so soon as he shall have brought them out of the prison of the body and thus the death of the just will be the best, as Balaam rightly said, “May my soul die the death of the just, and may my last moments be like unto theirs,” Num. 23. “And none of them that trust in him shall offend,” will not miss their aim, fail in their course, but will arrive at the goal of eternal happiness; “all those” who confide not in their own strength, but in God.

We have here to remark, that hope of any sort, no more than faith of any sort, or faith that is dead, will not suffice to obtain eternal life; but here it is said, that hope will procure eternal life, because he supposes it to be the hope of the just, of those who fear and love God, which the Apostle Peter calls “lively (or living) hope.” Such hope and confidence as springs from patience, good works, and the testimony of a good conscience, according to St. Paul, Rom. 5., “Patience worketh trial, and trial hope;” and again, 1 Timothy 3, “For they that have ministered well, shall purchase to themselves a good degree, and much confidence in the faith which is in Christ Jesus;” and again, 1 John 3, “If our heart do not reprehend us we have confidence towards God.” This living and perfect hope brings us at once to what we want, to everlasting glory, so that we ultimately got possession of the object of our hope.

Posted in Catholic, Notes on the Lectionary, NOTES ON THE PSALMS, Scripture, St Robert Bellarmine | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Commentaries for the Fourth Week of Advent (Includes Christmas Vigil and Day Masses)

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 17, 2016

We are in Year A

Year A Commentaries. Our Lord came in fulfillment of prophecy (1st, 2nd, Gosp. readings) and became “Immanuel,” “God with us” ( 1st, Gosp.) through his resurrection from the dead (2nd reading; see also Mt 28:19-20). We pray that our Lord, “the King of glory,” will come to be with us (Ps; see also Jn 14:2-3, 17:24).

Year B Commentaries.

Year C Commentaries.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Judges 13:2-7, 24-25a.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 71.

Patristic/Medieval Commentary on Psalm 71.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 71.

My Notes on Psalm 71:3-4a,5-6ab, 16-17.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 1:5-25.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Luke 1:5-25.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Luke 1:5-25.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Father Maas’ Commentary on Isaiah 7:10-14.

Word-Sunday Notes on Isaiah 7:10-14.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Isaiah 7:10-14.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 24.

Patristic/Medieval Commentary on Psalm 24:1-6.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Psalm 24.

St Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on Psalm 24.

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary on Psalm 24.

Word-Sunday Notes on Psalm 24.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Luke 1:26-38.

Father Callan’s Commentary on Luke 1:26-38.

Aquinas’ Commentary on Luke 1:26-38.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Luke 1:26-38.


Today’s Mass Readings. Note there is a choice between two first readings.

1st reading: Navarre Bible Commentary on Song of Songs 2:8-14.

Alt 1st reading: My Notes on Zephaniah 3:14-18.

Alt. 1st reading: Navarre Bible Commentary on Zephaniah 3:14-18.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 33.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 33.

Patristic/Medieval Commentary on Psalm 33.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Psalm 33.

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary on Psalm 33.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Luke 1:39-45.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 1:39-45.

Father Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Luke 1:39-45.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Luke 1:39-45.


Today’s Mass Reading.

Navarre Bible Commentary on 1 Samuel 1:24-28.

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary on Today’s Responsorial (1 Samuel 2:1, 4-8). On 1-10.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary Luke 1:46-56.

Pope Benedict XVI’s Commentary on Luke 1:46-56.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Luke 1:46-56.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 1:46-56.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Today’s Gospel Luke 1:46-56.


Today’s Mass Readings.

My Notes on Malachi 3:1-4, 23-24.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Malachi 3:1-4, 23-24.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 25.

Fatheer Berry’s Introduction and Notes to Psalm 25.

St Augustine on Psalm 25.

Patristic/Medieval Commentary on Psalm 25.

Lection Divina Notes on Psalm 25.

Some Rambling on Psalm 25. “Off the top of my head” reflections on St John the Baptist in relation to today’s first reading (the Baptist is the focal point of both the first and Gospel readings today).

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 1:57-66.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Luke 1:57-66.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Luke 1:57-66.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Navarre Bible Commentary on 2 Samuel 7:1-5a, 8b-12, 14a, 16.

St Augustine on 2 Samuel 7:4-5a, 12-14a, 16 and Psalm 89.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 89.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 89.

Patristic/Medieval Commentary on Psalm 89.

St Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on Psalm 89.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 1:67-79.

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary on Luke 1:67-79.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Luke 1:67-79.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Luke 1:67-79.


Vigil Mass for the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord (Dec 24).

Mass During the Night: The Nativity of the Lord (Midnight Mass).

Mass at Dawn: The Nativity of the Lord.

Mass During the Day: The Nativity of the Lord.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Daily Catholic Lectionary, Notes on the Lectionary, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

My Summary Notes on the Prophet Malachi

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 15, 2016

The Book of Malachi is written in diatribe style, the purpose of which is to exhort and admonish both priests and people to embrace and do the will of God. The book was written during the post-exilic period, after the return from Babylon which occurred in 538 BC, and after the construction of the temple (circa 518 BC) but (according to some scholars) before the return of Ezra, whose date of return is disputed. The NABRE suggests the book was written around 445 BC, after the return of Ezra but just before the return of Nehemiah.

The work contains six diatribes, with the first providing the foundation for the rest: 1.   God loves Israel and wishes to maintain covenant relations with his people (Mal 1:2-5).  2.  For this relationship to continue the priests must offer proper sacrifices at the temple (Mal 1:6-2:9).  3.  The people must maintain their marriages as if safeguarding their own lives (Mal 2:10-16).  4.  God will send a messenger of righteousness to refine the people (i.e., make them repentant) before He returns in judgment (Mal 2:17-3:5).  5.  God, through His prophet, exhorts the people to offer tithes that are not fraudulent. If they try this they will find blessing (Mal 3:6-12).  6.  Exhortations and warning to remember the covenant (Mal 3:13-4:5 [i3:13-24 in NABRE]).

FIRST DIATRIBE, Mal 1:2-5. After a brief superscription (Mal 1:1) the body of the book opens with its first diatribe which is directed against those who say and act as if God doesn’t love them. But God insists that His love is manifested by the fact that He chose their father Jacob (also called Israel) rather than his brother Esua (father of the Edomites). By the time of Malachi the People of God had been exiled, their land destroyed; but they had returned and rebuilt. The country of Edom was desolate and would never be rebuilt.

Proof of God’s love for his people is the point of this first diatribe and it establishes the basis for all the rest. Further, each subsequent diatribe prepares for the one following it, or, is related to the one preceding it.

SECOND DIATRIBE, Mal 1:6-2:9. Because of his abiding love (first diatribe) God deserves from the priests the honor due a father, and reverential fear due to a master. But the priests have begun offering impure and sick animals which even the pagan governor then ruling over the land would not be pleased with (Mal 1:7-8). Thus–and this calls to mind the first diatribe–they are shown treating with contempt the God who chose them (Jacob) over pagan peoples (Esau). The prophet looks forward to a time when God’s name will be great and feared among the nations and a pure sacrifice will be continually offered to Him (Mal 1:11, 14).

THIRD DIATRIBE, Mal 2:10-16. Just as the priests have broken the covenant with Levi and profaned the Temple (second diatribe),  so too have the men of Judah broken the covenant of the fathers and defiled the sanctuary, here possibly referring to the legitimate wife as a temple (Mal 2:10-11). this they have done by breaking the marriage covenant with their wives to marry the daughters of foreign gods. (Mal 2:14-16). The Lord desires Godly offspring (Mal 2:15).

FOURTH DIATRIBE, Mal 2:17-3:5. The God who hates divorce and desires Godly offspring (third diatribe) is a God who demands justice among people (Mal 2:17). He will purify those who have broken the covenant with Levi (Mal 3:3-4, referring to diatribe 2); and He will judge those who deal wickedly, especially those guilty of perverting marriage (adulterers), and those who oppress people who have lost their family (widows and orphans, Mal 3:5).

FIFTH DIATRIBE, Mal 3:6-12. The God of justice who always seeks to bring His people to repentance and judges those who refuse (fourth diatribe) does not change, and this keeps His people from being consumed (Mal 3:6). Thus God challenges His people to challenge Him, put Him to the test by offering tithes rightly, then they will see Him fulfill His covenant promises (Mal 3:10-12, see Deut 28:1-15).

SIXTH DIATRIBE: Mal 3:13-4:6 [3:13-24 in NABRE]. The God who challenged His people to challenge Him (fifth diatribe) now critiques those who say that the wicked prosper when they put God to the test (Mal 3:13-15). By divine judgement those who heed the Lord will be distinguished from those who do not (Mal 3:16-4:3). The Lord who promised not  to destroy the fruit of the soil and the abundance of the fields if His people responded to him (fifth diatribe), ends His last diatribe by telling His people to remember the Covenant with Moses, and assures them that He will send them Elijah to preach repentance, “lest I come and smite the land with a curse” (Mal 4:5-6).

In my opinion the first three diatribes parallel sequentially the second three (note the color coding).

1 Mal 1:2-5. God made a distinction between Jacob (Israel) and Esau (Edom). Esau is punished forever, his land desolate.
2 Mal 1:6-2:9. The priests are not offering right sacrifices. They have also turned aside from the way and perverted the instructions they gave to the people. A curse is invoked.
3 Mal 2:10-16. The people have polluted the sanctuary that the Lord loves (a reference to the legitimate wife?) by not maintaining the family relationship of marriage. Marriage is for the purpose of Godly offspring (family).
4 Mal 2:17-3:5.  The Day of the Lord. The Messenger of the Covenant will come to refine the priests and people in preparation for the Lord’s coming to His Temple (sanctuary). The Lord will judge sinners, including those who pervert marriage (adulterers), and those who oppress people without families (widows and orphans).
5 Mal 3:6-12. The people are not offering tithes rightly. They have turned aside from the Lord’s statutes. A curse is invoked.
6 Mal 3:13-4:5 [3:13-24 in NABRE]. God will make a distinction between the righteous who are His special possession, and the wicked who will be utterly destroyed. The people must stay turned toward God lest he come and smite (make desolate) the land.

The book began by emphasizing the fact that God had specially chosen Jacob (Israel) over Esau (Edomites); and it highlighted the fact that the land of the latter had been thoroughly destroyed (Mal 1:2-5). The book ends with the Lord distinguishing between the righteous and the wicked; between those who serve God and those who don’t; and a warning is given to repent, lest God smite the land with an Edom-like curse (Mal 3:13-4:5). The lesson here is quite simple: you cannot treat being chosen by God as if it were a cheap gift.  Every one to whom much is given, of him will much be required (Lk 12:48). You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people (1 Pet 2:9), and it is for this very reason that it is imperative to understand that judgement begins with the household of God (1 Pet 4:17). God’s grace and favor bring great responsibilities: You only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities (Amos 3:2)

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St Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on Psalm 98

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 15, 2016


Ps 98:1A psalm for David himself. SING ye to the Lord a new canticle: because he hath done wonderful things. His right hand hath wrought for him salvation, and his arm is holy. ‎

He invites all men to praise God for his wonderful works. “Sing ye to the Lord a new canticle,” for there is not only new but great and wonderful matter for it, “because he hath done wonderful things;” for he was wonderfully, and in an unheard of manner, conceived of the Holy Ghost, born of a virgin, committed no sin, justified sinners, made the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak, nay, even the blind to see, the lame to walk, cured the sick, raised the dead; and, what is the most strange and wonderful of all, showed himself alive within three days after he was buried, took his body up to heaven, sent the Holy Ghost from heaven, and through the agency of poor, humble men, persuaded the prudent and the wise to worship the crucified, to despise the things of the present, and to look forward to the things of the future; and, finally, as St. Augustine says, conquered the world, not by the sword but by the cross. All this may be referred to the Father, who in the Son, and through the Son, effected all these wonderful things; for the Lord says, “But the Father, who abideth in me, he doth the works.” “His right hand hath wrought for him salvation, and his arm is holy.” He explains what those wonderful things are, and instances one of them that comprehends the whole. The wonderful thing God did consisted in his having saved the world purely by his own power, without associates, without an army, without arms; he alone cast out the prince of this world, and delivered mankind from his power. Such was the object of all the wonderful things enumerated above; and thus, this one thing comprehends all. The expression, “hath wrought for him salvation,” may apply to the Son, who saved the world by his own power; and to the Father who, through Christ, his right hand, saved it; but it comes to the same thing; “and his arm is holy,” is merely a repetition of the foregoing; right hand and arm being nearly synonymous, and they signify virtue and power; but the word “holy” is added, for fear we should suppose carnal, not spiritual, strength is intended; for Christ did not overcome his enemy by the force of arms or by bodily strength, but by love and patience, by humility and obedience, by the merits of his most holy life, by his most precious blood spilled for love of us, and not by the spear or the sword, and obtained a signal victory over a most powerful enemy. So, says the Apostle, “He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

Ps 98:2 The Lord hath made known his salvation: he hath revealed his justice in the sight of the Gentiles.

This verse, too, may be referred to the Father, “who made known his salvation;” that is, the Savior he sent; first, through the prophets, then through the Apostles, and through the same “revealeth his justice.” It may also be referred to the Son, who made known the salvation effected by himself, through himself, and through his Apostles; for he preached it openly for three entire years and more, and then he sent his Apostles, who announced his Gospel to the entire world. The Lord, therefore, by his own preaching, “made his salvation known;” that is, the salvation he brought on earth to confer on those who would believe in him; then, “in the sight of the gentiles,” through his Apostles, “he hath revealed his justice;” that is, he made known and revealed to the gentiles that mystery that was hidden from the world; and the mystery is his own justice; that is, the fulfillment of that promise that was formerly made to the fathers concerning the redemption of the human race. This I consider to be the meaning of justice here; for in the following verse it means truth, as we shall see. However, if anyone wishes justice to be understood of the satisfaction Christ had to offer, in the rigor of justice, for the sins of the whole world, I do not object, whether in reference to the Father, or to the Son. For truly did the Father, through the passion of the Son, and the Son through his own sufferings, “reveal” how iniquity required to be punished, and how rigorously God’s justice required satisfaction. On this mystery the Apostle writes as follows to the Ephesians, “To me, the least of all the saints, is given this grace to preach among the gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ. And to enlighten all men what is the dispensation of the mystery, which hath been hidden from eternity in God.”

Ps 98:‎3 He hath remembered his mercy and his truth toward the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. ‎

He assigns a reason for God’s having “made known his salvation,” and “revealed his justice.” Because he promised such to the fathers; and though he delayed the fulfillment of his promise for some time, he at length “remembered” it; that is, he acted as those do who remember a thing. God cannot forget, but he is figuratively said to remember when he does a thing after a while, as if he had forgotten it. The expression often occurs in the Scriptures; thus, “The Lord remembered Noe;” and, Luke 1, “He hath remembered his mercy.” God the Father, then, “remembered his mercy,” through which he promised a Savior to the fathers; and God the Son “remembered his mercy,” that induced him to promise to come as a Savior; and both remembered “their truth,” their honor and justice in fulfilling the promise “toward the house of Israel;” for the promise was made to them, and not to the gentiles; although God had determined, and often announced it through the prophets, that he would have mercy on the gentiles, too. Hence our Savior, Mat. 15, says, “I was not sent out to the sheep that are lost of the house of Israel.” And the Apostle, Rom. 15, “For I say that Christ Jesus was minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers; but that the gentiles are to glorify God for his mercy, as it is written. Therefore will I confess to thee, O Lord, among the gentiles.”—“All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.” See the fruit of the preaching of the Apostles! It was not in vain that God made his salvation known through their preaching, for the gentiles heard them, and believed in Christ; and thus, the interior eye of the heart having been purified through faith and grace, “all the ends of the earth,” the whole world, to its remotest boundaries, “have seen the salvation of our God,” or the Savior sent by him. There is a degree of point in the expression, “have seen;” it implies actual faith, united with knowledge, that moves the will to love and to desire; for they cannot be said to have seen God’s salvation, who, content with habitual faith, never bestow a thought on the Savior, and take no trouble whatever in accomplishing the salvation to be had through him. The expression, “all the ends of the earth,” is not to be read literally, for it does not mean each and every individual, but a great many from every nation and people.

Ps 98:4 Sing joyfully to God, all the earth; make melody, rejoice and sing. ‎

The giving thanks to God, and exulting and singing in spiritual joy, is a sign of faith. Thus, he that found the treasure “went, and, through joy, sold all he had.” Thus when Philip preached in Samaria, and the inhabitants received the word of God, “there was great joy in that city;” and the eunuch, when converted and baptized, “went his way rejoicing” thus also St. Peter says, “And believing, shall rejoice with an unspeakable and glorious joy.” This joy is now predicted by the prophet, as if he were inviting and exhorting the faithful to it, “Sing joyfully to God, all the earth.” All you faithful, all over the world, who have been brought from darkness to “the admirable light,” to the knowledge of the true God and our Savior Jesus Christ, praise and thank with a loud voice; sing, exult, and play upon musical instruments.

Ps 98:5 Sing praise to the Lord on the harp, on the harp, and with the voice of a psalm:
Ps 98:6 With long trumpets, and sound of cornet. Make a joyful noise before the Lord our king:

Four instruments are enumerated for those who have seen God by faith, and, desire to see him by sight; they are the harp, the psaltery, long trumpets, and sound of cornet. These were, literally, the instruments most in use among the Jews, and a spiritual signification has been attached to each instrument. They seem to be to represent the cardinal virtues, the harp implying prudence; the psaltery, justice; the long trumpet, fortitude, and the cornet temperance. The harp, having various strings, blends their sounds together, and produces a sweet harmony; and thus prudence unites good works with various circumstances, and produces a perfect work. The psaltery of ten strings represents the decalogue, containing all the precepts of justice. The long trumpet is beaten out and formed by repeated blows of the hammer, until it produces the sweet sounds required; thus, fortitude, by patiently bearing all trials and tribulations, so draws out and perfects the man of God, that, with holy Job, it is no trouble to him to give out that sweet sound, “If we have received good things at the hand of God, why should we not receive evil?” Finally, temperance, like a hard horn, from which the cornet was made, rising above and out topping the flesh; that is, chastising the body, by fasting and watching, and by bringing it under subjection to the spirit, forms it into a spiritual cornet. Such was the precursor of our Lord, who, with wild honey and locusts for his food, and a garment of camel’s hair with a leathern girdle for his dress, called out, “A voice of one crying in the desert.” Such, too, was the most blessed Paul, who, instructed as he was by long continued temperance, gave out the following sweet sounds, “But having food and wherewith to be covered, with these we are content;” and again, “The meat for the belly, and the belly for the meats; but God shall destroy both it and them.” And truly, “piety with sufficiency is great gain.” “Make a joyful noise before our King.” Be sure to strike up all the aforesaid instruments the moment the great King, who is Lord of all, shall have made his appearance.

Ps 98:‎7 Let the sea be moved and the fullness thereof: the world and they that dwell therein. ‎

As the coming of the Lord was a blessing to all in general, the prophet calls, not only on the whole earth, but on all its parts, separately, to praise and sing to God. “Let the sea be moved,” heaving and swelling with exultation, as if it were animated; “and the fulness thereof;” its waters, islands, fishes; “the world, and they that dwell therein.” Let them, too, rejoice and exult because the Lord is the Savior of all men, especially of the faithful.

Ps 98:8 The rivers shall clap their hands, the mountains shall rejoice together ‎

Having invited the sea and the earth, he now summons the rivers and the mountains to unite in their expressions of joy. He said, however, “Let the sea be moved,” in the Hebrew, let it thunder; whereas to the rivers he says, they shall “clap their hands,” thereby expressing the difference between the noise of the one and of the other; and when he calls upon “the mountains to rejoice together,” we can easily understand that the prophet does not ask those inanimate things to speak, to praise, or to sing, but that he is so carried away and inflamed with love for the coming Messias, that he calls upon and wishes all created things to unite with him, as far as possible, in praising and thanking God.

Ps 98:9 At the presence of the Lord: because he cometh to judge the earth. He shall judge the world with justice, and the people with equity.

“Because he cometh to judge the earth” may be referred either to his first or his second coming. If to his first, the meaning will be, Let all the aforesaid rejoice, “because he cometh to judge the earth,” to rule and govern the earth through most just and wise laws, not only as of old, in the majesty of his invisible divinity, but in visible and corporal appearance, “being made to the likeness of men, and in shape found as a man.”—If we refer it to his second coming, the meaning would be, Let all these rejoice, because “the Lord cometh to judge the earth,” and he will exterminate all the sinners in it, and renew all its elements, “and he will deliver it from the servitude of corruption, under which it now groans and is in labor.”—“He shall judge the world with justice.” The same as the conclusion of Psalm 95, which see.

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St Cyril of Alexandria’s Homiletic Commentary on Luke 21:5-13

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 15, 2016

21:5-13. And as some spoke of the temple, that it was adorned with goodly stones and offerings, He said; As for these things that you behold, the days will come in which there shall not be left here stone upon stone which shall not be thrown down. And they asked Him, saying, Teacher, when therefore shall these things be, and what is the sign when these things are about to happen? But He said, Look! Be not deceived: for many shall come in My name, saying, That I am He: and the time is near. Go you therefore not after them. And when you have heard of wars and commotions, be not troubled: for these things must first happen; but the end is not immediately. Then said He to them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: great earthquakes shall be in all places, and famines, and pestilences: and terrors from, heaven, and there shall be great signs. But before all these things they shall lay their hands upon you, and persecute you, delivering you up to synagogues and prisons, and bringing you before kings and rulers for My name sake: but this shall prove to you a witnessing.

FROM Christ we have received the knowledge of things about to happen: for it is even He Who “reveals the deep things out of darkness,” and knows those that are hidden: and “in Him are all the treasures of wisdom, and the hidden things of knowledge.'” He changes times and seasons: and refashions the creation to that which it was at the beginning. For it was by His means that when it existed not, it was brought into existence according to the will of God the Father: for He is His living and personal power and wisdom: and again by His means it will easily be changed into that which is better. For as His disciple says, “We expect new heavens, and a new earth, and His promises.” |651

Now the cause of this digression has been in part the question put to our common Saviour Christ respecting the temple, and the things therein, and partly the answer He made thereto. For some of them showed Him the mighty works that were in the temple, and the beauty of the offerings; expecting that He would admire as they did the spectacle, though He is God, and heaven is His throne. But He deigned, so to speak, no regard whatsoever to these earthly buildings, trifling as they are, and absolutely nothing, compared I mean to the mansions that are above; and dismissing the conversation respecting them, turned Himself rather to that which was necessary for their use. For He forewarned them, that however worthy the temple might be accounted by them of all admiration, yet at its season it would be destroyed from its foundations, being thrown down by the power of the Romans, and all Jerusalem burnt with fire, and retribution exacted of Israel for the slaughter of the Lord. For after the Saviour’s crucifixion, such were the things which it was their lot to suffer.

They however understood not the meaning of what was said, but rather imagined that the words He spoke referred to the consummation of the world. They asked therefore, “When shall these things be? and what is the sign when they are about to happen? What therefore is Christ’s answer? He meets the view of those who put to Him the enquiry, and omitting for the present what He was saying about the capture of Jerusalem, He explains what will happen at the consummation of the world, and, so to speak, warns them and testifies, saying, “Look! Be not deceived: for many shall come in My Name, saying, that I am He, and the time is near. Go you not after them.'” For before the advent of Christ the Saviour of us all from heaven, various false Christs and false prophets will appear preceding Him, falsely assuming to themselves His person, and coming into the world like eddies of smoke springing up from a fire about to break forth. “But follow them not,” He says. For the Only-begotten Word of God consented to take upon Him our likeness, and to endure the birth in the flesh of a woman, in order that He might save all under heaven. And this to Him was an emptying of Himself, and a humiliation. For what is the measure of humanity compared with |652 the divine and supreme majesty and glory? As one therefore Who had humbled Himself to emptiness, He deigned to remain unknown, even charging the holy apostles before His precious cross that they should not reveal Him. For it was necessary that the manner of His dispensation in the flesh should remain hid, that by enduring as a man for our sakes even the precious cross, He might abolish death, and drive away Satan from his tyranny over us all. For, as Paul says; “The wisdom that was in Christ, by which is meant that which is by Christ, none of the rulers of this world knew: for if they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” It was necessary therefore that He should remain unknown during the time that preceded His passion: but His second advent from heaven will not happen secretly as did His coming at first, but will be illustrious and terrible. For He shall descend with the holy angels guarding Him, and in the glory of God the Father, to judge the world in righteousness. And therefore He says, “when there arise false Christs and false prophets, go you not after them.'”

And He gives them clear and evident signs of the time when the consummation of the world is now near. “For there shall be wars, He says, and tumults: and famines and pestilences everywhere: and terrors from heaven, and great signs.” For, as another evangelist says, “all the stars shall fall: and the heaven be rolled up like a scroll, and its powers shall be shaken.”

But in the middle the Saviour places what refers to the capture of Jerusalem: for He mixes the accounts together in both parts of the narrative. “For before all these things, He says, they shall lay their hands upon you, and persecute you, delivering you up to synagogues and to prisons, and bringing you before kings and rulers for My Name’s sake. But this shall prove to you a witnessing.” For before the times of consummation the land of the Jews was taken captive, being overrun by the Roman host; the temple was burnt, their national government overthrown, the means for the legal worship ceased;—-for they no longer had sacrifices, now that the temple was destroyed,—-and, as I said, the country of the Jews, together with Jerusalem itself, was utterly laid waste. And before those things happened, the blessed disciples were |653 persecuted by them. They were imprisoned: had part in unendurable trials: were brought before judges: were sent to kings; for Paul was sent to Rome to Caesar. But these things that were brought upon them were to them for a witnessing, even to win for them the glory of martyrdom.

And He testifies to them, ‘Meditate not beforehand what defence you will make: for you shall receive of Me wisdom and a tongue which all those who stand against you shall not be able to resist or to speak against.’ And cutting away the grounds of human pusillanimity, He tells them, ‘that they shall be delivered up by brethren and friends and kinsfolk:’ but He promises that certainly and altogether He will deliver them, saying, that “a hair of your head shall not perish.”

And, to make His prediction yet again more clear, and more plainly to mark the time of its capture, He says, “When you have seen Jerusalem girt about with armies, then know that its destruction is nigh.” And afterwards again He transfers His words from this subject to the time of the consummation, and says; “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity: from the sound of the sea, and its surging, as the souls of men depart: from fear and expectation of the things which are coming upon the world: for the hosts of heaven shall be shaken.” For inasmuch as creation begins, so to speak, to be changed, and brings unendurable terrors upon the inhabitants of earth, there will be a certain fearful tribulation, and a departing of souls to death. For the unendurable fear of those things that are coming will suffice for the destruction of many.

“Then, He says, they shall see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” Christ therefore will come not secretly nor obscurely, but as God and Lord, in glory |654 such as becomes Deity; and will transform all things for the better. For He will renew creation, and refashion the nature of man to that which it was at the beginning. “For when these things, He says, come to pass, lift up your heads, and look upwards: for your redemption is near.” For the dead shall rise, and this earthly and infirm body shall put off corruption, and shall clothe itself with incorruption by Christ’s gift, Who grants to those that believe in Him to be conformed to the likeness of His glorious body. As therefore His disciple says, “The day of the Lord will come as a thief; in which the heavens indeed shall suddenly pass away, and the elements being on fire shall be dissolved, and the earth and all the works that are therein shall be burnt up.” And further, he adds thereunto, “Since therefore all these things are being dissolved, what sort of persons ought we to be, that we may be found holy, and without blame, and unreproved before Him?” And Christ also Himself says, “Be you therefore always watching, supplicating that you may be able to escape from all those things that are about to happen, and to stand before the Son of Man.” “For we shall all stand before His judgment seat,” to give an account of those things that we have done. But in that He is good and loving to mankind, Christ will show mercy on those that love Him; by Whom and with Whom to God the Father be praise and dominion, with the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever, Amen.3 |655 (source)

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Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 2:16-3:5

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 10, 2016

To help provide context this post includes Fr. MacEvilly’s brief summaries of chapters 2 & 3. Text in purple indicates his interpretive paraphrasing of the scripture he is commenting on.


Chapter 2: It appears, that certain expressions employed by the Apostle in chapters 4, 5, of the preceding Epistle, as implying the near approach of the day of judgment, produced feelings of terror and alarm in the minds of the Thessalonians. They, in consequence, became indifferent about their temporal concerns and their duties to society. This state of feeling had been artfully employed by the false teachers, to confirm them in these erroneous impressions; these also alleged certain expressions and epistles as emanating from the Apostle, to the same effect. To remedy this state of things, the Apostle beseeches them to be no way affrighted, and to pay no attention to any assertion or epistle purporting to emanate from himself, on this subject (1, 2).

In the next place, he gives two precursory signs, that are to usher in the day of judgment viz., a general apostacy, and the coming of Antichrist (3). He describes the sacrilegious impiety and wicked morals of Antichrist, and reminds the Thessalonians of his oral instructions on the subject, when amongst them, and also of the cause which, he told them, was to retard the public appearance of this impious man, who, at present, works clandestinely and privately by means of his wicked precursors, until the obstacle to his public appearance is removed (4–8). But when this obstacle, whatever it be, is removed, then, this wicked impostor will appear, performing wonders and prodigies, and leading into error those who, in punishment of their resistance to God’s light, will be delivered over by him to the spirit of error (9–11).

He calms any apprehension which the character given of Antichrist might be apt to beget in the minds of the Thessalonians, by assuring them, that there is room for dread on the part of the incredulous, but none whatever as regards those, who are the first fruits of the faithful, or of God’s elect (12, 13). He exhorts them to persevere and firmly hold to the traditions which they have learned (14). He, finally, wishes them perseverance in grace and good works (15, 16).

Chapter 3: The Apostle had been informed that, notwithstanding his instructions, when at Thessalonica, and his injunctions conveyed in his former Epistle, some able-bodied men among the Thessalonians continued to go about, begging, when they might procure means of support by manual labour; indulging in idle curiosity, prying into the concerns of others and neglecting their own, to the great disedification and estrangement of the unbelievers. Hence, in this chapter, after recommending himself to their prayers (1, 2); and promising them the aid of the Almighty (3); and praying to God in turn for them (4, 5); he repeats his former injunctions on this important subject, and conjures these disorderly men, in the most solemn manner, to devote themselves to a life of labour.

He quotes himself as an example in this matter, and refers to the laborious life which he led amongst them; but should any person, after this admonition, continue refractory, he enjoins on the rulers of the Church to separate such a one from the society of the faithful. He tells them that severity should, however, be blended with tenderness and brotherly compassion (6–15). He concludes, by wishing them the abundance of peace and grace.

2 Th 2:16 Exhort your hearts and confirm you in every good work and word. ‎

May he, I say, increase your consolation and strengthen your hearts (amidst the persecutions you endure), and confirm you in the belief of sound doctrine, and in the practice of all sort of good works.

May he “exhort your hearts.” The Greek word for “exhort” (ταρακαλέσαι), means also to console. Hence, it means, may he increase in your hearts that “eternal consolation,” which in the preceding verse he says, has been already imparted to them.

“In every good work and word.” The order is inverted in the common Greek, which runs thus: The Codex Vaticanus has the order of the Vulgate.

2 Th 3:1 FOR the rest, brethren, pray for us that the word of God may run and may be glorified, even as among you:

For the rest, brethren, pray for us (ministers of the Gospel), that the word of God, the true doctrine of Christ, may be successfully propagated by our ministry, and may be received with reverence and honour elsewhere, as it has been with you.

“For the rest.” A form of transition from one subject to another, usual with the Apostle.

‎2 Th 3:2 And that we may be delivered from importunate and evil men: for all men have not faith.

Pray, therefore, that we may be delivered from the annoyance caused us by importunate and wicked men, who everywhere oppose us, and resist the progress of the Gospel; and no wonder, for all men to whom the Gospel is preached, do not believe; or, all who profess the faith, do not in reality believe.

“Importunate.” The Greek word, τῶν ἀτοπων, unsteady; remaining in no one place. He probably alludes to the Jews, his chief adversaries, who persecuted him from place to place, and everywhere excited commotions against him. Others understand him to refer to the Judaizantes and false Christians, by whom the name of Christ was brought into disrepute.

“For all men have not faith.” If we understand the word “importunate,” of the obstinate and unbelieving Jews; then, these words mean, all to whom the Gospel is preached, do not believe: if, of bad Christians, then, they mean, all who profess the faith externally, have not faith in reality.—(Vide Paraphrase).

2 Th ‎3:3 But God is faithful, who will strengthen and keep you from evil. ‎

(Still, notwithstanding the many domestic and foreign enemies whom the faith has to encounter, you should not be afraid), for God is faithful to his engagements, and will confirm you in the faith, and deliver you from the power of the wicked adversary (Satan).

“God is faithful.” In Greeks, the Lord is faithful. God will perfect what he began in those whom he has elected to salvation: hence, as each one should hope, that God has predestined him, so ought he trust that God will strengthen him in faith, guard him from the wiles, and protect him from the power of Satan, the evil one, by nature.

2 Th 3:4 And we have confidence concerning you in the Lord that the things which we command, you both do and will do. ‎

But we have the greatest hopes regarding you, and we trust, that aided by God’s grace and succour, you fulfil, and will continue to fulfil, the precepts which we have given you.

But, nevertheless, all does not rest with God, human co-operation is required; hence, we should not grow idle or apathetic, in reference to our salvation. “You do,” shows that their co-operation is required; and “will do,” shows that they must co-operate perseveringly, to the end of life. “In the Lord,” i.e., by the aid of God’s grace and succour, “we command.” In Greek, command you.

2 Th 3:5 And the Lord direct your hearts, in the charity of God and the patience of Christ.

But may the Lord direct your hearts unto the love of God, and the patient expectation of Christ’s coming.

He again recurs to God, the source of all justice and the author of our salvation; and he prays him to grant them, to arrive straightway at salvation, by observing God’s precepts, which is the test of the “love of God,” and by patiently enduring the evils of this life, after the example of Christ. “Patience of Christ,” probably means the patient expectation of Christ’s coming to remunerate us. In this, however, patient suffering of evils is implied; so that the meaning is the same, whether we make it the patience of Christ in enduring suffering, or the patient expectation, &c. (as in Paraphrase), “in the charity of God.” In Greek, unto the charity, &c.

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St Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on Psalm 7

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 8, 2016


Psa 7:1 The psalm of David, which he sung to the Lord, for the words of Chusi, the son of Jemini. 

Psa 7:2 O Lord, my God, in thee have I put my trust; same me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me.

“In thee have I put my trust,” because nearly all have deserted me, so that my very son Absalom, and my father in law Saul, seek to put me to death. I have no one to trust in but you, my God. “Save me from all them that persecute me.” Numerous were his persecutors—some by their advice, some by their maledictions, some by war and arms.

Psa 7:3 Lest at any time he seize upon my soul like a lion, while there is no one to redeem me, nor to save.

Meaning the leader of the persecution; for fear, says he, Saul or Absalom “seize upon my soul,” that is, take my life without any mercy, just as the lion seizes on other animals, “while there is no one to redeem me, nor to save,” that is, if you do not redeem and save me; for David knew that all human industry, without God, was of no avail. The word “redeem” is used in the Scripture for any sort of deliverance, though, properly speaking, it supposes something to be paid on redemption. For, as God is said to sell those he alienates from his mercy, and delivers to the ministers of his justice for punishment; so he is said to redeem those whom, in his mercy, he liberates, after rescuing them from the same ministers.

Psa 7:4 O Lord, my God, if I have done this thing, if there be iniquity in my hands:
Psa 7:5 If I have rendered to them that repaid me evils, let me deservedly fall empty before my enemies.

A reason assigned for asking deliverance of God, namely, on account of God’s knowledge of his innocence, thereby refuting Saul and Semei’s calumny of his plotting against Saul, and his invasion of the kingdom: for he asserts that he not only did not return evil for good, nor even evil for evil, but, on the contrary, that he returned good for evil. He first asserts that he did not return evil for good. “If I have done this,” that is, if I have conspired against the king, or invaded the kingdom by any fraud or force; “if there be iniquity in my hands,” that is, if I have done evil, returning it for good, I who was treated with such honor by Saul, adopted as his son in law, placed over a thousand soldiers—if I have been, as he asserts, the person to conspire against him, “If I have rendered to them that repaid me evils;” that means, when Saul and Semei, for all the favors I conferred on them, would only give evil in return, even to seek my death, I did not seek theirs, though I might easily, and could with impunity have done so. “Let me deservedly fall empty before my enemies,” which means, if such calumnies of theirs be not false, I don’t murmur at, nor refuse to fall “empty” in battle, that is, without any military glory, having inflicted no injury on the enemy, and after having suffered a great deal.

Psa 7:6 Let the enemy pursue my soul, and take it, and tread down my life, on the earth, and bring down my glory to the dust.

The evils he imprecates on himself, if the calumnies of Saul or Semei be true. See how they rise. First, “Let the enemy pursue my soul,” that is, endeavor to kill me. Second, “And take it,” in such way that I cannot possibly escape when he takes me to kill me. Third, “And tread down my life on the earth;” put me to an ignominious death, such as the death of those who are trampled under foot, and bruised to atoms. Fourth, “And bring down my glory to the dust;” that my memory, instead of being exalted and revered, may be forever infamous and opprobrious.

Psa 7:7 Rise up, O Lord, in thy anger: and be thou exalted in the borders of my enemies. And arise, O Lord, my God, in the precept which thou hast commanded:

Having asserted his innocence, he justly asks of God to defend him. And as God is metaphorically said to sleep when he does not help; and to rise from sleep when he begins to help, as in Psalm 53, “Rise, why sleepest thou, O Lord?” he now says, “Rise in thy anger;” that is, be angry with my enemies; repel and terrify them, lest they hurt me. “And be exalted in the borders of my enemies,” means much the same, for the meaning is, appear aloft in the borders of my enemies, that all may see you, and be sensible of your presence. “And arise, O Lord my God, in the precept which thou hast commanded.”

Hitherto he had simply asked of God help against his enemies; he now assigns a reason for God’s granting it; and that is, because God had ordered the judges of the land to free the innocent from their oppressors; whence it follows that God, who is the supreme Judge over all judges, ought to do so too. “Rise in the precept thou hast commanded;” that is, agreeably to the order you gave.

Psa 7:8 And a congregation of people shall surround thee. And for their sakes return thou on high.

Your interference in reducing my enemies and defending me, will bring many to know you, to confess to you, to praise you, and to surround you with a congregation; for wherever any are congregated in thy name, there art thou in the midst of them. Having asserted that “A congregation of people would surround him,” he now adds, “and for their sakes return on high.” As you have exalted yourself in the territory of my enemies, terrifying them from the throne of your justice, on my account, do the same when necessary—return on high again, for the sake of the congregation that praise thee.

Psa 7:9 The Lord judgeth the people. Judge me, O Lord, according to my justice, and according to my innocence in me.

A reason assigned for standing by and supporting the congregation of people that adhered to him; he, being the supreme Judge and Sovereign, to whom it properly appertained to protect and govern those under his charge. “Judge me, O Lord, according to my justice, and according to my innocence in me.” The conclusion of the whole imprecation. Conscious of the falsehood of the calumny of Saul and Semei, and having God witness thereto, he asks him, as the supreme Judge, to judge his cause according to its justice and his innocence, and to give to every one their desert.

Psa 7:10 The wickedness of sinners shall be brought to nought; and thou shalt direct the just: the searcher of hearts and reins is God. Just

This may be called the second part of the Psalm, in which the prophet teaches evil doers that they harm themselves; and exhorts all to be converted from iniquity to justice. “The wickedness of sinners shall be brought to naught;” that is, let them do all in them lies—use all their efforts to injure the just—it will be all in vain, to no purpose; because “You direct the just;” by your providence you guide him, so that he shall neither turn to the right nor to the left. You alone can do so, for to you alone are the truly just known, inasmuch as it is you that search their hearts; that is, know their thoughts and their loins, that is, their desires.

Psa 7:11 Is my help from the Lord; who saveth the upright of heart.

From a universal opinion he infers, in particular, that it is right for him to expect help from the Lord; for it is just that God should help the just, for it belongs to him, as searcher of hearts, to save those that are upright of heart, that is, those who are truly just before God.

Psa 7:12 God is a just judge, strong and patient: is he angry every day?

God is a just judge, both strong and patient; but not at all times angry or threatening, only when he is driven thereto by the evil doings of those who know how severely he prohibits certain actions to sinners; and yet they hesitate not in doing them.

Psa 7:13 Except you will be converted, he will brandish his sword; he hath bent his bow, and made it ready.

To prove that God is not always angry or threatening, but that he only sometimes gives way to his wrath, and carries out the threats he menaced, he adds, “Except you will be converted, he will brandish his sword,” that is, he will so wield it in destruction, that it will appear to emit light; and he will use the bow as well as the sword, for, “he hath bent his bow, and made it ready.” The sword and the bow are introduced to show that God strikes from near and from afar. When the sin committed is proximate and patent, then God strikes at once, and openly, as if with a sword. When the sin is remote, or occult, then he seems to strike from a distance, as if with an arrow.

Psa 7:14 And in it he hath prepared to instruments of death, he hath made ready his arrows for them that burn.

For fear we should suppose that the divine weapons could be easily repelled or avoided, he says those weapons are “instruments of death,” that the arrows are made of inflammable matter, so as to become weapons of fire, penetrating and consuming, with the greatest rapidity, everything they strike. The literal translation would be, “Vessels of death;” but vessels are most frequently used in the Scriptures to signify arms or instruments; thus, in Psalm 71, “Vessels of psalms;” Is. 22, “Vessels of music;” Jeremias 50, “Vessels of anger;” chap. 51, “Vessels of war.”

Psa 7:15 Behold he hath been in labour with injustice: he hath conceived sorrow, and brought forth iniquity.

In the three following verses the prophet shows that such weapons, being really fiery weapons, are sent with the greatest force, and sure to be unerring. For God’s providence so arranges that the very evil the sinners prepare for the just should prove fatal to themselves; for such is the wonderful hatred of God for sinners as to cause all their machinations to retort upon themselves. The sinner, says he, “hath conceived sorrow and brought forth iniquity; and dug a pit,” and dug it deeply, that he might take away the life of the just man, either publicly or privately; but, through God’s intervention, the sinner fell into his own pit, and “the sorrow he conceived,” and the “iniquity he brought forth,” have redounded on his own head. To explain in detail, “He hath been in labor with injustice.” That is to say, the sinner has been guilty of some act of violence or injustice to the just man. The word, “He has been in labor” is not to be looked upon here as different from the word “brought forth,” in the end of the verse; they both mean the same, as he presently explains more clearly what seed it is that he has been in “labor with,” or “brought forth.” “He hath conceived sorrow, and brought forth iniquity.” The seed as well as the fetus is conceived. “Conception of sorrow,” means conception of hatred, or envy of the neighbor, which are the seed of all evil; and hatred and envy are most properly designated by conception of sorrow, for hatred and envy distort and destroy the mind of the person possessed by them. From the bad seed thus conceived spring the bad actions, such as murder, rapine, detraction, false testimony, and the like; and though some may consider the three expressions, “He hath been in labor with injustice;” “He hath conceived sorrow,” and “Brought forth iniquity?” to refer to three different things, and parturition would seem to be midway between conception and birth; but, in reality, two things only, as I said before, are implied, because two only apply to the verse 2; next, “His sorrow shall be turned on his own head, and his iniquity shall come down upon his crown;” again, if “the conceiving of sorrow” be distinct from the “being in labor with injustice,” it ought to precede, not to follow. By the words then, “he hath been in labor with injustice,” is meant a summary of the entire, of which conception and bringing forth is an explanation.

Psa 7:16 He hath opened a pit and dug it: and he is fallen into the hole he made.

After saying that the sinner had brought forth iniquity against the just, he adds, that “he opened a pit” giving us to understand by such similes, that the wicked plot against the just sometimes privately, sometimes openly; and as parturition and delving are sometimes troublesome and laborious enough, so are the evil doings of the sinner—hence the exclamation of the damned, Wisd. 5, “We have walked the difficult ways.” “And he is fallen into the hole he made.” The prophet now begins to show that the evil doings of the sinner hurt themselves alone, and that they are the sword and the arrows of God; and having finished with the latter, he takes it up again, saying: “He hath opened a pit,” in the hope that the just man, ignorant of its existence, may fall into it, but instead thereof himself fell in.

Psa 7:17 His sorrow shall be turned on his own head: and his iniquity shall come down upon his crown.

Not only occult sins, such as the opening of the pit, but even public, such as hatred or envy externally manifested, and the sins springing from hatred and envy, such as bloodshed and rapine and the like, will, by the divine dispensation, recoil on the evil doer; we have examples in Saul and David; the Jews and Christ; the persecutors and the martyrs.

Psa 7:18 I will give glory to the Lord according to his justice: and will sing to the name of the Lord the most high.

The Psalm concludes in praise to God. Literally it is, “I will confess,” which expression in the Scriptures is constantly used for praise, for he who praises him confesses he is worthy of such praise “according to his justice.” I will give him not more praise than he merits who so wonderfully delivers the just and punishes the sinner. “And I will sing to the name of the Lord the Most High;” the same idea in different language, viz., I will sing a hymn to the highest God, to the supreme Judge, who sits on a most lofty throne above all other judges.

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St Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on Psalm 72

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 8, 2016

Note: The verse numbering used here may differ from the numbering system in bibles. Text in red are my additions.


Psa 72:1 A psalm on Solomon. Give to the king thy judgment, O God, and to the king’s son thy justice:

A kind prayer of David’s, imploring the divine assistance on his son Solomon to judge with justice. The holy man does not ask for riches or power for his son, as the children of this world are wont to ask; but he asks to give him the grace of properly discharging his duties. He knew that kings were created for the people, not the people for kings; and, therefore, that he alone could be called a good king who ruled the people with justice. Solomon himself, no doubt, instructed by his father, asked the very same thing of God, as we read in 3 Kings 3. He, therefore, says, “Give to the king thy judgment.” Give my son Solomon, just anointed king, “thy judgment;” judgment like your own, right, wise, just; or rather the grace of judgment, of judging agreeable to your wish, according to your laws; and repeating the same, he adds, “and to the king’s son thy justice.” Give it to him, that he may “judge thy people with justice;” “and thy poor;” that is, thy people, “with judgment.” A mere repetition of the first sentence. He designates God’s people as God’s poor; for all men, however rich they may appear to be, are poor in God’s sight. They need his assistance in everything, and whatever they have, they have from God, not as a gift, but as a loan; and, therefore God can demand it back, and take it away from them without offering them any injury; and though the heathens do not understand these things, God’s people should understand it, and profit by it. This seems to me to be the literal sense of this passage, still I will not say that it may not be taken to apply to Solomon’s authority as a king and a judge, so that the meaning would be, grant, O my God, to me, and to my son, the king elect, such judiciary power that he may justly judge your people; or if one choose to apply the passage to Christ, the meaning will be, O God the Father, grant to Christ your Son, the King, the grace of judgment; for according to John 3, “The Father does not judge any one, but has given all judgment to the Son.” Between judgment and justice there is a difference, justice being a virtue, and judgment is an act of justice; here, however, they are synonymous, are taken for the same thing, for the power or the grace of judging rightly, or the actual judgment. St. Augustine remarks that in this Psalm, and throughout the Psalms, the same idea is repeated in different words, and thus not only here, but in various other parts of the Scriptures, justice and judgment are used to convey the same idea. Titus, in 2 Kings 8, “And David did justice and judgment to all his people;” and in Psalm 118, “I have done judgment and justice, give me not up to them that slander me.”

Psa 72:2 To judge thy people with justice, and thy poor with judgment
Psa 72:3 Let the mountains receive peace for the people: and the hills justice.
Psa 72:4 He shall judge the poor of the people, and he shall save the children of the poor: and he shall humble the oppressor.

He continues to pray for his son king Solomon, begging that during his reign peace and justice may settle on the land, and on all its inhabitants; and as the country was a hilly, mountainous country, he says, “Let the mountains receive peace;” that is, may peace descend on all its hills and mountains, and may all its inhabitants receive it. “He shall judge the poor of the people;” where peace and justice reign, few are found to injure their neighbor by word or deed; and, therefore, the king of such a place will have no great trouble in protecting the poor from the few oppressors, who must, of necessity, be found in every community.

Psa 72:5 And he shall continue with the sun and before the moon, throughout all generations.

He now begins to pass from Solomon to Christ, this verse being quite inapplicable to Solomon, but not so to Christ, a descendant of Solomon, whose kingdom is to flourish for all eternity. And Christ, of the family of Solomon, “shall continue;” shall govern the world “with the sun;” so long as the sun shall shine, “and before the moon,” which means in presence of the moon; “throughout all generations;” to the end of time. We are to observe here, that when the prophet says, that Christ’s kingdom would continue as long as the sun would shine, he by no means implies that there would be an end to it when the sun would cease to shine, for Christ’s kingdom will endure forever, though the sun will one day cease to shine. The expression, “throughout all generations,” is to be understood in a similar sense; when all generations shall have passed away, Christ’s kingdom will not also pass away, no more than Christ meant to tell his Apostles he would desert them at a given time, when he said, “Behold, I am with you all days, to the end of the world;” which meant, that as he would be with them here, through his grace and his help, so they would be with him in the world to come, in happiness and glory.

Psa 72:6 He shall come down like rain upon the fleece; and as showers falling gently upon the earth.

As he said that Solomon’s reign was to continue to the end of the world; looking upon Solomon as the type of Christ, he now describes the coming of Christ, the propagation and the peculiarities of his kingdom; and he describes his coming, first to the Jews, and then to the gentiles, under the figures of rain, a fleece, and earth; such as the signs Gedeon got formerly of the liberation of the people; for, when he asked a sign from God, it happened that the fleece of wool, placed on the floor for the purpose, was completely saturated by dew from heaven, the whole floor around remaining perfectly dry; while, on the following night, the fleece remained quite dry, while the whole floor around was completely wet; in like manner, Christ first descended on or came to the Jews, represented by the fleece of wool; while the whole world beside was perfectly arid and dry; for Christ himself said, “I am not sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Then he came to the gentiles, through the preaching of the Apostles, and then the earth all round was saturated with the rain of the truths of salvation; for the same Lord said, “Go teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost;” and the fleece alone remained dry, in the dryness of incredulity, even to the present day. Such is the interpretation of St. Augustine, to which St. Bernard adds, that Christ came “like rain upon the fleece;” when he came silently into his mother’s womb, as rain would upon the purest wool, by virtue of his heavenly power, and that he came “as showers falling gently upon the earth,” when, through the miracles of the Apostles, and through their preaching, he made the earth resound as it would under a torrent of rain.

Psa 72:7 In his days shall justice spring up, and abundance of peace, till the moon be taken away.

The first fruit of Christ’s coming will be true justification, and the most perfect peace with God and with all men. “In his days shall justice spring up,” which means, when the Savior shall have come all sin will be destroyed, and instead of it, “everlasting justice will be brought.” For, though truly just persons appeared from the beginning of the world, such as Abel, Henock, Noe, Abraham, and others; they were all, however, justified through the merits of Christ; for the Angel truly said to Joseph, “Thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins;” and that was the joy the Angel announced to the shepherds when he said, “For today is born a Savior unto you.” “Justice,” then, will “spring up” in the hearts of men, through faith in Jesus Christ; and thence will follow “an abundance of peace,” because real justice consists in love, and the offspring of love is peace, that peace which the world cannot give, but true, permanent peace; and in such abundance as to fill the heavens and the earth; and as a sign of it, universal peace existed under Augustus Caesar at the time of the birth of Christ. That justice and peace will continue in the world “till the moon be taken away,” that is to say, the justice of faith and peace with the conscience, but not without persecution from abroad, will continue as long as the moon, that is, to the end of the world.

Psa 72:8 And he shall rule from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.

The propagation of Christ’s kingdom, which is the Church spread all over the world, is now described; taking it as to length, from the Indian Ocean to the Sea of Gibraltar; and as to breadth, from the river Tanais in the north, to the extreme boundaries of Ethiopia on the south. Others say the river means the Euphrates, which is not probable, because Christ’s kingdom neither begins nor ends at it; but lies at both sides of it. A better interpretation is that which makes the river to be the Jordan, where Christ was called “my beloved Son,” where he was baptized, where he commenced his preaching, and where his kingdom had its rise; and thus, according to St. Augustine, the words, “from the river unto the ends of the earth,” are only an explanation of “from sea to sea;” as if he said, he will rule over the whole world, from sea to sea; for the earth is everywhere surrounded by the ocean; and that will come to pass, because the preaching will commence at the river Jordan, and will be spread throughout all countries, even to the ocean that surrounds it on every side.

Psa 72:9 Before him the Ethiopians shall fall down: and his enemies shall lick the ground.

The Ethiopians are specially named, either because Ethiopia lies in the ends of the earth, and to which he alluded in the preceding verse, or because the Ethiopian eunuch was the first convert among the gentiles, or because the Ethiopians, looking at the  savageness of their manners, seemed to be the farthest removed from the worship of the true God. The next sentence, “And his enemies shall lick the ground,” is a mere explanation of the preceding, for they who fall down become as prostrate as if they were licking the ground; and it conveys to us the total subjection and prostration of Christ’s enemies; that is, of the sinners and infidels, converted through faith to do penance. And they who will not willingly fall down before Christ, and piously, and faithfully adore him, will be compelled, on the last day, to fall down before him, and “to lie under his footstool.”

Psa 72:10 The kings of Tharsis and the islands shall offer presents: the kings of the Arabians and of Saba shall bring gifts:

Having said that Christ would rule from sea to sea; that is, throughout the whole earth surrounded by the sea, lest it may be supposed that the islands were excluded, he adds, “The kings of Tharsis and the islands shall offer presents.” The meaning of the “kings of Tharsis” has been explained in Psalm 47, and the most probable opinion is, that the islands alluded to are those in the eastern sea, which are very large and very numerous, and from which a great quantity of gold and spices were, every third year, brought to Solomon, as we read in 3 Kings 18; and the meaning is, “the kings of Tharsis;” that is, of the islands in the east; “and the islands;” that is, the people of the islands also, shall offer precious gifts to Christ their king. To these kings and people he then unites “the kings of the Arabians and of Saba,” these being the countries from whence was had the greatest quantity of gold, silver, precious stones, and all sorts of spices; for, as we read in the passage just cited, 3 Kings 18, “The queen of Saba brought Solomon an immense quantity of gold, silver, precious stones, and spices.” We cannot avoid considering here what presents we should offer to Christ, and what presents are most agreeable to him; and they are the gold of love, the incense of prayer, and the myrrh of patience, or rather, faith united with prayer, hope with a longing for the things above, charity with the fruit of good works, which charity causes those who are inflamed by it to offer, without difficulty, not only the wealth of this world, and all manner of hardships, but even their very life to Christ their master.

Psa 72:11 And all kings of the earth shall adore him: all nations shall serve him.

All this, to a certain extent, has been accomplished as regards Christ, and will, unquestionably, to the letter, be ultimately accomplished. It is not unusual in the Scriptures to speak in such general terms, though there may be many exceptions. Thus, we read in Genesis, “that all flesh had corrupted its way;” and yet, in the very same place, we find Noe called “a just and perfect man;” so we read in Matthew, that “Herod was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him;” still we know that Simeon the just man, and Anna the prophetess, and many other just people, so far from being troubled, were just as glad as the wise men who came in search of the Redeemer. In a similar manner, then, it is said, that all the kings of the earth will adore Christ, and all nations will serve him; because a great many princes and nations will be converted to the service and worship of Christ. If we refer the passage to the day of judgment, it is true to the letter; for then every knee will be bent to Christ. Finally, if we refer it to the actual power that Christ has over all princes and all nations, so that, with or without their knowledge, with or without their consent, he may deal as he pleases with them, treat them as he likes, and compel them to do his bidding, the prophecy will be always fulfilled in him; “For all power is given to him in heaven and on earth,” Mat. 28. And Apoc. 1, “He is the prince of the kings of the earth;” and Apoc. 19, “And he hath on his garment and on his thigh written king of kings, and Lord of Lords.”

Psa 72:12 For he shall deliver the poor from the mighty: and the needy that had no helper.

Kings and people will serve Christ for this reason, because, through him they will be delivered from the power of the devil, from the cruel tyranny of the prince of darkness, and will be introduced to his own most peaceful kingdom. The poor man named here signifies the human race, despoiled of all the blessings enjoyed in a state of innocence, by the devil. The mighty is the devil, turned from a crafty into a mighty one by our iniquity; for, if man had not yielded to temptation he never could have been subdued by the devil. By his sin, though, he became the captive of the devil, and the devil acquired a mastery over him. Now, man begins to acquire his liberty when he begins to see his own poverty, and thereby to humble himself, and to trust in the Lord, and not in himself. He will, therefore, deliver the poor man from the powerful devil; “and the needy that hath no helper;” whom neither man nor Angel, nor any other creature could have helped.

Psa 72:13 He shall spare the poor and needy: and he shall save the souls of the poor.

He now tells us in what manner, Christ will deliver men from the devil, by forgiveness of their sins, and restoration of grace; for, when the sins are forgiven, the chain which held them captives to the devil is broken. Our king, therefore, “shall spare the poor and the needy;” will forgive the sins of those who acknowledge them, avowing their inability of discharging their debts, and he will, along with it, bestow grace and justice on them, and so “save the souls of the poor.”

Psa 72:14 He shall redeem their souls from usuries and iniquity: and their names shall be honourable in his sight.

Man, through original sin, became a debtor to the extent of everlasting death. Such was the original debt, and so long as it remains unpaid, the devil, a remorseless creditor, exacts usury thereon, daily urging us to the commission of fresh sin, that being the punishment of the first sin; and, so long as the punishment of those sins is deferred, the interest is added to the principal. Thus, the longer the sinner lives, the more the debt increases. Christ, then, that kindest of masters, not only remits, through his grace, the original sin, which may be called the original debt, but he even frees from the usury; that is, from the actual sins added thereto, and from the iniquity of so severe an exactor. This was foretold by Isaias when he said, “for the yoke of their burden, and the rod of their shoulders, and the scepter of their oppressor thou hast overcome.” “And their name shall he honorable in his sight.” The word “and” is to be read as “because;” for the meaning is, God has such love for man, because the very name of the poor is honorable in the sight of God; and by their “name” we are to understand men created to God’s image. For, though man became very wretched and despicable through sin, still, human nature and man’s name is not vile before God, nor does he despise his own image. And, in truth, the Incarnation of the Son of God is a manifest proof how precious is human nature in his sight, a consideration that should move all mankind to love him, when they see themselves so dealt with, beyond their merits far and away.

Psa 72:15 And he shall live, and to him shall be given of the gold of Arabia, for him they shall always adore: they shall bless him all the day.

Having alluded to Christ’s death in the preceding verse, which was the redemption and a propitiation for our sins, he now thinks proper to allude to his resurrection, and his life eternal; and, therefore, he says, and “he shall live;” that is, after he shall have redeemed them by his death, he shall live again. “And to him shall be given of the gold of Arabia;” he shall be worshipped with most costly presents; “for him they shall always adore;” those that shall have been redeemed by him will adore the true God according to his own rite, doctrine, and institution, to the end of the world. “They shall bless him all the day;” constantly praise and glorify him.

Psa 72:16 And there shall be a firmament on the earth on the tops of mountains, above Libanus shall the fruit thereof be exalted: and they of the city shall flourish like the grass of the earth.

He now describes the fruit of the Apostle’s preaching after Christ’s resurrection and ascension. The word “firmament,” however, requires some notice previous to an explanation of the text. It means such a supply of corn, oil, and other necessaries as may supply a family; but here it is to be understood in a spiritual sense, and means an abundance of spiritual graces, as may be inferred from the words, “and they of the city shall flourish like the grass of the earth,” where the metaphor contained in the preceding words is explained. The meaning of the passage, then, obscure enough as it is, seems to be, “There shall be a firmament on the earth;” an abundance of spiritual food, the word of God; “on the tops of the mountains;” in places naturally barren; for it is in the valleys, and not on the tops of mountains, that corn usually abounds. “The fruit thereof shall be exalted;” the fruit of such corn, when sown, shall increase and multiply “above Libanus.” The fruit of this seed so committed to the earth will rise higher than the cedars of Libanus, the tallest in the world; “and they of the city shall flourish like the grass of the earth,” and such fruit will not consist in mere ears of corn, but in the crowd of believers; for, out of the city of God, Jerusalem, of which Isaias, chap. 2, says, “From Sion will go forth a law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem;” and the believers will flourish, and be multiplied in such numbers as to resemble the growth of the grass on the land. And that such was the case St. Luke tells us, Acts 6, where he says, “And the word of God increased, and the number of believers was greatly multiplied.”

Psa 72:17 Let his name be blessed for evermore: his name continueth before the sun. And in him shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed: all nations shall magnify him.

The prophet concludes the Psalm with prayer and praise of the future Messias. “Let his name be blessed forevermore.” Let Christ’s name be blessed by all, everywhere and at all times. “His name continueth before the sun;” will continue as long as the sun exists. His persecutors may endeavor to extinguish that name, but they never will succeed. “And in him shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed;” words taken from Genesis 22. “And in thy seed shall the nations of the earth be blessed;” and explained by the Apostle, in Gal. 3, “He saith not And to his seeds, as of many, but as of one, And to thy seed, who is Christ;” all nations, then, will be blessed by Christ, who is God; that is to say, nobody will be blessed but through Christ, and in him will be blessed as many as shall have been regenerated, and persevered in him. To them will be said on the judgment day, “Come, you blessed of my Father, possess the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world,” That benediction, then, is justification and adoption of children, through Christ. And, as all the tribes of the earth shall be blessed in him, so, on the other hand, “all nations shall magnify him;” will praise and glorify him.

Psa 72:18 Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who alone doth wonderful things.

Such is the praise in which all nations will magnify him, for they will acknowledge and proclaim that the wonders Christ did in justifying the wicked, rescuing them from the power of darkness, and transferring them to his own kingdom could have been done but by him alone.

Psa 72:19 And blessed be the name of his majesty for ever: and the whole earth shall be filled with his majesty. So be it. So be it.

“And blessed be the name of his majesty forever: and the whole earth shall be filled with his majesty. So be it. So be it.” The prophet ultimately wishes, that the name of the Divine Majesty may be blessed to all eternity by all, not only in heaven, where he is constantly blessed by the Angels, but also on earth, so that all the earth may be filled with the glory of the Lord; and that all men may acknowledge and praise the Lord; and he concludes with great affection, by repeating: So be it. So be it.

Psa 72:20 The praises of David, the son of Jesse, are ended.

This final statement is not proper to Psalm 72 but is a notation marking the end of “Book II” of the Psalter (e.g., Pss 42-72).

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