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 3. Every one of them is gone back. The whole mass of manhood, all of it, is gone back. In the fourteenth Psalm, it was said to turn aside, which was bad enough, but here it is described as running in a diametrically opposite direction. The life of unregenerate manhood is in direct defiance of the law of God, not merely apart from it but opposed to it. They are altogether become filthy. The whole lump is soured with an evil leaven, fouled with all-pervading pollution, made rank with general putrefaction. Thus, in God’s sight, our atheistic nature is not the pardoned thing that we think it to be. Errors as to God are not the mild diseases that some account for them, they are abominable evils. Fair is the world to blind eyes, but to the all-seeing Jehovah, it is otherwise. There is none that doeth good, no, not one. How could there be, when the whole mass was leavened with so evil a leaven? This puts an end to the fiction of the innocent savage, the lone patriarch, “the Indian whose untutored mind, “etc. Pope’s verse—

“Father of all, in every age;
In every clime adored,
By saint, by savage, or by sage,
Jehovah, Jove, or Lord, “

—evaporates in smoke. The fallen race of man left to its own energy, has not produced a single lover of God or doer of holiness, nor will it ever do so. Grace must interpose, or not one specimen of humanity will be found to follow after the good and true. This is God’s verdict after looking down upon the race. Who shall gainsay it?

Singing psalms 53

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