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De Moor on God's Essential Vindicatory Righteousness: Vindicatory Acts and Essence, Psalm 50:21

Herman Witsius

God Himself is introduced as speaking of His Holiness as requiring punishments in Psalm 50:21, Because I was acting as one deaf with thee doing these things, thou thoughtest that I was altogether as thyself, הֱֽיוֹת־אֶֽהְיֶ֥ה כָמ֑וֹךָ, I reprove thee and set in order before thine eyes; or I will reprove, etc. God here sets forth the reasoning of which the impious make use from the delay of the infliction of punishment: since punishment does not always immediately follow the offense, from this thou imaginest that I am almost completely like unto thee, even as thou takest pleasure in shameful acts. Neither does God reprehend such a manner of argumentation, indeed, He insinuates that in this way the conclusion is able rightly to be drawn, if He should never exact vengeance for things perversely done: but thou oughtest to have considered, God wishes to say, that the divine anger proceeds to its vindication slowly, but it offsets this slowness with the grievousness of the punishment, as VALERIUS MAXIMUS,[1] although a pagan, warned with understanding, Factorum et Dictorum Memorabilium, book I, chapter I, page m. 35: and so, lest thou shouldest indulge that thine opion any further, by action I will show myself to be infinitely removed from sins and will punish thee because of them. Therefore, except God punish sins, He would be like unto the sinner, which, how far it is from the perfectly Holy Nature of God, everyone knows; and so, as far as Holiness itself is removed from sin, so God is contemplated necessarily to inflict punishments through His Holiness. The Comment of the Most Illustrious COCCEIUS on this passage appears most learned, whom the Most Illustrious WITSIUS most opportunely follows in his De Œconomia Fœderum. Thus, from this speech of God, it appears that Crellius, although forsaking the proper cause, wrote truly in his book de Deo ejusque Attributis, chapter XXVIII (for the edition of which I made use bears this title; but, because the same treatise is also prefixed to the five books of Volkelius de Vera Religione, so that with those it might constitute a sixth, it is called book I Veræ Religionis by the Most Illustrious Witsius), Note well that neither His Holiness nor His majesty bears in any possible way for His commandments to be violated with impunity.

[1] Valerius Maximus was a first century Roman collector of antiquities.

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