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106. Psalm 106

Praise ye the Lord. O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

2Who can utter the mighty acts of the Lord? who can shew forth all his praise?

3Blessed are they that keep judgment, and he that doeth righteousness at all times.

4Remember me, O Lord, with the favour that thou bearest unto thy people: O visit me with thy salvation;

5That I may see the good of thy chosen, that I may rejoice in the gladness of thy nation, that I may glory with thine inheritance.

6We have sinned with our fathers, we have committed iniquity, we have done wickedly.

7Our fathers understood not thy wonders in Egypt; they remembered not the multitude of thy mercies; but provoked him at the sea, even at the Red sea.

8Nevertheless he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make his mighty power to be known.

9He rebuked the Red sea also, and it was dried up: so he led them through the depths, as through the wilderness.

10And he saved them from the hand of him that hated them, and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy.

11And the waters covered their enemies: there was not one of them left.

12Then believed they his words; they sang his praise.

13They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel:

14But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert.

15And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.

16They envied Moses also in the camp, and Aaron the saint of the Lord.

17The earth opened and swallowed up Dathan, and covered the company of Abiram.

18And a fire was kindled in their company; the flame burned up the wicked.

19They made a calf in Horeb, and worshipped the molten image.

20Thus they changed their glory into the similitude of an ox that eateth grass.

21They forgat God their saviour, which had done great things in Egypt;

22Wondrous works in the land of Ham, and terrible things by the Red sea.

23Therefore he said that he would destroy them, had not Moses his chosen stood before him in the breach, to turn away his wrath, lest he should destroy them.

24Yea, they despised the pleasant land, they believed not his word:

25But murmured in their tents, and hearkened not unto the voice of the Lord.

26Therefore he lifted up his hand against them, to overthrow them in the wilderness:

27To overthrow their seed also among the nations, and to scatter them in the lands.

28They joined themselves also unto Baalpeor, and ate the sacrifices of the dead.

29Thus they provoked him to anger with their inventions: and the plague brake in upon them.

30Then stood up Phinehas, and executed judgment: and so the plague was stayed.

31And that was counted unto him for righteousness unto all generations for evermore.

32They angered him also at the waters of strife, so that it went ill with Moses for their sakes:

33Because they provoked his spirit, so that he spake unadvisedly with his lips.

34They did not destroy the nations, concerning whom the Lord commanded them:

35But were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works.

36And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them.

37Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils,

38And shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood.

39Thus were they defiled with their own works, and went a whoring with their own inventions.

40Therefore was the wrath of the Lord kindled against his people, insomuch that he abhorred his own inheritance.

41And he gave them into the hand of the heathen; and they that hated them ruled over them.

42Their enemies also oppressed them, and they were brought into subjection under their hand.

43Many times did he deliver them; but they provoked him with their counsel, and were brought low for their iniquity.

44Nevertheless he regarded their affliction, when he heard their cry:

45And he remembered for them his covenant, and repented according to the multitude of his mercies.

46He made them also to be pitied of all those that carried them captives.

47Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from among the heathen, to give thanks unto thy holy name, and to triumph in thy praise.

48Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting: and let all the people say, Amen. Praise ye the Lord.

6 We have sinned with our fathers It is quite plain from these words, that although the prophet may have spoken in the person of one man, he yet dictates a form of prayer for the common use of the whole Church, seeing that he now identifies himself with the whole body. And from this to the end of the psalm, he gleans from ancient histories that their fathers had always been of a malign and perverse spirit, of corrupt practice, rebellious, ungrateful and perfidious towards God; and confesses that their descendants were not better; and having made this confession, 242242     “Ils vienent a demander pardon de leurs pechez.” — Fr. they come and ask the remission of their sins. And as we are unable to obtain the pardon of our sins until we have first confessed ourselves to be guilty of sin, and as our hardness of heart shuts out the grace of God from us, the prophet, therefore, with great propriety, humbly acknowledges the guilt of the people in this their severe and sore chastisement, and that God might justly inflict upon them a yet harder punishment. On another account it was advantageous for the Jews to have their sins set before them; because, if God punish us severely, we at once suppose that his promises have failed. But when, on the contrary, we are reminded that we are receiving the reward due to us for our transgressions, then if we thoroughly repent, those promises in which God appears as pacified towards us will come to our aid. Besides, by the three expressions which he employs in reference to their transgressions, he points out their enormity, that (as is usually the case) their hearts might not be slightly affected, but deeply wounded with sorrow. For we know how men are fettered by their vices, and how ready to let themselves alone, until compelled to examine themselves in good earnest; nay, what is more, when God calls them to judgment, they make a kind of verbal confession of their iniquities, while, at the same time, hypocrisy blinds their minds. When, therefore, the prophet says, that the people acted iniquitously in sinning, and had become ungodly and wicked, he employs no useless or unnecessary accumulation of words. Let any of us examine ourselves, and we will easily find that we have equal need to be constrained to make an ingenuous confession of our sins; for though we dare not say that we have no sin, yet there is not one of us but is disposed to find a cloak and subterfuge for his sin.

In a very similar manner, Daniel, in the ninth chapter of his prophecies, acknowledges the guilt of his own iniquities and those of the people; and it may be that the author of this psalm followed his example. From both let us learn, that the only way of pleasing God is to institute a rigid course of self-examination. Let it also be carefully observed, that the holy prophets, who never departed from the fear and worship of God, uniformly confessed their own guilt in common with the people; and this they did, not out of feigned humility, but because they were aware that they themselves were tainted with manifold corruptions, for when iniquity abounds, it is almost impossible for even the best of men to keep themselves from being infected by its baneful effects. Not comparing themselves with others, but sisting themselves before God’s tribunal, they at once perceive the impossibility of making their escape.

At that time impiety had attained to such a degree of enormity among the Jews, that it is not astonishing if even the best and most upright men were carried away, as if by the violence of a tempest. How very abominable, then, is the pride of those who hardly imagine that they offend in the least possible way; nay, who even, like certain fanatics of the day, conceive that they have attained to a state of sinless perfection! It must be borne in mind, however, that Daniel, who carefully kept himself under the fear of God, and whom the Holy Spirit, by the mouth of the prophet Ezekiel, declares to be one of the most upright of men, did not with reigned lips acknowledge his own transgressions, and those of the people, when he confessed them, under a deep sense of their grievously and dreadfully abhorrent character in the eyes of God. True, indeed, he was not overwhelmed in the same torrent of iniquity with others; but he knew that he had contracted a very large amount of guilt. Besides, the prophet does not bring forward their fathers for the purpose of palliating his own delinquency, (as many at the present day set at nought all reproof, shielding themselves with this, namely, that they have been so taught by their fathers, and that, therefore, their bad education, and not they, is at fault,) but rather to show that he and those of his own nation were obnoxious to severe punishment, because even from the very first, and as if co-existent with their early infancy, they never ceased to provoke the displeasure of God against themselves more and more by their fresh transgressions. It is in this manner that he involves the fathers with the children in many of the grounds of condemnation. 243243     “En beaucoup d’articles de condemnation.” — Fr.


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