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dew where they are appointed for a blessing, so as a lion where they are oppressed. Destruction will come forth on their account, and that terribly like the destruction of a lion, speedily in passing through it shall be done. And whence is it that this feeble generation shall be as a lion? It is from the presence of Christ among them, who is the lion of the tribe of Judah, and to honour them, he assigns that to them, which is his own proper work; let men take heed how they provoke this lion; for the present, Gen. xlix. 9. he is gone up from the prey, he stoopeth down, he coucheth as a lion, and as an old lion, who shall rouse him up?' He hath taken his prey in these nations, in the destruction of many of his enemies; he seemeth now to take his rest, to couch down, his indignation being overpast, but who shall rouse him up? Why what if he be provoked? what if he be stirred up? why he will not lie down, until he eat of the prey, and drink the blood of the slain ;' Num. xxiii. 24. There is no delivery from him; no, but what if there be a strong combination of many against him, will he not cease and give over? Isa. xxxi. 4. Be they who they will, the shepherds of the people, be they never so many, a multitude of them, let them lift up their voice and rage never so much, all is one, he will perform his work and accomplish it; until you have him in the condition mentioned, Isa. Ixiii. 1-6. Blessed are the people that are under his care and conduct, yea, blessed are the people whose God is the Lord.
HOW WE MAY BRING OUR HEARTS TO BEAR REPROOFS.
Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me ;
it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head: for yet my prayer also shall be in their calamities.-Psalm cxli. 5. It is generally agreed by expositors, that this psalm, as that foregoing, with two of those that follow, were composed by David, in the time of his banishment, or flight from the court of Saul. The state wherein he describeth himself to have been, the matter of his pleas and prayers contained in them, with sundry express circumstances regarding that season and his condition therein, do manifest that to have been the time of their composure.
That the psalmist was now in some distress, whereof he was deeply sensible, is evident from that vehemency of his spirit, which he expresseth in the reiteration of his request, or supplication, ver. 1. And by his desire, 'that his prayer might come before the Lord as incense; and the lifting up of his hands as the evening sacrifice ;' ver. 2. The Jewish expositors guess not improbably, that in that allusion he had regard unto his present exclusion from the holy services of the tabernacle, which in other places he deeply complains of.
For the matter of his prayer in this beginning of the psalm (for I shall not look beyond the text) it respecteth himself, and his deportment under his present condition, which he desireth may be harmless and holy, becoming himself and useful unto others. And whereas he was two ways liable to miscarry; first, by too high an exasperation of spirit against his oppressors and persecutors; and, secondly, by a fraudulent and pusillanimous compliance with them in their wicked courses (which are the two extremes that men are apt sinfully to run into in such conditions), he prays earnestly to be delivered from them both. The first he hath
This sermon was printed in the Supplement to the Morning Exercise, at Cripplegate.
respect unto; ver. 3. 'Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips :' namely, that he might not, under those great provocations which were given him, break forth into an unseemly intemperance of speech against his unjust oppressors, which sometimes fierce and unreasonable cruelties will wrest from very sedate and moderate spirits. But it was the desire of this holy psalmist, as in like cases it should be ours, that his heart might be always preserved in such a frame, under the conduct of the Spirit of God, as not to be surprised into an expression of distempered passion, in any of his words or sayings. The other he regards in his earnest supplication, to be delivered from it; ver. 4. `Incline not my heart unto any evil thing, to practise wicked works with men that work iniquity; and let me not eat of their dainties.' There are two parts of his request unto the purpose intended. First, That by the power of God's grace influencing his mind and soul, his heart might not be inclined unto any communion or society with his wicked adversaries in their wickedness. Secondly, That he might be preserved from a liking of, or a longing after, those things, which are the baits and allurements, whereby men are apt to be drawn into societies and conspiracies with the workers of iniquity; • And let me not eat of their dainties.' See Prov, i. 10--14. For he here describeth the condition of men, prospering for a season in a course of wickedness; they first jointly give up themselves unto the practice of iniquity, and then together solace themselves in those satisfactions of their lusts, which their power and interest in the world do furnish them withal. These are the dainties,' of which an impotent longing and desire do betray the minds of unstable persons unto a compliance with ways of sin and folly: for I look on these
dainties' to comprise whatever the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh,' or the pride of life' can afford. All these David prays to be delivered from any inclination unto; especially when they are made the allurements of a course of sin. In the enjoyment of these dainties it is the common practice of wicked men to sooth up, approve of, and mutually encourage one another in the way and course wherein they are engaged. And this completes that goodly felicity which in this world so many aspire unto, and whereof alone they are capable. The whole of it is but a society in perishing sensual enjoy
ments, without control, and with mutual applauses from one another.
This the psalmist had a special regard unto; who casting his eye towards another communion and society which he longed after, ver. 5. that in the first place presents itself unto him, which is most opposite unto those mutual applauses and rejoicings in one another, which is the salt and cement of all evil societies ; namely, rebukes and reproofs for the least miscarriages that shall be observed. Now whereas the dainties which some enjoy in a course of prosperous wickedness, are that alone which seems to have any thing in it amongst them that is desirable ; and on the other side rebukes and reproofs are those alone which seem to have any sharpness, or matter of uneasiness and dislike, in the society of the godly, David balanceth that which seemeth to be sharpest in the one society, against that which seems to be sweetest in the other, and without respect unto other advantages, prefers the one above the other. Hence some read the beginning of the words, 'Let the righteous rather smite me, with respect unto this comparison and balance.
• Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness : and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head : for yet my prayer shall be in their calamity. The view of our translation will evidence the words to be elliptical in the original, by the various supplements which we make to fill
up the sense of them, and render them coherent. And this hath put some difficulty on the interpretation of the text, and caused some variety of apprehensions in sober and learned expositors.
It is not unto my present purpose to engage into a discussion of all the difficulties of the text, seeing I design to found no other doctrine thereon, than what all will acknowledge to be contained in the words and their coherence. I shall only therefore briefly open them, with respect unto our present purpose, and its concernment in them.
700 p'73 pry: pois,'the righteous,' is any one opposed to the workers of iniquity, ver. 4. any righteous person whatever, any one who is of the society and communion of the righteous ones : for all the world falls under this distribution, as it will one day appear. “Let him smite me:' the word osa is seldom used in the Scripture, but to signify, 'a
severe stroke,' which shakes the subject smitten, and causeth it to tremble. See Proy. xxiii. 25. 1 Sam. xiv. 6. Psal. lxxiv. 6. And it is used for 'the stroke of the hammer on the anvil,' in fashioning of the iron; Isa. xli. 7. Wherefore the word DN following may be taken adverbially as a lenitive of that severity which this word importeth. “Let him smite me,' but ‘leniter, benigne, misericorditer,''gently, kindly, friendly, mercifully.' And so some translations read the words:
Let the righteous smite me friendly, or kindly.' But there is no need to wrest the word to such an unusual sense; for the psalmist intends to shew, that so he may be delivered from the society of ungodly men, and enjoy the communion of the righteous, he would not deprecate the greatest severities, which, according to rule, might be exercised in rebuking, or reproving of him. And this he doth with so full a satisfaction of mind, with such a high valuation of the advantage he should have thereby, that he says not he would bear it patiently and quietly, but non, it will be unto me'a benignity, a mercy, a kindness,' as the word imports. And as it seems that some reproofs at least, some regular dealings of righteous persons with us, may come as a stroke that makes us shake and tremble; so it is a good advance in spiritual wisdom, to find out kindness and mercy in those that are so grievous unto our natural spirits, unto flesh and blood.
13071, And let him reprove me.' This manifests what he intends by smiting in the foregoing words. It is reproofs that he intends; and these he calls smiting in opposition "unto the flattering compliance of wicked men with one another in the enjoyment of their dainties, and with respect unto that smart unto the mind and affections, wherewith some of them are sometimes accompanied. But this word directly expressing that subject matter whereof I intend to treat, must be again spoken unto.
: pretation; for they may be either deprecatory of an evil implied, or declaratory of the psalmist's sense of the good he desired. Kimchi on the place observes, that his father Joseph divided the words of the text, and began here a new sense, wherein the psalmist returns unto the close of the fourth verse: “Let me not eat of their dainties,' and let not their precious oil,' that is, their flatteries and soothings in
-These words have a double inter :שמן ראש אל־יני ראשי