The Treasury of David

The Treasury of David is one of several C.H. Spurgeon books that are in the public domain. If you propose to study the Psalms, I suggest you download this as a companion for your other references.

Psalm 53

Exposition
Explanatory Notes and Quaint Sayings
Hints to the Village Preacher


TITLE.To the Chief Musician. If the leader of the choir is privileged to sing the jubilates of divine grace, he must not disdain to chant the miseries of human depravity. This is the second time he has had the same Psalm entrusted to him (see Psalm 14.), and he must, therefore, be the more careful in singing it. Upon Mahalath. Here the tune is chosen for the musician, probably some mournfully solemn air; or perhaps a musical instrument is here indicated, and the master of the choir is requested to make it the prominent instrument in the orchestra; at any rate, this is a direction not found in the former copy of the Psalm and seems to call for greater care. The word “Mahalath” appears to signify, in some forms of it, “disease, “and truly this Psalm is THE SONG OF MAN’S DISEASE— the mortal, the hereditary taint of sin. Maschil. This is a second additional note not found in Psalm 14, indicating that double attention is to be given to this most instructive song. A Psalm of David. It is not a copy of the fourteenth Psalm, emended and revised by a foreign hand; it is another edition by the same author, emphasized in certain parts, and rewritten for another purpose.

SUBJECT. The evil nature of man is here brought before our view a second time, in almost the same inspired words. All repetitions are not vain repetitions. We are slow to learn and need line upon line. David after a long life found men no better than they were in his youth. Holy Writ never repeats itself needlessly, there is good cause for the second copy of this Psalm; let us read it with more profound attention than before. If our age has advanced from fourteen to fifty-three, we shall find the doctrine of this Psalm more evident than in our youth. The reader is requested to peruse Psalm 14, “Treasury of David, “Vol. 1.

Verse 1. The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. And this he does because he is a fool. Being a fool he speaks according to his nature; being a great fool he meddles with a great subject and comes to a wild conclusion. The atheist is, morally as well as mentally, a fool, a fool in the heart as well as in the head; a fool in morals as well as in philosophy. With the denial of God as a starting point, we may well conclude that the fool’s progress is a rapid, riotous, raving, ruinous one. He who begins at impiety is ready for anything.

No God, being interpreted, means no law, no order, no restraint to lust, no limit to passion. Who but a fool would be of this mind? What a Bedlam, or rather what an Aceldama, would the world become if such lawless principles came to be universal! He who heartily entertains an irreligious spirit, and follows it out to its legitimate issues is a son of Belial, dangerous to the commonwealth, irrational, and despicable. Every natural man is, more or less a denier of God. Practical atheism is the religion of the race.

Corrupt are they. They are rotten. It is idle to compliment them as sincere doubters, and amiable thinkers—they are putrid. There is too much dainty dealing nowadays with atheism; it is not a harmless error, it is an offensive, putrid sin, and righteous men should look upon it in that light. All men being more or less atheistic in spirit, are also to that degree corrupt; their heart is foul, their moral nature is decayed.

And have done abominable iniquity. Bad principles soon lead to bad lives. One does not find virtue promoted by the example of your Voltaires and Tom Paines. Those who talk so abominably as to deny their Maker will act abominably when it serves their turn. It is the abounding denial and forgetfulness of God among men which is the source of the unrighteousness and crime which we see around us. If all men are not outwardly vicious it is to be accounted for by the power of other and better principles, but left to itself the “No God” spirit so universal in mankind would produce nothing but the most loathsome actions.

There is none that doeth good. The one typical fool is reproduced in the whole race; without a single exception, men have forgotten the right way. This accusation twice made in the Psalm, and repeated a third time by the inspired apostle Paul, is an indictment most solemn and sweeping, but he who makes it cannot err, he knows what is in man; neither will he lay more to man’s charge than he can prove.

Singing psalms 53

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