Psalms 102:23

He weakened my strength in the way; he shortened my days.
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
23. "She answered Him in the way of His strength" (ver. 23). ...The preceding words show, that either "His praise," or "Jerusalem," answered: for it was said, "And His praise in Jerusalem; in the nations gathering together in one, and the kingdoms, that they may serve the Lord. Respondit ei." We cannot say, "the kingdoms answered," for he would have said responderunt. Respondit ei. We cannot say, "the nations answered," for he would have said, responderunt (in the plural). Since then it is Respondit ei, in the singular, we look for the singular number above, and find that the words, "His praise," and "Jerusalem," are the only words in which we find it. But since it is doubtful, whether it be "His praise," or "Jerusalem," let us expound it each way. How did "His praise" answer Him? When they who are called by Him thank Him. For He calleth, we answer; not by our voice, but by our faith; not by our tongue, but by our life. ...From His elect and holy men, Jerusalem also answereth Him. For Jerusalem also was called: and the first Jerusalem refused to hear, and it was said unto her, "Behold, thy house shall be left unto the desolate." ...But that Jerusalem, of whom it was written, "Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear," "She hath answered Him." What meaneth, "She hath answered Him"? She despiseth Him not when He called. He sent rain, She gave fruit. 24. "She answered Him:" but where? "in the path of His strength." ...The Church therefore answered Him not in the way of weakness; because after His resurrection He called the Church from the whole world, no longer weak upon the cross, but strong in heaven. For it is not the praise of the Christian faith that they believe that Christ died, but that they believe that He arose from the dead. Even the Pagan believeth that He died; and maketh this a charge against thee, that thou hast believed in one dead. What then is thy praise? It is that thou believest that Christ arose from the dead, and that thou dost hope that thou shalt rise from the dead through Christ: this is the praise of faith. "For if thou shalt confess with thy mouth that Jesus is the Lord, and shalt believe in thy heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." ...This is the faith of Christians. In this faith then, in which the Church is gathered, "She hath answered Him," She gave Him worship according to His commandments: "in the path of His strength," not in the path of His weakness. 25. How she answered Him, ye have already heard above. "In the gathering of the nations into one." Herein she answered Him, in unity: he who is not in unity, answereth Him not. For He is One, the Church is unity: none but unity answereth to Him who is One. ...Since some were destined to say against her, She hath existed, and no longer doth exist; "Show me," He saith, "the shortness of my days," what is it, that I know not what apostates from me murmur against me? why is it that lost men contend that I have perished? For they surely say this, that I have been, and no longer am: "Show me the shortness of my days." I do not ask from Thee about those everlasting days: they are without end, where I shall be; it is not those I ask of: I ask of temporal days; show unto me my temporal days; "show me the shortness," not the eternity, "of my days." Declare unto me, how long I shall be in this world: on account of those who say, "She hath been," and is no more: on account of those who say, The Scriptures are fulfilled, all nations have believed, but the Church hath become apostate, and hath perished from among all nations. ... 26. Seest thou not that there are still nations among whom the Gospel hath not been preached? Since then it is needful that what the Lord spoke shall be fulfilled, declaring unto the Church the shortness of my days, that this Gospel be preached in all nations, and then that the end may come, why is it that thou sayest that the Church hath already perished from among all nations, when the Gospel is being preached for this purpose, that it may be in all nations? Therefore the Church remaineth even unto the end of the world, in all nations; and this is the shortness of Her days, because all that is limited is short; so that She may pass into eternity from this brief existence. May heretics be lost, may that which they are be lost, and may they be found, that they may be what they are not. Shortness of days will be unto the end of the world: shortness for this reason, because the whole of this season, I say not from this day unto the end of the world, but from Adam down to the end of the world, is a mere drop compared with eternity.

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

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