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REFLECTIONS. I. ET us learn from hence to be constant and serious in our
devotions. The appointmont of incense and sacrifice morning and evening, point out these as the proper seasons for prayer. It should be our desire that our prayers may be set forth or directed to God, that our hearts be lifted up with our hands ; this will be pleasing to God, and an acceptable sacrifice, through the incense of the great high priest.
2. We have need earnestly to pray that God would guard our lips. It is our duty to keep our mouths as with a bridle ; for the tongue is an unruly member, and needs a strong restraint. Let us then beg of God to restrain it, and enable us to take heed that we offend not with it ; especially when we meet with injuries and provocations, for that is a time when men are very apt to speak unadvisedly with their lips. Let us entreat him to assist us in ruling our spirits and governing our passions, that no word may proceed from us, that will be displeasing to him, dishonourable to religion, or injurious to our own credit and peace.
3. The sharpest reproofs of the righteous, are better than the company and dainties of the wicked. A love of company and luxuries often leads men into the society of the wicked, and so weakens the force of religion, and tempts them to say and do as the wicked do. Let it be our care to avoid such company, however gay and merry they may be, remembering that their dainties are deceitful meat. Let us esteem reproof to be an instance of friendship, and be thankful for it, though we should think it not well grounded, or too sharply administered; yet when it appears to be kindly intended, it should be kindly taken ; and we should show how highly we esteem their friendship who are so faithful. - 4. Let us learn from the whole, to trust in God when our case is most deplorable and desperate. Let us have our eyes unto him, who has wisdom sufficient to direct us, and power to guard and secure us. If we do so, he will not leave our' souls destitute ;. but as our day is our strength shall be.
Maschil of David ; a Prayer when he was in the cave.
It is generally thought he comprosed it afterward, it being an account
of the workings of his mind at that time. Others think he drew it. up while he was actually there, in the very article of danger; and he might do it, as it was then his strength and security to be as quiet as possible. 1 CRIED unto the LORD with my voice ; with my voice 2 unto the Lord did I make my supplication. I poured out
my complaint before him ; I showed before him my trouble.
3 When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knew.
est my path. In the way wherein I walked have they privily
laid a snare for me; this attack of my enemy, and the circumstance 4 of my being in the cave, did not happen but by thy direction. I
looked on (my] right hand, and beheld, but (there was) no man
that would know me : refuge failed me ; no man cared for my 5 soul.* I cried unto thee, O Lord; I said, Thou (art] my ref
uge (and) my portion in the land of the living ; I have in former days made prayer my business and delight; I have looked up to
thee to defend me from danger, and 10 bestow needful good upon 6 me. Attend unto my cry; for I am brought very low ; delirer
me from my persecutors ; for they are stronger than I, and 7 there seems to be no way for my escape. Bring my soul out of
prison, this dark and dismal confinement, that I may praise thy name ; the righteous shall compass me about ; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me. While he was pouring out his soul to God, he found his faith confirmed ; and even before the danger was over, he declares his confidence that God would appear so wonder. fully for him, that the righteous should compass him about with congratulations, and songs of praise to God.
1. COW happy is it for us that we can have access to God by
prayer, in the most pressing calamities of life. From every place there is a way open to the throne of grace; no cave sa dark and deep but prayer may ascend to God from it. We, like David, may be in imminent danger; without may be fightings, and within fears. We may be disappointed in human dependencies ; friends may fail us, and no man care for our souls. Let this engage us with greater earnestness and affection to look to God, as our refuge in danger, and our portion to supply our wants. Let us lay be fore God our troubles, which is better than poring over them ourselves, or teazing others with them. This is the way to obtain sup, port and relief. Yea, prayer should be our daily business and de. light, if we desire comfortable access to God, and his interposition for us in seasons of affliction.
2. Let us remember and consider the hand of Providence in those events which seem most aflictive ; v. 3. When my spirit was ever quhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path. God knows our path when it is most dark, perplexed, and surrounded with enemies; when our spirits are so overwhelmed that we cannot express our desires to him as we would. Let us remember that affliction comes by his appointment; that he knows every circumstance of the case, and every sensation of the mind; that he discerns the bitterness of the spirit, and can furnish out suitable strength ; and that if we seek and patiently wait for him, he will deal bountifully with us.
• This may perhaps signify that those who were with him were in such consternation and fear for thenisives, that they said iittle to encourage him, or took, no kind notice of him ; ao friend would appear for him, when Saul sought his life.
A Psalm of David.
Written in a time of great distress, when he was obliged by reason of
Absalom’s rebellion, lo flee from Jerusalem, and pass over Jordan by night. 2 Sam, xvii. 22.
EAR my prayer, O LORD, give ear to my supplications ;
in thy faithfulness answer mę, (and) in thy righteousness, 2 And enter not into judgment with thy servant ; come not forth
to give judgment against me, deal not with me with inflexible justice; but rather look on me as a merciful father does on his peni.
teni child : for in thy sight, at the tribunal of strict justice, shall 3 no man living be justified. For the enemy hath persecuted my
soul ; he hath smitten my life down to the ground; he hath
made me to dwell in darkness, in a disconsolate and afflicted con. 4 dition, as those that have been long dead. Therefore is my.
spirit overwhelmed within me ; my heart within me is desolate ; if my enemies succeed, I am ruined ; if I succeed, the leader
of them is my son, and my whole family wili suffer; this occasions 5 me so much perplexity, I remember the days of old : I medi
tate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands ; on
my deliverance from the lion and the bear, from Goliath and Saul, 6 when I said, I should perish by their hands. I stretched forth
my hands unto thee: my soul (thirsteth) after thee, as a thirsty 7 land does for refreshing showers of rain. Selah. Hear me speedi:
ly, O LORD : my spirit faileth : hide not thy face from me, lest
I be like unto them that go down into the pit, and are lost beyond 8 all hope of recovery. Cause me to hear thy loving kindness in
the morning, * for in theç do I trust : cause me to know the
way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee for 9 direction and defence, Deliver me, O LORD, from mine ene10 mies : I flee unto thee to hide me. Teach me to do thy will;
for thou (art) my God : thy Spirit [is] good ; lead me into the
land of uprightness ; in a filain, even way; in the way of justice Il and piety.f Quicken me, O LORD, direct and revive me, for thy
name's sake, for thy righteousness' sake bring my soul out of 12 trouble. And of thy mercy cut off mine enemies, and destroy
all them that afflict my soul : for I (am) thy servant, chosen by thee to govern thy people ; I have endeavoured to be faithful to, that trust; and though I have sinned against thee, yet I do not forget thy word.
It seems probable from the story of David, that on the morrow after the composition of this psalır, or else quickly after, he heard of the counsel of Anithophel being rejected; this was a great encourageinent to hope that the hand of Providence was engaged in his favour.
+ Some understand the land of uprightness, to be a country where he should meet with honest meen, and not be deceived an i betraved. But David confessed that he was a pilgrim and stranger upon earth and therefore we may suppose him to look forward to a better world: the land of uprightness, where none but the upright shall dwell, and righteousness sball always prevail.
ET us be deeply sensible how wretched we should be, if
with us in strict justice, we cannot be justified. We know that we have sinned, and deserve punishment; we cannot plead innocence, and have no satisfaction to inake to his justice. Till we are thor oughly sensible of this, the gospel will not be welcome to us. Let us then seriously weigh this thought, that we are guilty before God, and cannot be justified by our own rigliteousness : this will lead us to bless God for Jesits Christ, on whom our iniquities were laid, and by whose righteousness we may be justified, and to receive him as he is offered to us in the gospel.
2. Let us carefully observe what loving kindness God causeth us to hear every morning, and put up proper petitions every evening. Our preservation in the night from death, fire, thieves, and diseases; our health, raiment, friends, food, strength gained by, sleep, and especially the word and prayer, all spring from his loving kindness. Let us hear the voice of God in these, and praise his name for them: avoiding an insensible, unthankful, repining spirit: and as he causeth us to hear his loving kindness every morning, let him every morning hear our devout prayers and praises.
3. We sbould often ask for ourselves such mercies as David here seeks for himself ; and make use of his plea ; that God would cause us to know the way in which we should walk ; that we keep the way of integrity, and be guided safe from sin and danger: that he would teach us to do his will; not only teach us what it is, but how to do it in the best manner; and that he would incline our hearts to it : that he would lead us in the way of uprightness ; in a steady, even course of integrity and truth. These mercies we need, considering our many dangers and enemies ; and that in some cases it is difficult to know the way of duty. We have encouragement to hope that he will grant our requests, if we can plead that we trust in God; lifting up not only our eyes and hands, but our souls to him ; desiring impartially to know and do our duty ; that we are his servants, devoted to his honour, and willing to be employed in his work. Then may we hope his good Spirit, who is able and willing to make us good and holy, will lead us in the right way, and conduct us safe to heaven; that land of uprightness, where none but the upriglit dwell; and where they shall dwell for ever, beyond the reach of enemies, durgers, and temptations.
(A Psalm) of David.
Composed probably soon after his accession to the throne, but before he
had obtained complete rest from the people round about him. It seems particularly to refer to the Philistines ; he firobably made a truce with them on account of Achish, who had been his friend ; but the lords of the Philistines were always his enemies ; so that upon the death of Achish, or some revolution in the state, he had reason to suppose that they would break the league, and invade his country again.
1 LESSED [be] the LORD my strength, which teacheth my 2 hands to war, (and) my fingers to fight; My goodness,
and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield,
and (he) in whom I trust; who subdueth my people under me. 3 Lord, what (is) man, in general, that thou takest knowledge of
him ! [or] the son of man, myself, once so mean and obscure a 4 person, that thou makest account of him ! Man is like to vani
ty : his days (are) as a shadow that passeth away ; continually
moving along, and soon gone ; a cloud, or any intervening body 5 destroys it. Bow thy heavens, O LORD, and come down, as thout
didst, at mount Sinai : touch the mountains, and they shall 6 smoke. Cast forth lightning, and scatter them : shoot out 7 thine arrows and destroy them.* Send thine hand from above;
rid me and deliver me out of great waters, from the hand of 8 strange children ; Whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their
right hand, by the lifting up of which they used to swear, (is) a
right hand of falsehood, that is, they are guilty of falsehood and 9 treachery in their most solemn creaties. I will sing a new
song unto thee, O God : upon a psaltery (and) an instrument . 10 of ten strings will I sing praises unto thee. (It is he] that giv
eth salvation unto kings : who delivereth David his servant from 11 the hurtful sword. Rid me, and deliver me from the hand of
strange children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right 12 hand [is] a right hand of falsehood : That our sons (may be) as
plants grown up in their youth ; not cut down by the sword of violence, but grow up like young and flourishing plonts, to their full stature and vigour ; [that] our daughters (may be) as corner stones, polished [aster) the similitude of a palace; of graceful persons, polished manners, and agreeable tempers: which are a
much greater ornament 10 a house, than being fronted with marble, 13 and adorned with polished pillars : "[That) our garners (may be)
full, affording all manner of store ; [that] our sheep may bring 14 forth thousands and ten thousands in our streets : [Thai] our
oxen (may be) strong to labour ; [that there bej no breaking in
• This was remarkably fofilled in the defeat of the Phili«ui-es, 2 Sam. v. 74. when the sound in the authoriy tries, and probably turde and sightning, this comsit:d them.