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pastoral staff guide and support our steps; till, through the dreaded valley, we pass to the heavenly mountain, on which St. John saw “the Lamb standing, with a great multitude, redemed from the earth.”.
5. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies : thou anointest my head with oil ; my cup runneth over.
Another set of images, borrowed from a feast, is introduced, to give us ideas of those cordials and comforts prepared to cheer and invigorate the fainting soul, while, surrounded by enemies, it is accomplishing its pilgrimage through life; during which time, its sorrows and afflictions are alleviated and sweetened by the joys and consolations of the Holy One ; by the feast of a good conscience; by the bread of life, the oil of gladness, and the cup of salvation, still full, and running over.
6. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life : and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever..
Experience of goodness and mercy, already so often vouchsafed, begets an assurance of their being continued to the end; for nothing can separate us from the love of Christ, if we do not separate ourselves from it. Thus will the Lord, our Saviour, provide for us on earth, and conduct us to heaven; where we shall dwell to “length of days,” even the days of eternity, "one, fold under one Shepherd :” a fold into which no enemy enters, and from which no friend departs : where we shall rest from all our labours, and see a period to all our sorrows; where the voice of praise
and thanksgiving is heard continually ; where all the faithful, from Adam to his last-born son, shall meet together, to behold the face of Jesus, and to be blessed with the vision of the Almighty; where “ we shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more, neither shall the sun light on us, nor any heat. But the Lamb, which is in the midst of the throne, shall feed us, and lead us to living fountains of waters."
The editor subjoins, with pleasure, the following observations by Doctor Blair, on this most interesting Psalm.
“For illustration of what I have said, on the influence of religion upon prosperity, remark that cheerful enjoyment of a prosperous state which king David had, when he wrote the twenty-third psalm ; and compare the highest pleasures of the riotous sinner, with the happy and satisfied spirit which breathes throughout that psalm. In the midst of the splendour of royalty, with what amiable simplicity of gratitude does he look up to the Lord, as “his Shepherd;" happier in ascribing all his success to Divine favour, than to the policy of his councils, or to the force of his arms! How many instances of Divine goodness arose before him in pleasing remembrance, when with such relish he speaks of the “green pastures and still waters, beside which God had led him; of his cup which he had made to overflow; and of the table which he had prepared for him, in presence of his enemies !” With what per. fect tranquillity does he look forward to the time of his pass. ing through “the valley of the shadow of death ;” unappalled by that spectre, whose most distant appearance blasts the prosperity of sinners! He fears no evil, as long as “the rod.
and the staff” of his Divine Shepherd are with him; and, through all the unknown periods of this and of future existence, commits himself to his guidance, with secure and triumphant hope : “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life ; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”—What a purified, sentimental enjoyment of prosperity, is here exhibited! How different from that gross relish of worldly pleasures, which belongs to those who behold only the terrestrial side of things; who raise their views to no higher objects than the succession of human contingencies, and the weak efforts of human ability; who have no protector or patron in the heavens, to enliven their prosperity, or to warm their hearts with gratitude and trust!"
PSALM XXVII. .
This Psalm contains a declaration of trust and confi
dence in Jehovah, amidst the dangers and tumults of war; a longing desire of restoration to the city and house of God; a triumphant assurance of final victory and exaltation; earnest prayer for support and protection; a profession of faith, and its mighty power and comfort in affliction; an exhortation to patience.
1. The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
God is our light, as he shows us the state we are in, and the enemies we have to encounter; he is our strength, as he enables us, by his grace, to cope with and overcome them; and he is our salvation, as the author and finisher of our deliverance from sin, death, and Satan. All this he was to the blessed person whom David represented; and all this he will be to his faithful servants. “ If God,” therefore, “ be for us, who can be against us?”
2. When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes came upon me, to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and
The past time is often used, in the prophetical language, to intimate the certainty of the future. Faith sees the foe already vanquished, and the prey snatched from the jaws of the devouring lion.
3. "Though a host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.
What avails it, that the host of darkness is in arms, and the world taking the field against us, when the LORD is our light, and heaven our ally?
4. One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple.
The victories of David ended in his restoration to Jerusalem, and the service of God; the victories of Christ terminated in his triumphant return to a better Jerusalem; and this ought to be the one thing desired by the Christian, that, after his conquest over the body of sin, he may pass the unnumbered days of eternity in the courts of heaven, contemplating the beauty and glory of his Redeemer.
5. For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me upon a rock.
The protection and consolation experienced by believers of the church militant, give them a taste of the loving kindness of the Lord, and make them impatiently desirous of quenching their thirst at the fountain of divine pleasures, after they shall have been