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cannot rest upon that which is known to be uncertain.) Indeed, I never could have believed, that these impious fables and these most pestilent opinions had ever crept into the Church of Christ, even secretly, had I not both read and heard those, who were considered to be great theologians, assert these things, as being most sure articles of faith, and establish and defend them, and consider the contrary catholic doctrine, to be heretical. So great are the darkness and blindness of the heads of the church, and so great is the wrath of God upon us ! But more of this elsewhere, and addressed to others.

PSALM V.

TO VICTORY: FOR THE INHERITANCES:

A PSALM

OF DAVID.

What is meant by 'to victory' has been set forth in the preceding Psalm, once for all.

Concerning these “inheritances,” I read a great deal: but I read nothing that satisfies my

dull

comprehension. As to what Lyra and his followers understand here, I can neither understand nor receive. I will say what I think upon the subject.

It is certain that this Psalm does not treat of sufferings and tribulations: for the person that harps does not say one word about them. The whole Psalm is a complaint concerning the ungodly, the unjust, and the wicked. The scope of the Psalm therefore, according to my judgment, is this ;--the prophet is praying against hypocrites, deceitful workers, and false prophets, who seduce and deceive the people of God and the heritage of Christ, by their human traditions; whom Christ calls, Matt. vii. “ ravening wolves;” and the Apostle, Titus i. 10, "vain talkers and deceivers.”

And, (that we may come to our own times,) as in the preceding Psalm, David inveighed against a mere

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profession and abuse of justice; 'so, in this Psalm, he attacks the same profession and abuse of Theology. And because that is the most destructive of all persecutions which rages under the cover of truth and godliness; (for such always professes the name of God;) and because it is that, which the most of all destroys the heritages of God; therefore it is, that the Psalmist is under such powerful feelings, prays with so many

different petitions, accuses the ungodly with so many names, and so wholly burns with zeal, that he can say of himself what he said Psalm lxix. 9, “ The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up." And so also, neither did Christ himself, nor Peter, nor Paul, burn with zeal, nor show their indignation against any thing so much as against these heady mind-deceivers, and these workers for reward: against whom also all the prophets set themselves.—We shall therefore find, that this Psalm is directed against all false prophets, hypocrites, heretics, superstitious ones, and the whole generation of those who devour the people of God by an adulteration of his Word, and by a false show of works.

Rightly, iherefore, is the title for the inheritances, or, ‘to the inheritances,' given to this Psalm: because, its design is to preserve the people of God in safety for their rightful Lord. For the people of God are the Lord's heritage: as we have it Psalm xxxiii. 12, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance:” and Psalm xlvii. 4, “He hath chosen our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob whom he loved.” And that is the same also, which we have Psalm ii. 8, “I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance." And we have the same in many other places also.

But it is said `inheritances,' in the plural number: whereas, the inheritance of Christ is but one. This is, because it must of necessity be, that the one inheritance of Christ must be divided into many parts and places, on account of the great multitude, which no one pastor could rule and teach. And therefore, as there must be many pastors and stewards in the one inheritance of

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God; so there must be many inheritances which are intrusted to them; whence it comes to pass, that many deceivers and scatterers of the same, will rise up in different places.

And this also shows the great feeling concern of the Psalmist,—his calling the people of God an inheritance rather than, a church, a people, or an assembly: because he thereby excites greater envy in the scatterers of it, and produces a more gracious feeling in himself and other pastors like him. For if an inheritance is that which every one loves, and is most zealously anxious about, how much more so must it be with God. Hence he saith, Exodus xix. 5, “And ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me.” And hence also David saith of these destroyers, ‘for they have rebelled against thee, O Lord.'

And indeed, the metaphor contained in the title, 'for the inheritances,' at once shows the scope of the whole Psalm. For inheritances must be cultivated, tilled, and wrought in, in order that they may be fruitful and improved. And for that reason, they will have many snares and hinderances thrown in their

way,

and will meet with many enemies and destroyers. And therefore, the people of God will need their labourers, their teachers, and their rulers: by the industry of whom, the inheritance is cultivated for God, and wrought on and prepared by his Word: while it is also, on the other hand, laid waste and destroyed by wicked teachers. Hence it is that this Psalm is entitled, 'for the inheritances' and their cultivators.

And we may add this also, that the present Psalm is not only to be understood of the church of Christ in general, but also of every part of the people of God in every age, all of whom ever have their seducers and

persecutors : so that the Psalm in general, agreeably to its title, is for the inheritances. Nor should I make any objection, nay I would rather coincide with him, if any one should wish by `inheritances,' to understand the two contrary classes of men ; that is, those who depend upon their own strength, and those who depend upon the

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grace of God; for this all comes to the point before mentioned.

Verse 1.–Give ear unto my words, O Lord, consider my cry.

Verse 2.Hearken unto the voice of my prayer, my King and my God : for unto thee will i I pray.

This is the way in which the Hebrew divides these two verses; though our common translation annexes the last clause of the second verse to the beginning of the third, making it commence thus, “ For unto thee, O Lord,” &c. And the rendering of Hieronimus differs very

little from this our received translation ; excepting that, for “my cry,” he has my roaring ;' and Lyra has “my meditation;' and for “the voice of my prayer," he has the voice of my cry.'

And here also I must venture my opinion concerning the meaning of the Psalm. As I said above, this Psalm especially strikes at self-justifiers and wicked teachers ; the aim of all whom is one and the same, to feed their own pride. For the blessed Virgin has described such where she says, “ He hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts,” Luke i. 51. Because all wicked doctrines derive their origin from pride; and therefore, Augustine in many places calls pride the mother of all heresies : for it is humility alone that teacheth rightly. Hence it is said, Proverbs xi. 2, “ When pride cometh, then cometh contention; but where there is humility, there is wisdom.” For it is impossible but the proud man must be contumelious and contentious : he must judge and condemn all others : as we see it evidenced in the Pharisee in the Gospel, in his conduct towards that poor humbled sinner, the publican, Luke xviii. ; and also those in the house of Simon the leper, in their conduct towards the woman who was a sinner, Luke vii.

The prophet, therefore, is intent upon inveighing against the hypocrites of his time: who, from being puffed up in a wonderful manner with their own righte

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ousness and works, thought nothing at all of the' enormous sins of envy, pride, avarice, and the like, nor believed that they had any need of the grace of God, walking securely in their own way without any fear of God: and this is what all proud men of this kind always do, always have done, and always will do.

David begins the Psalm humbly with prayer, seeking the grace of God: and thereby he plainly and powerfully, at the very outset, condemns their pride. For it is as if he had said, These ungodly characters are full, are holy, are righteous, are whole; and, therefore, they want not any physician, nor do they seek, O Lord, thy grace to be justified thereby. But I, who am a poor needy creature, full of every sin, and brought to despair of myself and all my works and powers, can do nothing but pray unto thee and implore thy grace and mercy,

We have here given us, therefore, a beautifully marked difference between the law and faith, or between the letter and the Spirit. And this Augustine, in his work upon the difference between the letter and the Spirit, sets forth thus :— The law of works (says he) saith to the man, Do what I command; but the law of faith saith unto God, Give what thou commandest.' And again, saith he,. What the law of works commands with threatening; that the law of faith obtains by believing.' Hence the people of the law, (that is selfjusticiaries and their teachers,) say, I have done so and so: and they boast in pride, as if they were justified by the works of the law: but the people of faith say, I pray that I may be enabled to do it. The former, trusting in works, do not seek the mercy of God: the latter, accounting all their righteousness as dung, breathe after the mercy of God only. Hence the Apostle saith of the former, Rom. x. 3, " For they, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” Therefore the letter always puffeth up and killeth ; but the Spirit humbleth and giveth life.

“ For God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble," James iv. 6.

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