17. Be not a terror unto me: thou art my hope in the day of evil.
17. Ne sis mihi in terrorem; protectio mea tu in die mali.
18. Let them be confounded that persecute me, but let not me be me, confounded; let them be dismayed, but let not me be dismayed: bring upon them the day of evil, and destroy them with double destruction.
18. Pudefiant qui persequuntur me, et non pudetiam ego; terreantur illi, et non terrear ego; inducas super eos diem mali, et duplici contritione contere eos.
Now the Prophet, having appealed to God as a witness to his integrity, prays him to show himself as his patron and defender. Thus he again implores God's aid,
The Prophet, as we have seen, had a hard contest, not only with one man or with a few, but with the whole people, and then it is probable that there were many sects, for when he cried against the avaricious, there was a commotion instantly made by all those who lived on plunder, when he spoke against the indulgence of lust, there was a second conspiracy against him; when he condemned drunkenness and intemperance, there was a new combination formed to oppose him. We hence see how all the ungodly in all parts and for various reasons assailed the Prophet, he was therefore constrained to pray, as he now does,
We must yet notice what we have said in other places, that the Prophet was not only influenced by a holy and pious zeal, but was also governed by the wisdom of the Spirit. This I again repeat, for there are many foolish imitators, who always appeal to the vehemence which the Prophets shewed, while they themselves are carried away by a violent rather than by a vehement impulse. But we must first see whether the Holy Spirit guides us, lest we should utter imprecations against the very elect; and then we must beware of being influenced by the feelings of our flesh, and intemperate zeal is ever to be feared, for it is a rare gift so to burn with zeal as to join with it the moderation that is required. As then there is always something turbulent in our zeal, we must remember that the Prophets never uttered a word but as the Spirit guided their tongues, and then that they had no regard to themselves, and, thirdly, that they were so calm and composed in their ardor that they were not, guilty of excess.
The Prophet no doubt fully knew that all those were reprobate on whom he imprecated God's vengeance, but as it does not belong to us to distinguish between the elect and the reprobate, let us learn to suspend and check our zeal, so that it may not be too fervid, for we may often mistake, if we follow generally what the Prophet says here,
18. Ashamed let my persecutors be, That I may not be ashamed; Dismayed let them be, That I may not be dismayed; Bring on them the day of evil, And doubly with breaking break them.
There was a contest between the Prophet and his enemies; the shame and dismay of his enemies would deliver him from shame and dismay. The copulative
And doubly with depression depress them.
The word doubly, means what is extreme. -- Ed.
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