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The church, in time of trouble, declares her trust and
confidence to be in God, and doubts not of being preserved safe, by means of this anchor, in the moststormy seasons; even then enjoying the comforts of the spirit, and the presence of Christ in the midst of her. She describes, and exults in, the power and might of her victorious Lord; calling the world to view and consider his wonderful works. He himself is introduced, as speaking the nations into peace and obedience. She concludes with a repetition of ver. 7. in the way of chorus.
1. God is our refuge and strength, a very foresent help in trouble,
As we are continually beset by troubles, either bodily or spiritual, so we continually stand in need of a city of refuge and strength, into which we may fly, and be safe. Religion is that city, whose gates are always open to the afflicted soul. We profess to believe this: do we act agreeably to such profession?
2. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea ; 3. Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.
The church declares her full and firm confidence in God, as her refuge and strength, amidst all the tumults and confusions of the world, the raging of nations, and the fall of empires. Nay, at that last great and terrible day, when sea and land are to be confounded, and every mountain and hill removed for ever; when there is to be “ distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring ;" even then, the righteous shall have no cause to fear, but rather to “ lift up their heads” with joy and triumph, because then it is, that their 6 redemption draweth nigh.” Let us set that day before us, and try ourselves by that test. - 4. There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God: the holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High. 5. God is in the midst of her; she . shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early; Heb. when the morning appeareth. - Such is the ground on which the church erects her confidence. Instead of those waters which overwhelm the world, she has within herself the fountain of consolation, sending forth rivers of spiritual joy and pleasure; and, in the place of secular instability, she is possessed of a city and a hill which stand fast for ever, being the residence of the Eternal, who, at the dawn of the last morning, will finally appear as the protector and avenger of Israel.
6. The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved; he uttered his voice, the earth melted.
How concise, how energetic, how truly and astonishingly sublime! The kingdom of Christ being twofold, these words may be applied either to the over
throw of Heathenism, and the establishment of the Gospel; or to the destruction of the world, and the erection of Messiah’s triumphant throne. Conquer, O Lord, all our perverse affections, and reign in us, that we may conquer, and reign with thee.
7. The Lord of hosts is with us ; the God of Jacob is our refuge; Heb. an high place for us.
To the Lord of hosts all creatures in heaven and earth are subject; in the God of Jacob, the church acknowledges the Saviour of his chosen. If this person be IMMANUEL, GOD WITH US, of whom can we be afraid?
8. Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth. 9. He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire.
The church, in these words, proposes to us the noblest subjects for contemplation; namely, the glorious victories of our Lord, partly gained already, and partly to be gained hereafter, in order to the final establishment of universal peace, righteousness, and bliss, in his heavenly kingdom. Then the mighty shall be fallen, and the weapons of war shall perish, for ever. Hasten, O Lord, that blessed day; but first prepare us for it.
10. Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
In this verse there is a change of person, and Jehovah himself is introduced, as commanding the world
to cease its opposition, to own his power, and to acknowledge his sovereignty over all the kingdoms of the nations. Let our rebellious passions hear this divine edict-tremble, and obey.
11. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.
In this Psalm, composed upon a sad occasion, but too well known, we have a perfect model of penitential devotion. The royal supplicant, robed in sackcloth, and crowned with ashes, entreats for mercy, from a consideration of his own misery, and of the divine goodness; from that of his confession, of God's sole right to judge him; laments the corruption of his nature ; but, without pleading it as an excuse; prays for Gospel remission, in legal terms; for spiritual joy and comfort; for pardoning and cleansing grace; for strength and perseverance, that he may instruct and convert others; deprecates the vengeance due to blood; beseeches God to accept an evangelical sacrifice; and concludes with a prayer for the church.
. 1. Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving kindnes8 ; according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. .
The penitent's first ground for hope of pardon, is his own misery, and the divine mercy, which rejoices to relieve that misery. The riches, the power, and the glory of a kingdom, can neither prevent nor remove the torment of sin, which puts the monarch and the beggar upon a level. Every transgression leaves