Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty
to utter [any] thing before God
In private conversation care should be taken that no rash and unadvised words be spoken in haste, as were by Moses and David; and that no evil, nor even any idle word he uttered, since from, the abundance of the heart the mouth is apt to speak, and all is before, the Lord; not a word in the tongue but is altogether known by him, and must be accounted for to him, ( Psalms 106:33 ) ( 116:11 ) ( 139:4 ) ( Matthew 12:34-37 ) . Jerom interprets this of words spoken concerning God; and careful men should be of what they say of him, of his nature and perfections, of his persons, and of his works; and it may be applied to a public profession of his name, and of faith in him; though this should be done with the heart, yet the heart and tongue should not be rash and hasty in making it; men should consider what they profess and confess, and upon what foot they take up and make a profession of religion; whether they have the true grace of God or no: and it will hold true of the public ministry of the word, in which everything that comes uppermost in the mind, or what is crude and undigested, should not be, uttered; but what ministers have thought of, meditated on, well weighed in their minds, and properly digested. Some understand this of rash vows, such as Jephthah's, is supposed to be, which are later repented of; but rather speaking unto God in prayer is intended. So the Targum,
``thy, heart shall not hasten to bring out speech at the time thou prayest before the Lord;''anything and everything that comes up into the mind should not be, uttered before God; not anything rashly and hastily; men should consider before they speak to the King of kings; for though set precomposed forms of prayer are not to be used, yet the matter of prayer should be thought of beforehand; what our wants are, and what we should ask for; whether for ourselves or others; this rule I fear we often offend against: the reasons follow; for God [is] in heaven, and thou upon earth;
his throne is in the heavens, he dwells in the highest heavens, though they cannot contain him; this is expressive of his majesty, sovereignty, and supremacy, and of his omniscience and omnipotence; he is the high and lofty One, that dwells in the high and holy place; he is above all, and sees and knows all persons and things; and he sits in the heavens, and does whatever he pleases; and therefore all should stand in awe of him, and consider what they say unto him. Our Lord seems to have respect to this passage when he directed his disciples to pray, saying, "Our Father, which art in heaven", ( Matthew 6:9 ) ( Luke 11:2 ) ; and when we pray to him we should think what we ourselves are, that we are on the earth, the footstool of God; that we are of the earth, earthly; dwell in houses of clay, which have their foundation in the dust; crawling worms on earth, unworthy of his notice; are but dust and ashes, who take upon us to speak unto him; therefore let, by words be few;
of which prayer consists; such was the prayer of the publican, "God, be merciful to me, a sinner", ( Luke 18:13 ) ; and such the prayer which Christ has given as a pattern and directory to his people; who has forbid vain repetitions and much speaking in prayer, ( Matthew 6:7 Matthew 6:8 ) ; not that all lengthy prayers are to be condemned, or all repetitions in them; our Lord was all night in prayer himself; and Nehemiah, Daniel, and others, have used repetitions in prayer, which may be done with fresh affection, zeal, and fervency; but such are forbidden as are done for the sake of being heard for much speaking, as the Heathens; and who thought they were not understood unless they said a thing a hundred times over F16; or when done to gain a character of being more holy and religious than others, as the Pharisees.
F16 "Ohe jam desine deos obtundere----Ut nihil credas intelligere, nisi idem dictum eat centies." Terent. Heautont. Act. 5. Sc. 1. v. 6, 8.