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33. Psalm 33

Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright.

2Praise the Lord with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings.

3Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise.

4For the word of the Lord is right; and all his works are done in truth.

5He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.

6By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.

7He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses.

8Let all the earth fear the Lord: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.

9For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.

10The Lord bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: he maketh the devices of the people of none effect.

11The counsel of the Lord standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.

12Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord: and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.

13The Lord looketh from heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men.

14From the place of his habitation he looketh upon all the inhabitants of the earth.

15He fashioneth their hearts alike; he considereth all their works.

16There is no king saved by the multitude of an host: a mighty man is not delivered by much strength.

17An horse is a vain thing for safety: neither shall he deliver any by his great strength.

18Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy;

19To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.

20Our soul waiteth for the Lord: he is our help and our shield.

21For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name.

22Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, according as we hope in thee.

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6. By the word of Jehovah. That he may stir us up to think more closely of God’s works, he brings before us the creation of the world itself; for until God be acknowledged as the Creator and Framer of the world, who will believe that he attends to the affairs of men, and that the state of the world is controlled by his wisdom and power? But the creation of the world leads us by direct consequence to the providence of God. Not that all men reason so justly, or are endued with so sound a judgment, as to conclude that the world is at this day maintained by the same divine power which was once put forth in creating it: on the contrary, the great majority imagine that he is an idle spectator in heaven of whatever is transacted on earth. But no man truly believes that the world was created by God unless he is also firmly persuaded that it is maintained and preserved by him. Wisely and properly, therefore, does the prophet carry us back to the very origin of the world, in order to fix in our minds the certainty of God’s providence in the continual order of nature. By the figure synecdoche, he uses the term heavens for the whole fabric of the world, because, as I have elsewhere remarked, the sight of the heavens more than all the other parts of creation transports us with admiration. He therefore immediately adds, And all the host of them, by which phraseology, according to the usual method of Scripture, he means the stars and planets; for if the heavens were destitute of this ornament, they would in a manner be empty. In saying that the heavens were created by the word of God, he greatly magnifies his power, because by his nod alone, 674674     “Par son simple vouloir et commandement.” — Fr. “Simply by his will and commandment.” without any other aid or means, and without much time or labor, 675675     “Sans aussi y employer beaucoup de temps ou travail.” — Fr. he created so noble and magnificent a work. But although the Psalmist sets the word of God and the breath of his mouth in opposition both to all external means, and to every idea of painful labor on God’s part, yet we may truly and certainly infer from this passage, that the world was framed by God’s Eternal Word, his only begotten Son. Ancient interpreters have, with considerable ingenuity, employed this passage as a proof of the eternal Deity of the Holy Spirit against the Sabellians. But it appears from other places, particularly from Isaiah 11:4, that by the breath of the mouth is meant nothing else but speech. For it is there said concerning Christ, “He shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.” As powerful and effective speech is there allegorically denominated the rod of his mouth; so in like manner, for another purpose it is denominated in the immediately succeeding clause the breath of his mouth, to mark the difference that exists between God’s speech and the empty sounds which proceed from the mouths of men. In proving the Divinity of the Holy Spirit, therefore, I durst not press this text against Sabellius. Let us account it sufficient that God has formed the heavens by his Word in such a manner as to prove the eternal Deity of Christ. Should any object that these divine persons would not appear distinct if the terms Word and Breath are synonymous; I answer, that the term breath is not employed here simply as in other places, in which there is evidently a distinction made between the Word and the Spirit; but the breath of his mouth is used figuratively for the very utterance of speech; as if it had been said, As soon as God uttered the breath of his mouth, or proclaimed in word what he wished to be done, the heavens were instantly brought into existence, and were furnished, too, with an inconceivable number and variety of stars. It is indeed true that this similitude is borrowed from men; but the Scriptures often teach in other places, that the world was created by that Eternal Word, who, being the only begotten Son of God, appeared afterwards in flesh.




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