He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false. Under the purity of the hands and of the heart, and the reverence of God's name, David comprehends all religion, and denotes a well-ordered life. True purity, no doubt, has its seat in the heart, but it manifests its fruits in the works of the hands. The Psalmist, therefore, very properly joins to a pure heart the purity of the whole life; for that man acts a ridiculous part who boasts of having a sound heart, if he does not show by his fruits that the root is good. On the other hand, it will not suffice to frame the hands, feet, and eyes, according to the rule of righteousness, unless purity of heart precede outward continence. If any man should think it absurd that the first place is given to the hands, and not the heart, we answer without hesitation, that effects are often named before their causes, not that they precede them in order, but because it is sometimes advantageous to begin with things which are best known. David, then, would have the Jews to bring into the presence of God pure hands, and these along with an unfeigned heart.
A question may here be asked: it may be asked, why David does not say so much as one word concerning faith and calling upon God. The reason of this is easily explained. As it seldom happens that a man behaves himself uprightly and innocently towards his brethren, unless he is so endued with the true fear of God as to walk circumspectly before him, David very justly forms his estimate of the piety of men towards God by the character of their conduct towards their fellow-men. For the same reason, Christ (Matt. 23:23) represents "judgment, mercy, and faith," as the principal points of the law; and Paul calls "charity" at one time "the end of the law" (1 Tim. 1:5), and at another "the bond of perfection" (Col. 3:14).
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