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it cut down, dried up, and withered. Such The history of “this " redemption and is the life of man, sojourning in the land of restoration by Messiah, thus foretold, hath his captivity, and doing penance for his sins. been written” in the Gospel for the benBut the eternity of Jehovah, the infallibility efit of “after generations,” to the end that of his promises, and the remembrance of his “the people who are created ” anew in former works and mercies, comfort our hearts, Christ Jesus, may from age to age praise and encourage us to hope, nay, even to rejoice, Jehovah, in psalms and hymns, and spiritual in the midst of sorrow and tribulation.
songs; as it is done at this day in the 13. Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon church, and ever will continue to be done, Sion ; for the time to favor her, yea, the set till the choirs of heaven and earth shall be time is come. 14. For thy servants take united before the throne of the Lamb. pleasure in her stones, and favor the dust 19. For he hath looked down from the thereof.
height of his sanctuary: from hearen did the From this passage, and what follows, it Lord behold the earth; 20. To hear the appears, that the suppliant, in this Psalm, groaning of the prisoner, to loose those that bewails not only his own miseries, but those are appointed to death : 21. To declare the of the church. Israel was in captivity, and name of the Lord in Sion, and his praise in Sion a desolation. A “time” notwithstand-Jerusalem; 22. When the people are gathing, a “set time,” there was at hand, when ered together, and the kingdoms, to serve the God had promised to "arise, and to have Lord. mercy upon her.” The bowels of her chil- Redemption is the subject of praise in the dren yearned over her ruins ; they longed to Christian church; and the process of that see her rebuilt, and were ready, whenever great work is here described by images borthe word of command should be given, to set rowed from the temporal deliverance and heart and hand to the blessed work. Such restoration of Israel. God is represented ought to be our affection towards our Sion, as looking with an eye of pity from heaven however afflicted and destitute she may, at upon poor mankind; as hearing the groans any tiine, appear to be; such should be our of sinners, fast bound in the chains of their faith in the promises of God concerning the sins, and sentenced to death eternal; as future glorification of his church at the time coming down to forgive and to release appointed.
them; that, being so forgiven and released, 15. So the heathen shall fear the name of they might cause the church to resound the Lord: and all the kings of the earth thy with his praises, when, upon the preaching glory. 16. When the Lord "shall build up of the Gospel, it should be filled with conŠion, he shall appear in his glory. 17. He verts, assembled from every people and will regard the prayer of the destitute, and kingdom of the world. Look down, o O not despise their prayer.
Lord Jesu, yet once again upon thy serThe object to which the prophets of old vants, still under the dominion of death, had chiefly respect, was not only the deliv- and the bondage of corruption; loose these erance of Israel from Babylon, and the re- chains, even these also, O Lord, and bring building of the material temple, but the sal-us forth into the glorious liberty of thy vation of sinners, and the erection of the children ; that, with the whole assembly of Christian church, in the days of Messiah's the redeemed, in the heavenly Jerusalem, kingdom. “When the Lord ” Jesus thus we may bless and praise thy name for ever “ built up Sion, he appeared in his glory: the and ever. heathen feared his name, and all the kings
23. He weakened my strength in the way; of the earth” adored his majesty, because he shortened my days. he had “regarded the prayer of the desti- The prophet, in the person of captive tute
sons of Adam, in their worse than Sion, having, from verse 13 to verse 22, Babylonish captivity, and had arisen himself expressed his faith and hope in the promised to be their Saviour and mighty Deliverer. redemption, now returns to his mournful We, in these latter days, look and pray for complaints, as at verse 11. Israel doubteth the second appearance of the same Re- not of God's veracity, but feareth lest his deemer, with power and great glory, to heavy hand should crush the generation raise the dead, and to build up from the then in being, before they should behold dust a Jerusalem which shall experience the expiration of their troubles. They no more vicissitudes, but continue for ever were in “ the way,” but their “ strength in unchangeable beauty and brightness. was so “weakened,” and their“ days short
18. This shall be written for the genera- ened,” that they almost despaired of holding tion to come ; and the people which shall be out to their journey's end. A sore trial created shall praise the Lord,
hath the Christian church to undergo in the
cry come unto thee.
2. Hide not thy face | I am like an owl, or, bittern, of the desert, from me in the day when I am in trouble ; or, of waste, ruinous places. 7. I watch, incline thine ear unto me: in the day when and am as a sparrow alone upon the houseI call, answer me speedily.
top. Sin and sorrow force “prayers " and The sorrowful man is naturally desirous of “ cries” from the sons of Adam. The first retiring from the world, to vent his competition here preferred is, that these prayers plaints in solitude, and to pass the nights in and cries may be “heard” in heaven. The watchfulness and prayer. In such a situation day of human life is “a day of trouble," a the true penitent placeth himself, worthily to day of darkness and gloominess, which nothing bewail his sins, and deprecate the judgments can brighten, but the light of God's “ counte- of his God. And in such a situation did capnance; " nothing can render comfortable, but tivity place the daughter of Sion, that she a “speedy answer” of mercy and peace from might do likewise. The use which Daniel above.
made of it for this purpose, may be seen in 3. For my days are consumed away like, his ixth chapter. or, in, smoke, and my tones are burnt as an 8. Mine enemies reproach me all the day: hearth, or, a fire brand.
and they that are mad against me, are sworn The effects of extreme grief on the human against me. frame are compared to those which fire pro- The scoffs.and reproaches of men are geneduceth upon fuel. It exhausts the radical rally added to the chastisements of God; or moisture, and, by so doing, soon consumes the rather, perhaps, are a part, and sometimes the substance. A man's time and his strength bitterest part, of them. How the enemies of evaporate in melancholy, and his “bones,” Jerusalem behaved, in the day of her calamitty, those pillars and supports of his body, become is well known. How carnal and ungodly like wood, on which the fire hath done its men behave to a penitent, when mourning work, and left it without sap, and without for his sins, under the afflicting hand of heacohesion. A single penitent, or a whole ven, is as well known. church, bewailing their respective transgres- 9. For, or, Therefore, I have eaten ashes sions, when under the rod of God, may use like bread, and mingled my drink with weepthese words, and will understand the force ing. 10. Because of thine indignation and of them.
wrath ; for thou hast listed me up, and cast 4. My heart is smitten ana withered like me down. grass : so that I forget to eat my bread.
By “eating ashes, and drinking tears,” we The metaphor is continued, and the “heart”
understand the same as if it had been itself, out of which flow the streams of life, said,» « I have eaten the bread of humiliation, is represented as suffering that from grief, and drank the water of affliction ;” ashes which the “grass” of the field suffers from being the emblem of one, and tears the conthe burning heat of the sun ; it is “smitten, sequence of the other; while the actions of and withered.” And when grief hath thus eating and drinking” intimate to us the dejected the spirits, the man has no appetite fulness and satiety which the sufferer had for that food which is to recruit and elevate experienced of both, from the "wrath and them. Ahab, smitten with one kind of grief, indignation of God.” Prosperity and adverDavid with another, and Daniel with a third, sity are from him ; "he lifteth up, and he all “ forgot,” or “refused, to eat their bread:” casteth down;" he lifted up Jerusalem above 1 Kings, xxi. 4. 2 Sam. xii. 16. Dan. X. 3, all the earth; and he cast her down, to be Such natural companions are “mourning and trodden under foot by the Gentiles. fasting.”
11. My days are like a shadow that de5. By reason of the voice of my groaning, clineth : and am withered like grass. 12. my bones cleave to
skin. Extremity of sorrow causeth the flesh to thy remembrance unto all generations.
But thou, O LORD, shalt endure for ever ; and waste, and the bones to press upon the skin, A “shadow " never continueth in one stay, through which they are ready to force their but is still gliding imperceptibly on, lengthenway. Sickness is the chastisement of heaven, ing as it goes, and at last vanisheth into darkinflicted often upon us, to supply the want of that discipline, which we should exercise upon to a day at farthest. The rising sun gives it
The period of its existence is limited ourselves. “For if we would judge ourselves, birth, and in that moment when the sun sets we should not be judged. But when we are it is no more.
The judged we are chastened of the Lord, that we like manner, hath a being of the same dura
grass ” of the field, in should not be condemned with the world.” tion. In the morning, clothed with verdure 1 Cor. xi. 31. 6. I am like the pelican of the wilderness : leye of the beholder ; but the evening findeth
and beauty, it refresheth and delighteth the
last days, before the second advent of her until the counsel of God shall be finished, Lord and Saviour. Strong faith and invin- and every prediction receive its full accomcible patience will be necessary, to enable plishment in the glorification of the reher to endure until the end shall come. deemed.
24. And I said, O my God, take me not away in the midst of my days: thy years are
PSALM CIII. throughout all generations.
ARGUMENT. Israel prayeth that the holy seed might In this evangelical and most comfortable not be extirpated, and perish by a kind of
hymn, David, after, 1, 2, exciting himself untimely death, ere yet the promise had
to the work, 3–5, praiseth Jehovah for been made good, and Sion had seen the
the mercies of redemption ; 6, 7, celesalvation of her God. Every man hath
brateth his goodness to Moses and Israel reason to pray, that God would not“ take
8—13, setteth forth the divine philanhim away in the midst of his days," or call
thropy, under various beautiful expresupon him when unprepared; but that time
sions and images ; 14—16, describeth, in may be allowed him to perfect his repent
a manner wonderfully affecting, man's ance, and to work out his salvation.
frail and perishable state; but, 17, 18, 25. Of old hast thou laid the foundation
leadeth him, for consolation, to the everof the earth; and the heavens are the work of
lasting mercy of God in Christ, the stathy hands. 26. They shall perish, but thou
bility of whose throne and kingdom, 19, shalt endure; yea, all of them shall wax old
he declareth, and, 20—22, calleth upon like a garment, as a vesture shalt thou change
heaven and earth to join with him in them, and they shall be changed. 27. But
blessing and praising his holy name. thou art the same, and thy years shall have
1. Bless the LORD, O my soul ; and all Amidst the changes and chances of this that is within me, bless his holy name. mortal life, one topic of consolation will The Psalmist, about to utter a song of ever remain, namely, the eternity and im- praise, first endeavors to awaken and stir mutability of God our Saviour, of him who up his soul” to the joyful task. He was, and is, and is to come. Kingdoms calleth forth all his powers and faculties, and empires may rise and fall; nay, the “ all that is within him,” that every part heavens and the earth, as they were origin- of his frame may glorify its Saviour; that ally produced and formed by the word of the understanding may know him, the will God, the Son, or second person in the Trin- choose him, the affections delight in him, ity, to whom the Psalmist here addresseth the heart believe in him, and the tongue conhimself, see Heb. i. 10; so will they, at the fess him. “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and day appointed, be folded up and laid aside, all that is within me, bless his holy name.' as an old and worn-out garment; or, if the 2. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget substance remain, the present form and not all his benefits. fashion of them will perish, and they will Thanksgiving cannot be sincere and hearty, be utterly changed and altered from the unless a man bear impressed upon his mind, state in which they now are. But Jehovah at the time, a quick sense of “benefits” is ever the same ; his years have no end, received; and “benefits” we are most of us nor can his promise fail, any more than apt to “forget;" those, especially, which himself. “ Heaven and earth,” saith he, are conferred upon us by God. Therefore “ shall pass away ; but my words shall not David repeateth his self-awakening call, pass away. Matt. xxiv. 35.
and summoneth all his powers of recollec28. The children of thy servants shall con- tion, that none of the divine favors might tinue ; and their seed shall be established be continue unnoticed and unacknowledged. fore thee.
A catalogue of such particular mercies, Whatever be the fate of the present gen- temporal and spiritual, as each individual eration, whether they may live to see the hath experienced through life, might be of accomplishment of all that has been fore- service, to refresh the memory, upon this told, or not, yet the word of God standeth important head. sure ; there shall be always a church, and 3. Who forgiveth all thine iniquities : a holy seed, to whom the promises shall be who heuleth all thine infirmities. made good. They have already been ful- At the head of God's mercies must for filled with regard to the advent of Messiah, ever stand“ remission of sin,” or that full and the vocation of the Gentiles. The and free pardon purchased for us by Jesus events which are behind will be brought Christ, whereby, if we truly repent and forward and come to pass in their seasons, I believe in him, our transgressions, though
ever so many, and ever so great, are done of his Spirit, he restoreth her from decrepiaway, and become as if they had never tude, to the health and strength of a young been; from a state of gult we pass into one
that she can ascend up on high, of justification, from a state of enmity into and contemplate the splendor of the Sun of one of reconciliation, from a state of servi- Righteousness. Thus, at the day of the retude into one of liberty and sonship. Next surrection, clothed anew with salvation and to the pardon of sin, considered as a crime, glory, the body likewise shall arise from we are to commemorate the cure of it, con- earth, and fly away as an eagle toward heaven, sidered as a disease, or indeed as a compli- to begin an immortal life, and be for ever cation of diseases—“Who healeth all thine young. infirmities.” The body experienceth the 6. The LORD executed righteousness and melancholy consequences of Adam's offence, judgment for all that are oppressed. 7. He and is subject to many“ infirmities;” but made known his ways unto Moses, his acts the soul is subject to as many. What is unto the children of Israel.
. pride, but lunacy; what is anger, but a From a consideration of his own particular fever'; what is avarice, but a dropsy; what case, the Psalmist maketh a general reflection is lust, but a leprosy; what is sloth, but a on that attribute of God, which inclineth him dead palsy? Perhaps there are spiritual to deliver his people, and to punish their opmaladies similar to all corporeal ones. When pressors, of what kind soever they be. And Jesus Christ was upon earth, he proved him- here that grand display of the ways" and self the physician of men's souls, by the “ works” of Jehovah, the redemption of “ Iscures which he wrought upon their bodies. rael ” by the hand of Moses,” immediately
" It is he alone who “ forgiveth all our iniqui- occurs, and is celebrated. Thus each private ties;” it is he alone who “ healeth all our mercy, whether of a temporal or spiritual nainfirmities.” And the person who findeth ture, should remind us of that public and unihis sin " cured,” hath a well-grounded versal blessing of redemption by Jesus Christ, assurance that it is “ forgiven.”
from which every other blessing floweth, as 4. Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; a stream from its fountain, and for which God who crowneth, or, encircleth, thee with loving ought, therefore, upon all occasions, to be kindness and tender mercies.
praised and glorified. Man hath two “ lives;” he is, therefore, 8. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow subject to a double “ destruction ;”, and, con- to anger, and plenteous in mercy. sequently, capable of a twofold“ redemption.” When Moses desired Jehovah to show him He who is recovered from sickness, and there his way” and his “glory,” Exod. xxxiii. by redeemed from that destruction which 13, 18, Jehovah passed by, and proclaimed natural death bringeth upon the body, will himself, as here, '“ Jehovah, merciful, and undoubtedly sing this strain in transports of gracious,” &c. Exod. xxxiv. 6. How full of gratitude ; and he ought so to do. But what consolation to the penitent soul are all the will be the sensations of him who celebrates, words of this verse « The Lord is merciin the same words, the spiritual redemption ful,” 0107, the bowels of his tender compasof his soul from death and destruction ever-sion yearn over us, as those of a mother yearn lasting? How is he “crowned” with the over the child of her womb; "yea, a woman a loving kindness” of Jehovah; how is he may forget her sucking child, yet can he not 6 encircled” by the arms of “mercy!" forget us : " Isa. xlix. 15. He is gracious," “Length of days is in her right hand, and in par, ready to give us freely all things that her left hand riches and honor :" never end are needfúl for our salvation. He is a slow ing“ length of days;" true“ riches,” that abide to anger,” bearing with the frowardness of
. for ever; and “the honor which cometh from his children, with their provocations and reGod only.”
lapses for 40, 50, 60, 70 years together, be5. Who satisfieth thy mouth with good fore he strikes the blow; giving them, by things; so that thy youth is renewed like the this his long suffering, time for repentance. eagle's.
It is God who giveth us the good things” * Of all birds it is known, that they have yearly of this world, and who giveth us likewise an their moulting times, when they shed their old, and appetite and a taste to enjoy them. It is God are afresh furnished with a new stock of feathers.
This is most observable of hawks and vultures, and who restoreth a body, emaciated by sickness, especially of “ eagles," which, when they are near to bloom, vigor, and agility. And he doth an hundred years old, cast their feathers, and become greater things than these. He “ satisfieth ” bald and like young ones, and then new feathers all the desires of the soul with a banquet of sprout forth: Thus St. Ambrose," Aquila longam
ætatem ducit, dum vetustis plumis fatiscentibus, spiritual dainties, and bestoweth on her a re
nova pennarum successione juvenescit." Dr. HAM. lish for the same. By the renovating power MOND.
And he is “plenteous in mercy,” 707737,1" Man,” fallen, mortal man—“his days are
great, mighty in mercy,” placing his chief as grass ; » like that he cometh out of the glory in this attribute, and hereby teaching earth, and continueth but a short time upon us how to estimate true greatness.
as a flower of the field,” fair but tran9. He will not always chide : neither will sient, “ so he ” unfoldeth his beauty in youth, he keep his anger for ever. 10. He hath not and “flourisheth” awhile in the vigor of dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded manhood; but, lo, in a moment, the breath us according to our iniquities.
of heaven's displeasure, as a blighting “ wind God's chastisements are some of the most passeth over him, and he is gone;" he boweth eminent proofs of his mercy. They are sent his drooping head, and mingleth again with to reclaim us, and to save us from eternal his native dust ; his friends and his companpunishment. They continue not always, but ions look for him at the accustomed spot, are removed when they have done their which he once adorned—but in vain—the work; and while they last, are as nothing in earth has opened her mouth to receive him, comparison of those heavy stripes which our and “his place shall know him no more.” sins have deserved.
17. But the mercy of the Lord is from ever11. For as the heaven is high above the lasting to everlasting upon them that fear earth, so great is his mercy towards them him ; and his righteousness unto children's that fear him. 12. As far as the east is from children : 18. To such as keep his covenant, the west, so far hath he removed our trans- and to those that remember his commandments gressions from us. 13. Like as a father to do them. pitieth his children, so the LORD piticth them Let not man presume, who withereth like that fear him.
the green herb; but then, let not man desWe are here presented with three of the pair, whose nature with all its infirmities, the most beautiful, apposite, and comforting simi- Son of God hath taken upon him. The flower litudes in the world. When we lift up our which faded in Adam, blooms anew in Christ, eyes, and behold around us the lofty and stu- never to fade again. “ The mercy of Jehopendous vault of heaven, encircling, protect- vah,” in his Messiah, “is everlasting ;” and ing, enlightening, refreshing, and cherishing of that everlasting mercy, poor frail man is the earth, and all things that are therein, we the object. It extendeth to all the generaare bidden to contemplate in this glass the tion of the faithful servants of God. Death immeasurable height, the boundless extent, shall not deprive them of its benefits, nor and the salutary influences of that mercy shall the grave hide them from the efficacious which, as it were, embraceth the creation, influence of its all-enlivening beams, which and is over all the works of God. Often as shall pierce even into those regions of desowe view the sun arising in the east, and dark- lation, and awaken the sleepers of six thouness flying away from before his face towards sand years. Man must pay to justice the the opposite quarter of the heavens, we may temporal penalty of his sins; but mercy shall see an image of that goodness of Jehovah, raise him again, to receive the eternal reward, whereby we are placed in the regions of il- purchased by his Saviour's righteousness. A lumination, and our sins are removed and put passage in the First Epistle of St. Peter doth far away out of his sight. And that our hearts most admirably illustrate this part of our may, at all times, have confidence towards Psalm : “ We are born again not of corrupGod, he is represented as bearing towards us tible seed, but of incorruptible, by the WORD the fond and tender affection of “a father,” of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. ever ready to defend, to nourish, and to pro- For all flesh is grass, and all the glory of man vide for us, to bear with us, to forgive us, and as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, to receive us in the parental arms of ever- and the flower thereof falleth away ; but the lasting love.
WORD of the Lord endureth for ever. And 14. For he knoweth our frame; he remem. this is the word which by the Gospel is. bereth that we are dust. 15. As for man, his preached unto you.” 1 Pet. i. 23, &c. days are as grass ; as a flower of the field, so 19. The Lord hath prepared his throne in he flourisheth. 16. For the wind passeth the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof all. shall know it no more.
The glorious Person who worketh all these The consideration of man's frail and per- wonders of mercy for his people, the word ishable estate weighs with the Almighty, and of God, and Saviour of the world, is triumprevails upon him to spare his creature. And phantly seated upon his throne in heaven,” doth not the tear of compassion start in the and is possessed of all power to accomplish eye of him, who reads the description which his will, even until all things shall be subdued David hath given of it in these: verses?) unto him. The glories of his throne, the