For they speak not peace: but they devise deceitful matters against them that are quiet in the land.
"There is no temptation," said John of Wesel, one of the greatest of the pre-Lutheran reformers, "so great as not to be tempted at all." We have a vivid illustration of this in a picture given us by a late writer on natural history. When the wild horses of Mexico, he tells us, are grazing unconsciously in a prairie, there may sometimes be seen gathering in the distance a troop of wolves, whom hunger has driven out after food. At first the horses snuff up the scent and become alarmed, and as long as they continue so all is safe; for their fleetness puts a barrier between themselves and their assailants, which the latter are wholly unable to surmount. But so grave and innocent do the wolves look — so solely graminivorous and gentle — that their intended victims soon become relieved from all fear, and begin again quietly to graze upon the same spot. Presently, two of the older and more wary of the wolves stroll forth, as it were listlessly, and apparently for the mere purpose of pastime, sometimes advancing, sometimes retreating, and every now and then stopping to gambol with each other, as if to show their disengaged simplicity and buoyancy of heart. Again the horses become alarmed; but again, observing how very innocent and friendly their visitors appear, they fall once more to grazing secure on the fields. But the fatal moment has now come; and with an unerring spring, the nearest of the victims finds the fangs of one of his gaunt and wily pursuers fastened in his haunches, and those of another in his neck, and in a moment he is covered by the whole of the greedy pack that has been thus waiting till this moment to dash upon his prostrate frame. So it is that sin presents itself to the incautious soul. First it lounges listlessly in the distance, as if to show its harmlessness and disengagedness of purpose. Then, when suspicion is disarmed, it comes nearer still, gambolling about as if it was mere pastime. It is not till the soul feels its fangs that it discovers that it is now the victim and slave of a master whose bitter and cruel yoke must be borne, not only through time, but through eternity.
(The Preacher's Lantern.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For they speak not peace: but they devise deceitful matters against them that are quiet in the land.