Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand;
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Augustine of Hippo
7. But the saints who "exult in glory," no need is there for us to say how they exult: just hear the verse of the Psalm which followeth: "The saints shall exult in glory, they shall rejoice in their beds:" not in theatres, or amphitheatres, or circuses, or follies, or market places, but "in their chambers." What is, "in their chambers"? In their hearts. Hear the Apostle Paul exulting in his closet: "For this is our glory, the testimony of our conscience." On the other hand, there is reason to fear lest any be pleasing to himself, and so seem to be proud, and boast of his conscience. For every one ought to exult with fear, for that wherein he exulteth is God's gift, not his own desert. For there be many that please themselves, and think themselves righteous; and there is another passage which goeth against them, which saith, "Who shall boast that he hath a clean heart, and that he is pure from sin?" There is then, so to speak, a limit to glorying in our conscience, namely, to know that thy faith is sincere, thy hope sure, thy love without dissimulation. "The exultations of God are in their mouths" (ver. 6). In such wise shall they "rejoice in their closets," as not to attribute to themselves that they are good, but praise Him from whom they have what they are, by whom they are called to attain to what they are not, and from whom they hope for perfection, to whom they give thanks, because He hath begun.
8. "And swords sharpened on both sides in their hands." This sort of weapon contains a great mystical meaning, in that it is sharp on both sides. By "swords sharpened on both sides," we understand the Word of the Lord: it is one sword, but therefore are they called many, because there are many mouths and many tongues of the saints. How is it two edged? It speaks of things temporal, it speaks also of things eternal. In both cases it proveth what it saith, and him whom it strikes, it severeth from the world. Is not this the sword whereof the Lord said, "I am not come to send peace upon earth, but a sword"? Observe how He came to divide, how He came to sever. He divideth the saints, He divideth the ungodly, He severeth from thee that which hindereth thee. The son willeth to serve God, the father willeth not: the sword cometh, the Word of God cometh, and severeth the son from the father. ...Wherefore then is it in their hands, not in their tongues? "And swords," it saith, "sharpened on both sides in their hands." By "in their hands," he meaneth in power. They received then the word of God in power, to speak where they would, to whom they would, neither to fear power, nor to despise poverty. For they had in their hands a sword; where they would they brandished it, handled it, smote with it: and all this was in the power of the preachers. For if the Word be not in their hands, why is it written, "The Word of the Lord was put in the hand of the Prophet Haggai"? Surely, brethren, God set not His Word in His fingers. What is meant by, "was put in his hand"? It was put into his power to preach the Word of the Lord. Lastly, we can understand these "hands" in another way also. For they who spake had the word of God in their tongues, they who wrote, in their hands.
9. Now, brethren, ye see the saints armed: observe the slaughter, observe their glorious battles. For if there be a commander, there must be soldiers; if soldiers, an enemy; if a warfare, a victory. What have these done who had in their hands swords sharpened on both sides? "To do vengeance on the nations." See whether vengeance have not been done on the nations. Daily is it done: we do it ourselves by speaking. Observe how the nations of Babylon are slain. She is repaid twofold: for so is it written of her, "repay her double for what she hath done." How is she repaid double? The saints wage war, they draw their "swords twice sharpened;" thence come defeats, slaughters, severances: how is she repaid double? When she had power to persecute the Christians, she slew the flesh indeed, but she crushed not God: now she is repaid double, for the Pagans are extinguished and the idols are broken. ...And lest thou shouldest think that men are really smitten with the sword, blood really shed, wounds made in the flesh, he goeth on and explaineth, "upbraidings among the peoples." What is "upbraidings"? Reproof. Let the "sword twice sharpened" go forth from you, delay not. Say to thy friend, if yet thou hast one left to whom to say it, "What kind of man art thou, who hast abandoned Him by whom thou wast made, and worshippest what He made? Better is the Workman, than that which He worketh." When he beginneth to blush, when he beginneth to feel compunction, thou hast made a wound with thy sword, it hath reached the heart, he is about to die, that he may live.