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Home > Fathers of the Church > Expositions on the Psalms (Augustine) > Psalm 25

Exposition on Psalm 25

To the end, a psalm of David himself.

1. Christ speaks, but in the person of the Church: for what is said has reference rather to the Christian People turned unto God.

2. Unto You, O Lord, have I lift up my soul Psalm 24:1: with spiritual longing have I lift up the soul, that was trodden down on the earth with carnal longings. O my God, in You I trust, I shall not be ashamed Psalm 24:2. O my God, from trusting in myself I was brought even to this weakness of the flesh; and I who on abandoning God wished to be as God, fearing death from the smallest insect, was in derision ashamed for my pride; now, therefore, in You I trust, I shall not be ashamed.

3. And let not my enemies mock me. And let them not mock me, who by ensnaring me with serpent-like and secret suggestions, and prompting me with Well done, well done, have brought me down to this. For all that wait upon You shall not be confounded Psalm 24:3.

4. Let them be confounded who do vain things unrighteously. Let them be confounded who act unrighteously for the acquiring things that pass away. Make Your ways, O Lord, known to me, and teach me Your paths Psalm 24:4: not those which are broad, and lead the many to destruction; Matthew 7:13 but Your paths, narrow, and known to few, teach Thou me.

5. In Your truth guide me: avoiding error. And teach me: for by myself I know nothing, but falsehood. For You are the God of my salvation; and for You have I waited all the day Psalm 24:5. For dismissed by You from Paradise, and having taken my journey into a far country, Luke 15:13 I cannot by myself return, unless Thou meetest the wanderer: for my return has throughout the whole tract of this world's time waited for Your mercy.

6. Remember Your compassions, O Lord Psalm 24:6. Remember the works of Your mercy, O Lord; for men deem of You as though You had forgotten. And that Your mercies are from eternity. And remember this, that Your mercies are from eternity. For Thou never wast without them, who hast subjected even sinful man to vanity indeed, but in hope; Romans 8:20 and not deprived him of so many and great consolations of Your creation.

7. Remember not the offenses of my youth and of my ignorance Psalm 24:7. The offenses of my presumptuous boldness and of my ignorance reserve not for vengeance, but let them be as if forgotten by You. According to Your mercy, be mindful of me, O God. Be mindful indeed of me, not according to the anger of which I am worthy, but according to Your mercy which is worthy of You. For Your goodness, O Lord. Not for my deservings, but for Your goodness, O Lord.

8. Gracious and upright is the Lord Psalm 24:8. The Lord is gracious, since even sinners and the ungodly He so pitied, as to forgive all that is past; but the Lord is upright too, who after the mercy of vocation and pardon, which is of grace without merit, will require merits meet for the last judgment. Wherefore He will establish a law for them that fail in the way. For He has first bestowed mercy to bring them into the way.

9. He will guide the meek in judgment. He will guide the meek, and will not confound in the judgment those that follow His will, and do not, in withstanding It, prefer their own. The gentle He will teach His ways Psalm 24:9. He will teach His ways, not to those that desire to run before, as if they were better able to rule themselves; but to those who do not exalt the neck, nor lift the heel, when the easy yoke and the light burden is laid upon them. Matthew 11:30

10. All the ways of the Lord are mercy and truth Psalm 24:10. And what ways will He teach them, but mercy wherein He is placable, and truth wherein He is incorrupt? Whereof He has exhibited the one in forgiving sins, the other in judging deserts. And therefore all the ways of the Lord are the two advents of the Son of God, the one in mercy, the other in judgment. He then attains unto Him holding on His ways, who seeing himself freed by no deserts of his own, lays pride aside, and henceforward bewares of the severity of His trial, having experienced the clemency of His help. To them that seek His testament and His testimonies. For they understand the Lord as merciful at His first advent, and as the Judge at His second, who in meekness and gentleness seek His testament, when with His Own Blood He redeemed us to a new life; and in the Prophets and Evangelists, His testimonies.

11. For Your Name's sake, O Lord, You will be favourable to my sin; for it is manifold Psalm 24:11. You have not only forgiven my sins, which I committed before I believed; but also to my sin, which is manifold, since even in the way there is no lack of stumbling, You will be made favourable by the sacrifice of a troubled spirit.

12. Who is the man that fears the Lord? from which fear he begins to come to wisdom. He shall establish a law for him in the way, which he has chosen Psalm 24:12. He shall establish a law for him in the way, which in his freedom he has taken, that he may not sin now with impunity.

13. His soul shall dwell in good, and his seed shall, by inheritance, possess the earth Psalm 24:13. And his work shall possess the stable inheritance of a renewed body.

14. The Lord is the stay of them that fear Him Psalm 24:14. Fear seems to belong to the weak, but the Lord is the stay of them that fear Him. And the Name of the Lord, which has been glorified throughout the whole world, is a stay to them that fear Him. And His testament, that it may be manifested unto them. And He makes His testament to be manifested unto them, for the Gentiles and the bounds of the earth are Christ's inheritance.

15. My eyes are ever unto the Lord; for He shall pluck my feet out of the snare Psalm 24:15. Nor would I fear the dangers of earth, while I look not upon the earth: for He upon whom I look, will pluck my feet out of the snare.

16. Look upon me, and have mercy upon me; for I am single and poor Psalm 24:16. For I am a single people, keeping the lowliness of Your single Church, which no schisms or heresies possess.

17. The tribulations of my heart have been multiplied Psalm 24:17. The tribulations of my heart have been multiplied by the abounding of iniquity and the waxing cold of love. Matthew 24:12 O bring Thou me out of my necessities. Since I must needs bear this, that by enduring unto the end I may be saved, bring Thou me out of my necessities.

18. See my humility and my travail Psalm 24:18. See my humility, whereby I never, in the boast of righteousness, break off from unity; and my travail, wherein I bear with the unruly ones that are mingled with me. And forgive all my sins. And, propitiated by these sacrifices, forgive all my sins, not those only of youth and my ignorance before I believed, but those also which, living now by faith, I commit through infirmity, or the darkness of this life.

19. Consider mine enemies, how they are multiplied Psalm 24:19. For not only without, but even within, in the Church's very communion, they are not wanting. And with an unrighteous hate they hate me. And they hate me who love them.

20. Keep my soul, and deliver me. Keep my soul, that I turn not aside to imitate them; and draw me out from the confusion wherein they are mingled with me. Let me not be confounded, for I have put my trust in You Psalm 24:20. Let me not be confounded, if haply they rise up against me: for not in myself, but in You have I put my trust.

21. The innocent and the upright have cleaved to me, for I have waited for You, O Lord Psalm 24:21. The innocent and the upright, not in bodily presence only, as the evil, are mingled with me, but in the agreement of the heart in the same innocence and uprightness cleave to me: for I have not fallen away to imitate the evil; but I have waited for You, expecting the winnowing of Your last harvest.

22. Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles Psalm 24:22. Redeem Your people, O God, whom You have prepared to see You, out of his troubles, not those only which he bears without, but those also which he bears within.

About this page

Source. Translated by an anonymous scholar. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Vol. 8. Edited by Philip Schaff. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1888.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1801025.htm>.

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