St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Psalm 1

Psalm 1 

(a) Beatus vir qui non abiit in consilio impiorum et in via peccatorum non stetit, et in cathedra pestilentiae non sedit; sed in lege Domini voluntas eius, et in lege eius meditabitur die ac nocte. (a) Blessed is the man who hath not walked in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stood in the way of sinners, nor sat in the chair of pestilence. But his will is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he shall meditate day and night.
(b) Et erit tamquam lignum quod plantatum est secus decursus aquarum, quod fructum suum dabit in tempore suo. Et folium eius non defluet. (b) And he shall be like a tree which is planted near the running waters, which shall bring forth its fruit, in due season. And his leaf shall not fall off:
(c) Et omnia quaecumque faciet, prosperabuntur. Non sic impii, non sic; sed tamquam pulvis quem proiicit ventus a facie terrae. Ideo non resurgent impii in iudicio, neque peccatores in consilio iustorum. Quoniam novit Dominus viam iustorum; et iter impiorum peribit. (c) and all whatsoever he shall do shall propser. Not so the wicked, not so: but like the dust, which the wind driveth from the face of the earth. Therefore the wicked shall not rise again in judgment: nor sinners in the council of the just. For the Lord knoweth the way of the just: and the way of the wicked shall perish
(a) Hic Psalmus distinguitur contra totum opus: non enim habet titulum, sed est quasi titulus totius operis. (a) This psalm stands out distinctly from all the rest of the work: for it does not have a title, but it is, as it were, the title of the entire work.
Sed et David Psalmos composuit per modum orantis, qui non servat unum modum, sed secundum diversas affectiones et motus orantis se habet. But David also composed the Psalms by the mode of one who is praying, which does not hold to one mode, but is varied according to the diverse feelings and movements of the one who prays.
Hic ergo primus Psalmus exprimit affectum hominis elevantis oculos ad totum statum mundi, et considerantis quomodo quidam proficiunt, quidam deficiunt. Thus this first psalm expresses the feeling of a man who is lifting his eyes to the entire state of the world and considering how some do well, while others fail.
Et inter beatos Christus fuit primus; inter malos Adam. And Christ is the first among the blessed ones; Adam the first among the evil ones.
Sed notandum, quod in uno omnes conveniunt, et in duobus differunt. But it should be noted, that in one all come together, and in two they differ.
Conveniunt in beatitudine, quam omnes quaerunt; different autem in processu ad beatitudinem, et in eventu huius, quia quidam perveniunt, et quidam non. They agree in happiness, which all seek; they differ in the way to happiness, and in the outcome, because some reach it, and others do not.
Dividitur ergo Psalmus iste in partes duas. Thus this psalm is divided in two parts.
In prima describitur processus omnium ad beatitudinem. In the first part is described the way of all to happiness.
In secunda eventus, ibi Et erit tamquam lignum quod plantatum est secus decursum etc. In the second part is described the outcome, where it says, And he shall be like a tree which is planted near the running waters etc.
Circa primum duo facit. With respect to the first he does two things.
Primo tangitur processus malorum. First he touches upon the way of evil men.
Secundo bonorum, ibi, Sed in lege Domini voluntas eius etc. Second, the way of good men, where he says, But his will is in the law of the Lord etc.
In processu malorum tria consideranda sunt. In the way of evil men, three things are to be considered.
Primo deliberatio de peccato, et hoc in cogitatione. First, deliberation about sin, and this is in cogititation.
Secundo consensus et executio. Second, there is consent and execution.
Tertio inductio aliorum ad simile, et hoc est pessimum. Third, inducing others to something similar, and this is the worst.
Et ideo primo ponit consilium malorum, ibi Beatus vir etc. First he presents the counsel of evil men, where he says Blessed is the man etc.
Dicit autem, Qui non abiit, quia quamdiu homo deliberat, est in eundo. He says, Who hath not walked, because as long as a man is deliberating, he is going.
Secundo ponit consensum, et executionem dicens, Et in via peccatorum, idest in operatione: Prov. 4. Via impiorum tenebrosa, nesciunt ubi corruant; Second. he presents consent and execution, where he says: And in the way of sinners, that is, in operation; Proverbs 4:19 “The way of the wicked is darksome: they know not where they fall”;
non stetit scilicet consentiendo, et operando. nor stood, that is, in consenting and operating.
Dicit autem, impiorum, quia impietas est peccatum contra Deum, et peccatorum, contra proximum, et in cathedra; He says of the ungodly, because impiety is a sin against God, and of sinners, as against one’s neighbour, and in the chair;
ecce tertium, scilicet inducere alios ad peccandum. behold the third, namely to induce others to sin.
In cathedra ergo quasi magister, et alios docens peccare; et ideo dicit, pestilentia, quia pestilentia est morbus infectivus. In a chair thus as an authoritative teacher, and teaching others to sin and therefore he says, pestilence, because a pestilence is an infective disease.
Prov. 29. Homines pestilentes dissipant civitatem. Proverbs 29:8 “Corrupt men bring a city to ruin.”
Qui ergo sic vadit non est beatus, sed qui contrario modo. Thus he who walks in this way is not happy, but only he who walks in the contrary way.
Beatitudo autem hominis in Deo est. Ps. 143. Beatus populus cuius est Dominus Deus eius etc. The happiness of man is in God. Psalm 143:15 “Happy is that people whose God is the Lord” etc.
Et ergo processus rectus ad beatitudinem, primo ut subdemus nos Deo, et hoc dupliciter. Thus there is the right way to happiness, first that we should submit ourselves to God, and this is in two respects.
Primo per voluntatem obediendo mandatis eius; et ideo dicit: Sed in lege Domini; et hoc specialiter pertinet ad Christum. First by the will to obey his commands; and thus he writes: But (his will is) in the law of the Lord; and this pertains in a special way to Christ.
Ioan. 8. Descendi de caelo non ut faciam voluntatem meam, sed voluntatem eius qui misit me. John 6:38 “I came down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him that sent me.”
Convenit similiter et cuilibet iusto. The same may be said of each just person.
Dicit, in lege, per dilectionem, non sub lege per timorem. He says, in the law, meaning because of love, not as under the law because of fear.
I Timoth. 1. Iusto non est lex posita etc. I Timothy 1:9 “The law is not made for the just man” etc.
Secundo per intellectum iugiter meditando; et ideo dicit: in lege eius meditabitur die ac nocte, idest continue, vel certis horis diei et noctis, vel in prosperis et adversis. Second, through the understanding, by always meditating; and so he says: and on his law he shall meditate day and night, that is, continuously, or at certain hours of the day and night, or in prosperity and adversity.
(b) Describitur in hac parte felicitatis eventus: et primo ponit diversitatem eius; secundo assignat rationem, ibi, Quoniam novit Dominus etc. (b) In this part he describes the outcome of happiness: and first he sets forth its diversity; second he assigns the reason for it, where he says: For the Lord knoweth etc.
Circa primum duo facit. Concerning the first he does two things.
Primo ponit eventum bonorum, secundo malorum, ibi non sic impii etc. First he sets forth the outcome of good men, second, that of evil men, where he says: not so the wicked, etc.
Circa eventum bonorum utitur similitudine; et primo proponit eam, secundo adaptat, ibi, Et omnia quaecumque faciet etc. Concerning the outcome of good men he uses a similarity; and first he sets it forth, then he shows how it is appropriate, where he writes: And all whatsoever he shall do etc.
Similitudo namque sumitur a ligno, in quo tria considerantur, scilicet plantatio, fructificatio, et conservatio. The similarity is taken from a tree, in which three things are considered, namely, planting, bearing of fruit, and conservation.
Ad plantationem, vero necessaria est terra humectata ab aquis, alias aresceret; et ideo dicit: Quod plantatum est secus decursus aquarum, idest iuxta fluenta gratiarum, Ioan. 7. Qui credit in me flumina de ventre eius fluent aquae vivae. For planting, one needs earth moistened by the waters, otherwise the tree dries up, and so he says: which is planted near the running waters, that is, next to the streams of graces, John 7:38 “He that believeth in me (as the scripture saith) out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”
Et qui iuxta hanc aquam radices habuerit fructificabit bona opera faciendo; et hoc est quod sequitur: Quod fructum suum dabit. Gal. 5. Fructus autem spiritus est charitas, gaudium pax, et patientia, longanimitas, bonitas, benignitas, etc. And he who has roots next to this water will bear fruit in doing good works; and this is what follows: which shall bring forth its fruit. Galatians 5:22 “The fruit of the Spirit is charity, joy, peace, and patience, long-suffering, goodness, benignity” etc.
In tempore suo, scilicet modo quando est tempus operandi. Galat. ultimo. Dum tempus habemus, operemur bonum ad omnes. In due season, that is, just when it is time to act. Galatians 6:10 “Whilst we have time, let us work good to all men.”
Sed nec arescit, immo conservatur. But it does not dry up, but rather is kept alive.
Quaedam arbores conservantur in substantia, sed non in foliis, quaedam etiam in foliis conservantur: sic et iusti, unde ait: Et folium eius non defluet idest nec in minimis operibus et exterioribus deseruntur a Deo. Some trees are kept alive in their underlying substance, but not in the leaves, and others are also kept alive in their leaves: so also the just, whence he says: and his leaf shall not fall off that is, he will not be deserted by God even in the smallest exterior works.
Proverbia 11. Iusti autem quasi virens folium germinabunt. Proverbs 11:28 “But the just shall spring up as a green leaf.”
(c) Deinde cum dicit, Et omnia, adaptat similitudinem: quia beati in omnibus prosperabuntur, et hoc quando consequentur finem intentum quantum ad omnia quae desiderant, quia iusti perveniunt ad beatitudinem. (c) Then when he says, And all, he shows how the similarity applies: because the blessed prosper in all things, and this is when they achieve the intended end with respect to all that they desire, because the just attain blessedness.
Psal. 117. O Domine, salvum me fac, o Domine, bene prosperare etc. Psalm 117:25 “O Lord, save me: O Lord, give good success” etc.
Eventus malorum contrarius est, qui describitur ibi, Non sic etc. Et circa hoc duo facit. Primo ponit similitudinem, secundo ad adaptat, ibi, Non resurget. Sed nota quod hic praemittit non sic et non sic bis, propter maiorem certitudinem. Gen. 41. Quod secundo vidisti, iudicium firmitatis est. The outcome of evil men is the contrary, and this is described where he says: Not so etc. He does two things with regard to this. First he sets forth a similarity, then he shows its fittingness, where he says: The (wicked) shall not rise again. But note that here he repeats the words “not so” twice, for the sake of greater certainty. Genesis 41:32 “That thou didst see the second time…is a token of the certainty.”
Vel non sic faciunt in processu, ideo non sic recipiunt in eventu. Or not so do they act in their way, and so not so do they receive in their outcome.
Luc. 16. Recepisti bona in vita tua, et Lazarus similiter mala: nunc autem hic consolatur, tu vero cruciaris. Luke 16:25 “Thou didst receive good things in thy lifetime, and likewise Lazarus evil things, but now he is comforted; and thou art tormented.”
Comparantur vero proprie pulveri, qui tria habet contra ea quae de viro iusto sunt dicta; quia non adhaeret terrae pulvis, sed est in superficie: lignum vero plantatum est radicatus. They are compared properly to dust, because dust has three things that are said of the just man; that dust does not stick to the earth, but it is on the surface, but a planted tree has roots.
Item lignum in se compactum est, item humidum est; sed pulvis in se divisus, siccus, et aridus est; per quod signatur, quia boni adunati sunt caritate sicut lignum: Again a tree is held together in itself, and it is moist; but dust is divided, dry and arid; through this we have a sign that good men are united like a tree by charity.
Psalm. 117. Constituite diem solemnem in condensis, usque ad cornu altaris: mali vero divisi: Proverba 13. Inter superbos semper iurgia sunt. Psalm 117:27 “Appoint a solemn day, with shady boughs, even to the horn of the altar”: but evil men are divided: Proverbs 13:10 “Among the proud there are always contentions.”
Item boni inhaerent radicatus in spiritualibus et bonis divinis, sed mali in exterioribus bonis sustentantur. Again, good men cling as with roots in spiritual things and divine goods, but evil men are sustained in exterior goods.
Item sunt sine aqua gratiae, Gen. 3. Pulvis es etc. Again, they are without the water of grace, Genesis 3:19 “For dust thou art” etc.
Et ideo omnis malitia eorum defluet. And so all their malice flows away.
Luc. 21. Capillus de capite vestro non peribit. Luke 21:18 “A hair of your head shall not perish.”
Sed de istis malis dicitur, quod totaliter proiiciuntur a facie, idest bonis superficialibus, quos ventus, idest tribulatio, proiiciet a facie terra. But of these evil men it is said that they are totally driven from the face, that is, from superficial goods; the wind, that is tribulation, driveth them from the face of the earth.
Iob. 4. Vidi eos qui operantur iniquitatem, et seminant dolores, et metunt eos, flante Deo periisse, et spiritu irae eius esse consumptos. Job 4:8 “I have seen those who work iniquity, and sow sorrows, and reap them, perishing by the blast of God, and consumed by the spirit of his wrath.”
Deinde adaptat similitudinem ibi, Non resurgent, quia sicut pulvis sunt. Then he makes the similarity fit, where he says, The wicked shall not rise again, because they are dust.
Sed contra 2. Corin. 2. Omnes nos manifestari oportet ante tribunal Christi. But, on the other hand, 2 Corinthians 5:10 “For we must all be manifested before the judgment seat of Christ.”
Item 1. Cor. 15. Omnes quidem resurgemus. Again, 1 Corinthians 15:51 “We shall all indeed rise again.”
Ad quod dicendum, quod dupliciter hoc potest legi. In this regard, we should say that this can be read in two ways.
Resurgere enim proprie in iudicio dicitur homo, quando causa sua sublevatur per sententiam iudicis. A man is properly said to rise in judgment, when his cause is supported by the sentence of a judge.
Isti ergo non resurgunt, quia sententia pro eis in iudicio non fertur, sed potius contra: unde alia littera habet, Non stabilentur. Those men, then, do not rise, because in judgment the sentence is not in their favor, but rather against them: hence another reading says: They will not be made to stand.
Boni vero sic: quia licet afflicti sint ex peccato primi parentis, tamen habebunt sententiam pro se. With good men it is thus: although they are afflicted by the sin of the first parent, yet they have a sentence in their favor.
Neque peccatores, congregabuntur, in consilio iustorum: quia boni congregabuntur in vitam aeternam, ad quam mali non admittentur. Nor (do) sinners congregate in the council of the just: because good men are gathered together for eternal life, to which evil men are not admitted.
Vel dicendum, quod hoc intelligitur de reparatione iustitiae, ad quam reparantur proprio iudicio. Or it may be said, that this is understood of the reparation of justice, to which they make reparation in their own judgment.
1 Cor. 11. Si nosmetipsos iudicaremus, non utique iudicaremur. 1 Corinthians 11:31 “If we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.”
Et quantum ad hoc dicit: Non resurgent in iudicio, scilicet proprio, de quo dicitur Ephe. 5. Surge qui dormis, et exurge a mortuis, et illuminabit te Christus. And in this respect he says: The wicked will not rise again in judgment, that is in the proper judgment, of which it is said in Ephesians 5:14 “Rise thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead: and Christ shall enlighten you.”
Quidam vero reparantur consilio bonorum, et isto modo etiam mali non resurgunt a peccato. Some men are restored by the advice of the good, and in this respect evil men still do not rise from sin.
Vel impii, idest infideles, non resurget in iudicio, discussionis, et examinationis, quia secundum Gregorium quidam condemnabuntur, et non iudicabuntur, ut infideles. But the wicked, that is unfaithful men, shall not rise again in judgment, that of discussion, and examination, because according to Gregory some are condemned without being judged, such as the unfaithful.
Quidam non iudicabuntur, nec condemnabuntur, scilicet Apostoli, et viri perfecti. Some will not be judged, nor will they be condemned, namely the Apostles and perfect men.
Quidam iudicabuntur, et condemnabuntur, scilicet mali fideles. Some are judged and condemned, namely evil men who have faith.
Sic ergo fideles non resurgent in iudicio discussionis, ut examinentur. In this way, then, men with faith do not rise in the judgment of discussion to be examined.
Ioan. 3. Qui non credit, iam iudicatus est. John 3:18 “He that doth not believe, is already judged.”
Peccatores vero non resurgent in concilio iustorum, ut scilicet iudicentur, et non condemnentur. Sinners, however, will not rise in the council of the just, that is, to be judged and yet not condemned.
Deinde ratio redditur quare huiusmodi non resurgent in iudicio: Quoniam novit etc. Et proprie loquitur: quia quando aliquis scit quod perditum est, reparatur; quando vero nescit, non reparatur. Then he gives the reason why such do not rise in judgment: For the Lord knoweth etc. In proper terms he is saying: because when someone knows that something is lost, he has it replaced; when he does not know, he does not have it replaced.
Iusti autem per mortem dissolvuntur, sed tamen Deus novit eos. 2. Tim. 2. Cognovit Deus qui sunt eius. The just are dissolved by death, but still God knows them; 2 Timothy 2:19 “God knoweth who are his.”
Novit scilicet notitia approbationis, et ideo reparantur. He knows them with a knowledge of approval, and so they are restored.
Sed quia non novit viam impiorum notitia approbationis, ideo iter impiorum peribit. Psal. 118. Erravi sicut ovis quae periit: quaere servum tuum, quia mandata tua non sum oblitus. But because he does not know the way of the wicked by a knowledge of approval, therefore the way of the wicked shall perish. Psalm 118:176 “I have gone astray like a sheep that is lost: seek thy servant, because I have not forgotten thy commandments”.
Psal. 34. Fiant viae illorum tenebrae et lubricum etc. Psalm 34:6 “Let their way become dark and slippery” etc.

© Hugh McDonald

Latin Text according to the Venice Edition of MDCCLXXV

The Aquinas Translation Project

This entry was posted in Catholic, Notes on Psalms and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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