St-Basil-the-Great[Following on from here….]

‘Praise becometh the upright’ (Psalm 32:1).

As a crooked foot does not fit into a straight sandal, so neither is the praise of God suited to perverted hearts.

[…] Let us earnestly endeavor, therefore, to flee every crooked and tortuous act, and let us keep our mind and the judgment of our soul as straight as a rule, in order that the praise of the Lord may be permitted to us since we are upright.

[…]  For, ‘the Lord our God is righteous, and his countenance hath beheld righteousness’ (Ps. 91:16; 10:18).

If two rulers are compared with each other, their straightness is in agreement with each other, but, if a distorted piece of wood is compared with a ruler, the crooked one will be found at variance with the straight.

Since, therefore, the praise of God is righteous, there is need of a righteous heart, in order that the praise may be fitting and adapted to it.

But, if ‘no one can say “Jesus is Lord,” except in the Holy Spirit’ (1 Cor. 10:3), how would you give praise, since you do not have the right spirit in your heart?

‘Give praise to the Lord on the harp; sing to him with the psaltery, the instrument of ten strings’ (Ps. 32:2).

First, it is necessary to praise the Lord on the harp; that is, to render harmoniously the actions of the body.

Since, indeed, we sinned in the body, ‘when we yielded our members as slaves of sin, unto lawlessness’ (Rom. 6:19), let us give praise with our body, using the same instrument for the destruction of sin.

Have you reviled? Bless. Have you defrauded? Make restitution. Have you been intoxicated? Fast. Have you made false pretensions? Be humble.

Have you been envious? Console. Have you murdered? Bear witness, or afflict your body with the equivalent of martyrdom through confession.

And then, after confession you are worthy to play for God on the ten-stringed psaltery.

For, it is necessary, first, to correct the actions of our body, so that we perform them harmoniously with the divine Word and thus mount up to the contemplation of things intellectual.

Perhaps, the mind, which seeks things above, is called a psaltery because the structure of this instrument has its resonance from above.

The works of the body, therefore, give praise to God as if from below; but the mysteries, which are proclaimed through the mind, have their origin from above, as if the mind was resonant through the Spirit.

He, therefore, who observes all the precepts and makes, as it were, harmony and symphony from them, he, I say, plays for God on a ten-stringed psaltery, because there are ten principal precepts, written according to the first teaching of the Law.

Basil the Great (330-379): Homily 15 (on Psalm 32[33]), 1-2,  from Saint Basil: Exegetic Homilies, translated by Agnes Clare Way, Catholic University of America Press (The Fathers of the Church, vol. 46), pp. 228-230.

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