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heart must cease its beating. He alone, therefore, is the proper object of our faith and love, who can support, and carry us through the dreadful hour, and then raise us again, to be our portion for ever. Lord Jesus, who hast so graciously promised to become our portion in the next world, prevent us from choosing any other in this!
27. For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed, or, wilt destroy, all them that go a whoring from thee.
They who are far from God, are just so far from salvation; and of course, if they remain in that situation, must perish. Nor have they reason to expect any other fate, who in their hearts depart from the holy Jesus, after he has betrothed them to himself in righteousness; and prefer to him the vilest and basest of his enemies, the world and the flesh, by whose wicked hands he was crucified and slain.
28. But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the LORD God, that I may declare all thy works.
As if the Psalmist had said, in other words—Hear, therefore, the conclusion of the whole matter. Let others, dazzled by the blaze of worldly prosperity, forsake God, to obtain a share of it; or murmur against him, because they cannot obtain it. I am persuaded, it now is, and finally will be, good, delightful, profitable, and honourable, for me to draw near, and join myself to him; which, in this life, I can do no otherwise, than by believing and hoping in his holy name. I will put my trust in the LORD God, and exčite others to do the same, by declaring his works and dispensations; that all may perceive what an amazing difference will one day be made, between him who lusts after the creature, and him who loves the Creator.
· PSALM LXXXIV.
This Psalm, for the subject-matter of it, bears a re
semblance to the xliid. Under the figure of an Israelite, deprived of all access to Jerusalem and the sanctuary, (whether it were David when driven away by Absalom, or any other person in like circumstances at a different time,) we are presented with the earnest longing of a devout soul, after the house. and presence of God; a beautiful and passionate eulogy on the blessedness of his ministers and servants; a fervent prayer for a participation of that blessedness; and an act of faith in his power and goodness, which render him both able and willing to grant requests of this nature.
1. How amiable are thy tabernacles, O LORD of hosts!
Thus ardently does a banished Israelite express his love for Sion, his admiration of the beauty of holiness. Nay, Balaam himself, when, from the top of Peor, he saw the children of Israel abiding in their tents, with the Glory in the midst of them, could not help exclaiming, “ How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, and thy tabernacles, O Israel!” How amiable, then, may the Christian say, are those eternal mansions, from whence sin and sorrow are excluded; how goodly that
camp of the saints, and that beloved city, where righteousness and joy reign triumphant, and peace and unity are violated no more; where thou, O blessed Jesus, Lord of hosts, King of men and angels, dwellest in glorious majesty, constituting by thy presence the felicity of thy chosen!
2. My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth, for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh cry out, for the living God.
It is said of the queen of Sheba, that upon beholding the pleasantness of Jerusalem, the splendour of Solomon's court, and, above all, the magnificence of the temple, with the services therein performed, “ there was no more spirit in her.” What wonder, therefore, if the soul should be affected, even to sickness and fainting, while, from this land of her captivity, she beholds, by faith, the heavenly Jerusalem, the city and court of the great King, with all the transporting glories of the church triumphant: while, in her meditations, she draws the comparison between her wretched state of exile upon earth, and the unspeakable blessedness of being delivered from temptation and affliction, and admitted into the everlasting courts of Jehovah ? Whose heart and flesh do not exult, and shout aloud for joy, at a prospect of rising from the bed of death, to dwell with the living God; to see the face of him, “ in whom is life, and the life is the light of men ?” Did the Israelites, from all parts of Judea, go up, with the voice of jubilee, to: keep a feast at Jerusalem ; and shall Christians grieve, when the time is come for them to ascend, and to celebrate an eternal festival in heaven? !
3. Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow, or, ringdove, a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my King and my God!
The Psalmist is generally supposed, in this verse, to lament his unhappiness, in being deprived of all access to the tabernacle, or temple, a privilege enjoyed even by the birds, who were allowed to build their nests in the neighbourhood of the sanctuary. It is evidently the design of this passage to intimate to us, that in the house, and at the altar of God, a faithful soul finds freedom from care and sorrow, quiet of mind, and gladness of spirit; like a bird, that has secured a little mansion, for the reception and education of her young. And there is no heart, endued with sensibility, which does not bear its testimony to the exquisite beauty and propriety of this affecting image.
4. Blessed are they that dwell in thy house : they will be, or, are, still praising thee.
Here the metaphor is dropped, and the former sentiment expressed in plain language. Blessed are, not the mighty and opulent of the earth, but they that dwell in thy house, the ministers of the eternal temple in heaven, the angels and the spirits of just men made perfect; their every passion is resolved into love, every duty into praise; hallelujah succeeds hallelujah; they are still, still for ever, praising thee. And blessed, next to them, are those ministers and members of