« AnteriorContinuar »
me by my right hand; thou shalt guide me by thy counsel, and afterwards receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but thee? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee. It is good for me to draw near to God.
In this Psalm, which was composed upon occasion of the destruction of the temple of Jerusalem, the Church of the Jews does two* things: I. It speaks of the destruction and burning of the temple, and the melancholy state which it was reduced to in its captivity, being deprived of the tokens of the covenant of God, and of his favour. II. That Church implores the assistance of the Almighty, and is comforted with the consideration of the deliverances he had formerly granted to his people, and the proofs he gives of his omnipotence, in the order of the 1 world, and the general course of nature.
This Psalm engages us to make these four principal reflections: I. That the Church has been, in all ages, exposed topersecution; and therefore we ought not to wonder, if the Christian Church has been, and still is, sometimes persecuted. II. That as God, to punish the Jews for their abuse of his service, had suffered their temple to be burnt, and them to be led into captivity by idolaters; for the same reasons he has often delivered his Church into the hands of persecutors, and deprived nations of the benefit of his word, and removed their candlestick; but when he thus afflicts his Church, his design is to chastise it, to try it, and to purify it. III. The third reflection is, that when God appears the most provoked with his people, he does not quite forsake them, but always remembers his covenant, and delivers them at last by his power and goodness. Thus it has always happened, as the Jews particularly experienced, when God delivered them from the Babylonish captivity, and they rebuilt the temple of Jerusalem, the destruction of which is lamented in this Psalm. Lastly, As the prophet was grieved for the desolation of the temple, and the calamities of the Jews, and most devoutly prayed for their restoration, so Christians ought to be sensibly affected with the misfortunes of the Church, and to pray continually for its deliverance and prosperity.
The author of this Psalm, which is probably David, praises God, that after divers troubles he had established him in his kingdom; and he vows to
fovern it righteously, and to suppress the wicked: e shows likewise, that it is God who disposes all things, who raises some, and abases others; and who, as judge of the world, punishes the wicked, and protects good men.
The instructions we meet with in this Psalm are, I. That it is God who establishes and strengthens kings, and gives peace to their dominions. IL That it is the duty of kings and princes, and in general of all magistrates, to exercise justice, to restrain the wicked and the proud, and to protect the innocent. HI. That we must not be lifted up in prosperity, nor make an ill use of power. IV. That the exaltation and abasement of men proceed from God, who by his Providence governs the world with wisdom and justice. And lastly, that God reserves a just and severe punishment for the wicked, but that he always gives proofs of his favour to good men.
This is a song of thanksgiving for some great victory that God had vouchsafed his people; and an exhortation to acknowledge the power and majesty of God.
In this Psalm we have a magnificent description of the power which God displayed in behalf of his people Israel, when they were assaulted by powerful and formidable enemies. From whence we may conclude, that as God is always the same, he will do for his Church as he has always done; and therefore, that we need not fear either the wrath or power of men. All true believers may have the same confidence in the divine love and protection; which should engage us to pay our vows and services to the great God, and to revere his infinite power, as the prophet does here exhort us.
I. The Psalmist here describes the greatness of his afflictions, and the conflicts he had endured in himself, being even afraid that God had rejected him for ever. II. He represents likewise, how he was comforted in that condition by meditating upon the mercy of the Lord, upon his promises, and upon the wonders he had formerly wrought for the people of Israel.
There are two things to be considered in this Psalm, which are particularly adapted to persons in affliction. I. The sighs and complaints of the prophet show, that persons who are otherwise acceptable to God are sometimes in extreme anguish, and have great conflicts in themselves, and are deprived of the actual sense of God's grace to such a degree, that God seems to have forsaken them, and withdrawn his love from them. II. Those who pass through such trials, may learn from hence, that the way not to sink under their grief, is to meditate on God's infinite mercy, the firmness of his covenant, and the marks he has given, at divers times, of his love and protection to his people, and to all his faithful servants. But Christians have still greater motives of comfort, when they reflect upon God's love manifested in Christ Jesus, and all that our great Redeemer has suffered in body and soul for our redemption, and to bring about our reconciliation with God.
PSALM LXXV1II. This historical Psalm is an abridgment of the history of the children of Israel, and of the favours which God had granted to that people; of their various sins, and of the punishments inflicted upon them by God; and in particular, of what befel them when they were conquered, and the ark of the covenant was taken by the Philistines in the name of Eli the high-priest. This history begins at the departure out of Egypt, and reaches to the reign of king David; at which time the ark, which had been before at Shiloh, and then at Kirjath-jearim, was brought to Jerusalem, where the service of God was afterwards established.
There are four things especially to be remarked in the history of the Israelites, which we here have an abridgment of. I. God's kindness to that nation, and the miracles he had wrought for them in Egypt, in the wilderness, and in the land of Canaan. II. The ingratitude of the Iraelites, their frequent murmurings against God, and their insensibility under his chastisements and long-suffering. III. The punishment which God inflicted on them for their rebellion and infidelity, giving them up into the hands of their enemies; and in particular, of the Philistines, who conquered them and took the ark of the covenant. IV. The deliverance which God vouchsafed the Israelites; punishing the Philistines, bringing the ark back into the land of Israel, and some time after settling David on the throne. This Psalm, which was written for the instruction of the Israelites, should likewise serve for ours, and may teach us, 1. That we ought carefully to preserve the remembrance of God's mercies; and that it is the duty of parents to teach them to their children and then" posterity. 2. That the mercies of God engage us to love and fear him; and that if the Jews became guilty before God, by their sins and frequent Rebellions, our ingratitude would be still more heinous, if, after all that God has done for us, we should prove faithless. 3. The judgments which fell upon the Jews, inform us, that God cannot leave those sins unpunished, which are committed by persons who have received great favours from him; and that if we imitate the Jews in their rebellion, we have reason to expect the most dreadful effects of God's wrath and vengeance. Lastly, the judgments of God upon the enemies of his people, and the favours he bestowed on them, after he had afflicted them, should convince us, that God cannot neglect to promote his own glory, and will for ever be the support and defender of his Church.
The Jews complain in this Psalm, that the idolaters had destroyed the city and temple of Jerusalem; and beseech God to he reconciled with his people, and to punish the blasphemies and cruelties of their enemies.
We are here to consider, I. The deplorable state the Jews were reduced to, when God delivered their city and temple to the fury of the Babylonians. This afflicted people acknowledge, that their sins had provoked the wrath of God. To the same cause we may ascribe the evils and calamities, with which God visits men, and particularly his Church; and we have here a memorable instance to prove that God does not spare those who are received into covenant with him, when they break it; and that he punishes them sometimes with great severity. II. This Psalm teaches us likewise, that when the Church is perse