Verse 13. In these verses the description of the wicked is condensed, and the evil of his character traced to its source, viz., atheistical ideas with regard to the government of the world. We may at once perceive that this is intended to be another urgent plea with the Lord to show his power, and reveal his justice. When the wicked call God's righteousness in question, we may well beg him to teach them terrible things in righteousness. In Psalms 10:13 , the hope of the infidel and his heart wishes are laid bare. He despises the Lord, because he will not believe that sin will meet with punishment: he hath said in his heart, Thou wilt not require it. If there were no hell for other men, there ought to be one for those who question the justice of it.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 13. He hath said in his heart, Thou wilt not require it. As when the desperate pirate, ransacking and rifling a bottom was told by the master, that though no law could touch him for the present, he should answer it at the day of judgment, replied, "If I may stay so long ere I come to it, I will take thee and thy vessel too." A conceit wherewith too many land thieves and oppressors flatter themselves in their hearts, though they dare not utter it with their lips. Thomas Adams.
Verse 13-14. What, do you think that God doth not remember our sins which we do not regard? for while we sin the score runs on, and the Judge setteth down all in the table of remembrance, and his scroll reacheth up to heaven. Item, for lending to usury; item, for racking of rents; item, for starching thy ruffs; item, for curling thy hair; item, for painting thy face; item, for selling of benefices; item, for starving of souls; item, for playing at cards; item, for sleeping in the church; item, for profaning the Sabbath day, with a number more hath God to call to account, for every one must answer for himself. The fornicator, for taking of filthy pleasure; the careless prelate, for murdering so many thousand souls; the landlord, for getting money from his poor tenants by racking of his rents; see the rest, all they shall come like very sheep when the trumpet shall sound and the heaven and the earth shall come to judgment against them; when the heavens shall vanish like a scroll, and the earth shall consume like fire, and all the creatures standing against them; the rocks shall cleave asunder, and the mountains shake, and the foundation of the earth shall tremble, and they shall say to the mountains, Cover us, fall upon us, and hide us from the presence of his anger and wrath whom we have not cared to offend. But they shall not be covered and hid; but then shall they go the back way, to the snakes and serpents, to be tormented of devils for ever. Henry Smith.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 13. (first clause). An astounding fact, and a reasonable enquiry.
Verse 13. Future retribution: doubts concerning it.
- By whom indulged: the wicked.
- Where fostered: in his heart.
- For what purpose: quieting of conscience, etc.
- With what practical tendency: contemn God.
He who disbelieves hell, distrusts heaven.
Verse 13-14. Divine government in the world.
- Who doubt it? and why?
- Who believe it? and what does this faith cause them to do?