In today’s post we move on to the doctrina portion of Fabricius’ twelfth discourse on Psalm 148. 1 Here, after reprising the universal duty of singing laudes Dei, the praises of God, he begins to expound upon the duty of the magistrate in particular in this respect. Fabricius states that it is necessary to teach upon this subject with great care, because so many of those who have been set in high places think that this duty has nothing to do with them. But he believes that the psalmist, the “holy Prophet,” teaches otherwise.
Omnium omnino hominum esse officij, cuiuscunque tandem sint status, ordinis, conditionis, sexus, & aetatis, Deum pro ratione status, ordinis, conditionis, sexus & aetatis laudibus extollere Sive sint, tum
Superiories: nempe magistratus, iique tum summi, tum subalterni.
Inferiores, videlicet subditi.
Et utrique sive iuvenes & virgines, h.e. sexus virilis vel foeminei, vel senes & pueri.
Quia vero s. Propheta hic primo loco collocat Reges, Principes & iudices, h.e. omnis generis magistratus ideo aequum est, ut de horum officio circa laudem Dei primo omnium agamus: & eo quidem diligentius, quo plures huius ordinis & status hac pestifera opinione imbuti sunt, laudem Dei ad se non pertinere.
Regum itaque, principum & iudicum, h.e. omnium supereminentium potestatum ac magistratuum esse inprimis, Deo debitas laudes persolvere, docemur. Hoc loco ex ore Prophetae, & alibi.
That it belongs to the duty of absolutely all men, to whatsoever station, rank, condition, sex, and age they belong, to exalt God with praises, in keeping with the nature of their station, rank, condition, sex, and age, whether they are:
Superiors: namely, magistrates, both the highest ones and the lesser ones.
Inferiors: namely, subjects.
And every kind of person, whether young men and maidens–that is, those of the male and female sex, or the aged and children.
But because the holy Prophet here places kings, princes, and judges in the first place–that is, magistrates of every kind–therefore it is right that we treat the duty of these men in respect to the praise of God first: and indeed [we shall do this] the more diligently by the degree to which rather many people of this rank and status have been infected by the pestilential opinion that the praise of God does not pertain to them.
Therefore we teach that it especially belongs to kings, princes, and judges–that is, to all lofty powers and magistrates–to render the praises owed to God. [This is said] in this passage from the mouth of the Prophet, and elsewhere.
E.J. Hutchinson is Assistant Professor of Classics at Hillsdale College.
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