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are represented, false teachers and erroneous earth ;" Wisdom, xviii. 14. Pharaoh and doctrines, carnality and ignorance, and, in a all his servants rose up in the night; there word, whatever contributes to ravage the was a great cry throughout all the land of moral or spiritual world, to deface the beauty Egypt; and universal consternation reigned, of holiness, and destroy the fruits of faith. inferior only to that which is to extend its And of all the divine judgments, these are by empire over the world, when “ the trumpet far the most dreadful, though generally the shall sound, and the dead shall be raised.” least dreaded.
May we be saved, like Israel, in that hour, 49. He cast upon them the fierceness of his through the blood of the true paschal Lamb, anger, wrath, and indignation, and trouble, slain to take away the sins of the world! by sending evil angels among them. “ When I see the blood," says Jehovah to his
Some of the Egyptian plagues having been people, “ I will pass over you." specified in the foregoing verses, others of 52. But made his own people to go forth them are here thrown together, and the whole like sheep; and guided them in the wilderscene is affrmed to have been a full display ness like a flock : 53. And he led them on of wrath and vengeance, executed upon the safely, so that they feared not; but the sea oppressors of the church by Dynaxho, overwhelmed their enemies. 54. And he “evil angels, agents, or messengers :" whether brought them to the border of his sanctuary, by this expression we understand the material even to this mountain, which his right hand instruments of divine displeasure; or angels had purchased. 55. He cast out the heathen employed as ministers of vengeance ; or the also before them, and divided them an inheritactual appearance and ministration of evil ance by line, and made the tribes of Israel to spirits, suffered to torment the wicked in this dwell in their tents. world, as they certainly will do in the next. Having related the punishments inflicted Tradition seems to have favored this last on Egypt, the Psalmist returns to those meropinion, since the author of the book of cies experienced by the Israelites, when God Wisdom, above referred to, describes the overthrew their enemies, took them under Egyptian darkness as a kind of temporary his protection, fed and conducted them in the hell, in which there appeared to the wicked, wilderness, brought them to the promised whose consciences suggested to them every land, expelled the heathen, settled his people, thing that was horrible, “a fire kindled of it- and at length fixed his residence on Mount self very dreadful; they were scared with Sion, which is represented as the conquest beasts that passed by, and hissing of serpents; and acquisition of his own arm; since the and they were vexed with monstrous appari- victories of Joshua, &c. were all owing to the tions, so that they fainted and died for fear; divine presence and assistance. The Christian while over them was spread an heavy night, church, after her redemption by “the blood an image of that “darkness which should of the Lamb,” passed 300 years in a state of afterwards receive them.” Wisdom, xvii. minority, as it were, and under persecution,
50. He made a way to his anger : he spared which, with allusion to what befel Israel of not their soul from death, but gave their life old, is called in the Revelation, her flight and over to to the pestilence; 51. And smote all abode in the WILDERNESS : Rev. xii. 6. At the first-born in Egypt; the chief of their length the true “ Joshua,” or JESUS,“ brought” strength in the tabernacles of Ham.
her “ into the possession of the Gentiles;” The last plague was the death of the first- see Acts, vii. 45, and she enjoyed a tempoborn both of man and beast ; Exod. xii. 29, rary rest and prosperity. But no terrestrial when God, having removed every obstacle Canaan, no secular advantages, should make that mercy had thrown in the path of justice, us forget, as the Jews did, and as Christians “made a way to his indignation," which are apt to do, that the church is in the wilderthen rushed forth like a fiery stream. An ness, while she is in the world, and that unlimited commission was given to the de- there remaineth yet ” another and far more stroyer, who at midnight passed through the glorious“ rest for the people of God," after land, and gave the fatal stroke in every house. which they ought ever to be aspiring. See “ While all things, O Lord, were in quiet Heb. iv. 9. silence, and that night was in the midst of her 56. Yet they tempted and provoked the most swift course, thine Almighty WORD leaped high God, and kept not his testimonies : 57. down from heaven out of thy royal throne, as But turned back, and dealt unfaithfully like a fierce man of war into the midst of a land their fathers : they were turned aside like a of destruction, and brought thine unfeigned deceitful bow. 58. For they provoked him commandment as a sharp sword, and standing to anger with their high places, and moved up, filled all things with death: and it him to jealousy with their graven images. touched the heaven, but it stood upon the The Israelites, when settled in the promis:d
Jand, soon showed themselves to be the genuine | become our own; it is well if they reform descenda nts of those men who tempted God us, even when they do become so. in the desert. We can hardly read two chap- 65. Then the LORD awaked, as one out of ters in the book of Judges, but we meet with sleep, and like a mighty man, that shouteth, the words, “ And the children of Israel again by reason of wine. did evil in the sight of the Lord.” For this While, by God's permission, the Philistines their frequent revolting they are compared to were chastising his people for their sins, he “ a deceitful bow,” which, when put to the held his peace, and seemed unconcerned, as trial, is sure to disappoint the archer, either one asleep. But when due chastisement had dropping the arrow at his feet, or carrying it brought the delinquents to themselves, the wide of the mark. Their zeal and love were cries of penitent Israel awakened, as it were, either wholly relaxed and enervated by sen- and called forth the zeal of the Lord of hosts, suality and indolence, or else turned aside, to vindicate his honor, and deliver his serand misplaced on false objects of worship. vants : and then the vigor of his operations Thus, in the present decline of religion, the was such, as might be compared to the alacrity devotion of the Romanists hath attached itself and courage of a mighty champion, when reto saints, angels, and images; while that of freshea and inspirited by wine, he attacks his Protestants sleepeth, and must be awakened. adversaries, and bears down all before him. In what manner, is known to God only. Under all our sufferings, let us rest contented
59. When God heard this, he was wroth, with this assurance, that God acts the part of and greatly abhorred Israel : 60. So that he a father ; and will therefore remove the rod, forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent when it has answered the end proposed. which he placed among men ; 61. And de
66. And he smote his enemies in the hinder livered his strength into captivity, and his parts: he put them to a perpetual reproach. glory into the enemy's hund.
The former clause of this verse may be Rebellion against God, will, sooner or later, rendered, “ And he repulsed, or, drove his draw down his vengeance, and cause the most enemies back ;” as Psalm ix. 3. “When beloved nation to be “ abhorred” by him: he mine enemies are turned back ;” the word will forsake the place of his residence, “ the Tin being the same, in both places. But tent placed among men,” where he dwelleth as that part of the sacred history is here by his spirit; and the church, by which his alluded to, in which the Philistines are said “strength” and his “glory "are manifested to have been plagued with “emerods,” or to the world, shall go, « into captivity, and hemorrhoids, while the ark was amongst
“ the enemy's hand.” All this we are taught them, the passage is generally rendered, as by that which came to pass in Israel, when in our translation, and supposed to intend that for the sins of priests and people, the ark of particular plague. Thus much, however, is God, which then abode in Shiloh, was suffer- certain, that Dagon fell before the ark, which ed to fall into the hands of the Philistines: his worshippers were glad to send back, with 1 Sam. iv. The present state of Jerusalem, acknowledgments of the vengeance inflicted and of all the once-flourishing Eastern and on them by the superior power of the God African churches, speaks aloud the same awful of Israel, who could punish where, and when, and concerning truth. “He that hath ears and how he pleased. See 1 Sam. v. vi. to hear let him hear.”
67. Moreover he refused the tabernacle of 62. He gave his people over also to the Joseph, and chose not the tribe of Ephraim: sword : and was wroth with his inheritance. 68. But chose the tribe of Judah, the Mount 63. The fire consumed their young men : and Sion which he loved. 69. And he built his their maidens were not given to marriage. sanctuary like high palaces, like the earth 64. Their priests fell by the sword: and their which he hath established for ever. widows made no lamentation.
The ark, after its return, went no more to These verses refer to the slaughter of Israel Shiloh, which was in the tribe of Ephraim, by the Philistines, which was an effect of the son of Joseph, but was brought first to divine wrath, compared here, as elsewhere, Kiriathaim, 1 Sam. vi. 21. a city of the to "a consuming fire;" they refer likewise tribe of Judah, and from thence, after a short to the death of old Eli, of Hophni and Phine- stay at the house of Obed Edom, to Mount has, and the widow of Phinehas, who expired Sion, 1 Chron. xiv. and xv. which was the in child-bed, on hearing the mournful news: chosen and highly favored mount : where 1 Sam. iv. History abounds with the tragical was afterwards erected, by Solomon, a magnistories of wars and captivities : Scripture in- ficent and permanent habitation for the God forms us, they are the judgments of God against of Jacob, during the continuance of the old sin. But calamities aftect us not, till they dispensation ; a resemblance of that eternal
temple, in which all the fulness of the God
head hath since dwelt bodily. The divine inheritance; thy holy temple have they de presence removed at this time to the tribe of filed; they have laid Jerusalem on heaps. Judah, because out of that tribe, after the Three deplorable calamities are here enurejection of Saul, came the great representa- merated by the faithful; the alienation of tive, as well as progenitor, of King Messiah. God's inheritance, the profanation of the
70. He chose David also his servant, and sanctuary, and the desolation of the beloved took him from the sheepfolds : 71. From city. When we represent, in our prayers, following the ewes great with young, he the sufferings and humiliation of the church, brought him to feed Jacob his people, and we take an effectual method of awakening Israel his inheritance. 72. So he fed them the compassion, and recalling the favor of according to the integrity of his heart, and heaven. "Every redeemed soul is the inheritguided them by the skilfulness of his hands. ance, the temple, the city of God. When
The call of David from a sheepfold to a sin enters, and takes possession, the inheritance throne teacheth us, that he who hath showed is alienated, the temple defiled, the city himself faithful in a few and small concerns, desolated. is worthy of promotion to more and more 2. The dead bodies of thy servants have important cares ; that the qualifications requi- they given to be meat unto the fowls of heasite for the due discharge of high offices, are ven: the flesh of thy saints unto the beasts best learned, at first, in an inferior station, of the earth. 3. Their blood have they shed especially if it be one that will inure to labor like water round about Jerusalem : and there and vigilance; and that kings are to con- was none to bury them. sider themselves as “shepherds ;” which That horrible carnage which attends the . consideration would perhaps teach them their siege and capture of a city, is the fourth of duty better than all the precepts in the world. those calamities bewailed in our Psalm. To beFrom the last verse, relative to David's hold, or even to imagine, heaps of slaughtered manner of conducting himself after his ad- bodies lying unburied, and exposed to birds vancement, we learn, that integrity and and beasts of prey, is inexpressibly shocking discretion, when they meet in the same per- to humanity. But with what unconcern are son, form a complete ruler, and one fił to we accustomed to view, on all sides of us, represent that blessed person who entered, multitudes “dead in trespasses and sins," torn like his father David, through sufferings into in pieces, and devoured by wild passions, his glory; who governeth his church in filthy lusts, and infernal spirits, those dogs wisdom and righteousness; and of whom it and vultures of the moral world! Yet, to a is said, by the evangelical prophet, “He discerning eye, and a thinking mind, the shall feed his flock like a shepherd, he shall latter is by far the more melancholy sight of gather the lambs with his arm, and carry
the two. them in his bosom, and shall gently lead
4. We are become a reproach to our neighthose that are with young.” Isa. xl. 11.
bors ; a scorn and derision to them that are
round about us. SLXTEENTH DAY.-MORNING A fifth calamity, incident to an afflicted PRAYER.
church, is to become, like captive Israel, the
scorn and derision” of infidels, who fail not PSALM LXXIX.
at such seasons, to reproach her, and blas pheme her God.
We know how to answer The argument of this Psalm is nearly the those who reproach us with our sufferings,
same with that of lxxivth. The church, for so their predecessors reproached our Mas persecuted and afflicted, sets forth, 1-3, ter; but what shall we say, if we have given the sacrilegious devastation, and cruel the enemy occasion to reproach us with our slaughter made by the enemy, with, 4, the sins ? The only real disgrace of religion, is reproach occasioned thereby ; 5–7, she the wickedness of its professors. prayeth for redress and deliverance; 8, 9, 5. How long, Lord ?
Wilt thou be angry confesseth and entreateth forgiveness of the for ever? shall thy jealousy turn like fire? sins which had brought these calamities Parched and exhausted, amidst the flames upon her; and then, 10—12, asketh a of persecution, we behold Sion panting for removal of her reproach and misery, the comforts of redemption. The extent promising, 13, endless gratitude and praise and continuance of her troubles, cause her for the same.
We meet with passages of to fear a total extermination ; and, by the this Psalm, Jer. X. 25. 1 Macc. vii. 17, questions here asked, she tacitly reminds but when it was composed is not known.
God of his promises not to give her up, and
destroy her “for ever," on account of Mes1. O God, the heathen are come into thine sias, whom she was in the fulness of time
to bring forth.
6. Pour out thy wrath upon the heathen 11. Let the sghing of the prisoner come that have not known thee, and upon the before thee : according to the greatness of kingiloms that have not called upon thy name. thy power preserve thou those that are ap7. For they have devoured Jacob, and laid pointed to die. waste his dwelling place.
Next to those who had been slain, the This, though uttered in the form of a wish, cause of such as groaned in captivity, lying or prayer, is to be considered, like many bound in chains and fetters, under sentence other
passages of the same nature, as a pre- of death, to be inflicted at the will of their diction of what would afterwards come to cruel and insulting conquerors, is recomendpass. Pagan ambition and cruelty were of-ed to God. The Christian, though he may ten employed to chastise offending Israel ; at present be subject to none of these exbut were, themselves, notwithstanding, just-ternal calamities, forgets not that he is often ly punished, in their turn, by other powers persecuted, and led captive, by his own deraised up for that end. That relation in which sires, and bound in the chains of his sins; the church stands to God, causes him, upon that the world to him is a prison; that her repentance, to appear in her behalf, and sentence of death is passed upon him, and to execute vengeance on her oppressors, he knoweth not how soon that sentence may who“know him not nor call upon his name.” be executed. How properly therefore, and “ We are thine,” saith Isaiah, “thou never how fervently, may he, at all times, pray, barest rule over them, they were not called “O let the sighing of the prisoner come beby thy name.” Ixiii. 19. The church, for fore thee; according to the greatness of thy her sins, may deserve to suffer; but her power preserve thou those that are appointenemies are not therefore without guilt, nored to die." will they escape without punishment. 12. And render unto our neighbors seven
8. O remember not against us former ini- fold into their bosom their reproach, wherequities : let thy tender mercies speedily pre- with they have reproached thee, O LORD. vent us ; for we are brought very low. 9. That is, as they have reproached thee Help us, o God of our salvation, for the with weakness, so manifest to others their glory of thy name: and deliver us, and purge weakness, who are but sinful dust and ashes; away our sins, for thy name's sake.
as they have endeavored to make thee Affliction hath then wrought its intended contemptible, so let the world þave just effect, when it hath convinced us of sin, and cause to despise them, who have thus preled us to repentance; when, brought back sumptuously offended; according as it is by it, like the returning prodigal, to the written, “Them that honor me, I will honor, house and presence of our heavenly Father, and they that despise me, shall be lightwe acknowledge our guilt as the cause of ly esteemed.” 1 Sam. ii. 30. And however our misery, and entreat forgiveness of the different the appearence of things may now one, in order to obtain a release from the be, this will certainly be found true, in every other; not pleading our own merits, but instance, at the last day. the mercies of God our Saviour, and the 13. So we thy people, and sheep of thy glory of his name.
pasture, will give thee thanks for ever : we 10. Wherefore should the heathen say, will show forth thy praise to all generations. Where is their God? Let him be known Such is the resolution of a church under among the heathen in our sight, by the re- persecution; and such ought to be the pracvenging of the blood of thy servants which tice of every church, when delivered out of is shed ; or, Let the vengeance of thy ser- it, and restored to the favor and protection vants' blood that is shed, be known among of her God. The same is the duty of every the heathen that is in our sight.
soul, with regard to afflictions and mercies It is for“ the glory of God's name,” to de- of a private kind. But how glorious will be liver his church; because, while she is in the day, when, triumphant over sin and trouble, that name is blasphemed by the sorrow, over every thing that exalteth and enemy, as if he wanted either power, or will opposeth itself, the church universal shall to prevent or remove the calamities of his behold the adversary disarmed for ever; servants. Prayer is therefore here made by while she herself, placed in pastures of joy, the faithful, that God, not to gratify any and led to the waters of eternal comfort, vindictive spirit of theirs, but to vindicate his shall, from age to age, incessantly sing the own attributes, would break the teeth of the praises of her great Shepherd and Bishop, oppressor, and work a public and glorious her King and her God! salvation for his chosen: at beholding which, the very
adversaries themselves might possibly be converted.
his face from them that he will not hear :) PSALM LXXX.
Isa. lix. 2, “ he may cover himself with a ARGUMENT.
cloud, that their prayers should not pass The church, still in captivity, 1-3, crieth through :” Lam. iii. 44, and seem to reject
unto God for help and redemption; 4—7, even the devotions of his distressed servants, complaineth of her grievous afflictions; while he is proving the strength of their faith, 8-13, describeth her former exaltation, and the sincerity of their repentance. But if and present depression, under the beauti- the former be strong, and the latter sincere, ful figure of a Vine; 14-16, returneth they will continue to ask, till they have ob again to her supplications, and, 17—19, tained; nor cease to knock, till the door be prayeth for the advent of Messiah, to opened. quicken and comfort her, vowing all loyal 5. Thou feedest them with the bread of obedience, adoration, and praise to him, tears, or, of weeping; and givest them tears as the author of her salvation.
to drink in great measure.
There cannot be a more striking picture of 1. Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that Sion in captivity. Her bread is dipped in
0 leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwell- tears, and her cup is filled to the brim with est between the cherubims, shine forth. them: no time is free from grief and lamen
The Christian church is now become the tation. They who sin, must submit to pen“Israel” of God: Jesus Christ is the “Shep- ance; which if a man doth not impose on herd ” of this Israel, who leadeth his people himself, God will impose it on him: where“ like a flock;" he dwelleth in the midst of as, if we judged ourselves, we should not be
a them by his Spirit, as of old he dwelt in the thus judged of the Lord. The church hath holy places, between the cherubims.” Let appointed seasons, and given directions, for us beseech him to hearken to our prayers, and this purpose ; but who observes either the to manifest the glory of his power in our de- one or the other? fence and deliverance.
6. Thou makest us a strife unto our neigh2. Before Ephraim, Benjamin, and Man- bors : and our enemies laugh among themasseh, stir up thy strength, and come and selves. save us.
Israel, when forsaken by her God, was a God is entreated to go forth, in his strength prey for which all the neighboring nations and his salvation, before the tribes of Israel, contended, exulting over her, and scoffing at as formerly in the wilderness. Ephraim, that condition to which, not their counsels or Benjamin, and Manasseh, are particularly armies, but her own iniquities, had reduced mentioned; perhaps, because, according to the her. Hence let us learn how to form a just established order, those three tribes immedi- estimate of the real state both of communiately followed the ark and cherubim, the sym- ties and individuals. Righteousness alone bols of the divine presence. See Numb. i. exalteth man; sin is his reproach, and will 18.
be his destruction. 3. Turn, or, restore, us again, O God, and 7. Turn us again, O God of hosts, and cause thy face to shine ; and we shall be saved. cause thy face to shine, and we shall be saved.
This verse is a kind of chorus, occuring See above, ver. 3. three times in the course of our Psalm. It 8. Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt : implies, that the church is in captivity, from thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it. which she prayeth to be “restored” to her God is reminded of the favor once shown former freedom and prosperity; that she ex- by him to the church of Israel, and of that pecteth such restoration, not from any might prosperity which she once enjoyed. She is or merit of her own, but from the grace and compared to a “vine,” removed, from the mercy of her Saviour ; as well knowing, that unkindly soil of Egypt, to the happier regions her night can be turned into day, and her of Canaan, and there planted by Jehovah, in winter give place to spring, only by the Sun the place of nations extirpated for their unof righteousness rising, and causing his face fruitfulness. The vine is a plant weak and to shine upon her desolations. This ought, lowly, and needing support; when supported, therefore, to be the wish and the prayer of wild and luxuriant, unless restrained by the every persecuted church, and of every afflict- pruning knife; capable of producing the most ed soul.
valuable fruit; but, if barren, the most un4. O LORD God of hosts, how long wilt profitable among trees, and fit only for the thou be angry against the prayer of thy peo- flames. In all these respects it is a lively ple?
emblem of the church, and used as such by The sins of a people may for a time " sepa- Isaiah, v. 7. by Ezekiel, xv. xvii. xix. and by rate between them and their God, and hide Jour Lord himself, Matt. xxi. 33. The Chrise