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Reflections. We learn in general from this Psalm, that God has in all times displayed his power in favour of his people, by protecting them against their enemies, and by showering down his mercies upon them. This he has done for the Christian Church, as well as for the children of Israel: And what is said in this Psalm of the protection God vouchsafed to mount Sion, against the assaults of the neighbouring nations, should convince us that the Church shall always subsist, in spite of all the attempts of the world and the devil. There are two remarkable prophecies in this Psalm: the first is this, Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive, thou hast received gifts for men. In the other, the Holy Ghost foretells, that kings, and the most distant people, should come and worship the true God. The first of these prophecies was accomplished, when our Lord ascended into heaven; as St. Paul shows in the fourth chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians, where he quotes this prophecy, and applies it to the ascension of Jesus Christ, and to the gifts he bestowed on his Church by his word and Spirit. And the second was fulfilled when several nations were converted by the preaching of the Gospel ; but it will be accomplished after a more perfect manner in the latter days: and this ought to be the subject of our prayers, our hopes, and our thanksgivings.
PSALM LXIX. King David, being overwhelmed with the violence of his afflictions, does three things in this Psalm: I. He prays the Lord to have compassion on him, and to come to his assistance; and describes the extremity he was reduced to, by the hatred and malice of his enemies. II. He denounces the judgments of God against them. III. He concludes this Psalm with praises and thanksgivings.
David seems here in very great affliction, and in a condition almost past remedy. This example teaches us, that the children of God may sometimes be reduced to a very deplorable state; and in particular, be exposed to the hatred and contempt of the world, because of their zeal for the glory of God. But the prayers and thanksgivings which David joins to his complaints, show, that the faithful, in the midst of their greatest distress, still hope in God; that they call upon him for aid and assistance with fervency, humility, and confidence; and that not only after, but even before he delivers them, they praise him, and give him thanks for the help they expect to receive from his goodness. If David expresses himself as if he seemed to desire the punishment of his enemies, we must consider that they are not properly imprecations against them; they are rather predictions than wishes; and therefore what he says will by no means justify us in wishing evil to any person whatsoever; or to intercede with God to take vengeance on those who injure us. Lastly, We are to observe that David speaks in this Psalm as a type of Jesus Christ: here we see the Lord's zeal for the glory of God; the contempt to which he was exposed; the gall and vinegar that was offered to him on the cross; the fatal end of Judas: and the obstinacy and rejection of the Jews. This appears from the application which the apostles make in the New Testament of several passages in this Psalm.
PSALM LXX. .
David, being pursued by his enemies, prays the Lord to come to his assistance.
This Psalm teaches us, that God comes to the help of such as are unjustly persecuted; that the expectation of the righteous in their afflictions is never vain; and that the deliverances he vouchsafes them, give them and all good men reason to rejoice, and celebrate his goodness.
King David composed this Psalm in his old age, and probably at the time of the rebellion of his son Absalom. He beseeches God to deliver him, and to let him again experience the same goodness which he had felt the effects of from his youth. He complains of the insults and cruelty of his enemies; and, in full assurance that God will protect him, he is filled with a holy joy, and vows to bless him for ever.
We may learn from hence, I. That those who trust in God are never confounded; and that they may betake themselves to him under all their wants, with a perfect assurance of his help; but that this confidence cannot be well-grounded, unless they have the same pious sentiments as David discovers in this Psalm. II. As this prince, for his comfort, and encouragement to praise God, called to mind the favours he had received from him in time past, so should we preserve the remembrance of the mercies God had vouchsafed us from our youth, and through the whole course of our lives. In this meditation we meet with occasions of joy and gratitude, and motives of comfort and confidence for the time to come; which is more especially the duty of those persons, who, like David, are in an advanced age. III. It is the duty of those who have been exposed to great afflictions, and whom God has happily delivered, to join with his holy prophet in admiring and celebrating the goodness of the Lord towards them, saying, O God, who is like unto thee? Thou which hast shewed me great and sore troubles, hast quickened me again, and brought me again from the depths of the earth. Thus ought we, who enjoy so many mercies, and especially spiritual graces, to bless his holy name in all things, and never cease to publish the wonders of his love.
This Psalm was composed when Solomon was made king. In it David prays God to give his son Solomon the wisdom and righteousness which was necessary for him, to enable him to govern his people. We have here likewise a description of the
flory and extent of Solomon's kingdom, and of the appiness his subjects would enjoy under him.
There are two things to be considered in this Psalm: I. The prayers that David made for the prosperity of Solomon, teach us, that kings and people ought to desire of God, as a thing of the greatest consequence, that he would grant to those that rule over kingdoms, justice, wisdom, clemency, and all other virtues that are necessary for them; and that, in order to secure the happiness and good government of a people, it is not sufficient that they have a powerful prince, and live in plenty, but justice should be administered among them, the wicked should be punished, and the righteous and innocent protected. II. It is to be observed, that most of the things mentioned in this Psalm, agree more perfectly to the kingdom of our Lord than to that of Solomon; since Jesus Christ was to be that glorious King, who was to bring the most distant people into subjection, whose kingdom was to last to the end of the world, and under whose government men were to enjoy complete happiness, and be filled with the choicest blessings of heaven. We have therefore in this Psalm the description of our own happiness, which should put into our mouths the praises with which David concludes this song: Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who oidy doth wondrous things. And blessed be his , . D 4
glorious name for ever: And let the whole edrth be filled with his glory; Amen and Amen.
This concludes the Second Book of Psalms.
Asaph represents in this Psalm, that seeing the prosperity of the wicked, and the" sad condition of good men, he had been very much, staggered by the temptation; but that, after he had considered the ways of the Lord, he discovered that the prosperity of the wicked leads them to eternal misery; from whence he concludes, that all his happiness consists in cleaving to the Lord only. This Psalm ought to be carefully considered for the instructions and pious'sentiments contained in it.
This Psalm teaches us how we are to judge of the prosperity of the wicked and afflictions of the righteous. We ought never to believe that wicked men, who live in mirth and plenty in this world, and who enjoy all their wishes, are truly, happy, or that the righteous, because they are afflicted, serve God in vain. Asaph has taught us, that to resist this temptation, which is a very dangerous one, we must meditate upon the word of God and the ways of Providence; that then we shall find, that the felicity of worldly men is vain and of short duration; and that they are set in slippery places, from whence they fall suddenly. If we add to these considerations what the Gospel has revealed concerning the condition of good and bad men after this life, we shall never be staggered either at the prosperous flourishing state of the ungodly, or the sufferings of the righteous, and instead of being tempted to forsake the fear of the Lord, we shall cleave to him more and more, by a lively faith, and by such sentiments of love and confidence, as Asaph expresses when he says, / am continually with thee; thou hast holden