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 5. There were they in great fear, where no fear was. David sees the end of the ungodly and the ultimate triumph of the spiritual seed. The rebellious march in fury against the gracious, but suddenly they are seized with a causeless panic. The once fearless boasters tremble like the leaves of the aspen, frightened at their own shadows. In this sentence and this verse, this Psalm differs much from the fourteenth. It is evidently expressive of a higher state of realization in the poet, he emphasizes the truth through stronger expressions. Without cause the wicked are alarmed. He who denies God is at the bottom a coward, and in his infidelity, he is like the boy in the churchyard who “whistles to keep his courage up.” For God hath scattered the bones of him that encampeth against thee. When the wicked see the destruction of their fellows they may well quail. Mighty were the hosts which besieged Zion, but they were defeated, and their unburied carcasses proved the prowess of the God whose being they dared to deny. Thou hast put them to shame because God hath despised them. God’s people may well look with derision upon their enemies since they are the objects of divine contempt. They scoff at us, but we may with far greater reason laugh them to scorn because the Lord our God considers them as less than nothing and vanity.

Singing psalms 53

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