Verse 6. They search out iniquities. Diligently they consider, invent, devise, and seek for wicked plans to wreak their malice. These are no common villains, but explorers in iniquity, inventors and concoctors of evil. Sad indeed it is that to ruin a good man the evil disposed will often show as much avidity as if they were searching after treasure. The Inquisition could display instruments of torture, revealing as much skill as the machinery of our modern exhibitions. The deep places of history, manifesting most the skill of the human mind, are those in which revenge has arranged diplomacy, and used intrigue to compass its diabolical purposes.
They accomplish a diligent search. Their design is perfected, consummated, and brought into working order. They cry "Eureka;" they have sought and found the sure method of vengeance. Exquisite are the refinements of malice! hell's craft furnishes inspiration to the artistes who fashion deceit. Earth and the places under it are ransacked for the material of war, and profound skill turns all to account.
Both the inward thought of every one of them, and the heart, is deep. No superficial wit is theirs; but sagacity, sharpened by practice and keen hatred. Wicked men have frequently the craft to hasten slowly, to please in order to ruin, to flatter that ere long they may devour, to bow the knee that they may ultimately crush beneath their foot. He who deals with the serpent's seed has good need of the wisdom which is from above: the generation of vipers twist and turn, wind and wiggle, yet evermore they are set upon their purpose, and go the nearest way to it when they wander round about. Alas! how dangerous is the believer's condition, and how readily may he be overcome if left to himself. This is the complaint of reason and the moan of unbelief. When faith comes in, we see that even in all this the saints are still secure, for they are all in the hands of God.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 6. They search out iniquities, etc. It is a sign that malice boils up to a great height in men's hearts, when they are so active to find matter against their neighbours. Love would rather not see or hear of others' failings; or if it doth and must, busieth itself in healing and reforming them to the utmost of its power. John Milward (-- 1684), in "Morning Exercises."
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 6. (two first clauses). The fault hunter; his motive, his character, his pretences, and his punishment.