Blessed is the man that trusts in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.
Read Chapter 17
Augustine of Hippo
“They shall not be ashamed in the evil time.” In the day of trouble, in the day of distress, they shall not be “ashamed,” as one is ashamed whose hope deceives him. Who is the person who is “ashamed”? The one who says, “I have not found that which I was in hope of.” Nor undeservedly either. You hoped for it from yourself or from a person, your friend. But “cursed is one who puts his trust in humankind.” You are ashamed because your hope has deceived you; your hope that was based on a lie. - "Expositions of the Psalms 37.8"
In order that we fall not away from the virtue of the soul, we ought to watch especially against those snares of the suggestions of the devil that we presume not of our own strength. For “cursed is everyone who places his hope in humankind.” And who is he, but mortal? We cannot therefore truly say that the person who places his hope in humankind places it in himself. For this also is to “live after humankind,” what is it but to “live after the flesh”? Whoever therefore is tempted by such a suggestion, let him hear, and if he has any Christian feeling, let him tremble. Let him hear, I say, “If you live after the flesh, you shall die.” - "On Continence 10"
We have recognized ourselves, seen ourselves and taken a thorough look at ourselves. Let us groan and sigh in ourselves, pour out prayers, that we enter not into temptations. We must not rely on our own powers to overcome all these things. Blessed, after all, is the one whose helper is the God of Jacob, his hope in the Lord his God, not in himself, because he is a mere mortal. But cursed is everyone who places his hope in humankind. - "Sermon 335b.5"
This is the combat we are challenged to, this the struggle with the flesh, this the struggle with the devil, this the struggle with the world. But let us be wary of confidence, because the one who instituted this contest does not watch his own champions, nor does he encourage us to rely on our own strength. Anyone relying on his own strength, you see, is relying, being clearly human, on the strength of a person; and accursed is everyone who rests his hope in humankind. - "Sermon 344.1"
We must find out from what source true perseverance, worthy of the name, is to be had. There are those who attribute it to the powers of human will, not those that people have from divine assistance, but from their own free will. But that is an arrogant error. It is the error of the rich about whom the psalm speaks: “a reproach to the rich, and contempt to the proud.” Glorying in their own false endurance, they wish “to confound the counsel of the poor person, but the Lord is his hope.” Since they are people and attribute so much to themselves, that is, to their human will, they do not tend to apply to themselves the words of Scripture: “Cursed is everyone who trusts in humankind.” - "On Patience 15.12"
It is said, “It is by his own fault that anyone deserts the faith, when he yields and consents to the temptation that is the cause of his desertion of the faith.” Who denies it? Because of this, perseverance in the faith is to be said to be a gift of God. For a person daily asks for this when he says, “Lead us not into temptation.” If he is heard, it is this that he receives. Thus, as he daily asks for perseverance, he assuredly places the hope of his perseverance not in himself but in God. I, however, am loath to exaggerate the case with my words, but I rather leave it to them to consider and see what it is of which they have persuaded themselves—“that by the preaching of predestination, more despair than exhortation is impressed on the hearers.” For this is to say that a person then despairs of his salvation when he has learned to place his hope not in himself but in God, although the prophet cries, “Cursed is one who has his hope in humankind.” - "Predestination of the Saints 2.46"
One who puts his trust in humankind or is buoyed up by some other concerns of life, such as power or possessions or any of the things considered by the many to be glorious, is not able to say, “O Lord my God, in you have I put my trust.” In fact, there is a command that we should not put our trust in rulers, and “cursed is the one who trusts in humankind.” As it is proper not to worship anything else besides God, so also is it proper not to trust in any other except God the Lord of all things. “The Lord,” it is said, “is my hope and my praise.” - "Homilies on the Psalms 11.2 (Ps 7)"
A person who relies on himself, however, or even on the person whose duty it is to provide for his needs, and thinks that his own activity or that of his associate is a sufficient resource for his livelihood runs the risk, as he places his hope in humankind, of falling under the curse that reads, “Cursed is the one that trusts in humankind and makes flesh his arm and whose soul departs from the Lord.” Now, by the words “that trusts in humankind” the Scripture forbids a person to place his hope in another, and by the words “and makes flesh his arm” it forbids him to trust in himself. Either course is termed a defection from the Lord. Further, in adding the final issue of both, “He shall be like tamarisk in the desert, and he shall not see when good shall come,” the Scripture declares that for anyone to place his trust either in himself or in anyone else is to alienate himself from the Lord. - "The Long Rules 42"
One thing you must flee, sin. One refuge from evil must be sought, God. Do not trust in princes. Do not be exalted in the uncertainty of wealth. Do not be proud of bodily strength. Do not pursue the splendor of human glory. None of these things save you. All are transient. All are deceptive. There is one refuge: God. “Cursed is the one who trusts in humankind” or in any human thing. - "Homilies on the Psalms 18.1 (Ps 45)"
But let us see what kind of fruits a bad tree produces, and let us avoid bearing such fruits. The prophet Jeremiah says, “Cursed is the one who puts his trust in human beings and makes his flesh his support, and whose heart turns away from the Lord; such a person will be like a tamarisk in the desert.” - "Homilies on the Gospels 2.25"
It is not only the one who puts his hope in humankind that is accursed, but also the one who uses the flesh of his arm, that is, his strength and all that he does, not for the Lord of mercy but so that power will be thought to have come from him. For whoever does this withdraws his heart from the Lord by claiming himself to be capable when he is not capable. He will also be like the tamarisk in the desert, which, in Hebrew, is called an aroher, or, as translated by Symmacus, a fruitless plant, nor will he see goodness when it arrives and is seen by the multitude of nations, but he will live in a wasteland. All this is said about the Jewish people, who live in a desert and do not bear fruit and are located in an uninhabited salt land that produces no fruit and is a host neither to God, nor to the army of angels, nor to the grace of the Holy Spirit nor to the knowledge of teachers. - "Six Books on Jeremiah 3.72.4–5"