A Psalm of David at the Finishing of the Tabernacle (ON PSALM 28) HE TWENTY-EIGHTH PSALM has a general title, for it says, ‘A psalm of David,’ and it has something specific also, since it adds, *at the finishing of the tabernacle/ But, what is this? Let us consider what the finishing is and what the tabernacle is, in order that we may be able to meditate on the meaning of the psalm. Now, as regards the history, it will seem that the order was given to the priests and Levites who had acquitted themselves of the work to remember what they ought to prepare for the divine service. Scripture, furthermore, solemnly declares to those going out and departing from the tabernacle what it is proper for them to prepare and to have for their assembly on the following day: namely, ‘offspring of rams, glory and honour, glory to his name’; likewise it declares that nowhere else is it becoming to worship except in the court of the Lord and in the place of holiness. But, according to our mind which contemplates the sublime and makes the law familiar to us through a meaning which is noble and fitted to the divine Scripture, this occurs to us: the ram does not mean the male among the sheep; nor the tabernacle, the building constructed from this inanimate material; and the going out from the tabernacle does not mean the departure from the temple; but, the tabernacle for us is this body, as the Apostle taught us when he said: ‘We who are in this tabernacle sigh/ And again, the psalm: ‘Nor shall the scourge come near thy dwelling/ And the finishing of the tabernacle is the departure from this life, for which Scripture bids us to be prepared, bringing this thing and that to the Lord, since, indeed, our labor here is our provision for the future life. And that one who here bears glory and honour to the Lord through his good works will treasure up for himself glory and honour according to the just requital of the Judge.
In many copies we find added the words, ‘Bring to the Lord, O ye children of God/ And, since indeed not everyone’s gift is acceptable to God, but only his who brings it with a pure heart, for Scripture says: ‘The vows of a hired courtesan are not pure’; and again, Jeremiah says: ‘Shall not your vows and the holy flesh take away from you your crimes, or shall you be pure on account of these?’ therefore, the psalm first wants us to be the children of God, then to seek to carry our gifts to God, and not just any gifts, but whatever ones He Himself has appointed. First, say ‘Father/ then ask for what follows from that. Examine from what kind of life you have presented yourself; whether you are worthy to call the Holy God your Father. Through holiness we have affection for the Holy One. If you wish to be always the son of the Holy One, let holiness adopt you as a son. Therefore, ‘bring to the Lord/ not you who are just any persons nor who are sons of just any persons, but you who are children of God. You may be sure that He demands great gifts; therefore, He chooses great men to offer them. In order that he may not cast your thoughts down to earth, and make you seek a ram, that irrational beast and bleating animaL as if you expected to appease God by sacrificing it, he says: ‘Bring to the Lord, O ye children of the Lord. There is no need of a son that you may offer the son himself, but, if a son is something great, it is proper for the offering to be something great and worthy of the affection of a son and of the dignity of the Father. He says: ‘Bring the offspring of rams/ that, when they are offered by you, they may be changed from the state of offspring of rams into that of children of God.
(2) The ram is an animal capable of leading, one which guides the sheep to nourishing pastures and refreshing waters, and back again to the pens and farmhouses. Such are those who are set over the flock of Christ, since they lead them forth to the flowery and fragrant nourishment of spiritual doctrine, water them with living water, the gift of the Spirit, raise them up and nourish them to produce fruit, but guide them to rest and to safety from those who lay snares for them. Scripture wishes, then, the children of these to be led forth to the Lord by the children of God. If the leaders of the rest are the rams, their children would be those formed to a life of virtue through zeal for good works by the teaching of the leaders. Therefore, ‘Bring to the Lord, O ye children of God; bring to the Lord the offspring of rams/ Have you learned to whom it was addressed? Have you learned concerning whom he spoke?
‘Bring to the Lord/ he says, ‘glory and honour/ Now, how do we, dust and ashes, offer glory to the great Lord? And how honour? Glory, through our good works, when our works shine before men, so that men seeing our works give glory to our Father in heaven. And through temperance and holiness which is incumbent upon those who profess piety it is possible to give glory to God, according to the admonition of Paul, who said: ‘Glorify God in your members.’ The Lord also demands this glory from those who believe in Him and who have been honoured with the gift of the adoption of sons. ‘The son’ it is said, ‘honoureth the father/ and, ‘if then I be a father, where is my honour?’ He truly bears honour to God, who according to the proverb honours God by his just labours and offers to Him the first fruits of his justice. Everyone who discusses divine matters in an orderly way so as always to hold the correct opinion concerning the Father, the Godhead of the Only- begotten, and the glory of the Holy Spirit, brings glory and honour to the Lord. And, because His providence penetrates even to the smallest things, he increases the glory who is able to give the reasons for which all things were created and for which they are preserved, and also for which, after this present stewardship, they will be brought to judgment. He who is able himself to contemplate each individual creature with clear and unconfused thoughts and, after having contemplated them himself, is able to present to others also the facts concerning the goodness of God and His just judgment, he is the one who brings glory and honour to the Lord and who lives a life in harmony with this contemplation. For, the light of such a man shines before men, since by word and work and through manly deeds of every kind the Father in heaven is glorified. He does not bring glory and honour to the Lord who becomes passionately stirred over human glory, nor he who prizes money, nor he who sets great store on the pleasures of the body, nor he who regards with admiration strange religious beliefs. Just as through good works we bring glory to the Lord, so through wicked works we do the opposite. What, indeed, does He say to sinners? ‘My name is blasphemed through you among the Gentiles.’ Again, the Apostle says: ‘Dost thou dishonour God by transgressing the Law?’ For, contempt and disregard of the laws is an insult to the Lawgiver. When a house is badly managed, and in it are found passion and screaming, insolence and mocking laughter, wantonness and profligacy, impurity and licentiousness, the disgrace and shame of what happens fall upon him who is its master. Consequently, we believe that, as in good works God is honoured, so in wicked works the enemy is honoured. When 1 shall take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot/ I have transferred the glory from Him who saved me to him who destroys me. The unbeliever ‘changes the glory of the incorruptible God for an image made like to corruptible man and to birds and four-footed beasts and creeping things’ on earth. And he who worships and serves the creature more than the Creator does not bring glory to God, but to the creatures.
Therefore, let him who says that a creature is some great thing and then worships it, know with what party he himself will be placed. Let us fear lest, by bringing glory and occasions of exultation to the devil through our sins, we may be handed over to everlasting shame with him. That our sin becomes glory for him who effects it in us, understand by a similitude. When two generals make an attack upon each other, and one army wins, its commander receives the glory; but, when the opposing one is victorious, the honour is in turn transferred to him. Thus, the Lord is the One honoured in your good deeds, but in your contrary acts His opponent is honoured. Do not, I pray, consider that the enemy is far from you, and do not look at the leaders from afar, but examine yourself and you will find all the truth of the similitude. For, when the mind wrestles with passion, if, indeed, it prevails through vigour and attention, it wins the prize of victory over the passion and by its own means, as it were, it crowns God. But, when it becomes soft and stoops to pleasure, being made a slave and captive of sins, it gives to the enemy a cause of boasting and conceit and an opportunity for pride.
(3) ‘Adore ye the Lord in his holy court.’ After the offerings requested have been brought, adoration is necessary, and an adoration which is not outside of the church, but is paid in the very court of God. ‘Do not/ He says, ‘devise for me private courts or synagogues/ There is only one holy court of God. The synagogue of the Jews was formerly a court, but, after the sin against Christ, their habitation was made desolate. For this reason also the Lord said: ‘And other sheep I have that are not of this fold/ In saying that some from among the Gentiles were predestined for salvation, He shows His own court in addition to that of the Jews. Accordingly, it is not proper to adore God outside of this holy court, but only within it, lest anyone who is outside of it and is attracted by those outside of it, might lose the right to be in the court of the Lord. Many assume an attitude of prayer, but they are not in the court because of the wandering of their mind and the distraction of their thoughts coming from vain solicitude. It is possible to consider the court in a still loftier sense as the heavenly way of life. Therefore, ‘They that are planted’ here ‘in the house of the Lord/ which is the Church of the living God, there ‘shall flourish in the courts of our God/ But, he who makes his belly a god, or glory, or money, or anything else which he honours more than all things, neither adores the Lord, nor is in the holy court, even though he seems to be worthy of the visible assemblies. ‘The voice of the Lord is upon the waters.’ In many places you might find the word ‘voice’ occurring. Therefore, for the sake of understanding what the voice of the Lord is, we should gather, as far as we are able, from the divine Scripture what has been said about the voice; for instance, in the divine warn- ing to Abraham: ‘And immediately the voice came to him: He shall not be your heir/ And in Moses: ‘And all the people saw the voice and the flames/ Again, in Isaiah: ‘The voice of one saying: Cry/ With us, then, voice is either air which has been struck or some form which is in the air against which he who is crying out wishes to strike. Now, what is the voice of the Lord? Would it be considered the impact on the air? Or air, which has been struck reaching the hearing of him to whom the voice comes? Or neither of these, but that this is a voice of another kind, namely, an image formed by the mind of men whom God wishes to hear His own voice, so that they have this representation corresponding to that which frequently occurs in their dreams? Indeed, just as, although the air is not struck, we keep some recollection of certain words and sounds occurring in our dreams, not receiving the voice through our hearing, but through the impression on our heart itself, so also we must believe that some such voice from God appeared in the prophets.
‘The voice of the Lord is upon the waters/ As, indeed, in regard to the sensible creation, since the clouds, when they are full of water, produce sound and noise, striking against each other, ‘The voice’ it is said, ‘of the Lord is upon the waters/ Then, too, if there should be the noise of waters breaking against some barrier, and if the sea, thrown into confusion by the winds, should seethe and send forth a mighty sound, these inanimate creatures have voice from the Lord, since Scripture shows that every creature all but cries out, proclaiming the Creator. If the thunder crashes from the clouds, we need believe only that the God of majesty has thundered and that He who by Himself preserves the moisture is the Lord.
‘The Lord is upon many waters/ We have learned in the creation of the world that there is water above the heavens, again, water of the deep, and yet again, the gathered waters of the seas. Who, then, is He who holds together these waters, not allowing them to be borne downward by their physical weight, except the Lord who established Himself upon all things, who holds sway over the waters? Perhaps, even in a more mystic manner the voice of the Lord was upon the waters, when a voice from above came to Jesus as He was baptised, ‘This is my beloved Son/ At that time, truly, the Lord was upon many waters, making the waters holy through baptism; but, the God of majesty thundered from above with a mighty voice of testimony. And over those to be baptized a voice left behind by the Lord is pronounced: *Go, therefore/ it says, ‘baptise in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit/ Therefore, ‘The voice of the Lord is upon the waters/
Thunder is produced when a dry and violent wind, closed up in the hollows of a cloud and violently hurled around in the cavities of the clouds, seeks a passage to the outside. The clouds, offering resistance under the excessive pressure produce that harsh sound from the friction of the wind. But, when, like bubbles distended by the air, they are unable to resist and endure any longer, but are violently torn apart and give the air a passage to the outer breeze, they produce the noises of the thunder. And this is wont to cause the flash of lightning. Therefore, it is the Lord who is upon the waters and who arouses the mighty noises of the thunder, causing such an exceedingly great noise in the delicate element of air. It is also possible for you, according to ecclesiastical diction to call by the name of thunder the doctrine which after baptism is in the souls of those already perfect by the eloquence of the Gospel. That the Gospel Is thunder is made evident by the disciples who were given a new name by the Lord and called Sons of Thunder. Therefore, the voice of such thunder is not in any chance person, but only in one who is worthy to be called a wheel. ‘The voice of thy thunder,’ it says, ‘in a wheel.’ That is, whoever is stretching forward, like a wheel, touching the earth with a small part of itself, and really such as that wheel was, about which Ezechiel said: *I saw and behold there was one wheel on the earth attached to the four living creatures, and their appearance and their form was as the appearance of Tharsis.’
(4) ‘The God of majesty hath thundered, the Lord is upon many waters/ The waters are also the saints, because rivers flow from within them, that is, spiritual teaching which refreshes the souls of the hearers. Again, they receive water which springs up to eternal life, wherefore, it becomes in those who receive it rightly ‘a fountain of water, springing up unto life everlasting/ Upon such waters, then, is the Lord. Remember also the story of Elias, when the heavens were closed three years and six months; when, although there was clear weather on the summit of Carmel, he heard a voice of many waters; then there followed thunder coming from the clouds and water pouring down. The Lord, therefore, is upon many waters.
‘The voice of the Lord is in power.’ As there is a voice in a wheel, so the voice of the Lord is in power. For, he who prevails over all things in Christ who strengthens him, he it is who hears the commands of the Lord and does them. Therefore, the voice of the Lord is not in the weak and dis- solute soul, but in that which vigorously and powerfully achieves the good.
‘The voice of the Lord in magnificence.’ Magnificence is virtue extraordinarily great. He who performs great actions becomingly, such a one hears himself called magnificent. When the soul is not enslaved by the pride of the flesh, but assumes a greatness and dignity proper to it because of its awareness of its attributes received from God, in this soul is the voice of the Lord. Therefore, they who entertain noble thoughts of God, contemplating sublimely the reasons for creation, and being able to comprehend to a certain extent at least the goodness of God’s providence, and who besides are unsparing in their expenditures and are munificent in sup- plying the needs of their brothers, these are the magnificent men in whom the voice of the Lord dwells. In truth the magnificent man despises all bodily things, judging them deserving of no account in comparison with the unseen world. No difficult conditions will grieve the magnificent man; nor, in short, will any suffering greatly trouble him, nor will the sins of paltry and contemptible little men move him, nor the impurity of the flesh humble him. He is difficult of access to the humiliating passions, which cannot even look upon him because of the loftiness of his mind. There is mentioned also a certain magnificence of God, according to the saying: ‘Thy magnificence is elevated above the heavens.’ Those, then, who give great glory to God, elevate His magnificence.
(5) ‘The voice of the Lord breaketh the cedars/ The cedar is at times praised by Scripture as a stable tree, free from decay, fragrant, and adequate for supplying shelter, but at times it is attacked as unfruitful and hard to bend, so that it offers a representation of impiety. ‘I have seen the wicked highly exalted, and lifted up like the cedars of Libanus.’ In this sense it is now accepted. For ‘the voice of the Lord breaketh the cedars/ As this even happens in a magnificent soul, so He is said to break those vainly puffed up and magnifying themselves in the things of this world which are considered exalting, wealth, glory, power, beauty of body, influence, or strength. Tea, the Lord breaks the cedars of Libanus/ They who trample upon others* affairs and from that gather false glory for themselves, they are cedars of Libanus. Just as the cedars, which are lofty in themselves, because they are produced on a high mountain become more conspicuous through the added height of the mountain, so also those leaning upon the perishable things of the world are cedars indeed through their false glory and vanity of mind; and they are called cedars of Libanus because they are glory- ing in the elevation which belongs to another and are raised up to their false glory by the earth and earthly circumstances, as if by the summit of Libanus.
However, the Lord does not break all the cedars, but those of Libanus. Since Libanus is a place of idolatry, the souls which lift themselves up, opposing the means of knowing God, are called cedars of Libanus and they deserve to be broken. There are also some cedars of God, which are covered by the branches of the vine transferred from Egypt, as we have learned in psalms: ‘The shadow of it covered the hills; and the branches thereof the cedars of God.’
Then, among other concepts of Christ, our Lord is said to be a vine: ‘I am the vine/ He says, ‘you are the branches.’ The cedars are God’s, which for a time were unfruitful and fit for burning, but, coming under the protection of Christ and, as it were, clothed in Him, by the grace coming from Him they veil the unfruitfulness of their life. The fruitful branches, embracing, guard the cedars of God; but, the cedars of Libanus the Lord breaks: ‘And he shall reduce them to pieces, as a calf of Libanus/
Remember the calf in Exodus, which they fashioned through idolatry, which Moses beat to powder and gave to the people to drink. In a manner similar to that calf, He will utterly destroy all Libanus and the practice of idolatry prevailing in it. ‘And as the beloved son of unicorns.’ The only-begotten Son, He who gives His life for the world whenever He offers Himself as a sacrifice and oblation to God for our sins, is called both Lamb of God and a Sheep. ‘Behold/ it is said, ‘the lamb of God/ And again: ‘He was led like a sheep to slaughter/ But, when it is necessary to take vengeance and to overthrow the power attacking the race of men, a certain wild and savage force, then He will be called the Son of unicorns. For, as we have learned in Job, the unicorn is a creature, irresistible in might and unsubjected to man. Tor, thou canst not bind him with a thong/ he says, *nor will he stay at thy crib/ There is also much said in that part of the prophecy about the animal acting like a free man and not submitting to men. It has been observed that the Scripture has used the comparison of the unicorn in both ways, at one time in praise, at another in censure. ‘Deliver/ he says, ‘my soul from the sword . . . and my lowness from the horns of the unicorns/ He said these words complaining of the warlike people who in the time of passion rose up in rebellion against him. Again, he says, ‘My horn shall be exalted like that of the unicorn/ It seems that on account of the promptness of the animal in repelling attacks it is frequently found representing the baser things, and because of its high horn and freedom it is assigned to represent the better. On the whole, since it is possible to find the ‘horn’ used by Scripture in many places instead of ‘glory/ as the saying: ‘He will exalt the horn of his people/ and ‘His horn shall be exalted in glory/ or also, since the ‘horn’ is frequently used instead of ‘power/ as the saying: ‘My protector and the horn of my salvation/ Christ is the power of God; therefore, He is called the Unicorn on the ground that He has one horn, that is, one common power with the Father.
(6) ‘The voice of the Lord divideth the flame of fire/ According to the story of the three children in Babylon the flame of fire was divided, when the furnace poured forth the fire forty-nine cubits high and burned up all those around; but, the flame, divided by the command of God, admitted the wind within itself, providing for the boys a most pleasant breeze and coolness as in the shade of plants in a tranquil spot. For, it was, it is said, ‘like the blowing of a wind bringing dew/ And it is far more wonderful for the element of fire to be divided than for the Red Sea to be separated into parts. Nevertheless, the voice of the Lord divides the continuity and unity in the nature of fire. Although fire seems to human intelligence to be incapable of being cut or divided, yet by the command of the Lord it is cut through and divided. I believe that the fire prepared in punishment for the devil and his angels is divided by the voice of the Lord, in order that, since there are two capacities in fire, the burning and the illuminating, the fierce and punitive part of the fire may wait for those who deserve to burn, while its illuminating and radiant part may be allotted for the enjoyment of those who are rejoicing. Therefore, the voice of the Lord divide the fire and allots it, so that the fire of punishment is darksome, but the light of the state of rest remains incapable of burning. ‘The voice of the Lord shaketh the desert.’ The shaking of the desert is dispensed as a benefit to it from the Lord, in order that, having changed from its desolate state, it may become an inhabited land and, having laid aside the reproach of barrenness, it may receive the praise of fecundity (Tor many are the children of the desolate, more than of her that hath a husband/), and being filled with the spirit of the waters, that which before was desert may be made into pools of standing water. ‘The Lord shall shake the desert of Cades/ Now, the Lord will not shake every desert, but that of Cades, that is, sanctification. For, Cades is interpreted ‘sanctification/ ‘The voice of the Lord prepareth the stags/ The words concerning the preparation of the stags, which was made by the voice of the Lord, must be explained with the same esteem as those previously mentioned. Accordingly, since the stag obtained such a preparation that it is unharmed by the bite of serpents; on the contrary, that the meat of the viper is even a purgative for it, as they say who have observed these things, and since all poisonous animals are accepted for the representation of the wicked and contrary powers (for, the Lord says: ‘I have given you power to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy.’ and again, the psalm promises to the prophet: ‘Thou shalt walk upon the asp and the basilisk/) , it is necessary, whenever we hear the word ‘stag’ in the Scripture, to take the word for the representation of the better power. ‘The high hills are for the harts/ and ‘The hart panteth after the fountains of water.’ Since, then, every just man has his abode on the heights ‘pressing on toward the goal, to the prize of the heavenly call/ he returns to the fresh fountains, searching for the first sources of theology. But, the hart draws out with the breathing of his mouth the hidden venomous animals, and leads them out from their hiding places by the force of his breath. Just as the holy man is called an eagle because he walks on high and because he is separated very far from the earth, and a sheep because of his gentleness and the free gift of what he possesses, and a ram because of his authority, and a dove be- cause of his innocence, so also, he is called the hart because of his opposition to wickedness. Therefore Solomon says: ‘Let thy dearest hind and most agreeable fawn consort with thee,’ showing us that the harts, as mentioned previously, are suitable in the teaching of theology.
(7) ‘The voice of the Lord prepareth the stags.’ When, then, we see some man of God perfect and prepared, we seek for profit from intercourse with him. Wherever a stag is present, all the evil of serpents is banished. The venomous animals do not endure the odour of this animal and, in truth, when its horns are burnt for fumigation, they withdraw elsewhere. ‘And he will discover the thick woods.’ First, the voice of the Lord prepares the stags, then it discovers the thick woods, natural spots made dense with wild and unfruitful material, to which, especially, the venomous animals are wont to flee. Since, therefore, the stag has already been perfected by the preparation made by the Lord, the just man, made like to it, discovers the thick woods, so that, uncovered and ready, the corruptors of our life may be delivered up. And because ‘every tree that is not bringing forth good fruit is to be cut down by the axe and thrown into the fire,’ necessarily, the thick woods, the woody souls in which, like some wild beasts, the varied passions of sins lurk, are cleared out by that word, which is ‘keener than any two-edged sword/ When many men, laden with the cares of life, keep their souls like some thorn-producing land and do not allow them to be trained to bear the fruit of the word, the Lord discovers the thick woods, that is, the deformity and unseemliness and harmfulness of the cares of this life, in order that, when the place of good and evil has been made plain, men may not through ignorance hold perverse judgments concerning their affairs. Many think that the good, when it is painful, is evil, and they pursue the bad, because of the pleasure attached to it, as good. The misconception about such things among men is unspeakably great. There- fore, the fruitful woods and all cedars, which also receive praise, belong to the nature of the good; but, the thick woods, which the voice of God discovers and reveals in order that those who think that they will find some useful fruit in them may not be deceived, belong to the nature of the bad.
‘And in his temple all shall speak his glory.’ Let those who give themselves to long conversations hear the words of the psalm and take heed. What does the psalm say? He who is in the temple of God does not speak out abuse nor folly nor words full of shameful matters, but, ‘in his temple all shall speak his glory/ Holy angels stand by, who write the words; the Lord is present, who sees the affections of those entering. The prayer of each is manifested to God; one seeks heavenly things affectionately and one seeks them learnedly; one utters his words perfunctorily with the tips of his lips, but his heart is far from God. Even though he prays, he seeks the health of his flesh, material wealth, and human glory. None of these should be sought, as Scripture teaches, but, ‘in his temple all shall speak his glory/ ‘The heavens show forth the glory of God/ The praise of God is a duty belonging to angels. This one duty, referring glory to the Creator, belongs to every army of heavenly creatures. Every creature, whether silent or uttering sound, whether celestial or terrestrial, gives glory to the Creator. But, wretched men, who leave their homes and run to the temple, as if to enrich themselves somewhat, do not lend their ears to the words of God; they do not possess a knowledge of their nature; they are not distressed, although they have previously committed sin; they do not grieve at remembering their sins, nor do they fear the judgment; but, smiling and shaking hands with one another, they make the house of prayer a place of lengthy conversations, pretending not to hear the psalm which solemnly protests and says: ‘In the temple of God all shall speak his glory/ You not only do not speak His glory, but, you even become a hindrance to the other, turning his attention to yourself and drowning out the teach- ing of the Spirit by your own clamour. See to it that you do not at some time leave condemned along with those blaspheming the name of God instead of receiving a reward for glorifying Him. You have a psalm, you have a prophecy, the evangelical precepts, the preachings of the apostles. Let the tongue sing, let the mind interpret the meaning of what has been said, that you may sing with your spirit, that you may sing likewise with your mind. Not at all is God in need of glory, but He wishes you to be worthy of winning glory. Therefore, ‘What a man sows, he will also reap/ Sow glorification, that you may reap crowns and honours and praises in the kingdom of heaven. This statement, In his temple all shall speak his glory/ was made not unfittingly in a digression, because some in the temple of God talk endlessly until their tongue aches; and these enter without profit. Would that it might be only without profit and not with harm!
(8) The Lord maketh the flood to dwell/ A flood is an overflow of water which causes all lying below it to disappear and cleanses all that was previously filthy. Therefore, he calls the grace of baptism a flood, so that the soul, being washed well of its sins and rid of the old man, is suitable hence-forward as a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. Further, what is said in the Thirty-first Psalm agrees with this. For, after he has said: ‘I have acknowledged my sin, and my injustice I have not concealed/ and also, Tor this shall every one that is holy pray to thee/ he brought in, ‘And yet in a flood o many waters, they shall not come nigh unto him/ Indeed, the sins shall not come nigh ‘to him who received baptism for the remission of his transgressions through water and the Spirit. Something akin to this is found in the prophecy of Michea: ‘Because he delighteth in mercy, he will turn again and have mercy on us, he will put away our iniquities, and will cast them into the bottom of the sea/
‘And the Lord shall sit king forever/ God is sitting in the soul which shines from its washing, as if He were making it a throne for Himself. ‘The Lord will give strength to his people: the Lord will bless his people with peace/ From His erring people the Lord will take away the strong man and the strong woman, but to him who acts honestly He gives strength. Therefore, ‘to everyone who has shall be given/ He who is confirmed in the performance of good works becomes worthy of the blessing of God. Peace, which is a certain stability of mind, seems to be the most perfect of blessings, so that the peaceful man is distinguished by the calmness of his character, but, he who is attacked by his passions has not yet participated in the peace from God, which the Lord gave to His disciples, and which, surpassing all understanding, will keep the souls of the worthy. For this, the Apostle also prays for the churches, saying: ‘Grace and peace be multiplied to you/ May it be granted to us, after we have struggled nobly and subdued the spirit of the flesh, which is an enemy to God, when our soul is in a calm and tranquil state, to be called the sons of peace, and to share the blessing of God in peace, in Christ Jesus our Lord, to whom be glory and power, now and always, and forever. Amen.