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Buddenly, when neither they themselves nor others are looking for their ruin, in a way mucb inore wonderful than their lifting up was: “ They are destroved; how are they brought into desolation, as in a moment !".
Ver. 23." Thou hast holden me by my right hand."]By the Lord's right hand we are sometimes to understand bis power, but most frequently the Messiah, who is the man of his right hand, by whom he holds his people in union and in communion with hin under all their temptations, trials, and sorrows; which shews that though the saints are apt to forsake the Lord, yet their security, strength, and final perseverance, are owing to his power and bis never forsaking thein.
Ver. 26. 6 But God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for cver.”]_These words shew the intense desire, the ardency of affection, and the complacency of love that the believing soul takes in enjoying communion and fellowship in bis incarnate God, as leis portion and feli. city. Whence learn, that as nothing can give true content. ment but God, so God will have our bearts loosed from all creatures, and to expect no contentment in any of them but in himself; “ Whom have I in licaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee.” He that seeth God's sufficiency, seeth also the emptiness of the crea. tures, and nothing to be in them but what they have of God. A believer may see that he needeth nothing in heaven or earth, but communion with God, to inake him fully blessed : :“ Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee.” As to find all things to fail us, except God, in the time of trial, serves to loose our affections and confidence from them; so to find belp in God when all things fail, serves to tie the heart of a believer strongly to the Lord : " My heat and my flesh faileth ; but God is the strength of my heart.” When the believer bath seen his own strength fail him, and yet nevertheless believes in God, he shall find his failing heart and fainting courage upholden, and his own exhausted strength supplied with a greater strength from his incarnate God: “ My heart and my flesh fail me, but God is the strength of my heart.” Every man sccketh something for his portion, some one thing in the creature, some another, but the believer's portion is the Lord bimself, and no less will content him: “ The Lord is the strength of iny heart, and my portion." This is the believer's advantage above all that seek thcir blessedness in the creature; for his portion is the eternal God, and he is made an everlasting enjoyer of bim : “ God is my portion for ever.”
The prophet is still pursuing the snbject of the foregoing psalm, teaching us,
ver. 1-9. to lament the sad state of things which we have reason to fear will come on the earth in the perilous times of the latter days; and to be praying, ver. 10-23. that God would inake bare his aru, remember and look upon the coveuant, and come to vindicate his cause.
VER. 2. “ This mount Zion wherein thon bast dwelt.'] --By his presence, power, promise, and glory. These words shew how ardently the church desired the Lord to remember her with the visits of his love and favour, from the consideration of being his congregation and his pur. chase of old; for Christ by bis engagements had pur. cbased bis church from everlasting, and therefore he being able to answer for bis people, bis word, bond, and promise, were looked upon as payment; on which account he is called “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." • Ver. 19. “ O deliver not the soul of thy turtle-dore unto the multitude of the wicked.”]-In these words the church is fitly compared to a turtle-dove, for her fearfulness, her innocency, chastity, purity; and more especially for her mourning the loss of her mate. So the church mourns the loss of her beloved, and humbly entreats that her Lord would not deliver her to the fury and rage of the enemy: and it is observed of the turtle-dove, that such is her chastity and affection that she will mourn to death if she cannot find her mate; and such is the love and affection of the church to Christ her beloved, that she cannot live without his presence.
The name of God (which in Isaialı xxx. 27. denotes Christ comiog to gather 2 out his saints) being here represented to the prophet's eyes as near, be
offers, ver. 1. an act of praise on his foreshewing his presence in signs and wonders. And to this the gracious Name, or Son of God, answers, declaring himself determined, on his receiving the congregation of his saints, to judge righteously, destroying the power of the wicked, and exalting the righteous, which is here stiled cutting off the horns of the wicked, and exalting those of the righteous, and promising perpetual prạise when he has thus obtained the joy which was set before him.
VER. 2. " When I shall receive the congregation.”] - These are the words of the Messiah to bis Father, when he should receive his people manifestatively, which he had purchased from among ibe gentiles, who are frequently called the congregation; or when he should receive his church, bis spouse, to glory : wbich was his desire, John xvii. 23.
Ver. 3. “ I bear up the pillars of it.”]—This shews that though all nature may dissolve, the church can never sink, because Christ, tbe mighty God, bears up the pillars of it'; wbich pillars are bis words, his oath, and bis covenant.
To the gracious words of the glorious Name, or Son of God, in the foregoing
psalm, the church is here answering, as it were, iu a song of exultation and triumph, on a prophetic view of the glorious things which will be done at the gathering of the people, and the glorious manifestation of him, who (though now they know himn not) will then be great, or humbly acknowledged both in Judah and Israel, and who will restraio the spirit of princes, and be feared by all the kings of the earth.
VER. 1. " In Judab is God known.”]-It is evident that our Lord sprang of the tribe of Judah, by whom God is known in all his perfections and promises, and in all his works of creation, providence, and redemption through him.
" His name is great in Israel."7-That is, the Messiah's name, as God's salvation, is great in his church, who are his spiritual Israel. His name is great, as he is the substance of the scriptures, the glory of ordinances, the sum of all the types, ibe fulfilinent of all the prophecies, the preciousness of all the promises ; it is his name the sainis delight to hear of, trust in, and meditate upon : and his name is adored, praised, and loved by them, Cant. i. 3.
Ver. 2. “And bis dwelling-place in Zion."]-The word Zion signifies ay beap or monument raised up; by which it fitly represents the church of Christ, who are a monument of rich grace raised up out of the ruins of the fall by Christ's power; who are built as his spiritual palace, where he dwells with his presence, love, power, and grace; wbere he blesseth his people with peace, and the displays of his love, Zeph. iii. 17.
Ver. 4. • Thou art more glorious and excellent than the mountains of prey."]-This shews that the church is. more glorious and excellent to Christ, as clothed in bis righteousness, and washed in his blood, and as the reward of bis sufferings, than all the mountains of the slain can be to the most triumphaot warrior.
In the two foregoing psalms the spirit of the prophet had been refreshed and
comforted with some foresight of the glory which shall be revealed; but here again, the perilous times which will precede it come into his view, and make him full of fears aud sad complaints, ver. 1-9. Alter which, for an example to the church of what she niust be doing, in those sad times particularly, he confesses and corrects his weakness, and remembers that these are the years of God's right hand; that is, when he will most signally exert his power, and be glorified. He reAects, therefore, on his ancient wonders, and so finds comfort, even in the midst of these dangers and distresses.
VER. 9. “ Hath God forgotten to be gracious ?") These words are very expressive of the great darkness, distress, sorrow, and affliction of David's soul under the hidings of God's face, and the great affliction that he la. houred onder: which shews that Goil's own children are at times brought into such great distresses and sorrows, as to call in question bis loving-kindness, his faithfulness, and his promise to them : when no beam of mercy, nor dawn of hope appears, their spirits are overwhelmed with trouble. The question supposes the Lord bad been gracious to him; that lie had known the kind intentions of his heart, bis precions covenant of grace, and pardon and peace througb the propitiation of the sacrifice of the Messiah ; that he had been favoured with nearness to the Lord, and sweet communiou with bim: but now the presence of the Lord was wills
drawn, and unbelief concluded that God would be favoura. ble no more; so apt are we in trouble to judge by sense, and forget the promise and veracity of God's covenant. But some think that David speaks prophetically here of the sufferings of Christ ; that he personates the Messiah, who was overwhelmed with troubles of soul, and with sorrows for his people, who complained of the hidings of his Fa. ther's face, when bis soul was overwhelmed with the floods of divine wrath while suffering upon the cross.
Ver. 19. “ And thy footsteps are not known."]-Such is the darkness, trials, and distresses, of the cbildren of God, that bis dispensations of divine providence often appear to them unfathomable: which shews that God's own children are called to trust him in the dark, to believe in mercies unseen, to follow him when they cannot trace him, to believe him faithful when nothing but frowns appear, in the dispensations of his providence.
PSALM LXXVIII. ·
This psalm must be allowed to point at the gathering of the people unto God,
because ver. 4-6. declare it to be for the latter generation (of Israel) and call them to the wisdom of considering God's dealings with their fathers; wbich are set before them, as a proof that his mercy is ever sure to all that fear him.
VER. 15. " And gave them drink as out of the great depths.")-The seasonable supplies of water to the Israel. ites in the wilderness, were figurative of the boundless deeps and springs of God's everlasting love to his people, flowing from Christ the rock of their salyation. 1 Cor. x. 4. • Ver. 24. “ And bad rained down manna upon them.”] - Which see explained Exod. xvi. 14, 15.
Ver. 25. “Man did eat angels' food.”]-By which some understand that the manna that the children of Israel did eat was prepared by the ministration of angels; others that it was so delicious that angels might have eat thereof if they had stood in need of food : the Chaldee renders it, the food that descended from the dwellings of angels; but the sense is, manna was angels' food, as it was so bright a type of Christ in his person and incarnation, grace and kindness; for the elect angels live upon Christ, as well as elect saints, he being ibeir Head of life and security;