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104. Psalm 104

Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty.

2Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain:

3Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind:

4Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire:

5 Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever.

6Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a garment: the waters stood above the mountains.

7At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away.

8They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys unto the place which thou hast founded for them.

9Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over; that they turn not again to cover the earth.

10He sendeth the springs into the valleys, which run among the hills.

11They give drink to every beast of the field: the wild asses quench their thirst.

12By them shall the fowls of the heaven have their habitation, which sing among the branches.

13He watereth the hills from his chambers: the earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works.

14He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth;

15And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man’s heart.

16The trees of the Lord are full of sap; the cedars of Lebanon, which he hath planted;

17Where the birds make their nests: as for the stork, the fir trees are her house.

18The high hills are a refuge for the wild goats; and the rocks for the conies.

19He appointed the moon for seasons: the sun knoweth his going down.

20Thou makest darkness, and it is night: wherein all the beasts of the forest do creep forth.

21The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God.

22The sun ariseth, they gather themselves together, and lay them down in their dens.

23Man goeth forth unto his work and to his labour until the evening.

24O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.

25 So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts.

26There go the ships: there is that leviathan, whom thou hast made to play therein.

27These wait all upon thee; that thou mayest give them their meat in due season.

28 That thou givest them they gather: thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good.

29Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust.

30Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth.

31The glory of the Lord shall endure for ever: the Lord shall rejoice in his works.

32He looketh on the earth, and it trembleth: he toucheth the hills, and they smoke.

33I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.

34My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the Lord.

35Let the sinners be consumed out of the earth, and let the wicked be no more. Bless thou the Lord, O my soul. Praise ye the Lord.

29 Thou shalt hide thy face, and they shall be afraid In these words, the Psalmist declares, that we stand or fall according to the will of God. We continue to live, so long as he sustains us by his power; but no sooner does he withdraw his life-giving spirit than we die. Even Plato knew this, who so often teaches that, properly speaking, there is but one God, and that all things subsist, or have their being only in him. Nor do I doubt, that it was the will of God, by means of that heathen writer, to awaken all men to the knowledge, that they derive their life from another source than from themselves. In the first place, the Psalmist asserts, that if God hide his face they are afraid; and, secondly, that if he take away their spirit they die, and return to their dust; by which words he points out, that when God vouchsafes to look upon us, that look gives us life, and that as long as his serene countenance shines, it inspires all the creatures with life. Our blindness then is doubly inexcusable, if we do not on our part cast our eyes upon that goodness which gives life to the whole world. The prophet describes step by step the destruction of living creatures, upon God’s withdrawing from them his secret energy, that from the contrast he may the better commend that continued inspiration, by which all things are maintained in life and rigor. He could have gone farther, and have asserted, that all things, unless upheld in being by God, would return to nothing; but he was content with affirming in general and popular language, that whatever is not cherished by Him falls into corruption. He again declares, that the world is daily renewed, because God sends forth his spirit In the propagation of living creatures, we doubtless see continually a new creation of the world. In now calling that God’s spirit, which he before represented as the spirit of living creatures, there is no contradiction. God sendeth forth that spirit which remains with him whither he pleases; and as soon as he has sent it forth, all things are created. In this way, what was his own he makes to be ours. But this gives no countenance to the old dream of the Manicheeans, which that filthy dog Servetus has made still worse in our own day. The Manicheeans said that the soul of man is a particle of the Divine Spirit, and is propagated from it as the shoot of a tree; but this base man has had the audacity to assert, that oxen, asses, and dogs, are parts of the divine essence. The Manichees at least had this pretext for their error, that the soul was created after the image of God; but to maintain this with respect to swine and cattle, is in the highest degree monstrous and detestable. Nothing was farther from the prophet’s intention, than to divide the spirit of God into parts, so that a portion of it should dwell essentially in every living creature. But he termed that the spirit of God which proceeds from him. By the way, he instructs us, that it is ours, because it is given us, that it may quicken us. The amount of what is stated is, that when we see the world daily decaying, and daily renewed, the life-giving power of God is reflected to us herein as in a mirror. All the deaths which take place among living creatures, are just so many examples of our nothingness, so to speak; and when others are produced and grow up in their room, we have in that presented to us a renewal of the world. Since then the world daily dies, and is daily renewed in its various parts, the manifest conclusion is, that it subsists only by a secret virtue derived from God.


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