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The Book of PSALMS.
now entering on the Book of Psalms; it is not my inten. tion to spend much time in conjectures about the quthors, or the design of particular Psalms ; but shall content myself with endeavouring to clear up obscure passages, to point out those which are peculi. arly beautiful and emphatical, and direct to the practical improvement which may be made of them. This book has always been reckoned the most useful and important part of the Old Testament; and perhaps it may be accounted the most useful in the whole Bible, especially in an age in which there is 80 little true and lively devotion.
This fisalm is a general discourse on the happiness of good, and the
misery of bad men. It is a glorious subject ; which has employed the thoughts of the wisest men in all ages, to inquire wherein truc happiness consists ; here the psalmist plainly points it oul, and it is a very proper introduction to the whole book.
1 LESSED [is] the man that walketh not in the counsel of
the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful; who avoids the acquaintance and soci2 ety of all sorts of wicked men.* But his delight (is) in the law of
the LORD, in studying and practising it ; and in his law doth he
meditate day and night; he continually meditaies upon it, and 3 makes it the rule of his actions. And he shall be like a tree
planted by the rivers of water, ihat bringeth forth his fruit in his season ; his soul shall be plentifully fed from heaven with the never failing influences of grace and consolation, whereby he shall be made fruitful in every good word and work; his leaf also shall not wither, and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper ; he shall perse
vere in holiness, and his happiness shall be fixed and durable, even 4 everlasting. The ungodly Care) not so : but (are) like the chaff
which the wind driveth away ; they are not 80 firosperous and
There is a very remarkable gravlation in this passage ; each thought rising upon the former ; ungodly, sinners, and scorners. To walk in the counsl of the ungodly, intimates a general acquaintance with men who fear not God. To stand in the way of sinners, incimats a coming nearer to them, and holding familiar converse with men of wickel lives. Sitting in the seat of scorners, intim.ytes friendship and confidence with men who deride re igion. The corners were the free thinkers of these days, who looked upon the whole Jewish religion as an imposture, and could not forbear insulting those who were serious in the profession of is. This is a negative description of the good man's churagter, the positive follows in 2. 2.
happy, though they think to thrive by their impiety ; but are useless and despicable, like the chaft, which is beautifully contrasted with
a firm rooted and fruitful tree ; every wind of temptation affects 3 them, and their designs are often blasted. Therefore the ungodly
shall not stand in the judgment,* nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous ; they shall not share in the happiness of the
righteous, though with regard to out ward enjoyments they may 6 have been far better. For the Lord knoweth the way of the
righteous ; this is the sum of the whole, the Lord observes and approves the way of the righteous : but the way of the ungodly shall perish ; all their wicked designs and courses shall come 10 nothing, and for ever perish with them.
REFLECTIONS. 1. OW cautious should all, especially young people, be, of
keeping bad company ; for it leads them to sin ; leads them on in it by quick steps ; first to forget God, then openly to violate his law, and then to make a jest of religion, which is the last stage of wickedness, the seat of the scorner being on the very brink of hell. Have no acquaintance or correspondence therefore with wicked inen. Hear the tender advice of the wise man, My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. Enter not into the path of the wicked ; come not near it, turn from it and flee away.
2. We should labour to secure this blessedness for ourselves. Let us love the scriptures, study them carefully, and form our lives according to them ; for this is the surest way to prosperity in both worlds.
3. Let us all consider the judgment day, as an engagement to avoid that which is evil, and pursue that which is good. Remember there is a judgment to come ; a day when every man's character and conduct will be examined, and their eternal state determined. Of this we have the clearest account and the strongest assurance in the New Testament. God grant that we may so improve this discov: ery, as that we may stand with honour and comfort in the judgment, and find the mercy of the Lord Jesus to eternal life on that awful day.
That this psalm is a prophecy of Christ, is the opinion of both Jewish
and christian interpreters, and the apostles, under the inspiration of the Spirii, declare / Acts' iv. 25.) that. God by the mouth of his servant David' uttered these things concerning Christ.
HY do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain
thing? Here David describes the rage of the gentiles and
This cannot refer to human courts of judgment, because there are many crimes that may denominate a man ungodly, which yet do not come within their cognizance; so that it must refer to a future judgment, the day when the righteous shall all be gathered together to be apn_auded and rewarded.
Jewish people against Christ; and asks, why they contrive a thing 2 which will prove vain? The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed; Pilate, Herod, and other kirgs of the hea
then, and the Jewish rulers, conspired against the Messiah, (say3 ing, ]Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords
from us; they were determined to break through all opposition,
and the strongest obligations with which it was attempted to bind 4 them : but shame and vexation shall be the consequence ; for He
that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh : the LORD shall have 5 them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath,
and vex them in his sore displeasure ; he will contemn them himself, and expose them to public scorn : then, when in their own opinion they are secure of success, and full of rage, he shall confound and punish them by his judgments. This the psalmist
further con. firms by introducing God, as declaring his full determination to
establish the Messiah's throne, to make many obedient, and to de6 stroy the obstinate. Yet have I set, anointed, or inaugurated, my
king upon my holy hill of Zion, from which the gospel is to pro7 ceed. The Messiah is then introduced as saying, I will declare
the decree : the Lord hath said unto me, Thou (art) my Son; this day have I begotten thee. This he said when rising from the dead, for to that event the words are applied by two of the inspired apostles,' he was declared to be the Son of God with power,
by his resurrection from the dead ;' that was his birth day to his 8 kingdom. Ask of me, and I shall give (thee) the heathen (for)
thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth (for) thy
possession ; many nations shall become thy willing people. But 9 Thou shalt break them who continue obstinate with a rod of iron ;
thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel ; they shall 10 be as easily and irreparably destroyed. Be wise now therefore,
Oye kings : be instructed, ye judges of the earth ; submit and
make your peace with Christ, while you have time and space for 11 repentance and submission. Serve the LORD with fear, with an
awful sense of his greatness and majesty, that you may be careful to please him, and fearful to offend him, and rejoice in the sense of
God's grace and goodness to you, with trembling, lest you walk 12 unworthy of it. Kiss the Son, that is, pay allegiance to hin,
(which among the easterns was done by a kiss) lest he be angry, and ye perish (from) the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little ; lest if you continue your rebellion, he march against you, meet you by the way, and you be immediately cut off ; for his wrath will soon be kindled, and the least blaze of it will be your destruction : blessed (are] all they that put their trust in him; thật submit, and fly to him as their mighty deliveries and protector.
Christ. God raised him from the dead ; gave him universal Dominion ; confirmed it to him by an irrevocable decree, and vain
have been the rage and tumults of the people hitherto, vain the counsels and arms of the rulers and princes of the earth ; and this faithful word assures us, that all future counsels and attempts against his throne, shall also be in vain. In this, as his disciples, we have great reason to rejoice.
2. Let us see to it that we ourselves submit to him. It is not sufficient to pay him the homage of the lip and the knee; for he expects that of the heart; that we reverence his authority, love him for his goodness, trust in his almighty protection, and serve him with all our powers. Else, though we wear his name, and profess his religion, we shall perish ; and his anger will not only be kindled, but burn more furiously against us than against the heathens and Jews who opposed him. Let us reflect also on the blessedness of those who submit to him. They are secure from every enemy, and shall reign with him in eternal glory.
3. This should promote our zeal for the interest of Christ in the world, and make it our own. It is the cause of truth and righteousness in which Christ is engaged ; and this cause shall succeed in his hand. Let us appear strenuously on the Lord's side ; plead the cause of his gospel ; and endeavour to lead our fellow creatures to submit to him and obey him. Earnestly praying that this glorious prophecy may be accomplished in its full extent, and that God would give him the heathen for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the carth for his possession.
A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son, 2 Sam. xv.
This was a very afflicting providence ; but it was a means of doing
him good, by awakening a more lively sense of devotion in his own mind.
[are) they that rise up against me. He found a melancholy change in his condition, and was surprized to see to what a
number his enemies were increased, and in how short a time. 2 Many (there be] which say of my soul, [There is) no help for
him in God. They did not say, God was not able to help him, but that he was a person of so abandoned a character that God would
not do it ; this was the language of Absalom and his confederates. 3 Selah.* But thou, O LORD, (art) a shield for me ; thou wilt?
defend me with thy almighty protection ; thou art my glory, and the lifter up of mine head ; thou wilt restore me to my former
dignity, and in the mean time keep up my courage and my spirits. 4 I cried unto the Lord with my voice, in an earnest and affection
Selah is probably only a musical note ; the meaning of which is not new understood
ale manner, and he heard me out of his holy hill ; out of Zion, where the ark was fired, and which was typical of heaven ; where
he resides, and to which our prayers are to be directed. Selah. 5 7 his has so comfortably secured me in my own mind, that I have
laid me down and slept ; I awaked cheerfully ; for the Lord
sustained me. Encouraged by this composure, and by faith in 6 God's care, I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that
have set (themselves) against me round about, so that humanly
speaking, I have no way to escape ; but still I will hope in God. ? Arise, O LORD ; save me, O my God : for thou hast smitten
all mine enemies (upon) the cheek bone ; thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly ; let it appear that I speak the truth, by thy saving nie, as thou hast formerly done, when my enemies were
as much confounded and disabled, as a man would be if his teeth 8 were dashed out: and his jawbone broken to pieces. Salvation
[belongeth] unto the LORD ; let the honour of my salvation be ascribed to him : thy blessing (is) upon thy people ; or, let it be 80 ; though I pray for the defeat of my personal enemies, I wish and fruy for the prosperity of the people, how ungrateful soever they be to me. Selah.
1. IN Nevery time of danger let us apply to the divine protection,
Though we may have no personal enemy, of whom we are in danger, yet we are liable to many troubles and afflictions from spirito ual enemies, by whose attacks we may be in danger of losing our piety and comfort. Let us look up to God as an almighty helper, and seek our refuge in him.
2. Let us thankfully own the past experience we have had of his goodness, as David does. We are too ready to forget the former appearances of Providence for us, because we are afficted, and to overlook a thousand past benefits, because we want this or the other, that would be convenient or desirable. This is ungrateful to God, who intends our good by our affliction, and has hitherto daily loaded us with his benefits.
3. Grateful reflections and serious prayer, will tend to animate and compose our spirits under trouble. A recollection of the di. vine goodness communicated to us hitherto, will lead us to encourage ourselves in the Lord our God; will prevent despair, and support our liope. Prayer will take much of the burden off our minds; prevent the anxieties of the day, and the tossings of the night. By this means God will appear for our salvation ; his blessing will be upon us ; and there is nothing we can want or wish for more,