Psalms 102:20

To hear the groaning of the prisoner; to loose those that are appointed to death;
Read Chapter 102

Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
20. "Out of the heaven did the Lord look down upon the earth" (ver. 19): "that He might hear the mournings of such as are in fetters, and deliver the children of such as are put to death" (ver. 20). We have found it said in another Psalm, "O let the sorrowful sighs of the fettered come before Thee;" and in a passage where the voice of the martyrs was meant. Whence are the martyrs in fetters? ...But God had bound them with these fetters, hard indeed and painful for a season, but endurable on account of His promises, unto whom it is said, "On account of the words of Thy lips, I have kept hard ways." We must indeed groan in these fetters in order to gain the mercy of God. These fetters must not be shunned, in order to gain a destructive freedom and the temporal and brief pleasure of this life, to be followed by perpetual bitterness. Accordingly Scripture, that we may not refuse the fetters of wisdom, thus addresseth us: "... Then shall her fetters be a strong defence for thee, and her chains a robe of glory." Let the fettered therefore cry out, as long as they are in the chains of the discipline of God, in which the martyrs have been tried: the fetters shall be loosed, and they shall fly away, and these very fetters shall afterwards be turned into an ornament. This hath happened with the martyrs. For what have the persecutors effected by killing them, except that their fetters were thereby loosed, and turned into crowns? ...The remission of sins, is the loosing. For what would it have profited Lazarus, that he came forth from the tomb, unless it were said to him, "loose him, and let him go"? Himself indeed with His voice aroused him from the tomb, Himself restored his life by crying unto him, Himself overcame the mass of earth that was heaped upon the tomb, and he came forth bound hand and foot: not therefore with his own feet, but by the power of Him who drew him forth. This taketh place in the heart of the penitent: when thou hearest a man is sorry for his sins, he hath already come again to life; when thou hearest him by confessing lay bare his conscience, he is already drawn forth from the tomb, but he is not as yet loosed. When is he loosed, and by whom is he loosed? "Whatsoever thou shall loose on earth," He saith, "shall be loosed in Heaven." Forgiveness of sins may justly be granted by the Church: but the dead man himself cannot be aroused except by the Lord crying within him; for God doth this within him. We speak to your ears: how do we know what may be going on in your hearts? But what is going on within, is not our doing, but His.

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation - 2 Peter 1:20

App Store LogoPlay Store Logo