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because they contain such a rich mine of grace, such a glorious revelation even of evangelical truths, such a large fund of experience, every way suited to and adapted for the hope and comfort of the people of God: on which account some bave stiled the psalms a compendium of the bible.
The psalms contain many divine soliloquies, spiritual raptures, devout meditations, pious ejaculations, holy reflections, sweet experiences, humble confessions, carnest petitions, thankful acknowledgments, joyful exultations, heavenly praises, and gracious exercises of soul; and are therefore justly called by some the very marrow of the scriptures, they being so full of the breathings of heavenly affections; all which shew that there is a peculiar vein and strain of spiritual matter in this book. “And although all scriptures were written by holy men of God as they were mored by the Holy Ghost, yet this of the Psalms was not only written by holy men, but by them in the most lively and spiritual frames. And Christ, the crown and centre of revealed religion, the foundation, corner and topstone of that blessed building, is here clearly spoken of in type and prophecy ; both his sufferings and the glory that should follow, aud the kingdom he should set up in the world, which God's covenant with David concerning his kingdom was to have its accomplishment in. What a bigh value doth this book put upon the word of God, bis statutes and judgments, his covenant, and the great and precious promises of it, and how doth it endear them to us as our guide and stay, and our heritage for ever! All scripture being given by inspiration of God, is profitable to convey divine sight into our understandings; but this book is of singular use by the blessing of the Holy Ghost, to convey divine life and power, and a holy heat into our affections. There is no one book of scripture that is more belpful to the devotions of the saints than tbis, and it has been so in all ages of the cburch.
The chief design of the book is to-set forth wherein true happiness consists. First, in true godliness, or the real knowledge of God in Cbrist; the truly godly man being the only happy man in the world, as is evidenced in the first Psalm, which is a preface to all the rest. Secondly, in submission to the Lord's anointed, Jesus Christ. Thirdly, in having Jehovab to be our God, our covenant God, as is shewn in Psalm cxliv. Which happiness is variously and sweetly illustrated in the rest of the Psalms, and in a most lively and experimental manner : there is sweet inter
course and endeared communion, even in this life, bet wixt the people and church of God; and their most blessed God in Cbrist, who is to them the fountain of all happi. ness. Tbough the Lord eserciscth them with afflictions and tribulations, in name, state, body, and soul, by open enemies, false friends, and nearest relations, with cruel persecutions for righteousness' sake, with violent and dangerous temptations, with uncomfortable desertions, and with many other inward conflicts and anxieties of soul; yet by these things they are improved in their faith, hope, patience, experience, and acquaintance with God, comfort, peace, and joy: hereby they are excited to the lively exercise of meditation, self-examination, prayers, and praises to the Lord, &c. In all these God instructs, sup. ports, encourages, and establishes them in things spiritual, assuring them of his all-sufficiency, goodness, and faithful. ness therein, and at last delivering them out of all, and preparing them for “a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory," 2 Cor. iv. 17. Nevertheless every par. ticular psalm hath its particular scope, which is diligently to be observed for the right understanding of them, as will evidently appear. All holy scriptures are "sweet as honey and the honeycomb;' but as some honey, so this book of Psalms is of a surpassing sweetness. All books of scripture are as so many heaps of refined gold, but this of the Psalms is as the gold of Ophir. All the scriptures shine orientally like the glittering stars in the firmament, but this book shines among them as a star of the first magnitude. Particularly the excellency of this book of Psalms appears in regard of its suitableness and usefulness to all christians, in all cases and conditions that may befal them.
Here christians are richly furnished, first, against all wants,' in the Lord their shepberd and portion, Psalm xxiii. and Ixxiii. 25, 26. Secondly, against all weaknesses and infirmities, in the Lord their strength and rock, Psalm xviii. l. and xxvii. 1. and Ixxiii. 25, 26. Thirdly, against all temptations to fretting and murmuring at the prosperity of tbc wicked, or to dejection and despondency at the adversity of the godly, Psalm xxxvii, and Ixxiii. Fourtbly, against all their enemies and persecutors, in God their shield, and rock of their refuge, high tower, &c. Psalma iii. and xviii. and xxyii. and xix. and cix. Fifthly, against all tribulations, afflictions, and distresses, by God's presence, faithful promises, comforts, and experiences of the godly, &c. Psalm iii. and xxiii, and xxx. and xxxiv. and
cii. and cxvi. and cvii. and xci. Sixthly, against all spiritual desertions, wherein the Lord bides his face and wonted favour for a time from them, Psalm xxii. and lxxvii. and lxxxviii. Seventhly, against all want of God's ordinances, Psalın xlii. and Ixiii. and lxxxiv. Eighthly, against all remainders of corruption and sin, Psalm vi, and Xxxviii. and li. and have a full assurance both of grace and glory, Psalm xv. and xxiv.
This shews the excellency of the book of Psalms as a compendium of the whole scriptures, and as a divine glass wherein we bebold the beauty, perfection, and blessings of the gospel, as the word of hope and relief to the people of God; for by them the Holy Ghost strengthens the wcak christian, supports the feeblc, relieves the templed, restores the deserted, comforts the distressed, and assures us that he will guide them by bis counsel and receive them 10 glory, Psalın lxxiii. 24.
This Psalm being the introduction, or preface to this divine book, must
speak of him surely wlio is the great subject of it, even the Messiah, or the man Christ Jesus ; in whom, as their head, all his true and Jiving members are, and will be for ever, blessed. He therefore appears to be the man (for the Hebrew is emphatical) whom the prophet here meant to desczibe as a blessed ope; and so Austin judged. He came to give us an example, and to fulbl all righteousness, and is for that reason represented as never walking in the counsel of the wicked, therefore be appears to be that one, see Psalm xl. 8. but placing his whole delight in the law of the Lord, as doing nothing therefore but wliat will prosper, or tend to the establishiment of his kingdom.
VER. 1. « Blessed is the man.”]-The words may be rendered, the blessedness of the man, or of this man ;' namely, the man Christ Jesus, who is emphatically the blessed One, from whom all blessings flow, io give delight in his ways.
Ver. 2. “ But his delight is in the law of the Lord."] ---Not the law of nature, which was inscribed on Adam's beart in innocence, but now greatly impaired by sin, and become very imperfect and very insufficient to make men bappy, or to lead them to true felicity; nor the law of Moses, wbich is the fiery law and works wrath, accuses of sin, pronounces guilty, curses and condemns to death; and
e man; so and as it iousness to erby him, wiss
therefore cannot be delighted in by a sensible sinner, unless as it is in the hands of Christ, and as fulfilled by him, who is “the end of the law for righteousness to every one who believeth,” Rom. X. 3. and as it is written on the heart of the regenerate man; so far he delights in it after the in. ward man; he maketh the word of God, which sheweth the way of reconciliation through Christ his chief delight.
Ver. 3. “ And he shall be like a trce planted by the rivers of water.”]-Who is planted in Christ Jesus, and in the church, the house of the Lord; of which transplantation the removal of Israel into Cannan's land was an eniblem, Psalm lxxx. 8. and such a spiritual plantation is of God the husbandman; whose planting the saints are efficiently, Isaiah lx. 21. and Ixi. 3. Matt. xv. 13. And it is owing to the word, the ingrafted word, wbich is the means of this ingrafture, and to the ministers of it instru. mentally; some of whom plant, and others water, I Cor. iii. 6, 7. Moreover, the bappy man before described is like a tree that is situated by the rivers of water, or divisions and rivulets of water, which running about the plants make them very fruitful and flourisbing, see Ezek. xxxi. 4. and which may intend the river of the love of God, and the streams of it, the discoveries and applications of it to regenerate persons ; and also tbe fulness of grace in Christ, who is the fountain of gardens, the well of living water's and streams from Lebanon, to revive, refresh, supply, and comfort his people; as well as the graces of the Spirit of God, which are near the saints, and like rivers of water flow out of them that believe in Christ; to which may be added the word and ordinances of the gospel, which are the still waters, to which they are invited and led, and by which and with which they are greatly refreshed and made fruitful.
“ Toat bringeth forth his fruit in his season."]-And so appears to be a tree of rigbteousness, filled with the fruits of righteousness, graces of the Spirit, and good works; wbich are brought forth by him under the influence of grace, as he bas opportunity, and according to the measure of grace bestowed. .
“ His leaf also shall not wither.”] -Neither tree, nor fruit, nor leaf sball wither, but shall be always green; which is expressive of the saints perseverance: the reasons of which are, they are ingrafted in Christ, the true vine, and abide in him, from whom they bave their sap, nourisha ment, and fruit; they are rooted and built up in him, and
established in the faith, and so they hold fast the profession of it without wavering.
“ And whatsoever he doeth shall prosper."14Meaning Cbrist, the blessed man, (see Isa. liii. 10.) and the christian from him, as he receives grace in things spiritual; what. ever he does in faith, from love to the glory of God, and in the name of Christ, prospers; yea, those things in which he is concerned, that are adverse, and seem for the present to be against him, in the issue work for good to him : in short, sucb a man is blessed with grace bere and glory bereafter, and therefore must needs be a happy man.
Ver. 6. “ For the Lord knoweth the way of the rigli. tcous."]-The way in which he walks by faith, which is in Jesus Christ; the way in which he goes to the Father, and carries to him bis sacrifices of prayer and praise, which meet with acceptance through him; ibe way in which he seeks for and expects justification, pardon, and salvation, namely, through the blood, righteousness, and sacrifice of Christ: and also it may denote bis course, his walk, and conversation ; for the righteous man is a follower of God, he takes up the cross and copies after Christ; be walks not after the flesh, but after tlie spirit, according to the rule of the word, and as becomes the gospel of Christ : and this way of his in every sense the Lord knows; not merely as he is omniscient, for by his omniscience his eyes are upon the ways of all men; he knows the way of the wicked as well as the way of the righteous; but the sense is, that the Lord approves of and is well pleased with bis way of faith and holiness; he knows his person, so as to love him and take delight and pleasure in him; his countenance bebolds him with a smile; he is well pleased with bim in Christ and for his sake, on whose account he has respect to him and to his offerings, to bis service and duty, to his ways and works; and hence he is a blessed man, is in a happy situation, and all he does prospers, for he and his ways please his Lord.
The foregoing Psalm declared the happiness of the godly, and is so eran.
gelical, that it shews us their Saviour. Under the type of David's kingdoin, which was of divine appointment, and met with much opposition, but prevailed at last, the kingdom of the Messiah, the son of David, is prophecies of, which is the primary intention and scope