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120. Whoso therefore in the chaste fear of God hath his flesh crucified, and corrupted by no carnal allurement, dealeth judgment and the work of righteousness, ought to pray that he may not be given up to his adversaries; that is, that he may not, through his dread of suffering evils, yield unto his adversaries to do evil. For he receiveth power of endurance, which guardeth him from being overcome with pain, from Him from whom he receiveth the victory over lust, which preventeth his being seduced by pleasure.5312
121. He next saith, “Take off Thy servant to that which is good, that the proud calumniate me not” (ver. 122). They drive me on, that I may fall into evil; do Thou take me off to that which is good. They who rendered these words by the Latin, calumnientur, have followed a Greek expression, not commonly used in Latin. Have the words, Let not the proud calumniate me, the same force, as, Let them “not succeed in calumniating me”?
122. …To prefigure His Cross, Moses by the merciful command of God raised aloft on a pole the image of a serpent in the desert, that the likeness of sinful flesh which must be crucified in Christ might be prefigured.5313
123. In connection with this he goes on to say, “O deal with Thy servant according to Thy loving mercy” (ver. 124); not according to my righteousness. “And teach me,” he saith, “Thy righteousnesses;” those beyond doubt, whereby God rendereth men righteous, not they themselves.
124. “I am Thy servant. O grant me understanding, that I may know Thy testimonies” (ver. 125). This petition must never be intermitted. For it sufficeth not to have received understanding, and to have learnt the testimonies of God, unless it be evermore received, and evermore in a manner quaffed from the fountain of eternal light. For the testimonies of God are the better and the better known, the more understanding a man attaineth to.
125. “It is time,” he saith, “for the Lord to lay to His hand” (ver. 126). For this is the reading of most copies: not as some have, “O Lord.” Now what is this, save the grace which was revealed in Christ at its own time? Of which season the Apostle saith, “But when the fullness of time was come, God sent His Son.”5316
126. “Therefore,” he saith, “I love Thy commandments above gold and topaz” (ver. 127). Grace hath this object, that the commandments, which could not be fulfilled by fear, may be fulfilled by love…Therefore, they are above gold and topaz stones. For this is read in another Psalm also, “Above gold and exceeding precious stones.”5317
127. “Therefore,” he saith, “was I made straight unto all Thy commandments” (ver. 128). I was made straight, doubtless, because I loved them; and I clung by love to them, which were straight, that I might also myself become straight. Then what he addeth, naturally follows: “and every unrighteous way I utterly abhor.” For how could it be that he who loved the straight could do aught save abhor an unrighteous way? For as, if he loved gold and precious stones, he would abhor all that might bring loss of such property: thus, since he loved the commandments of God, he abhorred the path of iniquity, as one of the most savage rocks in the sailor’s track, whereon he must needs suffer shipwreck of things so precious. That this may not be his lot, he who saileth on the wood of the Cross with the divine commandments as his freight, steereth far from thence.