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To him that presides; a Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came to him, after he had gone into Bathsheba.
A prayer that he may be purified from the infirmities derived from the mother, verses 1 to 5; that if he be cleansed from them, he shall be pure, verses 6 to 10; and holy, verses 11, 12; and will teach divine truths, verses 13 to 15; not external, but internal worship, verses 16, 17; that he will establish a church in which there will be worship from good, verses 18, 19.
Verse 2. Wash me from mine iniquity, cleanse me from my sin. The sins which man commits are inrooted in his very life, and constitute it; wherefore no one is liberated from them, unless he receives new life from the lord, which is effected by regeneration.
That man cannot do good, nor think truth, from himself, but from the lord, is manifest from John, "A man cannot do any thing unless it be given him from heaven," John 3:27; "He that abides in me and I in him, the same bears much fruit, because without me you can do nothing," John 15:5. Hence it is evident, that no one can lead away any one from sins, thus remit them, but the lord alone.
The lord continually flows into man with the good of love, and with the truths of faith, but they are differently received, in one way by one, and in another way by another; by those who are regenerated, well; but by those who do not suffer themselves to be regenerated, ill.
They who are regenerated are continually held by the lord in the good of faith and of love, and in such case are withheld from evils and falses; but they who do not suffer themselves to be regenerated by the lord, are withheld also from evil, and held in good; for from the lord continually flows in good and truth with every man, but infernal loves, which are the loves of self and of the world, in which they are principled, oppose and turn the influx of good into evil, and of truth into the false.
From these considerations, it is manifest what remission of sins is: To be able from the lord to be held in the good of love, and the truth of faith, and to be withheld from evils and falses, is remission of sins: and in this case to shun what is evil and false, and to hold them in aversion, is repentance. But these things are not given, except with those who have received from the lord new life by regeneration; for those things are of new life.
The signs that sins are remitted, are those which follow: there is a delight perceived in worshipping God for the sake of god, in serving the neighbour for the sake of the neighbour, thus in doing good for the sake of good, and in believing truth for the sake of truth; there is an unwillingness to merit by any thing of charity and faith; evils are shunned and held in aversion, as enmities, hatreds, revenges, unmercifulness, adulteries, in a word, all things which are against god and against the neighbour.
But the signs that sins are not remitted, are those which follow. god is worshipped not for the sake of god, and the neighbour is served not for the sake of the neighbour, thus good is not done and truth not spoken for the sake of good and truth, but for the sake of self and the world; there is a willingness to merit by actions; others are despised in comparison with self; delight is perceived in evils, as in enmity, in hatred, in revenge, in cruelty, in adulteries; moreover the holy things of the church are despised, and in heart are denied.
Sins are believed to he wiped away, and washed away, when they are remitted, as filth is washed away by water; nevertheless they remain with man, and when they are said to be wiped away, it is from the appearance, when man is withheld from them? AC 9444 to 9451.
The lord out of divine mercy regenerates man, which effect is worked from his infancy even to the last [moment] of his life in the world, and afterwards to eternity; thus out of divine mercy, he leads man away from evils and falses, and leads him to the truths of faith and the goods of love, and then keeps him in those principles: and afterwards out of divine mercy elevates him to himself into heaven, and renders him happy; these are the things which are meant by the remission of sins out of mercy. They who believe that sins are otherwise remitted, are altogether deceived, for it would be of unmercifulness to see a multitude of men in the hells, and not to save them, if it could have been done otherwise; when yet the lord is mercy itself, and wills not the death of any one, but that he may live.
They therefore who do not suffer themselves to be regenerated, thus not to be withheld from evils and falses, remove from themselves and reject the above mercies of the lord; hence it is, that the impossibility of being saved is chargeable upon themselves.
These are the things that are meant in John, "As many as received him, to them gave he power to be the sons of god, believing in his name, who were born not of bloods, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of god," John 1:12, 13; of bloods denotes those who are against the goods of faith and charity; of the will of the flesh, denotes those who are in evils derived from the loves of self and of the world; of the will of man, denotes those who are in the falses thence derived; to be born of god is to be regenerated. That no one can come into heaven unless he be regenerated, is thus taught in the same evangelist, "Verily, verily, I say to you unless a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God: Verily, verily, I say to you, unless a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of god," John 3:3, 5; to be born of water, denotes by the truth of faith; and to be born of the spirit, denotes by the good of love. From these considerations, it may now be manifest, who they are to whom sins are remitted, and who to whom they are not remitted. AC 9452 to 9454.
Verses 2, 3. In the Word evils are sometimes called sins, sometimes iniquities, and sometimes transgressions. See Psalm 5:10. Exposition.
Verses 2, 7. Inasmuch as to wash signifies to remove falses and evils, therefore it is said in David, "Wash me from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin; you shall purge me with hyssop that I may be clean, you shall wash me that I may be whiter than snow," Psalm 51:2, 7; where to wash manifestly denotes to purify from falses and evils, for it is said, wash me. from iniquity, and cleanse me from sin, and afterwards, you shall wash me that I may be whiter than snow, where to wash from iniquity denotes from falses, and from sin denotes from evils; for iniquity is predicated of falses, and sin of evils; inasmuch as the waters of expiation were prepared from hyssop, therefore it is said, you shall purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean. AE 475.
Verse 6. Behold you desires truth in the reins, etc, The reins signify the truths of faith, and purification of them from falses, because the purification of the blood is performed in the reins (kidneys), and by blood in the Word is signified truth; the same also is signified by the organ which purifies; all purifications also from falses are effected by truths. Hence it is evident what is signified in the word by jehovah, or the lord, searching the hearts and reins, namely that he explores the goods of love and truths of faith, and separates them from evils and falses. This is signified by reins in Jeremiah, "jehovah Zebaoth, judge of justice, proving the reins and the heart," Jer 11:20; and in David, "Behold you desires truth in the reins, and in what is hidden you make wisdom known to me," Psalm 51:6; reins are here expressed by another word in the original tongue, which involves the separation both of falses from truths, and of evils from goods; hence it is evident, that the reins signify purification and separation. AE 167.
Verse 10. Create in me a clean heart, O god, and renew a right spirit within me. To create a clean heart signifies to reform as to the good of love; to renew a right spirit within me signifies to reform as to the truth of faith; for heart signifies the good of love; and spirit signifies a life according to Divine Truth, which is the faith of truth. AE 294.
By a new heart is meant the will of good, and by a new spirit the understanding of truth; that the lord operates these things with those who do what is good and believe what is true, thus with those who are in the faith of charity, is evident. AR 143.
Verse 11. Take not your spirit of holiness from me. It deserves to be particularly noticed, that in the Word of the Old Testament there is no mention made of the Holy Spirit., but only of the Spirit of Holiness in three places, once in David, Psalm 51:11; and twice in Isaiah 63:10, 11; whereas in the Word of the New Testament, both in the Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, and the Epistles it, is mentioned frequently; the reason is because there was no Holy Spirit before the coming of the Lord, inasmuch as it proceeds out of the lord from the Father; for the lord only is holy, Rev 15:4; wherefore also it is said by the angel Gabriel to the mother Mary, the holy thing which shall be born of you, Luke 1:35. It is written, that the Holy Spirit was not yet, because jesus was not yet glorified, John 7:39; and yet it is said before, that the Holy Spirit filled Elizabeth, Luke 1:41; and Zechariah, Luke 1:67; and Simeon, Luke 2:25; the reason of which seeming contradiction is because those three persons were filled with the spirit of jehovah the father, which was called the Holy Spirit, on account of the lord, who was already in the world. This is the reason too, why in the Word of the Old Testament, it is nowhere said that the prophets spoke from the Holy Spirit, but from jehovah; for in expressing themselves on this subject, they constantly use some of these terms: jehovah spoke to me; the word or jehovah came to me; jehovah has spoken; the saying of jehovah. AR 158.
Verse 17. The sacrifices of god are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, O god, will not despise. A broken spirit, and a broken and contrite heart, denote a state of temptation, and the consequent humiliation both of spirit and heart. AC 9818.
Verses 18, 19. Do good in your good pleasure to Zion, build you the walls of Jerusalem. Then shall you be delighted with sacrifices of justice, with burnt-offerings, and whole burnt-offerings; then shall they offer bullocks on your altar. By Zion is here meant the church which is in the good of love; and by Jerusalem the church which is in the truths of doctrine; hence by doing good in good pleasure to Zion, and building the walls of Jerusalem, is signified to restore the church by leading it into the good of love; and by teaching it the truths of doctrine; worship in such case from the good of love is signified by then shall you be delighted with the sacrifices of justice, and with burnt-offerings; justice is predicated of celestial good, and burnt-offering signifies love; and worship in such case from the good of charity is signified by then shall they offer bullocks on your altar; bullocks signify natural spiritual good, which good is the good of charity. AE 391.
Verse 2. Wash me often from mine iniquity. What is here rendered wash me often, is expressed in the received English version of the Psalms, by wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, but it deserves consideration, that the original Hebrew may with as much propriety be rendered wash me often, which implies, that spiritual washing is not a single act, but requires repetition, before the washing can be complete.PSALMS 51 Other translations - previous - next - meaning - Psalms - BM Home - Full Page