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understood by faith only. For many are called merciful men, that is, saints, or men of grace, and men of mercy, when they are not so: but a faithful man, that is, a man just and merciful by faith, who can find ? For this external appearance reigns so universally, and this water of the counsel of the wicked is so deep, and their thoughts so profound, that none but a wise man can fathom them : that is, none but the truly just can discern them : all others are deceived by their external appearance, their multitude, and their magnitude. And this destruction of the multitude greatly grieved the spirit of this prophet : which is the reason why he thus breaks out, (without any kind of preface, or any thing to gain the attention of the reader previously,) and entreats God for the salvation of the people.
The Hebrew has only hosia; that is “save," or give salvation ;” not“ save me. ”
And the expression save,” or “give salvation,” is much more forcible than save me.” Thus the prophet, filled with ardent zeal on account of the people who are perishing, breaks out without any preface, into an earnest and fervent prayer, imploring help of God.
“ Saint” in this place is hasid, which word Hieronymus translated, Psalm iv. ‘merciful.' The Lord hath made wonderful his merciful one;' that is, him who has obtained mercy,' or, who is justified by the grace of God, who is saved by faith ; and not by his own works or strength, nor by those of any other men.
“Truths are diminished from the sons of men :" that is, truths are not to be found among men; that is, fidelity or faithfulness is not to be found. For the Hebrew language can say, 'there are not faiths in men,' and also, God is our saving :' where we say " the God of our salvation,' and 'there is no more faith among men :' according to the common saying of the ancients, • No trust can be placed any where. But we can never use 'truth' in the plural number. . These things I say, that no one might understand that it is said that truths are perished from' or 'by' the sons, as if the sons of men had diminished the truths; though this also is true.
But they should know that the preposition from,' or 'by' (a) ought to have been rendered 'among,' or 'from among,' or out of,' (inter, or de, or ex,) that the sense might be the same as that of Isaiah lvii. 1, 2, “The righteous perisheth and no man layeth it to heart; and merciful men are taken away and none considereth : for the righhteous is taken away from the face of iniquity." And according to that also which we adduced from Micah vii. 2, “The good man is perished out of the earth,” &c. For David wishes to say, that there is no longer faith among men, (which is what the Hebrews understand by the term 'truth,') and that the men who are justified by faith have ceased : but that, self-justifying hypocrites, who destroy both themselves and others by their own strength, their own works, their own laws, and their own merits, under the great name and show of salvation, abounded every where.
The powerful feeling of the Psalmist here leads him to an hyperbole, or strained mode of expression. There never is a time when there are no saints upon earth, and no believers in Christ: and yet he says, "The saint has ceased and the just are at an end, and those who please God are no more.' But in this figurative language we all complain at this day; saying, that there is no faithfulness among men, and that all things are carried on by deceit. And this unbelief is a proof and an argument of the internal fidelity or faithfulness being extinguished : and thus the tree is known by its fruits. For he that is faithful to God, is faithful also to man: for without faith and the grace of God, it is impossible but a man will seek those things which are his own; that is, he will be unfaithful unto man also. And hence, when Micah vii. had said “there is none upright among men,” he imamediately afterwards sets forth the fruits of this bad tree, saying, “Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide, keep the door of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom. For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughterin-law against her mother-in-law; a man's enemies are those of his own house." Yet, though the wicked are
such, they would appear to be any thing but such characters.
Ver. 2.-They speak vain things; every one to his neighbour deceitful lips; they speak with a heart and a heart.
The punctuation is in the Hebrew put thus, after deceitful lips” (labia dolosa.). Wherefore, the question must be asked, what grammatical construction can we make out of the expression “deceitful lips?” For the labia dolosa cannot agree with “ they speak or have spoken,” (locuti sunt) it must have been locuta sunt, if we would keep to the text of our translator. Unless you would say, that the labia dolosa is put in the accusative figuratively; that is, they speak deceitful words coming forth from their lips. But it might be rendered
they speak with deceitful lips." This ambiguity, I think, gives us the liberty of dividing the verse into three members or clauses, and rendering the Hebrew thus,
They speak vanity; there is a flattering lip in every man to his neighbour; they speak with a heart and a heart.' That is, every teacher teaches vanity, every man has a flattering lip towards his neighbour, and they all speak with a double heart.
First, then, we have here, “They speak vain things," or vanity: that is things to no purpose, and which profit nothing unto salvation: which things, however, as we have frequently observed, appear to them to be most useful and most profitable. And that David is not here speaking of private conversations and vain talk, but concerning the ministry of the Word, is manifest from that which follows, where he contrasts the Word of the Lord with these vain-speaking deceivers of minds. And that expression, “ Every man to his neighbour deceitful lips," is spoken after the Hebrew figurative manner of speech : like that Song iii. 9. 10. - Behold his bed which is Solomon's: threescore valiant men are about it; a man, his sword upon his thigh :' where we say, “every man with his sword upon his thigh.” And so also, it is said here, * They speak vanity, every man to his neighbour deceit:
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ful lips ;' where we should say, and every one has a deceitful lip towards his neighbour: that is, every one flattereth his neighbour when he does not speak the Word of the cross truly: for they would not persuade men to their vanities if they did not speak flattering and pleasing things. For what is here translated deceitful, and Psalm v.
they acted deceitfully,' Hieronymus in the latter place renders, and they speak lightly with their tongue :' that is, lightly, softly, and flatteringly.
These are they who tickle men's itching ears. And Paul says, after the manner of this Psalm, that there should not be some only of such a description, but that they should be heaped :' that is, multiplied, and that the saints should fail : concerning whom enough has been said, Psalm v. and ix. But yet, enough cannot be said, this depravity of nature is so deep and profound, and especially as concerned in these spiritual things, and in all things which pertain unto God: for the wisdom of the Alesh is not subject unto God, nor indeed can be, Rom. vi.
And this “ heart and a heart,” may be referred to the same person : for he is said to speak with a double heart, who thinks one thing and feignedly says another : and it is in this way that I would have the present passage understood. But I would also refer it to different persons. For, as by the pure Word of God, Christ makes us to be of one mind in a house, Psalm lxviii. and brethren to dwell together in unity, Psalm cxxxiii. and as the heart and soul of them that believe on the Lord are one, Acts iv. (for there is but one faith, and one Lord, Ephes. iv. :) so, on the contrary, with the wicked, as the one true faith is the great thing wanting, it is impossible that they should be of one heart; they must necessarily abound in party dissensions and pursuits among each other: for there never arose any one sect, but many arose out of it. Thus in the time of Christ, the synagogue had pharisees, sadducees, and esseeans: the Arians gave rise to the Eunomians, and Macedonians: the Donatists gave birth to the Maximinians. And at this day, Aristotle has given existence to the different followers of Scotus, Thomas, and Occan. Hence it was
that the Apostle said, Heb. xiii. 9, “Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines." And such he describes in another place as being “driven to and fro by every wind of doctrine," and, as "ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” In all such there is never one heart; though they all agree in this, -to speak vain things; and every one flatters his own party, and endeavours to confirm his own opinions and dogmas. Hence, I consider that this division of sects is distinguished by this division of heart : as we have it Daniel xi. 27, where he describes the heart of two kings speaking lies at the same table.
And therefore David uses the plural number that he might not be thought to speak of any one particular sect: for in the 10th Psalm, which respects ANTICHRIST, he speaks almost wholly in the plural number.-And here the force lies in these words, “with a heart and a heart;" because as to outward appearance they seem to unite together; that is, against the truth. So Psalm ii. we have it, “The kings of the earth stood up and the elders took counsel together against the Lord and against his anointed :” which characters nevertheless were the most opposed to each other in their different sects; that is, pharisees and sadduces, Romans, gentiles, and others.
This, Sampson prefigured in his foxes, whose tails he tied together while their faces were turned a different way. For the faces of these foxes represent the state of the wicked as they are in the sight of God and of the Holy Spirit ; before whom they are most factious and contentious. And their tails, which are their extremities, represent their appearance in the sight of men ; where they all take counsel and unite together in the fire of persecution to destroy the standing corn of the earth; that is, to destroy the doctrine and works of faith, or of the Spirit. And it is concerning these that Hosea speaks X. 2, “ Their heart is divided; nuw shall they perish :" where he had just before said, ver. 1, “ According to the multitude of his fruit, Israel hath increased the altars : " that is, he is divided into sects. And this it is that causes the prophet to exclaim; “That the saint is failed :