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5. We learn to guard against all. rash and hasty conclusions, and especially such as may impeach the faithfulness of God. Good men are ready to fall into this temptation; to say things, even of God himself, in their haste, which afterwards they deeply repent of, and which gives them much concern and grief. Let us keep the pas^ sions of fear, sorrow, and anger, in due bounds; trust a faithful, unchanging God, and persevere in serving him and hoping in him, however heavy our afflictions, or gloomy our apprehensions may be. Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hofie in the Lord.
[A Psalm] of David, Maschil, ivhich signifies giving instruction, by shewing how to be happy.
This psalm was probably composed after his sin in the matter of
1 T) L E S S E D [is he whose] transgression [is] forgiven, -I-J [whose] sin [is] covered, so as not to rise up to condemn
2 him. Blessed [is] the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, that is, chargeth it not to his account, so as to punish him for ir, and in whose spirit [there is] no guile; whose repentance in sincere, and whose conduct is suitable. He then adds from
3 his own experience, When I kept silence, when I concealed my sins, and did not confess them and repent of them, my bones wax-, ed old through my roaring all the day long; / was filled with inward agony, which weakened my strength, and brought on me
4 the decays of age. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me ; it was thy hand that impressed those terrors upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer j my body wa* parched and rbnnumed like grass in the height of summer. Selah.
5 I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid ; therefore If titty resolved, though guilt and shame had long kept me at a distance, to pour out my complaint to Qod; I said, I .will confess my transgressions unto the Lord ; and thou for-, gavesl the iniquity of my sin; I had no sooner formed the resolution, than thou wast graciously pleased to accept of it, and gave
6 me the tokens of returning mercy. Selah. For this, because thou hast pardoned my sin, shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters, in lime of the greatest troubles and dangers, they shall not come nigh unto him, to hurt him: since under such guilt as mine the encouragement is so great, much more shall it be
1 so under other troubles. . Thou [art] my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou art so entirely reconciled to met that lean now triumph in thy protection; thou shalt compass n»e about with songs of deliverance; / shall have reason for many songs of praise, and my brethren shall join with me in them.
8 Selah. I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye; / will give thee counsel from my own experience, and have an eye upon thee
9 that thou dost not go astray, only be willing to be instructed. Be ye not as the horse, [or] as the mule, [which] have no undeir standing: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee; do not follow your appetites, and be untractable, when God would by afflictions bring you to your
10 duty. Many sorrows [shall be] to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the Lord, mercy shall compass him about; he shall not only be secured by providence, but be enriched with abundance
11 of blessings. Therefore Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye righteous, though ye may be in affliction; and shout for joy, all [ye that are] upright in heart, because you have the blessedness of being pardoned, and shall finally be victorious over every enemy and every tribulation.
1. TT' ROM hence we learn the folly of sin; what a burden it A. brings upon the mind, and into what distress and perplexity it is thrown by it. What a gloomy state must David's mind have been in! full of agony, yet silent in that agony. This is often the case with sinners; they are conscious of guilt, yet keep silence; they stifle convictions, and endeavour to divert their minds by company and amusements, seeking rest, and finding none. Into such circumstances may a good man be brought, if he falls into sin. Wherefore let him that standeth, take heed lest he fall.
2. We are taught, the wisdom of repentance. It is the only way to obtain pardon, and the surest way to comfort. David, in the expression of not imputing iniquity, seems to intimate, that all mankind are in a guilty state, and that no man is blessed but he to whom the Lord imfiuteth not iniquity. Oh that this might be a motive to all sinners to repent, to confess their iniquity with deep humility, shame, and sorrow,and earnestly to entreat divine forgiveness. They have great encouragement to do this, because God is ready to pardon, to take off the load of guilt and grief. But then let them see to it, that their repentance be sincere, that they do not trifle and prevaricate with God ; confessing and lamenting those sins which they do not design to part with. If there be guile in the spirit, there can be no forgiveness; but if we confess and forsake our sins, he is faithftd and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
3. Those who have received signal mercies from God, should do what they can to instruct, comfort and edify others. David tells us his experience of the smart of sin, and \he pleasures of forgiveness and obedience. Let pardoned souls exhort sinners to repent, and animate them to it by a consideration of the grace of God manifested to them; and let christians excite one anothrr to love and to good works; to prayer, and faith in God, by mutual information of the dealings of God with their souls. Thus they will strengthen each others hand* in God.
4. See the wide difference there is between the righteous and the wicked. The righteous may be perplexed and troubled ; but they have a hiding filaee in God, and mercy shall compass them about. But let the wicked be at present ever so prosperous and merry, tnany sorrows shall be to them; they are like the horse and the mule, hurried by appetite and passion, untaught and unhumbled. They may at length have their spirits broken by affliction; or, if they pass through life without it, their end is sorrow and destruction. Let the wicked then forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and turn unto the Lord, and he will have mercy ufion him. But let the righteous hold on his way, and the floods of deep water* shall not come nigh him.
Some sufifiose this psalm was composed by David in his advanced age, when his neighbouring enemies were subdued, as he calls upon his people to foin with him in praising God.
1 II EJOICE in the Lord, O ye righteous, youare under peculiar JLv obligations to it; [for] praise is comely for the upright; there is a beautiful agreement between the language of praise and
% your general conduct. Praise the Lord with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery [and] an instrument of ten strings; make
3 use of those instruments to express and excite religious joy. Sing unto him a new song, for his new mercies, and with new and
4 lively affections; play skilfully with a loud noise. For the word of the Lord [is] right; his revealed word is true a?id righteous; and all his works [are done] in truth; are correspondent to
5 his nature and will. He loveth righteousness and judgment,, and always practises them: the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord: his mercy abounds in every part of it, else strict jnc
6 lice would turn it into a heap qf co?ifusion. By the word of the Lord, his single alnughtu wtird, were the heavens made; and all the host of them, all the heavenly bodies, were firmed by the
7 breath of his mouth. He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap ; he shows how /ir,iverful he is, by separating the sea from the dry land, and cutting a channel for the waters: he layeth up the depth in storehouses; though they stand on an heap as high as the land, yet they arc kept, as in a storehouse, from overflowing it; they cannot pass beyond their bounds. Therefore
t Let all the earth, wluch is encompassed with these ivonderful displays of His fiowcr, fear the Lord: let all the inhabitants of the 9 world stand in awe of him. For he spake, and it was [done ;]
he commanded, and it stood fast; an alludon to God's saying, 'Let 'here be light, and there was light;' all iva* done at a word sfieaking, and continues firm and unmoveable. He then firoceed* to the moral world, and there also he needs but s/ieak the word, and
10 the event shall answer Ms pleasure. The Lord bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: he maketh the devices of the people of none effect; he either gives them ufi to 'a series of wrong thoughts and schemes, or, when the wise-it filans are laid, he disconcerts them, by bringing about such events as their greatest
11 wisdom could not foresee. The counsel of the Lord standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations; nothing
IS can frustrate his counsels, or break his schemes. Blessed [is] the nation whose God [is] the Lord ; [and] the people [whom] he hath chosen for his own inheritance; Israel, his peculiar pco
13 file and inheritance, are hafifiy under his care. The Lord look
14 eth from heaven; he beholdcth all the sons of men. From the place of his habitation he looketh upon, discerns the actions and
15 thoughts of all the inhabitants of the earth. He fashioneth their hearts alike; he has made human nature in the same manner; or, God firesides over the thoughts of men, and influences them as he pleases; he considereth all their works; he knows and can de
16 feat their deepest plots. There is no king saved by the multitude of an host: a mighty man is not delivered by much strength when God determines otherwise; David, though a great warrior,
17 depended tniy upon God. An horse [is] a vain thing for safety: •18 neither shall he deliver [any] by his great strength.* Behold,
the eye of the Lord, his watchful providence end favour, which is better than all military preparations, [is] upon thorn that fear him, not with a servile, slavish fear; therefore he adds, upon
19 them that hope in his mercy; To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine; to do that for them which all
30 human skill and strength cannot do. Our soul waitheth for the
21 Lord: he [is] our help and our shield. For our heart shall re
22 joice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name. Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, according as we hope in thee. In this comprehensive prayer he appeals to an omniscient God for the sincerity of their faith in him, and declares, they could desire no greater mercy than what they firmlyhoped for.
1. T E T us learn from hence to abound in praise ; and observe I J what tends to excite it, namely, the perfections of God as displayed in the works of nature, the conduct of Providence, and his dispensations to his people ; the ease with which universal nature was formed, the firmness of his ordinances, and especially that the
• The Iwaditsi were forbtdd-n to use horses in war, to keep them dependent on Co4 v David inculcates thls; he had no dependence upon them without God, muchlest when h~ had forbidden the use of thrm.
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earth is so fall of his goodness. It is a pity it should be so empty of
his praise. Let us praise him in the best manner we are able ; do it skilfully, with our voice and our heart; with a loud voice, like those who have their hearts in the work: an admonition that many need in our public assemblies. Let us reflect upon this psalm often in this view, that we may know what to do it for, and how to do it acceptably.
2. We may rejoice in the immutability of the divine counsels, and the certain success of all his schemes. He baffles the devices of men when they are most wisely formed; but his own can never be frustrated, nor the execution of them be obstructed. A pleasing thought this, when we consider that all his schemes are for the benefit of his church and peopje. Let us stand in awe of this glorious Being, who hath such amazing power, and against whom, there is no wisdom nor understanding, nor device that shall prosper. - 3. Let us reflect on the universal influence of God on the hearts of men; that he can turn and fashion them as he pleases. He knows all their schemes, and can divert their thoughts so as shall be most contrary to their own former views, and to the expectations of all about them. The hearts of princes and kings are as much undeij his influence as those of the meanest subjects: this is a great satisfaction amidst national confusion, or fearful apprehensions. It is a great comfort to ministers in their work, that God knows how to reach and turn those hearts which seem proof against all their admonitions, entreaties, and motives. This also shows the reasonableness and expediency of prayer for any blessing or comfort we want, and which may depend on the hearts and inclinations of men, that God can overrule all for our good.
4. We are taught to seek his protection and assistance in all our private and public concerns. No king is saved by the multitude of an h»»i; horses, soldiers, ships, are all vain things without God. Let us then wait for the Lord; observe his providence, accommodate ourselves to it, and endeavour to cherish a lively faith in him. Then> however he may deal with nations, here is our comfort, that the eye of the Lord is ufion them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy.
''. PSALM XXXIV.
[A Psalm] of David, when he changed his behaviour before Abimelech,* I Sam. ii. 13.. tfho drove him away, and he departed.
David fied to Achish for security from Saul's attempts; the courtiera of Achish representing him an a dangerous man, he feigned himself mad, and so escaped the snare. This psalm is addressed to the soldiers who shared his fortune. It is an alphabetical psalm, each verse beginning icith the several letters of the tlebrew alphabet in order.
1 T WILL bless the Lord at all times,/i»r this miraculous delivX. .cranee among others; his praise [shall] continually [be] in
* This Vioe's nam: was Achish. hut h's title wns Ahimrlech. which was t comir.tn uum for the kings 01 the Philistine*, as Phafa«i was for the kings of Egypt.