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One and the Just One, will always subsist mean time, the Almighty is whetting that between the wicked and the just. The rage sword, which nothing can withstand; and of the former against the latter is compared those fires are kindling, which shall never be to that of mad dogs, or wild beasts; but a day extinguished. See Isa. xxxiv. 6—10. is coming, when all that rage must be turned 21. The wicked borroweth, and pay th not and employed against themselves. God, who again ; but the righteous showeth mercy and knoweth this, contemneth their vain efforts ; givith. and Christians, who know it, and are under The wicked man, like his leader, the the protection of God, should do the same. “ wicked one,” payeth not those whose
14. The wicked have drawn out the sword, money or abilities he hath occasion to borrow, and have bent their bow, to cast down the and to employ in his service; whereas the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of disciple of Christ, in imitation of his master, upright conversation, or, upright of way. not only punctually observeth the rules of 15. Their sword shall enter into their own justice and equity, but thinketh it “ more heart, and their bow shall be broken. blessed to give than to receive.” In like
The tongue is a “sword,” and a “bow,” manner, though both are indebted, for everywhich shooteth its arrows, even bitter words, thing, to the bounty of God, the latter maketh against the humble and upright Jesus, and his all the acknowledgments and returns in his disciples. But these are not the only wea- power; while the former never thinketh of pons that have been drawn against them. making any. How the malice of the Jews returned upon 22. For, or, therefore, such as be blessed their own heads, no one is ignorant; though of him shall inherit the earth ; and they that few lay it to heart, and consider them as set be cursed of him shall be cut off. forth for an example.
They who are like their merciful and gra16. A little that a rightcous man hath, is cious Lord, and who, by their devotion and better than the riches of many wicked. 17. charity, bless him, are blessed of him; they For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: who are like their cruel and iniquitous master, but the Lord uphold th the righteous. and who, by their ungodliness, injustice, and
A little, with the blessing of God upon it, hard-heartedness, dishonor their Maker and is better than a great deal, with the encum- Redeemer, are cursed of him. To the forbrance of his curse. His blessing can multi- mer therefore it will be said, at the last day, ply a mite into a talent, but his curse will “Come, ye blessed, inherit the kingdom;" to shrink a talent to a mite. By him “the arms the latter, “Go, ye cursed, into the fire.” of the wicked are broken,” and by him “ the 23. The stips of a good man are orderd, righteous are upholden;" so that the great Heb. established, by the Lord; and he dequestion is, whether he be with us, or against lighteth in his way. 24. Tough he fell, he us; and the great misfortune is, that this sholl not be utt rly cast down: for the Lord question is seldom asked.
upholdeth him with his hand. 18. The Lord knowith the days of the This was emphatically true of the man upright ; and their inheritance shall be for Christ, whose steps Jehovah established, and ever. 19. Thiy shall not be ashamed in the in whose way he delighted; who, “though evil time : and in the days of famine they he fell” by death, yet was raised again by shall be satisfi d.
his mighty hand and outstretched arm. It is The favor of God is, to them that obtain it, true likewise of Christians, whom it should a better and an enduring substance, which, support and comfort, in all dangers and templike the widow's barrel and cruse, wasted not tations. See, for a parallel, Psal. xci. in the evil days of famine, nor will fail in 25. I have been young, and now em old: that evil day of eternal want, when the fool- y t have I not sen the right ous forsak ng ish virgins shall be calling in vain for oil, and nor his sed begging briad. 26. He is eter the rich glutton as vainly imploring a drop in rciful, and lindeth : and his sed is bl ss d. of water to cool his tongue.
So far is charity from impoverishing, that 20. But the wicked shall perish, and the what is given away, like vapors emitted by enemies of the Lord shall be as the fat of the earth returns in showers of blessings lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall into the bosom of the person who gave it; they consume away.
and his offspring is not the worse, but inThe destruction of the wicked is here again finitely the better for it. “The liberal soul set before us, but under a different image, shall be made fat, and he that watereth shall namely, that of a sacrifice. Senseless, as be watered also himself:” Prov. xi. 25. The cattle, they are fatted for the altar, they bread which endureth, as well as that which wanton in their prosperity, and nourish their perisheth, is his; and the blessings of time hearts against the day of slaughter. In the l are crowned with those of eternity.
27. Depart from evil, and do good ; and 35. I have seen the wicked in great power, dwell for evermore. 28. For the Lord loveth and spreading himself like a green bay tree, judgment, and forsaketh not his suints; or, a native tree, which has grown from the they ar? preserved for ever : but the seed of seed without transplantation, in the same the wick d shall be cut off. 29. The right spot. 36. Yet he passed away, and, lo, he cous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein was not ; yea, I sought him, but he could not for ever.
be found. T'he justice and mercy of God, the rewards The great Babylonian monarch had his which await the righteous, and the punish- own exaltation, and subsequent degradation, ments that will, sooner or later, be inflicted portrayed to him, in a vision, under this on the wicked, are subjects on which who- very image, which conveyeth to the mind a ever shall frequently meditate, “ will depart most striking and affecting idea of the rise from evil, and do good. Whatsoever thou and fall of men and empires, which have takest in hand,” saith the wise son of Sirach, now no existence but in history. “I saw, “ remember the End, and thou shalt never do and behold a tree in the midst of the earth, amiss." Ecclus. vii. 36.
and the height thereof was great. The tree 30. The mouth of the righteous speaketh grew, and was strong, and the height thereof wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment. reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof 31. The law of his God is in his heart ; none to the end of the earth. The leaves thereof of his st
were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in The word which is here, as in other places it was meat for all: the beasts of the field innumerable, translated “the righteous,” is in had shadow under it, and the fowls of the the singular number, and might therefore be heaven dwelt in the boughs thereof, and all translated “the Righteous One,” or, “ the flesh was fed of it. I saw in the visions of Just One," for it is often designed to point my head upon my bed, and behold a watcher him out to us, who is emphatically so styled; and an holy one came down from heaven. whose “mouth” always spake “wisdom,” in He cried aloud, and said thus, Hew down the whose “heart was the law of God," and tree, and cut off his branches, shake off his whose 6 steps ” NEVER declined to evil. Lord, leaves, and scatter his fruit; let the beasts get put thy laws into our hearts, that out of the away from under it, and the fowls from his abundance of the heart the mouth may speak; branches :" Dan. iv. 10, 11, &c. See the and as the mouth speaks, the hands may act, prophet's exposition, 20, 21, &c., and what and the feet may walk.
is said above, on ver. 10, of this Psalm. 32. The wicked watcheth the righteous, 37. Mark the perfect man, and behold the and seek th to slay him. 33. The Lord wil upright : for the end of that man is peace. not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him 38. But the transgressors shall be destroyed when he is judged.
together : the end of the wicked shall be cut The Jews “ watched” that “ Just One,” off. daily and hourly; they “ sought to slay him," After taking a view of those short-lived and did so; but “ Jehovah left him not in honors, which the world setteth upon
the their hands,” but vindicated his innocence, heads of its most favored votaries, let us turn by raising him from the dead. And the day our eyes to “the Perfect and Upright One;" is coming, when he who hath stood tamely let us behold the permanent creatness and the at the bar of men, and hath suffered for truth unfading glory of the TREE OF LIFE, which is and righteousness, shall be advanced to a in the midst of the paradise of God; whose throne among the saints and martyrs, to assist leaves are for the healing of the nations, and at the trial of his once-insulting judges. whose fruit is the fruit of “peace.”
31. Wait on the Lord, and keep his 39. But the salvation of the righteous is wiy, and he shall eralt thee to inherit the of the Lord: he is their strength in the time land : when the wickel are cut off, thou shalt of trouble. 40. And the Lord shall help them,
and deliver them : he shall deliver them from The apostle, writing to the Hebrew con- the wicked, and save them, because they put verts, under affliction and persecution, thus their trust in him. expresseth the sentiment contained in this Of thee, O Lord Jesu, is our salvation : be
“Cast not away your confidence, thou our strength in this mortal life, which is which hath great recompense of reward. a time of trouble; help us against our spiritual For ye
have need of patience, that after ye enemies, and deliver us from them ; deliver have done the will of God, ye might receive us from the wicked one, and from all evil; the promise. For yet a litile while, and he and save us from the guilt and punishment that shall come, will come, and will not thereof, because we put our trust in thee, and tarry.” Heb. x. 35.
in thee alone.
EIGHTH DAY.-MORNING PRAYER. 4. For mine iniqities are gone out my PSALM XXXVIII.
head : as an heavy burden they ore too heavy for me.
Sins and sorrows are here, as in many other In this Psalm, which is the third of those places, represented under the image of
styled Penitential, the sinner, ver. 1, pray- mighty waters rolling incessantly over the eth to be chastened only, and not destroyed; head of the person sunk into them, and by 2—10, describeth the state of his soul their accumulated weight depressing him, so under various images, chiefly borrowed that he can no more rise above them. Let from bodily diseases and pains; 11, 12, us meditate on that deep and tempestuous complaineth of bis friends forsaking, and ocean, into which we were the means of his enemies persecuting him; but, 13—15, plunging the innocent Jesus. continueth patient and resigned, committing 5. My wounds stink and are corrupt, his cause to God, whom, 16–22, he be- through my foolishness. seecheth to help him, on his confession and Sin is the wound of the soul, which must repentance. As our Lord took upon him be washed with the tears of repentance, the guilt, and suffered the punishment of cleansed by the blood of Christ, and healed sin; as there are some passages in the latter by the Spirit of the Holy One. It requires part of the Psalm, literally predictive of great care and attention, until the cure be his passion, and so understood by the best completed. Otherwise, mortification and ancient expositors; and as the sinner should death ensue, as in the case of outward wounds, be led by his own sorrows to reflect on those if neglected, or ill managed. See Isa. i. 6, of his Redeemer; the meditations of the Luke, x. 34. All the sores and pains of the reader are, therefore, under each particular, body mystical are lamented by him who is directed by the ensuing comment into that the head of that body, and who telt the sad channel.
effects of these corruptions of our nature, in
the day of his sufferings. 1. O Lord, rebuke me not in thy wrath ; 6. I am troubled, Heb. writhed, or, disneither chasten me in thy hot displeasure. torted, I am bowed down greatly : I go
The petition here preferred, as in the sixth mourning all the day long. Psalm, is, that Jehovah would not condemn as As the body by pain, so the soul by guilt, a judge, but chasten as a father, for the is “ distorted” from its original uprightness ; amendment and preservation of the offender. it is “bowed down” to the earth, through The same prayer, which we sinners make for shame and fear, being no longer able to look ourselves, Christ, who bore our sins, once up towards heaven, with its accustomed boly made for us.
confidence; and, instead of rejoicing in a 2. For thine arrows stick fast in me, and good conscience, and the hope of glory, thy hund presseth me sore.
sorrow is its portion, and grief its familiar The “arrows,” and the “ hand” of God, acquaintance. And what wonder, that we are his judgments on sin; those internal should be humbled and alflicted for our own pangs and terrors which pierce the soul, and sins, when the Son of God was so humbled those external afflictions and calamities which and afflicted for sins not his own ? sink and weigh down the spirits. The holy 7. For my loins are filled with a loathsome Jesus, at the time of his passion, received disease, or, inflammation : and there is no these arrows, and sustained this weight, for soundness in my flish. the sins of the whole world.
The " disease," or “ inflammation," com3. There is no soundness in my flesh, be- plained of, in these metaphorical terms, seems cause of thine anger ; neither is there any to be the distemperature of our fallen nature, rest, or, peace, or, health, in my bones, because whereby it cometh to pass, that “the flesh of my sin.
lusteth against the spirit;" it is that “other The expressions in this verse are applicable law in our members, warring against the law to the disorders and diseases which sin hath in our minds, bringing us into captivity to the introduced both into the soul and into the law of sin," and forcing every son of Adam body, as the terms, “health,” and “sickness,” to cry out—“O wretched man that I am, who are in Scripture no less frequently employed shall deliver me from this body of death ?” to describe the state of the former, than that Happy is it for us, that we are enabled to go of the latter. If a single sinner thus com-on with the apostle, and to “thank God," plaineth of bis grief and pain, what must that we are delivered, “ through Jesus Christ have been the agony and passion of him who our Lord,” on whom were laid the “iniquities suffered for all, mercifully and lovingly sub- of us all." mitted to be “ made sin for us?"
8. I am fecble and sore broken : I have
roared by reason of the disquietness of my Shimei, &c., the latter from the chief priests heart.
and elders, Judas, and the Jews. The vigor of a man is broken in pieces, 15. For in thee, O LORD, do I hope, or, and wasted away, by pain and the disquietude thee do I wait for: thou wilt hear, or, answer, from thence arising, which cause piercing O Lord my God. cries, and loud lamentations. When sin in This verse assigns the reason why the ill the soul is felt like sickness in the body, it usage which we receive at the hands of men, will produce effects in some degree similar. should be borne with patience and resignaLet us reflect on the sufferings, the cries, and tion; namely, because, as it is not without the the tears of our Redeemer.
permission, so neither will it be without 9. Lord, all my desire is before thee; and the notice of the Almighty, who will one my groaning is not hid from thee.
day take the matter into his own hands. The “ desires” and “groans” of the peni- Christ, saith S. Peter, “who did no sin, neitent are known to God, and marked down ther was guile found in his mouth, yet when in his book; and there is no small comfort in he was reviled, reviled not again; when he thinking and acknowledging that they are suffered, he threatened not; but committed so; but much more comfort is there in the himself to him that judgeth righteously.” 1 remembrance of those inconceivable “de- Pet. ii. 21. sires," and those unutterable “groanings," 16. For I said, Hear me, lest otherwise they which the holy Jesus poured forth for us in should rejoice over me : when my foot slipthe days of his flesh, and which prevail for the peth, they magnify themselves against me. acceptance of our own.
As the glory of God may be said, in some 10. My heart panteth, my strength faileth measure, to depend on the behavior and fate me: as for the light of mine eyes, it also is of his servants; on that account, besides the gone from me.
stings of conscience, temporal punishments, In bodily sickness, there are three symp- and the danger of eternal torments, good men toms of approaching dissolution; and the soul should ever have before their eyes the disis in great extremity, when the three corres- honor which is brought on the name of God, ponding symptoms appear upon her; namely, and the stop which is put to the progress of when she hath neither resolution to will, his Gospel, by the fall of any eminently power to perform, nor knowledge to discern righteous and holy person into sin. the things that belong unto her health and 17. For I am ready to halt, and my sorrow peace.
is continually before me. 18. For I will 11. My lovers and my friends stand declare mine iniquity: I will be sorry for aloof from my sore, or, plague, or, afflic- my sin, tion; and my kinsmen, or, my neighbors, The surest way to have our weakness stand afar off
strengthened, and our sin forgiven, is to A body afflicted with a noisome distemper, acknowledge and confess both; and this we and a soul troubled on account of sin, find need not be ashamed to do, when we consider, but few friends, who have charity enough to that he, who is the Lord strong and mighty, stay with, and minister to them. Let us not took our infirmities; and the King of rightbe surprised, or offended at this, when we see eousness bare our sins, in his own body, on the righteous Jesus, at his passion, destitute the tree. and forsaken by all; as it is written, “ Then 19. But mine enemies are lively, and they all the disciples forsook him, and fled:” Matt. are strong, and they that hate me wrong fully xxvi. 56; 5 and all his acquaintance, and the are multiplied. 20. They also that render women that followed him from Galilee, stood evil for good are mine adversaries : because I afar off, beholding these things.” Luke, follow the thing that good is. xxiii. 49.
These words, joined with the preceding, 12. They also that seek after my life, lay are applicable to the distress of David, and snares for me: and they that seek my hurt, the prosperity of his adversaries; to the sufspeak mischievous things, and imagine deceits ferings of Christ, and the triumph of the Jews; all the day long. 13. But I, as a deaf man, to the afflictions of the church, and the gaiety heard not; and I was as a dumb man, that of the world ; to the weakness of faith, and openeth not his mouth. 14. Thus I was as the strength of nature. The result of all is a man that heareth not, and in whose mouth this, that salvation cometh of God only, and are no reproofs, or, altercations. These verses describe and recommend to which conclude the Psalne following words,
. our imitation the behavior of David, and of 21. Forsake me not, 0 LORD; O my God a greater than David, when under persecu- be not far from me. 22. Make haste to tion; the former from Absalom, Abithophel, help me, O Lord God of my salvation. dio
4. LORD, make me to know mine end, and
the measure of my days what it is : that I The prophet, in a state of distress and per- may know how fruil I am. secution, determineth, 1-3, to be watchful
Wearied with the contradiction of sinners, and silent, as our blessed Lord also was,
and sickening at the prospect of so much before his enemies. 4. He prayeth for a wretchedness in the valley of weeping, the due sense of the shortness of human life;
soul looks forward to her departure from and after meditating, 5, 6, on that subject, hence, praying for such a sense of the shortfixeth all his faith and hope in God, 7,
ness of human life, as may enable her to bear whom he entreateth, but with submission the sorrows of this world, and excite her to to his will, 8—10, for the remission of sin, prepare for the joys of a better. “O faithless and alleviation of misery. 11, from a
and perverse generation,” saith even the view of the human body wearing away by meek and patient Jesus himself,“ how long
I sickness, he breaketh ont, 12, 13, into a most fervent and affectionate prayer, which you ?” Matt, xvii. 17. ought to be continually in the mouth of the
5. Behold, thou hast made my days as an Christian, upon earth.—This Psalm is, with
hand breadth, und mine age is as nothing the utmost propriety, appointed by the before thee: verily ev'ry man at his best, church to be used at the burial of the dead, Heb. settled estate, is altogether vanity. as a funeral is indeed the best comment
The age of man, or that of the world, is
span” in dimension, a moment in du
ration ; nay, it is less than both; it is “noth1. I said, I will take heed to my ways, ing,” if compared with the unmeasurable that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep extent, and the unnumbered days of eternity: my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is every hour, from that of our birth, brings us before me.
so much nearer to our death: nor can we The Psalm begins abruptly with the result continue, for a second of time, in one stay, of a meditation on the narrow, slippery, and “ Behold,” then, O Lord, the “vanity” of dangerous paths of life; and more especially man; and be so merciful unto him, as to open on the extreme diíficulty of restraining the his eyes, that he may behold it himself! tongue, amidst the continual temptations and 6. Surely, every man walketh in a vain provocations of the adversary. In these cir- show, or, in a shadowy image: surely they cumstances, “watchfulness” and “silence” are disquieted in vain : he heapeth up riches, are resolved on, as the only means of security. and knoweth not who shall gath:r them. Let us behold the Lamb of God, as our great
This world is, to the other, as a “shadow" pattern and example herein.
to the substance; nay, temporal life, health, 2. I was dumb with silence, I held my peace riches, honors, and pleasures, can hardly be even from cood, and my sorrow was stirred. called shadows of those which are eternal, in
There is a time to keep silence, because point of resemblance; though, for their illuthere are men who will not hear; there are sive and fleeting nature, they are shadows tempers, savage and sensual, as those of swine, indeed. “ The mortal state of man is combefore whom evangelical pearls, or the treas- pounded of light and darkness ; seeming to ures of heavenly wisdom, are not to be cast. be something, when really it is nothing; This consideration stirreth up fresh grief and always altering, and ending on a sudden; trouble, in a pious and charitable heart. How nearest to disappearing, when at full length; much more must it have done so, in the soul sure to continue no longer than while the sun of him who lived and died only for the salva- is above the horizon; but liable to vanish, at tion of sinners!
the interposition of a cloud ; and when it is 3. My heart was hot within me, while I gone, leaving no track behind it.” The fate was musing the fire burned: then spake I of riches, heaped up by misers, with unutterwith my tongue.
able care and anxiety, may convince how The fire of divine Charity, thus prevented “vainly” men are “disquieted!”
6 from diffusing itself, for the illumination and 7. And now, LORD, what wait I for? My warmth of those around it, and, like other hope is in thee. fire, rendered more intense by its confine- The soul, that hath a true sense of the ment, presently ascended, in the flame of vanity of the creature, will at once fix her devotion, towards heaven; while it continued thoughts and reflections on the Creator. A to be fed, and preserved in brightness and celebrated writer, describing a man of the vigor, by meditation on the goodness of God, and world on his death-bed, hath expressed this the ingratitude of man ; the transient miseries sentiment with wonderful sublimity and eleof time, and the durable glories of eternity.Igance—“Whoever would know, how much