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REFLECTIONS. 1 .r . . .
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1. T ET us observe the instances of divine'goodness here speci-L-j fied as a call to praise him.' We' should view htm as t*c author and support of universal nature ; observe his hand in rain, hail, and snow, in frost and. ice, in thaws and heat. He has dained the seasons of the year, and through his overruling providence, slimmer and winter do not cease. He feeds us with the finest of wheat, strengthens, our gates, without which their bars would be vain, and giveth ftrace in our borders. Let us own him, as the guardian of the church, who builds up Jerusalem, gathers strangers into it by converting grace, and will;at length gather the-Jcws^ the outcasts of Israel,;into his church. . For thbse.favours.lhen which we enjoy,and those we ospectfsomhisipromises,Ictus prgisehint,for it is pleasant and comely, highly'decent, reasonable, and delightful.
2. Let us be especially thankful For the revelation he hath gjiven us. After the psalmist had celebrated^ptiblic and national blessings, he concludes-with this as the distinguishing glory of Israel. No nation hath in this respect been so remarkably favoured as ours. If Israel was excited to be thankful for the law given by Moses, wc ought to be much morc:so for that graceand truth which is givstrt us in Christ Jesus; and shall, of all people be most ungrateful $nd inexcusable, if we do not praise, fiirn. ,e . )
3. Let us la'gour to be sijch as God delights in and will far vour. Bin judgments arc not like those of mien, bjut according ,tf truth. His delight is not in the strength, of a horsci, fjj- the legs of a man; not in any beauty, comeliness, or strength ;;:not in thos* things which are the ornaments and defence qf the land: but M*: delight is in than lhat fear him. Observe, the connection; holy fear prevents hope from growing presumptuous,!and, hope pre* vents fear from growing excessive and torntentingj,. . ;It is, a most comfortable thought, that God delights in - them that , hope in his mercy; and takes delight in what is our highest interest, and greatr est comfort. He beholds such with approbation, and will distinr guish them by his favour and love. Another useful hint may be drawn from hence, viz. that in surtr persons; That is, in their friendship and converse we should delight. Wc should esteem those whom God esteems, and make his favourites ours; for they shall be his,in that day when he maketh up his jewels.
This fistahn was probably composed when Israel eras in great prosperity, per/mfls in the time of Datid or Solomon. It is a .'general call ufion all creatures to praise God.- *
1 T)RAISE yc the Lobn. J*raisc yc the I.oRn from the heaXT vens: praise,him in the heights, where his glory is most
2 illustrious, rraisc. yc him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his 3 hosts. Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars
4 of light. Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that
5 [be] above the heavens. Let them praise die name of the 6' Lord: for he commanded, and they were created. He hath
.i ; also stalili&hed ttlenaifor ever and ever: he hath made a decree which shall n6t pa»s. Praise the Lord from the earth, ye draft.gons, ye. whales, and, other, large fishes, and all deeps: Fire, and 9 hail: snow and vapour*: stormy wind fulfilling his word: Moun
10 -tains, and all hills ; fruitful trees, and all cedars: Beasts, and.
11 all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl: Kings of the earth; i '2 and all people ;. prn»ces,.and all judges of the earth: Both young 13 men, and maidens; old men, and, cliildren: Let them praise r the name of the Lord :: for his name alone is excellent; his 1* glory [is] above .the. earth, and heaven.-. He also exalteth the
horn of his people, he increasiih their fiaiver, and giveth them suep ., ees» in thiin affairs, the praise of all his saints; [even] of the • tlrildren af Isruei, a people neap unto him. Praise ye the Loan.
/? .' REFLECTION.
THE '-maimer in which the psalmist here calls upon universal nature- fo praise the Lord, ihtitnates to us, that he esteemed God most worthy to be praised, that he delighted in this d((ty, and wished that the whole creation were vocal in his praise. The perfections of Goft-displayed in his works, furnish us with matter for praise, and cull upon us to adore him. The capacities and instincts of the creatUrtfs, the provision he has made for them, their serviceableness to than, all should lead us to praise him. Let us look on tile frame of nature with such seriousness and devotion, that we may see 'the' hand iwd goodness of GodTin all, and be engaged to praise him. " We hav« peculiar reason to do it, as we are a people near Onto him; once afar oft', but now brought nigh. Let us therefore show forth the praised of him liho hath culled us out of darkness int» -his marvellous Bgh't. ii'
\' ".!,'.. ". ^FSALM CXLIX.'
Thl o psalm in a fine military ode / it was probably composed by David, - to be sung vrhrn the army was going-mtt against the devoted nations of Canaan, and went uji first in solemn procession to the house of God, there as it were to consecrate the. arms Ite put into their hands, and beg the divine blessing on their enterprise.
'J T)R ASS^Etye the Lord. Sing unto the Lord a new song, 2 JL [and] his praise in the congregation of saints. Let Israel rejojee ini him that .made him a people: let the children .ofZipn 'r" be joyTul in'their King. Let them praise his name in the-dance: * 4 .kttherri sing praises unro him with the timbrel and harp, r^or 'the Lord takcth pleasure in his people: he will beautify the I
5 meek* with salvation. Let the saints be joyful m glofy ; Iff the chosen people of God rejoice; yea, exult in a glorious manner; let them sing aloud upon their beds, or couches, (on which, according to the eastern manner, they reclined at the feasts that followed the sacrifices :) instead of singing vain songs, or joining in foolish conversation, let them emfiloy their fiowers in praising God ,« yea,
6 [Let] the high [praises] of God [be] in their mouth; and a two' edged sword in their hand; while making 'he attack, let them sing praise to God, as Jehoshaphat's soldiers did, (2 Chron. xx. 21, 22.)
1 To execute vengeance upon the heathen, [and] punishmfcnttf
8 upon the people; To bind their kings with chains, and their
9 nobles with fetters of iron; To execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all his saints.t Praise ye the Lord.
1. T ET us cultivate that meekness to which such a gracious -Li promise is annexed, v. 4. Let us govern our passions; be calm and patient under injuries and provocations; be submissive to God's will, tremble at his word, and thankfully fall in with the method of salvation by Jesus Christ. If this be our character, God will take pleasure in us, in our characters and services, our prosperity and comfort, and in bestowing his favours upon us. He will save us; and itAvill be such a salvation, as shall reflect honour upon us; we ahull shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of our heavenly Father.
2. Let us earnestly pray that God would give our soldiers that religious spirit which is here described; that he would animate them to fight boldly in the cause of their country: deliver them from a spirit of malice and revenge, and every thing that has the appearance of injustice and cruelty; that the high praises of God, may be in their mouths, instead of oaths and curses, which are too much their common language; and that all their joy in victory may terminate in God.
JL who attend in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament
2 of his power, in the highest heavens. Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness; if it he
3 possible, let your songs be proportioned to it. Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp.
• By merk some understand afflict:d, and suppmr that it refers ro their tx-ir,g oppressed bT their enemies Perhaps it nny b.- a fine hint, r»i t ike care to maintain a proper mrelwun «i t mper: and not to indulge a savjgc hcrcene.ss, but join sentiment» of humanity ami compassion with :iecessaiy severity.
t This ref*rs to what i, written in the Books of Mo»rs, concern:ng the extirpation of The Canaanitcs, and was designed to anim :tc then. They were obey ini; ihc cptnmnnl el Ot A. executing a divinr sentence; and it ,*n afi honour to be emi'luyd by J.-hovah, even in 4>wful work.
Praise God, ye pious ministers, * Praise him with the timbrel and dance : praise him with stringed 4 instruments and organs. Praise him upon the loud cymbals: 6 praise him upon the high sounding cymbals. Let the choit be
universal, and every thing that hath breath praise the Lord.
Let ail cry, Praise ye the Lord.
I. TT U our duty to praise God for this whole book, and that we -L have such excellent helps for our devotion by it; that we have so many songs of praise on record, both as forms and models of praise; and in such sublime, devout, and pathetic strains; sufficient, one would think, to animate and warm the coldest heart; compositions, which furnish delightful entertainment in our closets and families, and in the solemn assembly. This is a part of scripture which we have peculiar reason to be thankful for; and for all those sacred hymns which are composed upon this divine model.
2. Let us be careful not to rest in the external forms of praise, but see that our hearts be engaged and affected. There is no express direction or authority for the use of instruments of music in our pnblic worship, though it is plain that they were sometimes used in the tabernacle. Our rule is, to ting taith the s/iirir, and the understanding also; with our hearts and our mouths to glorify God. If we rest in the tune and the modulation of the voice, there re no more devotion in us than in an harp or an organ; the pipe of brass and the pipe of flesh are much alike. Let our hearts therefore be engaged to praise God. All the harmony of Solomon's temple would be nothing to him without grace in the heart; without a principle of reverence, faith and love. Let all that is ivithin us flraise God: and while our best services are so poor and imperfect, let us rejoice to think in how much better a manner he is praised by saints and angels above; and long to join that grand chorus, and partake of their work and happiness for ever and ever. Amen.