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A COMMENTARY

ON THE

BOOK OF PSALMS.

ARGUMENT.

FIRST DAY,-MORNING PRAYER. path, to say, whither he shall wander; and

few, when they begin to “ walk in the counsel PSALM I.

of the ungodly,” propose finally to sit down

in the seat of the scornful.” O thou second This Psalm, which is generally looked upon Adam, who alone, since the transgression of by expositors as a preface or introduction the first, has attained a sinless perfection,

« to the rest, describes the blessedness of the make thy servants “ blessed,” by making them righteous, consisting, ver. 1, negatively in " righteous," through thy merits and grace! their abstaining from sin; 2, positively, in

2. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; holy meditation on the Scriptures, produc- and in his law doih he meditate day and night. tive of continual growth in grace, which, « delight” in the Scriptures, will find no

He who hath once brought himself to 3, is beautifully represented under an image

“ borrowed from vegetation; as, 4, is the temptation to exchange that pleasure for any opposite state of the unbelieving and un

which the world or the flesh can offer him. godly, by a comparison taken from the Such an one will make the lively oracles of threshing-floor. The last two verses fore God his companions by day and by night. . tell the final issue of things, with respect to

He will have recourse to them for direction, both good and bad men, at the great day.

in the bright and cheerful hours of prosperity;

to them he will apply for comfort, in the Ver. 1. Blessed is the man that walketh not dark and dreary seasons of adversity. The in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in enemy, when advancing to the assault, will the way of sinners, nor sittelh in the seat of always find him well employed, and will be the scornful.

received with—“Get thee behind me, Satan!" The Psalter, like the Sermon on the mount, When the law of God is the object of our openeth with a “beatitude,” for our comfort studies and meditations, we are conformed to and encouragement, directing us immediately the example of our Redeemer himself, who, to that happiness which all mankind, in dif- as a man, while he “ increased in stature," ferent ways, are seeking and inquiring after. increased likewise “in wisdom,” and grew All would secure themselves from the incur- powerful in the knowledge of the law which sions of misery ; but all do not consider that he was to fulfil, and of those prophecies misery is the offspring of sin, from which it which he was to accomplish ; so that, at is therefore necessary to be delivered and twelve years of age, he appeared to “ have preserved, in order to become happy, or more understanding than all his teachers ; for « blessed.” The variety of expressions here the divine testimonies had been his meditaused by David, intimateth to us, that there is tion.” Ps. cxix. 99. a gradation in wickedness; and that he who! 3. And he shall be like a tree planted by the would not persist in evil courses, or commence | rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit a scoffer at the mystery of godliness, must in his season ; his leaf shall not wither ; and have no fellowship with bad men; since it is whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. impossible for any one, who forsakes the right By continual meditation in the sacred

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ARGUMENT.

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writings, a man as naturally improves and standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord advances in holiness, as a “ tree” thrives and knoweth them that are his :" 2 Tim. ii. 19. flourishes in a kindly and well-watered soil. Their good deeds are not unobserved, nor All the “ fruits” of righteousness shall show will they be forgotten by him. His eye themselves at their proper “season,” as oppor- seeth them in secret, and his hand will retunity calls for them; and his words, which ward them openly, in the day of final retriare to his actions what the “ leaves" are to the bution ; when crowns of glory shall sparkle fruit, fall not to the ground, but are profitable, on the heads of the righteous, but shame and as well as ornamental. Every thing in him torment shall be the portion of the wicked; and about him serves the purpose for which “ the way of the ungodly shall perish.” it was intended; his brethren are benefited by him, and his Maker is glorified. How emi

PSALM II. nently is this the case with that TREE OF LIFE, which Jehovah planted in the midst of his new paradise, by the waters of comfort; a David, seated upon the throne of Israel, nottree which sprung out of the but its

withstanding the opposition made against height reached to heaven, and its breadth to

him, and now about to carry his victorious the ends of the world; its shadow is for the

arms amongst the neighboring heathen protection, its fruit for the support, and its

nations, may be supposed to have penned leaves for the healing of the nations. It

this, as a kind of inauguration Psalm. But flourishes in immortal youth, and blooms for

greater than David is here," apever in unfading beauty. See Rev. xxii. 2.

pears not only from the strength of the 4. The ungodly are not so, but are like the

expressions, which are more properly apchaf; which the wind driveth away.

plicable to Messiah, than to David himself; In the foregoing description of the right

but also from the citations made in the eous, all appeared verdant and fruitful, lovely New Testament; the appointment of the and endearing; but here by way of contrast,

Psalm by the church to be read on Easter we are presented with nothing but what is

day; and the confessions of the Jewish withered and worthless, without form or sta

rabbies. It treats therefore, 1-3, of the bility, blown about by every wind, and at

opposition raised, both by Jew and Gentile, length finally dispersed from the face of the

against the kingdom of Jesus Christ; 4-6, earth, by the breath of God's displeasure, and

of his victory, and the confusion of his driven into the fire prepared for it. Such is enemies; 7-9, after his resurrection, he the state, such the lot of the “ ungodly;" and preaches the Gospel; and, 10—12, calls so justly are they compared to "chaft

the kings of the earth to accept it; de5. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in

nouncing vengeance against those who the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation shall not do so, and pronouncing a blessing of the righteous.

on those who shall. A day is coming when the divine Husbandman shall appear with his “fan in his 1. Why do the heathen rage, hand," and shall thoroughly purge his floor.” |ple imagine a vain thing? 2. The kings of

1 The wheat, which shall stand the winnowing the earth set themselves, and the rulers take of that day, will be gathered into the celes- counsel together, against the LORD, and against tial granary; while the chaff, for ever sepa-hus Anointed, saying, rated from it, shall be hurried out of the floor, The true David is introduced, like his anand carried, by a mighty whirlwind, to its cestor of old, expostulating with the nations, own place. Then shall there be a “congre- for their vain attempts to frustrate the divine gation of the righteous,” in which “ sinners decree in his favor. These two verses are shall not stand.” At present wheat and chaff cited, Acts, iv. 27, and thus, expounded :lie in one floor ; wheat and tares grow in one “Lordof a truth against thy holy child field; good and bad fishes are comprehended Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod in one net; good and bad men are contained and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and in the visible church. Let us wait with pa- the people of Israel, were gathered together, tience God's time of separation.

for to do whatsoever thy hand and thy coun6. For the LORD knoweth the way of the sel determined before to be done.” Persecurighteous: but the way of the ungodly shall tion may be carried on by the people, but it perish.

is raised and fomented by kings and rulers. In the present scene of confusion, we may After the ascension of Christ, and the effusion be, and often are, deceived in the judgment of the Spirit, the whole power of the Roman we form of men. But it cannot be so with empire was employed in the same cause, by the Omniscient. “The foundation of God those who, from time to time, swayed the

and the peosceptre of the world. But still, they who and implacable enemies." Let us reflect, for intended to extirpate the faith, and destroy our comfort, that He who raised up his Son the church, how many and how mighty Jesus, has promised to raise up us also who soever they might be, were found only to believe in him; and that the world can no “ imagine a vain thing.” And equally vain more prevent the exaltation of the members, will every imagination be, that exalteth itself than it could prevent that of the Head. against the counsels of God for the salvation 7. I will declare the decree: the Lord hath of his people.

said unto me, Thou art my son ; this day hare 3. Let us break their bands asunder, and I begotten thee. cast away their cords from us.

Jesus, for the suffering of death, crowned These words, supposed to be spoken by with honor and immortality, upon the holy the powers in arms against Messiah, discover hill of Zion, in the new Jerusalem, now to us the true ground of opposition, namely, “declares the decree,” or preaches the Gosthe unwillingness of rebellious nature to sub- pel of the everlasting covenant. His part mit to the obligations of divine laws, which in the covenant was performed by keepcross the interests, and lay a restraint upon ing the law, and dying for the sins of men. the desires of men. Corrupt affections are Nothing therefore remained, but the accomthe most inveterate enemies of Christ ; and plishment of the promise made to him by the their language is, “We will not have this Father, upon those conditions. One part of man to reign over us." Doctrines would be this promise was fulfilled, saith St. Paul, “ in readily believed, if they involved in them no that he had raised up Jesus again; as it is precepts; and the church may be tolerated written in the second Psalm, Thou art my by the world, if she will only give up her Son, this day have I begotten thee.” Acts, discipline.

xiii. 33. Another part was fulfilled at the 4. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh; ascension of Christ, and his inauguration to the LORD shall have them in derision.

an eternal kingdom, and an unchangeable By these and such like expressions, which priesthood, as the true Melchizedek, King frequently occur in the Scripture, we are of righteousness, King of peace, and Priest of taught, in a language which we understand, the most high God. The next article in the because borrowed from ourselves, and our covenant, on the Father's side, was the enmanner of showing contempt, how the largement of Messiah's spiritual kingdom, by schemes of worldly politicians appear to him, the accession of the nations to the church. who, sitting upon his heavenly throne, sur- And accordingly, this was the next thing veys at a glance whatever men are doing, which “ Jehovah said unto him,” after havor contriving to do, upon the earth. This is ing proclaimed his Sonship and pre-emithe idea intended to be conveyed; and from nence; as we find by the following verse : it we are to separate all notions of levity, or 8. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the whatever else may offend when applied to heathen for thine inheritance, and the ulterthe Godhead, though adhering to the phrases most parts of the earth for thy possession. as in use among the sons of Adam. The Christ was to enter upon the exercise of same is to be said with regard to words which the intercessorial branch of his priestly office seem to attribute many other human passions with a request of the Father, that the “heaand affections to the Deity: as, for instance, then world might be given for his inheritthese which follow :

ance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for 5. Then shall he speak unto them in his his possession,” in return for the labors he wrath, and ver them in his sore displeasure. had undergone, and the pains he had en6. Yet have I set my King upon my holy hill dured; as also to supply the place of the of Zion.

Jews, who were his original inheritance The meaning is, that by pouring out his and possession,” but were cast off, because of indignation upon the adversaries of Messiah, unbelief. That such request was made by as formerly upon those of David, God would Christ, and granted by the Father, the person no less evidently convict and reprove their who writes this, and he who reads it, in a folly and impiety, than if he had actually once Pagan, but now Christian island, are thus spoken to them from his eternal throne both witnesses. above: “ Yet, notwithstanding all your rage 9. Thou shalt break them with a rod of against him, have I raised from the dead, and iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a exalted as the Head of the church, my ap- potter's vessel. pointed King Messiah ; in like manner as I The irresistible power and inflexible jusonce set his victorious representative David tice of Christ's kingdom are signified by his upon my holy hill of Sion, in the earthly ruling with a rod of iron :" the impotence Jerusalem, out of the reach of his numerous of those who presume to oppose him, is com

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VOL. 1.

172

A COMMENTARY

PSAL. 3.

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pared to that of “a potter's vessel,” which he relates the success of his

prayers, 6_ must fly in pieces at the first stroke of the 8, derides the impotent malice of his eneiron rod. The power of Christ will be mani- mies, and ascribes salvation to Jehovah. fested in all, by the destruction either of sin, or the sinner. The hearts which now yield 1. LORD, how are they increased that trouto the impresions of his Spirit, are broken ble me! Many are they that rise up against only in order to be formed anew,

and to be- me. come vessels of honor, fitted for the Master's David is astonished to find, that the

Those which continue stubborn and hearts of the men of Israel are after Absahardened, must be dashed to pieces by the lom,” 2 Sam. xv. 13, that his counsellors are stroke of eternal vengeance.

revolted, and his friends falling off continu10. Be wise now therefore, O ye kings : be ally; and that the king of Israel is forced to, instructed, ye judges of the earth. 11. Serve leave his capital mourning and weeping. the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trem- Thus, led forth out of Jerusalem by his own bling.

children in arms against him, the holy Jesus The decree of the Father, concerning the went, forsaken and sorrowing, to the cross

, in kingdom of the Son, being thus promulgated the day of trouble. Thus is the church by the latter, an exhortation is made to the oftentimes opposed and betrayed by her sons, kings of the earth, that they would learn true and the Christian by his passions and affecwisdom, and suffer themselves to be instruct- tions. So true it is, that “a man's foes are ed unto salvation; that they would bow their they of his own household.” But he who sceptres to the cross of Jesus, and cast their by prayer engages the assistance of Jehovah, crowns before his throne ; esteeming it a far will rise superior to them all. greater honor, as well as a more exalted plea- 2. Many there be which say of my soul, sure, to serve Him, than to find themselves at there is no help for him in God. the head of victorious armies, surrounded by Affliction and desertion are two very difapplauding nations.

ferent things, but often confounded by the 12. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye world. Shimei reviled David, as reprobated perish from the way; when his wrath is kin- by heaven; and the language of the Shimeis dled but a little, blessed are all they that put afterward, concerning the Son of David, was, their trust in him.

“He trusted in God; let him deliver him Christ beseeches kings, no less than their now, if he will have him.” See 2 Sam. xvi. subjects, to be reconciled to him, and by him 8. Matt. xxvii. 43. The fearful imaginations to the Father: since a day is at hand, when of our own desponding hearts, and the sugmighty men shall have no distinction, but gestions of our crafty adversary, frequently that of being mightily tormented. And then join to help forward this most dangerous will be seen the “ blessedness" of those who temptation, in the hour of sorrow.

What “put their trust in” the Lord Jesus. For therefore hath faith to offer ? We shall when the glory of man shall fade away as hearthe short-lived flower of the field, and when 3. But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me ; all that is called great and honorable in my glory, and the lifter up of my

head. princes, shall be laid low in the dust, he Such is the answer of David, and of all the shall give unto his faithful servants a crown saints, but above all, of the King of saints, to without cares, and a kingdom which cannot the temptation before mentioned. Jehovah be moved.

is a “shield” against this, and all other fiery

darts, shot by Satan and his associates: he is
PSALM III.

the “glory”, of Christ and the church, with
which they will one day be seen invested,

though for a season it appear not to the world, This Psalm is said to have been composed by any more than did the royalty of David,

David, when he fled from his son Absa- when, weeping and barefoot, he went up lom. Thus circumstanced, he expresses Mount Olivet: 2 Sam. xv. 30.

The same himself in terms well adapted to the par- Jehovah is “ the lifter up of our heads,” by allel case of the Son of David, persecuted the gift of holy confidence, and the hope of by rebellious Israel; as also to that of his a resurrection, through that of Jesus Christ, church, suffering tribulation in the world. prefigured by the triumphant and happy re1, 2, He complains, in much anguish, of turn of David to Jerusalem. the multitude of his enemies, and of the 4. I cried unto the Lord with my voice, and reproaches cast upon him, as one forsaken he heard me out of his holy hill. by God; but, 3, declares, notwithstanding, David, driven from Jerusalem, still looked his sure trust in the divine promises; 4, 5, and prayed towards the “ holy hill” of Sion.

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ARGUMENT.

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Christ, when a stranger on the earth, “made

PSALM IV. supplication with strong crying,” to his

ARGUMENT. Father in heaven. Christ was heard for his own sake; David was heard, and we shall The person speaking in this Psalm, 1, prayeth

to be heard by God; 2, convinceth the be heard, through him.

world of sin; 3, declareth the righteous 5. I laid me down and slept; I awaked, for

to be under the divine protection; 4, 5, the LORD sustained me. Behold David, in the midst of danger,

prescribeth solitude and meditation, as the sleeping without fear; secure, through the

proper means to lead inen to repentance

and faith ; 6, showeth that in God alone divine protection, of awaking to engage and

peace

and comfort are to be found, and, 7, vanquish his enemies. Behold the Son of

how superior the joys of the spirit are to David composing himself to his rest upon the

those of sense; 8, reposeth himself, in full 'cross, that bed of sorrows ; and commending his spirit into the Father's hands, in full con

assurance of faith, on the loving kindness

of the Lord. fidence of a joyful resurrection, according to the promise, at the time appointed. Behold

1: Hear me when I call, O God of my this, o Christian, and let faith teach thee how righteousness ; thou hast enlarged me when I to sleep, and how to die; while it assures was in distress ; have mercy upon me, and thee, that as sleep is a short death, so death is

hear my prayer. only a longer sleep; and that the same God

The church, like David, “ calls” aloud, as watches over thee, in thy bed and in thy grave: one in great affliction, for God's assistance:

6. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of she addresses him as the “God of her rightpeople, that have set themselves against me eousness,” as the fountain of pardon and round about. Faith, revived and invigorated by prayer, erty, and “enlargement” from bondage,

grace; she reminds him of that spiritual liband fixed on God alone, is a stranger to fear, which he had purchased for her, and oftenin the worst of times. The innumerable ex- times wrought in her: and, conscious of her amples of saints, rescued from tribulation, and, demerits, makes her prayer for “ mercy.” above all, the resurrection of the Son of God

2. O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn from the dead, render the believer bold as a lion, although the name of his adversary be vanity, and seek after leasing, or falsehood ?

my “legion.”

If the Israelitish monarch conceived he 7. Arise, O Lord! save me, O my God! had just cause to expostulate with his enemies, for thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon for despising the royal majesty with which the cheek-bone ; thou hast broken the teeth of Jehovah had invested his Anointed; of how the ungodly.

much severer reproof shall they be thought The church, through Christ, prayeth in these words of David, that Jehovah would worthy, who blaspheme the essential “ glory”

of King Messiah, which shines forth by his arise, as of old time, in the power of his Gospel in the church! Thou, O Christ, art might; that he would finally break the power everlasting Truth; all is “vanity and falseof Satan and his adherents'; pluck the spoil hood,” transient and fallacious, but the love out of the jaws of those beasts of prey;

and

of thee! work that glorious deliverance for the mem

3. But know that the Lord hath set apart bers, which is already wrought for the Head him that is godly for himself; the Lord will of the body mystical.

hear when I call upon him. 8. Salvation belongeth, or, be ascribed unto the Lord; thy blessing is, or, be upon thy what they will, the counsel of the Lord, that

Be the opinions or the practices of men

, people.

shall stand. Is David “set apart” for the The Psalm ends with an acknowledgment, kingdom of Israel ? Saul shall not be able to which ought always to fill the heart, and, detain, or Absalom to wrest, it from him. Is upon every proper occasion, to flow from the Messiah ordained to be King of the Israel of mouth of a Christian; namely, that “salva

God? Death and hell shall not prevent it. tion” is not to be had from man, from the Are his disciples appointed to reign with kings of the earth, or the gods of the heathen, him? Infallibly they shall. Our intercessor from saints or angels, but from Jehovah alone ; is already on ħigh; and for his sake, the to whom alone, therefore, the glory shall be Lord wiủ hear us when we call upon him.” ascribed. He will save, none can destroy; if He will destroy, none can save. Let What, then, can be said for us, if we neglect

to call upon him? Balak, then, curse Israel, or hire Balaam to

4. Stand in Heb. tremble, and sin not ; curse them for him; be but “ thy blessing,"

commune with your own heart upon your bed, O Lord, upon thy people, and it sufficeth.

and be still.

awe,

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