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and that it is the duty of the righteous to rejoice in God, when his glory is promoted by their deliverance. But we must not conclude from what David says here, against his enemies, that we are allowed to wish evil to those who injure us, or rejoice when any evil happens to them. We are to remember, that the enemies of David were enemies to God himself; and that David, as a prophet, and one who had an express promise of the divine assistance, might denounce destruction against those who opposed him. However, in reality, he was so far from wishing them any evil, that he was even afflicted at the evil which did befall them, as he himself testifies in this Psalm, wherein he declares he had behaved towards them as if they had been his friends and his brethren. These sentiments suit still better with Christians, who know that the Laws of the Gospel oblige them to love all men, even those who hate them, to do them good, and pray for them, in conformity to the precepts and examples of our Saviour Jesus Christ.
David does two things in this Psalm, I. He describes the impiety and malice of the wicked. II. He celebrates" the goodness of God towards his creatures in general, and particularly the excellence of those good things he bestows upon them that fear him.
I. In this Psalm we have a description of the sentiments and behaviour of the wicked and ungodly, who have no fear of God before their eyes, but flatter themselves, and are confirmed more and more in their wickedness, and without any dread of evil seek only to hurt others. II. David here observes, that the righteous have very different sentiments; that they adore the power and justice of God, manifested in his works and all his judgments; but they are transported with the consideration of his immense goodness, and the favours he bestows on those who love him and put their trust in him. The reading of this Psalm teaches us to avoid all impiety, and to cleave stedfastly to God by a sincere love and holy fear, that we may rejoice in him with righteousness, and say with David, O God, how precious is thy goodness! the children of men hide 'themselves under the shadow of thy wings. We shall be satisfied with the fatness of thy house, and thou shaltgive us drink of the rivers of thy pleasures.
The design of this instructive Psalm is, to show that we should not be surprised if the wicked are sometimes happy in this life, and if good men are in afflictions. David proves, that sooner or later God fails not to deliver good men, and to reward their piety, and to make wicked men feel the effects of his wrath. This Psalm contains admirable instructions, and such as are very powerful to engage us to fear God, and to turn us away from evil; wherefore we ought to read and meditate upon it with great attention.
The sum of the doctrine contained in this Psalm is, that we ought not to envy the happiness which the wicked enjoy in this world, nor be offended at the afflictions of good men. We are to observe here, that injustice, hatred, and malice against the righteous, self-conceit, pride, violence, and impiety, make up the character of the wicked; that, on the contrary, good men trust in the Lord, and are continually doing good, place their whole happiness in him, are always quiet, meek, and humble, love to give, and to exercise charity, and their discourse is full of wisdom and edification. David assures us that such men are blessed and protected of God; that true happiness is their lot; that the divine favour extends to them and their posterity; that if they are sometimes in affliction, in their trials they experience the divine assistance, and have a happy issue out of all their troubles. It is not so with the ungodly; their prosperity is only imaginary, and of short duration; God confounds their unjust designs, and his anger, in a very sensible manner, falls upon them, and all that belongs to them. Every day's experience verifies what this Psalm teaches; and therefore the effect which the reading of it should produce, is, to convince us, that our whole happiness depends on our perseverance in piety, which is attended with such sure and glorious rewards.
In this devout prayer David beseeches the Lord not to correct him in his anger. He complains of the punishments he suffered for his sins, and of his being forsaken by his friends, and persecuted by his enemies, and gives proofs of his humility, piety, and trust in God.
This Psalm offers to our consideration these four things: I. It represents to us the sentiments of a penitent sinner, humbled under the load of his sins, and a sense of the divine displeasure: these sentiments are expressed in this prayer; O Lord, rebuke me not in thy wrath, nor chasten me in thy hot displeasure. II. What is said in this Psalm is very proper for the instruction and consolation of those who are afflicted with pains and diseases, or in any other manner: David teaches them by his own example to look upon the evils that befall them, how severe soever they be, as a just correction for their sins, and to ask God pardon for them. III. If they suffer by the malice and injustice of men, they should imitate David in his humility, patience, and meekness, and wait with resignation till God, who never forsakes the innocent, is pleased to deliver them. IV. We learn from David's complaints of the cruelty and injustice of his enemies, that those who afflict the innocent, rejoice in other men's misfortunes, and return evil for good, shall not escape the just judgment of God.
I. David declares in this Psalm, that he had made a firm resolution not to murmur at the prosperity of the wicked, nor his own sufferings. II. He observes, that he had overcome this temptation by considering the shortness of this life, and the vanity of the good things of this world. III. He beseeches God to pardon his sins, and deliver him from his afflictions, and humbly submits to the chastisements that God had sent him.
I. This'Psalm contains an excellent doctrine; which is, that the way never to fall into murmuring, nor to suffer ourselves to be tempted or offended when we see the temporal prosperity of the wicked, is, to represent to ourselves the shortness of our lives, the insignificancy of the good things of this word, and the vanity of men's labours for earthly things. II. David teaches us, that God can put an end to our lives when he pleases, and deprive us of all our advantages; that we are only strangers and sojourners here below; and that the only remedy for the miseries and vanity of human life is, to put all our hope in the Lord, to ask his assistance, and pardon of our sins, and to submit with resignation to his holy will; saying, when he afflicts us, / became dumb, and opened not my mouth, because thou didst it. With such thoughts as these, we are sure to be easy and happy; we may rely upon God, and praise him, and rejoice in him, both in prosperity and adversity.
I. The prophet David praises God for the deliverances and favours he had received from his goodness, devotes himself to his service, and acknowledges, that by submission to the will of God, rather than by sacrifices, he hoped to be accepted. II. He makes a vow to praise God in the most public manner, and beseeches him to assist him in his afflictions and dangers; and, above all, to deliver him from his sins.
This Psalm contains extraordinary strains of piety and gratitude. We here observe the sentiments of a heart full of confidence, and affected with a lively sense of God's mercies, with a profound humility, and an ardent desire to be entirely devoted to him. Therefore the instructions we here meet with are these : I. That in our afflictions we ought to wait patiently for the Lord, who, though he delay for a time, will come at last to the assistance of those that hope in him. II. That the true happiness of man consists in choosing the Lord for his refuge, without seeking for it in men, or in the things of the world. III. That the mercies of God towards us are so many in number, that we cannot reckon them, nor celebrate them as they deserve. IV. That what God chiefly requires of us is, that we should submit ourselves to him without reserve ; saying, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God; thy law is within my heart: and that we should publish his praises and his truth before all the world. We see in this Psalm, that this is the only service that is pleasing to God ; and that when we are in this condition, we may call upon him with a full assurance of his assistance. Lastly, We must consider that David speaks in this Psalm, as the type of Jesus Christ, when he says, Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire, but mine ears hast thou opened. Then said I, Lo, I come to do thy will, O my God. St. Paul applies these words to our Lord in the Epistle to the Hebrews, and remarks, that by Jesus Christs oblation and sacrifice of himself, we are sanctified and dedicated to God. This affords a powerful motive to celebrate the infinite love of our Redeemer, to devote ourselves to the Lord, and conform in all things to his will.