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115. Psalm 115

Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake.

2Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is now their God?

3But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.

4Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands.

5They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not:

6They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not:

7They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat.

8They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.

9O Israel, trust thou in the Lord: he is their help and their shield.

10O house of Aaron, trust in the Lord: he is their help and their shield.

11Ye that fear the Lord, trust in the Lord: he is their help and their shield.

12The Lord hath been mindful of us: he will bless us; he will bless the house of Israel; he will bless the house of Aaron.

13He will bless them that fear the Lord, both small and great.

14The Lord shall increase you more and more, you and your children.

15Ye are blessed of the Lord which made heaven and earth.

16The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’S: but the earth hath he given to the children of men.

17The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence.

18But we will bless the Lord from this time forth and for evermore. Praise the Lord.

16 The heavens, the heavens are Jehovah’s In this passage the prophet extols the bounty of God, and his paternal regard for the human race, in that, though he stood in need of nothing himself, he yet created the world, with all its fullness, for their use. How comes it to pass that the earth is every where covered with such a great variety of good things, meeting our eye in all directions, unless that God, as a provident father of a family, had designed to make provision for our wants? In proportion, therefore, to the comforts which we here enjoy, are the tokens of his fatherly care. This is the prophet’s meaning, which I am astonished is so little attended to by the most of interpreters. The amount is, that God, satisfied with his own glory, has enriched the earth with abundance of good things, that mankind may not lack any thing. At the same time he demonstrates, that, as God has his dwelling-place in the heavens, he must be independent of all worldly riches; for, assuredly, neither wine, nor corn, nor any thing requisite for the support of the present life is produced there. Consequently, God has every resource in himself. To this circumstance the repetition of the, term heavens refers, The heavens, the heavens are enough for God; and as he is superior to all aid, he is to himself instead of a hundred worlds. It remains, therefore, as another consequence from this, that all the riches with which the world abounds proclaim aloud what a beneficent father God is to mankind. It is indeed surprising that there should be no relish for this doctrine, considering that the Holy Spirit spoke of the inestimable goodness of God. Under the papacy, they chanted this psalm in their churches, and they continue the practice still; but is there one among a hundred of them who reflects that God, in bestowing all good things upon us, reserves nothing for himself, except a grateful acknowledgment of them? And not only in this matter does the ingratitude of the world appear, but the wicked wretches have conducted themselves most vilely, in open and infamous blasphemy; perverting this verse, and making a jest of it, saying that God remains unconcerned in heaven, and pays no regard to the affairs of men. The prophet here expressly declares that the world is employed by God, for the sole purpose of testifying his paternal solicitude towards mankind; and yet these swine and dogs have made these words a laughing-stock, as if God, by reason of his vast distance from men, totally disregarded them. And here I am induced to relate a memorable story. While we were supping in a certain inn, and speaking of the hope of the heavenly life, a profane despiser of God happening to be present, treated our discourse with derision, and now and then mockingly exclaimed, “The heaven of heavens is the Lord’s.” Instantly afterwards he was seized with dreadful pain, and began to vociferate, “O God! O God!” and, having a powerful voice, he filled the whole apartment with his cries. Then I, who had felt indignant at his conduct, proceeded, in my own way, to tell him warmly, that now at least he perceived that they who mocked God were not permitted to escape with impunity. One of the guests, an honest and pious man, yet alive, but withal facetious, employed the occasion thus, “Do you invoke God? Have you forgotten your philosophy? Why do you not permit him to remain at ease in his own heaven?” And as often as the one bawled out, “O God!” the other, mocking him, retorted, “Where is now thy Coelum coeli Domino?” At that time his pain indeed was mitigated; nevertheless, the remainder of his life was spent in impunity.


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