on Proverbs 16 :6
By mercy and truth iniquity is purged - This may be misunderstood, as if a man, by showing mercy and acting according to truth, could atone for his own iniquity. The Hebrew text is not ambiguous: בחסד ואמת יכפר עון bechesed veemeth yechapper avon; "By mercy and truth he shall atone for iniquity." He - God, by his mercy, in sending his son Jesus into the world, - "shall make an atonement for iniquity" according to his truth - the word which he declared by his holy prophets since the world began. Or, if we retain the present version, and follow the points in יכפר yecuppar, reading "iniquity is purged" or "atoned for," the sense is unexceptionable, as we refer the mercy and the truth to God. But what an awful comment is that of Don Calmet, in which he expresses, not only his own opinion, but the staple doctrine of his own Church, the Romish! The reader shall have his own words: "'L'iniquite se rachete par la misericorde et la verite.' On expie ses pechez par des oeuvres de misericorde envers le prochein; par la clemence, par la douceur, par compassion, par les aumones: et par la verite-par la fidelity, la bonne foi, la droiture, requite dans le commerce. Voyez Proverbs 3:3, Proverbs 14:22, Proverbs 20:28." "'Iniquity is redeemed by mercy and truth.' We expiate our sins by works of mercy towards our neighbor; by clemency, by kindness, by compassion, and by alms: and by truth - by fidelity, by trustworthiness, by uprightness, by equity in commerce." If this be so, why was Jesus incarnated? Why his agony and bloody sweat, his cross and passion, his death and burial, his resurrection and ascension? Was it only to supply a sufficient portion of merit for those who had neglected to make a fund for themselves? Is the guilt of sin so small in the sight of Divine justice, that a man can atone for it by manifesting good dispositions towards his neighbors, by giving some alms, and not doing those things for which he might be hanged? Why then did God make such a mighty matter of the redemption of the world? Why send his Son at all? An angel would have been more than sufficient; yea, even a sinner who had been converted by his own compassion, alms-deeds, etc., would have been sufficient. And is not this the very doctrine of this most awfully fallen and corrupt Church? Has she not provided a fund of merit in her saints, of what was more than requisite for themselves that it might be given, or sold out, to those who had not enough of their own? Now such is the doctrine of the Romish Church - grossly absurd, and destructively iniquitous! And because men cannot believe this, cannot believe these monstrosities, that Church will burn them to ashes. Ruthless Church! degenerated, fallen, corrupt, and corrupting! once a praise now a curse, in the earth. Thank the blessed God, whose blood alone can expiate sin, that he has a Church upon the earth; and that the Romish is not the Catholic Church; and that it has not that political power by which it would subdue all things to itself.
on Proverbs 16 :6
Compare Proverbs 15:8. "By mercy and truth," not by sacrifices and burnt-offerings, "iniquity is purged, atoned for, expiated." The teaching is the same as that of the prophets.
on Proverbs 16 :6
16:6 By mercy - By a merciful and just and faithful frame of heart and course of life. Is purged - As they qualify a man to offer up acceptable prayers to God for the pardon of his sins. By fear - By a filial reverence unto God. Depart - They are kept from abusing pardoning mercy, and from returning to folly or wickedness.