George Horne.

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

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serve graven images, that boast themselves of idols:
worship him, a\li/e gods."

When Jesus was exalted, his Gospel published,
and his power and glory made known in the Hea-
then world, men grew "ashamed" of their "images,
and boasted themselves in their idols" no more. The
last clause of our verse, " Worship him, all ye gods,"
declares the supremacy of Christ over all that are
called gods, ca^nbN, in heaven and in earth, who
are enjoined to pay adoration unto him, instead of
claiming it for themselves.

Ps. 97.] 357

"8. Sion heard, and was glad; and the daughters
of Judah rejoiced, because of thy judgments, O Lord.
9. For thou, Lord, art high above all the earth :
thou art exalted far above all gods.'*

The inhabitants of the new " Sion," or the peo-
ple of God, " heard" the tidings, that idols and
idolatry were fallen, and the Lord Jesus reigned
triumphant ; they heard, and " were glad ; the
daughters of Judah," or Christian churches, " re-
joiced" in the Holy Ghost, with joy unspeakable,
" because of these judgments" of their God upon his
enemies, whereby he evinced himself superior to the
powers of the earth, and the gods of the nations.
Thus, at the fall of Babylon, it is said, Rev. xviii.
20. *' Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy
apostles and prophets, for God hath avenged you on
her." And Eusebius speaks, in the following terms,
of the times under Constantino, which succeeded the
overthrow of Maxentius and Maximin : " A bright
and glorious day, no cloud overshadowing it, did
enlighten, with rays of heavenly light, the churches
of Christ over all the earth ; — and among all Chris-
tians there was an inexpressible joy, and a kind of
celestial gladness." Ecclesiast. Hist. B. x.

" 10. Ye that love the Lord, hate evil: he pre-
serveth the souls of his saints: he delivereth them
out of the hand of the wicked."

Having sung the glory of the Redeemer, the
Psalmist delineates the duty of the redeemed. They
are characterized by their " love of God;" they arc
enjoined to " hate evil ;" this hatred is, indeed, a



[Ps. 97.

consequence, and a sure proof, of that love, when it
is genuine and sincere. Religion must be rooted
in the heart, and spring from thence. A Christian
must not only serve God outwardly, but must in-
wardly " love" him ; he must not content himself
with abstaining from overt acts of sin, but must truly
" hate" it. They who do so, are " the saints of
God, whose souls he preserveth" from evil, and
will finally " deliver" from the evil one, and his
associates, by a happy death, and a glorious resur-

" 11. Light is sown for the righteous; and glad-
ness for the upright in heart."

However gloomy our prospects may at any time
be, let us wait patiently, as the husbandman doth,
all the winter, in expectation of a future crop, from
the seed which lieth buried in the earth. " Light
and gladness are sown for the righteous and true
hearted," though they may not yet appear: the seed-
time is in this world; the harvest will be in that to
come. " In due season we shall reap, if we faint
not." Gal. vi. 9.

" 12. Rejoice in the Lord, ye righteous; and
give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness."

Tribulation itself, therefore, should not prevent
our " rejoicing in Jehovah our righteousness," who
justifieth us from our sins; no adversity ought to
make us negligent in celebrating, with thanksgiving,
the " commemorations of his holiness," which the
church hath appointed to be observed ; to the end
that we may always remember, with gratitude, how

Ps. 98.] 359

great things he hath done for us already, and reflect,
with comfort, on those much greater things which
he hath promised to do for us liereafter."


Nineteenth Day. — Evening Prayer.

ARGUMENT. — In this evangelical hymn, the prophet, 1 — 3.
extols the miracles, the victory, the salvation, the righteous-
ness, the mercy, and truth, of the Redeemer; on account of
which, 4 — 9. he calls upon man, and the whole creation, to
rejoice and praise Jehovah.

" 1. O sing unto the Lord a new song, for he
hath done marvellous things: his ri^ht hand and his
holy arm hath gotten him the victory."

New mercies and wonders demand new songs.
And what mercies, what wonders, can be compared
with those wrought by the holy Jesus ? " Go and
tell John," saith he to John's disciples ; go and tell
all the world, saith he to his own disciples, " the
things which ye see and hear ;" the marvellous
things which I do to the bodies and to the souls of
men. " The blind receive their sight," and the
ignorant minds are enlightened with knowledge;
" the lame walk," and strength is communicated to
impotent souls; "the lepers are cleansed," and the
lascivious rendered chaste; " the deaf hear," and
obstinate listen to instruction and reproof; " the
dead are raised," and sinners justified; "the Gospel
is preached," and the world converted. " His own
right hand, and his holy arm," hath done these mar-
vellous things, without and against all worldly


[Ps. 98.

power; not by spear and sword, but by patience and
charity, he hath " gotten the victory,'' and gained
the glorious day.

" 2. The Lord hath made known his salvation :
his righteousness hath he openly showed in the sif^ht
of the heathen."

The " salvation" of Jehovah was " made known"
by the preaching of Christ himself in Judea, for the
space of three years; his " righteousness," whereby
sinners are justified, was " openly showed," by the
sermons of his apostles, " in the sight of the hea-
then." Still let that salvation be made known, still
let that righteousness be openly showed, by the
ministers of the Gospel, until the fulness of the
Gentiles be come in, and the remnant of the Jews
converted ; until antichrist be overthrown, and death
himself fallen before the all-conquering cross.

" 3. He hath remembered his mercy and truth
towards the house of Israel: all the ends of the earth
have seen the salvation of our God."

In sending the Messiah, God showed himself
mindful of the promises, which " mercy" prompted
him to make, and " truth" required him to perform.
These promises were made to " the house of Israel;"
to the lost sheep of that house, Christ declared him-
self sent; and the apostles offered salvation first to
the Jews : but to them it was never intended that
evangelical blessings should be confined. The pro-
phets spake in plain terms of the call of the Gentiles,
who were to be adopted into the holy family, and
made the children of Abraham. The Gospel was
accordingly preached to the nations, the apostles

Ps. 98.] 361

made their progress through the world, and " all the
ends of the earth saw the salvation of God." The
Jews fell from the faith of their fathers, and, to this
day, continue in their apostacy. And are not the
Gentiles, in their turn, falling away, after the same
example of unbelief? " Remember," yet once
again, O Lord, thy " mercy and truth toward the
house of Israel;" yet once again let " all the ends
of the earth see thy salvation."

" 4. Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the
earth; make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing
praise. 5. Sing unto the Lord M^ith the harp;
with the harp, and the voice of a psalm. 6. With
trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise
before the Lord the King."

The Psalmist, beholding in spirit the accomplish-
ment of the promises, the advent of Christ, and the
glory of his kingdom, thinks it criminal in any crea-
ture to be silent; he bids the whole earth break
forth into joy, and exult in God our Saviour, with
every token of gratitude and thankfulness ; with
voices, and instruments of all kinds, in perfect har-
mony, with tempers and affections according in like
manner, men are enjoined to sound aloud the praises
of their great Redeemer.

" 7. Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof;
the world, and they that dwell therein. 8. Let the
floods clap their hands, let the hills be joyful to-
gether, 9. Before the Lord; for he cometh to
judge the earth : with righteousness shall he judge
the world, and the people with equity."

The inanimate parts of creation are called upon


[Ps, 99.

to bear their parts in the new song, and to fill up
the universal chorus of praise and thanksgiving, in
honour of him that sitteth upon the throne. Or,
perhaps, the converted heathen nations are intended
under the figures of the " sea," the " rivers," and
the " hills," and their exultations expressed by the
noise of many waters, their beauty and fruitfulness
by those of the hills, when, crowned with plenty,
they, as it were, laugh and sing, at the approach of
harvest. The subject of this general joy is, as be-
fore, in Psalm xcvi. 13. the advent of Messiah to
reform the world, to execute judgment upon the
wicked, and to establish a kingdom of righteousness
upon the earth. We expect his second advent to
restore all things, to judge the world, to condemn
his enemies, and to begin his " glorious" reign.
Then shall heaven and earth rejoice, and the joy of
the redeemed shall be full.


ARGUMENT. — Under images borrowed from the old dispensa-
tion, the prophet celebrates, 1. the reign of Messiah, and the
submission of his enemies ; 2 — 4. his exaltation, holiness,
power, and justice ; which, 5. men are exhorted to acknowledge
and adore. 6 — 9. The examples of Moses, Aaron, and Sam-
uel, are introduced, to encourage us in worshipping and serv-
ing our God and Saviour.

" 1. The Lord reigneth, let the people tremble :
he sitteth between the cherubims; let the earth be
moved, or^ bow."

Jehovah reigneth in the Christian church, as he
did of old in the Jewish temple ; when he appeared

Ps. 99.]


between the cherubims in the holy of holies, in the
form and likeness of a man, encompassed with
" glory:" Ezek. i. 26. Numb. vii. 89. he subdued
the enemies of Israel, when they raged most furiously
against his people; he will also bring into subjection
the adversaries of the Gospel, and finally render us
victorious over the powers of darkness. The pas-
sions and affections may mutiny and rebel; but if
Christ reign in the heart by faith, they must soon
tremble and submit.

'' 2. The Lord is great in Sion, and he is high
above all people. 3. Let them praise thy great and
terrible name : for it is holy."

The power and pre-eminence of the Redeemer,
whom no creature is able to resist, are reasons why
all should save themselves, by yielding in time to
his sceptre; by taking the benefit of his protection,
instead of incurring his displeasure; by " praising
his great, terrible, and holy name," instead of
suffering the almighty vengeance, which he, who
owns that name, can inflict.

" 4. The King's strength also loveth judgment ;
thou dost establish equity, thou executest judgment
and righteousness in Jacob. 5. Exalt ye the Lord
our God, and worship at his footstool : for he 7.9

For although the " strength" of our King be
infinite, yet it is never exerted, but in " righte-
ousness" and just " judgment," which are his de-
light: they compose the firm basis of his throne, and
direct his whole administration. Impenitent rebels
must feel the weight of his arm, and none can accuse


[Ps. 99.

the justice of their punishment : but in all other
cases, he is " mighty only to save:" Isa. Ixiii. 1.
This holiness of his proceedings, this due tempera-
ment of justice with mercy, the redeemed are ex-
horted to acknowledge and to proclaim, falling down
before the throne, and uttering the angelical trisa-
gion, " Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty,
which was, and is, and is to come."

" 6. Moses and Aaron among his priests, or chief
rulers, and Samuel among them that call upon his
name; they called upon the Lord, and he answered
them. 7. He spake unto them in the cloudy pillar:
they kept his testimonies, and the ordinance that he
gave them."

To encourage the faithful in the worship of God,
the examples of Moses, Aaron, and Samuel, are
adduced, men of like infirmities with ourselves,
whose prayers were heard, both for themselves and
others, and answers were returned to them from the
mystic " cloud," that symbol of the divine presence,
which, for a while, was itinerant with the camp in
the wilderness, and then became fixed in the taber-
nacle at Shiloh, till its last removal to mount Sion.
These men were heard through the intercession of
the great Mediator, whom they represented. Through
that same intercession, our prayers also are heard,
if we " keep his testimonies, and the ordinances that
he hath given us."

" 8. Thou answeredst them, O Lord our God:
thou wast a God that forgavest them, though thou
tookest vengeance of their inventions."

The construction of the verse seems to be this:

Ps. 99.] 365

" O Lord our God, thou didst hear, or answer
them," that is, the afore-mentioned typical media-
tors, Moses, Aaron, and Samuel; " thou becamest
a forbearing God for them," or, at their intercession;
and that, " even when punishing," or, when thou
hadst begun to punish, " the wicked deeds of them,"
that is, not of Moses, Aaron, and Samuel, but of
the people, who had transgressed, and for whom
they interceded. This was the case, when Moses
interceded for the idolaters ; Exod. xxxii. 32. Aaron
for the schismatics; Numb. xvi. 47. and Samuel for
the whole nation; 1 Sam. vii. 9. " Pray one for
another," saith an apostle to Christians, " that ye
may be healed : the effectual fervent prayer of a
righteous man availeth much." James v. 16.

" 9. Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at
his holy hill: for the Lord our God is holy."

The Psalmist repeats his exhortation, enforced
by the preceding examples of Moses, Aaron, and
Samuel, and again invites all people to worship a
" holy" God in a " holy" place, and to adore the
consummate rectitude of all his proceedings, singing,
with the spirits above, " Great and marvellous are
thy works. Lord God Almighty; just and true are
thy ways thou King of saints." Rev. xv. 3«

366 [ps. 100.


ARGUMENT. — The Psalmist invites all the world to join witli
the Israelites in the service of him who was kind and gracious
to them beyond expression. Accordingly, we Christians now
properly use this Psalm in acknowledgment of God's wonderful
love to us in Christ ; by whom we offer up continually spiritual
sacrifices, for redeeming us by the sacrifice which he made of
himself; for making the world anew, and creating us again unto
good works ; according to his feithful promises, which we may
depend upon for ever. Patrick.

" 1. Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye
lands: 2. Serve the Lord with gladness: come
before his presence with singing."

The prophet addresseth himself to " all lands,"
or to " all the earth ;" to Gentiles as well as Jews.
He exhorteth them to " make a joyful noise," a
noise like that of the trumpets at the time of jubilee,
a sound of universal triumph and exaltation, in
honour of " Jehovah," now become their Lord and
Saviour. The service of this our Master is perfect
freedom; it is a service of love, a freedom from
Pharaoh and the task-masters, from Satan and our
own imperious lusts; it is a redemption from the
most cruel bondage, into the glorious liberty of the
sons of God. Let us therefore do as we are com-
manded; let us " serve the Lord with gladness;"
and when we come " before his presence" in the
temple, let it be " with singing" to the praise and
glory of our Redeemer. Thus he is served in hea-
ven, and thus he dehghteth to be served on earth.

" 3. Know ye that the Lord he is God, it is
he t/iat hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are

ps. 100.] ^^7

his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Or, He
hath made us, and we are his*, his people, and the
sheep of his pasture."

The motives here urged for serving and praising
Jehovah, are the same with those above, in Psalm
xcv. 6, 7. namely, that he is our " God," engaged
by covenant on our behalf; that his hands created
us, and have since new created us; that we stand
in 'the peculiar relation of his " people," whom he
hath chosen to himself, and over whom he presideth
as King ; that we are " the sheep of his pasture,"
for whom the good Shepherd laid down his life, and
whom he nourisheth, by the word and sacraments,
unto eternal life. These are points which every
Christian ought to "know" and believe, unto his
soul's health. And whoever doth know them aright,
will ever be ready with heart and voice to obey the
injunction which followeth in the next verse.

« 4. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and
into his courts with praise; be thankful unto him,
aJid bless his name."

The Christian church is a temple, whose " gates"
stand continually open, for the admission of the na-
tions from all the four quarters of the world. Kev. xxi.
13 25 Into the " courts" of this temple, which
are' now truly « courts of the Gentiles," all men
are invited to come, and offer their evangelical sacri-
fices of " confession and praise;" to express their

♦ « I am persuaded that the Masoretical correction ibi (and we

t da'^se te r^d"ei intenoptively-" Are not we Ins people,
and the sheep of his pasture ?

368 [Ps. 101.

gratitude to their Saviour, and " bless" his gracious
and hallowed " name.'* How glorious will be that
day, which shall behold the everlasting gates of
heaven lifting up their heads, and disclosing to
view those courts above, into which the children of
the resurrection are to enter, there, with angels and
archangels, to dwell and sing for evermore !

" 5. For the Lord is good; his mercy is ever-
lasting : and his truth endureth to all generations/'

'' Jehovah is good ;" he is the source of all
beauty and perfection in the creature; how alto-
gether lovely must he needs be in himself! " His
mercy is everlasting," extending through time into
eternity ; and " his truth," or fidelity in accomplish-
ing his promises, " endureth to all generations," evi-
denced to the whole race of mankind, from Adam to
his last born son. The Psalms which celebrate these
attributes, will never, therefore, be out of date, but
each successive generation will chant them with fresh
propriety, and fresh delight, until by saints and an-
gels they are sung new in the kingdom of God.


ARGUMENT. — In the person of David, advanced to the throne
of Israel, we hear king Messiali declaring how he intended to
walk, and to govern his household the church ; and also de-
scribing the qualifications which he should require in his minis-
ters and servants.

"LI will sing of mercy and judgment: unto
thee, O Lord, will I sing."

David, having determined to sing unto Jehovah,
chooseth for his theme " mercy and judgment;" either

Ps. 101.] 369

that mercy which God hath shown to him, and that
judgment which hath been inflicted on his enemies;
or else, that upright administration of mercy and
judgment, with which he himself intended to bless
his people. The righteous administration of mercy
and judgment in the kingdom of Messiah, is a topic
on which his subjects always expatiate with pleasure
and profit. His mercy encourageth the greatest of
sinners to hope ; his judgments forbid the best of
men to presume.

'' 2. I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way:

when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within
my house with a perfect heart."

In return for the favours of heaven, we hear the
Israelitish monarch declaring his resolution to set his
court and kingdom an example of true wisdom, and
unshaken integrity; at the same time, sighing for that
visitation of divine grace, which alone could enable
him to put his resolution in practice. — " O when wilt
thou come unto me?" This was ever the voice of
the church, longing for the presence of God in human
nature, " O when wilt thou come unto me ?" And
this must ever be the wish of a Christian, who knoweth,
that though in himself he be nothing, yet that he can
do all things through Christ, who strengtheneth him
by his Spirit in the inner man. Messiah was the
only King of Israel, whose life held forth to his sub-
jects a pattern of wisdom and righteousness, and
whose death procured them grace, in their difierent
measures and degrees, to follow it.

" 3. I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes:

1 hate the work of them that turn aside, it shall not
cleave to me."

370 [Ps. 101.

" I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes;"
that is, I will not propose to myself, or think of car-
rying into execution, any iniquitous scheme of poli-
tics, however advantageous and tempting it may ap-
pear; I will turn away my eyes and my attention, and
reject it at once: " I hate the work of them that turn
aside; " of them who, in their counsels and their ac-
tions, deviate from the divine law to serve their own
interest ; " it shall not cleave to me;" no such corrupt
principle shall adhere to my soul, or find a place in
my affections. How noble a resolution for a king to
make; but how difficult a one for a king to keep !
Thou only, O King of Righteousness, didst never set
any wicked thing before thine eyes ; thou only hadst
a perfect aversion to the ways of transgressors.

" 4. A froward heart shall depart from me : I
will not know a wicked person."

As is the king, so will be the court; as is the
master of the house, such will be those of his house-
hold. David, having resolved to " walk within his
house with a perfect," a sincere and upright " heart,"
determines at the same time to expel from thence all
whose hearts were perverted and depraved : as he
^vould " set no wicked thing before his eyes," so
neither would he form any connexions with " wicked
persons;" they should not be of his acquaintance,
much less should they be his favourites. In the same
manner speaketh our heavenly King, with regard to
the appointment of his ministers and servants — " I
know you not, whence you are; depart from me, all
ye workers of iniquity." Luke xiii. 27.

" 5. Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him

Ps. 101.] 371

will I cut ofF: him that hath an high look, and a
proud, or, extended, and therefore^ insatiable, heart,
will not I suffer."

Detraction, ambition, and avarice, are three weeds
which spring and flourish in the rich soil of a court.
The Psalmist declareth his resolution to undertake
the difficult task of eradicating them, for the benefit
of his people, that Israelites might not be harassed
by informers, or oppressed by insolent and rapacious
ministers. Shall we imagine these vices less odious
in the eyes of that King whose character was composed
of humility and charity? or will Christ admit those
tempers into the court of heaven, which David de-
termined to exclude from his court upon earth ?

'' 6. Mine eyes shall he upon the faithful of the
land, that they may dwell with me : he that walketh
in a perfect way, he shall serve me."

The " eyes" of princes cannot be better employed
than in looking around them, in order to choose, from
among their own subjects, fit and able men to trans-
act the public business; men of inviolable "fidelity,"
and unshaken integrity; men who know how to think
aright, and how to speak what they think ; men like-
wise who " walk in the perfect way" of holiness, who
do not disgrace their politics by their lives, or preju-
dice their master's cause by their sins, more than they
can ever advance it by their abilities. Bishops may
be called the " eyes" of Christ ; they are to " over-
look" his people, and we pray him at the seasons of
ordination, " so to guide and govern their minds, that
they may faithfully and wisely make choice of fit per-
sons to serve in the sacred ministry of the church."

'' 7. He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within

372 [Ps. 101.

my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my

To purge a court of " deceit" and " falsehood,"
was a resolution worthy king David, worthy the re-
presentative of him, who styleth himself the truth,
from whose heavenly palace and city will be ^or ever
excluded, as St. John informeth us, " whosoever
loveth and maketh a lie." Rev. xxii. 15.

" 8. I will early destroy all the wicked of the
land : that I may cut off all wicked doers from the
city of the Lord."

Every earthly prince should consider himself as
raised to a throne, and invested with power, " for
the punishment of wickedness and vice, and the
maintenance of God's true religion and virtue."
" Early," therefore, in the " morning" of his reign,
he should set about the work of reformation, that so
the blessings of heaven may descend upon himself

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