Augustine on Psalm CXXVII
Home, the Fourth Sunday after Easter
ALMIGHTY God, which dost make the minds of all faithful men to be of one will; Grant unto thy people, that they may love the thing which thou commandest, and desire that which thou dost promise; that so, among the sundry and manifold changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed, where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Source of Collect: Sacrementary of Gelasius [ca 494 AD]. This is the 1552 BCP rendering. The collect was later changed in 1662 so that the attribute read, "who alone canst order the unruly wills and affections of sinful men", in response to the years before when the Church of England, Bishops, and Prayer Book had been suppressed under Cromwell.
Homily of Augustine on Psalm CXXVII
Grace and Peace be with you.
Today we shall review a portion of Psalm 127. It is another of the Songs of Degrees, but the only one that is ascribed to Solomon. One look at its tone gives the impression of one of the proverbs or sections of Ecclesiastes, from which I have selected a passage of Eccl ii. 22 that compliments this psalm.
The theme is the vanity of man, and the sovereignty of God.
The mercy of God... and His Spirit, excellently wrought that whatever of good was declared through Solomon, might be attributed unto God; and the man's sin, unto the man. What marvel that Solomon fell among God's people? Did not Adam fall in Paradise? Did not an angel fall from heaven, and become the devil? We are thereby taught, that no hope must be placed in any among men....The name of Solomon is interpreted to mean peacemaker: now Christ is the True Peacemaker, of whom the Apostle saith, "He is our Peace, who hath made both one." ...Since, therefore, He is the true Solomon; for that Solomon was the figure of this Peace maker, when he built the temple; that thou mayest not think he who built the house unto God was the true Solomon, Scripture showing unto thee another Solomon, thus commences this Psalm: "Except the Lord build the house, their labour is but lost that build it" (ver. 1). The Lord, therefore, buildeth the house, the Lord Jesus Christ buildeth His own house. Many toil in building: but, except He build, "their labour is but lost that build it." Who are they who toil in building it? All who preach the word of God in the Church, the ministers of God's mysteries. We are all running, we are all toiling, we are all building now; and before us others have run, toiled, and built: but "except the Lord build, their labour is but lost." Thus the Apostles seeing some fall bewailed these men, in that they had laboured in vain for them. We, therefore, speak without, He buildeth within. We can observe with what attention ye hear us; He alone who knoweth your thoughts, knoweth what ye think. He Himself buildeth, He Himself admonisheth, He Himself openeth the understanding, He Himself kindleth your understanding unto faith; nevertheless, we also toil like workmen; but, "except the Lord build...."
Jesus builds his perfect Temple within each of the elect. He is the architect, the carpenter. Those who pretend to be of his flock, even its proclaimed shepherds, who construct their own temples. They create false gods and thereby attempt to overturn 2,000 years of tradition and canonical Scripture. They deny God's sovereignty. They deny the salvation of Christ. They justify their salvation through works pleasing to man. All is vanity. Unless the Lord Jesus build his Temple in a man, all is in vain, and he is no part of our Lord Jesus, who in the end times will say, "Away, I know you not."
I want to conclude with a thought for this week for our Centurions.
I am grateful for our newest registered member's requested introduction as "Simply Christian." It reminded me of CS Lewis' book on "Mere Christianity", N.T Write recently published "Simply Christian". We should reflect on the meaning of this profound but simple assertion: Simply Christian. To this veteran, it means one who believes in the essential tenets of the faith, and places their total faith for salvation in the hands of Christ Jesus. More may follow, but this is the essence. I also think of our Lord's admonishment that we must become as little children in order to inherit the Kingdom of God. Amongst all the activities in church and life, amongst the rules, titles, works, and ceremony, I pray that all might remember that the essence of our walk with Jesus is mere Christianity, and our call is to be Simply Christian holding Christ as our Savior. "What must one do to be saved? Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved [Acts, Philippian Jailer, veteran soldier, and Paul]. More on the simplicity of salvation in this commentary. Consider this in light of our collect today, and pray that your neighbor might desire that which God has promised through his Son.
Released by Primus Pilus
Legio Christi-Ecclesia Militans
"Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another" [St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans 14:19]
* ORDO CENTURIONUM * IN HOC SIGNO VINCES * TIME DEUM ET OPERARE IUSTITIAM