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

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the ends of the earth were afraid; they drew near,
and came:" Isa. xli. 5. And then it was, that "_^the
outgoings of the morning and evening," all the in-
habitants of the earth, as many as experienced the
sweet vicissitudes of day and night, of morning and
evening, were " made to rejoice" in God their Savi-
our ; whose name was praised, from the rising to the
setting sun.

" 9. Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it :
thou greatly enrich est it with the river of God,
which is full of water: thou preparest them corn,

Pb. 65.]


when thou hast so provided for it ; or, for so thou
hast established, or, constituted, it."

Under the beautiful image of a once barren and
dry land, rendered fruitful by kindly showers of
rain, turning dearth into plenteousness, are represent-
ed here (as in Isa. xxxv. and numberless other places)
the gracious " visitation" of the church by the Spirit;
the " riches" of grace and mercy, poured upon the
hearts of men, from the exhaustless " river of God;"
and the bountiful provision made thereby, for the
relief of that spiritual famine which had been sore
in all lands. See Isa. iv. 10. Rev. xxii. 1. Amos
viii. 11.

" 10. Thou waterest the ridges thereof abun-
dantly; thou settlest the furrows thereof: thou mak-
est it soft with showers : thou blessest the springing

After the ground is ploughed up, the former rain,
descending upon the " ridges," and into the " fur-
rows," dissolveth the parts of the earth, and so-fitteth
it for the purposes of vegetation, whenever the seed
shall be cast into it: then cometh the latter rain, to
assist, and to " bless the springing" and increase
thereof, unto a joyful harvest. Thus doth the good
Spirit of God both prepare the hearts of his people
for the reception of the word, and also enable them
to bear fruit, bringing forth " some an hundred fold,
some sixty, some thirty." Matt. xiii. 23.

"11. Thou crownest the year with thy good-
ness; and thy paths, or, clouds, or, heavens, drop

104 [Ps 65.

The herbs, fruits, and flowers, produced by the
earth, are here finely represented, as a beautifully
variegated " crown," set upon her head, by the
hands of her great Creator ; at whose command, the
heavens, by collecting and distilling the drops of
rain, impregnate her, and make her the parent of
terrestrial blessings. It is the same God who will
crown with everlasting goodness the acceptable year,
the year of his redeemed; when the Spirit shall have
accomplished his work; when God shall be glorified
in his saints; and heaven, as well as earth, shall be
full of the goodness of Jehovah.

" 12. They drop upon the pastures of the wil-
derness; and the little hills rejoice on every side; or,
are girded about with gladness."

As the rain, which descendeth from heaven, caus-
eth even the barren wilderness to become a green
pasture, and investeth the naked hills with the gar-
ments of joy and gladness; so the Spirit, when pour-
ed out from on high upon the Gentile world, con-
verted that " wilderness" into a " fruitful field ;"
while the churches, there rising on all sides, like little
fertile " hills, rejoiced" with joy unspeakable, and
full of glory. See Isa. xxxii. 15. xxxv. 1, 2.

" 13. The pastures are clothed with flocks; the
valleys also are covered over with corn : they shout
for joy, they also sing."

The happy effects of God's visiting the earth with
rain, are valleys covered with corn, verdant meads,
and thriving flocks. All these ideas, in the prophe-
tical Scriptures, arc frequently transferred to the times

Ps. 66.] 105

of refreshment and consolation, of peace and fruit-
fulness, in the church; which breaks forth into joy,
in the one case, as the world is always ready to do,
in the other. Manifold and marvellous, O Lord,
are thy works, whether of nature or of grace; surely,
in wisdom and loving kindness hast thou made them
all; the earth, in every sense, is full of thy riches!


ARGUMENT.—In this Psalm the prophet, I, 2. exciteth all
the world to sing the praises of God; 3, 4. the power and
universality of his kingdom; 5 — 12. the deliverance of the
church from various afflictions and temptations; for which,
13, 15. we are to offer the sacrifices which had been vowed;
16 — 19. to declare the mercies and loving-kindnesses of the
Lord towards us; and 20. to bless his holy name continu-

" L Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands,
or, all the earth: 2. Sing forth the honour of his
name; make his praise glorious."

" The holy church, throughout all the world," is
here called upon to lift up her voice, like the jubilee
trumpet of old, in thanksgiving; to celebrate that
NAME, which is above every name; and to make the
praise of Jesus glorious, both by word and deed ;
that so others, hearing our voices, and seeing our
works, may be led to glorify him, in like manner.

*' 3. Say unto God, How terrible art thou in thy
works ! through the greatness of thy power shall
thine enemies submit themselves unto thee,"


[Ps. 66.

The subjects proposed are the various and av/ful
manifestations of divine " power;" of that power
which made, and which continues to support, the
world; which overthrows, and raises up, empires;
which subverted the kingdom of Satan, estabUshed
that of Christ, and caused its enemies either to reUn-
quish, or dissemble, their hostility. Happy the man,
whose heart and affections unfeignedly " submit
themselves" to the sceptre of Messiah !

" 4. All the earth shall worship thee, and shall
sing unto thee; they shall sing to thy name."

What David spake in the future, the church now
speaketh in the present tense — " All the earth doth
worship thee, the Father everlasting — Day by day
we magnify thee ; and we worship thy name ever,
world without end." A day is coming when this
shall be the case, in an unlimited sense of the words;
when Jews and Gentiles, quick and dead, heaven
and earth, shall compose one perfect and truly har-
monious choir.

" 5. Come, and see the works of God; he is ter-
rible in his doing toward the children of men. 6. He
turned the sea into dry land : they went through the
flood on foot: there did we rejoice in him."

The prophet, after inviting men to contemplate
" the works of God," sets before them, for that pur-
pose, two great miracles wrought for Israel; namely,
the division of the Red Sea, and that of the river
Jordan ; by the former they escaped Egypt, by the
latter they entered Canaan. Under these two figura-
tive transactions, the Christian church beholds, and,

Ps. 66.] 107

in the words which describe them, she celebrates,
two correspondmg works of mercy wrought for her;
namely, the deliverance of her children from the do-
minion of sin, by the waters of baptism ; and their
admission into the kingdom of heaven, through the
grave and gate of death. If the Israelites rejoiced in
God their Saviour, for the former blessings, much
more, surely, ought we so to do, for the latter.

" 7. He ruleth by his power for ever; his eyes
behold the nations: let not the rebellious, or, the
rebellious shall not, exalt themselves."

The uncontrollable sovereignty, and superintend-
ing providence, of our God and King, are topics on
which we should ever delight to dwell. Establish,
O Lord, thy kingdom within us, and suffer not
our " rebellious" passions to '' exalt themselves"
against it. .

" 8. O bless our God, ye people, and make the
voice of his praise to be heard: 9. Who holdeth
our soul in life, and suffereth not our feet to be

But chiefly are we bound to " bless" and " praise"
God, for that goodness and mercy, by which our
feet are turned back from the ways of death, placed
in the path of " life," and enabled to walk therein,
without falling into perdition ; until, having finished
our pilgrimage in the world, we lie down in peace,
and our flesh resteth sweetly in hope.

" 10. For thou, O God, hast proved us; thou
hast tried us, as silver is tried,"

108 [Ps. 66.

Notwithstanding the mercy of God, and the salva-
tion wrought for us, we are here taught to expect
affliction and tribulation ; which indeed are often-
times necessary; for, having in our composition a
mixture of the earth from whence we came, with a
base alloy of concupiscence, we stand as much in
need of adversity, as metals, in like circumstances,
do of the fire, to refine and purify our tempers. Try
us, O God; but enable us to stand the trial!

" 11. Thou broughtest us into the net; thou
laidest affliction upon our loins. 12. Thou hast
caused men to ride over our heads ; we went through
fire and water; but thou broughtest us into a wealthy

Various calamities are here mentioned, which God
suffers to fall upon his people. As first, their being
" brought into the net," or ensnared and taken cap-
tive by their enemies, whom they had not power to
resist or escape. Secondly, " affliction upon the
loins," or hard servitude under heavy burdens.
Thirdly, " men riding over their heads," or the ma-
nifold oppressions of persecuting tyrants, trampling
them under their feet, like war-horses in the day of
battle. Fourthly, passing " through fire and water,"
or troubles of different and contrary kinds, though
alike deadly and destructive. But he who brought
Israel from among the brick-kilns of Egypt, and
throuirh the waters of the Red Sea, and the river
Jordan, into the promised rest, will bring us safely
through every fiery trial, and through the waves of
a troublesome world, to the land of everlasting peace
and comfort.

Ps. 66.] 109

" 13. I will go into thy house with hurnt-of-
ferings; I will pay thee my vows, 14. Which my
lips have uttered, and my mouth hath spoken, when
I was in trouble. 15. I will ofFer unto thee burnt
sacrifices of fatlings, with the incense of rams : I
will offer bullocks with goats."

Under the Gospel, the obligation of " going to
the house of God" and there 'Spaying vows," still
continues; but the " offerings" are changed. The
legal sacrifices have been abolished by the oblation of
the body of Christ, once for all. This oblation is
commemorated in the eucharist; at the celebration of
which, we now offer up our prayers and praises, our-
selves, our souls and bodies, a reasonable, holy, and
lively sacrifice, acceptable to God, in the name, and
through the merits of the Redeemer. These offer-
ings, if vowed in the season of sickness and sorrow,
should be paid in the days of health and gladness.

" 16. Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and
I will declare what he hath done for my soul."

Every man should be ready, like David, to cele-
brate the mercies of God vouchsafed to him. It is
a debt of gratitude to his Saviour, who is glorified;
and a debt of charity to his brethren, who are edified
thereby; provided only, that it be done with sobriety
and humility.

" 17. I cried unto him with my mouth, and he
was extolled with my tongue."

The mean by which we obtain salvation, is faith;
which, as it showeth us both our disease and our
physician, inclineth us to pray to the latter for a cure
Vol. II. F

110 [Ps. 66.

of the former. Prayer is one gift of God; and every
other gift is obtained by it.

" 18. If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord
will not hear meT

The prayer which is " heard," is the prayer of
the penitent, heartily grieved and wearied with sin,
hating, and longing to be delivered from it. For
God heareth not hypocrites, who, while they out-
wardly disavow, yet inwardly " regard" and cherish
" iniquity ;" from which every one, who nameth the
name of Christ, ought to depart.

" 19. 3ut verily God hath heard me; he hath
attended to the voice of my prayer."

David was heard, when God delivered him from
his enemies, and set him on the throne of Israel :
Christ was heard, when God raised him from the
dead, and exalted him to the right hand of the Ma-
jesty in the heavens : and every man is heard, when
God raises him from sin to righteousness, as an ear-
nest of his future resurrection from dust to glory.
Let every such man praise the Lord, and say, with
David, in the last verse of our Psalm,

" 20. Blessed he God, who hath not turned away
my prayer, nor his mercy from me."

Ps. 67.] Ill


ARGUMENT. — In this evangelical Psalm, the Israelitish church
is introduced as partly praying for, and partly foretelling, the
advent of Christ, and the conversion of the nations, with the
joy and gladness that should be consequent thereupon. The
Cliristian church now uses, and will continue to use, the Psalm
with propriety, until the fulness of the Gentiles shall be come
in, the conversion of the Jews eflFected, and Christ shall appear
the second time, finally to accomplish the salvation of his

" 1. God be merciful unto us, and bless us; a7id
cause his face to shine upon us."

The Israehtish church, by the mouth of the pro-
phet, expresseth her ardent desire after Messiah's
advent and appearance in the flesh ; she prayeth,
that God would be " merciful unto her," as he had
promised ; that, by so doing, he would " bless" her
with the blessings of pardon and peace, of grace and
glory; and, in one word, that he would " cause his
face to shine upon her" by the rising of the Sun of
Righteousness, making her to behold the glory of
God in the face of Jesus Christ, reviving her with
the glad tidings of the Gospel, and enlightening her
with the light of salvation.

" 2. That thy way may be known upon earth,
thy saving health among all nations."

Nor was she studious, as her degenerate children
have since been, to confine the favour of heaven
within her own pale. If she had a good wish for
herself, she had one likewise for others; and there-
fore prayed that the " way" to life eternal might be
** known," not in Jewry alone, but over all the



[Ps. 67.

" earth," and that the virtues of that salutary medi-
cine, which was able to restore health and vigour to
the diseased and languishing spirits of men, might
be published " among all nations."

" 3. Let the people praise thee, O God; let all
the people praise thee."

As if she had said — Hitherto, indeed, blessed
Lord, thou hast thought fit to make me the guardian
and keeper of that great deposit, thy true religion,
from which the nations revolted, and fell; but the
time is coming, when, by the Gospel of thy dear
Son, they shall again be called to the knowledge of
thee. Thy glory, impatient, as it were, of any
longer restraint, and demanding a larger sphere,
shall diffuse itself, like the light of heaven, to the
ends of the world. Hasten, then, O hasten the
dawning of that happy day, when congregations of
converted Gentiles shall every where lift up their
voices, and perhaps in the words of this very Psalm,
sing to thy praise and glory !

" 4. O let the nations be glad, and sing for joy,
for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and
govern the nations upon earth."

And a very sufficient cause, surely, is here assign-
ed, why the " nations" should " be glad, and sing
for joy," upon the erection of Messiah's kingdom
in the midst of them; namely, because he would
" judge the people righteously;" breaking the yoke
of the oppressor, and the iron rod of the prince of
this world; becoming himself an advocate in the
cause of his church ; introducing her into the glorious
liberty of the children of God, whose service is per-

Pg. 68.]


feet freedom; and, with a sceptre, around which jus-
tice and mercy are wreathed together, " governing
the nations upon earth."

" 5. Let the people praise thee, O God; let all
the people praise thee." Chorus repeated^ as above,
ver. 3. " 6. Then shall the earth yield her increase;
a?id God, even our own God, shall bless us.'*

Then, when that long-expected time shall arrive,
" the earth shall yield her increase;" the nations of
the world shall be converted to the faith, and become
fruitful in every good word and work, through the
benediction of heaven upon them.*

" 7. God shall bless us; and all the ends of the
earth shall fear him."

The evangelical " blessings," predicted in this
Psalm, have been long since poured out upon " the
ends of the earth," by the bountiful hand of God
in Christ. Let us beseech him to add yet this to
all his other mercies, that, in return for such un-
merited favours, the redeemed may have grace ever-
more to pay him the tribute of fear and obedience, of
duty and love.


Thirteenth Day. — Morning Prayer,

ARGUMENT. — This beautiful, sublime, and comprehensive,
but very difficult, Psalm, is one of those which the church has
appointed to be used on Whit-sunday. It seems evidently to
have been composed on that festive and joyful occasion, the

* Universse gentes ad Deum convertentur, et electi abunda-
bunt bonis operibus, rerumque omnium copia. — Bossuet.

ll^ [Ps. 68.

removal of the ark to Mount Sion. See 2 Sam. vi. 1 Chron.
XV.* Under this figure, David, foreseeing the exaltation of
Messiah, speaks of him, whom he describes, 1,2. as arising,
and vanquishing his enemies ; 3 — 6. as causing the faithful to
rejoice, and showing mercy to the afflicted ; 7 — 15. as bring-
ing his church out of bondage, supporting her in the world by
the Word and the Spirit, purging away her corruptions, and
subduing her adversaries; the groundwork being laid in the
history of the Egyi^tian deliverance, the Manna and the Law
given in the wilderness, and the overthrow of the Canaanitish
nations. 16 — 20. David returns to the scene before him,
celebrates the ascension of Christ with power and great glory,
to the heavenly Sion, and the gifts he should from thence pour
down upon men; 21 — 23. foretells the vengeance he would
take on his opposers ; 24— -28. sets forth the order of the
church in her services ; 29 — 31. predicts the conversion of
the nations ; all of whom, 32 — 35. he exhorts to unite in chant-
ing forth the praises of their God and Saviour.

" 1. Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered;
let them also that hate him flee before him."

These words were used by Moses, whenever the
ark set forward before the armies of Israel, in their
progress towards Canaan ; Numb. x. 35. David, in
like manner, uses them in this triumphal hymn, on

* The argument seems to be, a prognostication of success to
David and the kingdom of Israel, and victory over their enemies,
in consequence of the manifestation of the especial presence of
God on Mount Sion, and by his power exerted in their favour.
In the mystical sense, which is authorized by St. Paul. Eph. iv.
8. it is, according to Vitringa, " Ascensio Christi in coelos, et
sessio ad dextram Patris ; et illius effecta, quce sunt collectio et
conservatio ecclesite, ac destructio hostium sibi et ecclesiae, ad-
versorum." — Bishop Lowth, in Merrick's Annotations. Dr.
Chandler, in his " Critical Histoiy of the Life of David," has
given an admirable exposition of the literal, or historical, sense
of this Psalm, and a very ingenious division of it into five parts,
founded on the supposition of its being performed at the removal
of the ark. The author has been greatly assisted, in the ensuing
comment, by the Doctor's exposition, and the reader will find the
division of the Psalm inserted.

Ps. 68.] 115

the removal of the ark to the city of Zion : 1 Chron.
xiii. and xv. Dr. Chandler supposes this part of the
Psalm, from ver. 1. to ver. 6. inclusive, to have been
sung when the ark was taken up on the shoulders of
the Levites. The church now celebrates in the
same terms, the substance of the foregoing shadows;
she sings the praises of her Redeemer, rising from
the dead, and preceding the Israel of God, to the
true land of promise; when his " enemies," the
powers of darkness, sin, and death, '' were scattered,
and they that hated him fled before him." And
the Christian in the hour of temptation, will always
find this verse a most powerful and profitable ejacu-

*' 2. As smoke is driven away, so drive them
away; as wax melteth before the fire, so let the
wicked perish at the presence of God."

The sudden and utter destruction of the enemies
of God, and of his people, is resembled, first, to the
dissipation of " smoke," which, though it rises from
the earth in black and tremendous clouds, is by the
wind presently brought to nothing ; secondly, to the
melting of " wax," which though, to appearance, of
a firm and solid consistence, yet, when held to the
fire for a few minutes, dissolves, and makes no more
resistance. So let all thine enemies perish, O Lord,
within us. Let our vain imaginations be dispersed
before thy Spirit, and our corruptions melt and die
away, at the presence of thy light and thy truth.

" 3. But let the righteous be glad; let them re-
joice before God; yea, let them exceedingly rejoice."

A variety of expressions is used in the Hebrew,

116 [Ps. 68.

to denote the festive " joy" and " delight" with
which the righteous celebrate the triumphs of their
God over his and their enemies, under each dispen-
sation respectively. When the heart is full of these
sensations, it has no desire to resort to the world for

" 4. Sing unto God, sing praises unto his name ;
extol him that rideth upon the heavens, by his name
Jah, and rejoice before him."

The prophet exhorts the people of God to mag-
nify, with psalms and hymns, and spiritual songs,
the eternal and incommunicable " name" of him
" who was, and is, and is to come;" who, deriving
being from none, gives it to all; and who, as Re-
deemer of his people, is exalted above the " heavens,"
and all the powers therein ; above the gods of the
nations, acknowledged and glorified by saints and
angels; feared and trembled at by ungodly men, and
evil spirits.*

" 5. A father of the fatherless, and a judge of
the widows, is God in his holy habitation."

After a description of God's " majesty," the Psal-
mist proceeds to make mention of his " mercy" to-
wards the afflicted Israelites, who had suffered so

♦ The idea of " riding on the heavens," furnished hy our trans-
lation, is here followed, because D">nu':i iSTb, in the 33d verse,
seems to be exactly parallel. But Bishop Lowth, Mr. Merrick,
and Dr. Chandler, render mn'iyn :l^^b iVd, " Prepare the way for
him who rideth through the deserts," that is, who rode upon the
cherubim, through the wilderness ; alluding to the passage of the
ark. This construction seems most agreeable to the common
usage of the words employed in the original. Either way, the
iilea is truly great and sublime.

Ps. 68.] 117

much in Egypt, and in the wilderness. The cause
of the " fatherless and widow" he takes into his
own hands. But never did he do this in so full and
extensive a manner, as when, by becoming man, he
betrothed the church to himself in righteousness,
and became a father to her fatherless children.

" 6. God setteth the solitary in families ; he
bringeth out those which are bound in chains; but
the rebellious dwell in a dry land,^^

The " solitary," or destitute, in this verse, are the
same persons with the " fatherless and widow," in
the foregoing ; those, as Dr. Chandler observes,
whose fathers and families had been destroyed in
Egypt, or fallen in the wilderness; who, therefore,
were left alone, destitute of help. These God after-
wards " made to sit down in families," blessed them
with a numerous progeny, and the peaceable enjoy-
ment of domestic felicity. Thus hath since been
manifested the same tender care of Heaven, in call-
ing home the wretched outcasts among the nations,
and admitting them into the holy and happy family
of the children of God. Another instance of God's
mercy, mentioned in this verse, is that he " bringeth
out those which are bound with chains," delivering
his people from a spiritual, as he once did Israel
from a temporal bondage. " But the rebellious,"
the ungodly and impenitent, " dwell in a dry land,"
in a spiritual desert, where no waters of life, of com-
fort, and salvation, flow. Such is the state of the
rebellious Jews at this day, like that of their mur-
muring predecessors in the wilderness. This allu-
sion, says Bishop Lowth, to the deliverance from the



[Ps. 68.

Egyptian bondage, and the destruction of the mur-
murers in the desert, brings in, with great ease, the
full subject of the Exodus, in the next verse.

" 7. O God, when thou wentest forth before thy
people; when thou didst march through the wilder-
ness : 8. The earth shook, the heavens also dropped
at the presence of God; even Sinai itself w^s moved

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