or bent. There the saints will rejoice with the Lord Saviour in wishes that are righteous and steady.
How happily has this troubled person lamented, until by afflicting himself he attained joys! Earlier he was like the pelican, and in later verses is to be compared with the phoenix; earlier a night raven, later an eagle; earlier a sparrow, but subsequently he became a famed dove. These are the transformations experienced by those who subject themselves to the Lord with pure minds. Men may gain royal titles, but they are trivial; their purple garments may win praise, but they often become grimy on those who wear them. Observe how the world is conquered by rags, and the devil overcome by lamentation. He whom no cohorts are enough to resist is prevailed upon by the prayer of a single pauper. Those deserving of the title of sages, men of eloquence, truly splendid orators are they who as victors gain the possession which is by no means withheld from them by the opposition of an enemy. In short, they obtain an inheritance which they invariably win without toil, and which they never at any time forgo through death. What a blessed condition is that of penitents! It converts the guilty into the just, the sad into the unfailingly joyful, the mortal into the wholly immortal. In this world they associate with the wicked for the moment, but in the next they will gain partnership with the angels in eternal blessedness. So let us realise that this man is the fifth in the role of penitent, 54 who defended himself by not defending himself, who washed himself clean by not washing himself, who cleansed himself by not cleansing himself. If we deserve to attain his poverty, we undoubtedly overcome all the kingdoms of the world.
I. A psalm for David himself. After the unfolding of those most humble prayers of the blessed pauper, and of the groans of such great repentance, the whole of this psalm is filled with praise of the Lord, so that the joys of proclamation may through devoted arrangement follow upon the preceding tears. So, as we have often stated, the phrase,