Verse 18. Let the lying lips be put to silence. A right good and Christian prayer; who but a bad man would give liars more license than need be? May God silence them either by leading them to repentance, by putting them to thorough shame, or by placing them in positions where what they may say will stand for nothing. Which speak grievous things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous. The sin of slanderers lies partly in the matter of their speech; "they speak grievous things;" things cutting deep into the feelings of good men, and wounding them sorely in that tender place -- their reputations. The sin is further enhanced by the manner of their speech; they speak proudly and contemptuously; they talk as if they themselves were the cream of society, and the righteous the mere scum of vulgarity. Proud thoughts of self are generally attended by debasing estimates of others. The more room we take up ourselves, the less we can afford our neighbours. What wickedness it is that unworthy characters should always be the loudest in railing at good men! They have no power to appreciate moral worth of which they are utterly destitute, and yet they have the effrontery to mount the judgment seat, and judge the men compared with whom they are as so much chaff. Holy indignation may well prompt us to desire anything which may rid the world of such unbearable impertinence and detestable arrogance.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 18. Lying lips ... which speak grievous things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous. The primitive persecutors slighted the Christians for a company of bad, illiterate fellows, and therefore they used to paint the God of the Christians with an ass's head and a book in his hand, saith Tertullian; to signify, that though they pretended learning, yet they were silly and ignorant people. Bishop Jewel, in his sermon upon Lu 11:15, cites this out of Tertullian and applies it to his times. Do not our adversaries the like, saith he, against all that profess the gospel? Oh! say they, who are those that favour this way? None but shoemakers, tailors, weavers, and such as never were at the University. These are the bishop's own words. Bishop White said in open court, that the Puritans were all a company of blockheads. Charles Bradbury.
Verse 18. Lying lips ... which speak grievous things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous. In that venerable and original monument of the Vaudois Church, entitled "The Golden Lesson," of the date 1100, we meet with a verse, which has been thus translated: --
"If there be anyone who loves and fears Jesus Christ,
Who will not curse, nor swear, nor lie,
Nor be unchaste, nor kill, nor take what is another's.
Nor take vengeance on his enemies;
They say that he is a Vaudes, and worthy of punishment."
Antoine Monastier, in "A History of Vaudois Church," 1859.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS