Behold, you desire truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part you shall make me to know wisdom.
All Commentaries on Psalms 51:6 Go To Psalms 51
Augustine of Hippo
11. "For, behold, truth Thou hast loved uncertain and hidden things of Thy wisdom, Thou hast manifested to me" (ver. 6). That is, Thou hast not left unpunished even the sins of those whom Thou dost pardon. "Truth Thou hast loved:" so mercy Thou hast granted first, as that Thou shouldest also preserve truth. Thou pardonest one confessing, pardonest, but only if he punisheth himself: so there are preserved mercy and truth: mercy because man is set free; truth, because sin is punished. "Uncertain and hidden things of Thy wisdom Thou hast manifested to me." What "hidden things"? What "uncertain things"? Because God pardoneth even such. Nothing is so hidden, nothing so uncertain. For this uncertainty the Ninevites repented, for they said, though after the threatenings of the Prophet, though after that cry, "Three clays and Nineve shall be overthrown:" they said to themselves, Mercy must be implored; they said in this sort reasoning among themselves, "Who knoweth whether God may turn for the better His sentence, and have pity?" It was "uncertain," when it is said, "Who knoweth?" on an uncertainty they did repent, certain mercy they earned: they prostrated them in tears, in fastings, in sackcloth and ashes they prostrated them, groaned, wept, God spared. Nineve stood: was Nineve overthrown? One way indeed it seemeth to men, and another way it seemed to God. But I think that it was fulfilled that the Prophet had foretold. Regard what Nineve was, and see how it was overthrown; overthrown in evil, builded in good; just as Saul the persecutor was overthrown, Paul the preacher builded. Who would not say that this city, in which we now are, was happily overthrown, if all those madmen, leaving their triflings, were to run together to the Church with contrite heart, and were to call upon God's mercy for their past doings? Should we not say, Where is that Carthage? Because there is not what there was, it is overthrown: but if there is what there was not, it is builded. So is said to Jeremiah, "Behold, I will give to thee to root up, to dig under, to overthrow, to destroy," and again, "to build, and to plant." Thence is that voice of the Lord, "I will smite and I will heal." He smiteth the rottenness of the deed, He healeth the pain of the wound. Physicians do thus when they cut; they smite and heal; they arm themselves in order to strike, they carry steel, and come to cure. But because great were the sins of the Ninevites, they said, "Who knoweth?" This uncertainty had God disclosed to His servant David. For when he had said, before the Prophet standing and convicting him, "I have sinned:" straightway he heard from the Prophet, that is, from the Spirit of God which was in the Prophet, "Thy sin is put away from thee." "Uncertain and hidden things" of His wisdom He manifested to him.