To original corruption all have added actual sin…
9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to thy word.
- The observance of the law is the only method to preserve innocence, or to regain it. (Haydock) The Holy Ghost gives this direction to youth, and to all who are exposed to the dangers of pleasure, as David might do to his son. In the same sense we pray, Lead us not into temptation. (Mt 6:13)
10 With my whole heart I seek thee; let me not wander from thy commandments!
- Literally “do not cast me off.” The just, or the Church in general, here confess that perseverance is a gift of God. (Haydock)
11 I have laid up thy word in my heart, that I might not sin against thee.
- Heart. Here we guard against the temptations of vanity. Moses had given the letter of the law only, insinuating, that it must be kept with all the heart, as David more fully explains.
12 Blessed be thou, O LORD; teach me thy statutes!
- The psalmist considers himself as placed at the feet of his divine Master. Though he was just, he wished to increase in virtue.
13 With my lips I declare all the ordinances of thy mouth.
- I have concealed them in my heart. Now I am not ashamed to publish them.
14 In the way of thy testimonies I delight as much as in all riches.
- I give your law preference, Lord.
- The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; (Ps 19:7-8)
15 I will meditate on thy precepts, and fix my eyes on thy ways.
16 I will delight in thy statutes; I will not forget thy word.
Let us listen, then, to the master of precaution: “I said, I will pay attention to my ways”; that is, “I said to myself: in the silent biddings of my thoughts, I have enjoined on myself, that I should pay attention to my ways.” Some ways there are that we ought to follow; others as to which we ought to pay attention. We must follow the ways of the Lord and pay attention to our own ways, lest they lead us into sin. One can pay attention if one is not hasty in speaking. The law says, “Hear, O Israel, the Lord your God (Deut 6:4). It is not “speak” but “hear.” Eve fell because she said to the man what she had not heard from the Lord her God. The first word from God says to you, Hear! If you hear, pay attention to your ways; and if you have fallen, quickly amend your way.For “how does a young person amend his way; except by paying attention to the word of the Lord?” Be silent therefore first of all, and listen, so that you do not fail in your tongue. – Ambrose*, Duties of the Clergy, 1.2.7.
*Ambrose of Milan (333-397) was Bishop of Milan and a teacher of Augustine who defended the divinity of the Holy Spirit and the perpetual virginity of Mary.
The ruin of the young is either living by no rule at all, or choosing false rules: instead let them walk by Scripture rules. To doubt of our own wisdom and strength, and to depend upon God, proves the purpose of holiness is sincere. God’s word is treasure worth laying up, and there is no laying it up safe but in our hearts. And those whose hearts are fed with the bread of life, should with their lips feed many. In the way of God’s commandments there is the unsearchable riches of Christ. But we do not meditate on God’s precepts to good purpose, unless our good thoughts produce good works.