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26

with the pure you show yourself pure;

and with the crooked you show yourself perverse.


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The last clause of the 26th verse, where it is said, With the perverse thou wilt show thyself perverse, seems to convey a meaning somewhat strange, but it does not imply any thing absurd; yea, rather, it is not without good reason that the Holy Spirit uses this manner of speaking; for he designs thereby to awaken hypocrites and the gross despisers of God, who lull themselves asleep in their vices without any apprehension of danger. 420420     “Qui s’endorment en leurs vices sans rien craindre.” — Fr. We see how such persons, when the Scripture proclaims the sore and dreadful judgments of God, and when also God himself denounces terrible vengeance, pass over all these things, without giving themselves any trouble about them. Accordingly, this brutish, and, as it were, monstrous stupidity which we see in men, compels God to invent new forms of expression, and, as it were, to clothe himself with a different character. There is a similar sentence in Leviticus 26:21-24, where God says, “And if ye walk contrary unto [or perversely with] me, then will I also walk contrary unto [or perversely or roughly, or at random against] you;” as if he had said, that their obstinacy and stubbornness would make him on his part forget his accustomed forbearance and gentleness, and cast himself recklessly or at random against them. 421421     “Comme s’il disoit que leur obstination et opiniastrete sera cause que luy de son coste oubliant sa moderation et douceur accoustumee, se jettera le tors et a travers contre eux.” — Fr. We see, then, what the stubborn at length gain by their obduracy; it is this, that God hardens himself still more to break them in pieces, and if they are of stone, he causes them to feel that he has the hardness of iron. Another reason which we may assign for this manner of speaking is, that the Holy Spirit, in addressing his discourse to the wicked, commonly speaks according to their own apprehension. When God thunders in good earnest upon them, they transform him, through the blind terrors which seize upon them, into a character different from his real one, inasmuch as they conceive of nothing as entering into it but barbarity, cruelty, and ferocity. We now see the reason why David does not simply attribute to God the name and office of judge, but introduces him as armed with impetuous violence, for resisting and overcoming the perverse, according as it is said in the common proverb, A tough knot requires a stout wedge.




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