Psalm 16:7

7. I will magnify Jehovah, who giveth me counsel; even in the night my reins instruct me.1


Last of all, David confesses that it was entirely owing to the pure grace of God that he had come to possess so great a good, and that he had been made a partaker of it by faith. It would be of no advantage to us for God to offer himself freely and graciously to us, if we did not receive him by faith, seeing he invites to himself both the reprobate and the elect in common; but the former, by their ingratitude, defraud themselves of this inestimable blessing. Let us, therefore, know that both these things proceed from the free liberality of God; first, his being our inheritance, and next, our coming to the possession of him by faith. The counsel of which David makes mention is the inward illumination of the Holy Spirit, by which we are prevented from rejecting the salvation to which he calls us, which we would otherwise certainly do, considering the blindness of our flesh.2 Whence we gather, that those who attribute to the free will of man the choice of accepting or rejecting the grace of God basely mangle that grace, and show as much ignorance as impiety. That this discourse of David ought not to be understood of external teaching appears clearly from the words, for he tells us that he was instructed in the night when he was removed from the sight of men. Again, when he speaks of this being done in his reins, he doubtless means secret inspirations.3 Farther, it ought to be carefully observed, that, in speaking of the time when he was instructed, he uses the plural number, saying, it was done in the nights. By this manner of speaking, he not only ascribes to God the beginning of faith, but acknowledges that he is continually making progress under his tuition; and, indeed, it is necessary for God, during the whole of our life, to continue to correct the vanity of our minds, to kindle the light of faith into a brighter flame, and by every means to advance us higher in the attainments of spiritual wisdom.

1 "My reins" is the literal rendering of the Hebrew text, and they denote the working of the thoughts and affections of the soul. "Common experience," says Parkhurst, "shows that the workings of the mind, particularly the passions of joy, grief, and fear, have a very, remarkable effect on the reins or kidneys, so, from their retired situation in the body, and their being hid in fat, they are often used in Scripture to denote the most secret working of the soul and affections" "The reins or kidneys," says Walford, in a note on this passage, "are used to signify the interior faculties; and the divine speaker observes, that in seasons of solitude, his thoughts were instinctively employed in contemplating the heavenly discoveries that were communicated to him." In Tyndale's Bible the reading of the last clause is, "My reins also have chastened me in the night season." And Fry observes, that the word roy, signifies not so immediately to instruct, as to chasten, correct, or discipline.

2 "Ce qu'autrement nous ferions, veu l'aveuglement de nostre chair" -- Fr.

3 Calvin means that God taught David by secret inspirations.