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38. Stablish thy word unto thy servant, who is devoted to thy fear. The “word” here intended is the word of promise, which the believer entreateth God to “stablish,” confirm, or accomplish, to him by his sanctification, that so he may walk in the way of truth and life. He pleadeth his title to the promise, as a “ servant” of God, and one who “feared” to offend him. 39. Turn away my reproach which I fear : for thy judgements are good. The “reproach” which we have all most reason to dread, and to pray that God would keep far from us here and hereafter, is that of having forsaken and apostatized from those statutes and “judgements” revealed in the Scriptures, which we own to be so “good,” so pleasant, and so profitable. 40. Behold, I have longed after thy precepts: quicken me in thy righteousness. The Psalmist appealeth to God, the searcher of hearts, for the truth of the protestation he was about to make, that the desire of his soul was toward the divine Word; not only toward the promises, to believe and embrace them, but also toward the “pre“cepts,” to observe and to do them. He therefore prayeth, with confidence, that God would finish the work he had begun, and enable him to carry his wishes into execution, by continually “quickening” and enlivening him more and more through grace, to finish his course in “righteousness,” and to obtain that crown which is to be the reward of it.
WAU. --PART VI.
41. Let thy mercies come also unto me, O Lord, even thy salvation, according to thy word. :** Persecution and affliction, of which they never fail, in some way or other, to have their share who live godly in Christ Jesus, should teach us like David, to fly for refuge to that “mercy,” from whence proceedeth all “ salvation,” temporal and eternal; and to pray, without ceasing, for the accomplishment of that “Word,” which promiseth to the people of God deliverance out of all their troubles. 42. So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me : for I trust in thy word. A believer, trusting in the promises of God, when the whole world hath forsaken him, and no sign or probability appears of their being fulfilled, is always, among the wicked, an object of scorn and “reproach.” Such was David, when Shimei cursed him. Such was our blessed Master, when men said, “He trusted in God that he would deliver him, let “ him deliver him now if he will have him.” And his disciples are not to expect better usage. “There“ fore,” saith one of them “we both labour and suffer “reproach, because we trust in the living God:” 1 Tim. iv. 10. To silence these reproaches, we beseech God to manifest his mercy in our salvation. The resurrection of Jesus was an “answer” to his blasphemers; and the mouth of all wickedness will be stopped at the last day. 43. And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth ; for I have hoped in thy judge
7ments. In the mean time, while affliction presseth hard upon us, while our deliverance is deferred, and the enemy is suffered to reproach and blaspheme, our prayer must be, that God would give us courage and utterance, still to confess him before men, and boldly to speak his “word of truth,” for the edification of some, and the confutation of others; as knowing, that our faith is not vain, nor shall we be disappointed of our “hope,” since both are built upon the “judgements,” or revealed decrees, of him who can neither err nor deceive. 44. So shall I keep thy law continually, for ever and ever. By means of strength and power from above, we shall be enabled to serve God, in adversity, as well as in prosperity; and amidst all difficulties and dangers, into which the path of duty may lead us, Charity will persevere in it, till, arriving at the gate of heaven, and there taking leave of her companions and fellow-travellers, Faith and Hope, she shall enter those blissful regions, to perform to eternity that perfect will of God, which the infirmities of fallen nature prevented her from having so fully performed here below. 45. And I will walk at liberty, for I seek thy precepts. No external pressure can take away that spiritual “liberty,” which the faithful Christian experienceth when he hath made an open confession of the truth, and determined at all events to do his duty. Then he is no longer straitened by fear, but set at large by love. “The truth maketh him free, and he “walketh in the liberty of the children of God,” a liberty which they only obtain “who seek his pre“cepts,” and, by the performance of them, are rescued from the bondage both of tyrannical desires and slavish fears. 46. I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed. A prophet may be called “before kings,” either in the course of his office, to instruct them, or else in a judiciary way, to give an account of his faith. In either case, if he “walketh at liberty, he will “speak of God's testimonies,” with due reverence to the person and authority of his prince, but as one who is neither afraid nor “ashamed” to declare the whole counsel of heaven to any being upon earth. 47. And I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved. 48. JMy hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved: and I will meditate in thy statutes. He who would preach boldly to others, must himself “delight” in the practice of what he preacheth. If there be in us a new nature, it will “love the “commandments of God,” as being congenial to it: on that which we love, we shall continually be “me“ditating;” and our meditation will end in action; we shall “lift up the hands which hang down,” Heb. xii. 12. that they may “work the works of God, “while it is day; because the might cometh, when “no man can work.” John ix. 4.
49. Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope. God promiseth salvation before he giveth it, to excite our desire of it, to exercise our faith, to prove our sincerity, to perfect our patience. For these purposes, he seemeth to have sometimes forgotten his word, and to have deserted those whom he had engaged to succour and relieve ; in which case, he would have us, as it were, to remind him of his promise, and solicit his performance of it. The Psalmist here instructeth us to prefer our petition upon these grounds; first, that God cannot prove false to his own word; “Remember the word unto “thy servant:” secondly, that he will never disappoint an expectation which himself hath raised; “upon which thou hast caused me to hope.” 50. This is my comfort in my affliction : for thy word hath quickened me. While performance is delayed, we “rejoice in hope;” Rom. xii. 12. and the promise is our “comfort in affliction;” a comfort, divine, strong, lasting; a comfort, that will not, like all others, fail us when we most want it, in the day of sickness, and at the hour of death; but will always keep pace with our necessities, increasing in proportion as the pleasures of the world and the flesh decrease in us, and then becoming complete, when they are no more. So powerful is the word of God to revive us, when