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Exposition On The Book Of Psalms by St. Augustine

Psalm XXIII.

A psalm of David himself.

1. The Church speaks to Christ: |The Lord feedeth me, and I shall lack nothing| (ver.1). The Lord Jesus Christ is my Shepherd, |and I shall lack nothing.|

2. |In a place of pasture there hath He placed me| (ver.2). In a place of fresh pasture, leading me to faith, there hath He placed me to be nourished. |By the water of refreshing hath He brought me up.| By the water of baptism, whereby they are refreshed who have lost health and strength, hath He brought me up.

3. |He hath converted my soul: He hath led me forth in the paths of righteousness, for His Name's sake| (ver.3). He hath brought me forth in the narrow ways, wherein few walk, of His righteousness; not for my merit's sake, but for His Name's sake.

4. |Yea, though I walk in the midst of the shadow of death| (ver.4). Yea, though I walk in the midst of this life, which is the shadow of death. |I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me.| I will fear no evil, for Thou dwellest in my heart by faith: and Thou art now with me, that after the shadow of death I too may be with Thee. |Thy rod and Thy staff, they have comforted me.| Thy discipline, like a rod for a flock of sheep, and like a staff for children of some size, and growing out of the natural into spiritual life, they have not been grievous to me; rather have they comforted me: because Thou art mindful of me.

5. |Thou hast prepared a table in my sight, against them that trouble me| (ver.5). Now after the rod, whereby, whilst a little one, and living the natural life, I was brought up among the flock in the pastures; after that rod, I say, when I began to be under the staff, Thou hast prepared a table in my sight, that I should no more be fed as a babe with milk, but being older should take meat, strengthened against them that trouble me. |Thou hast fattened my head with oil.| Thou hast gladdened my mind with spiritual joy. |And Thy inebriating cup, how excellent is it!| And Thy cup yielding forgetfulness of former vain delights, how excellent is it!

6. |And Thy mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:| that is, as long as I live in this mortal life, not Thine, but mine. |That I may dwell in the house of the Lord for length of days| (ver.6). Now Thy mercy shall follow me not here only, but also that I may dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

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