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70

Their hearts are fat and gross,

but I delight in your law.


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69. The proud have weaved 424424     Archbishop Secker reads, “made up.” “It signifies,” says he, “fastening things together.” lies against me He declares that, notwithstanding the malignant interpretation which the wicked put upon all that he did, and their attempts, by this artifice, to turn him aside from following after and loving uprightness, the state of his mind remained unaltered. It is a severe temptation, when, although innocent, we are loaded with reproach and infamy, and are not only assailed by injurious words, but also held up to the odium of the world by wicked persons, under some specious pretense or other. We see many who otherwise are good people, and inclined to live uprightly, either become discouraged, or are greatly shaken, when they find themselves so unworthily rewarded. On this account the prophet’s example is the more to be attended t that we may not be appalled by the malignity of men; that we may not cease to nourish within us the fear of God, even when they may have succeeded in destroying our reputation in the sight of our fellow-creatures; and that we may be contented to have our piety shining at the judgment-scat of God, although it may be defaced by the calumnies of men. So long as we depend upon the judgment of men, we will always be in a state of fluctuation, as has been already observed. Farther, let our works be never so splendid, we know that they will be of no account in the sight of God, if, in performing them, our object is to gain the favor of the world. Let us therefore learn to cast our eyes to that heavenly stage, and to despise all the malicious reports which men may spread against us. Let us leave the children of this world to, enjoy their reward, since our crown is laid up for us in heaven, and not on the earth. Let us disentangle ourselves from the snares with which Satan endeavors to obstruct us, by patiently bearing infamy for a season. The verb טפל, taphal, which otherwise signifies to join together, is here, by an elegant metaphor, taken for to weave, or to trim; intimating that the enemies of the prophet not only loaded him with coarse reproaches, but also invented crimes against him, and did so with great cunning and color of truth, that he might seem to be the blackest of characters. But though they ceased not to weave for him this web, he was enabled to break through it by his invincible constancy; and, exercising a strict control over his heart, he continued faithfully to observe the law of God. He applies to them the appellation of proud; and the reason of this, it may be conjectured, is, that the persons of whom he speaks were not the common people, but great men, who inflated with confidence in their honors and riches, rose up against him with so much the more audacity. He evidently intimates that they trampled him under their feet by their proud disdain, just as if he had been a dead dog.

With this corresponds the statement in the subsequent verse (70th) that their heart is fat as grease, 425425     The fat of the human body, as physiologists inform us, is absolutely insensible; the lean membranous parts being those only which are sensitive. Accordingly, fatness of heart is used, with much propriety, to express the insensibility, stupidity, or sensuality of those feelings or affections of which the heart is considered the seat. a vice too common among the despisers of God. Whence is it that wicked men, whom their own conscience gnaws within, vaunt themselves so insolently against the most eminent servants of God, but because a certain grossness overgrows their hearts, so that they are stupefied, and even frenzied by their own obstinacy? But wonderful and worthy of the highest praise is the magnanimity of the prophet, who found all his delight in the law of God: it is as if he declared that this was the food on which he fed, and with which he was refreshed in the highest degree; which could not have been the case had not his heart been freed, and thoroughly cleansed from all unhallowed pleasures.




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