Copyright
George Horne.

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

. (page 9 of 24)
Online LibraryGeorge HorneA commentary on the book of Psalms (Volume 2) → online text (page 9 of 24)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


deserves notice, that the primitive Christians, when,
delivered from the rage of persecuting tyrants, they
freely celebrated their holy festivals, could find no
words so well calculated to express the joy and glad-
ness of their hearts, as the songs of Moses, and
David, and the prophets, which seemed to have been
divinely penned on purpose for their use, upon that
glorious occasion. The reader may see several very
curious and beautiful instances of this, in the open-
ing of the 10th Book of Eusebius' History, and in
the panegyric there recorded to have been spoken by
him, in a full ecclesiastical assembly, to Paulinus,
bishop of Tyre, upon the consecration of that
church,

" 33. To him that rideth upon the heaven of
Vol. II. G



134 [Ps. ea

heavens, xdiicJi were of old; lo, he doth send out his
voice, and that a mighty voice."

The praises of the church are sung to him who,
after his sufferings here below, reascended to take
possession of his ancient throne, high above all hea-
vens; who from thence speaketh to the world by his
glorious Gospel, mighty and powerful, as thunder, in
its effects upon the hearts of men. See Ps. xxix.
throughout. The power of Christ's voice, when he
was on earth, appeared by the effects which follow-
ed, when he said, " Young man arise;" '* Lazarus,
come forth ;" " Peace, be still :" and it will yet
farther appear, when " all that are in the graves
shall hear the voice of the Son of man, and come
forth."

" 34. Ascribe ye strength unto God; his excel-
lency is over Israel, and his strength is in the clouds,
Heh. the skies."

God requires his people to ascribe unto him the
kingdom, and the, power, and the glory; to acknow-
ledge him as the author of life, health, and salvation,
of all they are, and all they have, in nature and in
grace ; to glorify him as the Creator and Governor
of the world, the Redeemer and Sanctifier of his
church.

" 35. O God, thou art terrible out of thy holy
places : the God of Israel is he that giveth strength
and power unto his people. Blessed be God."

The Psalmist, here exemplifying the precept laid
down in the foregoing verse, ascribes to God the



P8. 69.] 1^^

glory of his appearance in the sanctuary, as the God
and King of Israel, terrifying and dismaying his
enemies, comforting and invigorating his people.
Such is the presence of a glorified Saviour, by his
Spirit, in the Christian church. For this, and all
other his mercies, she is bound continually to say,
and, by her holy services, continually doth she say,
Blessed be God.



PSALM LXIX.

Thirteenth Day, — Evening Prayer,

ARGUMENT. — The application of many passages in this Psalm
to our Lord, made by himself and his apostles, as well as the
appointment of the whole, by the church, to be used on Good
Friday, direct us to consider it as uttered by the Son of God,
in the day of his passion. 1 — 5. He describeth his sufferings,
undergone for the sins of men ; 6, 7. prayeth that his disciples
may not be offended at the pain and shame of tlie cross ;*
8—12. relateth the usage he met with at the hands of the
Jews; 13 — 19. maketh his prayer to the Father; 20, 21.
complaineth of his desolate estate, of the reproach cast upon
him, and of the gall and vinegar administered to him; 22 — 28.
foitelleth the judgments of heaven, about to fall upon the
Jewish nation ; 29. returneth to the consideration of his own



* In confesso est apud Christianos, in Psalmo Ixix. nobis ob
oculos poni Christum, eumque passum. Nos addimus, eumque
crucifixiim ; quia Evangelistse Matthseus, Marcus, et Johannes,
comma vigesimum secundum certffi circumstantiiB crucifixionis
Christi applicarunt — Notatum igitur volumus, Christum in tota
sua ad Patrem supplicatione (est enim ejusdem argumenti cum
Ps. xxii.) describere mortis et calamitatis suse genus, ut maxime
pudendum, et ignominiosum. Item, ad ver. 8, 20, 21. — Christus
nullas hie negligit voces, quae probrum aut ignominiam status, in
quo tunc erat, designare valent. — Vitringa, Observ. Sacr. lib. ii.
cap. 10.

G 2



136 [Ps. 69.

sorrows, and prayeth for deliverance; 30, 3k praiseth the
Father for the accomplishment of that deliverance ; 32, 33.
exliorteth all men to come and partake of it, and, 34. the whole
creation to join in a chorus of thanksgiving for it; 35,36.
predicteth the salvation, edification, and perpetuity, of the
church.

" 1. Save me, O God, for the waters are come
in unto my soul. 2. I sink in deep mire, where
there is no standing: I am come into deep waters,
where the floods overflow me."

The Gospels inform us concerning the constancy
and patience of Christ under his sufferings : the suf-
ferings themselves (those in particular of his soul),
are largely described in the Psalms; many of which,
and this among the rest, seem to have been indited
beforehand by the Spirit, for his use in the day of
trouble. As the head of the church, he here be-
seecheth the Father to " save," through him, his
mystical body. He compares the sad situation into
which he was brought, to that of a drowning man.
The divine displeasure, like a stormy tempest, was
let loose upon him; the sins of the world, as deep
mire, enclosed and detainied him ; whilst all the wa-
ters of affliction went over his head, and penetrated
to his vitals.

" 3. I am weary of my crying, my throat is dried;
mine eyes fail, while I wait for my God."

This verse describes the effects of those supplica-
tions which the Son of God offered up, " with strong
crying and tears, in the days of his flesh;" Heb. v.
7. of that thirst, which, through loss of blood on
the cross, " dried his throat;" and of that long and



Ps. 69.] 1^7

patient endurance, when his " eyes failed/' and were
closed in darkness, while his faith " waited" for the
deliverance promised by the Father. The hour is
coming, when our eyes must fail, and be closed; but
€ven then, "let us wait for our God:" in this re-
spect, " let us die the death of that righteous" per-
son, who died for us; " and let our last end be like
his."

" 4. They that hate me without a cause, are more
than the hairs of my head; they that would destroy
me, bei?tg mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty: then
I restored that which I took not away."

The Jews, the Romans, and the spirits of dark-
ness, made up that multitude of enemies, which, like
a herd of evening wolves, surrounded the Lamb of
God, thia-sting after his blood, nor resting till they
had drawn forth the very last drop of it from his
heart. And thus the only innocent person in the
world suffered for all its guilt, making satisfaction for
wrongs which he never did, and *' restoring that
which he took not away."*

" 5. O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and
my sins are not hid from thee."

These words, in the mouth of David, or any other
sinful son of Adam, are plain enough. They may,



* " Quae non rapui" — Ex persona Cliristi : ita mecum agitur,
ac si rapta ab altero, ab altero, eoque innoxio, repetas ; neque
enim impiorum exemplo, Deo rapui honorem debitum ; pro eis
solvo quicunque rapuerunt ; sicut scriptum est : " Propter scelus
populi mei, percussi eum." Isa. liii. 8. — Bossuet.



138 [Ps. 69.

nevertheless, be spoken, as the rest of the Psalm is,
in the person of Christ, concerning the iniquities
committed by us, but " laid on him;" which he
therefore mentions, as if they had been his own; the
head complaining of diseases incident only to the
members.*

" 6. Let not them that wait on thee, O Lord
God of hosts, be ashamed for my sake ; let not those
that seek thee be confounded for my sake, O God
of Israel. 7. Because for thy sake I have borne
reproach; shame hath covered my face."

The son of God prefers a petition to the Father,
that his disciples may not be scandalized on account
of his passion, or be tempted to relinquish their trust
in God, at beholding his only and beloved Son for-
saken on the cross; since it was not for any demerit
of his own, but for the sake of God's glory, as well
as man's salvation, that he "bore reproach, and shame
covered his face." It ought to be the prayer of
every Christian, especially if he be a minister of the
Gospel, that his sufferings in the world may not give
just offence to the brethren, or the church; which
they never will do, if he suffers in a good cause, with
a good conscience.

" 8. I am become a stranger unto my brethren,
and an alien unto my mother's children. 9. For the



• So this verse is interpreted by the fathers, and many of the
commentators cited by Poole, in his Synopsis — Thus also Bossuet
— " Insipientiam meam et delicta mea" — Quae in me suscepi.
« Quia posuit in eo Dominus iniquitates omnium nostrum." —
Isu. liii. 6.



Ps. 69.] 139

zeal of thine house hath eaten me up ; and the re-
proaches of them that reproached thee are fallen
upon me."

The Jews were Christ's " brethren," according
to the flesh. To them he was a " stranger and an
aUen." " He came to his own, and his own receiv-
ed him not." " We know," said they, " that God
spake unto Moses ; but as for this fellow, we know
not from whence he is." And again, " Thou art a
Samaritan, and hast a devil." John i. 11. ix. 29-
viii. 48. The ground of all this enmity was the
" zeal" of Christ for the reformation and purification-
of the church, which he manifested in his reproofs
and exhortations, as also by the emblematical act of
driving the buyers and sellers out of the temple.
Upon this latter occasion, the evangelist tells us,
" his disciples remembered that it was written,"
that is, it was predicted of Messiah in this Psalm,
*' The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up:" John
ii. 17. Therefore, as he adds immediately, " the
reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me."
In calumniating and blaspheming the works of the
Son of God, the Jews reproached both the Father
who gave him those works to do, and the Spirit, by
which he did them : all which reproaches fell on the
man Christ, as the visible instrument employed in
the doing of them. This last passage is thus quot-
ed and applied by St. Paul — " Even Christ pleased
not himself: but, as it is written. The reproaches
of them that reproached thee fell on me :" Rom.
XV. 3. The usage our Lord met with from his
brethren, because of his zeal for the house of God,



140 [Ps. 69.

should comfort those who meet with the same usage,
on the same account.

" 10. When I wept and chastened my soul with
fasting, that was to my reproach. 11. I made sack-
cloth also my garment; and I became a proverb to
them. 12. They that sit in the gate speak against
me ; and I "joas the song of the drunkards."

To expiate the sins of his creatures, the King of
glory became a man of sorrows ; he put on mortal
flesh, as a penitential garment; he fasted, and pray-
ed, and mourned, and wept, and humbled himself to
the dust, as if he had been the offender, and we the
righteous persons that needed no repentance. And
what return was made him ? " It was to his re-
proach, and he became a proverb to them," for
whom he suffered. " They that sat in the gate,"
or, on the " judgment-seat," which used to be in
the gates of cities, even the senators and judges of
the land, the chief priests and elders, " spake against
him," with cool and deliberate malice ; while he was
" the song of the drunken," and profligate, who
more grossly insulted and derided him. The true
followers of the holy Jesus will often experience the
like treatment, from an evil and adulterous genera-
tion.

" 13. But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O
Lord, in an acceptable time : O God, in the mul-
titude of thy mercies hear me, in the truth of thy
salvation."

The Son of God himself, in the midst of sor-
rows and sufferings, has recourse to prayer, pleading
for his church the " mercies" of the Father, set forth



Ps. 69.]



141



in the promises, and his " truth," engaged to make
those promises good, in the " salvation" of his chos-
en, through their head and representative. The
" acceptable time," in which Christ prayed, was the
time when he offered the great propitiatory sacrifice.
Through the merit of that sacrifice it is, that we have
an " acceptable time, and a day of salvation," allow-
ed us. Behold, now is that time, behold now is
that day ! Let us not delay one moment to use and
improve it aright.

" 14. Deliver me out of the mire, and let me
not sink; let me be delivered from them that hate
me, and out of the deep waters. 15. Let not the
water-flood overflow me, neither let the deep swallow
me up, and let not the pit shut her mouth upon
me.

Messiah petitions for deliverance from calamities,
under the same images which were employed at the
beginning of the Psalm, to describe those calamities.
The purport of the petition is, that the sms of the
world, and the sufferings due to them, may not fin-
ally overwhelm him, nor the grave " shut her mouth
upon him" for ever; but that the morning of his re-
surrection may, at length, succeed the night of his
passion. Such is also the hope and the prayer of
the church, and of the Christian, here below.

" 16. Hear me, O Lord, for thy loving kind-
ness is good ; turn unto me, according to the mul-
titude of thy tender mercies. 17. And hide not
thy face from thy servant, for I am in trouble; hear
me speedily. 18. Draw nigh unto my soul, and

G 3



14^



[Ps. 6a



redeem it; deliver me because of mine enemies. 19.
Thou hast known my reproach, my shame, and my
dishonour ; mine adversaries are all before thee.'*

As afflictions increase, the prayers are redoubled.
Christ pleads with the Father for redemption from
death, on account of his divine " loving-kindness
and mercy;" of his own great " trouble;" of his
" enemies," that they might be either converted or
confounded : of the " reproach, shame, and disho-
nour," undergone by him, that they might be wiped
off, and done away; of the wrong he suffered from
his adversaries, whose iniquitous proceedings were
" all before God," and known unto him. Deliver-
ance from tribulation and persecution, is prayed for
by the church, and by her faithful children, upon
the same grounds.

" 20. Reproach hath broken my heart, and I am
full of heaviness; and I looked^br 50772^ to take pity,
but there was none ; and for comforters, but I found
none. 21. They gave me also gall for my meat,
and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink."

The argument urged by Christ, in these most
affecting words, is, that in the extremity of his pas-
sion, he was left alone, without a comforter, a friend,
or an attendant; while all that were round about
him studied to infuse every bitter aud acrimonious
ingredient into his cup of sorrows. This was liter-
ally as well as metaphorically true, when " they
gave him to drink vinegar mingled with gall." See
Matt, xxvii. 34. John xix. 28. Such are the
comforts often administered, by the world, to an
afflicted and deserted soul. ,



Ps. 69.] 14



Online LibraryGeorge HorneA commentary on the book of Psalms (Volume 2) → online text (page 9 of 24)