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*nd the successful labours of the apostles. Let us highly prize it, esteem it svteeter than honey and inter than thousands qf gold and silver.
3. Let us carefully improve our knowledge of God's will to practical purposes. It shows us our errors and sins, and our danger by them ; and should lead us to seek mercy to pardon our numberless offences, and grace to helfi us in every time of need. trWe should especially pray against presumptuous sins; lest we sin wilfully against the law of God; in which case we arc more inexcusable than even Jews or heathens. Our great desire should be, that our hearts may be humbled, and our lives directed and guided by the law of God. And unless we pay such a practical regard to it, our most serious words and meditations upon it, will neither be acceptable to God nor profitable to our own souls; for those who turn away their ear from hearing, that is, obeying God's words, will find that he will turn away his ear from hearing their prayer.
PSALM XX. ^
To the chief musician, A Psalm of David.
This psalm is a prayer for the king, composed by David, to be used in the temple service before he went out on a military expedition, probably against the Syrians and Ammonites, who had a multitude of chariots and horsemen, to ivhieh there is a reference in the seventh verse. See 2 Sum. x. 18.—-The people say,
1 r I ,HE Lord hear thee in the day of trouble; they knew
X.'- he would pray, and therefore desire God to hear; the name of the God of Jacob, the grace and providence of that God who is
2 tn covenant with his people, defend thee. Send thee help from the sanctuary, from the holy place where he dwelleth, and strength
3 en thee out of Zion. Remember all thy offerings, and accept . thy burnt sacrifice; show that he accepts thy sacrifices, by giving
4 thee success. Selah. Grant thee according to thine own heart, and fulfil all thy counsel; fulfil thy heart's desire, which they knew
5 was no other than reasonable, just, end pious. We will rejoice in thy salvation, in humble confidence that God will hear us, and in the name of our God we will set up [our] banners: the Lord fulfil all thy petitions ; we will go forth with thee in humble dependence upon him, and may he give its success. Thus far was the prayer of the people. Then the king, who wai present at this so
6 lemnity, and joined in the service, adds, Now know I that the Lord saveth his anointed; he will hear him from his holy heaven with th« saving strength of his right hand; lam assured that God will give me success, as he inclines the hearts of my people to pray for it; he will hear me and defend me by his almighty,
7 power. Some [trust] in chariots and some in horses, our enemirs boast of these, and despise us for the want of them : but we will remember the name of the Lord our God; ive will make mention of the Lord our God, and trust in him ; and can even tri
8 umfih beforehand, saying, They are brought down and fallen; but we are risen and stand upright; we have gained the victory
9 cger them. Then the chorus of the Israelites concludes; Save, Lord : let the king hear us when we call ; or, as the words are better rendered in the English liturgy, ' 0 Lord, save the king, and hear us when we call upon thee.'
1'\ TTE learn hence the duty of praying for our king, and V V for victory and success in time of war. It was an universal custom among the heathens, it was required among the Jews, and is enjoined by the rules of the gospel. We should commend our king, his counsellors and forces, to the guidance , care, and blessing of the Almighty. These are important petitions, since the heart of the king is in God's hand, and victory and success depend entirely upon him. Let us pray, that God would incline the hearts of our rult;rs to pray for themselves, and the nation, as David did; and as the apostle exhorts, 1 Tim. il. 2. we should continue to make sufifilication, firayers, and intercession, for our king, and all that are in authority, that we may lead quiet and peaeeable lives in all godlinens and honesty.
2. We are here taught, not to trust in our military preparations in times of danger and war, but in the Lord. Pride and confidence in our military -strength has been too much the character of our country. We have often talked arrogantly of our soldiers and navies; and God lias oft' n, by terrible things in righteousness, shown us the vanity of that confidence. Let us learn this wisdom by all our former disappointments, to make mention of the name of the Lord, ajjd go forth in his strength. O that such may always be the disposition a,nd conduct of our country, and especially of our commanders,; then we may hope that G >rf will afiprar for us; that he will hear us from his holy habita ion, and deliver us by the saving strength of his right hand. Finally, let us often pray for one another, especially for those in danger or distress, in spiritual troubles, or spiritual de« aertions, in the suitable language of this psalm; The Lord hear thee in the day of trouble, the name of the God of Jacob defend thee. Send thee help from '.he sanctuary, and strengthen thee out of Zion% May he grant thee according to thine own heart, and fulfil all thy, petitions.
, To the chief musician, A Psalm of David.
The former psalrh was a prayef fir the king, this is a thanks* giving for mercies received.
1 r I 'H L king shall joy in thy strength, O Lord ; and in
2 JL thy salvation how greatly shall h»Tejoice! his joy in thy delivering goodness is beyond expression! Thou hast given him his heart's desire, and hast not withholden the request of
3 his lips. Selah. For thou preventest him with the blessings of goodness, thou hast not only granted his request, but hast given him rrtore than he asked: thou settest a crown of pure gold on
4 his head. He asked life of thee, that is, present deliverance, [and] thou gavest [it] him, [even] length of days for ever and ever; thou gavest him the promise of long life, and thou milt con
5 tinue the crown to his posterity. His glory [is] great in thy salvation: honour and majesty hast thou laid upon him ; his ri noivn is greatly spread abroad by reason of those wonderful deliver
6 ance« atid favours granted to him. For thou hast made him most blessed for ever, or rather, hast set him for a blessing, hast made him such an example of happiness, that it shall become a proverb, let him be as successful as David: thou hast made him exceeding glad with thy countenance, by the discoveries of thy love and favour to him. He then expresses his humble confidence in what
t God would further do for him. For the king trusteth in the Lord, and through the mercy of the most High he shall not be
8 moved. Thine hand slrall find oiit all thine enemies; his enemies who are also thine: thy right hand shall find out those that
9 hate thee. 'Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of thine anger: the Lord shall swallow them up in his wrathj and the fire shall devour them ; ihey shall perish as unavoidably
10 as if they were thrown into a fiery oven. Their fruit shalt thou destroy from the earth, and their seed from among the children
11 of men. For they intended evil against thee: they imagined a mischievous device, [which] they are not able [to perform-]
12 Therefore shalt thou make them turn their back, [when] thou shalt make ready [thine arrows] upon thy strings against the face of them ; they will be thrown into utter confusion when thou
13, apfiearest against them. Be thou exalted, Lohd, in thine own strength: [so] will we sing and praise thy power ; for this manifestation of thy power thou shall be applauded; and the glory of all the deliverances vouchsafed to our king and people be given to thee.
1. A NSWERS to prayer demand a return of praise. When JTx. God hears the petition of his servants for public or private blessings, it becomcth them to render thanks to him ; to acknowledge the suitableness, seasonablencss, and greatness of the mercy granted; and especially to take notice how graciously Goi$ has exceeded their prayers and their hopes.
2. This psalm naturally leads our thoughts to the Lord Jesus Christ. If the author of it had not a direct reference to him, as many suppose, yet David's victories over his enemies were emblems of the nobler victories of the Redeemer. Let us rejoice in his exaltation and triumph, became God hath given him his heart's desire; conferred all authority upon him. and vanquished all his foes : he is set for a blessing for ever, and his seed, his faithful servants, shall enjoy everlasting happiness. Let us then submit to this king, and behave as his loyal subjects ; for dreadful is that condemnation and ruin which shall be the final portion of his enemies. Let us heartily pray for the further spread and establishment of his kingdom ; and do all we can for his service: and wherein the strength of the Lord appears to be exalted, and exalted too in spreading the gospel, and making any the willing subjects of the Lotd Jesus Christ, let us sing and praise his power, and long for the happy day, when all the kingdoms of the world shall become the kingdoms of the L,ord, and of hi» anointed.
To the chief musician upon Aijeleth Shahar, or, the hind of the morning A Psalm of David.
This whole fisalm is a Jirofihecy of Christ, of his sufferings, and the glory that shouldfJlow.
1 TV^fY God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? [why art -LVJL thou so] far from helping me, [and from] the words of my roaring ? why dost thou withdraw the sensible tokens of thy
2 presence and love? O my God, I cry in the day time, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent ; to an
3 eye of sense thou seemest to have entirely deserted me. But thou [art] holy, [O thou] that inhabitest the praises of Israel ; thou art still good and gracious, and an always surrounded with the
'praises of Israel, as we are with the houses in which we dwell.
4 Our fathers trusted in thee : they trusted, and thou didst de
5 liver them. They cried unto thee, and were delivered : they trusted in thee, and were not confounded, pleading God's former
6 goodness to Ms people and praying servants. But I [am] a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people; though they were delivered, I am treated as the meanest
7 creature, and dealt with in the most contemptible manner. All
• The Jewish paraphrase interpret* it, of the dally morntnp s.Krific?; and hence some learned men suppose th;«t if was sune, ev«ry morning in ike temple tervice. to »ccu»to:u then la che expectation of Christ's sufferiogs and kuifcuoin.