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A commentary on the book of Psalms (Volume 2) online

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it, must expect to perish for his pains. " Jesus
saith unto him. It is written again. Thou shalt not
TEMPT the Lord thy God." Matt. iv. 7.

^^ 13. Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder:
the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample
under thy feet."

The fury and the venom, of our spiritual enemies
are often in Scripture portrayed by the natural quali-
ties of " lions and serpents." Messiah's complete
victory over those enemies seemeth here to be pre-
dicted. Through grace he maketh us more than
conquerors in our conflicts with the same adversaries.
" The God of peace," saith St. Paul, " shall bruise
Satan under your feet shortly:" Rom. xvi. 20. And
it is observable that, when the seventy disciples

Ps. 91.] SQ5

return to Christ with joy, saying, " Lord, even the
devils are subject to us through thy name;" he an-
swers in the metaphorical language of our Psalm :
" Behold, I give unto you power to tread on scor-
pions and serpents, and over all the power of the
enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
Notwithstanding, in this rejoice not, that the spirits
are subject unto you," &c. Luke x. 17. Give us,
O Lord, courage to resist the " lion's" rage, and
wisdom to elude the wiles of the " serpent."

*' 14. Because he hath set his love upon me,
therefore will I deliver him; I will set him on high,
because he hath known my name. 15. He shall
call upon me, and 1 will answer him; I ivill be with
him in trouble, I will deliver him, and honour, or,
glorify him. 16. With long life will I satisfy him,
and show him my salvation.''

In the former part of our Psalm, the prophet had
spoken in his own person; here God himself is
plainly introduced as the speaker. And, O how
sweet, how delightful and comfortable, are his words
addressed eminently to his beloved Son Messiah ;
and in him to all of us, his adopted children, and
the heirs of eternal life ; to all who love God, and
have " known his name!" To such are promised,
an answer to their prayers; the presence of their
heavenly Father with them ; in the day of trouble,
protection and deliverance; salvation, and honour,
and glory, and immortality. All these promises
have already been made good to our gracious Head
and Representative. His prayers have been heard;
his sufferings are over; he is risen and ascended;
Vol. II. P

S^6 [Ps. 92.

and behold, he liveth and reigneth for evermore.
Swift fly the mtermediate years, and rise that long-
expected morning, when He who is gone " to pre-
pare a place for us, shall come again, and take us
to himself, that where he is we may be also !"


ARGUMENT.— The title of this Psalm is, *' A Psalm, or Song,
for the Sabbath Day." It teacheth, 1 — 5. the duty, time,
and manner, of giving thanks for the works and dispensations
of God. Thoughtless men are admonished, 6. to reflect upon
the final issue of all these works and dispensations ; namely,
7 — 9. the utter perdition of the ungodly, and,. 10 — l^. the ex-
altation of the church in Christ Jesus, 13. to the praise and
gloiy of God most high.

"1. It is a good thing to give thanks unto the
Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O Most
High : 2. To show forth thy loving kindness in
the morning, and thy faithfulness every night: 3.
Upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the
psaltery; upon the harp with a solemn sound."

" Thanksgiving" is the duty, and ought to be
the delight, of a Christian. It is his duty, as be-
ing the least return he can make to his great Bene-
factor: it ought to be his delight, for it is that
of angels, and will be that of every grateful heart,
whether in heaven or on earth. The " mercy" of
God in promising salvation, and his " faithfulness"
in accomplishing it, are inexhaustible subjects for
" morning and evening" praises ; every instrument
should be strung, and every voice tuned, to celebrate

Ps. 92.] 327

them, until day and night come to an end. But
more especially should this be done on the " sabbath
day;" which, when so employed, affords a lively re-
semblance of that eternal sabbath, to be hereafter
kept by the redeemed in the kingdom of God.

*■' 4. For thou. Lord, hast made me glad through
thy work : I will triumph in the works of thy hands."

A prospect of creation in the vernal season, fallen
as it is, inspires the mind with a joy which no words
can express. But how doth the regenerate soul
exult and triumph, at beholding that " work" of
God's " hand," whereby he hath created all things
anew in Christ Jesus ! If we can be pleased with
such a world as this, where sin and death have fixed
their habitation ; shall we not much rather admire
those other heavens, and that other earth, wherein
dwell righteousness and life ? What are we to
think of the palace, since even the prison is not
without its charms !

" 5. O Lord, how great are thy works ! a?id
thy thoughts are very deep. 6. A brutish man
knoweth not ; neither doth a fool understand this."

Glorious are the works, profound the counsels,
marvellous the dispensations of God, in nature,
in providence, in grace. But all are lost to the
man void of spiritual discernment ; who, like his fel-
low " brutes," is bowed down to earth, and knoweth
no pleasures but those of sense. Here he hath
chosen his paradise, and set up his tabernacle; not
considering that his tabernacle must shortly be taken
down, and he must remove hence for ever.

P 2


[Ps. 92.

" 7. When the wicked spring as the grass, and
when all the workers of iniquity do flourish; it is
that they shall be destroyed for ever. 8. But thou,
Lord, art most high for evermore."

It is not improbable, that these verses should be
connected with that preceding, thus — " A brutish
man knoweth not; neither doth a fool understand
this;" namely, that " When the wicked spring as
the grass, and when all the workers of iniquity do
flourish; it is that they shall be destroyed for ever;"
they are only nourishing themselves like senseless
cattle in plentiful pastures, for the approaching day
of slaughter. He who is ignorant of the final issue
of things, who attendeth not to his eternal interest,
he is, in Scripture language, " the brutish man," and
the " fool" who knoweth not the works, neither
understandeth the designs of heaven. When the
'' grass" hath attained to its most flourishing estate,
and all the flowers of the field are in perfect beauty,
then the mower entereth with his scythe. What a
beautiful and instructive emblem is here held forth
to us ! what a forcible admonition to trust only in
him, who, without " variableness or shadow of turn-
ing," is " most high for evermore !"

" 9. For, lo, thine enemies, O Lord, lo, thine
enemies shall perish : all the workers of iniquity
shall be scattered. 10. But my horn shalt thou
exalt like the horn of an unicorn: I shall be, or, I
am, anointed with fresh oil."

The " workers of iniquity" are the enemies of
" Jeliovah," and will be " scattered" by the breath
of his displeasure, as grass, after it is cut down, dried

Ps. 92.] S'29

up, and withered, is driven away by the whirlwinds
of heaven. " But my horn," saith the Psahnist (it
is likely in the person of Messiah), " my horn,"
that is, the strength and power of my kingdom,
'' shalt thou exalt like tlie horn of the unicorn*,'*
like the power of the strongest creatures, to which
that of states and empires is often compared ; " I
shall be," or, " I am, anointed with fresh oil;" I
am appointed and consecrated king by tlie holy unc-
tion. Christians have " an unction from the Holy
One," by which they are enabled to subdue their
spiritual enemies; they reign over their passions
and affections ; they are exalted in the Redeemer :
they are " made unto their God kings and priests."
1 John ii. 20. Rev. v. 10.

"11. Mine eye also shall see m-i/ desire on mine
enemies : and mine ears shall hear my desire of the
wicked that rise up against me."

The words, " my desire," are twice inserted by
our translators. But would it not be better, if we
were to supply the ellipsis in this manner, " Mine
eye shall behold the fall of mine enemies; and min^e
ear shall hear the destruction of the wicked that rise
up against me?" The sense of the verse is plain.
It is intended to express an assurance of faith, an
humble confidence in the promises of God, that our
efforts shall at length be crowned with victory over
every thing which resisteth and opposeth itself; and

* Heb. Dnx, an eastern animal of the " stag" or " deer"
kind, remarkable for its height, strength, and fierceness.


[Ps. 92.

that the day is coming, when we shall view all the
enemies of our salvation dead at our feet.

'^ 12. The righteous shall flourish like the palm-
tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon."

The momentary prosperity of the wicked was
compared above to the transient verdure of " grass."
The durable felicity of the righteous is here likened
to the lasting strength and beauty of " palms" and
" cedars." But chiefly is the comparison applicable
to that Just One, the King of Righteousness, and
Tree of Life; eminent and upright; ever verdant
and fragrant; under the greatest pressure and weight
of sufferings, still ascending toward heaven ; afford-
ing both fruit and protection ; incorruptible and im-
mortal. " 1 sat down," saith the church, *' under
his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was
sweet to my taste." Song ii. 3.

" 13. " Those that be planted in the house of
the Lord, shall flourish in the courts of our God."

Believers are styled by Isaiah, " Trees of righ-
teousness, the planting of Jehovah :" chap. Ixi. 3.
They are planted by the living waters of comfort in
the house of God ; where, under the means of grace,
they " flourish" in the hope of glory ; " fenced and
enclosed by the discipline and orders of the church,
and by the consequent favour and protection of
heaven; their verdure is conspicuous, and ever con-
stant, whether in the summer of prosperity, or the
winter of adversity ; their actions and principles are
ever upright and fair; yea, their very leaf exhales a
delightful perfume, by a holy example and conversa-

IPs. 92.] 331

tion; their affections and desires are ever ascending
towards the noblest and most sublime objects, the
things that are above, the glorious things of heaven*."

" 14. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age:
they shall be fat and flourishing."

Happy the man whose goodness is always pro-
gressive, and whose virtues increase with his years ;
who loseth not, in multiplicity of worldly cares or
pleasures, the holy fervours of his first love, but
goeth on burning and shining more and more, to
the end of his days. The church, like her repre-
sentative Sarah, is now " well stricken in years ;"
but we hope that, like her, she will " still bring
forth fruit in her old age;" we look for many more
" children of promise" to be born unto Christ, born
from among the Jews and Gentiles.

" 15. To show that the Lord is upright: he is
my rock, and the?^e is no unrighteousness in him."

The fruit brought fortli in the church redounds
to the glory of God, by whom the trees, in this his
new paradise, were planted; it shows to all the
world that he is just and " uprigbt" in his dealings;
that he is true to his promises ; immoveable, as a
" rock," in his counsels; determined to punish the
wicked, and to reward the good ; so that when his
proceedings shall come to be unfolded at the last
day it will appear to men and angels, that " there
is no unrighteousness in him."

Essay on the Proper Lessons, by Mr. Wogan, vol. iii. p. 49.

332 [Ps. 93.


Eighteenth Day. — Evening Prayer.

ARGUMENT. — The Jews acknowledge, that the kingdom Of
Messiah is prophesied of in this Psalm, and in all those which
follow, to the hundredth. 1, 2. The church celelirates the
majesty, power, and glory, of the eternal King; 3. describes
the danger she is often in from persecutions, &c. but, 4. streng-
theneth herself in God her Saviour, whose house, 5. ought to
be, like himself, full of truth and holiness.

" 1. The Lord reigneth, he is clothed with ma-
jesty; the Lord is clothed with strength, Kiohei'eimth
he hath girded himself: the world also is established,
that it cannot be moved."

From the beginning, God, as Creator, was sove-
reign Lord of the universe. He was also formerly,
in a more especial manner. King of Israel. But
since that time, a new and spiritual kingdom hath
been erected by Jesus Christ, as Redeemer, whom
the church now celebrates, and whose praises she
sings continually. Risen from the dead, and as-
cended into heaven,' the Lord Jesus reigneth, and
shall reign, " till he hath put all enemies under his
feet:" 1 Cor. xv. 25. By the glorification of his
human nature, he is " clothed with majesty : " All
power is given unto him in heaven and in earth;"
Matt, xxviii. 18. so that he is " girded with
strength ;" and through that strength, he hath
" established" the new " world," that is to say, his
church, that it " cannot be moved," or subverted,
by all the powers of earth and hell.

Ps. 93.] 333

" 2. Thy throne is established of old ; thou art
from everlasting."

Eartlily thrones are temporary; they are set up,
and cast down again, neither is any trust to be re-
posed in them. But the throne of Christ is eternal
and unchangeable. Constituted before the founda-
tion of the world, it is to endure when no traces ot
such a system having once existed shall any more be

" 3. The floods have lifted up, O Lord, the
floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up
their waves. 4. The Lord on hio^h is michtier
than the noise of many waters, T/ea, than the mighty
waves of the sea."

In the first of these verses, the church appears
like a ship in a stormy sea, to which she is often
compared. Persecutions and afflictions are those
" floods," those " waves" of this troublesome world,
which threaten every moment to overwhelm and sink
her. With a fearful and desponding tone of voice,
therefore, she crieth out, " The floods have lifted
up, O Lord, the floods have lifted up their voice;
the floods lift up their waves !" But immediately
she strengtheneth and comforteth herself in the
Lord her God: " The Lord on high is miglitier
than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty
waves of the sea." He can say to sorrows and
temptations, as he doth to the waters of the ocean,
*' Peace, be still; hitherto shall ye come, but no
farther:" and his word is endued with equal power
in both cases.


334 [Ps. 94.

" 5. Thy testimonies are very sure; holiness be-
cometh thine house, O Lord, for ever."

God's " testimonies" are the promises made in
Scripture to the church, that he will be with her,
during the afflictions which befall her here below,
and will, in time, deliver her out of all her troubles.
These " testimonies are very sure ;" these promises
do not, they cannot, fail. " Holiness," therefore,
which consisteth in obedience and patience, " be-
cometh," is the proper ornament, grace, and beauty
of " his house," and of Christians, those living
stones that compose it. Sacred and inviolable is
the word of our King; sacred and inviolable should
be the loyalty of his subjects.


ARGUMENT. — The Psalmist, complaining of corrupt and
troublous times, in the person of the church, 1 — 4. prayeth for
the downfall of prosperous wickedness; 5, 6. he describeth
the cruelty, and, 7 — 11. reproveththe atheistical folly of those
who persecute God's people; 12, 13. he extolleth the blessed-
ness of the persecuted, if they are endued with faith and pa-
tience, inasmuch as, 14, 15. the divine promise and their fu-
ture reward are certain; he, therefore, 16 — 19. throweth him-
self wholly upon God, whose mercies never fail, who, 20, 21.
cannot be on the side of iniquity, but, 22, 23. will preser\'e his
saints, and destroy their enemies.

" L O Lord God, to whom vengeance belong-
eth, O God to whom vengeance belongeth, show
thyself. 2. Lift up thyself, thou judge of the earth;
render a reward to the proud."

Ps. 94. J 335

The church, however unjustly oppressed and af-
flicted, remembereth that " ven^feance beloniretli"
not to her, had she the power to inflict it, but " to
God" only, who hath said, " Vengeance is mine, I
will repay:" Rom. xii. 19. To him, therefore, she
maketh her supplication, that he would manifest his
glory in her salvation ; that he would ascend the
tribunal, " as judge of the earth," try her cause,
and avenge her of her insolent and cruel persecutors.

" 3. Lord, how long shall the wicked, how long
shall the wicked triumph? 4. Hotv long shall they
utter a?id speak hard things ? atid all the workers
of iniquity boast themselves?"

The " triumphs" of wickedness, the " hard
speeches," taunts, and scoffs of infidelity, against
Christ, and all who belong to him, are a continual
grief of heart to the faithful in the world, who de-
sire nothing so much as to see the empire of sin at
an end, and the kingdom of righteousness estab-
lished. But for this great event they must wait
with patience, until the time appointed by the Fa-
ther, when the iniquities of the world, and the suf-
ferings of the church, shall be full. " I saw under
the altar," saith the well-beloved John, " the souls of
them that were slain for the word of God, and for
the testimony which they held. And they cried
with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy
and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood
on them that dwell on the earth ? And white robes
were given unto every one of them, and it was said
unto them, that they should rest yet for a little sea-
son, until their fellow-servants also, and their breth-

S86 [Ps. 94.

ren, that should be killed as they were, should be
fulfilled." Rev. vi. 9. &c.

" 5. They break in pieces thy people, O Lord,
and afflict thine heritage. 6. They slay the widow,
and stranger, and murder the fatherless."

Some instances of cruelty, exercised by the ene-
mies against the " people and heritage" of God, are
here specified. *' Widows, strangers, and orphans,"
are destitute of the help and protection afforded by
husbands, friends, and fathers. Christ is become an
husband to the church, a father to her children, and
the only friend to both in time of need. Else were
we all in the state of strangers and orphans, exposed,
with our widowed mother, to the unrelenting malice
and fury of the great oppressor and murderer.

" 7. Yet they say. The Lord shall not see,
neither shall the God of Jacob regard it, 8. Un-
derstand, ye brutish among the people: and j/^ fools,
when will ye be wise? 9. He that planted the ear,
shall he not hear ? he that formed the eye, shall he
not see? 10. He that chastiseth the heathen, shall
not he correct? he that teacheth man knowledge,
shall not he knowF or, he that instructeth the na-
tions, shall not he rebuke; even he that teacheth
man knowledge?"

The Psalmist informeth us, that men are encou-
raged in their injustice and villany, by a persuasion,
that God doth not behold or regard what they do to
his people. The absurdity of such a conceit is
shown from these considerations; that it is God who
bestoweth on man the powers of seeing and hearing,

Ps. 94.] 337

and therefore that he himself must needs be pos-
sessed of those powers in the highest perfection;
that it is God who hath instructed the world, by
his revelations, in religious knowledge, and conse-
quently, without all doubt, he cannot be ignorant of
the use and abuse which men make of that his un-
speakable gift.

" 11. The Lord knoweth the thoughts of man,
that they are vanity."

So far is God from being a stranger to the ac-
tions, that he is privy to the first " thoughts" of
men, from whence those actions flow : he is ac-
quainted with all their counsels against his church,
and knoweth them to be as vain as the imafrination
that he is ignorant of them. The wicked can no
more escape the hand, than they can elude the eye,
of Heaven.

" 12. Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest,
or, instructest, O Lord, and teachest him out of
thy law : 13. That thou mayestgive him rest from
the days of adversity, until the pit be digged for the

Since, therefore, the schemes of the adversary
are vain, and the counsel of Jehovah shall infallibly
stand, happy is the man who, having learned, from
the Scriptures of truth, the lessons of faith and pa-
tience, enjoys tranquillity of mind in time of trouble,
while destruction is preparing for the impenitent.
Then, when " the days of adversity" are over, shall
pain and sorrow take a final leave of the righteous
to go and dwell with the wicked, to eternal ages.


[Ps, 94.

The former shall enter into the rest and joy of their
Lord; the latter, into the fire prepared originally for
the devil and his angels.

" 14. For the Lord will not cast off his people,
neither will he forsake his inheritance. 15. But
judgment shall return unto righteousness ; and all
the upright in heart shall follow it."

The faith and patience of the saints are built
upon the foundation of God's promise " not to cast
off and forsake," however he may chasten and cor-
rect, his " people and inheritance." At a fit time,
" judgment shall return to righteousness," which it
might seem to have forsaken; iniquitous oppressors
shall meet with the punishment they have deserved,
and the faithful shall experience the promised re-
demption. For thus Dr. Hammond renders and
expounds the last clause of the two verses under con-
sideration — " and after this," that is, after " judg-
ment" shall have " returned to righteousness, all the
upright in heart;" that is, it shall be their time;
they shall succeed and flourish. Such were those
halcyon days enjoyed by the Jews, after the fall of
Babylon, and their return to their own land; such
those times of refreshment to the church Christian,
when the Pagan persecutions were at an end, and
the Roman empire became Christian. Far more
transcendent is the felicity of a soul, when it ex-
changes the miseries of the world for the delights
of paradise, there to wait, with its sister spirits, un-
til the bodies of saints shall pass from the dishonours
of the grave to the glories of immortality.

Ps. 94v] 339

" 16. Who will rise up for me against the evil-
doers ? or, who will stand up for me against the
workers of iniquity? 17. Unless the Lord had
been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence."

But in the mean season, while " evil-doers" are
permitted to prosper, and " the workers of iniquity"
carry on their designs, the prophet asks in the per-
son of the church, who is there that will or can pro-
tect, defend, and deliver ? The answer is, God only
can do it: " Unless the Lord had been my help, my
soul had almost dwelt in silence," or I had almost
been in the state of death. How often have our
spiritual enemies arisen against us, threatening to
bring us into a state of eternal death, but the Lord
Jesus was our help and our salvation !

" 18. When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mer-
cy, O Lord, held me up."

When the child of God, walking in the slippery
paths of life, findeth himself falling into temptation,
if he confesseth his inability to stand his ground,
and crieth out, like Peter on the water, to his hea-
venly Father, " Lord, save me, I perish;" a merci-
ful, gracious, and powerful hand will immediately be
stretched out, to support his steps, and establish his

" 19. In the multitude of my thoughts within
me, thy comforts delight my soul."

The excellent Norris, in a masterly sermon on
this verse, has given us the following elegant and
affecting paraphrase of it: — " When my mind sal-
lies out into a multitude of thoughts, and those

340 [Ps. 94.

thouglits make me sad and heavy, anxious and so-
licitous, as presenting to my view my own weakness
and infirmity, and the universal vanity of all those
seeming props and stays, upon which my deluded
soul was apt to lean ; the many great calamities of
life, and the much greater terrors of death; the
known miseries of the present state, and the dark-
ness and uncertainty of the future : still urging me
with fresh arguments of sorrow, and opening new
and new scenes of melancholy, till my soul begins
to faint and sink under the burden she has laid
upon herself; when I am thus thoughtful, and thus
sorrowful, then it is, O my God, that I feel the re-
lief of thy divine refreshments; I find myself sup-
ported and borne up by the strong tide of thy con-
solations, which raise my drooping head, strike a

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