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even there “do waters break out, and streams in the desert.”
12. By them shall the fowls of the air have their habitation, which sing among the branches.
By them, that is, by springs of water, in the valleys, the birds delight to have their habitations, and to sing amidst the verdant branches, which conceal them from our sight. “The music of birds," as one has well observed, “was the first song of thanksgiving which was offered on earth before man was formed. All their sounds are different, but all harmonious, and altogether compose a choir which we cannot imitate*.” If these little choristers of the air, when refreshed by the streams near which they dwell, express their gratitude by chanting, in their way, the praises of their Maker and Preserver, how ought Christians to blush, who, besides the comforts and conveniencies of this world, are indulged with copious draughts of the water of eternal life, if, for so great blessings, they pay not their tribute of thanksgiving, and sing not - unto the Lord the songs of Sion! “He that at midnight, when the very labourer sleeps securely, should hear, as I have often done, the clear airs, the sweet descants, the natural rising and falling, the doubling and redoubling of the nightingale's voice, might well be lifted above earth, and say, Lord, what music hast thou provided for the saints in heaven, when thou affordest bad men such music upon earth!" Walton's Complete Angler, p. 9.
* Wesley's Survey of the Wisdom of God in the Creation. I. 149.
13. He watereth the hills from his chambers: the earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works. 14. He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth; 15. And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread, which strengtheneth man's heart.
Tho fertility of the earth is owing to God, who, for that purpose, waters it from his chambers, whether the world has a reference to the clouds above, or the depths below, for both are concerned in the operation. Hence all the glory and beauty of the vegetable world; hence the grass, which nourishes the cattle, that they may nourish the human race; hence the green herb, for food and for medicine ; hence fields covered with .corn, for the support of life; hence vines and olive trees laden with fruits, whose juices exhilarate the heart, and brighten the countenance. Nor let us forget the spiritual benedictions corresponding to these external ones; the fruitfulness of the church through grace, the bread of everlasting life, the cup of salvation, and the oil of gladness.
16. The trees of the Lord are full of sap; the cedars of Lebanon, which he hath planted.
The whole earth is a garden, planted by the hand, and watered by the care of Jehovah. But in a more especial manner is his glory set forth by the lofty and magnificent cedars, which, growing wild on the mountain and in the forests, owe nothing to the skill and industry of man. The moisture of the earth, rarefied by the heat of the sun, enters their roots, ascends in
their tubes, and by due degrees expands and increases - them, till they arrive at their growth. God hath also another garden, in which there are other trees of his planting, called, by Isaiah, “ trees of righteousness.” These are his faithful servants, who, through the Spirit which is given unto them, become eminent and steady in goodness: their examples are fragrant, and their charity diffusive.
17. Where the birds make their nests: as for the -stork, the fir trees are her house.
Most admirable is that wisdom and understanding, which the Creator has imparted to the birds of the air, whereby they distinguish times and seasons, choose the properest places, construct their nests with an art and exactness unattainable by man, and secure and provide for their young. “Is it for the birds, O Lord, who have no knowledge thereof, that thou hast joined together so many miracles? Is it for the men who give no attention to them? Is it for those who admire them, without thinking of thee?, Rather is it not thy design, by all these wonders, to call us to thyself? to make us sensible of thy wisdom, and fill us with confidence in thy bounty, who watchest so carefully over these inconsiderable creatures, two of which are sold for a farthing* ?" · 18. The high hills are a refuge for the wild goats, and the rocks for the conies.
The same force of what we call instinct prevails in terrestrial animals, and directs them to places of re
* Wesley, as above,
fuge, where they may be safe from their enemies.
Thus the wild goats climb with ease to the tops and Grags of mountains, where they deposit their young. And thus animals of another kind, which are more defenceless than the goats, and not able to climb like them, have yet a way of entrenching themselves, in a situation perfectly impregnable, among the rocks; we find them, on that account, numbered by Solomon among the four kinds of animals, which, though little upon the earth, are exceeding wise.“ The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks:” They who in themselves are feeble and helpless should look out betimes for a mountain of refuge, and a rock of safety.
19. He appointeth the moon for seasons : the sun knoweth his going down. : From a survey of the works of God upon earth, the Psalmist proceeds to extol that divine wisdom which is manifested in the motions and revolutions of the heavenly bodies, and in the grateful vicissitude of day and night occasioned thereby. A beautiful passage in the book of Ecclesiasticus will, perhaps, be the best comment on the former part of this verse: “ He made the moon to serve in her season, for a declaration of times, and a sign to the world. From the moon is the sign of feasts, a light that decreaseth in her perfection. The month is called after her name, increasing wonderfully in her changing, being an instrument of the armies above, shining in the firmament of heaven; the beauty of heaven, the glory of the stars, an ornament giving light in the highest places of the
Lord.” The latter part of the verse expresses the obedience of the sun, or solar light, to the law of its Creator; it seems to know the exact time of its coming on, and going off, and fulfils the course prescribed to it, without the least deviation. O that we who are endowed with sense and reason, could in like manner fulfil our course ; and that God's will were “ done on earth, as it is even in this lower and material heaven!”
20. Thou makest darkness, and it is night; wherein all the beasts of the forest do creep forth. 21. The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God.
Night and darkness invite the wild beasts of the forest and desert from their dens and recesses, to seek the prey allotted them by the Providence of that God who feeds the young lions, as well as the young ravens, when hunger enforces them, as it were, to call upon him. Thus, when a nation has filled up the measure of its iniquities, the Sun of Righteousness knows the time of his departure from it; the light of the Gospel is darkened, and a horrible night succeeds: the executioners of vengeance are in motion, and a commission from above is given them to seize upon the prey.
22. The sun ariseth, they gather themselves together, and lay them down in their dens. 23. Man goeth forth to his work and to his labour, until the evening,
At the return of day, the sons of ravage retire, and skulk away to their several hiding places, that man, the lord of the creation, may arise, and perform, unmolested, the task which his Maker has appointed