Augustin on Psalms 134

PSALM 134 (133)

Ps 134)

1. "Behold, now, bless ye the Lord, all ye servants of the Lord" (verse 1), "who stand in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God" (verse 2). Why has he added, "in the courts"? Courts mean the wider spaces of a house. He who stands in the courts is not straitened, is not confined, in some fashion is enlarged. Remain in this enlargement, and thou canst love thy enemy, because thou lovest not things in which an enemy could straiten thee. How canst thou be understood to stand in the courts? Stand in charity, and thou standest in the courts.Breadth lies in charity, straitness in hatred.

2. "Lift up your hands by night in the sanctuary, and bless the Lord" (verse 2). It is easy to bless by day. What is "by day"? In prosperity. For night is a sad thing, day a cheerful. When it is well with thee, thou dost bless the Lord. Thy son was sick, and he is made whole, thou dost bless the Lord. Thy son was sick, perchance thou hast sought an astrologer, a soothsayer, perchance a curse against the Lord has come, not from thy tongue, but from thy deeds, from thy deeds and thy life. Boast not, because thou blessest with thy tongue, if thou cursest with thy life. Wherefore bless ye the Lord. When? By night. When did Job bless? When it was a sad night. All was taken away which he possessed; the children for whom his goods were stored were taken away. How sad was his night! Let us however see whether he blesseth not in the night. "The Lord gave, the Lord hath taken away; it is as the Lord willed; blessed be the name of the Lord."(2) And black was the night. ...

3. "The Lord out of Zion bless thee, who made heaven and earth" (verse 3). He exhorts many to bless, and Himself blesseth one, because He maketh one out of many, since "it is good and pleasant for brethren to dwell together in one."(3) It is a plural number, brethren, and yet singular, to dwell together in one. Let none of you say, It cometh not to me. Knowest thou of whom he speaks, "the Lord bless thee out of Zion." He blessed one. Be one,(4) and the blessing cometh to thee.

PSALM 135 (134)

Ps 135)

1. Very pleasant ought it be to us, and we should rejoice because it is pleasant, to which this Psalm exhorteth us. For it says, "Praise the name of the Lord" (verse 1). And it forthwith appends the reason, why it is just to praise the name of the Lord. "Praise the Lord, ye servants." What more just? what more worthy? what more thankful? ... For if He teaches His own servants who have deserved well of Him, the preachers of His Word, the rulers of His Church, the worshippers of His name, the obeyers of His command, that in their own conscience they should possess the sweetness of their life, lest they be corrupted by the praise or disheartened by the reproach of men; how much the more is He above all, the unchangeable One, who teacheth these things, neither the greater if thou praisest, or the less if thou reproachest. ... For ye will do nothing out of place, by praising your Lord, as servants. And if ye were to be for ever only servants, ye ought to praise the Lord; how much more ought ye servants to praise the Lord, that ye may hereafter gain the privilege of sons?

2. ... Therefore, "Ye who stand in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God, praise the Lord" (verse 2). Be thankful; ye were without, and ye stand within. Since then ye stand, is it a small thing for you to think where He should be praised, who raised you when you were cast down, and caused you to stand in His house, to know Him, and to praise Him? Is it a small boon, that we stand in the house of the Lord? ... If one thinks of this, and is not unthankful, he will utterly despise himself in comparison with the love of his Lord, who hath done so great things for him. And since he hath nothing wherewith to repay God for so great benefits, what remains for him but to give Him thanks, not to repay Him? It belongs to the very act of thanksgiving, to "receive the cup of the Lord, and to call upon His name."(6) For what can the servant repay the Lord for all that He hath given him?(7)

3. What reason shall I give why you should praise Him? "Because the Lord is good" (verse 3). Briefly in one word is here explained the praise of the Lord our God. "The Lord is good;" good, not in the same manner as the things which He here made are good. For God made all things very good;(8) not only good, but also very good. He made the sky and earth, and all things which are in them good, and He made them very good. If He made all these things good, of what sort is He who made them? ...

4. How far can we speak of His goodness? Who can conceive in his heart, or apprehend how good the Lord is? Let us however return to ourselves, and in us recognise Him, and praise the Maker in His works, because we are not fit to contemplate Him Himself. And in hope that we may be able to contemplate Him, when our heart hath been purified by faith, that hereafter it may rejoice in the Truth; now as He cannot be seen by us, let us look at His works, that we may not live without praising Him. So I(1) have said, "Praise the Lord, for He is good; sing praises unto His Name, for He is sweet. ... He is Mediator, and thereupon is sweet. What is sweeter than angels' food? How can God not be sweet, since man ate angels' food? For men and angels live not on different meat. That is truth, that is wisdom, that is the goodness of God, but thou canst not enjoy it in like wise with the angels. ... That man might eat angels' food, the Creator of the angels was made man.(2) If ye taste, sing praises; if ye have tasted how sweet the Lord is, sing praises; if that which ye have tasted has a good savour, praise it; who is so unthankful to cook or purveyor, as not to return thanks by praising what he tastes, if he be pleased by any food. If we are not silent on such occasions, shall we be silent concerning Him, who has given us all things? ...

5. "For the Lord hath chosen Jacob to Himself, Israel for His own possession" (verse 4). ... Let not Jacob therefore extol himself, let him not boast himself, or ascribe it to his own merits. He was known before, predestinated before, elected before, not elected for his own merits, but found out, and gifted with life by the grace of God. So with all the Gentiles; for how did the wild-olive deserve, that it should be grafted in, from the bitterness of its berries, the barrenness of its wildness? It was the wood of the wilderness, not of the Lord's field, and yet He of His mercy grafted the wild-olive into the (true) olive. But up to this time the wild-olive was not grafted in.

6. ... "Because," says he," I know that the Lord is great, and our God is above all gods" (verse 5). If we should say to him, we ask thee, explain to us His greatness; would he not perchance answer us, He whom I see is not so very great, if He be able to be expounded by me. Let him then return to His works, and tell us. Let him hold in his conscience the greatness of God, which he has seen, which he has committed to our faith, whither he could not lead our eyes, and enumerate some of the things which the Lord hath done here; that unto us, who cannot see His greatness as he can, He may become sweet through the works of His which we can comprehend. ...

7. "All whatsoever the Lord willed, He made in the heaven, and in the earth, in the sea, and in all its deep places" (verse 6). Who can comprehend these things? Who can enumerate the works of the Lord in the heaven and earth, in the sea, and in all deep places? Yet if we cannot comprehend them all, we should believe and hold them without question, because whatever creature is in heaven, whatever is in earth, whatever is in the sea and in all deep places, has been made by the Lord. ...

8. "Raising the clouds from the ends of the earth" (verse 7). We see these works of God in His creation. For the clouds come from the ends of the earth to the midst thereof, and rain; thou scannest not whence they arise. Hence the prophet signifies this, from "the ends of the earth," whether it be from the bottom, or from the circumference of the ends of the earth, whencesoever He wills He raises the clouds. only from the earth. "He hath made lightnings into rain." For lightnings without rain would frighten thee, and bestow nothing on thee. "He maketh lightnings unto rain." It lightens, and thou tremblest; it rains, thou rejoicest. "He hath made lightnings unto rain." He who terrified thee, Himself causest that thou shouldest rejoice. "Who bringeth the winds out of His treasures," their causes are hidden, thou knowest not whence they come. When the wind blows, thou feelest it; why it blows, or from what treasure of His wisdom it is brought forth, thou knowest not;(3) yet thou owest to God the worship of faith, for it would not blow unless He had bidden who made it, unless He had brought it forth who created it.

9. We see therefore these things in that work of His; we praise, we marvel at, we bless God; let us see what He has done among men for His people. "Who smote the first-born of Egypt" (verse 8). But withal those divine doings are told which thou mightest love, those are not told which thou mightest fear. Attend, and see that also when He is angry, He doeth what He willeth. "From man even unto beast. He sent signs and wonders into the midst of thee, O Egypt!" (verse 9). Ye know, ye have read what the hand of the Lord did by Moses in Egypt, to crush and cast down the proud Egyptians, "on Pharaoh and on all his servants." Little did He in Egypt: what did He after His people was led out thence? "Who smote many nations (verse 10), who possessed that land, which God willed to give His people. "And slew mighty kings, Sehon king of the Amorites, and Og the king of Bashan, and all the kingdoms of Canaan" (verse 11). All these things which the Psalm records simply, do we read likewise in others of the Lord's books, and there the hand of the Lord is great. When thou seest what has been done to the wicked, take heed lest it be done to thee. ... But when the good man sees what the wicked has suffered, let him cleanse himself from all iniquity, lest he fall into a like punishment, a like chastisement. Then ye have thoroughly understood these things. What did God then? He drove out the wicked, "And he gave their land for an inheritance, even an inheritance to Israel His servant" (verse 12).

10. Then follows the loud cry of His praise. "Thy Name, O Lord, is for ever and ever" (verse 13), after all these things which Thou hast done. For what do I see that Thou hast done? I behold Thy creation which Thou hast made in heaven, I behold this lower part, where we dwell, and here I see Thy gifts of clouds, and winds, and rain. I regard Thy people; Thou leddest them from the house of bondage, and didst signs and wonders upon their enemies. Thou punishedst those who caused them trouble, Thou dravest the wicked from their land, Thou killedst their kings, Thou gavest their land to Thy people: I have seen all these things, and filled with joy have said," Lord, Thy Name is for ever and ever." ...

11. All these things then did God overthrow, in the body at that time, when our fathers were led out of the land of Egypt, in the spirit now. Nor does His Hand cease until the end. Therefore deem not that these mighty deeds of God were then finished and have ceased. "Thy Name, O Lord," he says, "is for ever."(1) That is, Thy loving-kindness ceaseth not, Thy hand ceaseth not for ever from doing these things, which then Thou didst afore declare in a figure. "But they are written for our admonition, on whom the end of the ages is come."(2) One generation and another generation; the generation by which we are made the faithful, and are born again by baptism; the generation by which we shall rise again from the dead, and shall live with the Angels for everse Thy Memorial, O Lord, is above this generation, and above that; for neither doth He now forget to call us, nor then will He forget to crown us.

12. "The Lord hath judged His people, and will be called upon among His servants" (verse 14). Already hath He judged the people. Save the final judgment, the people of the Jews is judged. What is "judged"? The just are taken away, the unjust are left. But if I lie, or am thought to lie, because I have said, it is already judged, hear the Lord saying, "I have come for judgment into this world, that they who see not may see, and they who see may be made blind."(3) The proud are made blind, the lowly are enlightened. Therefore, "He hath judged His people." Isaiah spake the judgment. "And now, thou house of Jacob, come ye, let us walk in the light of the Lord."(4) This is a small matter; but what follows? "For He hath put away His people, the house of Israel." The house of Jacob is the house of Israel; for he who is Jacob, the same is Israel. ... Therefore God had judged His people, by separating the evil and the good; that is to say, "He shall be called upon among His servants." By whom? By the Gentiles. For how vast are the nations who have come in by faith. How many farms and desert places now come in to us? They come thence no one can tell how numerously; they would believe. We say to them, What will ye? They answer, To know the glory of God. Believe, my brethren, that we wonder and rejoice at such a claim of these rustic people. They come I know not whither, roused up by I know not whom. How shall I say, I know not by whom? I know indeed by whom, because He says, "No one cometh to Me, save whom the Father draweth."(5) They come suddenly from the woods, the desert, the most distant and lofty mountains, to the Church; and many of them, nay, near all hold this language, so that we see of a truth that God teacheth them within.(6) The prophecy of Scripture is fulfilled, when it says, "And they shall all be taught of God."(7) We say to them, What do ye long for? And they answer, To see the glory of God.(8) "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."(9) They believe, they are sanctified, they will to have clergy ordained for them. Is it not fulfilled, "and He will be called upon among His servants"?

13. Lastly, after all that arrangement and dispensation, the Spirit of God turns itself to reproaching and ridiculing those idols, which are now ridiculed by their very worshippers. "The idols of the Gentiles are silver and gold" (verse 15). As God made all these things, who made whatever He would in heaven and earth, what can anything that man maketh be, but an object of ridicule, not adoration? Was He perchance about to speak of "the idols of the Gentiles," that we might despise them all? was He about to speak of the idols of the heathen, stones and wood, plaster and pottery? I say not these, they are mean materials. I speak of that which they specially love, that which they specially honour. "The idols of the Gentiles are silver and gold, the work of men's hands." Surely it is gold, surely it is silver: because silver glitters, and gold glitters, have they therefore eyes, or do they see? ... But as these things are senseless, why make ye men of silver and gold to be gods? See ye not that the gods which ye make see not? "They have a mouth, and will not speak; they have eyes, and will not see" (verse 16); "they have ears, and will not hear; neither is there any breath in their mouth" (verse 17); "they have nostrils, and will not smell; they have hands, and will not work; they have feet, and will not walk." All these things could the carpenter, the silversmith, the goldsmith make, both eyes, and ears, and nostrils, and mouth, and hands, and feet, but he could give neither sight to the eyes, nor hearing to the ears, nor speech to the mouth, nor smell to the nostrils, nor motion to the hands, or going to the feet.

14. And man, thou laughest doubtless at what thou hast made, if thou knowest by whom thou art made. But of them who know not, what is said? "All they who make them, and all they who trust in them, are like them" (verse 18). And ye believe, brethren, that there is a likeness to these idols expressed not in their flesh, but in their inner man. For "they have ears, and hear not." GOd calls to them indeed, "He who hath ears to hear, let him hear."(1) They have eyes, and see not, for they have the eyes of the body, and not the eyes of faith. Lastly, this prophecy is fulfilled among all the nations. ... Is it not fulfilled? Is it not seen, as it is written? And they who remain have eyes, and see not; have nostrils, and smell not. They perceive not that savour. "We are a good savour of Christ,"(2) as the apostle says everywhere. What profiteth it, that they have nostrils, and smell not that so sweet savour of Christ? Truly it is done in them, and truly it is said of them, "All they who make them," etc.

15. But daily do men believe through the miracles of Christ our Lord; daily the eyes of the blind, the ears of the deaf are opened, the nostrils of the senseless are breathed into, the tongues of the dumb are loosed, the hands of the palsied are strengthened, the feet of the lame are guided; sons of Abraham are raised up of these stones? to all of whom be it said, "Bless the Lord, ye house of Israel" (verse 19). All are sons of Abraham; and if sons of Abraham are raised up from these stones, it is plain that they are rather the house of Israel who belong to the house of Israel, the seed of Abraham, not by the flesh, but by faith. But even granting that it is said of that house, and the people of Israel is meant, from thence did the Apostles and thousands of the circumcised believe? "Bless the Lord, ye house of Aaron. Bless the Lord, ye house of Levi" (verse 20). Bless the Lord, ye nations, this is, the "house of Israel" generally; bless Him, ye leaders, this is, the "house of Aaron;" bless Him, ye servants, this is, the "house of Levi." What of the other nations? "Ye that fear the Lord, bless the Lord."

16. Let us also with one voice say what follows: "Blessed be the Lord out of Zion, who dwelleth in Jerusalem" (verse 21). Out of Zion is Jerusalem too. Zion is "watching," Jerusalem the "vision of peace." In what Jerusalem will He dwell now? In that which has fallen? Nay, but in that which is our mother, which is in the heavens, of which it is said, "The desolate hath more children than she which hath a husband."(4) For now the Lord is from Zion, because we watch when He will come; now as long as we live in hope, we are in Zion. When our way is ended, we shall dwell in that city which will never fall, because the Lord dwelleth in her, and keepeth her, which is the vision of peace, the eternal Jerusalem; for the praise of which, my brethren, language sufficeth not; where we shall find no enemy, either within the Church or without the Church, neither in our flesh, nor in our thoughts. For "death shall be swallowed up in victory,"(5) and we shall be free to see God in eternal peace, being made citizens of Jerusalem, the city of God.

PSALM 136 (135)

Ps 136)

1. "Give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good, for His mercy endureth for ever" (verse 1). This Psalm contains the praise of God, and all its verses finish in the same way. Wherefore although many things are related here in praise of God, yet His mercy is most commended;(7) for without this plain commendation, he, whom the Holy Spirit used to utter this Psalm, would have no verse be ended. Although after the judgment, by which at the end of the world the quick and the dead must be judged, the just being sent into life eternal, the unjust into everlasting fire,(8) there will not afterwards be those, whom God will have mercy on, yet rightly may His future mercy be understood to be for ever, which He bestows on His saints and faithful ones, not because they will be miserable for ever, and therefore will need His mercy for ever, but because that very blessedness, which He mercifully bestows on the miserable, that they cease to be miserable, and begin to be happy, will have no end, and therefore "His mercy is for ever." For that we shall be just from being unjust, whole from being unsound, alive from being dead, immortal from being mortal, happy from being wretched, is of His mercy. But this that we shall be, will be for ever, and therefore "His mercy is for ever." Wherefore, "give thanks to the Lord;" that is, praise the Lord by giving thanks, "for He is good:" nor is it any temporal good you will gain from this confession, for, "His mercy endureth for ever;" that is, the benefit which He bestows mercifully upon you, is for ever.(1)

2. Then follows, "Give thanks to the God of gods, for His mercy endureth for ever" (verse 2). "Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for His mercy endureth for ever" (verse 3). We may well enquire, Who are these gods and lords, of whom He who is the true God is God and Lord? And we find written in another Psalm, that even men are called gods.(2) The Lord even takes note of this testimony in the Gospel, saying, "Is it not written in your Law, I have said, Ye are gods?"(3) ... It is not therefore because they are all good, but because "the word of God came tO them," that they were called gods. For were it because they are all good, He would not thus distinguish between them. He saith, "He judgeth between the gods." Then follows, "How long do ye judge iniquity!"(4) and the rest, which He says certainly not to all, but to some, because He saith it in distinguishing, and yet He distinguisheth between the gods.

3. But it is asked, If men are called gods to whom the word of the Lord came, are the Angels to be called gods, when the greatest reward which is promised to just and holy men is the being equal to Angels? In the Scriptures I know not whether it can, at least easily, be found, that the Angels are openly called gods; but when it had been said of the Lord God, "He is terrible, above all gods," he adds, as by way of exposition Thy he says this, "for the gods of the heathen are devils,"(5) that we might understand what had been expressed in the Hebrew, "the gods of the Gentiles are idols," meaning rather the devils which dwell in the idols.(6) For as regards images, which in Greek are called idols, a name we now use in Latin, they have eyes and see not, and all the other things which are said of them, because they are utterly without sense; wherefore they cannot be frightened, for nothing which has no sense can be frightened. How then can it be said of the Lord, "He is terrible above all gods, because the gods of the Gentiles are idols," if the devils which may be terrified are not understood to be in these images. Whence also the Apostle says, "We know that an idol is nothing."(7) This refers to its earthy senseless material. But that no one may think, that there is no living and sentient nature, which delights in the Gentile sacrifices, he adds, "But what the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: I would not have you partaken with devils."(8) If therefore we never find in the divine words that the holy Angels are called gods, I think the best reason is, that men may not be induced by the name to pay that ministry and service of religion (which in Greek is called leitourgia or latria) to the holy Angels, which neither would they have paid by man at all, save to that God, who is the God of themselves and men.(9) Hence they are much more correctly called Angels, which in Latin is Nuntii, that by the name of their function, not their substance, we may plainly understand that they would have us worship the God, whom they announce. The whole then of that question the Apostle has briefly expounded, when he says, "For though there be who are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, as there are gods many and lords many; yet we have one God the Father, from whom are all, and we in Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by Him."(10)

4. Let us therefore "give thanks to the God of gods, and the Lord of lords, for His mercy," etc. "Who alone did wonderful things" (verse 4). As at the last part of every verse, it is written, "For His mercy endureth for ever," so we must understand at the beginning of each, though it be not written, "Give thanks." Which indeed in the Greek is very plain. It would be so in Latin, if our translators had been able to make use of that expression. Which indeed they could have done in this verse, if they had said, "To Him who doeth(11) wonderful things." For where we have," who did wonderful things," the Greek has tp poihQanti, where we must necessarily understand, "give thanks." And I would they had added the pronoun, and said to Him, "who did," or to Him "who doeth," or to Him "who made sure;" because then one might easily understand, "let us give thanks." For now it is so obscurely rendered, that he who either knows not or cares not to examine a Greek manuscript may think, "who made the heavens, who made sure the earth, who made the luminaries, for His mercy endureth for ever,"(12) has been so said, because He did these things for this reason, "because His mercy endureth for ever:" whereas they, whom He has freed from misery, belong to His Mercy: but not that we should believe that He makes sky, earth, and luminaries, of His Mercy; since they are marks of His Goodness, who created all things very good.(1) For He created all things, that they might have their being;(2) but it is the work of His Mercy, to cleanse us from our sins, and deliver us from everlasting misery. And so the Psalm thus addresses us, "Give thanks unto the God of gods, give thanks unto the Lord of lords." Give thanks to Him, "who alone doeth great wonders;" give thanks to Him, "who by His wisdom made the heavens;" give thanks to Him, "who stretched out the earth above the waters;" give thanks to Him, "who alone made great lights." But why we are to praise, he setteth down at the end of all the verses, "for His mercy endureth for ever."

5. But what meaneth, "who alone doeth great wonders"? Is it because many wonderful things He hath done by means of angels and men? Some wonderful things there are which God doeth alone, and these he enumerates, saying, "who by His wisdom made the heavens" (verse 5), "who stretched out the earth above the waters" (verse 6), "who alone made great lights" (verse 7). For this reason did he add "alone" in this verse also, because the other wonders which he is about to tell of, God did by means of man. For having said," who alone made great lights," he goes on to explain what these are, "the sun to rule the day" (verse 8), "the moon and stars to govern the night" (verse 9); then he begins to tell the wonders which He did by means of angels and men: "who smote Egypt with their first-born" (verse 10), and the rest. The whole creation then God manifestly made, not by means of any creature, but "alone;" and of this creation he hath mentioned certain more eminent parts, that they might make us think on the whole; the heavens we can understand,(3) and the earth we see. And as there are visible heavens too, by mentioning the lights in them, he has bid us look on the whole body of the heavens as made by Him.

6. However, whether by what he saith, "who made the heavens in understanding," or, as others have rendered it, "in intelligence," he meant to signify, the heavens we can understand, or that He in His understanding or intelligence, that is, in His wisdom made the heavens (as it is elsewhere written, "in wisdom hast Thou made them all"(4)), implying thereby the only-begotten Word, may be a question. But if it be so, that we are to understand that "God by His wisdom made the heavens," why saith He this only of the heavens, whereas God made all things by the same wisdom? It is that it needed only to be expressed there, so that in the rest it might be understood without being written. How then could it be "alone," if "in understanding" or "in intelligence" means "by His wisdom," that is, by the only-begotten Word? Is it that, inasmuch as the Trinity is not three Gods, but one God, he states that God made these things alone, because He made not creation by means of any creature?

7. But what is, "who laid out the earth above the waters"? For it is a difficult question, because the earth seemeth to be the heavier, so that it should be believed not so much to be borne on the waters, as to bear the waters. And that we may not seem contentiously to maintain our Scriptures against those who think that they have discovered these matters on sure principles, we have a second interpretation to give, that the earth which is inhabited by men, and contains the living creatures of the earth, is "laid out above the waters" because it stands out above the waters which surround it. For when we speak of a city on the sea being built "above the waters," it is not meant that the sea is under it in the same way as the waters are under the chambers of caverns, or under ships sailing over them; but it is said to be "above" the sea, because it stands up above the sea below it.

8. But if these words further signify something else which more closely concerns us, God "by His wisdom made the heavens," that is, His saints, spiritual men, to whom He has given not only to believe, but also to understand things divine; those who cannot yet attain to this, and only hold their faith firmly, as being beneath the heavens, are figured by the name of earth. And because they abide with unshaken belief upon the baptism they have received, therefore it is said, "He laid out the earth above the waters." Further, since it is written of our Lord Jesus Christ, that "in Him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,"(5) and that these two, wisdom and knowledge, differ somewhat from one another is testified by other utterances of Scripture, especially in the words of holy Job,(6) where both are in a manner defined; not unsuitably then do we understand wisdom to consist in the knowledge and love of That which ever is and abideth unchangeable, which is God. For where he saith, "piety(7) is wisdom," in Greek is qeoQebeia, and to express the whole of this in Latin, we may call it worship of God.(8) But to depart from evil, which he calls knowledge, what else is it but to walk cautiously and heedfully "in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation,"(9) in the night, as it were, of this world, that each one by keeping himself from iniquity may avoid being confounded with the darkness, distinguished by the light of his proper gift. ...

9. "Who brought out Israel from the midst of them" (verse 11). He brought out also His saints and faithful ones from the midst of the wicked. "With a mighty Hand and stretched-out Arm" (verse 12). What more powerful, what more out-stretched, than that of which is said "To whom is the Arm of the Lord revealed?"(1) "Who divided the Red Sea in two parts" (verse 13). He divided also in such wise, that the same baptism should be to some unto life, to others unto death. "And brought out Israel through the midst of it" (verse 14). So too He brings out His renewed people through the layer of regeneration. "And overthrew Pharaoh and his power in the Red Sea" (verse 15). He quickly destroyeth both the sin of His people and the guilt thereof by baptism. "Who led His people through the wilderness" (verse 16). Us too He leadeth through the drought and barrenness of this world, that we perish not therein. "Who smote great kings" (verse 17), "and slew famous kings" (verse 18). From us too He smites and slays the deadly powers of the devil. "Sehon king of the Amorites" (verse 19), an "useless shoot," or "fiery temptation," for so is Sehon interpreted: the king of "them who cause bitterness," for such is the meaning of Amorites. "And Og, the king of Basan" (verse 20). The "heaper-together," such is the meaning of Og, and, king of "confusion," which Basan signifies. For what else doth the devil heap together but confusion? "And gave away their land for an heritage" (verse 21), "even an heritage unto Israel His servant" (verse 22). For He giveth them, whom once the devil owned, for an heritage to the seed of Abraham, that is, Christ. "Who remembered us in our low estate" (verse 23), "and redeemed us from our enemies" (verse 24) by the Blood of His only-begotten Son. "Who giveth food to all flesh" (verse 25), that is, to the whole race of mankind, not Israelites only, but Gentiles too; and of this Food is said, "My Flesh is meat indeed." "Give thanks unto the God of Heaven" (verse 26). "Give thanks unto the Lord of lords" (verse 27). For what he here says, "the God of Heaven," I suppose that he meant to express in other words what He had before said, "the God of gods." For what there he subjoined, he has here also repeated. "Give thanks unto the Lord of lords." "But to us there is but one God," etc., "and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by Him;"(2) to whom we confess that "His mercy endureth for ever."

Augustin on Psalms 134