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MEN'S PROUD CONTEMPT OF GOD.
Ps. x. 4, 5. The wicked, through the pride of his countenance,
will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts: his ways are always grievous : thy judgments are far above out of his sight: as for all his enemies, he puffeth at them.
PRIDE, when manifested in a flagrant manner, universally excites disgust; so hateful is it, when divested of the specious garb in which it is generally clothed. But though all hate pride, when it appears in others, few are sensible how much it reigns within their own bosoms. In our converse with man, this evil disposition is ready to shew itself on every occasion : but in our conduct towards God, it is the fruitful parent of habitual neglect, and atheistical contempt. This is affirmed in the passage before us, in which we may notice, I. The state of the wicked
It is not easy to conceive a more humiliating description of their character than that given us by the Psalmist : They “will not seek after God”—
[God invites them to seek his face, and promises that he will be found of them ; but they cannot be prevailed upon either by promises or threats: they will seek with eagerness an earthly object, that may make them happy; but they account God unworthy of any notice or regard.] “He is not even admitted into their thoughts”—
[It is astonishing to what a degree men often banish God from their minds. They will pass days, months, and even years, without one reverential thought of him, unless when they are alarmed by some awful providence, or awakened by some faithful discourse: and then, unless the grace of God prevent them, they will cast him out of their minds again as soon as possible, and drown their thoughts in business or dissipation 5.]
They account “his ways," as far as they know them, “grievous"
a Job xxxv.. 10.
h Job xxi. 14, 15.
[When urged to devote themselves to God in sincerity and truth, they conceive that such a state is unattainable, or, at least, incompatible with the common duties and offices of life. They call the indulgence of their lusts, liberty; and the exercise of vital godliness, an intolerable bondage. Every part of the divine life is irksome to them, and that too, not occasionally, but “ always," without any change or intermission.]
The “judgments of God are far above out of their sight”
[By the "judgments” of God we understand his word and works. Now these are not only out of their sight in some particulars (for in some respects they are incomprehensible even to the most enlightened saints) but they are altogether foolishness unto them. When the mysteries of redemption are opened, they are esteemed by them as cunningly-devised fables :” and when the marvellous interpositions of Providence are insisted on, they are ready to exclaim, with Ezekiel's hearers, “Ah! Lord God, doth he not speak parables d?"] “As for all their enemies, they puff at them"
[If God himself threaten them as an enemy, they disregard his menaces. The denunciations of his wrath are deemed by them unworthy of any serious attention. They even puff at them with contempt and disdain. They quiet all their fears, saying, like them of old, “Tush, God shall not see; neither will the Almighty regard ite:” “ I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of my heart'.”]
In order to account for this state of things, let us trace it to, II. The real source of their wickedness
We might trace this practical atheism to men's ignorance and unbelief: but the Psalmist suggests to us the true ground and occasion of it: it all arises from the pride of their hearts.
Men are too good, in their own apprehension, to need God's mercy
[They will confess that they are not altogether so good as they might be ; but they do not think they deserve God's wrath and indignation. Why then should they trouble themselves to ask for mercy at his hands, when they are in no danger of suffering his judgments ?]
c1 Cor. ii. 14.
d Ezek. xx. 49.
They are also too strong to need his aid
[They imagine, that they can repent when they please, and that, whensoever they resolve, they can easily carry their resolutions into effect. If they thought that “without God they could do nothing," and that "he must give them both to will and to do," then there were reason for imploring his assistance : but, when they acknowledge no such dependence upon God, wherefore should they seek his aid?]
Moreover, they are too wise to need the teachings of his Spirit
[They see, perhaps, their need of a revelation to discover to them mind and will of God; but, when that is once given, they are not conscious that they need a spiritual illumination to discover the truths contained in it. They suppose their reason to be as sufficient for the investigation of spiritual, as of carnal things : and under that persuasion, they consider all application to God for the teachings of his Spirit, as enthusiastic and absurd.]
Finally, they are too happy to need the divine pre
[They are occupied with carnal pleasure, and wish for nothing beyond it. If only they can have the undisturbed indulgence of their appetites, it is, to them, all the Paradise they desire. As for the light of God's countenance, and the manifestations of his love, they know not what is meant by such things; they suppose that they exist only in the pretensions of hypocrites, and the conceits of fanatics.
In short, like those of Laodicea, they possess such an imaginary sufficiency within themselves, that they have no need of God at all. And hence it is that they care not to have God in all their thoughts.] INFER
1. How astonishing is the depravity of human nature !
[If all be not equally addicted to gross sins, all are equally " without God in the world h:” all have a carnal mind that is enmity against Godi.” Alas! What a picture of human nature! Let "every mouth then be stopped, and all the world become guilty before Godk.']
2. How great is the change that takes place in conversion!
8 Rev. iü. 17.
h Eph. ii. 12.
[The state of a converted soul forms a perfect contrast with that of the wicked. “Old things pass away, and all things become new." Let all then ask themselves, Am I now devoting myself to God, as once I did to the world; and despising the world, as once I despised God? This were indeed a new creation?."]
3. How necessary is conversion in order to an enjoyment of heaven!
[There must be within ourselves a meetness for heaven before we can enjoy itm. Let not those then who banish God from their thoughts, and cast off his yoke, suppose that they could be happy in heaven, even if they were admitted there. If they would find happiness in God for ever, they must attain in this world a conformity to his image, and a delight in his commandments.] 1 2 Cor. v. 17.
m Col. i. 12.
MEN'S CONTEMPT OF GOD. Ps. X. 13. Wherefore doth the wicked contemn God? He
hath said in his heart, Thou wilt not require it.
THE thoughts of God respecting the nature and malignity of sin, are widely different from those which are entertained in the breasts of natural men. Men consider themselves as innocent if their outward conduct be not grossly reprehensible, and what they cannot justify in their actions they extenuate under lenient expressions; but God notices the very frame and dispositions of the heart: He clearly and infallibly interprets the language of men's thoughts : He declares that the wickedness of their actions proceeds from atheism in their hearts". Thus, in the psalm before us, he reveals the secret motives by which the wicked are actuated", and puts the right construction on their thoughtso.
Let us consider, I. The ground of this expostulationWere all the lineaments of our contempt of God to
a Ps. xiv. 1. b ver. 2, 4, 6, 11.
c ver. 13.
be drawn, we should scarce ever finish the dreadful portrait
(We make light of the Father's authority, the Son's sacrifice, the Spirit's influence. Every office they sustain, every attribute they possess, every relation they bear to us, we disregard and dishonour. We overlook God's providence, we are unmindful of his word, neglect his ordinances, profane his sabbaths, despise his people.]
But, waving all other points, we fix our attention on that mentioned in the text, viz. Our virtual denial of God's punitive justice
Men evidence by their lives that they think God will not require sin at their hands : 1. Their impenitence for their past sins shews it
[They do not humble themselves for sin, or seek after a Saviour; and what is the language of this, but, “God does not regard, nor will require my sin?”]
2. Their unconcern about the prevention of sin in future shews it
[They indulge all their evil habits, rush carelessly into temptations, listen to no admonitions, seek not God's aid, and even stifle their convictions; and does not this
may be indulged with impunity, God will not require it?"]
Know ye then that this thought, or language of their hearts, is a contempt of God himself : Of his holiness
[Instead of regarding him as an infinitely Holy Beinga, it supposes him to be such an one as ourselves ®.] Of his justice
[The Scripture speaks of God as just', but this intimates that he is indifferent about the execution of his laws.] Of his wisdom
[The contriving of the plan of redemption was the greatest effort of divine wisdom; but this declares that the devising of it was superfluous, and that an attention to it is unnecessary.) Of his mercy
[God in infinite mercy offers us salvation through his Son "; but this is a determinate refusal of his gracious offers.]
f Deut. xxxii. 4.
d Isai. vi. 3. Hab. i. 13.
e Ps. 1. 21.