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

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can launch against his soul.

" 4. I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I
will trust in the covert of thy wings."

They who sojourn in the " tabernacle" of the
church militant on earth, and continue faithful mem-
bers of the same, shall take up their eternal residence
in that permanent " temple," the church triumphant
in heaven. Below they are protected by the all-
shadowing " wing" of God's fatherly providence;
above, they will be rewarded with the all-illuminat-
ing vision of his glorious presence.

" 5. For thou, O God, hast heard my vows ;
thou hast given me the heritage of those that fear
thy name."

The " vows" of David, made during his banish-
ment, were heard, and he was restored to the pos-
session of his kingdom, in that land which God had
given to his people, for a " heritage." The vows
of Messiah, made in the days of his pilgrimage, were
heard, and he hath re-assumed his ancient throne in
the heavenly Jerusalem. The prayers of the faith-
ful, made in the land where they are in exile, are
heard, and their spirits shall return to God, who
will " give them the heritage of those that fear his

Ps. 61.] 87

" 6. Thou wilt prolong the king's life; and his
years as many generations. 7. He shall abide be-
fore God for ever: O prepare mercy and truth,
xvhich may preserve him. Or^ 6. Thou wilt add
days to the days of the king: his years as genera-
tion and generation. 7. He shall dwell before God
for ever; mercy and truth shall preserve him."

These words must be applied to Him, of whom
it was said by the angel, " The Lord God shall give
unto him the throne of his father David; and he
shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and
of his kingdom there shall be no end:" Luke i. 32.
The ancient church prayed for " his" exaltation and
glory, under those of his representative : nay, the
Chaldee paraphrast expounds this passage of Messiah
only: " Thou shalt add days to the days of King
Messias; his years shall be as the generation of this
world, and of the world to come." Nor can a
better paraphrase be easily devised.

" 8. So will I sing praise unto thy name for
ever, that I may daily perform my vows."

For the preservation and prosperity, the exaltation,
the power, and the everlasting glory of Christ's
kingdom, with all the benefits and blessings thereof,
we are bound to sing praise unto God's holy name
for ever, and daily to perform the vows made in
baptism, that we would believe in him, and serve
him, all the days of our life; until that blessed day
shall dawn, which no night is to follow, when faith
shall end in vision, and duty be resolved into praise.

E 2

88 [Ps. 62.


Tivel/ih Day, — Morning Prayer,

ARGUMENT. — This Psalm containeth, 1, 2. a resolution to
trust in God alone ; 3, 4. a denunciation of judgment against
the persecutors of the Just One ; 5—7. a repeated act of faith,
and resolution to trust in God, with, 8. an exhortation to all
nations to do the same ; and that, 9, 10. because there is no
confidence to he placed in man, or in the world; but only, 11.
in the divine power, and, 12. mercy.

"1. Truly my soul waiteth, or, resteth upon
God: ixom him cometh my salvation.. 2. He only
is my rock, and my salvation; Jie is my defence,
Heb. high place ; I shall not be greatly moved."

David, in the midst of trouble, and perhaps tempt-
ed to have recourse to sinful expedients for his pre-
servation, determines still to repose all his confidence
on the promised mercy of him who is the " salvation,"
the " rock," and the " high place," or fortress, of
men. Christ would not be delivered from his suf-
ferings, by any other means than those which the
Father had ordained. The church, in like manner,
should patiently wait for the salvation of God, and
not attempt, through distrust of the divine mercy, to
save herself by unwarrantable methods, of her own

" 3. How long will ye imagine mischief against
a man? Ye shall be slain all of you : as a bowing
wall shall ye he^ and as a tottering fence."

From a declaration of his trust in God, the pro-
phet passeth to an expostulation with his enemies, for

Ps. 62.] 89

continually plotting against him; and foretelleth, that
their destruction will happen suddenly and irremedi-
ably, like the downfal of a wall that is out of the per-
pendicular, or a stone fence, the parts of which are
not cemented together. See Isa. xxx. 13. How
striking is this expostulation, and this prediction, if
considered as addressed by Messiah to his implacable

'* 4. They only consult to cast him down from
his excellency; they delight in lies; they bless with
their mouth, but they curse inwardly.''

The adversaries of David " consulted" how to de-
prive him of those honours to which God designed
to exalt him; the Scribes and Pharisees took counsel
against Jesus, with the same intent; and to rob the
Christian of the glory and immortality prepared for
him, is the end of every temptation which the enemy
throws in his way, whether it be of the terrifying, or,
which oftener succeeds, the flattering, alluring, and
deceiving kind.

'' 5. My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my
expectation is from him. 6. He only is my rock
and my salvation; he is my defence, or, high place;
I shall not be moved. 7. In God is my salvation,
and my glory; the rock of my strength, and my re-
fuge, is in God."

The consideration suggested in the preceding
verse, namely, that the enemy is ever intent upon
our ruin, should stir us up, after the prophet's ex-
ample to renew our faith, and strengthen ourselves
yet more and more, continually, in the Lord our
God, who alone giveth victory, salvation, and glory.

90 [Ps. 62.

" 8. Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour
out your hearts before him: God is a refuge for us.'*

The comforts which David had found, he exhort-
eth others to seek, in faith and prayer; in such a
faith as fixeth itself on God, when the whole world
is against it; and such prayer, as poureth forth all
the desires of the soul into the bosom of the Al-
mighty. How often, in repeating the Psalms, do
we declare, that " God is our refuge;" yet how very
seldom do we recur to him, as such, in the hour of
temptation !

" 9. Surely men of low degree are vanity, and
men of high degree are a lie ; to be laid in the bal-
ance, they are altogether lighter than vanity."

A reason is here assigned^, why we should at all
times '* trust in God;" namely, because there is no-
thing else, in which we can trust, but it will in the
end deceive us. Weighed in the *' balance" of hea-
ven, the power of man to save, is "less than no-
thing." Let us, weigh every thing in that exact and
faithful balance.

" 10. Trust not in oppression, and become not
vain in robbery; if riches increase, set not your heart
upon themJ^

Of all things here below, wealth is that on which
poor deluded man is chiefly tempted, even to the end
of life, to place his confidence; and when "riches in-
crease," it proves a hard task for the human heart to
keep its affections sufficiently detached from them.
But he who by injustice acquireth the earthly mam-

Ps. 62.] 91

mon, justly forfeiteth the treasures of heaven; and he
who is made vahi and covetous by money, however
honestly gotten, renders that a curse to one, which
was designed as a blessing to many, and drowns himself
in the spring which should have watered all around

" 11. God hath spoken once; twice have I heard
this, 07*, these two things have I heard ; that power
belongeth unto God. 12. Also unto thee, O Lord,
helongeth mercy; for thou renderest to every man
according to his work."

In opposition to the vain boasts of worldly men,
trusting in their riches, &c. is cited the declaration
of God, when, from mount Sinai, he proclaimed him-
self to be Jehovah, the fountain of all " power," in
heaven above, and on earth beneath, jealous of the
glory of this attribute, ready to avenge himself on
the wicked, and able to abase the pride of man. At
the same time also, he proclaimed himself " the Lord
God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and
abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for
thousands, forgiving iniquity, and transgression, and
sin;" Exod. xxxiv. 6. To all mankind, therefore,
the prophet here recommendeth meditation on these
two most interesting subjects, the " power" of God
to " punish sin, and his mercy" to pardon it. Fear
of the former will beget desire of the latter, and both
together will set a man upon doing works worthy of
their parent faith ; works, which God, of his infinite
" mercy," for the sake of Christ, has graciously pro-
mised to accept, and to " reward,"

92 [Ps. ea


ARGUMENT. — David, in the wilderness of Judah, expresseth,
1, 2. his longing desire after the presence of God, and the di-
vine pleasures of the sanctuary ; 3 — 6. he blesseth and praiseth
God both day and night, in the midst of affliction, and, 7, 8.
declareth his faith to be immoveable; 9, 10. he predicteth the
fate of the wicked, with, 11. the exaltation, triumph, and glory
of Messiah, to be exhibited in his own. The whole Psalm is
applicable to the circumstances of Christ In the flesh, and to
those of his people in the world.

" 1. O God, thou art my God; early will I seek
thee ; my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for
thee, in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is :
2. To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen
thee in the sanctuary."

After the example of the persecuted David in the
wilderness of Judah, and that of the afflicted Jesus
upon earth, the true Christian dedicates to God '' the
sweet hour of prime ;" he opens the eyes of his un-
derstanding, together with those of his body, and
awakes, each morning, to righteousness. He arises,
with an inextinguishable thirst after those comforts
which the world cannot give ; and has immediate re-
course, by prayer, to the fountain of the water of
life; ever longing to behold the divine power and
glory, in the sanctuary above, of which he has been
favoured with some glimpse, in the services of the
church below.

" 3. Because thy loving-kindness is better than
life, ray lips shall praise thee."

Pa. 63.]


" Life" is the greatest of earthly blessings, all
others being included in it; "all that a man hath,"
saith Satan, " will he give for his life :" Job ii. 4.
Not so the Psalmist. He knew a pearl of far greater
price, namely, the " loving-kindness" of Jehovah,
on which is suspended not only the life which now
is, but that which is to come. The sense of this
loving-kindness tuned the harp of the son of Jesse,
and now tunes those of the spirits before the throne,

" 4. Thus will I bless thee while I live ; I will
lift up my hands in thy name."

" While we live," however wretched our condi-
tion may be, we have an opportunity of obtaining
pardon, grace, and glory; for which we ought, at all
times, " to bless" God, " lifting up pure hands" in
prayer, employing them in every good work, and all
in the " name" of Jesus.

"5. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow
and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joy-
ful lips: 6. When I remember thee upon my bed,
and meditate on thee in the night-w a.tches"

Splitude and stillness render the " night-watches"
a fit season for meditation on the so often experi-
enced mercies of God; which, when thus called to re-
membrance, become a delicious repast to the spirit,
filHng it with all joy, and peace, and consolation ;
giving songs in the night, and making darkness itself
cheerful. How cheerful, then, will be that last
morning, when the righteous, awaking up after the
divine likeness, shall be " satisfied" with all the ful-

E 3

94 [Pg. ea

ness of God, and " praise him with joyful lips,'* in
those eternal courts, where there is no night, and
from whence sorrow and sighing fly far away !

** 7. Because thou hast been my help, therefore
under the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice. 8. My
soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand up-
holdeth me."

Recollection of past mercies inclines the soul to
put herself under the '' wing" of an all-shadowing
Providence. Should her Redeemer, for a time, seem
to be deserting her, faith constraineth her to " follow
hard after him," as a child doth after .the father; and
not to let go the *' hand" which hath so often " up-
holden" her from falling.

'* 9. But those that seek my soul to destroy zV,
shall go into the lower parts of the earth. 10. They
shall fall by the sword ; they shall be a portion for

The enemies of Jehovah, and his Anointed, if
they come not to a violent death, an early grave, or
to have their carcasses devoured by the beasts of the
field, (as hath sometimes been the case), yet in an
after-state, their condition will certainly be deplor-
able. Their habitation must be in the "pit;" their
punishment, the flaming " sword" of almighty ven-
geance ; and their companions, those crafty and ma-
licious ones, who, having contributed to seduce, will
help to torment them.

" 11. But the king shall rejoice in God ; every one
that sweareth by him shall glory: but the mouth of
them that speak lies shall be stopped."

Ps. 64.] 95

If David found cause to rejoice in God, who gave
him the victory over all his enemies ; if the subjects
of David might well glory in their king; if the slan-
derers of David were put to silence, at beholding him
exalted to the throne of Israel; how much greater is
the joy of Messiah in the Godhead, giving the man-
hood victory over his enemies, sin, death, and hell;
how much rather may his subjects and worshippers
glory in their triumphant King; and how much more
shall the blasphemers of such a Saviour be everlast-
ingly confounded, when they shall behold him in-
vested with all the power and majesty of the Father,
and seated on the throne of judgment ! Surely,
then, '' the mouth of them that speak lies shall be


ARGUMENT. — David, in the person of Messiah, 1, 2. prayeth
to be delivered from his enemies, from their counsels and in-
surrections ; 3, 4. he describeth their calumnies and slanders,
their scoffs and blasphemies, and, 5, 6. their indefatigable m*-
t lice ; predicting, 7 — 9. their astonishing fall, with, 10. the ex-
altation of the church, in God her Saviour.

" 1. Hear my voice, O God, in my prayer; pre-
serve my life from fear of the enemy."

The prophet, after beseeching God to hear him,
prefers his petition, which is, to be " preserved from
fear of the enemy." A petition of this kind is grant-
ed, either by a removal of the ground of fear, when
the enemy's power to hurt is taken from him, or his
will changed; or else, by an extirpation of the fear it-

96 [Ps. 64r.

self, through the increase of faith, charity, and forti-
tude. For the former let us pray conditionally, " if
it may be done, and if it is God's will that it should
be done," as Christ prayed against the bitter cup in
the garden; for the latter, we may pray absolutely;
since a victory, gained by the fear of God over the
fear of man, is a necessary step, and a happy pre-
lude, to a full and final triumph over every enemy
of our salvation.

" 2. Hide me from the secret counsel of the
wicked; from the insurrection of the workers of

The " counsels and insurrections" of the Israelites
against David ; of the same people, afterwards,
against the Son of David ; of worldly and wicked men
against the church; and of the powers of darkness
against us all, are here, respectively, understood to
be deprecated.

" 3. Who whet their tongue like a sword, and
bend their bows to shoot their arrows, eveJi bitter
words: 4. That they may shoot in secret at the
perfect : suddenly do they shoot at him, and fear not."

In personal scoffings and revilings, the tongue
performs the part of a " sword," which is a weapon
that can be used only in open rencounters : but " bit-
ter words," spoken in secret, and at a distance from
him who is the subject of them, are like " arrows,"
which may be shot from an obscure and remote corner,
and therefore cannot be warded oflP. The tongue,
in both these capacities, was employed against that

Ps. 64.] 97

perfect one, the holy Jesus, in the days of his flesh.
Would to God it had never been since employed
against him and his disciples, or by his disciples
against each other!

'' 5. They encourage themselves in an evil mat-
ter; they commune of laying snares privily; they say,
Who shall see them ?"

Sin doth not often appear abroad without a veil ;
and the more atrocious the sin, the more specious
must be the pretence which is to cover it. Envy
and malice crucified the Son of God; but, during the
course of the proceedings against him, you hear only
of zeal for the law, and loyalty to Csesar. Such are
the '' snares," set by the crafty, to deceive the sim-
ple and unwary; without considering that the broad
eye of heaven, all the time, surveys their most secret
devices, by which they impose upon others, and fre-
quently upon themselves.

'* 6. They search out iniquities; they accomplish
a diligent search ; both the inward thought of every
one of them, and the heart, is deep."

Truth and righteousness may be found, and prac-
tised, with half the pains that are often employed to
" search out iniquity," and establish error. The
Jews could not accomplish the death of Christ, with-
out counsels, stratagems, and subornations, " deep"
and dark as hell itself: all which trouble they might
have saved themselves at once, by believing on him.
The case is the same with virtue and vice ; and ho-
nesty is the readiest, as well as the best, policy.

98 [Ps. 64.

'' 7. But God shall shoot at them %mth an arrow ;
suddenly shall they be wounded. 8. So they shall
make their own tongue to fall upon themselves : all
that see them shall flee away."

While the enemies of the " Just One" were
shooting in secret at him, he that dwelleth in the
heavens was levelling an arrow at them, and one
which would not fail to take place. It accordingly
did so ; and the direful imprecations of " their own
tongues fell," in unexampled vengeance, on the heads
of them, and their children, who continued to justify
the deeds of their fathers. All would " flee away"
from the punishment of Jerusalem ; let all, then, de-
part from the sins which occasioned it.

" 9. And all men shall fear, and shall declare the
work of God; for they shall wisely consider of his

It is remarkable, that the desolation of the once
holy and beloved city filled " all men with fear" and
astonishment, forcing them to acknowledge and "de-
clare" it to be the " work of God." Even Titus,
the Roman emperor, confessed, that he had fought,
and conquered, by the favour, and under the direc-
tion, of Heaven. O that men would " wisely con-
sider" of this, and other wonderful works of the
Almighty !

*' 10. The righteous shall be glad in the Lord,
and shall trust in him ; and all the upright in heart
shall glory."

As sorrow, sooner or later, will be the portion of

Ps. 65-1 99

Messiah's enemies, so joy is the high privilege of his
friends and disciples. The " righteous" man alone
can he truly " glad," because he alone can be glad
" in the Lord" Jesus, the object of all his confidence.
There was light in Goshen, when darkness covered the
Egyptians ; the Christian church drank the cup of sal-
vation, when that of vengeance was mingled for Jeru-
salem ; and when the empire of Satan shall fall, hea-
ven will resound with hallelujahs.


Twelfth Day. — Evening Prayer.

ARGUMENT. — In this very lovely song of Sion, the prophet
treats, 1. of the praise due to Jehovah, for, 2. his mercy in
hearing the prayers of his servants, and, 3. in redeeming them
from their sins ; 4. he declareth the blessedness of the elect in
Christ their head; 5. predicteth the wonderful things which
God would do for the salvation of men, by that power which,
6, 7. established the mountains, and confined the sea within
its bounds ; 8. foretelleth the conversion of the nations ; and,
9 — 13. describeth the blessed effects of the Spirit poured out
upon the church, under the figure of rain, descending upon a
dry ground.

" L Praise waiteth for thee, O God, in Sion ;
and unto thee shall the vow be performed."

The obligations of " praise and thanksgiving" were
formerly offered, and all '' vows" were paid, in the
temple on mount " Sion." At Jerusalem was per-
formed the promise of man's redemption by the sacri-
fice of the Son of God ; since which event, and the

100 [Ps. e5,

call of the Gentiles, the Christian church has been
the holy city and temple. In our communion, we
are to offer up our devotions, and to perform the vow
made in baptism; until we come to the heavenly
Sion, to pay our vows, with the church triumphant,
in everlasting hymns of praise.

" 2. O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall
all flesh come."

The prophet here foretells, that, on account of
God's mercy, in hearing the prayers of his people,
" flesh," that is, all mankind, out of every nation,
should " come" at his gracious call, and make their
supplications before him in his church. And to
whom should " all flesh come" but to him that '* hear-
eth prayer?"

" 3. Iniquities prevail against me ; as for our
transgressions, thou shalt purge them away."

The chief subject of the prayers, made by all flesh
to God, is the forgiveness of sin; in order to which
it must be confessed. The verse, therefore, con-
sisteth of two parts. First, an acknowledgment of
guilt, " Iniquities prevail against me ;" like where-
unto is St. Paul's complaint, " O wretched man that
I am ; who shall deliver me from this body of
death !" The second part of the verse intimates an
assurance of pardon, through the blood of the Lamb.
*' As for our transgressions, thou shalt purge them
away :'* exactly corresponding to the answer, which
the apostle returneth to himself; " I thank God,
through Jesus Christ our Lord :" Rom. vii. 25.

Fs. 65.] 101

" 4. Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and
causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in
thy courts; we shall be satisfied with the goodness of
thy house, even of thy holy temple."

Blessed are they who are chosen out of the world,
and admitted to the privileges of the church ; still
more blessed are they, who are chosen out of the
congregation to stand continually in the presence of
God, and to minister in his courts ; but blessed above
all blessing and praise, is the man Christ Jesus, elect,
precious, chosen of God to be a high priest for ever;
to make intercession for his people in the courts of
heaven ; that where he is, they may be also. Then
shall we indeed be satisfied with the " pleasures of thy
house, O Lord, even of thy holy temple."

'' 5. Bi/ terrible, or, wonderful, things in righ-
teousness wilt thou answer us, O God of our salva-
tion; who art the confidence of all the ends of the
earth, and of them that are afar off upon the sea."

The ancient church foretelleth, that God would
" answer" her prayers for the coming of Messiah,
"by wonderful things in righteousness;" which was
brought to pass, by the death and resurrection of
Christ, the overthrow of idolatry, and the conversion
of the nations. Then " the God of salvation" be-
came " the confidence of all the ends of the earth,"
and the inhabitants of the most distant " island" be-
lieved in Jesus. By " wonderful things in righte-
ousness," will the prayers of the church, which now
is, be answered at the second manifestation of the
Son of God, in the glory of his Father.

102 [Ps. 65.

" 6. Which by his strength setteth fast the
mountains bei7ig girded with power: 7. Which
stilleth the noise of the seas, the noise of their
waves, and the tumult of the people."

That power which originally fixed the foundations
of the " mountains," and which, from time to time,
controls the " waves" of the sea, is engaged in the
support and preservation of the church ; and will
never suffer the *' waves" of this troublesome world
to overwhelm the " mountain of his holiness."

" 8. They also that dwell in the uttermost parts
are afraid at thy tokens; thou makest the outgoings
of the morning and evening to rejoice."

The " tokens," or signs, mentioned in this verse,
are the exertions of divine power and mercy, called
above, " wonderful things in righteousness;" which,
at the publication of the Gospel, produced a saving
"fear" of God among the nations, " dwelling in the
uttermost parts of the earth." " The isles," saith
Isaiah on the same occasion, "saw it, and feared;

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